This is a beautiful coral peach color. On my very pigmented lips it looks more orange than peach but on lighter lips it'd look like a true peach. This is very similar to MAC Reel Sexy (was $15 before it was sold out, but it is now from $30+) and YSL Peach Passion and Faubourg Peach ($34). They're all a peachy coral with hints of pink. So if you're looking for something around those colors Brink would be the cheapest of the bunch ($22)--not to mention it is .14 oz as oppose to .12 oz. An even cheaper dupe is Barry M #147 (~$11 on ebay, and cheaper if you live in the UK). It is a tad more pink than Brink but I actually like it better because it gives me a more nudy lip than Brink does. Overall, 147 and Brink has the same matte, dry-ish texture with 147 more drying, but it's nothing a lip balm underneath and a gloss on top can't fix.
Eyes -Ardell - Brow & Lash Growth Accelerator Treatment Gel
saphiric 5/16/2012 7:34:00 PM
I LOVE THIS STUFF! My lashes are the typical straight sparse asian lashes that look almost invisible without mascara or falsies. At first I was skeptical to try this since it was so cheap (~$4 for a tube), but I'm so glad I did! The gel is clear and the wand is like a mascara wand. I have used this for months now and my lashes have grown noticeably thicker, more volumous and even a teensy bit longer. I hope Ardell never discontinue this product!
I purchased a sample from perfumecourt and I'm very sad I don't get any of the complexities that other reviewers detect. All I get is a mint smell, like I accidentally spilled a bottle of mint mouth wash on myself. My bf says it smells more like sawdust/cedar. I like natural cedar but in this fragrance, it's just mint all the way. Not fresh, natural or green...just shrill and masculine. This my least favorites of the three I sampled: Sur le Nil is much gentler and fresher, whereas Apres la Mousson is much greener and fruitier.
Fragrances -Viktor & Rolf - Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb
saphiric 5/4/2012 5:46:00 PM
Someone said this would be more appropriately named as Sugarbomb, and I agree 100%. There's absolutely nothing floral about flowerbomb. The patchouli note is candy sweet, the overall dry down reminds me a tad of lolita lempicka but less complex and more linear. Reminds me of trips to Bath and Body Works where your olfactory is bombarded with a rampage of synthetic candy sweet concoctions. It is not for me, but if you love sweet scents then you're in luck because this would probably be your favorite. Overall, this would be a great scent for those who love Pink Sugar, anything by Victoria Secret, BBW scents or teen star fragrances.
I'm a huge fan of Hermes Eau Des Merveilles so I was so excited to finally get to try Jean Claude's Un Jardin series. (I ordered a couple of sample vials from perfumedcourt because I didn't have a hermes store around nor do I want to purchase a full size blindly.) Sadly, sur le Nil was the only acceptable one in the 3 (Mediterannee & Apre la Mousson) that I tried The opening notes are a blast of fresh unripened green mangoes that instantly took me back to my childhood in SE Asia being surrounded by street vendors filled with all kinds of strange fascinating fruits. Indeed a very nostalgic opening. However as it simmers down the magic is lost. I get a little spice with the fruit and some green lotus but that's all it is, a generic concoction of sweet aquatic notes. It's clean and fresh for sure but lasts only about 3 hours on my skin. Someone described this as basically Tide detergent. I would have to agree, the dry down is soft squeaky clean much like that of a laundry detergent. Too disappointing to justify such an inflated price
My skin: smooth and clear; past acne all cleared from prescription retinol (tazorac), but still have light hyperpigmentation and indented scars on both cheeks. They used to be boxcar/rolling scars but with daily use of tazorac have shallowed up to icepick scars Derma roller claims: I've read that many celebrities like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie used this. It's suppose to : - stimulate collagen - fade hyperpigmentation - reduce the appearance of fine lines/wrinkles - Help skincare creams absorb better Reason for using dermaroller: I don't have any wrinkles yet, so the main reason I picked this up was to help plump up the icepick scars and make my face more even toned as well as making my products absorb better I purchased a 1.0 mm roller with brand MT via Amazon for around $20. My nightly procedure: - remove makeup with oil based makeup remover (Kose), follow up with a gentle gel cleanser (Paula's Choice) (switch between various scrubs and peels ~3x a weeks) - roll 20x on each cheek vertically and diagonally in the areas with scars. Yes it hurts a lot the first time (like a bunch of cactus needles) but with repeated use my skin got used to it. Never roll until you draw blood! just press it mildly until it just slightly hurt - clean roller with face wash and rinse under very hot water. - Pat on hydrating serum (Estee Lauder) to prep for retinol - Layer Tazorac 0.05% gel and Clindamycin 1% gel (to prevent acne) ------------- -Sometimes I put on a layer of Estee Lauder Even skin tone illuminator - Sometimes I skip clindamycin and mix Taz with Obagi Blender with Hydroquinone 4% for to lighten up my hyperpigmentation ------------ - Light layer of Strivectin SD intensive cream for wrinkles and stretch mark on the scar area - Raw shea butter as moisturizer RESULTS: It's only been a week but I noticed that my skin is getting quite plump and the icepick scars are getting shallower. There's a nice overall glow to my skin and some of the hyperpigmentation is lightening up. I know this is primarily from the effect of the dermaroller because I've kept the same procedure for quite a while and had not seen any improvement until I incorporated the roller into my regime. I will update with further progress in another 3-4 weeks or so. UPDATE****** 4/24/12 I am seeing further 20% improvement in the smoothness of my skin. The boxcar and icepick scars are flattening subtly but nicely. My hyperpigmentation has also lighten up drastically--there's pretty much none on my right cheek and very faint marks on my left cheek. This has never happened to me before with just using retinol or other skin resurfacing products. :D I love my derma roller! Will update in another month regarding further progress! Final Update: 7/23/12 I see continue (minor) improvement in the smoothness of my skin. I've also been using this in non-scarred areas but with big pores and the pores have decreased in size. Also helped permanently get rid of stubborn blackheads on the side of my nose and helps keep the pores clear.
Fragrances -Lolita Lempicka - L de Lolita Lempicka
saphiric 3/16/2012 7:23:00 PM
I originally wanted this because of the stunning bottle, but I soon fell in love with the actual fragrance the moment I smelled it. L is nothing like her predecessor, the original Lolita Lempicka, who happily frolicks among the woods and getting into all sorts of mischief. L is more like the indulgent sister who lounges around all day at bakeries and coffee shops and ending up smelling like creme brulee and cinnamon sticks. That's what this fragrance is, a deep burnt vanilla with a spicy cinnamon base. There's just a hint of wood to remind us that this is a Lolita Lempicka product. But other than that, L definitely stands out from all the rest of the other LL fragrances. It can get a little cloying when smelling it on myself but I love smelling this on others. It's a delicious, mouthwatering fragrance that still manages to keep its sophistication and detracting from the zone of the pink-sugar teeny bopper perfumes. The only downside is that the juice can get rancid and turn into a bitter cinnamon smell if left out in the light so definitely take extra good care to preserve this one!
Top Notes Orange zest from southern Spain Middle Notes Young iridescent rice husk from Tonkin, Egyptian Iris, Italian White Jasmin, French Riviera Daffodils, Magnolia, Bulgarian Rose Base Notes Vanilla, Ambergris ; Mysore Sandalwood Gosh why does this have to be so ridiculously expensive?? :( This fragrance is simply put, one of the best florals I've ever smelled--and probably the best that exists. I love everything about this, from the regal bottle to the international notes to the house of Creed as its manufacturer. Love in White a bit similar to Estee Lauder "Pleasures" except softer and creamier. I would classify it as a soft floral with creamy sandalwood undertones.The opening of Love in White is high pitched florals. Not too unique, but the dry down takes a completely different turn. The sandalwood, magnolia and ambergris blended beautifully with the orange zest and jasmine to create a subtly elegant, beautiful fragrance. The only downfall is that it does not have good sillage and lasts only about 4-5 hours at most on me. Still does not detract from its original beauty though. If you like floral but are not impressed by the mass of synthetic sugar-sweet floral scents that is dominating the market right now, try Love in White. Overall, Love in White is the epitome of an innocent, eternal love and celebrates hopeless romantics at heart everywhere. No sultry musk, alluring spices, or stunning sweetness here. It is a minimalist floral fragrance: pure, simple, regal, and timeless.
Fragrances -Stella McCartney - Stella Rose Absolute
saphiric 3/16/2012 6:45:00 PM
I first received a sample of this from a sephora order and, deeming it too mainstream, did not want to like it. Yet the more I spray the sample the more I saw how special it was. It starts out very bright floral and feminine, but there is a unique underlying hint of a deep rose scent that distinguishes it from other florals I've tried. It's deep and sophisticated and simply beautiful. I caved and got the original Stella but that only lasted about 1 hour on my skin, so then I opted for this Absolute version which is basically the same to me but it lasted a little longer (~3-4 hours). The dry down is a bit disappointing however, it's like a medicinal/alcoholic clean soap smell. I wish the top and middle notes would last forever but I will now wear this layered with Narcisco Rodriguez "For Her" (see my review), which has very similar openings but dries down like Stella's younger unisex cousin.
Fragrances -Narciso Rodriguez - Narciso Rodriguez for her
saphiric 3/16/2012 6:29:00 PM
(EDP version - pink bottle) This to me is very much like a combination of SJP "lovely", Stella McCartney "Stella"/ "Rose Absolute", and Hermes "Eau des Merveilles". For Her starts out similar to Stella, a very bright and deep floral with a hint of sweetness, but quickly simmers down to a salty and sweet musk like Lovely or Eau Des Merveilles. I wasn't floored by the generic clean smell of the top notes but I'm obsessed with the dry down. It's a yummy salty musk with just the right amount of sweetness to distinguish it from a completely masculine scent (though it's quite unisex so guys can definitely wear this!) If you love musk, you will adore this! Though there's not enough musk to make this sultry or sexy like some other reviewers described (Try Eau des Merveilles for that). Nor is For Her so cloying that it falls with the teeny bopper fragrances. This is a radiant fragrance that happily lingers between the heavier powdery perfumes for the mature crowd and the candy sweet perfumes of the younger crowd. This beautiful skin-smell is youthful and possesses a subtle elegance and femininity that will never overpower the wearer but is enough to make her noticed. This is going to be a staple scent in my collection to layer with Stella McCartney Rose Absolute (: EDIT: I finally got around to trying the EDT version (black bottle). Many reviewers have said that the two are so different from each other but I think they're identical in the opening and middle notes, the only difference is the dry down: EDP has more of a natural salty-musk, skin-scent base that stays on the entire day whereas the EDT is more floral, sparkling and ephemeral in its longevity. There is a hint of musk but it's much more played out in the EDP version. The main focus of the EDT is the top fresh notes that bares a more striking resemblance to Stella McCartney's Stella than the EDP does. It's a very girly, clean yet still sophisticated scent that evokes youth and naturalness. Personally, I equate musk with depth so the more musk there are the more complex I feel the fragrance is. For that reason I would choose the EDP over the EDT. But they are both amazing sister scents that can be alternated for day/night use. Moreover, If I were to describe each scent in one word, EDT would be "pretty", for it captures the essence of a young modern feminine woman well. The EDP would be "beautiful" because it encapsulates the timeless essence of everything that is feminine. Bottom line: get the EDP pink bottle if you love musk, and love to have a fragrance close to your skin that blossoms with your own chemistry to create a natural scent. Get the EDT black bottle if you love to feel like you're pretty, clean and fresh all day long
Liquid -Shiseido - Sun Protection Liquid Foundation SPF 42 PA+++
saphiric 3/16/2012 6:17:00 PM
HG for life!!! I have a ton of foundations and powders on my makeup shelf but I always reach for this one, here's a breakdown : Shade: 4/5 Goes from Sp10 (lightest) to Sp70 (darkest). The range is a little limited and very similar to one another but I like it because I can get away with wearing 1-2 ranges above & below my true match. I wear sp50 (light medium) but can also wear sp60 (medium) and probably sp40 as well. Packaging: 5/5 I've always been a fan of the famous chic, sleek and minimalistic blue shiseido packaging. This foundation has a very sanitary dropper opening so you can squeeze just the right amount of product out without spilling any extra out. Application: 5/5 Absolutely my favorite application of all the foundations I've tried. It goes on like butter and covers immediately all blemishes and flaws. It's medium coverage that can be build up more to full coverage. I love this formula because it only takes me about 15 seconds to apply to my entire face using my fingers. Also dries almost instantly (no wait time for setting with powder!) Sunscreen protection: 5/5 Probably has the highest spf I've seen in a foundation, though I still prefer to wear a sunscreen underneath this Lasting factor: 5/5 I once went on an overnight flight wearing this and it lasted through the night to the next morning! (4pm to ~8am the next day) Little to no smudges or fading whatsoever. I was floored :o Comedogenic factor: I have acne-prone skin and this has not broken me out since I had started using it last March Bottom Line: The price is on the medium-high range for foundation ($34) but this is soo worth it and I'll definitely keep restocking and hope they never discontinue this product!
I would give this 4.5 lippies if I could Before trying this cult favorite, I have tried and wanted and love its famous dupes, including Milani Luminous and ELF's blush and contouring duo. But I finally relented and bought this and I am so glad I did! The color really is hard to replicate, it's peach pink with golden shimmer and beautifully finely milled and pigmented. In comparison to dupes: Milani Luminous - 85% similar. gives a lighter frosted pink look. No peach is present like in NARS. The shimmer is also not as bright. You can get almost the same look only if you pack on a lot of Milani ELF contouring duo : 50% similar. light shimmery frosted pink. Not very pigmented, kinda chalky look. One other blush that I thought was a 99% exact dupe of NARS (in color) is the ELF blush that's included in the 27 piece mini makeup collection. It has about only a quarter of the shimmer though the color is spot on. Being ELF however, the quality is obviously quite bad; it's very dusty and breaks into pieces easily.
My skin: some pitted and rolling scars on cheeks Application: This comes in a jar, (like all Derma-e products do) so that is an automatic turn-off since it's completely unhygienic. I bought two jars, used twice a day until both of them ran out. It smells a bit like Mederma and feels refreshing on my skin. However, I saw absolutely no difference in my skin texture or scarring over the course of using this product. Would not repurchase or recommend.
Treatments -Estee Lauder - Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator
saphiric 6/9/2011 6:07:00 PM
INGREDIENTS (not listed on website): water, dimethicone, isododecane, cyclopetasiloxane, polysilicone 11, butylene glycol, ascorbyl glucoside ,peg-10 dimethicone, gentiana lutea (gentian) root extract, orzya sativa (rice) bran extract, hydroloyzed rice bran extract, turmeric root extract, citrus grandis (grapefruit) peel extract, wheat germ extract, cucumber fruit extract, scutellaria baicallensis root extract, mulberry root extract, trametes versicolor extract, barley extract, salicylic acid, caffeine, cholesterol, acetyl glucosamine, squalane, yeast extract, sunflower seedcake, isohexadecane, peg6 dimethoxytolyl propylresorcinol, tocopheryl acetate, pgd, polysorbate 20, glycerrhetinic acid, polysorbate 80, sodium hyaluronate, sodium sulfite, sodium metasulfite, acryl ameide, ammonium acrylolyldimethyltaurate/vp copolymer, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, potassium sorbate, di-c12-18 alkyl dimonium chloride, fragrance, tromethamine, tin oxide, sodium hydroxide, disodium edt, bht, phenoxyethanol, linalool, limonene, mica, titanium dioxide, bismuth oxychloride, carmine (hand typed from the back of the box for the face illuminator) WHEW that's probably the longest list I've ever seen on a product. **update: thanks p_evavic for informing me that this face illuminator has the exact ingredient as the eye illuminator!** On to the review: Skin background: Acne all cleared from prescription retinol, skin is smooth but have hyperpigmentation (dark marks, the likes), and pitted scarring on both cheeks My expectations: Since Lauder advertised this as a serum proven to 'dramatically' reduce the look of discoloration and dark spots, I was expecting it to do just that. And for the hefty price (1 oz = $58 w/o tax) I was expecting my spots to fade by at least a good 85%. Packaging: Very Hygienic. Comes in a pale blue pump bottle. The serum itself is beigy and surprisingly shimmery. It smells amazing (citrusy) but I would prefer it if it was sans fragrance. But this IS Estee Lauder so I can't honestly expect that'll ever happen. Results So Far: I have been using this once or twice a day for about a week and a half. So far I see minimal if any improvements. It might have helped faded newer red marks by about 60%, and the older ones by 10%..? However, I also experienced a few minor breakouts (whiteheads) on my cheeks when using this. Not completely sure whether it was the serum that was the culprit, but I wouldn't put it past it. It soaks into my skin very well and is moisturizing but I still have to use my regular moisturizer on top of it. Will continue to update my progress with any improvements or side effects in another 2 weeks. In the meantime, if you are still on the fence about this serum, I say just take a chance and try it since you can always return it if it doesn't work (EL has a kickass return policy) **Update 6/20/11** - Okay, it has been another 2 weeks. I am seeing a further 10% improvements in old and new marks as well as an overall radiance in my skintone. I am pretty pleased, my skin (the parts that don't have the marks) looks glowing (:!! This might be one of my favorite lightener because it isn't harsh on my skin like Skinceuticals Pigment Regulator is (see my review for that if you're looking for a super potent spot eliminator) Before using this I was pretty desperate and was even considering getting laser done on the scars and hyperpigmentation. Who knows, I might even forgo that in total since this serum is helping with my hyperpigmentation and Palmer's Scar Serum is helping with my pitted scarring. ***UPDATE 7/30/11***** This is my final update. I have noticed very minimal changes in my skintone within the past month. Maybe a 5% increase in radiance. But I occasionally get clogged pores in the form of whiteheads when using this so my final score for this serum is 3.5/5 It's definitely worth a try if you have dull, tired skin with some new marks from healed blemishes. Older, deeper, and darker marks probably won't benefit much from this.
I LOVE manuka honey. Before trying the full size jar, I bought the sample from Garden of Wisdom for about 2 bucks. It was active 17+, stronger in flavor than regular honey--almost a medicinal taste. At that time (December) I had a few cystic acne on my cheeks that I wanted to treat with this. I dabbed the honey in that spot, went to sleep for 5 hours and the pimple had shrunk by about 40%. I also have used this for a mask and found it helps alleviate red, flushed skin. Since I am now on prescription retinol that have cleared up all my acne, I only use this honey orally. I buy the active 16+ jar from amazon and it is delicious and helps my digestive system.