Monday, December 13, 2010

Best Hand Cream EVER (Non Greasy)

My hands are generally pretty dry on their own since I'm constantly washing my hands, so I find myself constantly in need of hand cream, especially during the winter.  Since I'm on a computer all day, I prefer to use something non greasy, as greasy hand creams, aside from not feeling good on hands, make the keyboard a bit gross looking.  My go-to hand cream, pretty much all year round, is The Body Shop's Almond Oil Daily Hand & Nail Cream. 
I have purchased this hand cream about three times now, and they last a while since I don't reapply hand lotion every single time I wash my hands.  It has a gel/cream texture, so its very light yet very moisturizing, smells amazing (I love anything almond scented) and does not leave your hands greasy at all.  (Some of my guy coworkers have tried this and they like it, although they aren't crazy about the girly smell). 

In comparison, I have tried Bliss and L'Occitane hand creams, which I think are too oily feeling for my liking.  The only other hand cream that I have really really liked is the one by Fresh, called Sugar Blossom.  I'm not sure if it's being discontinued and replaced by their Brown Sugar cream, since Sephora doesn't carry it anymore, but I have seen it online like at, etc.  This one also has a really great consistency, but it's more creamy, and also has a really nice scent. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fekkai Essential Shea Pot de Creme

So it's been pretty cold in NY lately (and by cold I mean below freezing), and I tend to get staticky hair in the wintertime, which gets pretty annoying.  But I think I found the solution to static, or at least for my hair type: Fekkai's Essential Shea Pot de Creme!!!!

I received a sample of this from a recent purchase and have been using this for the last couple of days and my hair has been completely static free! I substituted this in place of the Fekkai Glossing Cream, which is what I normally use.  My hair routine usually starts with spraying a heat protectant (I use the Got 2 Be Guardian Angel) then I blow dry my hair until its about 85-90% dry, and use a styling cream to finish.  While the instructions indicate it should be used on wet/damp hair, I have been using it on dry hair.  I take about a dime size amount (similar to how much of the glossing cream I would use), rub it into my hands, and rake it through my hair in quick motions, so that I don't get too much concentrated in one area.  I do this because I have very fine hair and don't want to weigh it down. 

The Shea Butter Pot de Creme does not weigh my hair down at all, in fact it looks pretty much the same as it does when I use my usual product.  It still keeps my hair shiney and soft.  I bought this today at Lord & Taylor, they are having a friends and family sale (10% off cosmetics), as I don't think Sephora carries this.  It was a bit pricey (about 35 bucks) but it's such a huge amount (5.2 oz!!) that I think it could probably last at least a year.  Definitely worth it!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sam Edelman "Vancouver" Lace up Booties VS Proenza Schouler Lace up Booties

 After seeming my favorite fashion socialite Olivia Palermo wear the Proenza Schouler's Lace up Platform Booties ($795 USD), I was determined to find an affordable version.


After much research, I recently purchased Sam Edelman's Vancouver Lace Up Booties in Graphite Suede ($225 USD). I must say I am extremely surprised at how comfortable and beautiful these shoes are. The shoes are 4.5 inches high with a 1.25 inches platform. The lug sole is reminiscent of Timberlands (back in the days of 1995!) and the lace up aspect of the shoe is extremely on trend. This is the must have shoe of the season!! I walked for 3 hours in these shoes on the streets of Chinatown, NYC (NOT EASY since it's filled with cracks and fish water) but I was able to make it home unscathed and my feet did not hurt at ALL.

So if you're in the need for a new pair of lace up platform booties, this is the boot for you. (no Sam Edelman is not paying me for this)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

More YSL Rouge Pur Couture Swatches

I have been playing with the samples of some additional YSL Rouge Pur Coutures, in #1 - Rouge Flame, #9 - Rose Stiletto, and #10 - Beige Tribute. 

Here are some swatches comparing these to the YSL Rouge Pur Coutures I posted about earlier, under inside lighting and natural sunlight.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Holiday Gifts and Gift Sets

In my opinion, cosmetic companies seem to make the best gift sets and value sets right around the holidays. Alot of times they package a full size item into kits containing sample sizes of their bestsellers. There are also a variety of palettes, mostly lip and eye, that could potentially be great if you don't have a large makeup collection already (I find that I normally love one or two colors that make me want to buy the entire palette, but the other colors are similar to products that I already have). I think Bobbi Brown makes really beautiful neutral eyeshadow palettes, two of which I am showing below. 

These are some of the things that I think would make great gifts this holiday season:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

YSL Rouge Pur Couture

I picked up two YSL Rouge Pur Coutures, #6 in Rose Bergamasque, and #20 in Rouge Flamme, a Sephora exclusive.  Rouge Pur Couture is described as a satin finish lipstick that provides medium to full coverage.  They go on pretty smoothly and have a satiny creamy feel, with some slip.  The lipsticks have a nice fruity scent to them, and they wear pretty well.  The sales associate indicated they are supposed to last about 8 hours, but I never actually go 8 hours without having something to eat or drink.  I only have to reapply after I eat and not in between meals, so I suppose they could potentially last that long. 

I am really loving the packaging of this lipstick.  It comes in a gold mirrored case, with the YSL symbol engraved in red.  I think the mirrored casing is a really smart idea, since you can apply the lipstick without having to pull out an extra mirror, and I wish more lipsticks were packaged this way.  I do like the formula, the #6 is more slippery than #20 which I find to be more creamy and pigmented.  #6 is a really great nude, its a bit more pink than it comes out on camera, and I think it's a perfect color for a smokey eye, while still great on its own.  I am also really loving #20, which is a beautiful cranberry red with a slight satiny sheen to it.  It's an elegant red and highly pigmented.  I tried #1 Le Rouge as well, which is a classic red, but it just didn't look good on my NC20 complexion. I think Le Rouge would look great on someone fair and more cool toned.  

#6 has medium coverage, slightly on the sheer side.  Since my lips are very pigmented, I feel that I need to apply more coats to get the look that I want.  The only thing that I have against the nude lipstick is that it accentuates any dry patches on your lips, so it's probably best worn after exfoliating.  

I definitely recommend this lipstick, great formula, colors, and packaging.  I received a sample from the YSL counter, containing three other colors, including #1, #9, and #10.  I will do a mini post on these with swatches soon. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bon Appetit Thanksgiving Special

I realize this has nothing to do with makeup, but I really wanted to share my thoughts on the November issue of Bon Appetit magazine.  First of all, I am a big fan of cooking, and Bon Appetit magazine, and the holidays, so when I received my Nov issue two weeks ago I was really excited by the recipes they suggest for your Thanksgiving meal.  The magazine provides suggestions and recipes for each component of Thanksgiving dinner, from the turkey, to the different gravies, sides, and stuffings. 

I made my first Thanksgiving dinner two years ago and I think the food turned out really well.  A few weeks before Thanksgiving, I went to Williams Sonoma for a turkey demonstration, which inspired me to try it myself.  It seems like it would be really complicated to produce, but with the right tools, making a turkey isn't really all that difficult.  I picked up an All-Clad roasting pan from Macys, which came with a rack and those giant forks to pick up the turkey (not sure what the technical name is for that).  At Williams Sonoma I purchased a brining solution, brining bags, and a roasting thermometer.  The thermometer is a really cool gadget: its attached to a cord which you can stick the end into the turkey, close your oven on the cord and leave the thermometer on the outside.  It tells you what the temperature of the turkey (or whatever other meat you prefer to do, it has a setting for beef, chicken, pork, etc) so you know when it's done.  Highly recommended! I believe it was a Williams Sonoma branded thermometer, for reference.

All I did to make the turkey was, wash it, soak it in the brining solution for about a day, put my turkey into the roasting pan, stuck the thermometer in, and put it in the oven until it hit 165 degrees.  I also made cranberry sauce from scatch, gravy, green beans, garlic mashed potatoes, stuffing (not in the turkey, I did this on the side, since some people say putting stuffing in the turkey takes longer for the turkey to cook therefore drying it out more), and flan for dessert.  Flan isn't exactly traditional Thanksgiving dessert, but I really like making and eating it :)

I don't have a ton of time to decide whether or not I want to host thanksgiving dinner this year, but if I decide to, from the Bon Appetit recipes I would do the malt-beer-brined turkey with malt glaze, the potato gratin with mushrooms and gruyere, the maple-braised butternut squash with fresh thyme, and for dessert, the vanilla-spiced caramel and pear tart.  yummmm!

Monday, November 8, 2010

How to Fight/Prevent Breakouts

I've had a very long obsession with pimples.  I had mild acne when I was in highschool, which I was able to cure with Proactiv, which worked for about a year and never worked for me again.  In college, I had a ginormous breakout sometime towards the end of sophmore year into junior year.  It was pretty bad, I had cystic acne that really hurt, pretty much all over my t-zone area, especially on the forehead and inner cheek (the worst ones were at the bridge of your nose, in between the eyes).  After I had gotten the acne under control it left me with scars all over my face.  It's a horrible experience to go through, emotionally and physically. The reason why I am obsessed with acne is not so much the pimples as it is the after-effects and the scarring.  The smallest blemish will leave a scar for months.

I'm not a dermatologist, haven't had any technical/scientific training in skin, nor am I an expert, but I do know what works for me and hopefully what will work for other people experiencing the same thing.

To get rid of cystic acne, or any other type of acne, one should really consult his/her dermatologist, as there are so many options available today, and everyone's condition is really unique.  For me, I took oral antibiotics and used topical creams prescribed by my dermatologist.  I no longer suffer from acne, but I do get an occasional pimple, which I attack at the first sight.  I check my skin at night and also the morning to see if anything is starting to form (I know kinda crazy) and depending on what stage the pimple is in and the time of day, I use different active ingredients to fight it.  I alternate between salicylic acid, sulfur, and benzoyl peroxide as a last resort, since benzoyl peroxide isn't as effective for me as the other two.  If I see something beginning to form in the morning, I will use a salicylic acid gel (I use Clean & Clear's Advantage Acne Spot Treatment, it comes in silver and purple packaging) before I apply my moisturizer and sunscreen.  I think sulfur is actually more effective, but since sulfur does smell funny, I only use it at night.  If I see a pimple starting to form at night I will use my DDF Sulfur Mask as a spot treatment (this mask is really great, not only in killing the bacteria that forms pimples, but also purges and tightens the pores).  If in the next 8-12 hours, I see that the pimple is still there, I switch to the other active ingredient, and if that doesn't work I'll use a benzoyl peroxide cream (Neutrogena on the spot acne treatment).  I would say this method works for me 95% of the time, and the other 5% of the time I will end up suffering through the entire cycle of the pimple. 

Not only do I do spot treatments, but I also take preventative measures in my normal skincare/makeup routine.  Every night I wash my face using an oil cleanser to remove the makeup (for me I find oil cleansers to be the most effective way of removing ALL makeup, including waterproof mascaras) and follow that by using a gel cleanser that contains salicylic acid (I like the Neutrogena oil-free acne wash, the grapefruit version) which kills the bacteria on your skin.  I try to exfoliate as often as my skin will allow me to, and I also make sure to wash my makeup brushes often (about once a week for brushes used in powder products). I also try to re-do my makeup when I can (as in wash off completely and redo) because I don't like to contaminate my brushes unless I start with a clean face. 

I try not to conceal pimples when I have them, I think it's best to let it breathe and go through its cycle as fast as possible (this is just my feeling, no idea if it's scientifically proven), but there are occasions where you have to conceal them somehow, and usually I find that my foundation is enough to hide the redness (Guerlain Parure Gold).  I also don't pick or try to pop the pimples either, as that will leave an even worse scar when everything is over. 

I'm hoping I don't sound like a complete maniac or that my theories and practices are not too OCD.  I remember what it's like to have scars and frankly I'm a little traumatized, so I do what I can to prevent going through that experience again.  I realize that normal people probably don't study their pores every night, but if you find something in its early stages, alot of times you can prevent them, and that really applies to alot of things in life, including pimples.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Favorite Eyeliners

I never leave the house without at least some makeup, at the bare minimum I will fill in my eyebrows (otherwise you just won't think I have eyebrows at all, its kinda scary) and some eyeliner.  Without these two products I look pretty washed out and/or dead.  I've been doing this since junior high school, ever since I discovered makeup and started tweezing my eyebrows.  The only brow filler that I use, and will faithfully continue to use forever, is Clinique's Brow Shaper, which is a pressed powder that comes in a mirrored case with a small brush.  But I have experimented with alot of different eyeliners, mostly pencil and liquid. 

I use liquid liners mostly at night if I'm going out.  I think liquid gives a very sharp look, very dark and "filled in", about as much made up as you can get with liners.  The one that I have been using for years, and probably won't ever switch to another one, is L'Oreal Lineur Intense in Carbon Black.  It's a felt tip liquid liner with a fine tip that allows you to customize the intensity and the width of the line you want to create.  I have heard people say it's a dupe to Lancome's Artliner, which I have also tried and really like.  They both look similar in terms of packaging, and pretty much creates the same effect, I honestly can't tell the difference.  The reason I use the L'Oreal is that it's much cheaper, under ten bucks.  I don't like to spend alot on products that I have to replace constantly (like mascaras they should be replaced every couple of months) and this is the best drugstore liquid liner that I have tried.  It's just really easy to use because it's shaped like a pen.  (This is also the reason why I don't really do cream/gel shadows, it is easier to apply with a pen shaped liner, and I think you still get a similar intense look with cream/gels as you do with liquid).

For day I tend to stick with pencil eyeliners because the results are less harsh than liquid.  For a long time I was faithful to MAC's Engrave, it's also very dark, and is a good basic pencil eyeliner, not very expensive.  But after receiving a sample of the Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Zero (came with the Naked palette) I think I'm going to be using this one alot more.  What I like about the UD Zero liner is that it glides on so smoothly and I don't feel that I am tugging on my eyes, like I do a bit with Engrave, but I don't think it's as dark.  I have also tried Make Up Forever's pencil liner, but I felt that I was tugging alot on my eyes, therefore I don't like this one.  I have yet to try Smashbox's pencil liner, if I end up liking this more I will do a post on it. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Favorite Mascaras

I've probably tried a million different mascaras that exist in the market, drug store and high-end, and I find that most of them dont work for me, since i have very sparse, medium length lashes, and by medium i mean not super short.  Most mascaras don't really cling to my lashes, and after applying a million coats to get some, or any effect, they just kind of clump up and make them look worse than they were before.  Throughout my years of research I have found that there are a few good ones that give me the look that I want, that being fuller and more voluminous, and dark.  There are only three that I like:

1. Revlon Grow Luscious (Drugstore)

2. L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara (Drugstore)

3. Elizabeth Arden Double Density Maximum Volume Mascara (Specialty Stores)

My all time favorite, and the one I always come back to is the L'Oreal Voluminous mascara.  It's the perfect brush size for my medium/short lashes, very dense brush, and makes my lashes look very full and lengthens it a tad.  It does however give a clumpy look in a good way, and is a bit flakey (on your lashes, wont flake off onto your face), but it gives me the perfectly dense look that I want.  The Revlon one also is pretty voluminizing as in it thickens my individual lashes, keeps them separated, and lengthens a tad more than the L'Oreal.  I would say it doesnt make my lashes look as dense, but is still a great mascara, which I am currently using.  The Liz Arden mascara is sort of random, I picked it up at an airport years ago (I love duty free shopping!) and I think it gives an amazing look to your lashes.  Very very dense, voluminous, but it doesnt add any length whatsoever.  I still really like this one, but I don't use it anymore because I just don't believe in paying alot for mascara since they only last about two months or so and I'm constantly replacing them.  I have tried more pricey mascaras, like the Dior Show that everyone loves, but it just doesn't work for me.  I also stay away from formulas that are very thin (like the Shiseido Perfect Mascara) they just don't cling and you'll end up swiping a hundred times, resulting in messy lashes.  I'm convinced that the brush of the mascara is more important than the formula, and tend to stick to mascaras that have a very dense brush (more surface area, more coverage?).  I have also stopped curling my lashes, I think it makes them look longer when theyre straighter, but this probably only applies to people with lashes that are my length. The last thing I'll say about mascaras is that I found a trick that volumizes them even more, and that is dusting some powder on the lashes before you apply mascara.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sephora F&F 2010 Haul

I look forward to the Sephora friends and family sale every year, and usually I have a ton of products I want to stock up on, new things I have been wanting to try, etc.  But this year my purchase was small, and I'm actually kind of disappointed that I only ended up purchasing three things:
  1. Nars duo eyeshadow in Pandora
  2. Shiseido White Lucent Brightening Eye Treatment
  3. Ole Henriksen Blue/Black Berry Enzyme Mask
I have been eyeing the Pandora shadow for a while now, its a black and white eyeshadow duo, but the black is the richest, creamiest, darkest black shadow that I have seen.  It's darker than Mac's Carbon and applies beautifully.  I like the quality of Nars eyeshadows as they are buttery smooth and highly pigmented.  I haven't tried it fully but I took a really small amount and blended it on top of my the eyeshadow combo I used today (Mac's Her Alter Image and Nars Habanara, the purple side, in the outer corner).  This turned my eyeshadow into an intense smokey lavenderish purple.  So far I am loving the black side of the duo and the versatility of it.  I'll probably use the white as an inner corner highlighter.

I got the other two skincare products since I was running low on my day eye cream (also Shiseido) and my DDF sulfur mask.  I think I'm past the point of teenage acne, (don't get me wrong, I still get a pimple once in a while) but still want something that will keep my skin clear, and wanted something more moisturizing.  I saw that the Ole Henriksen blueberry mask has hyaluronic acid (moisturizing) and enzymes (exfoliating).  I'll do reviews of these products when I get a chance to use them more.  My package also came with a 1oz version of the Fresh Soy Face Cream as my reward for the Sephora Skincare Challenge.  As part of the program, with every four skincare products you purchase you get a free full size product of your choice (of four products or so).

The Sephora friends and family sale goes on for a few more days, maybe I'll come across other things that I want before it ends.  For 20% off your purchase use code FF2010.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Guerlain Parure Gold

About a month ago I had reviewed the Guerlain Lingerie de Peau, and while I think its a great lightweight sheer foundation that makes the skin look very natural, it was a bit too natural for me, in that it just didn't provide the coverage that I would like or was looking for.  I prefer something with more medium to full coverage for night time and the Lingerie de Peau wasn't cutting it, so I went back to Saks and asked to exchange for another foundation.  The SA that I had worked with previously was not available, so I ended up with another person, who was a bit pushy.  I was actually looking to try on the Guelain Parure Extreme because I had read that the coverage was better, its supposed to provide a more matte finish, which I wasnt opposed to because I think matte tends to photograph better at night.  However, after telling her I wanted more coverage she recommended the Guerlain Parure Gold, which I think is one of their most expensive foundations ($78 for 1.0 oz).  Parure Gold is a medium coverage foundation that contains double sided pigments, one side being gold which is supposed to reflect light and provide a more illluminating look.  The foundation also contains Myrhh oil and peptides, which are anti-ageing properties so it's supposed to help create a more youthful look for someone with more mature skin. 

I can't say that its illuminating for me, I actually really like the way it looks, not matte and not dewey (like my Jouer tinted moisturizer), just natural and makes me look like I have perfect skin.  The scent is really nice, can't really describe it, but it definitely smells expensive.  The packaging is really elegant, as it comes in a heavy glass bottle with a clear strip on the side to indicate how much foundation remains. 

As a side note, I'm not sure if this is foundation overload, but I had the Revlon colorstay foundation (another one that I really like and will review later on) underneath this one when I tested it out (the SA should have taken off my current makeup and put this one without anything underneath) and with this on top of the Colorstay, my skin looked completely flawless.  I think this is a great combination if I were taking photos for something important. 

Although I wanted something probably close to full coverage, I was really happy with this purchase, as I think this foundation with it being medium coverage is really versatile.  I can wear it during the day without looking like I have a mask on, while still providing the right amount of coverage I need, and it lasts until night so I don't need to reapply, even though I like re-doing my makeup if I plan on going out after work.  This foundation works really well with the Chanel Double Perfection powder, which I use to set foundation and do touch ups.  Since I don't have much signs of ageing, I can't say how its skincare ingredients are working, but I'm sure it doesn't hurt.  Overall I would highly recommend this foundation.  Still curious about the Parure Extreme though, so I will do a comparative review if I choose to purchase it. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Current Polish Faves - Deborah Lippmann

For Fall I am loving two polishes from the Deborah Lippmann collection, Supermodel and Today Was a Fairytale:

Supermodel was my first nail polish from the Lippmann collection, and I think its gorgeous.  It's a sheer orangey-red, ultra glossy, and comes out quite opague with two coats.  The finish is sort of a jelly-like look, but the color is beautiful and it matches its name perfectly (I have seen other orangey red polishes, but the name really sold me).  I am really liking the formula, I would say this and the Sephora by OPI nail polishes are my favorite nail formulas, as they don't chip easily, applies beautifully, no streaks, non-goopy, and a manicure can easily last a week with maybe one touch up of clear gloss.

Today was a fairytale is a glittery polish made of blueish silver glitter flecks.  The description indicates that it contains virgin diamond powder.  I'm not really sure if it's supposed to be a glittery top coat or if it can just be used on its own (The SA at Barney's didn't know either), but I have been loving this on top of Chanel's Paradoxal. I have to say I honestly regretted buying Paradoxal, it does not come out the way you would expect it to by just looking at the bottle, but adding Today was a fairytale on top makes me happy that I purchased it and I'm really enjoying the two together.  Today was a fairytale reminds me of a silver version of Sephora by OPI's Only Gold for Me.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dior Serum de Rouge Luminous Color Lip Treatment

I was browsing through the makeup counters at Macys this weekend and stopped by Dior to look for a new lipstick.  I wasn't really sure what I was looking for, maybe a lipstick that I can pretty much wear daily that is on the pink side, but not bubble gum pink or anything blue based, something warm and neutral, maybe.  The SA that helped me tried her best to match a color that I wasn't really even sure about, and after about six colors or so I got pretty confused.  But I liked the Dior Serum de Rouge in Soft Pink Serum (#640) of what I had seen (Note: not the color shown):

It comes in a slim tube, about the size of a thick pen, not the prettiest packaging, pretty heavy for a lipstick of that size.  I asked the SA if there was anything special about this lipstick, since it was pretty expensive compared to the other Dior lipsticks ($32 before taxes), and she mentioned that it's supposed to contain a serum that fills out the lines on your lips, sort of plumps it a bit.  It's sort of a lip treatment with color.  I wasn't looking for any added benefits, but sure doesn't hurt to have something that enhances the appearance of your lips and treats it. 

I have worn it for about four days now.  The texture is creamy, the taste kind of reminds me of candy, and is medium coverage, more pigmented than a tinted lip balm.  This lipstick doesn't last very long, it slips off the lips pretty easily, especially since I drink alot of water throughout the day.  I find that I am reapplying every hour or so, not that I mind reapplying.  Overall, I'm not exactly impressed, It's not very hydrating, nor does it fill out the lines like the product describes.  I'm not sure if I should be using a chapstick under, like i normally would a lipstick?  I figured the treatment ingredients in it would replace the need for chapstick, but maybe it's not necessarily designed that way?  I probably won't repurchase, but I will continue to use it for a bit until I find something new to replace it. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Holiday 2010 Wish List

For the last month or two I have been reading about holiday makeup collections from various bloggers, and I am getting really excited for the launches.  I believe some things are already out in the stores, but I haven't had time to check out the makeup counters yet (Except Chanel, but I didn't have time to try on the products and get help from the SA, which is half the fun and partly the reason I'm willing to shell out for high end products).  I'm most excited for MAC's A Tartan Tale Collection, which I believe is being launched at the end of October/Early November.  On my wishlist are:
  1. Sassy Pink Lassies Liglass - collection of five lipglasses in various pink shades, ranging from a neutral pink to a bright fuschia
  2. Sassy Coral Lassies Lipglass - collection of five lipglasses in coral shades
  3. 6 Beauties Play It Cool Eyeshadow Palette - I think this palette would be really good for a purple smokey eye, or the lighter colors could be used for day looks, in cool tones perfect for fall
  4. A Lady & Her Tricks - Collection of five makeup brushes for face and eyes, including the MAC 209, 219, and the 168 brushes in a travel size, all of which I planned to get anyway.  I think this brush set is a great bargain because its about 50 bucks, and MAC brushes usually range from 20 to 35 bucks or so, so even if you were to purchase two or three on its own, you're better off getting the set with five. 
This list is mostly based on pictures that I have seen (From Temptalia), but I might end up getting more products if I see them in person.  The pigments also look really gorgeous, but I'd like to see those in person. 

Other collections I am excited for include Chanel, Bobbi Brown, and Tom Ford.  I'm a big fan of Chanel glossimers, I love the texture and they're probably my favorite glosses of all time.  I'm probably going to pick up Futile, which is a frosty light pink, and Pink Pulsion, which is a fuschia.  The only thing is I wish glossimers had is more pigmentation.  I have one called Sirop (limited edition) that has no glitter and is more opague than the rest of my glossimers, which I think has the perfect amount of pigment for a gloss.  I know Chanel makes other glosses with more pigmentation, but the packaging of the glossimers just appeals so much more to me.

I'm also really liking the Bobbi Brown eyeshadow palettes, theyre mostly neutrals, and also the Tom Ford nail varnish in Black Orchid.  Black Orchid is THE deep purple/plum polish that I have been searching for.  I think Bobbi Brown makes some of the best eyeshadow palettes I've seen in the market, especially their neutral palettes which are really great for day time looks.  I work in a conservative office so it's pretty hard to get away with really bright colors, which I also enjoy on separate occasions.

I think MAC is going to do really great this holiday season, especially since theyre coming out with so many palettes and sets, which make really great gifts. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


One of the most important skincare products that I can't live without is probably sunscreen.  I used to use daytime moisturizers that included sun protection, but I remember reading an article or seeing something on the news about how people don't typically use enough moisturizer with spf to allow the spf to be that effective.  So I started using sunscreen on top of a moisturizer instead.  The problem with that is that I felt like regular sunscreen was too greasy to use daily, so I started a search for the best sunscreen and moisturizer combo.  Last winter I was using the Elemis Liquid Layer Sunblock on top of the Shiseido Pureness Matifying Oil-Free Moisturizer.  I discovered the Elemis sunblock on a random trip to the beauty counter at Bergdorf Goodman during some beauty event they were promoting.  The sales associate sold me on the product when she told me that the product protects against the sun for about 8 hours.  I'm not really sure how true that is, since I thought SPF 30 is supposed to last somewhere between 1-2 hours, but I figured if it's supposed to last longer than the average SPF 30 it wouldn't hurt to give it a shot. 

I found that the Elemis sunblock was too heavy on top of my Kiehls ultra facial moisturizer, so I went to Sephora to pick up something light, something that I would typically use during the summertime.  I really liked the texture of Shiseido's matifying oil-free moisturizer, it feels like a liquidy gel, and the scent was really appealing.  The combination of the two was really perfect for the winter. 

During the summer I had to switch my sunscreen regimen, for several reasons.  First, I really didn't want to have to layer two products during summer, since it gets so hot and sticky in the city.  Secondly, I didnt know if I could find anything lighter than the Shiseido lotion that would satisfy all my skincare criteria (I'm really picky).  Since I wasn't comfortable using the Elemis sunblock on its own, which to my understanding does not provide moisture, I decided I needed to switch to something else.  I went back to Sephora to check out other options and found the Shiseido Smooth Sun Protection Cream SPF 38.  Based on the description it seemed that it was primarily a sunblock, but also "quenches dry skin".  I went with the SPF 38 and not the SPF 55 version because I figured it was less heavy.  I don't find the Shiseido sunscreen to be greasy, but I still ended up dusting some powder on top (I do this even in winter with the Elemis Shiseido combo) because I prefer to step out of my apartment with a more matte look. 

I really think that sunscreen or some sort of sun protection is important (in addition to exfoliation, noted in an earlier posting) because it helps keep your skin looking young.  In addition to being fearful of pimples, I also fear wrinkles.  Even though wrinkles is probably more of a hereditary thing and also based on skin type, etc, there are a few things you can do to prevent them or at least keep them away as long as possible, and one of those things is keeping out of the sun.  I try to stay out of the sun when possible, I'll only expose my face to the sun if I'm at the beach or sitting by the pool (even then I still wear a giant hat half of the time), I try to sit in the shade if I'm in the park, and also I won't face the sun if I'm having lunch outdoors and have my back to it if possible.  Sounds kinda crazy, but so far all of this is working for me.  Even if you don't care about wrinkles it's still important to use some sort of sun protection daily to protect yourself against skin cancer!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Current Kiehl's Favorites

I've been a fan of Kiehl's for a long time, and have tried many of their products throughout the years.  Kiehl's, to me, comes off as a no-fuss, simple and effective products brand.  I don't know if it's because of the packaging or the way they market the products, but when I am looking for basic skincare, Kiehl's is one of the brands that come to mind.  In addition to the microderm scrub (see earlier post about scrubs), I am currently using the Ultra Facial lotion and the Soy Milk & Honey body polish.

Kiehl's Creme de Corps Soy Milk and Honey Body Polish ($28 for 6.8oz)

I don't normally spend a lot on body care, I use baby lotion and bar soap from the drugstore, and am not usually a fan of scented body washes. However, I am loving this body scrub, mostly because it smells AMAZING.  I can't describe how much I love using this, even though I don't think I really need to use a body exfoliator.  This product smells like a milk dessert, and I really like the texture of the polish as well.  Comparing it to the Clinique's body polish which I used to use, I find that its more effective.  The beads aren't "rounded" like Clinique's (similar to the Clean and Clear blackhead face scrub I used years ago) which I find to be sorta useless, but its also not harsh or super fine.  I don't feel like I am going to scratch up my skin using this.  Definitely something I would repurchase, it just smells amazing.

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer (comes in various sizes, I purchase the 4oz for $22.50)

The Kiehl's ultra facial moisturizer is a really good simple moisturizer.  It's the first non-oil-free moisturizer that I ever tried, and surprisingly did not break me out.  (Note: products that contain oil no longer seem to trigger breakouts for me, I think I've passed the age where frequent breakouts are no longer an issue).  I use  this in the winter time, I think its got just enough moisture to feel comfortable, as it's non-greasy and has no fragrance.  I find that a 4oz bottle, used only nightly, will last me an entire fall/winter, perfect so that I can switch it up for the spring/summer.  What I like about this, in addition to the consistency of it (the texture of skin care products is really important to me), is the ingredients that it offers.  According to the Kiehl's website, itt contains squalane, a moisturizing agent derived from olives, and even though the site no longer describes this, I am pretty sure it also contains vitamins.  Since I'm older now, I'm thinking about trying an anti-ageing serum underneath this, but since I'm in my mid twenties I can still probably get away without it, since the vitamins (still need to confirm this somehow) will probably help battle ageing. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau

On my way out of Saks I stopped by the Guerlain counter to check out a foundation I had hearing about from other bloggers, the Guerlain Parure Extreme.  But the new Guerlain Lingerie de Peau foundation caught my eye, or rather Natalia Vodianova in the ads did (I am a sucker for marketing). 

Luigi at the Guerlain counter applied the Lingerie de Peau to half of my face to show me the difference between that and my naked skin.  Its one of those foundations that are made to look like your skin but better.  What sold me was not only how it looked (it looked like air or very airy, sounds kinda weird but thats the word that comes to mind), but the technology behind it. Its a lightweight sheer to medium coverage foundation that is designed to fuse with the skin, using synthetic and natural fibers that are undetectable. 

Overall I think this is a good daytime foundation because of the coverage and the look that it achieves, but in terms of lasting power I'm not sure how long it actually lasts on my skin (but is that because I can't tell its still there since its supposed to look natural?) It does look great for the first few hours, but I find that I have to blot more during the day than my other foundations. I think I'm going to try it out when the weather gets colder to see if it improves, maybe its a better fall/winter foundation for me? Will update my opinion in a few weeks.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Favorite Scrubs

All throughout college I never had terrific skin.  It was a constant battle against acne, and at one point i had cystic acne which caused alot of scars, both discoloration and a change in the texture of my skin.  I started getting the acne under control, and even though my skin had cleared I was still left with the scars.  I was introduced to Dr Brandt's microdermabrasion in a jar, which I thought was a fantastic product, and went through several jars of it before I realized how much I was spending on an exfoliant.  So I went on a quest to find a cheaper alternative, and while I did find some additional scrubs that are equally amazing, I realize that a good one just doesn't come cheap (or at least with my experience). 

Below are four of the best scrubs/exfoliants that I have tried to date:

1. Dr Brandt Microdermabrasion Exfoliating Cream (formerly Microdermabrasion in a Jar) ($75 1.7oz)

This was one of the first great ones I tried.  It's made of ultra fine crystals in a smooth cream and smells like lemons.  It also contains healing ingredients, vitamins A and E, and fruit oils.  This scrub, in addition to several microdermabrasion treatments that I had done (which I'll talk about in another blog post) cleared up ALL of my acne scars in a matter of months.  I wish I had pictures to show you the before and after, but it really transformed my face.  I continued to use this (I think I went through a total of 3 or 4 jars of this, each lasting about 6-9 months) every 2-3 days and it helped keep my skin pimple free. (Btw, some people tell me the Olay Microdermabrasion product is pretty much the same or better, never tried it but I would be curious to see the results)

2. Kiehl's Epidermal Re-Texturizing Micro-Dermabrasion ($40 2.5oz)

I was told that a good alternative to the Dr Brandt product is the Kiehl's Epidermal Retexturing Microderm cream.  Its a similar consistency to the Dr Brandt, but I dont think the crystals are as fine, however it's just as effective. 

3. Philosophy Microdelivery Peel ($65 for 2oz each of the peel and the crystals)

If you prefer a chemical exfoliant (using acids), the Philosophy Microdelivery Peel is probably one of the best ones I've tried.  It's a two step process where you first apply the vitamin c crystals to the face, scrub for a minute or so, and then apply the activating gel which contains lactic and salicylic acids.  In my opinion, the immediate after-effect is probably better than Dr Brandt's, as I find my skin to be more glowy and just looks slightly better than the after effects of Dr Brandt, but the two-step process can be too much for some people.  You can also find this product on Ebay, I've seen it for half the price, but they come in the sample packets (same product though).  I think you can get 12 sets for about 30 bucks, where each set is enough for two applications.  So figure you're using this twice a week, this would last you about 3 months. 

4. Kate Somerville ExfoliKate® Gentle Exfoliating Treatment ($65 2 oz)

When I went to Space NK to purchase the By Terry concealer, I received a bunch of samples with my purchase (the sales associate was really generous with the samples), one of which was the ExfoliKate Gentle. The first time I applied it, I LOVED it.  This is also a combination exfoliant, its sort of a gel type consistency which contains exoliating beads (not fine beads) but the magic is in the lactic acid, vitamin A, and the fruit enzymes.  What I do is wash my face with my usual cleanser, then I pat my face dry and apply a thin layer to my face.  I leave it on for about 2 minutes and then I take a tiny bit of water and rub the exfoliating beads around my face and wash off.  I tried a sample of the regular ExfoliKate, but since I have sensitive skin, my face felt like it was burning.  I think if you can tolerate the regular ExfoliKate it probably does more of an exfoliating job, but I find that the Gentle version is really good (and gets rid of blackheads!). This is what I am currently using (I also switch between this and the Kiehl's, I like having a physical exfoliant too). I bought ExfoliKate Gentle at, they're having a 20% off promotional sale right now (and theres no sales tax to NYC).

I really feel that exfoliation is an important step in the skincare process.  I think that it helps maintain clear skin as it removes dead skin cells, and I think the skin just looks healthier and more glowy.  Also makeup applies and looks better when the skin is "fresh".  Since I have combination/oily skin I feel that I can tolerate more frequent treatments, but for someone with dry skin or normal skin, maybe once a week or twice max would be enough.

Hope this was helpful!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

By Terry Touche Veloutee

I've been using By Terry's Touche Veloutee for about 2 weeks now, and so far I'm really liking the product.  Touche Veloutee is an under-eye concealer that is designed to brighten dark circles, camouflage wrinkles and fine lines, and overall illuminate the eye area.  This product appealed to me because I am a HUGE fan of YSL's Touche Eclat, which has also been created by Terry de Gunzburg.  I have been using YSL Touche Eclat for about 6 years now, (a highlighter, not a concealer) and I wanted to try something new, just to see what the difference would be.  The By Terry Touche Veloutee brightens the under-eye area and creates a beautiful finish, similar to that of the Touche Eclat.  For reference, I prefer a brighter under-eye and don't like to match the color exactly to my face because I think it makes me look more youthful and awake.  I dont find that it necessarily camouflages the lines under my eye (not sure if the lines are wrinkles or just dry skin) but it also does not accentuate it.  I have tried By Terry's Touch-Expert Advanced, which is a similar product that is designed for the under-eye area, but is more sheer, whereas the Touche Veloutee is more pigmented and creates a more opague finish. 

To apply I click the pen two times and brush the product on the back of my hand.  Then I apply it using my fingers to the eye area, first dabbing the product into the skin and then smoothing it out with my fingers.  I dont usually set the under eye area with powder as I don't want the powder to settle into any lines and accentuate them although some people recommend it.  For me it lasts the entire work day and I don't need to touch up, unless I plan to freshen my makeup entirely in which case I use about one click to do so. 

For reference I'm NC20, #2 in the YSL Touche Eclat, and #1 Porcelain in the By Terry Touche Veloutee.  Touche Veloutee comes in three colors and can be found at Space NK and comes in a 6.5 ml (or 0.22 fl oz) tube for about $54.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint

On Fashion's Night Out I stopped by Henri Bendel to check out a cosmetics line that I recently discovered, Jouer.  I found out about Jouer products through reading Troy Jensen's blog, one of my favorite blogs by one of my favorite makeup artists.  At the Jouer counter I met the creator Christina Zilber and her team, who recommended the Luminizing Moisture Tint when I asked, what's the one product I need to try.  I was hesitant because I tend to stay away from anything with luminous or luminizing in its name since I have combination skin, and I prefer to look more matte, but I was very happy with the results!

This is an oil-free tinted moisturizer with SPF 20 and has antioxidants.  The product doesn't make my skin look shiny, rather it gives me a slightly dewy look that was natural and soft.  It feels very lightweight and gives sheer coverage, but evens out my skin at the same time.  This is one of their star products, and I can see why. Overall I have to say I am very impressed by my first Jouer product!

At the event I also received a gift with my purchase, which contained a white flower pin and a lip gloss sample.  I was able to choose between four colors, and I picked Mimosa, a shimmery golden pink:

Im looking forward to trying some of their other products.  Im open to suggestions, and would also like to know how other people feel about the Luminizing Moisture Tint!