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.