Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Urban Decay 24/7 Travel-Size Glide-On Eye Pencils Eldorado, Rockstar, Electric, Binge and Corrupt - Review and Swatches

I talked about Binge the other day in another blog and I promised a review on the set so here it is. The top pictures are the swatches which are as follows left to right - Eldorado, Rockstar, Electric, Binge and Corrupt. These can be purchased at Sephora or Shoppers Drug Mart. The cost is $23 Cdn. I believe and they are $19 in the U.S. This is a great deal if you want a variety of colours and/or wish to try out Urban Decay's famous 24/7 eye liners. I actually already own a full sized Electric, but I wanted Eldorado and another brown (Corrupt). I also liked the look of the purple Rockstar. Each pencil is 0.5g or 0.02 US oz. A regular full sized pencil is 1.2g or 0.04 US oz. so these travel-sized pencils are a little less than half the size. If you are like me, you don't wear the super crazy colourful liners every day, so a small size will last you forever. So why get the full sized version for full price unless you want to?

Out of all of these colours, I like Corrupt the least. It is a dirty brown black. It looks like I smeared mud on my eyelid. In my opinion, it is hideous. I don't have much use for this one. Be a nice rich or cool brown, tea kettle or jet black or be nothing, but don't go halfway. The two colours which have the least staying power would be Eldorado and Rockstar. I did find they faded a bit over the course of the day. I actually plan to use Eldorado as an eyeshadow base, not an eyeliner, so I might be fine there. In my mind, there is no contest, Binge and Electric are by far the nicest and have the best staying power. I will use Rockstar though for some every day looks as well. They all glide on super smooth, no tugging, and you can easily apply as little or as much as you would like. Overall, this is great value and great bang for your buck. Eldorado, Electric and Corrupt have a questionable ingredient or two.

Rating: 8/10

CoverGirl Lashblast Volume Blasting Mascara - Review

I have been meaning to do this review for awhile. I bought this mascara last Fall and used it on and off for 3 months or so before it dried out and then it hit the wastepaper basket. I had heard good things about this mascara online and my hair stylist loves it so I thought I would give it a try. It's not bad. In fact, as far as drug store mascara goes this is the second to best one in my opinion. L'Oreal's Voluminous is the best drug store mascara as I have previously mentioned in another blog. The price is between $6-$12 Cdn. depending on whether or not you can snag it on sale. It volumizes and lengthens decently. The ingredient list is huge and there are some nasty things in there. I wouldn't run out and buy another unless I was desperate, but I have purchased this mascara in a blue colour just for kicks. As soon as I try it, I will let you know what I think.

If you are not into spending big bucks on mascara (and I don't blame you), this might be a good option if you can't get or don't like L'Oreal's Voluminous. I personally cringe whenever I buy high end mascara because let's face it, you only have the product for 3 months or so. I usually wait until I have points somewhere to get a discount or something before I shell out for upscale mascara.

Rating: 6.5/10

Monday, 27 February 2012

John Masters Organics Blood Orange and Vanilla Body Wash - Review

I bought a couple of John Masters products a few weeks ago. I had heard rave reviews from one of my colleagues for ages about one of their products and also some good stuff about John Masters products online. But before I get to reviewing those purchases, I want to talk about this product. I got a free sample of this body wash with my order. I cracked it open and I managed to get 4 uses out of the sample. This stuff smells like nothing I have ever smelt before. It was love at first sniff. It smells like well, just as it says, blood orange, vanilla and bourbon. It is incredible. Normally, I don't like overly scented things, but this product is out of this world. It doesn't smell chemically processed or fake like most body washes, this smells pure and natural. Talk about waking me up in the shower! Let me tell you, I am no morning person.

This is a sulfate free product. It lathers up like crazy. Rich, creamy suds. You really feel clean afterwards. I love this stuff and I will be buying more. It does moisturize, but not extensively. When I stopped using this (actually the sample ran out) I noticed my skin started feeling drier. You still need to use body lotion after showering with this, especially in winter. Other than that, my only other criticism would be that the smell does not last on your skin all day. That could be for two reasons. One, it's a natural product so it doesn't stick to your skin like some chemical cocktails. Two, not many smells last for long on me. My Mother has told me that since I was child that my skin had that oddity and apparently my Dad has the same problem. So basically, maybe it just doesn't last on me. There is a body lotion that goes with this, same scent, which I must try. Perhaps the combination of the two is the magic ticket. The product is $24.50 Cdn. and if you ask my opinion, the smell alone is worth the money. You can buy this I have been told at The Big Carrot, Whole Foods and select salons. I ordered my products online.

Rating: 8/10 (if the smell lasted longer and if it moisturized more it would be a 10/10)

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Aveda Flax Seed Aloe Strong Hold Sculpturing Gel - Review

I finally finished my current bottle of this today. I have had the bottle that I finished today for over 2 years since I wasn't really using it much. This was maybe my third or fourth bottle that I have ever bought. I don't know why I have owned so many because I really don't like this gel. Sounds crazy, right?

This is a maximum control gel which is supposed to add body and volume to medium to coarse hair. My hair is super frizzy without product in it, so if I wear it curly, I need gel or mousse or something to keep the curls in place. I don't know if this product has changed over the years, but I liked it a lot more in the beginning. Now I just find my hair is stiff, sticky, crunchy and looks wet. It looks the same whether I put the product in when my hair is wet or when it is dry. I guess if you are styling a Mohawk or doing some major texture work, this may be the gel for you. I reminds me of the rich woman's organic version of Dippity Do Gel from the 1980s. As I said before, I used it today and I am hating my hair. I styled it straight today for the record.

If you only use a little of this product and you have curly hair, you will still get frizz galore and it still will look wet and be sticky in places. I think I liked this product best when I use to put a little in my hair and then stuck rollers in, but it was still stiff and hard to manage then. I was on the Aveda bandwagon when I first started purchasing this product, but although I still like some of their products, I don' buy much of their stuff these days and this one and I are finally and happily parting ways. Are you every happy to be finished with a product and glad to throw it out? I am sometimes. Especially if I feel I need to get my money's worth so I force myself to find a way to use it. Maybe I am weird. Price is $16 U.S. and about $20 Cdn.

Rating: 8/10 for doing what it claims to (max hold sculpturing - Mohawks please step forward)
Rating: 2/10 overall as a gel since it not for regular everyday hair styling or control

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Bare Escentuals bareMinerals READY Eyeshadow 4.0 The Truth - Review and Swatches

As some of you who read my blog might recall, I went to town a couple of weeks ago and trashed the Bare Escentuals bareMinerals 9-piece Get Started Set. I may have gotten a tad carried away with myself, but I stand by every word I said. As I had also mentioned in that blog, I had a desire to try some of the Bare Escentuals eyeshadow palettes despite what I thought about their "foundation". I have since acquired two of their eyeshadow palettes. Today, I will be reviewing their new Ready eyeshadow 4.0 in The Truth which is a cool brown neutral palette. I apologize for the pictures above as I don't think my camera is the best and my cosmetic photography could do with some work. Top photo is the palette (sorry for the shadow) in top left Serendipitous, top right Magnetism, bottom left Fate and bottom right Apropos. The second picture is me wearing the palette out today. The picture does not do the palette justice. The colours are also a lot darker on than they appear in the photo. The third photo are the swatches from top to bottom, Apropos, Fate, Magnetism and Serendipitous. Each swatch is cooler in real life, but looks warmer in the picture.

Bare Escentuals (BE) products are supposed to be more "natural" than most cosmetics so you do get spared a lot of chemicals in their eyeshadows. Kudos for that. The black case is nice and thin and sleek which is good for travel or popping into your purse. Each eyeshadow is 1.25g and to put that in perspective, each MAC eyeshadow is 1.5g and each eyeshadow from the Urban Decay Naked Palette is 1.3g. So basically the amount of eyeshadow you get is decent. The colour I like the least in this palette is Serendipitous which is described by BE as delicate peach. I hardly see any peach myself. The colour payoff is substandard in my opinion. You can barely see it swatched above. Magnetism is described as brushed taupe and is my fave here. Fate is a light mocha glaze and Apropos is a twinkling espresso with silver flecks.

It takes a lot for me to get excited about a brown neutral palette. I am just not that blown away by anything as mundane as brown eyeshadow. I only purchased this palette because the browns are cool, not warm, and TiffanyD did some nice things with it on her makeup tutorial blog. I have to say that I do like this palette and if I feel inclined to wear browns this may be my new go to palette. The mirror in this thing is huge. You also get two eyeshadow placement insert instructions in the palette which I think is always a nice bonus in case you are starting out with makeup or need inspiration. The usual useless applicator came with the palette. I guess a useless applicator is better than nothing.

Now let's talk price. This palette is $30 U.S. and is $38 in Canada. I managed to score mine for just under $30 Cdn. tax in and shipping in, online. I know how to scoop a deal. I think the price is fair in general (men wouldn't) but it is certainly not cheap by any means. This is way better quality stuff than Bare Minerals or BE "foundation". Don't get me started on that again. These eyeshadows blend really well and with the exception of the lightest shade, they are nicely pigmented. I was surprised. They are super smooth, creamy and stay where you put them. They feel really soft, light and nice on the eye. I use primer (never leave home without it) and MAC's painterly paint pot when I wear this palette and the colours look great and last all day. Good job BE for a change!

Rating: 8/10

Friday, 24 February 2012

theBalm Overshadow the Sexpot Series Work is Overrated - Review and Swatch

TheBalm does not get enough love or credit. They have a variety of wonderful products. Some are better than others of course. Their packaging is genius, cute and it sucked me in. I love pin-up looks and other retro 1940s, 1950s and 1960s looks and they capitalize on that big time.

I own one of their Overshadows, namely, Work is Overrated. It is described as a shimmering pink champagne. In my opinion, it is the nicest of the bunch, although I would love to have the other colours. I might just buy them all eventually. This product is similar to MAC pigments or BareMinerals loose eye shadows only a bit more sheer. You only need the tiniest bit of this product. I have had my little container for about 2 years and I think it will last me forever. I like to pat this on my eyelids over a neutral eye shadow with a MAC 239 brush. It instantly jazzes up any look and shifts it from day to night. You can wear this during the day if you like too. You could definitely use this over a dark eye shadow and hey, why not? Heck, I guess you could wear it as eye shadow alone maybe with a primer but I must confess I have never tried wearing it that way.

This product retails for $15 U.S. and I think it is around $18 Cdn. I bought it thinking maybe it would be a dupe for Urban Decay's Cherry eye shadow but that I would get more use out of this product for various purposes and avoid a lot of the chemicals in the Cherry eye shadow. I wouldn't say it is an exact dupe but it does the job I want it to. I am so pleased with this purchase. It is super soft and kind of cool to the touch. It is not scratchy like some other similar products. TheBalm, or is it The Balm, uses no talc, oil, fragrance, synthetics, parabens or petrochemicals in this product. They are very anti-chemical and have a lot of natural products. I own a few of their wares so I will get around to reviewing them all eventually. Their eye shadows are so soft and velvety! You can purchase TheBalm at Sephora or Pharma Plus here in Canada.  

Rating 10/10 (I love this)

Dr. Hauschka Soothing Mask - Review

I got a good sized sample of this as a bonus item in a little box when I purchased my Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream a while back. There is nothing I love more than bonus items when I purchase a cosmetic item that I regularly use. I have used my sample of this a couple of times and there is still a good deal left. I checked Dr. Hauschka's website and was a bit horrified to see that the price of this is $52.95 U.S. Not chump change.

Dr. Hauschka's website says that this product will:

Transform red, irritated skin with this nourishing mask. Nurturing botanicals combine in a dynamic formulation to soothe sensitive skin and balance skin functions, resulting in a calm, even complexion.

  • Calms and balances sensitive, reddened and irritated skin
  • Formulated with quince seed extract and witch hazel hydrosol to help replenish and maintain the skin's moisture content
  • Oils of shea butter, macadamia nut and coconut promote and support healthy cycles of skin renewal
  • Fortifies sensitive skin against harsh elements
  • Used as directed, Soothing Mask lasts approximately 2-3 months

This product is like a white medicinal gel type cream and it goes on clear. So you can easily apply too much if you are not careful. It feels nice on the face and has an odd, yet pleasant smell. The information in the box says you can even wear it under your moisturizer, although I don't know if I would do that. You have to sort of wet it and dab it off, it doesn't peel or turn into mud like most traditional masks. I have used this when my skin was looking kind of red and blotchy a couple of times. That happens to me from time to time. I have to say that the mask worked. My skin was visibly less red by the next morning (I applied it late one night before going to bed). I would say my skin was 80 percent less red the first morning. It was mainly my forehead that was acting up and was feeling irritated. Two mornings later (with no reapplication), my skin was 95 percent less red and not feeling irritated at all.

All of that being said, I find it hard to rate this product but I will do my best. If I were to rate it by strictly judging it on the merit of what it claims to do (calm skin and reduce redness) then I would give it a 9/10 if the price was not in the equation. Since $52.95 U.S is ridiculous in my mind for a mask and it is likely close to $60 Cdn. here, I will give it a 7.5/10. With a mask, I like to see what I am applying and I like to feel cleansed afterwards. I also want something to calm my skin and nip any emerging breakouts in the bud. Since this product is not designed to do all of these things, as an overall mask I would give it 6.5/10.

Rating for Doing What it Claims to: 9/10 (price is crazy - so really 7.5/10 with points off for price)
Rating as an Overall Mask: 6.5/10

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Klorane Soothing Make-Up Remover Lotion - Review

I have some really exciting palettes and products to review coming up so I will try to get to those over the next few days or so. So stay tuned! This weekend is super busy for me as there are 3 birthdays in my family (including mine and my husbands) but I will try to get some more reviews on here in between dinners and cake!

Anyway, let's get to it. I found this prioduct purely by accident about 3 months ago. I saw a small display of them on a shelf in Pharma Plus. I needed eye make-up remover and this bottle was huge! It's 400 ml. I cost me about $20 Cdn. which is great since I normally pay that for half the size. I am a sucker for cosmetics made in Europe and since this is made in France, I was interested. I had never heard of this brand in my life before I spotted this. It says it is hypoallergenic, fragrance and paraben free and it is for sensitive face and eyes. Their website says you can even use it as a cleanser and a toner. Go figure. The product's main claim to fame is that it is made with cornflower water. Their website says:

  • Gently removes face and eye make-up without water
  • 3-in-1 cleanser, toner and eye make-up remover
  • pH similar to tears
  • Safe for contact lens wearers
  • Hypoallergenic, ophthalmologist and dermatologist tested
  • Fragrance, paraben, alcohol and colorant free

  • This product is very gentle. I honestly forget to put eye cream on sometimes after I use it, my eyes feel that hydrated. I find it does a great job of make-up removal in general, but, like all make-up removers that I have tried, it takes extra work to get all of your mascara off. If anyone out there knows of a make-up remover that takes all of your mascara off on the first cotton ball wipe or two, I beg of you to tell me!

    It looks as though the bottle I have is a special size. The website only shows a 200 ml bottle for this product. It has a pump dispenser for your cotton pads so there is no cap removal involved.  I love that. Quick and easy. Who wants makeup removal to be a pain in the butt. I don't. This product also does not have any greasy oil in it like some eye makeup removers do. I hate that. I think this product is as good as anything on the market right now. When this product removes mascara in one foul swoop, I will give it a 10/10 rating. For now a 9 will have to suffice. I have to get my hands on some more.

    Rating: 9/10

    My Favourite Toner Origins Zero Oil - Review

    This review is for the Origins Zero Oil Pore Purifying Toner with Saw Palmetto and Mint. Each bottle is 150ml or 5 fl. oz. which is not a lot, but considering how much I like this product, I am willing to let that slide. This is my favourite toner of all time. I only discovered it a year ago. It retails for around $22-$24 Cdn. and is around $19 U.S. I have tried another Origins toner and I was not impressed. It had nothing on this beauty. This particular toner, the Zero Oil, has won beauty awards supposedly. I truly believe that this product along with my Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream has really helped improve my skin drastically over the last couple of years.

    According to Origins, "This invigorating, multi-tasking toner formulated with skin-clearing Saw Palmetto, cooling Mint and pore-minimizing Salicylic Acid instantly reduces shine and removes excess oil. Leaves skin with a smooth, matte finish." I have to agree with the description that they have provided. This toner never strips my face of moisture (like some do ahem Clinique 4) and is not alcohol based like a lot of toners are. It clears away oil, the salicylic acid removes dead skin cells and my skin feels soft and refreshed after use. It also is a great makeup remover (not to be used on the eyes though!) when you are in a pinch and pressed for time. My skin never feels tight or dry after I use this and it really has helped clear up my skin. I still get small breakouts once in awhile especially around that special time of the month, but they are greatly reduced thanks to this. I have oily to combination skin. This product has no offensive odour. It really balances my combination areas as far as I am concerned. I think I am on my fourth or fifth bottle and I have no plans to look elsewhere for toner since I have tried almost all of them over the years. This one is a keeper.

    Rating: 9/10 (a larger bottle would be better)

    Tuesday, 21 February 2012

    Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencil Sin - Review and Swatch

    I wasn't planning to do two review blogs of Urban Decay (UD) products back to back, but here we are. If you read my last blog on UD's Binge, you will know that I ranted and raved about how much I love that eye liner pencil. I am afraid I will not be extending the same love for this product. Top picture shows a swatch of the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencil in Sin on the left and MAC Bare Study Paint Pot swatch on the right. As you can see, "Sin" is more peach/pink but it doesn't show up that dark when applied on the eye, especially if you blend it. It is described as a champagne colour by UD. You can easily wear a gold or beige or creamy silver eye shadow over it and it will basically show up as whatever colour the eye shadow is, just slightly more vibrant and maybe a bit warmer. This product is $24 Cdn. and I believe it is $20 in the States. I actually own 3 other UD 24/7 Shadow Pencils but since my thoughts on each of them are not identical, I think I will do separate blogs on them. Also, I haven't tried one of them yet.....

    When I was a teenager, I thought the best job in the world must be that of the person who gets to name makeup colours. Now that I am older and have been out in the world, I realize that the person who gets to name the makeup colours for any given brand probably has a host of other job responsibilities and life is just not that simple. Also, I bet there are committees or boards who likely vote on the names in some instances. All that aside, Urban Decay by far has the best names going in the makeup market. I am truly jealous of the person who gets to name their products. I am not sure where some of the names come from but.....I digress.

    Back to "Sin". UD really missed the mark on this one. I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that these shadow pencils will be discontinued within the next year or the colour selection will be pared down to bare bones. The first time I ever used this pencil, the tip broke off. That was not a good omen and it left me very unimpressed. You can literally take this pencil to your eye lid and apply it, but if you need the edges blended, you better work fast. This one actually blends better than another of these pencils that I have, but it doesn't even come close to the blendability of a MAC paint pot. I will take my MAC Bare Study paint pot over this product any day. If you apply Sin to your bare eye lid and wear this product alone, it will crease like the dickens within half an hour, so that is not an option. You can wear it over an eyeshadow primer, but it looks kind of funny and cakey to me alone as it doesn't blend well. It really needs an eyeshadow over it. I find this product a bit dry. I guess that is so that it doesn't budge but that comes at the expense of low blendability. Personally, this colour is not unique and MAC's Bare Study Paint Pot does the same job as an eyeshadow base, only it does a much better job. There is no way I would buy another one of these. Luckily, I got a discount on it at Shoppers Drug Mart when I cashed in some points. You can also buy these at Sephora if you are interested. The only good thing I can suggest is to use it on your lower lash line as a smudged eye shadow to show off a little dark eye liner and add some interest to your look.

    Rating: 4/10

    Monday, 20 February 2012

    Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil Binge - Review and Swatch

    Sorry for a bit of a hodge podge of pictures here. Today, I will be reviewing Urban Decay (UD) 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Binge which is described as simply navy blue. I bought a set of 5 UD travel-size 24/7 eye pencils a few weeks back as I wanted a couple of colours in the set. This set was around $24 Cdn. at Sephora. One of these pencils, full-sized, is $24 Cdn. at Sephora or $19 in the U.S. Since I tend not to use very colourful eye liners on a daily basis, I figured I would get more bang for my buck this way and I certainly did. I will do a full review of this set soon. Top picture shows UD Binge on top with MAC Prussian (my formerly favourite navy liner) on the bottom. Middle picture is the best shot I could get of me wearing it on Saturday night out to the movies with the hubby. I wish you could see how insanely gorgeous this colour is. I wore it with a gold eyeshadow and it looked awesome if I do say so myself. The bottom pic is MAC Prussian on the left and UD Binge on the right.

    Back to Binge. Where have you been my whole life????? I can not believe I am only discovering you now! The colour of binge is truly stunning. I will be buying a full-sized version of this pencil as soon as this travel-sized one runs out. I have a number of UD eye liners from the 24/7 line which are all spectacular, but this one just earned a special place in my heart. It is waterproof and stays put and stays on all day long. No transferring or any funny business. It`s navy blue with a sparkly kick. It`s not crazy sparkly though, definitely fine for everyday wear if you like. It doesn`t go on too thick and you can apply as little or as much as you like. Glides on like a dream - no tugging or pulling. I can not stop raving about this colour. Urban Decay, I am impressed and that doesn`t happen too often. One last thing: if this eye liner is called Binge, when does ``Purge`` come out? Sorry, I couldn`t resist.......

    Rating: 10/10 

    Sunday, 19 February 2012

    LAVANILA The Healthy Deodorant Pure Vanilla and Vanilla Lavender - Review

    I have been using this product for about a year and a half. I have finished two Pure Vanilla sticks and now I am using the Vanilla Lavender one. Its personal preference, but I prefer the Pure Vanilla one out of the two. I really want to try the Vanilla Coconut, but it is always sold out at Sephora whenever I am in there. This product has the seal of being "Naturally Sephora" as it is a natural product with no parabens, no sulfates, no synthetics, no aluminium etc. - you get the picture. I like this product because it works, it smells nice, it moisturizes my underarms and it is natural. I personally prefer not to use aluminium based deodorants often because they are thought not to be the best thing you can apply to your lymph nodes and frankly I rather err on the side of caution.

    This product is not cheap. It costs $18 in the U.S. and it's around $22 Canadian. When you can buy a deodorant that works for $4 at the drugstore, I can see why you might tell me I am out of my mind. This product is completely overpriced. I will make no bones about it. That being said, I really like it. It is the only natural deodorant on the market that I have found that really works and lasts all day. I have tried the crystals, the herbal ones, the health food store ones......sigh......its exhausting just thinking about it. Those don't work. One stick of this lasts me several months. They are 57g. Other than the price, the only negative that I can see is if you are going to the gym or have a hot date, you may wish to reapply the product (if you applied it several hours earlier) or maybe reach for one of those $4 drug store numbers just in case. If you start sweating a lot then a reapplication may be necessary. I can count on one hand how many times I would have needed to do that in the last year and a half that I have been using this so it really is not a problem.

    As an aside, I have also tried all of the drug store brands of deodorant over the years and if I may put my two cents worth in, I personally prefer Dove or Degree. Lady Speed Stick certainly works, I just find it more drying than the other two. Degree got me through many a "hot date" years ago before I got married and it never failed me. Don't tell my husband I said that.

    Rating: 8/10 (points off for price and rare need for reapplication at the gym)

    Friday, 17 February 2012

    NARS The Multiple - Orgasm - Review and Swatch

    I didn't know if I would like this product. I saw some good reviews and I was intrigued. I heard you could just dab it on and it spreads easily and doesn't put down an obscene amount of colour. Normally, I hate cream blush with a passion. Most of them are messy, too pigmented and spread like well....crap. Since I was feeling a bit leery about this one, I waited to buy it. I bought it on a trip to Buffalo, New York when I was armed with a 20 percent off V.I.B. coupon. Sometimes membership does have its privileges lol. Anyway, this product is $46 in Canada at Sephora and The Bay and it is $39 U.S. So I got it for a fair price when I bought it. The swatch above is as follows left to right - NARS The Multiple Orgasm, NARS Orgasm Powder blush and MAC Jest eyeshadow.

    You can use this product on your eyes, lips, cheeks, face and body it says. Personally, I like it on the cheeks only. I applied some to my lips for educational and blog purposes. I knew I wasn't going to like it on my lips. The colour looks very frosted and muted peach on my lips. That is just not my thing. Also, if you happen to lick your lips a bit, the taste is awful! I applied it to my eye lid and it creased slightly within the hour. I didn't wear any primer underneath it. I was just experimenting. It is really peachy orange on my eyelids. I would maybe wear this with a base or MAC's Painterly Paint Pot, but I doubt I will. I think it would look better on the eye lids of someone with a much darker skin tone than mine. The product has basically no smell which works for me.

    As for on the cheeks, it is really nice! I was pleasantly shocked. It goes on fairly lightly and spreads like a dream without looking like you have a ton of blush on. You can build up the colour as little or as much as you like. It lasted me the whole 12+ hours that I have worn it and it gives you a nice healthy looking flush - hence orgasm I guess. It does not look mega sparkly on but it does have shimmer in it so if you don't like that, I have warned you. I am quite pale at the moment and it looks nice but I am sure it will look even better in the summer when I have more colour. It feels very nice on. It dries after a while to a creamy powder. You don't feel like you are wearing anything. The packaging, like all NARS stuff is super cool looking. The container has 0.5 oz. or 14g of product. I think this container might last me a very long time. NARS The Multiple comes in a variety of other colours but I think I will stick with their classic world-renowned Orgasm colour.

    Rating: 8.5/10 (exceptional in lieu of a cream blush but not so hot as a "multiple" and it is pricey)

    Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Anti-Dark-Circle Roller - Review

    I have been using this product for about 10 months. Please forgive my picture as my roller does have a peeling sticker and after 10 months of faithful service, it has been used and abused. This product is suppose to cover dark under eye circles and hydrate and refresh the eyes. It contains caffeine (to wake up those droopy eyes), lemon essence and mineral pigments. Mine is tinted - I think they come in light and medium colours. I don't have a clue which one I have anymore, but I am guessing it is the medium as you never want to go too light on tinted under eye coverage. I think at one time you could get a clear one as well but to me that seemed pointless at the time.

    I have very mixed feelings about this product. I have been using it 5 or 6 days a week for the last 10 months. Same roller. They normally retail here in Canada for $20-$25 and they are 15ml. For 10 months and still going, I would say that is value for your money. It has a steel (?) roller ball which is cold when applied to the skin. Quite refreshing actually. The product is somewhat watery compared to other under eye concealers. It spreads evenly, well and quickly using either a finger or a makeup brush. It is very soothing and it does make your eyes look more awake after you apply it. The product must have some type of brightening pigment or something in it because it does cover my under eye circles fairly decently upon application. The problem is, I find after two or more hours the coverage seems to fade away and you start looking tired again (assuming you were tired to begin with). Now this product does not crease under the eye area, even if worn all day. It does feel good on. It is extremely lightweight - it's like you didn't put anything on. Very comfortable.

    I use this product mainly during the week when I am going to work and wear my glasses since I stare at a computer all day. That way, it's comfortable, lightweight, soothing and no creasing. It blends in with any colour foundation in the light to medium range. Also, I like to think that my under eye circles are less obvious when I am wearing glasses. I also use this if I am around the house on the weekend and I am just popping to the grocery store doing the plain Jane thing or whatever. I certainly would not use this with full on eye makeup and no glasses. It just doesn't last. Maybe if I had the patience or inclination I would perhaps reapply it throughout the day, but I don't have either when it comes to cosmetics. I want to apply something and have it last throughout the day with no touch ups if possible.

    I am inclined to say that this product possibly has a semi-permanent place in my makeup stash. I will likely buy another one. In no way though would this ever replace other forms of under eye concealer. I wouldn't dream of using this while sporting off a smokey eye. It just wouldn't cut it. Maybe if you don't have under eye circles really this could be the product for you. Mind you, if you don't have under eye circles, why purchase this at all.

    Rating: 6.5/10

    Wednesday, 15 February 2012

    Benefit Cosmetics Dandelion A Brightening Face Powder - Review

    I bought this a long time ago - I am talking years back. I think it may even have been the first Benefit Cosmetics Product that I had ever tried. The packaging is too cute. Just look at it! How could I resist a ballerina pink powder? I had planned to use this on my cheeks, or overall on my face if I thought it was sheer enough. I no longer have this product due to a series of unfortunate events a year and a half ago which I have touched on in previous blogs. I digress. I didn`t use this product much when I did have it for a few reasons. First of all, the product is super sheer. You could, in essence, apply it all over you face for a nice barely there pink glow. It doesn`t do much in the way of acting like a blush. If I was feeling super girly, I would wear it, but I never found myself reaching for it. It`s the kind of product you would reach for if you were sporting a plain Jane look one day and you needed a little pizazz. It certainly is not something I would reach for if I was going out clubbing. The product doesn`t really do much. The brush is scratchy and useless. The box is cute, but impossible to travel with unless you want a big old mess in your purse. It retails in Canada for $36 and in the U.S. $28. I think $36 is crazy for this product. I am sure when I bought it, it wasn`t quite so steep.

    Benefit`s Dandelion also has some questionable ingredients, which they are getting away from in their other products thank God. The ingredients alone made me think twice about reaching for it when I had it. I am sure Bare Escentuals/Minerals or Everyday Minerals or other like brands have a similar product in loose powder for less money and with less ingredients. I did not replace this product after I lost it. I have no plans to. It just isn`t worth the money to me. I honestly don`t think I ever used even 5% of the product while I had it. It never changed colour or got white powder on it. It never went bad as far as I can tell and I had it FOREVER. Now, I keep my makeup out of the bathroom so they don`t go off as fast as for those that do. Cool, dry, dark place and you can keep powders for literally years. This is not the case for mascara and lipsticks though. Those go off faster, especially mascara. I digress. Back to the subject at hand. This product didn`t fade (although it was super sheer to begin with) when I wore it. You get a  lot of product though in the container. For the money, I would pass.

    Rating: 5/10

    Tuesday, 14 February 2012

    Moroccanoil Shampoo and Conditioner - Review

    Happy Valentine's Day! This review is for the Moroccanoil Extra Volume Shampoo and the Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Conditioner. I have been using these products off and on (more on than off) for a year and a half. There are not too many shampoos and conditioners on the market that I like. I have very hard to manage hair. It's naturally curly and I love to wear it straight or with big curls. My hair gets dry easily. I also put a rinse in it every 3 or 4 months. I heard that some people have noticed some extra hair growth after using this product for awhile and I thought that sounded like hooey to me. I have to tell you though, every time I use this product for any length of time (no pun intended) my hair does seem to be growing faster and my hair stylist tells me (without me saying anything) that my hair is getting long fast. So maybe there is some truth there.

    The shampoo says that is it for all hair types and is colour safe. It also says it enhances body, has gentle and rich lather and is enriched with Argan Oil which is all of the rage right now. It also says that it is sulfate, phosphate and paraben free. The conditioner says it is for chemically damaged hair and is colour safe. It also says it is sulfate, phosphate and paraben free. It contains Argan Oil abnd Keratin, it is rich in fatty acids and proteins and restores damaged hair. I have noticed that my split ends have declined since I started using these products. They make my hair soft, shiny and well conditioned. I would say the volume factor is only so so. They do not have the best detangling agent, if at all, in them. The conditioner is made in Canada (go figure) and the shampoo is made in Israel. I would say I like the conditioner better than the shampoo.

    The shampoo is pearlized which I am never a fan of. It smells of spice and cinnamon very strongly and I can tell you, if you get even a smidgen of the shampoo into your mouth or on your lips when you rinse out your hair, it will burn like having a bunch of cinnamon candies in your mouth. I think that's odd. The bottles themselves are around $20-$22 a piece and both are only 250 ml. If you have long hair like me, the conditioner will go reasonably quickly especially if you wash your hair daily - if daily maybe you would get a month out of it or for me I get around 2 months or so. I personally don't wash my hair every single day because it would be way too drying on my hair. Hair Stylist's orders. The shampoo seems to last a long while - it can last me 3 or 4 months. Overall, I like this product and I will buy it again and I already have a few times. It is definitely one of the better ones on the market and it is free of a lot of chemicals normally found in shampoo and conditioner. I have been spending $20 and up for shampoo and conditioner for years so there is no sticker shock here for me. Drug store shampoo doesn't cut the mustard in my book, not for my hair. There are only two drugstore shampoos and condfitioners that I will touch in an emergency and that is Pantene or Esencia by Samy. I will definitely be trying Moroccanoil`s other products.  

    Rating: 8/10 (I wish it detangled and the shampoo wasn't spicy in my mouth!)

    Sunday, 12 February 2012

    My Favourite Foundation Brushes - Sigma F80 and Real Techniques Review

    I absolutely despise traditional foundation brushes. I think they are too small, rough, and make foundation application ridiculously time consuming. I also find that most of them leave brutal bristle marks which you need to really smooth out to get rid of. I have owed a couple of these over the years and I never used them more than once or twice. I rather use my fingers - it's faster and looks more smooth and even. The downside is that you have to wash all of that foundation off of your hands - yuck!

    Enter the Sigma makeup F80 Flat Top Synthetic Kabuki foundation brush and the Real Techniques Foundation Brush. I have acquired both of these over the past year. The Sigma brush has firm but not scratchy bristles and is a flat top kabuki. It is wonderful for dabbing and swirling your foundation onto your skin in record time. I like the ease of this brush and hey, no messy hands. This brush gives you a nice, smooth look. It's super easy to use and it is fast, even faster than the Real Techniques brush. The only drawback to the Sigma brush is that it takes a little extra effort to get around the nose and eyes due to the brush shape. With a little bit of practice, that is not a big deal. This brush costs $16 U.S. + shipping from Sigma Beauty.

    The other brush that I have discovered is the Real Techniques (RT) Foundation Brush. Because the brush is angled, it gets it into those tight areas around the nose and eyes with ease. This brush also stands upright. How cool is that? The bristles are not scratchy, unlike traditional foundation brushes. This brush glides around you face and gives you a wonderful smooth and pixel-perfect look. The only drawback to this brush over the Sigma one is that because the brush is smaller, it takes a tad longer to do your foundation routine. However, it does get in the corners really easily and in some ways gives you a better overall finish. This brush is $7.99 U.S. at Ulta in the States which is where I got mine. You can also order them from or from the Real Techniques website for more $$$. Shipping to Canada is very expensive if you order from their U.K. retail distributors. With the exchange rate and shipping you end up paying double or triple what you would at Ulta. Real Techinques themselves do not ship to Canada as yet. Bummer. So this brush is a little hard to get your hands on if you don't live in the U.S. or the U.K. I think they will likely start shipping to Canada soon as they are expanding at a rapid pace.

    I am happy to have both of these brushes in my collection. If I am in a rush I reach for the F80 and if I have more time I grab the RT one. The truth is, I often reach for whichever brush is clean! Obviously, the RT brush is the better deal if you can get your hands on it in the U.S. When I bought mine for $7.99, it was buy one RT brush get the second one 50% off. So I bought some other brushes which I will review in good time. A definite bargain!

    Rating: 9/10 Sigma F80 Flat Top Synthetic Kabuki
    Rating: 9.5/10 Real Techniques Foundation Brush

    Saturday, 11 February 2012

    NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Deauville - Review

    I bought this about two years ago and I used it daily for about 4 months or so before I finished the bottle. I had the Deauville colour. I had a lot of trouble picking a colour because NARS seems to have some really bizarre shades for their foundation. I needed a light colour, but not too light, but nothing as dark as a medium. I have pink undertones, not yellow. NARS has a ton of foundation with yellow undertones. So that leaves people like me in a bit of trouble. I had heard good things about this foundation online so I thought I would try it. I ended up picking Deauville since it was the closest thing that I could find to my skin tone. Deauville is supposed to have a neutral balance of pink and yellow undertones. I was shocked when I looked at the price in Sephora. It was/is $55 Cdn. This retails for $42 in the U.S. Sephoras. A thirteen dollar difference plus tax! I think that is outrageous when the dollar is almost at Par. So I spent the money and I cringed inside.

    I preferred this foundation for the first few weeks that I wore it. It seemed more "glowy" in the beginning. The colour was never quite right. It was too yellow. But as time went on, I was less and less happy with it. I thought it started looking chalky and more yellow. I took it with me on a trip to Las Vegas and it started looking cakey some days and I went in spring, not high summer. I also found that it didn't cover so well as time went on. Maybe I needed to shake it a bit more before I applied it. Regardless, I just ended up not being happy with NARS's colour selection and the price was a bit outrageous. I am more than happy to spend $40-$45 on a good foundation, but for $55, it better do some miraculous stuff and this sure didn't. I would not buy this again, however, there are far worse foundations on the market.

    Rating: 6/10

    Friday, 10 February 2012

    MAC Shop Collection - Impressions and Review

    I spent some time at the MAC counter yesterday checking out the new MAC Shop and Cook collection. I kept myself in check and bought absolutely nothing. I think the marketing is cute and there looks like there are some neat things in the Shop collection, but I just felt overall that I had enough similar stuff in my own personal stash so I couldn't justify making a purchase. I may reconsider one of the lipsticks or cremeblend blushes though. I better not mull it over for long as I see some items are already sold out on MAC's website! This collection was released yesterday.

    The Shop collection consists of 3 eyeshadow quads, 6 lipsticks, a few of the new kissable lipcolours and 3 cremeblend blushes. The eyeshadow quads all have decent pigment. They are $45 Cdn. and are called Call Me Bubbles (peach, pink, beige), Shop and Drop (violets and blues) and Colour Added (yellow, blue, grey). Call Me Bubbles has a really neat, unusual pink colour and Colour Added has a beautiful sunshine yellow colour. The other colours in these palettes are nothing out of the ordinary.

    The six lipsticks: Naughty Saute, Quick Sizzle, Dish it Up, Watch me Simmer, Runway Red and Innocence, Beware! (a repromote) are all very nice. It's funny but I thought that these colours reminded me of Florida (I briefly lived there when I was kid) and then I found out one of the blushes is actually called Florida! How funny. I typically don't love MAC lipsticks but these were tempting. They are a collection of mostly hot pinks and reds and a little orange at $17.50 Cdn each. Dish it Up, Naughty Saute, Quick Sizzle and Runway Red look the nicest in my opinion. There is also a collection of the new kissable lip colours which I know nothing about. I believe they are supposed to be less sticky then MAC's normal lip goo (lip glass, lustre glass etc.) as I call it. The colours look kind of muted which MAC is known for and personally, I am not into muted colours that much so I don't think those would be high on my list to try. They are also $22.50 Cdn. which for goo seems a trifle much to me. If any of you have tried them, I would love to know what you think.

    Finally, there are 3 cremeblend blushes in Optimistic Orange, Florida and Restores Dazzle. Normally, I don't go gaga for cream blush as I think they can be a pain to work with, but the Florida and Restores Dazzle are tempting me. They are so nice! They are $24 Cdn. each.

    The Shop collection was more interesting in my opinion than the Cook collection. TiffanyD has a lot of swatches on her blog and of course you can check out if you are interested.

    MAC Cook Collection - Impressions and Review

    I spent some time at the MAC counter yesterday checking out the new MAC Cook collection. I must say that I showed considerable restraint as I bought absolutely nothing. I think the marketing is cute and there looks like there are some good products in this collection, but I just felt overall that I had enough similar stuff in my own personal stash so I passed on making a purchase. I may reconsider one or two items though. I better not think about it for long as I see some items are already sold out on MAC's website! This collection was only released yesterday. That is MAC for edition stuff sells out like hot cakes.

    So in the Cook collection we have 3 gel liners, a mascara, 4 Tendertones lip balms, some pressed powder, two brushes and 3 nail lacquers. The gel liners underwhelmed me. I am not even going to go to the trouble of naming them here. They are all dark greys or blackish at $18 Cdn. a piece. Yawn. I have a lot of dark coloured gel liners in my stash so those are a definite pass for me. I have never tried the Opulash mascara $18 Cdn. Have you? Should I try it one of these days?

    I hear that the Tendertones lip balms have been out before but not for a long time. Normally, lip balm doesn't get me too excited. At first I thought the colours were weird but they are cute. I sniffed them and I have to say the smell was out of this world. It smells like summer fun to me. The smell alone briefly tempted me to buy one but I held on strong! Lip balm in a jar doesn't do it for me. I don't want it leaking in my purse and I hate sticking my finger in things I apply to my lips especially while on the go. The colours are Tread Gently (lime green yellow pearl), Purring (orangey), Hush, Hush (mix of a gold and skin tone colour) and Hot 'n' Saucy (cherry red). If I had to buy one of these it would be the Tread Gently or Hot 'n' Saucy. They are $18 Cdn.

    There are a couple of shades of the Careblend Pressed Powder. Yawn. MAC powders do nothing for me usually and this one is $28 Cdn. There are two brushes in this collection - 211 (pointed eye liner brush) and the 129SH (short handle powder brush). I have various versions of the 211 from other brush brands and I have the regular handle 129 so I am covered. Finally, there are 3 nail lacquers - Al Fredo (hot yellow), Kid Orange (hot orange/red) and Salad Dressed (green blue). Salad Dressed is the most interesting but I would likely never wear it so I will pass. They are $19. The Shop collection was more interesting in my opinion. I will post that blog shortly. TiffanyD has a lot of swatches on her blog and of course you can check out if you are interested.

    Thursday, 9 February 2012

    Benefit Cosmetics BADgal Lash Mascara - Review

    I was really into Benefit Cosmetics a few years back. I really like some of their stuff and I think their marketing is really cute and refreshing. Some of their packaging too is really unique. You can tell they put a lot of thought into everything that they put out. They do have some products, for various reasons, which I am not particularly fond of. BADgal Lash is one of them. However, you might find this product fantastic, it just wasn't for me. Benefit has a new mascara out now which is by far better in my mind and I will get to that blog post at some point. All of this talk is putting me in a Benefit frame of don't be surprised if I review a few Benefit products over the next couple of weeks.

    My main beef with this mascara is the brush. It's huge. I have short lashes. I had to be very careful when I applied this so that I didn't poke myself in the eye or get it all over my eyelid. It was nice and black and glossy (I had the regular one, not the waterproof one). I didn't get any clumps or flaking, but it did smear for me a fair bit....then again all mascaras do for me when I wear glasses and sometimes when I don't.....

    The point is, that I couldn't really get this mammoth brush in there. There is no way I could get to my lashes in the corners. Since I was spending some quality time at the Benefit counter at my local department store for while there, I told the salesman flat out that this mascara was not very good in my opinion. He thought I was mad. He told me that I must not be applying it right. He insisted on getting out a fresh wand and showing me how to use it. He applied it on my lashes with some difficulty and when he was done, he looked confused and said "hmph" and shrugged. He said that it wasn't the miracle worker on me that it was for some of his other clients. There are some questionable ingredients in this mascara too which are not in Benefit's new mascara. I would say this mascara would be better suited for those with long lashes who want volume. For those of us who need lengthening and volume, keep trucking along....... It $26 here in Canada and $19 in the U.S. Not chump change.

    Rating: 5/10 (because it may work for some people and it is nice and glossy)

    Philosophy Gingerbread Man 3-in-1 Shower Gel, Bubble Bath and Shampoo - Review

    This blog post will be a bit different. I am going to essentially do one by proxy of someone else. I was asked a couple of weeks ago if I had ever tried anything by Philosophy. I have not. So I thought I should sample some of their wares at some point just so I am up to speed. Strangely enough, a good male friend of mine was admiring this in Sephora with me the other day and he said the picture was so "crusty" he had to have it. So with his permission, I have picked his brain for a review on this product as he has been using this for about a week. This friend of mine, as an aside, is the King of Shower Gel and Cologne, so I think it is fair to say that he knows what he is talking about in these areas.

    According to my friend, the smell is not bad, mildly spicy, but he thinks it is a touch too "girly" and that it could be more masculine and spicy for his taste. The smell lasts pretty much all day and he said his girlfriend was "all over him" one evening after he had used it in the morning. He said the lather is decent but there could be more suds for his liking. He found the liquid to be thin, could be thicker and because it is so thin, he is going through his bottle quite quickly. He said the moisture factor is not bad. His final thoughts were that since it was $21, that is steep for a shower gel, but he may consider buying it again once he finishes this one but he will not go out of his way to rush to get another bottle. 

    Friend's Rating: 7/10

    Wednesday, 8 February 2012

    Bare Escentuals bareMinerals 9-piece Get Started Set - Review

    This review is about the Bare Escentuals bareMinerals 9-piece Get Started Set. Wow, that is a mouthful. I purchased this about a year and a half ago from Sephora for $72 Canadian. I believe it retails for $60 U.S. in the States. The kit contained 2 bareMinerals SPF Foundations (I believe it was Fair and Fairly Light), All Over Face Colour in Warmth, the Mineral Veil, Full Flawless Face Brush, Flawless Application Brush and the Maximum Coverage Concealer Brush along with an instructional how-to DVD. The package says that the product is award-winning and offers impeccable coverage for every skin type and tone. Ahem.....

    I apologize in advance as this will likely be my cosmetic rant of the month, if not the year. I purchased this because I have a good friend that uses this stuff and swears that it is the greatest thing since sliced bread. She still purchases it to this day. I would have loved for this stuff to work for me, but we will get to that in a moment. Think how nice it would be to not deal with liquid foundation every day and to able to let you skin breathe all day long with a simple swirl of some wonderfully covering powder all over the face. Sounds like magic. Sounds like a fairytale. I told my friend I didn't see how in my wildest of dreams that a powder could offer the coverage and dewiness of a liquid foundation, last all day and look great. I was a total sceptic, and obviously for good reason......

    So my friend talked me into buying it. Swore it was fantastic and that I would be converted to the "other side" so to speak. I even watched the stupid video. I thought $72 was steep and that this better pay off. Worse case scenario, I thought I would get some free brushes out of it. I followed the directions to the letter. My friend said less is more with this stuff. So I went with less. Swirled my little heart out. Applied the product. Took my sweet time. Looked in the mirror and saw nothing. Absolutely nothing. It was my unmade up face staring back at me and I looked really tired. More tired than I looked before the application. Ok, I thought, less wasn't more. So I used more. Kept swirling. Application after application. Kept looking in the mirror and saw no change, but I started to look powdery. I used the concealer brush to cover my blemishes. Used a little, then a lot. Covered squat. Applied under my eyes. Nothing doing. I washed it off and picked up my liquid foundation.

    Not to be totally deterred, especially after spending $72, I tried it again a few days later. Maybe it was my technique, the lighting. my eyes etc. that first day I thought......Again, nothing. Zippo results. A mildly powdered face and zero coverage. I watched the video again to see if I missed a step. I didn't. I waited another few days until my skin was looking good, tried it again, same thing. I looked tired and like I was wearing no make-up. I decided enough was enough. If I wanted a no makeup look, I would wear no makeup! I would also save $72! This is the most pointless makeup item I can recall in recent years. I even tried the warmth powder, no change, just looked browner. Tried the mineral veil too over everything. I got nothing. I even went out in public one day with this stuff on thinking it was my house lighting making me look bad perhaps. Looked in the car mirror, looked in the store mirror, I looked like crap and went home. Funny, I don't have a problem with my lighting at home when I wear normal foundation.

    My friend who loves this stuff, told me it takes patience and a few tries and that she would come over and swirl for me. I told her not to bother. It was obvious that we weren't going to go from 0 to perfection with a flick of the wrist with this stuff. So you know what I did? I sold the foundations to my friend for a cut rate price and old the "warmth" on eBay. I kid you not.

    I have heard that this stuff has improved in recent months. I am not going to try it to find out as I highly doubt it has improved even 5%. The eye shadows do peak my interest though. I may try one of them or the new pressed eye shadows at some point. The best thing I can say about this kit was the brushes were quite nice. I liked them a lot. I say liked, instead of like, because I lost them somehow. I think they must have fallen off of the bathroom counter into my garbage can in the bathroom one day and I never noticed. I was upset about that and I am still sad. I really liked the brushes. I could use them for other purposes.

    Also, and maybe someone can explain it to me, why on earth would a product marketed to be more natural and low maintenance, require you to use 3 or 4 different powders just to get a basic face on? Let's face it, the colours for the foundation are weird. Heck, that is why they sell you two! They are either too yellow, or too pink. You have to mix them. No one has that type of colouring. Then more powder on a powder?! Totally insane. My friend that loves this product has a mild case of rosacea. Other than that, she has no blemishes, no pigmentation issues and no dark circles under her eyes. Her skin is very good. She says this product covers her rosacea very well and it lets her skin breathe. I suppose if rosacea is your only problem or if you have perfect skin, maybe this is the product for you. For the rest of us, it is simply useless. If I had perfect skin, guess what? I wouldn't bother buying these powders. I would go au natural.

    As for the primer.....huh? Let me get this straight. They are now suggesting that you put on your moisturizer, then this primner goo, then swirl 4 powders on your face just to walk out of your door. I don't even have words for this. I can just apply foundation over my moisturizer and walk out the door...why the 50 steps? Completely time consuming and the product goes everywhere! A powdery disaster.

    I had another friend who tried this and her feelings were the same as mine and she has far better skin than I ever have. Have you ever seen any makeup gurus on the Internet or TV doing a full face of event makeup just using this powder??? Hell no. What does that tell you? I know other people who use this product and sometimes they look ok in it, sometimes powdery, but never fantastic. Never dewy. The boyfriend of a friend of mine who uses this says it drives him mad when they travel together and the powder gets all over the bathroom. I am going to shut up now. I think I have said more than enough.

    Rating: 2/10 (2 is for the brushes)

    Tuesday, 7 February 2012

    Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Milk - Review

    I bought this soon after I tried the Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Cream a couple of years ago. I was enjoying the results I was getting from my Dr. Hauschka moisturizers and masks so I thought I should use a Dr. Hauschka cleanser too. Since the Cleansing Cream was not exactly what I needed, I tried this since it is the only other cleanser that Dr. Hauschka makes. The lady who sold it to me at The Bay assured me that it this is also the most wonderful makeup remover.......I thought to myself, "huh, we will see about that".

    So I tried it. In fact I used the whole bottle. At around $40 a bottle, you are going to use the whole thing unless you have a bad reaction. Did this take off my makeup? Some of it. Did I need to use a makeup remover or toner as well to get the rest of the makeup off? Heck yes. Did my skin feel clean and refreshed after I used this product? Nope. I still felt like my face needed washing and I certainly don't think it got rid of any dead skin cells. It was soothing and gentle though.

    I can see how this might be the product for you under two situations. If you have really bad acne with super sensitive skin and you don't wear any makeup, this might help rebalance and calm your skin. The second scenario is if you have a lot of lines and wrinkles, your skin is dry and you don't wear makeup, this certainly will not strip your skin. It would moisturize and  I assume cleanse it as well. Since I don't fall into either category, this one isn't a winner for me. I like to wash all of my makeup off at the end of the day and feel like I have squeaky clean skin. I can't really nay say too much about this one because it is just not for me, but that doesn't mean it won't work for other people. For that reason I am going to give this a middle of the road rating.

    Rating: 5/10


    Monday, 6 February 2012

    Origins Starting Over Age-Erasing Eye Cream with Mimosa - Review

    I am on my second jar of this and I don't like it. Talk about skipping to the chase! I bought one and the second one I got was in a gift pack I purchased at Christmas time. I don't, thank God, have any type of lines or crow's feet around my eyes yet so I can not speak to its "age-erasing" properties. I do not find it very moisturizing or soothing on my eyes. It feels kind of dry around my eyes when I have applied it before bed at night. Since I don't have puffy eyes I can't speak as to whether it "de-puffs" or not, but I can tell you it does nothing for the dark circles under my eyes. It's not terrible stuff, but it isn't great either. I have used much better eye products than this even from the Origins line! At $44 a jar, this is not cheap stuff. I am afraid this is a dud for me.

    Rating: 4/10

    Sunday, 5 February 2012

    MAC Paint Pot Painterly and Soft Ochre - Review and Swatches

    I started using these a few years ago.I didn't understand the point of them at first. I mean wouldn't a cream base under eyeshadow be overkill? I bought them thinking that they would solve my creasing problems with eye shadow. They didn\t. I subsequently learned by contacting MAC that they are only supposed to stop creasing for 4 hours. That's it. What they are really for is to give your eye shadow a base to stick to and make the eye shadow come alive and/or look more opaque. I love these now that I get it. They make bad eyeshadow look decent and good eyeshadow look awesome. They keep eye shadow from looking sheer after a few hours. The colour also locks onto them so your eye shadow stays where you put it.

    I couldn't live without these. I can't believe I ever wore eye shadow without a base years ago. Once you have used one of these, it all makes sense and you will never be able to go back to your old routine. Painterly is my go to. It has a pink base but it matches my skin tone the best on my eyelids. If you are fair or have pink undertones or cool based skin you need painterly. If you have yellow undertones to your skin or have a warm complexion, Soft Ochre is what you need. That being said, I use both from time to time. If you are doing a warm look which is gold or yellow based, you can use Soft Ochre regardless of your skin colour. Same with Painterly. It is good for cool or pink looks.

    These are the neutral paint pots that I own. I also have a small collection of other paint pot colours which I will share in another blog post. If you wish to wear one of these on their own as eye shadow, you can, but you have to put a powder over it even if it is just face powder or they will crease instantly. If you are like me, you need to put an eye shadow primer underneath them like Urban Decay Primer Potion or Too Faced Shadow Insurance etc. Tarte has also come out with a really good one which I will review soon. Stila and Benefit also have good eye shadow primers I have heard.

    You can apply paint pots with your fingers (works the best I find) or you can use a brush. A lot of people recommend using a MAC 217 (does work) or a MAC 213 (works too). Paint Pots are $21 Canadian. One pot, and it is in glass thank you very much MAC, lasts me between 8 months to a year with regular, almost daily usage. Well worth the money.

    Rating: 9/10 (would be 10/10 but they crease)

    Saturday, 4 February 2012

    Smashbox Eye Shadow Singles Shell and Minx - Review and Swatches

    Top pic is Shell on the left and Minx on the right. On my arm is Minx on the top and Shell on the bottom. These are the only two Smashbox eye shadows in the single pan that I own. I also have a Smashbox palette but I think that is a different animal altogether so I will save that for another review. Each pan is 1.7g so that is pretty decent. I am not jazzed by the packaging. The top screws off. I guess then they have a better chance of staying together in your purse but I prefer the cute flip top that MAC has. Okay, I am biased I know. If you need to use them in a hurry, the screw tops are a pain in my opinion.

    I got these two as a buy one get one free promotion at my local drugstore. So how could I resist? I think they are $16-$20 each. Not chump change. The pigment is pretty decent on these. They are very creamy and yet very powdery at the same time. I have never seen eye shadow quite like it. I am sure you could skip the brush and apply these with your fingers if you felt the burning desire. They have a lot of fallout I find when you apply them and they tend to go all over the place with ease. I find it hard to use these if I am doing detailed eye work. They work best as an all over wash of colour or if you want a messy crease look. The colour moves around easily but the saying power of them is suspect if you want to blend them in a precise area with another colour, they can wash out. These catch the light though like crazy on your eyes like few eye shadows I have ever seen. There is something unique about them.  

    They do, however, feel nice on the skin and they have some gorgeous colours. Minx looked like a purple brown in the store but is more brown with some purple in real life. Shell is a warm golden peach. I would rather buy a MAC eyeshadow any day over these, but I can see why they are not budget eye shadows. These are far superior to practically all budget drug store eye shadows. They last on your eyes all day with a primer and I have heard they do without too.

    Rating: 7/10

    Kiss My Face Peace Soap - A Hit and a Miss Review

    This review is for the Christmas set I got of the Kiss My Face Peace Soap which are foaming hand soaps. The one on the left is Pomegranate Acai and on the right is Grassy Mint. The bottles say they are 100% Natural Foaming Castile Hand Soaps. I think they were sold in a set because it was a Christmas promotion, but that you can buy them individually normally. They are each 8 fl. oz. or 236 ml. I purchased these from my local grocery store right after Christmas for $4 and change for the set on a clearance rack. I am glad I made the purchase since that was a decent deal. I started using the Pomegranate Acai one first and I fell in love with the smell. It is amazing! I want to wash my hands over and over again. If you are like me, you aren't confident with one squirt of a foaming hand soap, so I take at least a couple of squirts and lather up well. I am probably using more than I should but that is ok. Considering how much I have used, the liquid is taking a fair amount of time to go down even a bit so I think you get decent value for your money. The Pomegranate Acai one is a definite hit. It smells like a fizzy party punch.

    Now for the miss. I can not stand the smell of the Grassy Mint one. I hold my breath when I use it. Maybe it's just me and I am weird. It smells like a cross between a meadow, a dentist's office and grandma's smelly glass tray of mints which are located too close to her medicine cabinet. How is that for a picture? Maybe I will put this one in the guest bathroom.......

    The product itself is decent minus the smell of the green one. These soaps are not drying. The liquid is clear and foamy on the top.

    Rating: Pomegranate Acai 8.5/10
    Rating: Grassy Mint 2/10

    Friday, 3 February 2012

    Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Palette Beethoven - Review

    Now for something completely cool! I love this palette. This is actually the second one that I have owned. I lost the first one through a series of unfortunate events which ended up with my palette being stolen from me. I loved this palette so much, I ran out and replaced it immediately.

    I doubt that if I ever met Kat Von D that she and I would have much in common, but dammit this woman knows how to put together nice eyeshadow palettes. The colours are left to right - lucifier, speed blue, razor grey, tequila, sinner, rad purple, leather and galeano. I must confess that the pictures above do not do this palette justice. I do prefer the pigmentation and creamy feel of the 4 colours to the right more than the colours to the left. The ones to the right are also easier to work with. That being said, the ones to the left are still lots fun and are very nice. The black colour, lucifer, is not the most pigmented black in the world (and I was light handed with my swatch above) but it gets the job done. Razor grey is really cool. It's like a blue/green grey. Unusual. I always get compliments when I wear the pink and purple shades out. Tequila also deserves special mention as it looks like a light gold in the pan but is actually very white gold and light yet rich on the skin. A wonderful highlighter.

    I love the names that she uses for her eye shadow. This is how eye shadows should be named. Edgy and fun. I would happily own every palette that Kat Von D puts out. I just really like this mix of colours as I think it is a bit unique. Her brown coloured palettes - Ludwig, Saint and Poetica are very nice and I would think they would be perfect for someone who needs more neutral palettes for their stash, but to me they pale in comparison to this palette.

    The packaging for this palette is really cool and the mirror inside is huge! It seems very durable and good for travel. It is very sleek and compact. The palette also comes with two dual-sided brushes which I have never used. The brushes are small and I don't think they could do much. The price of this palette is $44 Cdn. and get this, $34 in the U.S. The dollar is practically at Par.....sigh.....why do they do this to me? Considering the price of other palettes on the market of this calibre, I think the price is fair. Personally, I will wait to buy another one in the U.S. or when Sephora has a V.I.B sale in order to save a few bucks. Each of the 8 shadows are 1.4g. MAC single eye shadows are 1.5g, Urban Decay Naked Palette's eye shadows are 12 x 1.3g and Sigma palettes are 1.5g per shadow. The list of ingredients is nice and short with nothing too scary.

    Rating: 8/10

    Thursday, 2 February 2012

    Tarte Amazonian Clay Long-Wear Blush Dollface and Exposed - Review

    Tarte's blushes have become all the rage over the past year. They are "natural" blushes infused with Amazonian clay which is supposed to have some amazing properties or some such thing. They are supposed to last for 12 hours. I currently am the proud owner of two: Dollface and Exposed. I have my eye on "Blissful" and perhaps the new "Amused" possibly.

    Do these blushes last 12 hours? They last me that time and more. Of course, MAC blushes also easily last me for 12+ hours so Tarte is not a leg up here. In my first two pictures above, Exposed is on the left and Dollface is on the right. For the swatch, Dollface is left and Exposed is right. Sorry to be confusing. These blushes are very nice. Personally, I love Dollface the most. It is easily my second favourite blush of all time. I will review my Top 5 or 10 blushes sometime soon.

    These blushes are very pigmented, very smooth and last all day long. You don't need much on your blush brush so I think I will have these blushes a very long time which suits me just fine. Dollface is a light blue pink and Exposed is a nudey pink but I find it a bit orange/peach on me. I think Exposed would look good on someone with a pale honey complexion - a redhead or a blonde. It looks very classy on me but it could be more cool toned for my taste. Both are solid products. The packing is very neat but the amount of product you get is misleading. Each one is 5.6g but it looks like there is a lot more in a compact than MAC blushes. MAC blushes are 6g.

    Now let's talk price. Tarte blushes, sold at Sephora, are a whopping $32 a piece. MAC blushes are $22.50 I believe. The price is the only negative thing I can say about these blushes. They cost $25 U.S. in the states so you might be better off waiting for a shopping trip to the U.S. before you pick one of these up and/or wait for Sephora's 20% off sale. Would I buy one of these again? Yes, in a heartbeat. $32 is steep but since I have never finished a blush in my whole life, I think the bang you get for your buck is well worth it.

    Rating: 9/10 (1 point off for the price)

    Wednesday, 1 February 2012

    Nicole by OPI Spring Romance - Review

    I bought this a little over a year ago. I was sucked in like the fool that I sometimes am. I was feeling giddy like a preteen for some reason and thought this was the prettiest looking nail polish. It was also marked down to $6 I think so that was the clincher. I asked one of my normally sane friends if they thought this was childish. She said no. She was dating a new guy and I think she was in preteen mode too. Foolish, stupid me. The odds were stacked against common logic at that point so I made the purchase.

    Do not be sucked in by the playful, shiny, light catching pink hearts and glitter. This is no gem. I actually applied this to my nails one day and went to work. Although there are an abundance of pink hearts in this bottle, actually getting them onto the brush and onto a nail is like pulling teeth. If you can get one or two on per nail, you are doing well. This is kid's nail polish. Not suitable for a grown woman like me. I felt like an utter fool wearing this. 

    To top it off (no pun intended), this nail polish chips like crazy. Even though it is clear based, the missing chunks look weird and the first thing to come off is the hearts. Aren't the hearts the whole point???? I must have lost half of the hearts within the first 24-36 hours of wearing this. It also looks like you have a disease or blood spots on your nails from distance when you are wearing this. Not a good look.

    I don't know if all of Nicole nail polishes are the same quality as this. The bottle is a neat shape and it sure looks pretty in the bottle on your vanity though. Based on the quality of this nail polish, I am going to assume that Nicole is not a great brand. It is the poor woman's O.P.I. I wish cosmetics companies would realize that one bad apple spoils the bunch in some cases and people will not repurchase their products if they have a negative experience with one. I have no plans to purchase another Nicole polish again. I have better brands in my cupboard.

    Rating: 3/10

    Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Cream - Review

    I confess I have purchased maybe 3 or 4 tubes of this even though it is not one of my favourite products. The current tube is pretty squeezed up and I have decided I am not planning to buy another.

    I bought my first tube when I was introduced to Dr. Hauschka products. I had decided I was sick and tired of still have breakouts at my age and there had to be something on the market that would end the vicious cycle and I didn't give a damn what the cost was. This is the cleanser that is recommended if you have oily or combination skin. I really don't think they should be calling this a cleanser first of all. It is a mild exfoliator. When I use this and I still have makeup on, it hardly removes any makeup. If I pass a cotton ball with toner over my face afterwards, a lot of makeup comes off still. That is the main complaint that I have about this product. You need to wash your face with something else before or after you use this. Dr. Hauschka does not have any cleanser in their product line that truly is a cleanser. So any way you slice it, you are buying a cleanser from another brand for your skincare routine.

    Even if you take all of you makeup off first with makeup remover and then use this, your face still feels not right, not clean. This product smells mildy nutty. The main ingredient is almond meal so if you are allergic to nuts you may wish to pass on this product. I find I prefer to use this in the morning than at night for the makeup removal reason.

    If I decided to rank this as an exfoliator only, based on that merit, this product still falls short of the mark. It is soothing, gentle and calming to your skin. So I can see if your skin was inflamed or in the midst of a breakout, this certainly might help. I know my skin inproved quickly when I started used strictly Dr. Hauschka skincare products. So it does help if you had my problem. However, there are much better exfoliators on the market - both synthetic and natural based.

    Finally, the price is ridiculous and I have no idea why I have spent so much money on this. It's around $27 a tube and you get only 50 ml. If you use this religiously, you will blast threw a tube very quickly. Dr. Hauschka's website even says it should only last 3 weeks with regular use. So $27 every 3 weeks is a lot of clams for a cleanser that doesn't cleanse and is really an ok exfoliator. I use this maybe once or twice a month now and my skin is so improved over the last couple of years that I know this product isn't the reason I have maintained my skin. Therefore, my cruurent tube will likely be my last.

    Rating: 4/10