February 10, 2012

Smashbox Photo Op Eye Enhancing Palette- For Blue Eyes

Another great palette! My conversion to Smashbox eye palettes started with the Eye Lights palette a year or so ago. I have it in "Beam" - it's absolutely gorgeous and people seem to compliment my eye makeup a lot when I am wearing it. People have also complimented me when wearing this palette as well. Go Smashbox!

Smashbox has 3 palettes in the photo op collection; for blue eyes, hazel eyes, and brown eyes. All of the colors are beautiful so I'm sure any eye color can find something usable, whether it be neutral or contrasting. I obviously went with blue! This is an interesting palette because unlike other palettes made for certain eye colors, it's pretty technically correct. Eyeshadow #2 in the top row and #1 in the bottom row have a distinctly orange-peach color when applied. Some people may not like that, but when you play with it you can see it really does enhance blue eyes. Anyone who has taken color theory or just looked at a color wheel knows that orange complements blue. When shaded and mixed with the other shades in the palette the colors look quite nice.

The sizes of the eyeshadows are pretty generous- I've seen some palettes with shadows the size of a dime! Sorry, but so not for me. I don't want to worry about running out of color in the first month. They are fairly smooth and don't create a lot of fall out, which is nice when I forget to do my eyes before my face. The browns are true browns- and I love the matte brown they included on the bottom row. It's a nice collection of colors; I've easily created day and night time looks and haven't wished for more of a selection. The only color I haven't used a whole lot is the silvery shade on the top row... Maybe someone can enlighten me with ideas for that!

The packaging is sturdy and easy to travel with because it's slim. I like that they didn't include any fluff pieces- like the eyeshadow brushes most palettes come with but no one ever uses! Now I can look at a nice palette without an empty area on the bottom where the brushes used to be. All in all, I would recommend this palette to someone with blue eyes, and to everyone else for great neutral shades.

February 9, 2012

Brows are muy importante.

Besides my wonky eye these pictures illustrate the importance of a good filled-in brow. For those of us with sparse or lightly colored brows it makes all the difference in the world. If I don't do my brows in the morning my look just doesn't seem to pull together right. I use Urban Decay's Brow Box. (Wow... I do use a lot of UD!) It's great because it has a light and dark shade, small brush, tiny tweezers, and wax all in one compact box. It's also the only brow product I've used thus far that has the most natural color and the longest wear. Bravo! What do you use on your brows?

L'Oreal Evercreme Cleansing Conditoner Review

L'Oreal has had success with it's Everpure drugstore line - sulfate free shampoos, conditioners and styling products - and has slowly added more lines. The cleansing conditioner is part of the Evercreme line, the newest addition to our local drugstores! As soon as I saw a cleansing conditioner from L'Oreal, I knew I had to try it. Cleansing conditioners have been mostly a specialty item until now, mostly purchased by with customers with curly or very dry hair. There are a few stores that carry them but nothing like the range of stores that carries L'Oreal's product. I found mine in my local CVS for $6.99. Now if it works long term... that is saving a lot of money! Instead of buying shampoo and conditioner every time, you can buy a cleansing conditioner. And for $7 + change, that isn't a bad deal.

To preface this review: if you have an oily scalp that you must wash every day, this might not be the ideal product for you to use. You can try it, it could be a nice break in between washes, but it is specified for "any dry hair type".

The bottle is pretty typical but one small difference is the pump. I wish more shampoos and conditioners would come in pumps, they are so much easier to use. I've read some negative thoughts about the pump however. The gist of it is that the pump does not dispense enough product. I think with a cleansing conditioner you do have to be wary of how much you are using, it's not like shampoo where you can keep adding more and not really see a big difference (except squeaky clean hair). So in my opinion the pump dispensing small amounts is a good thing, it's always good to start slow with a new product and see how much works for your hair and scalp. I used about 5 pumps and it was perfect.

It does have a fragrance. If you do not like fragrances, you most likely won't like this. So please do smell before you buy. I always do!

It lathers fairly well for a sulfate free conditioner. I have had SLS free shampoos that didn't lather as well as this! So don't be worried about your hair feeling dirty. I left it in for about 3 minutes and then rinsed out. My hair was much silkier and softer, and clean. Perfect. This is all I ever want my shampoo and conditioner to do, and this product did a better job. It was very easy to comb out after as well. I used my Blow the Heat is On Protective Styling Mist and and Joico K-Pak Color Restorative Styling oil and did a nice blow dry. My hair looks really smooth (no frizzies!!) and feels amazing.

I will continue to update to see how well this product performs long term- but as of now, I am a happy camper!

February 7, 2012

Kate Somerville EradiKate - Best spot treatment ever.

This is the one skin care product I will never be without. YES, never. I have tried so many spot treatments so far in my life, and none have compared to Kate Somerville's EradiKate. It's first ingredient is sulfur, then isopropyl alcohol (in the skin-appropriate percentage), water, camphor, magnesium aluminum silicate, salicylic acid, iron oxides, and zinc oxide. Sulfur is obviously the most notable ingredient in this product. Sulfur can do a lot for acne prone skin, but it has to be used consistently and in the right formulation. Sulfur masks certainly do help with acne, but I feel a nightly treatment is a lot more effective- and therefore a wiser investment for those who struggle with acne on more than a monthly basis.

Most spot treatments I've tried have done one or more of the following: made me dry or flaky, created stickiness, increased redness, plain didn't work, or actually exacerbated my breakout. The good thing about the KS product is that it's so extremely gentle. I never get dryness, redness, or breakouts from it- just the opposite. If I use this nightly I almost never (knock on wood) get really noticeable breakouts. It does leave a light pink spot where you apply it, but if you are going to look better during the day... I don't see a problem! Haha, my boyfriend and family know. They see it every night. I use it over any serums/moisturizers, it works over pretty much anything.

It retails for $22/1 oz. This may seem expensive for a spot treatment but it lasts for at least 3 months (mine usually lasts longer) and it's the best. No irritation and it actually works. Let me know what you think!

February 2, 2012

Dark Vs. Light with Naked2

This palette is turning out to be versatile as I had hoped. I have been chosen for jury duty this and next week so I have just been taking quick snapshots before I run to court. These looks really illustrate how different someone can look depending on the amount and shades of makeup used! The only problem I am having with the Naked2 palette is that there is only one highlighter shade I can comfortably use. On someone with more medium-darker skin there would be more options, but for me, just one! Let me know what you think. :)

January 31, 2012

NAKED 2 is in my clutches.

I finally have my little paws on it! The famed Naked2 palette. I had to work today so I didn't get to play around with it as much as I would have liked to. Watching Netflix till the wee hours of the night doesn't leave a lot of time for luxury in the morning, so I've learned. But it is beautiful. The case is thin but sturdy enough to travel with in my opinion, and I didn't struggle with opening it as some reviewers have complained about. If you ever had a pencil case in school it's about the same degree of difficulty to open that. The palette comes with a double ended brush and mini lip gloss. Fun additions.

They are definitely leaning towards cooler tones, except for Half Baked, which is the shade on my lids in the above picture. The interesting thing about Urban Decay shadows is because of the level of pigment- even some of the lighter shadows can come across dark. They are all about the makeup look! I am going to periodically post looks from this palette to show how versatile (I'm hoping) it is. The above is a sad example, I promise to do better! Please post any comments or questions about Naked2 and I will be happy to answer.

January 30, 2012

Looking good girl.

This is my mom!

January 28, 2012

Keratosis Pilaris - Chicken Skin, Stinks.

"Keratosis pilaris (KP, also follicular keratosis) is a common, autosomal dominant, genetic follicular condition that is manifested by the appearance of rough bumps on the skin. It most often appears on the back and outer sides of the upper arms (though the lower arms can also be affected), and can also occur on the thighs, hands, and tops of legs, flanks, buttocks, or any body part except glabrous skin (like the palms or soles of feet)."

Since KP is a genetic condition, it's fairly common and can be extremely hard to treat. KP affects an estimated 40% of the adult population and approximately 50%-80% of all teens. It is more common in women than in men. Most dermatologists recommend expensive prescriptions (lots of money, tiny tubes) or drugstore cleansers and moisturizers like CeraVe. I've tried the gamut and found that exfoliating acids work much better than any of the aforementioned products. I've struggled with the condition since around age 12. I've only started to get a handle on it in the last year or so. I know how frustrating it can be. Wanting to wear sleeveless shirts in the summer- but having red bumps up and down your arms and knees. It can be limiting and at times feel like a hopeless battle, because most of the treatments recommended simply do not work.

I just want to share what has been making a steady difference in
my KP. I am now using:
- Dermalogica Body Buffing cloth
- Neutrogena Clear Body Scrub
- Image Skincare Spa Rejuvenating Body Lotion
- Image Skincare glycolic/retinol peels every week or so

These three products have made the biggest difference in my skin. The 2% salicylic acid in the body wash combined with the 10% gylcolic (and other great ingredients) in the body lotion have made my skin soft, smooth, and reduced redness dramatically. The buffing cloth is a great tool for those who struggle with KP if used properly. You don't want to try and scrub your skin away- but a gentle daily buffing, if followed by intense moisture, really smooths out the skin. It also lets your lotion/treatment absorb and work better. I have recently started doing my own glycolic/retinol peels (because I am a licensed esthetician) and they work amazingly well!! Soft, clear, smooth, and even toned skin. I will do a blog post on that in the future. Also, if anyone finds an enzyme exfoliant in a large quantity for a reasonable price let me know, because that would also be a great treatment for KP.

Please be encouraged to share your thoughts, struggles, or regimens!

January 27, 2012

I love cat eyes and red lipstick. What are your favorite makeup looks?

What are BB creams?!?

BB creams are a pretty recent edition to the U.S. market so it totally makes sense that all of a sudden everyone is asking, "What the heck are they?!". First I'll let you peruse Wikipedia's definition, and then I will expand on it and share my personal experiences with it.

"BB cream, also known as Blemish Balm, Blemish Base or Beblesh Balm, is a cosmetic item sold mainly in East and Southeast Asia.

Originally formulated in Germany it was initially used by dermatologists to help laser surgery patients protect, soothe and refine highly sensitive skin while providing light coverage for post-laser scars, acne and other blemishes.

BB creams come in a variety of different formulations and qualities. Some are said to have skin whitening or brightening properties. Others are said to be anti-acne or anti-wrinkle, some are intended to even out skin tone, and yet others to lighten blemish scars. BB creams are sometimes used like a primer under foundation, and if tinted may supposedly replace foundation and some newer ones are advertised as having functions of primer, foundation, moisturizer, sun block, pore minimization and skin refining together, making them an economic skin care solution.

Brands on the market include BRTC - Bio Remedies Therapeutic Cosmetic, Dr. Jart, Lioele, Skin Food, Etude, The Face Shop, Missha and SKIN79.

In recent years BB cream has gained a noticeable following for its skin-regenerating functions and is now also widely used in Asia to supposedly provide natural-looking skin coverage. It has been named "the secret of Korean actresses", which gained it large exposure in Asian markets."

In my experience with Dr. Jart Water Fuse BB cream, it's like a hybrid tinted moisturizer. BB cream is sleeker, packed with more skin friendly ingredients, and creates a different kind of coverage. If I have a red irritated face and I use my BB cream it instantly looks fresher, glowier, and even. Tinted moisturizers have always felt too goopy and cakey to me- BB creams are the perfect answer to those problems. There are many different kinds but the premise is the same; an all in one product to treat, conceal, and even out skin tone while still looking fresh and natural. They are great for someone who doesn't want to wear a whole lot of base makeup, but wants a fresh day to day look. I would also recommend BB creams to acne prone skin types who want at least minimum coverage with makeup that will help their skin.

While the benefits of this product are numerous, there is still the struggle to find the right formulation and color for your skin. They are typically more blend-able than the average foundation but you still have to start off with something in your skin tone that will look natural even in direct sunlight. As for skin types, I got the Water Fuse from Dr. Jart because I need something moisturizing as well as correcting and it works perfectly. I still wear primer under it to get that even application and all day coverage. Be sure to look at the different options of creams and choose the one that will be best suited to your skin and makeup needs. Happy hunting!

Urban Decay 15th Anniversary Limited Edition Palette

Boy am I glad I got my hands on this palette. It's hard to find, you may or may not be able to purchase it still since it is a limited edition. I did see some at my local Macy's though! I took this on vacation with me recently and it was so perfect. It was my first introduction to Urban Decay eye shadows and I now clearly see what everyone raves about.

The shadows are so smooth and pigmented, they are like a more refined Stila shadow. The colors are gorgeous and very versatile. At first glance the size of the eye shadows may look small but they pack a lot of punch and you don't need to roll your brush around in them to get enough color. One dab does the trick, so I expect that they will last a long time. If you can get your hands on this palette, buy it. The packaging is pretty if not that efficient. The lid is not a super snug fit, but if you store it properly it won't fall off. The first picture shows the small compartment under the shadows- not sure why they included this feature but it is interesting. I would say store earrings, necklaces, or money in there if you are traveling. Most criminals won't look in a makeup case for money! Overall this is a fabulous palette with great color payoff and quality.

Clarins; Part 1

Full disclosure: I am, in fact, a sales associate for Clarins. This does not skew my viewpoint, I am pretty straightforward when it comes to skincare. If I like it, I will tell you about it! Being a sales associate allows me to get to know each of the products fairly well and gives me opportunities to try them. I have chosen 3 of my favorites to review this time.

Clarins Gentle Brightening Exfoliator (part of the Bright Plus HP line)
This exfoliant is really smooth and creamy. Most exfoliants are not especially creamy, so that makes for a nice surprise- especially in the winter. I have somewhat sensitive skin so I have to use exfoliants sparingly and choose them wisely. This definitely fits the bill; gentle, creamy, effective, and doesn't leave my face red and irritated. With continued use I see clear and more radiant skin without any dry patches or dull areas. You only have to use a pea sized dab, if not less, to get a great exfoliation and cleanse.
1.7 oz, $30

Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil (100% Botanical)
This is one of 3 face treatment oils from Clarins. Blue Orchid is for dehydrated skin, Santal is for dry skin, and Lotus is for oily/combination skin. I use the Blue Orchid oil because my skin can get very dry and flaky in the winter time. I use strong medications to control acne and they can really do a number on your face. The beauty of this facial oil is that you only need 2-3 drops to get full coverage, it is concentrated and spreads easily. The base/carrier oil in this product is hazelnut oil. It does have a strong herbal smell so I recommend smelling before you buy. I love almost every scent so it isn't something that I worry about, but I know other people have more sensitive noses. This oil usually fixes and flakes or dryness overnight. I layer it over my serums and then put moisturizer over the oil. This way you get maximum moisture and effectiveness. It lasts a very long time, I've had my bottle for at least 2 months and as you can see I've hardly made a dent in it.
1 0z, $50

3. Clarins Body Shaping Cream (for stubborn fat)
Why did I stop using this?! ... Because I got lazy. Well, shame on me because it works. I was lucky enough to get a sample size of the body shaping cream to try. I never gave any thought to this type of product and was very skeptical that I would see a difference at all. But, when you are carrying a little extra weight anything besides going to the gym sounds good! Am I right? ;) I used this consistently for at least 2-3 weeks and I did see a difference. Whether it's from the recommended application (massage it in twice daily) or the actual product, it was really nice. I noticed a firmer feel and look to my thighs and abdomen which is where I applied it. The skin was obviously moisturized, but beyond that I saw a tightening effect. Not in a "my skin is tight and vacuum packed" way, but a nice firming of the legs and more contouring in the stomach area. If a product can deliver that in 3 weeks, I look forward to starting it again and seeing what 6 months looks like. I recommend this product wholeheartedly for someone who wants firming and shaping, because I have used it and seen the difference.
7 oz, $62

January 26, 2012

Treating an itchy, flaky, red, and irritated scalp!

This is my lovely significant other, Anoeil. He suffers from sebhorreic dermatitis.

As you can see from the before photo, he was severely distressed about it. We have worked out a routine so that he doesn't have to make that face ever again. And yes, he wears that shirt often. It is cute!

The main source of relief for a red itchy scalp, and surrounding skin, is to try Nizoral. You can find it in places like Walgreens, Safeway, or Target. It's a strong medicated shampoo that also can help with acne. Anoeil uses Nizoral 2-3x a week for a few months until the skin heals and the condition starts to go away. Then he uses a shampoo I picked out for him - Giovanni Triple Tea Tree Treat. This is a great shampoo that is more on the natural side that will maintain scalp balance and health. Use these products as your first line of defense. Give them a few weeks and if you are still suffering, it's probably best to see a dermatologist.