Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream
Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream

Soothe Dry, Cracked Cuticles with Burt’s Bees

Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream ($5.99 for 0.60 oz.) is designed to help hydrate dry cuticles, brittle nails, and fingertips. It uses a combination of sweet almond oil, beeswax, vitamin E, and cocoa butter to do so. It smells like lemonade–sweet, lemony, but it’s not synthetic. There’s a little tartness still left, so it’s not cloyingly sweet.

I’m one of those people who would love to use hand cream/lotion regularly, apply cuticle oil/cream nightly, and so on, but frankly, I suck at it. I always forget, and on the rare occasion I remember, half of the time, I’m too lazy.  I have hand cream by my nightstand and my desk.  I’m trying to improve those bad behaviors, because my hands really could use additional nourishment–especially as the temperatures come down.  What’s nice about this cuticle cream is how quickly it works and how effect it is even if you only use it sparingly.  I suffer from dry, dehydrated cuticles/fingertips; not so much cracked, definitely not bleeding, and I don’t have brittle nails, so those are the conditions which I tested this under.

I picked this up a few weeks during Drugstore.com’s big ol’ 40% off sale on a whim, and I’m really glad I did.  It comes in a metal tin, and inside is a solid balm.  It really is quite solid, which I thought would make it difficult to apply, but it actually encourages you to use less product (which is all you need) and minimizes any excess so you aren’t left with greasy fingertips.  Because it doesn’t immediately dry down, it’s best used at night, which is what’s recommended, and I always wake up with hydrated, soothed cuticles (and wherever else I put it).  In a pinch, it can also help moisturize dry spots as well as smooth flyaways.

See more photos! Continue reading →

Friday, November 25th, 2011

By Amanda, Traveling Contributor

While earning her degree at university, Amanda traveled around the world to a plethora of countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. She currently lives on New York City’s Upper East Side where is pursuing a graduate degree and working in education. Amanda has studied the histories of beauty around the world and is herself, an avid admirer and practitioner of the beauty techniques she studies.

To track her travels, thoughts, and techniques follow her at www.aklectique.com. As a world traveler (and with more travel plans on the horizon), she’ll be offering a unique perspective of the amazing local brands and products she’s discovered and still discovering.


Traveling Must-Haves by a World Traveler

I’d like to share with you what I take with me whenever I go traveling. From the High-Atlas Berber villages in Morocco, to the Pyramids in Cairo, to Red Sea just off the coast of Saudi Arabia, to Diocletian’s palace in Croatia, and through Nottingham’s rainy days, these products have proven their metaphorical “valor” for their resilient consistency and inherent capacity to work well across varying climate conditions.

I’ve found that my MAC Studio Careblend Pressed Power ($23.00) works for me in all whether conditions. Whether it be the 125 degree weather in Egypt or -30s in New Hampshire, this product provides the same consistent coverage and staying power across temperatures. I’d find that my bronzer and highlighter (listed below) are best suited for all temperatures below 85 degrees. If the temperature is higher, I risk looking shiny all day long. Finally Benefit’s One Hot Minute ($30.00) adds the perfect amount of matte color to my face to prevent me from looking washed-out in any climate.

Now, the eyes are almost a free-for-all. I tend to keep in neutral when I am traveling so as to not stand out as a foreigner too much.  (Below is a more detailed list of eye products that I’ve found to last underwater in Jamaica and Croatia, as well as after a long day of work.)  To the complete the visage, my must-have lip product is my Burt’s Bees Sun Protect Lip Balm ($3.99). This lip balm neutralizes the color of my lips and allows me to then apply pigmented lip product that is appropriate for the given situation. More often than not, I find myself using MAC Snob ($14.50) or Revlon’s Nude Attitude ($7.99).

Just remember: When traveling, less is more!

Check out Amanda’s list of must-have products for travel! Continue reading →

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011


Holiday Gift Guide: Totally Holiday, Totally Gift-Worthy and Under $30

First, I want to cover holiday gift sets, kits, palettes, and value sets specifically and exclusively. There are several more posts to come, including items from holiday color collections as well as permanent products and more. I tried to take into account the incredible input I received from readers, so the whole guide is broken down by price with special attention to different categories of products (e.g. lipgloss vs. eyeshadow), as well as I tried to provide commentary on who the gift might work for.

A Few Money-Saving Tips

  • If you’re on a tight budget this year but feel you absolutely must buy something to gift, consider doling out more on a single value kit/set but then breaking it up. For instance, a kit with ten lipglosses can be split and gifted to two or three or even ten people. You can buy festive holiday ribbon at a local crafts store to tie around the gloss, or you could include a few holiday candies or homemade baked goods.
  • Splitting up sets is also a great idea if you’re looking for stocking stuffers or you want to do more mixing-and-matching of gifts for your favorite pals (say a gloss, eyeliner, and lipstick).
  • When it comes to getting the most for your money, pay attention to the amount of product you’re getting and compare to the full-sized version (and its price).
  • Consider nail polish sets and kits; some come around for the holidays (but availability online may be difficult), there are lots of fantastic brands for $2-5 a pop, so you can get a good variety without breaking the bank.

Eyes: Snag two travel-sized eyeliners (which are usually around 0.03 oz., compared to 0.04 oz. for full size) in Oil Slick and Rockstar in Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil Duo ($14.00); there is also one in Bourbon and Ransom. Bare Escentuals Strike It Rich Prime Time Collection ($28.00) contains five miniature-sized versions of the brand’s colored primer, which I’m a fan of; the only way the kit could have been better is if they included Urban Nature!

Cheeks/Face: Trial kits like Benefit One Prime Day ($10.00) are great for personal use but also to give, because you’re giving someone the chance to try new products they might not otherwise buy, but if you’re not totally sure they’ll love them, neither of you will feel bad. I’d give this to a friend who complained about their oily skin! Something else to consider is Benefit’s Powda WOWza, which consists of three top-selling face powders (and two that I love): CORALista, Bella Bamba, and Hoola.

Lips: This is an easily one of the best places to get a lot of bank for your buck when it comes to holiday sets–there are numerous lipgloss/lipstick kits available. I love the sheer, tinted hydrating lip shines, and the Philosophy Much Mistletoeing Lip Shine Set ($20.00 for 4×0.50 oz.) is a good value (these are full-sized!) and already comes in festive packaging. Korres has a great lipgloss formula in their Cherry Oil Lipglosses, and for the holidays, they have a Cherry-Picked Cherry Oil Lipgloss Quad ($28.00 for 4×0.20o oz.) set–and don’t let the word “quad” fool you, because they’re four individually packaged glosses that are full-sized. For lip balm, you know I’m loving and have to recommend Jack Black Balm Squad Lip Quad ($25.00 for 4×0.25 oz.) includes four full-sized lip balms of my very favorite formula in four flavors (there is also a lip balm/hand cream duo for $12, and both formulas TOPS!).

Skin/Body: Badger Three Bold Balms Set ($15.99) is a fabulous balm for healing dry, cracked skin, and this set gives you one to help with sore muscles, another for everywhere, and one scented to help you sleep–a totally classic multi-purpose balm but in a cuter set for the holidays. Bliss Winter Wonder Hands ($11.00) is a duo of hand creams that are purse-sized and fit easily into stockings. It’s not my very favorite hand cream, but it’s a good one! Burt’s Bees Healthy Hands Repair Kit ($12.99) is perfect for someone who works with their hands or loves to do their nails (and is therefore meticulous about their hands!).

When it comes to body care, my favorite go-tos for gifts are Philosophy and Bath and Body Works. Philosophy has numerous gift sets available (from all categories they offer), but a few of the ones I like best are Sugar Plum Frost Set ($18.00), Candy Cane Trio ($22.00), and Fun in the Frosty Air Trio ($25.00). Similarly, Bath and Body Works has tons of various baskets and sets. Giving body products are excellent gift ideas for people who enjoy relaxing (think baths and long showers) or for those you don’t know well enough to be able to pick a specific color for. If you’re unsure about someone’s scent preferences, food-based scents tend to be most generally applicable, so long as they’re not cloyingly sweet.

Fragrance:  They may be teeny-tiny, but you’ll be surprised at how many uses you’ll still get out of Tocca’s Love Yourself Collection ($18.00 for 7×0.05 oz.). Pacifica Hawaiian Ruby Guava Take Me There Set ($18.00) contains travel-sized versions of the scent’s rollerball perfume, body butter, and body wash, which would be a great layering kit, especially for someone who enjoys fruitier, tropical scents.

Do you have any suggestions for readers on the prowl for affordable holiday gifts this year that came out just in time for holiday gift-giving?

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Burt's Bees Pomegranate Night Creme
Burt’s Bees Pomegranate Night Creme

Quick Review: Burt’s Bees Pomegranate Night Creme

Burt’s Bees Naturally Ageless Night Creme ($24.99 for 2 oz.) is a rich, moisturizing cream that doesn’t actually feel rich or heavy or much like a cream at all. It felt more like a gel cream, because of the lighter texture and the cooling sensation (not tingly, just… cool). There is a noticeable but not overwhelming scent of sweet-tart berry and pomegranate that I don’t find heavy or cloying, but it is there.

Ingredients: Water, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Alcohol Denatured, White Birch Bark Extract, Acmellia Oleracea Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Sucrose Stearate, Xanthan Gum, Sucrose Distearate, Fragrance (Parfum), Glucose, Sodium Chloride, Lactoperoxidase, Glucose Oxidase

I liked that it absorbed within three to five minutes and didn’t leave behind any greasy residue or feeling on the skin, which some heavier night creams can do. It kept my skin soft, smooth, and moisturized during the six weeks I used it (at this point, I had finished the jar). I think this is a great moisturizer for normal to very dry skin types, and it’s budget-friendly, too! Now, if only we could ditch the jar packaging…

Welcome to Swatch-all-idays! To start 2011 off on the right foot (or post, as it may be!), Temptalia is going through a backlog of products we have photographed, swatched, and often tested but in a slightly different manner. Quick reviews may be partially incomplete, such as a blush may only be swatched on the arm rather than shown on the face. It is our hope that what we are able to provide is still helpful!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: It’s a nice option for a heavy duty moisturizing cream for night time that won’t feel heavy or greasy.

AVAILABILITY: Drugstore.com

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Visit www.votefornatural.com to learn about why natural is the way to go. Later this year, you should start seeing The Natural Seal (the green seal pictured above) on products that meet The Natural Standard for Personal Care Products. What I liked about the website is they have a portion devoted to explaining what is considered “Truly Natural.” You can learn about what types of ingredients can be used, the processes that fall under the umbrella, and so on.

Put simply, natural ingredients are profoundly effective, inspiring to your senses, better for the environment and beneficial to your well-being. When you vote for truly natural products, you’re already a winner because they’re simply good for you!

Oh, and I did I mention there are some prizes for those who “vote natural”? You get a chance to win a limited edition C&C California for Burt’s Bees T-shirt or a year’s worth of products ($500 value).