Monday, February 8th, 2010

100,000 Years of Beauty

Beauty and the Brain:  100,000 Years of Beauty

100,000 Years of Beauty ($295.00, currently listed at $239) is a set of five books designed to be an extremely comprehensive study of the evolution and history of beauty. 100,000 Years of Beauty was commissioned by the L’Oreal Corporate Foundation (to celebrate their 100th anniversary!), but it is a wonderful set of books to go through if you’re a knowledge-hungry beauty addict.

100,000 Years of Beauty is the culmination of a study which identifies many approaches to beauty in all civilizations throughout the ages, including a look into the future. A major editorial endeavor, uniting contributions from 300 writers of 35 different nationalities and 20 different disciplines, 100,000 Years of Beauty brings original insights into the quest for beauty. At the heart of the book is a central theme that throughout all civilizations the quest for beauty is universal. Through this initiative, the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation hopes to share knowledge and encourage the emergence of new perspectives about beauty.

The books come in a “pyramid” with each book sized differently (the first being the smallest, the fifth being the largest) and stacked inside the book “holder.” The first book is titled “Prehistory” and goes through the early history of beauty in various societies. The second book is titled “Antiquity,” which takes a look at the changes that have changed the “pursuit of beauyt.” The third book is titled “Classical Age” and goes through beauty in both the medieval and early modern periods. The fourth book is titled “Globalization” and explores beauty through the modern era. The fifth book is titled “The Future,” and it looks at how the digital age and technology-driven period will change the way we look at beauty going forward.

One of the details I really liked about the set is that there are a variety of topics and voices. You’re not reading just one perspective, but hundreds; you get to read so many different authors with varying backgrounds–from historians to anthropologists. The other detail I like is that these are real books. These are not flimsy paperbacks with nothing to them. These are nicely weighted, thick pages with color-rich images and presented in style.

This set of books is a bit overwhelming–there are over 1,500 pages to go through–but it’s done exquisitely (and rightly so, given the price tag). These are the kind of books that you flip through, admire the images, and read over a long period of time. If I didn’t also eat dinner on my coffee table, I’d love to keep these right in the middle. I’m still working my way through it, page by page, but if you’ve ever wondered just how far back beauty has dated or what kind of beauty “rituals” were performed hundreds of years ago and how they’ve shaped beauty as it stands today–this is something to put on your wish list.

See photos of the inside! Continue reading →

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

L'Oreal Plumped Red Lipgloss
L’Oreal Plumped Red Infallible Plumping Lipgloss

The Scarlet Season: L’Oreal Plumped Red Infallible Plumping Lipgloss

L’Oreal Plumped Red #306 Infallible Plumping Lipgloss ($9.99) is a sheer, lightly tinted orange-based red lipgloss with “plumping power.” It lightly plumps up lips with just a touch of a tingle, which I didn’t find too bothersome (and I’d say I’m particularly sensitive to lip plumpers and find the majority overwhelming). I wish the color was bolder and more opaque, because it is rather subtle and sheer. It does, however, significantly tint and add redness to my lips, and it wears well, because it has a tendency to stain a little rather than sit on top of lips like a typical gloss. It has the faintest bit of shimmer, but it’s hardly noticeable on lips.

What about you? Would you wear this red?

The Scarlet Season is a series of posts showcasing and featuring my favorite shades of red lips–from glosses to lipsticks that runs through December 2009. You can sure expect to see a lot of red this holiday season!

Check out more photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Monday, October 26th, 2009


L’Oreal HIP Chrome Eyeliner: Black Shock, Silver Lightning, Gold Charge, Violet Volt

L’Oreal HIP Chrome Eyeliner ($10.00) pencil eyeliners with a chrome detail to them. The formula currently has four shades available:

  • Black Shock is a deep black satin — this one didn’t really read metallic or chrome to me, but it’s such an ultra dark black, I love it and don’t care at all that it isn’t more chrome-d out!
  • Silver Lightning is a shiny bright silver with a definite chrome effect.
  • Gold Charge is a deep gold with a decent amount of brightness to it.
  • Violet Volt is a dark violet purple, almost a jewel-tone purple, with a slight metallic sheen (not quite as strong as Silver Lightning or Gold Charge).

I’m not often impressed by a lot of color products available at mass retailers, but when I am, I get very excited to share with others about my find! These are one of those instances where I was utterly blown away (and am a little annoyed with myself for sitting on these–not testing them, that is–for over two months) by the pigmentation, feel, and quality of the product.

These Chrome Eyeliners are ultra soft when you touch them, and the feel reminds me of an even softer version of Urban Decay’s 24/7 Liners, which I absolutely adore. These are so soft that I’d actually say it’s one of the minor issues with working with these – if you apply these with too much pressure (as is easy to do when swatching, ha!), the product may break a bit. I’m not sure if L’Oreal has a good sharpener for these, but they worked well with my Urban Decay one (which, coincidentally, works best on my 24/7 Liners, too).

The color pigmentation is amazing — very true to color and bright and bold. There’s no sheer color here. They apply easily because they’re so soft and smooth, and they just glide onto the lash line with no fuss. I will say the first time I applied these on my lower lash line and lower waterline, my eyes teared up and watered a fair amount. The liner stayed pretty well in place on the lower lash line and faded after an hour so of watery eyes on the waterline (to be expected).

I layered both Black Shock and Silver Lightning together a few days later, and I didn’t find my eyes teared up at all. I doubt very much that these are waterline tested or labeled safe, so just want to caution those looking for something to use on the waterline. Nonetheless, I found the liners wore well throughout the day and didn’t smudge or migrate on my lower lash line.

Bottom Line: Whether you find these at full price or are able to get a good deal (buy one, get one!), these are worth every penny. (I will say that $10 for an eyeliner at mass is a bit steep for me.) Soft, bold color that lasts for hours and stays put. I was just about to give up on L’Oreal, but these are totally amazing. Now, I’m a bit more eager to see what else L’Oreal releases in the future!

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

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

Recommendation: For metallic, chrome-a-licious eyeliner, L’Oreal HIP makes a fantastic product to check out next time you’re at the drugstore!

Availability: Drugstore.com

See swatchesContinue reading →

Monday, October 26th, 2009


L’Oreal #301 Real Red Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: L’Oreal #301 Real Red Lipstick

L’Oreal #301 Colour Riche Anti-Aging Serum Lipstick ($9.99) may not be my favorite or choice in lipstick formula, but it is a more affordable line of decent lip color (the packaging really kills it for me, unfortunately). Colour Riche is very creamy and hydrating on lips, and the color is a slightly sheered out opaque orange-based red. It reminded me of a sheerer, lighter version of Giorgio Armani’s #401 Rouge d’Armani Lipstick. If I had to pick, I would go Armani, but I realize that it doesn’t fit everyone’s budget, so I thought it’d be good to feature this particular L’Oreal shade as a more budget-friendly alternative!

What do you think of this shade of scarlet?

The Scarlet Season is a series of posts showcasing and featuring my favorite shades of red lips–from glosses to lipsticks that runs through December 2009. You can sure expect to see a lot of red this holiday season!

See comparison shotContinue reading →

Monday, October 5th, 2009


Animated

L’Oreal HIP Matte Eyeshadow Duos ($9.99) are a more budget-friendly way of obtaining brighter, more pigmented eyeshadows. Each contains two shades of matte eyeshadows with a total weight of 0.08 oz. L’Oreal currently has five different matte eyeshadow duos available: Animated, Dashing, Perky, Poppy, and Striking.

  • Animated contains a chalky grayish-white and a periwinkle blue.
  • Perky contains a medium bright grassy green and a grayish-black.

I don’t love the matte eyeshadow duos. They’re okay–about average–but they’re not stellar. Since they’re matte, I do expect some chalkiness when I swatch, which is always minimized when you’re actually applying them with a brush. Nonetheless, the whitish side of Animated definitely looked and felt chalky and almost garish. I did love the shade of periwinkle blue in Animated, though–not a shade you see often, period. Perky has a lovely shade of green that doesn’t feel chalky or powdery, but the darker grayish-black shade has a lot of drag and just doesn’t have a great texture. So in the end, each duo only has one good shade–the other half is just so-so.

For comparison, a MAC eyeshadow contains 0.05 oz. of product and retails for $14.50 each. You get 0.03 oz. more and pay $9.99 a pop. A lot of mass retailer brands, like L’Oreal HIP, do go on sale on a frequent basis, so when they’re on sale, I’d be more willing to purchase these. At full price, I feel like it’s more than I want to pay for L’Oreal. I do consider the HIP line to be one of the better pigmented eyeshadow lines available at mass. I just wish you could swatch before you bought!

Bottom line: I wouldn’t pay full price ($9.99) for either of these duos, and I’d only really recommend Animated for the periwinkle blue, just because I don’t see that color in a lot of other lines. I love that L’Oreal is bringing matte color to the forefront, and I think the price point is affordable for many, particularly if they’re on sale.

  • Product: 21/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: If you can catch L’Oreal’s H.I.P. line on sale, they’re worth trying. Paying full price on the other hand…

Availability: Drugstores/Mass Retailers

See photos and swatches…  Continue reading →

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

L’Oreal Double Extend Beauty Tubes Mascara

L’Oreal Double Extend Beauty Tubes Mascara ($10.95) is a lengthening mascara that uses tube technology to create longer, more dramatic lashes. I tried it in Blackest Black, which is an intense black, though not the darkest black I’ve tried.

Double Extend definitely adds lengths to lashes, but it clumped up pretty easily on my stringy little lashes, so it definitely requires a lash comb afterward to get lashes to look a little more natural. This mascara really is designed to add length, so it doesn’t do much in terms of adding volume or thickening lashes. For me, not the best mascara, because my lashes need more than just length (they really do need a lot of help–volume, thickness, and length!).

It stays true the claim of being smudge-proof and budge-proof–until you get into water–which is great for contacts wearers. It rinses off fairly easily with water over makeup remover, so a good shower is an optimal time to remove this mascara, but over the sink works just as well. Even though the $10.95 price tag is steep for a drugstore mascara, if you keep an eye out for sales/promotions, the price is much more in line with my expectations.

  • Product: 6/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: If you have naturally thick and voluminous lashes, Double Extend is great for adding a little more length. Otherwise, you may want to check out L’Oreal’s Voluminous instead.

Availability: Drugstore.com

See comparison photosContinue reading →