Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Add a Little Holiday Opulence to Your Look

Estee Lauder Opulent Shimmer Powder ($32.00) is a limited edition, holiday highlighter from Este Lauder’s Ultimate Red Collection.

It has this kind of basketweave-esque pattern on the outer portion of it, which is slightly bronzer, while the inner hexagon is flat and more of a beige-y shade. Nevertheless, you swirl and mix both sections together to get a shimmery shade of beige-y gold. It was surprisingly subtle and not at all frosty or glittery — very smooth, soft, and appropriate In my swatch, you can see that it doesn’t show up too bright or look glittery, but it lays on skin quite well. I’d say my arm is somewhere around NC20 or so, for reference.

Certainly not as pretty (just as far as the pattern goes!) as Lancome’s Sparkling Cherub, but it’s more my style and something I’d reach for more often. I found Lancome’s Sparkling Cherub to run deeper and have more of a semi-matte finish–it just felt more like a bronzer than a highlighter to me. I do feel like they’re very different products, so it’s more a matter of what you’re looking for and what you want the product to do. If you’re just looking for a shimmery highlighter, Estee Lauder’s is your better bet; if you’re looking to add more warmth to your skin, Lancome’s is the way to go.

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you’re in the market for a soft, smooth golden highlighter, you might like this limited edition holiday offering.

Availability: Nordstrom

See swatches… Continue reading →

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009


Philosophy’s The Gingerbread Man

Scrub-a-dub with Philosophy’s The Gingerbread Man

Philosophy The Gingerbread Man Body Scrub ($25.00 for 23 oz.) is a hot salt scrub with a citrus-y ginger scent.

I was actually disappointed that this didn’t smell more like gingerbread, because it was definitely more natural ginger scent with a kick of citrus–maybe orange–instead. Philosophy is usually totally on target with scent, so I’m not sure if maybe I just expected the wrong scent. It’s not a bad smell, but it wasn’t what I expected!

I was also a little confused over the best way to apply/use it, because it is advertised as a scrub for the “tub and shower,” but the instructions tell you to apply to dry skin, rub in a circular motion, and then rinse off. I don’t know about you, but once I’m in the shower, there really isn’t any dry skin anymore! I tried it on dry skin once, right before I jumped into the shower, and I don’t think it’s the way to go. It felt much too harsh, was tough to apply (there wasn’t enough slip), and it was messy (I had salt granules all over my floor for days, much to my boyfriend’s chagrin).

So, after that, I decided to try it another way — in the shower. So, so much better! It’s a gritty scrub as it uses big salt particles to exfoliate, which means it might not be appropriate if you prefer softer granules or have sensitive skin. In the shower, it’s just gritty enough to give you lots of exfoliation while you rub it onto damp skin. It does dissolve, but it doesn’t do so immediately upon contact with water — you can get a few minutes of “scrubbing” time in before it’s time to rinse and still have granules left.

Bottom Line: I didn’t notice much of a warming feel–maybe just slightly–but I did have much smoother, softer skin post-shower, and the scrub itself has enough hydration to keep my skin from getting scaly. I like that there’s no greasy residue or oily feel afterward as well! It’s a solid scrub, and you certainly get plenty for your money. After years of trying different scrubs, I’ve found I prefer slightly less coarse scrubs, so that’s why this one didn’t have me on my feet — but it’s still a worthwhile scrub if you do prefer coarse, salt-based scrubs.

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you like coarser bodys scrubs, you may enough this one.

Availability: Nordstrom, Sephora

See more photos… Continue reading →

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009


Dolce & Gabbana Gold Lipstick

Holiday Dazzle:  Dolce & Gabbana Gold Lipstick

Dolce & Gabbana Gold Shine Lipstick ($30.00) is a shimmery, shiny dose of bronzy-copper with flecks of coppery gold. This is not really a shade that works best alone but as a layering tool. This is a great lipstick to layer to achieve a warmer, brighter, or more shimmery lip color. It works particularly well under semi-sheer to sheer red-based lipglosses! It is semi-opaque, actually, because it does significantly cover lips, but since it’s more shimmer than lip color, it can look patchy on its own if you’re not careful.  Even though it’s a shade I’d wear with other products, it can still be worn alone since it has decent coverage.  Dolce & Gabbana lipsticks are very creamy, smooth, and always last a good four to five hours on my lips.

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Add some dazzle to your lips with this shimmery lipstick from Dolce & Gabbana!

Availability: Saks Fifth Avenue

See swatches... Continue reading →

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Lancome Retro Rouge Lipstick
Lancome Retro Rouge Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: Lancome Retro Rouge Lipstick

Lancome Retro Rouge Color Design Lipstick ($22.00 for 0.15 oz.) is a creamy, opaque shade that gives you full coverage in just one swipe. It’s a bold, bright cheery red with just a touch of pink. It has a lovely glossy sheen with a smidgen of shimmer sprinkled throughout. It really gave my lips a juicy look–that’s the best description I could think of–and it felt incredibly weightless. I found it wore well and got about four to five hours of wear without much fuss, too.  I think what surprised me about this particular formula and lipstick was just how rich in color and high the pigmentation was–I just wasn’t expecting it to be so true-to-word.

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!

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Monday, December 7th, 2009


Illamasqua Avenge Lipstick

Brighten Up the Winter:  Illamasqua Avenge Lipstick

Illamasqua Avenge Lipstick (£14.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a new shade from their winter collection Dystopia. It’s a hot fuchsia pink with cool undertones and a matte finish. It has just a touch of sheen, but it really is quite matte. Illamasqua’s matte lipsticks are some of the least drying matte lipsticks around, but they may be more drying than some are used to (if you haven’t tried out mattes before — most of them can be a smidgen drying). Avenge is easy to apply, goes on creamy and doesn’t stick in places, so it gives lips even, opaque coverage without much fuss.

The only downside? It’s only available in the UK or through the website (which will ship outside of the UK!), but it is still a bit of a bummer.

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Love yourself some hot pink? Might like Avenge…

Availability: Illamasqua

See more swatches and photos… Continue reading →

Monday, December 7th, 2009


First row: Heli-Yum, Sugar High, Something Sweet
Second row: High Hopes, Peachykeen, Happy Go Lucky
Third row: Lemon Fizz, Four Leaf Clover, Re-Fresh Mint
Fourth row: Flyin’ High, Grape Pop, Light As Air

China Glaze Up & Away Collection Review Round-up

The twelve shades from Up & Away are all creme finish, which means that they’re creamy and have absolutely no shimmer whatsoever. I didn’t find these the easiest to apply from the beginning, but I did find that after I initially applied three or four of them, I started to figure out what worked and what didn’t for these. I did, however, really love the range of shades included in this launch and really felt like they covered the entire rainbow.

Temptalia Recommendations

Must-Haves: Four Leaf Clover, Sugar High, Re-Fresh Mint
Nice-to-Haves: Something Sweet, Lemon Fizz, Flyin’ High, Light As Air
Skip: –

I don’t think any of these merit a skip, because none of them performed horribly — it’s really a matter of what kind of shades you gravitate towards and which ones you just know aren’t your thing. (Like bright yellows? Not really my thing.) I found the darker/deeper colors to be the easiest to apply, with the lighter ones more prone to streaking, but as you can see, I was able to get creamy, smooth results with all the shades.

Here are some tips I learned about application for these spring shades…

  • Experiment with thickness of coats and number of coats. I found one thin coat (which might even be streaky) followed by a slightly thicker second coat gave me the results I wanted.
  • Make sure to use a base coat and top coat. The base coat will give the polish a smoother surface and something better to anchor to, which will help the polish look and feel more even and smooth. (It also helps it last longer!)
  • Patience is a virtue. You don’t need to wait ten minutes in-between coats, but I would advise waiting anywhere from 30 seconds to a couple of minutes. Since I went for a fairly thin first coat, I didn’t have to wait long before it was dry enough to layer on a second coat.

Shade by Shade Reviews

China Glaze’s spring collection certainly caught your eye, and I was really pleasantly surprised by just how many nail polish fans we have on this blog! I will definitely try to be more consistent and include more coverage on nail polish in the future (though let’s take a break for a few days!).

What are your favorites?