Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Bobbi Brown Cabana Corals Collection

Bobbi Brown Cabana Corals Collection for Spring 2010

Check out this coral-inspired collection from Bobbi Brown for this upcoming spring season! Continue reading →

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Lipstick Queen 9 Minutes of Fame Pop Art Gloss
Lipstick Queen 9 Minutes of Fame Pop Art Gloss

The Scarlet Season: Lipstick Queen 9 Minutes of Fame Pop Art Gloss

Lipstick Queen 9 Minutes of Fame Pop Art Gloss ($16.50 for 1.45ml/0.05 oz.) is a semi-opaque medium red gloss. It comes in a twist-up brush-type applicator, which isn’t my favorite delivery method (it’s the germaphobe in me), but the color is really pretty. It almost seems like it enhances your natural lip color in such a way that it doesn’t really look like you’re wearing a lipstick or gloss — it’s like the color becomes your lips, and then it’s just glossiness after that. It wears well and feels hydrating!  It’s non-sticky, contains no shimmer, and is pretty lightweight.

I do have to mention that this product seems awfully pricey, because a typical gloss (e.g. MAC Lipglass) has 4.2ml for $14… this is not even half as much.

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 more swatches and comparison photosContinue reading →

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

MAC Baroque Boudoir Collection:  Photos & Swatches
MAC The Lap of Luxury Lipgloss

MAC Baroque Boudoir Collection: Lipgloss & Lipstick Lip Swatches

As promised, here are lip swatches for the new, limited edition lipglosses and lipsticks from MAC’s Baroque Boudoir Collection. My lip swatches are always done trying to use what the “reasonable” user would use — so I’m not in the business of spending ten minutes layering a lipstick on nor will I goop on gloss just to get it to show!

I mentioned earlier, in the individual reviews, but D’Nouveau was the most pigmented of the lipglosses, and all three lipsticks were fairly opaque.

See swatchesContinue reading →

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

MAC Baroque Boudoir Collection:  Photos & Swatches

MAC Baroque Boudoir Collection: Lipsticks

Every year, MAC presents us with a very limited edition, small-sized collection that’s decked out in more luxe packaging accompanied by equally more luxe prices. This year’s collection is Baroque Boudoir, which is in matte silver with shiny silver and black filigree overlay. This year’s collection contains a whopping nine items to covet: three lipsticks, three lipglosses, two shades of Sheer Mystery Powder, and a clutch.

The lipsticks are creamy, contain no shimmer, tend to be a little more pigmented, and apply more opaquely on lips, though this year’s are less pigmented than some of the previous years’ launches. Like the Lipglosses, I felt like these shades weren’t particularly special or standout. I’m am surprised, yet again, to not see a really excellent holiday red launched. And again, the price on these? Really obscene. They’re definitely not better than MAC’s lipsticks at $14 a pop; you could say these are, perhaps, a little more moisturizing, but not any more so than MAC’s Amplified Creme finish.

P.S. – I will do lip swatches this afternoon!

Baroque Boudoir Lipstick ($22.00 U.S. / $26.00 CDN)

  • Prive is a blue-based medium pink with a light sheen. It’s creamy, and it goes on so-so, not totally opaque, but still adds plenty of color to my lips. It reminded me of a more subtle Speed Dial Lipstick.
  • Baroque Boudoir is a plummy brown with a light sheen. It’s semi-opaque (you can kind of tell in the swatch) both on the skin and on the lips. I think it’s similar to Spice It Up! (a little redder) or Sheer Plum (a little browner) Lipstick.
  • Treasured is a creamy, semi-opaque neutral beige. MAC says it’s warm, it seemed neutral on me. It really didn’t jump out at me as warm (I almost wanted to say it was cool!). It reminded me of Jubilee! or even a more pigmented Fresh Brew Lipstick.

Let me also give you a quick run-down of the Sheer Mystery Powder, which I chose not to spend solely for the sake of photographing it. My bottom line is I don’t think it’s a particularly good pressed powder, and therefore not even close to being worth the $60 price tag attached to it. The compact is very similar to the Hello Kitty Kouture compacts, just with different embellishments. It’s also similar to Monogram’s from last year. It has some heft to it, but it’s not too heavy (unlike Couture and Stylistic’s compacts).

Sheer Mystery Powder is an extremely lightweight pressed powder. I find it a little too dusty and chalky to really enjoy it, and the shade range is incredibly limited. As NC30, I felt too dark for Light Medium and yet too light for Medium Plus. If you love the packaging, there’s no shame in purchasing it for the compact alone! If it makes you happy, it makes me happy! (Please note, the rating below is only for the lipsticks. For the compact, I’d give it an overall score of C for an average product housed in an overpriced compact.)

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

Recommendation: Like the Lipglosses, if you’re a big fan of the packaging, you might find it’s worth picking up one or two!

Availability: MAC Cosmetics

See more photos and swatchesContinue reading →

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

MAC Baroque Boudoir Collection:  Photos & Swatches
MAC Baroque Boudoir Lipgloss: The Lap of Luxury, Preciousness, D’Nouveau

MAC Baroque Boudoir Collection: Lipglosses

Every year, MAC presents us with a very limited edition, small-sized collection that’s decked out in more luxe packaging accompanied by equally more luxe prices. This year’s collection is Baroque Boudoir, which is in clear packaging with filigree in semi-opaque white overlayed (but to be sure, they’re not stickers). This year’s collection contains a whopping nine items to covet: three lipsticks, three lipglosses, two shades of Sheer Mystery Powder, and a clutch.

The lipglosses are creamy, hydrating, and they’re non-sticky. They do feel a lot like MAC’s Cremesheen Glass, to be honest. They’re about as sheer, too! The glosses themselves are quality and feel very nice on the lips, but my big issue with these is that they’re just out of sync with MAC pricing (which is part of the point of their luxe collection, I’m sure).

They’re not any better or worse than MAC’s Lustreglass (these are completely non-sticky, Lustreglass is mostly non-sticky), which is priced at $14. I will also point out that this year’s shade range is less unique than years’ past, which is a little disappointing. Pretty colors, but you can find decent dupes or similar shades in the permanent range.

P.S. – I will do lip swatches this afternoon!

Baroque Boudoir Lipgloss ($22.00 U.S. / $26.00 CDN)

  • The Lap of Luxury is a sheer, peachy-melon nude with pink shimmer. On my lips, there’s really not much too it: glossy lips with a little bit of peach and pink shimmer. This shade reminded me of Enchantress Lipglass or Love Nectar Lustreglass.
  • Preciousness is an icy pink with a little bit of lilac in it. It is fairly sheer and sort of gives my lips a milky look to them, but it doesn’t add much color, mostly pinky-purple sparkle from the shimmer. This reminded me a lot of Cultured Lipglass or a slightly more purple Luminary Lustreglass (though it’s less noticeably different when applied on lips).
  • D’Nouveau is a raspberry-ish color base with lighter pink and copper flecks of shimmer throughout. It was the most pigmented of the three, but I’d still consider it fairly sheer. It brightened up and added a rosier look to my lips along with the shimmer. I was immediately reminded of Star Nova Lustreglass. This is also kind of like a more berry version of Love Alert Dazzleglass.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

Recommendation: If you’re a fan of the packaging or love non-sticky, creamy glosses like Cremesheen Glass, you might find these worth the splurge.

Availability: MAC Cosmetics

See more photos and swatchesContinue reading →

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Mmm… Body Scrub:  Kiehl’s Lavender Gently Exfoliating Body Scrub

Kiehl’s Lavender Gently Exfoliating Body Scrub ($25.00 for 6.8 fl. oz.) is pretty much my new favorite body scrub.  A part of me is struggling with how to describe what exactly I’m loving about it in such a way that truly conveys how much I adore it, but obviously, I’m going to give it a shot or else this review wouldn’t be here!

This totally does its job!  I don’t know about “gentle” exfoliation, but it has a nice level of grit/abrasiveness that makes it effective without being too harsh.  I’ve used other scrubs touted as gentle/sensitive, and they are definitely much less abrasive than this one, so I just don’t know if I’d really call this gentle.  I’d consider it more of a happy medium between what I’d consider gentle (which I think of as more of sand-sized exfoliating grains) and the average body scrub (that likely has sugar or salt particles for exfoliating).  It’s for your body, and I personally find this to be a good level of abrasiveness.   I couldn’t tell you what exactly they use for their exfoliant other than they’re “natural exfoliation particles.”

Surprisingly, the body scrub was also really hydrating post-application, too.  It both exfoliated, but it didn’t take any moisture out, and I felt like it even added a little to it. I know Kiehl’s website does point out that one of the “key ingredients” is aloe vera, so perhaps that’s where the moisturized feeling comes from.  I do feel like the scrub delivers on its promise to “leave skin silky-soft, refreshed and primed for moisturization.”  It’s also a body scrub that is creamy and lathers up a bit, so it almost feels like both a body scrub and a body wash.  I am a little partial towards body scrubs that also have a more lathering base, because I do find that they’re more moisturizing on the whole and easier to use.

I’m satisfied with the pricing on this product, too, because you get a good amount that will yield plenty of usages.  I found about a nickel-sized dollop was a good amount per leg, and I didn’t feel like I was being skimpy, either–it was just enough to be rich and effective without feeling like I was trying to conserve the product.   There are, obviously, cheaper body scrubs available, but if you’re a Kiehl’s fan, it is a bit on the top line of  their price range, but it’s a solid product.  I’d say that after seeing the pricing on Kiehl’s other body washes and scrubs, it’s about where I’d expect–cheaper than Creme de Corps, but a little pricier than their Ultra Moisturizing.  (I haven’t tried either of those, but now I’m curious!)

The one I tested out has a very lovely lavender scent–there’s nothing to it, it smells exactly as lavender would smell, and I love that.  I do find the scent of lavender to be particularly relaxing, so I often use lavender-based products at night.  I’ve been using this in the shower at night, and then layering a lavender-scented lotion afterward.  It’s soft, not at all overwhelming, and smells very natural.  They also have the scrub in Coriander, Grapefruit, and Pear Tree if Lavender isn’t your thing.

Bottom Line: This is definitely one of my favorite body scrubs of all time, and it’s my new go-to since I started using it.  I’m going to take a sniff at the other scents next time I’m near the Kiehl’s counter, but I have a feeling Lavender is the best scent for me.

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: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Body scrub buffs should look into Kiehl’s for a moisturizing, gritty scrub!

Availability: Nordstrom