Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Philosophy Holiday Spice and Everything Nice Gift Set ($20.00) includes Holiday Spice and Everything Nice Shower Gel (8 oz.) and Lip Shine (0.5 oz.). It’s just one of the many gift sets available from Philosophy’s Holiday Collection.

Holiday Spice and Everything Nice is kind of a holiday-esque spicy scent blend with a citrus-y feel. I found it definitely had a slight orange-y citrus scent to it, amongst the holiday spice. I can’t really describe what it smells like, except Christmas, to me. Philosophy doesn’t do much better, as they describe this scent as, “a sensational blend of citrus and all your favorite warm holiday spices, created to heighten your holiday experience and give you the warm-fuzzies.”

I found that that the Lip Shine had a stronger scent than the shower gel, and like most Philosophy shower gels, the scent doesn’t linger much further than the bathroom. (This is good for me, since I usually use a scented body lotion or perfume, so I’d rather not deal with how things layer.) Philosophy’s Lip Shines are non-sticky, slightly jelly-esque, and tend to be more shimmer than color. I didn’t notice much taste (more like tasteless) in the product when I licked my lips, though.

This set isn’t really a value set, because you don’t really save any money by buying the two products together, but you don’t spend more to get them together, either. Also, as far as I know, you can only purchase full-sized shower gels, which are $16 for 16 oz., and this is half the size. Since I’m more of a “gotta try ‘em all” person when it comes to Philosophy’s shower gels, I’m more apt to try out their kits. (But then again, I also collect their Lip Shines!)

I do feel like Philosophy keeps their products are a relatively affordable price point when it comes non-mass brands. One bottle of shower gel lasts me months, and I adore the variety of scents they offer.

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

Recommendation:  It’s not my favorite scent, BUT I think if you like Christmas-y scents, you may like this one.  I love Philosophy shower gels, though, so if the scent is up your alley, I recommend it!

Availability: Nordstrom, Philosophy

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Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Benefit Powderazzi ($30.00 for 3 0.10 oz. powders) is part of Benefit’s holiday offerings, and it features three shades of their popular powders: CORALista, Dallas, and Hoola.

This past summer, I reviewed and adored Benefit’s CORALista powder, which is a soft, pinky-coral with subtle sheen. I loved it then, and I still love it now. It’s particularly flattering on my warm-toned skin, and I’ve always been a big fan of wearing coral. I’m glad they chose to include it in their powder trio this year!

Also featured is Hoola, which is a matte medium dark cocoa brown meant to be used as a bronzer. I rarely wear bronzer, but when I do, I tend to gravitate towards very lightly shimmered or matte shades, like Hoola. Hoola also feels more like a neutral shade, so it’s something that has more universal appeal.

The third shade in this trio is Dallas, which is a plummy color with kind of a dirty feel. It reminded me a bit of MAC’s Marign blush, but more on the plum side. It’s not as shimmery as CORALista, but it definitely has a sheen and shimmer to it. I think this is a great shade for the fall/winter, where darker cheeks always feel more appropriate (to me, at least).

The packaging is typical Benefit — cute print on cardboard packaging. I don’t tote my makeup around very often, so I don’t mind cardboard packaging. Others who often toss products into their bag may find the cardboard will take a beating, though it probably won’t disintegrate or anything–it just won’t look perfect.

As far as size goes, you get 0.3 oz. of product total in this kit, and each full-size Benefit powder goes for $28 for 0.4 oz. You’re paying a little extra to be able to try three shades at once rather than picking up one huge-sized powder. This is a good opportunity to try three shades without having to purchase all three separately. If you find you love any of the three enough that you actually finish it, the full-size is available to you.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’ve wanted to try out Benefit’s powders in the past but haven’t wanted to fork over the money for each one, this trio may prove a better chance for you to try a variety of colors instead.

Availability: November 2009 at Ulta

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Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Lippmann Collection Superstar Nail Lacquer ($35.00 for 3 0.5 oz. lacquers) is another shade that’s part of Lippmann Collection “Celebrate” Nail Set. It also includes Ruby Red Slippers and Funky Chunky (which is similar to Ruby Red Slippers, except it’s a black jelly base with black glitter).

While I don’t love Superstar quite as much as Ruby Red Slippers, I do love it quite a bit! The black-brown jelly base with the small-sized muted copper-orange glitter particles looks ridiculously perfect for the fall/Halloween. In fact, as soon as I finish up swatching up a few more polishes I’ve been meaning to review, I’m going to be doing an alternating manicure of Ruby Red Slippers and Superstar for Halloween. Ahh, so perfect!

Superstar goes opaque and full-on glitter within two medium-thick coats of lacquer, and it dries pretty fast, actually, even without a fast drying top coat.

As with any glitter polish, removal isn’t the easiest or quickest, but I consider it something that just goes with the territory. I know some dislike the clean-up rituals associated with glitter polishes, but I didn’t find it too time consuming or difficult. My technique is to take a cotton pad soaked in remover and let it sit on my nail for about 2-3 seconds (just press the pad against the nail), then move to another nail, repeat… and then go back and remove the polish.

Superstar is currently only available in the Celebrate Set, so value-wise, it’s a good deal, since you get three for $35, rather than $16 a pop.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: I’m slowly falling in love with Lippmann lacquers. The glitter is so sparkly and glitzy–I die! If you love glitter, this is a great set.

Availability: Nordstrom

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009


Lippmann Ruby Red Slippers Nail Lacquer

Lippmann Collection Ruby Red Slippers Nail Lacquer ($35.00 for 3 0.5 oz. lacquers) is part of Lippmann’s “Celebrate” Nail Lacquer Set, which features three shades of nail lacquers (two new and limited to the set–at least for now).

Ruby Red Slippers is, quite possibly, one of the most beautiful nail lacquers I’ve ever seen. It’s absolutely stunning. It’s a burgundy-black jelly base with two sizes of red glitter–small glitter particles mixed with larger, hexagon-shaped glitter. The combination of the two glitter sizes is unique and fun, but just the dark base with the rich ruby red glitter is gorgeous.  I know in the photos the red seems a little fiery, but when I look at my nails in natural lighting, I see more of a scarlet, ruby red.

The formula stays on with minimal tip wear when I used it with Zoya’s Color Lock System (base, top, and fast drying coats). It’s easy to apply, and the glitter doesn’t seem to drag much, so you do get a nice look. As with most glitters, you won’t necessarily get a 100% uniform look, but it doesn’t bother me. I used just two medium-thick coats to get a good, solid look with plenty of sparkle.

I know some dislike the clean-up rituals associated with glitter polishes, but I didn’t find it too time consuming or difficult.  My technique is to take a cotton pad soaked in remover and let it sit on my nail for about 2-3 seconds (just press the pad against the nail), then move to another nail, repeat… and then go back and remove the polish.

Bottom Line: LOVE THIS. The kit is $35, and you do get this plus two other polishes (and let me say, Super Star is divine–will review it separately), so I absolutely think the value on these is fantastic, considering Lippmann lacquers usually retail for $16 a pop.

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

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

Recommendation: If you love glittery nails, I think these are tops. They’re great shades for fall and winter, but Ruby Red Slippers just blows my mind!

Availability: Nordstrom

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009


Bobbi Brown Chrome Eyeshadow: Gold, Silver, Pewter

Bobbi Brown Chrome Eyeshadow ($22.00 for 0.1 oz.) are new and limited edition from Bobbi Brown’s Holiday Collection for the holiday season.

These are stunning metallic finish eyeshadows — ultra pigmented, feel like butter, and blend easily. There are three shades available: Gold, which is a darker bronzy-gold; Silver, which is a bright metallic silver-gray; and Pewter, which is a taupe-brown gold with a silver-gold sheen. All three are equally amazing, just from the first use. They’re so soft, and each shade packs plenty of color. I think I may have to get a back-up of Pewter, because it’s just such an excellent color in a stellar formula. (I’m totally planning to use Pewter as a one-swipe-and-you’re-done shade!)

Bottom Line: Considering the size of the shadow (they’re cheaper than MAC, by the ounce!), the sleek packaging of Bobbi Brown (though it does hold fingerprints), and the amazing quality of these shadows… I am in love! So smooth, so rich in color, and I’m all over anything metallic. Perfect shades for holiday, too!

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love metallic, shiny, or otherwise gilded eyeshadows… I think you’ll enjoy Bobbi Brown’s Chrome Eyeshadows!

Availability: BobbiBrownCosmetics.com

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Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

The Scarlet Season: Korres #55 Red Guava Lipstick

Korres’ Guava Lipstick is an amazing formula, albeit pricier than I feel it should be, and the red shade is a really fabulous starter-red. You know, like you’re not quite sure you’re ready for a full-stop red, so you need to work your way towards it… that’s what this shade is for. #55 Red is a soft, semi-opaque red with just a hint of pink. It’s not too bright, nor does it run orange or blue, so it’s very wearable. The formula itself is incredibly hydrating, so it even wears well and leaves lips feeling soft at the end of the day.

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!