Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

Jo Malone Wild Fig & Cassis Bath Soap ($50.00 for 3 100g bars) is an elegant yet simple way to add a little luxury to your counter top.

Composition

  • Top Notes: Cassis, Cherry, Fresh Grass, Fig
  • Middle Notes: Cyclamen, Hyacinth, Jasmine, Pine
  • Bottom Notes: Patchouli, Cedar, Amber, Musk

Every product by Jo Malone should be opened with care, like a treasured gift, because each piece feels like an indulgence. Beautiful packaging with a signature black ribbon makes it feel like a present, even if it’s just for you. I really just appreciate that extra touch. In the box, each soap is individually wrapped, so you can use it as you need to (or even easily split with a friend) and close the box and stow away the extras.

Jo Malone describes this scent as, “Inspired by breakfast in Tuscany – the moment of breaking open juicy figs, fresh from the tree – Wild Fig & Cassis is a delicious fragrance. The scent of sun-warmed figs and delicate cassis is entwined with notes of hyacinth and cedarwood, enveloping the wearer in the warmth of the Mediterranean. Wild Fig & Cassis Bath Soaps cleanse, moisturise and fragrance the skin. The frothy lather feels delicious to the touch.”

It has that slightly earthy, lightly sweetened scent of fresh fig, but it also has the touch of cedar, amber, and musk after you’ve washed your hands. What I love is the scent lingers. It perfumes my bathroom, and it stays on my hands after washing (not all day, but a few hours). I’m actually not a bar soap kind of gal–I usually stick with liquid soaps I can easily pump out, but I love the way this feels. It smells amazing, and the soap itself doesn’t dry out my hands. I will say that this is a scent you have to sniff more than once; at first pass, it may be too intense or bitter, but give it time, and I think you’ll enjoy it more than you’d think.

Sometimes I find life can be stressful, and I love little home accents that just make your home more welcoming, more you, and give you moments to savor scents and memories. I’ve been using the first bath soap for over three weeks now, and I can easily see it lasting me several months. For my household (since it’s just in my bathroom–please, the boy would never appreciate it!), one gift box of the three soaps will easily keep me in luxury for a year. Even though it seems pricey, I’ll get a lot of use out of these before I need to start thinking about what scent to try next. Now, the only issue I face is finding the perfect soap dish to pair this with!

The Wild Fig & Cassis Collection also includes Cologne, Bath Oil, Shower Gel, Body Lotion, and Candles, should you find yourself loving this scent and wanting to be enveloped in it! If you like Bath Soaps, Jo Malone also has them available in Pine & Eucalyptus, Lime Basin & Mandarin, Lime & Grapefruit, and Nectarine Blossom & Honey.

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

Recommendation: If you love bathroom luxury, Jo Malone’s Wild Fig & Cassis Bath Soaps are an easy way to add some warmth.

Availability: Nordstrom

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

Guerlain Geisha Le Rouge G Lipstick
Guerlain Geisha Le Rouge G de Guerlain Lipstick

Guerlain Geisha Le Rouge G de Guerlain Lipstick ($45.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a beautiful shade of red with just a tinge of orange. It has a soft, glistening sheen with a very subtle mix of coppery shimmer that you can’t even feel–it’s that fine. It applies decently from the tube, but to get a really defined pout, a lip brush is a must. It feels like silk on the lips–very lightweight–but it gives you heavyweight color.

The color wears well, giving me hours of wear and lasting fairly well through drinking/eating. I’ve noticed that lighter shades of Rouge G don’t quite last thoroughly through drinking or eating, but more intense shades like Geisha do. There’s some fading, but it’s even and still wearable without needing to reapply.  Geisha is surprisingly not too orange on me, as I tend to run away from anything too orange-red.  It’s just a slight fiery red on me.

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

See swatches and lip swatchesContinue reading →

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator Review

MAC Style Black included two pieces of limited edition skincare — the ever-raved about Volcanic Ash Exfoliator and previously-mentioned-but-finally-released Volcanic Ash Thermal Mask.

I’ve been a big supporter of MAC’s Volcanic Ash Exfoliator since it released.  I loved it.  I sparingly used it so it would last as long as I could manage.  I managed to make two tubs last me a year or so (it was launched in 2008).  I couldn’t even begin to tell you how excited I was for it to be re-released with Style Black!

The re-released Volcanic Ash Exfoliator is slightly different than the original in a few key ways, though the product still feels, smells, and does the same (for me!) as the original version did.  This release of Volcanic Ash Exfoliator uses both sugar (sucrose, specifically) and silica for exfoliating, whereas the original release only used sugar.  Before, when you scrubbed your face with the exfoliator, the sugar particles would eventually dissolve, but with the addition of silica, you’ll notice a slightly gritty texture the whole time.

From what I can tell, MAC was attempting to address some of the problems/concerns the product created when it was originally launched.  The tub packaging was both unsanitary and was not shower-friendly (which is the most convenient place to use this, because it can be messy).  The tub seemed to get a lot of water in it when I had it in my shower, which kind of resulted in the sugar dissolving faster than I’d like–and the heat of the shower also caused some of the sugar to dissolve, I’d imagine.   Since silica doesn’t dissolve, it also makes it a more shower-friendly ingredient when it comes to exfoliation!  The new tube packaging now makes it more hygienic and shower-friendly, as well.

Considering I ended up having half a tub of exfoliator without any exofliating properties because all the sugar dissolved, I’m happy it’s in a tube!  I also think that while it feels thicker, it’s also hard to judge, because before you were scooping it out of a jar so the two processes are different enough.  I also don’t have any of the old stuff left to compare.  It does, though, feel a little thicker.

In the end, it applies and feels like the original.  I’d say it’s a little grittier than it previously was, with the addition of silica, but it still doesn’t feel like a harsh, aggressive exfoliator.  It’s fairly gentle, and it should be used once or twice during the week, depending on how your skin takes to exfoliants.

Product value on this could be better, because they took out about an ounce of product and tacked on an additional fifty cents.  I can handle the slight price increase, but I’m less than impressed with the decrease in the product itself (particularly since it’s 3.4 oz.), since it represents about 20-25% decrease in how much you get for your money.

Bottom line: It’s a mild exfoliator that has an earthy, ashy smell that’s not unpleasant (at least not to me), nor is it like ohhh, yummy! , it’s just kind of the scent I’d expect from it.  It leaves skin feeling soft, smooth, and may even give you a lil’ bit of that glow.  I still love it, but I’m not quite as in-love as I was originally (I think that’s more because of all the other exfoliators that I also love).  I definitely still recommend trying it out–ask for a sample if you’re unsure–because it is a fantastic exfoliator!

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

Recommendation:  If you liked the original, I think you’ll still like this slightly reformulated version!  It’s a good, mild exfoliator!

Availability: MAC Cosmetics

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

Chanel Santal Rouge Allure Laque ($32.00) is the fifth entry to drool over in our seven days of Chanel Rouge Allure Laque feature.

Santal is a subdued peachy-coral. It has just a little bit of a coral-tone to it, but otherwise it is quite peachy. There’s almost a hint of pink, but yet there’s definitely some golden-orange shimmer. This is exactly what I love about the Chanel Rouge Allure Laques: the colors have so much going on, it’s hard to classify them. It’s lightly glossy (but not quite as glossy as some of the other shades, like Dragon), packs plenty of color, and subtle shimmer that’s there but not glittery.

I find one layer of color provides me plenty of full color coverage. I think the natural pink of my lips does add some of the pink tones I see in Santal, so if your lips are less pink, it may appear more peachy. Like Ming, this is a shade you can wear anywhere and anytime; it’s perfect for everyday or paired with a dramatic smoky eye.

Since I don’t want to just re-write what I say about the formula (since it is the same–if there are any variations, you can be sure I’ll call them out), here’s a quick bullet-point summary.

Pros

  • Satiny, creamy lip color that hydrates
  • Opaque color in one layer–very pigmented
  • Lasts for hours and even through eating/drinking
  • Glossy sheen
  • Looks like a lipstick AND a gloss
  • Easy to travel with
  • Sleek packaging

Cons

  • Pricey at $32 each

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

Recommendation: For easy, wearable color, Santal offers exactly that!

Availability: Nordstrom

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Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Urban Decay Show Pony Shadow Box ($30.00) contains six 0.03 oz. eyeshadows, a miniature sized Primer Potion (0.13 fl.oz.), and miniature sized Zero 24/7 Eye Pencil (0.03 oz.).

The palette contains…

  • Snatch is a peachy-pink champagne kind of shade.  It reminded me a bit of MAC’s Say Yeah eyeshadow, which was limited edition from eons ago.  I felt like Snatch was very glittery, though, so fall out may be a concern for some.  It didn’t feel as gritty as Midnight Cowboy Rides Again from their Book of Shadows, Vol. II.
  • Mildew is a medium-dark forest green with golden green shimmer weaved through it.  It’s very pretty, and it’s perfect for the fall.
  • Flash is a bright, cool-toned violet purple with an icy purple sheen.
  • Painkiller is a bright, lightened blue-based teal with a silvery sheen.  It reminded me a bit of Flipside 24/7 Eye Pencil.
  • Smog is a neutral-warm bronzy brown.  It’s pretty, but you may already have something like it in your stash.  It’s a good kind of shade to own, as it makes for a wonderful smoked out neutral eye.
  • Toasted is a cool-toned taupe brown with softer brown shimmer.

This palette contains some nice shades, and only one of them (Snatch) had a texture that left something to be desired.  The other five were soft and went on very pigmented.  While I like the shades, I don’t think this is the most original combination of colors, and I’m not sure if you’d find it hard to create color combinations within just these six.  I can definitely spot a few, but you’ll need to use a separate highlighter–Snatch is a bit too pigmented and glittery to serve as really a choice highlighter.  In a pinch, you could work it in, though.

Between this and the Book of Shadows, I’d opt for the Book of Shadows.  It’s pricier ($18 more), but you’ll get more shadows, more color combinations, and more use out of it, per my opinion.  I do like that it does come with a miniature UDPP – great for travel.  I personally have so many miniature sized Zeros that I don’t know if I’ll ever run out of Zero, so maybe a fun colored liner would have been nice to include in it.

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

Recommendation:  If you’re a fan of Urban Decay’s palettes, this is a cute little set, but make sure you have a separate highlighter on hand.

Availability: Urban Decay

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Friday, October 2nd, 2009


Chanel Ming Rouge Allure Laque

Chanel Ming Rouge Allure Laque ($32.00) is the fourth to drool over in our seven days of Chanel Rouge Allure Laque feature.

Ming is a soft, medium pink that runs just a little warm, but overall, I’d consider neutral. It’s just this perfect girly pink that’s feminine, soft, and very, very wearable. This is a shade you could wear anywhere, anytime, and for any occasion. I could easily see this being a go-to for a quick slip of everyday color that looks gorgeous and lasts for hours. I found Ming has the least staying power, but I still was able to get through a light meal with minimal fading (mostly just the glossiness fades). It’s not as opaque as deeper shades like Coromandel and Dragon, but it’s still quite pigmented on my lips and covers up most of my natural lip color. What I like is that even though it’s very light, my natural lip color doesn’t seem to drag the color down at all–it looks very much as it does in the tube as it does on my lips.

Since I don’t want to just re-write what I say about the formula (since it is the same–if there are any variations, you can be sure I’ll call them out), here’s a quick bullet-point summary.

Pros

  • Satiny, creamy lip color that hydrates
  • Opaque color in one layer–very pigmented
  • Lasts for hours and even through eating/drinking
  • Glossy sheen
  • Looks like a lipstick AND a gloss
  • Easy to travel with
  • Sleek packaging

Cons

  • Pricey at $32 each

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

Recommendation: If you’re all about the pink lip, check this one out!

Availability: Nordstrom

See more swatchesContinue reading →