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

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Clarins’ Palazzo d’Oro Collection:  Gold Attraction Eye Quartet

Clarins Gold Attraction Eye Quartet & Liner Palette ($66.00) is a limited edition holiday palette from Clarins’ Palazzo d’Oro collection, which was “inspired by the light and sumptuous radiance of the architecture of Venice.” It’s a very minimalist collection with four pieces: an eyeshadow palette, a face palette, a lipstick, and a mascara.

The Eye Quartet includes a soft, shimmery milky pink, high-sheen peachy-gold, subdued taupe brown with subtle gold shimmer, and a richer, chocolate brown with just a smidgen of gold specks in it. It also has a black-brown cream liner included with the palette. All four shades are pigmented, and the eyeshadows themselves are smooth to the touch. They blend easily, and this combination of shades is actually very easy to use, because they work so well together. It’s not quite a neutral quad–almost like a neutral quad with a kick, I suppose. It’s perfect for the holidays, but it’s a palette you could easily continue to use throughout the year.

The packaging is stunning; it’s a heavy metal-ish compact that looks like gold. I may even go as far as to say I like the packaging more than the contents! It’s just particularly lovely and well-done, and I am happy that the insides didn’t disappoint.

I only found one drawback for this eyeshadow palette, and it’s the price. The price is really tough to swallow, even for Clarins. Even though you are getting 0.17 oz. of eyeshadow in the palette, it still works out to be $388.24/ounce–which prices it above MAC and NARS, but around the level of Givenchy and Chanel. They sell eyeshadow quartets as part of their regular line-up at $40 each, so I do think you are paying quite a bit on top of this for the packaging itself.

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 sucker for packaging, Clarins’ Gold Attraction palette just might sucker you in!

Availability: Clarins, Nordstrom

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Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Make Up For Ever #205 Lipstick
Make Up For Ever #205 Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: Make Up For Ever #205 Lipstick

Make Up For Ever #205 Lipstick ($19.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a deep, blue-based red. It’s fairly bright and most definitely noticeable, but it’s deep enough that it doesn’t come off too bright. It has a slightly glossy sheen, and it’s surprisingly hydrating. One of the best parts about Make Up For Ever’s lipsticks is how well they wear and how long they wear for. I find I get no less than four solid hours of amazing wear, but it easily extends into six or more, if I’ve only eaten a light meal or had one or two drinks. #205 is richly pigmented, goes opaque in just one layer, and it hugs 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!

See more swatches and comparison photosContinue reading →

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Chanel Passion Rouge Allure Lipstick
Chanel Passion Rouge Allure Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: Chanel Passion Rouge Allure Lipstick

Chanel Passion Rouge Allure Lipstick ($30.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a richly pigmented, medium bright red that leans only slightly blue, but otherwise reads fairly neutral on my lips. It applies easily and evenly (though it should be worn with a lip liner to keep it inside the lines so-to-speak) and has a glossy sheen. I like how hydrating the Rouge Allure formula is, and I can appreciate the high level of pigmentation that accompanies it, too. It doesn’t compete against Chanel’s Dragon for me, but it’s a very nice, more color and no shimmer kind of red lip color that’s nice on other occasions.

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 →

Monday, November 23rd, 2009


NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil: Pop Life & Toudra

NARS Pop Life & Toudra Velvet Matte Lip Pencils ($24.00 for 0.086 oz.) are two new shades from NARS’ Holiday Collection.  These are jumbo-sized lip pencils that are designed to be used more like a lipstick than a lip pencil.  The product is “enriched with Vitamin E” and is designed to last for “hours.”  NARS describes Toudra as a “richly pigmented Barolo wine shade is creamy, long-lasting and matte for strong, seamless color and a perfectly defined pout,” while Pop life is a “bold, bright and modernly matte holly–red hue that slips on with a velvety texture – a new holiday staple.”

Toudra is a bronzy, not quite coppery, brown-based wine.  It’s not really what I’d think of when someone tells me it’s a wine shade, though.  It’s in there, and yet it’s distinctly different.  It has a bit of a frosty/shimmery look, and I didn’t find it applied as easily as some other Velvet Matte Lip Pencils have in the past.  It even felt a little gritty, and dare I say… drying?  (Which these are specifically stated to not be!)  It is reasonably pigmented, though since it doesn’t apply smoothly, you end up using a fair amount of product get an even, full coverage look.

Pop Life looks very holiday-red when you check out the product, but on my lips, it was definitely not the case.  It was more of a brightened up orange-based coral shade.  It was smoother and gave a better look overall compared to Toudra, but even this still felt a little drying to me.  I didn’t get “hydrating” when testing either of these shades out myself.   If you’re looking for a red, you might consider Dragon Girl or Cruella instead–both of which are a lot redder than Pop Life.

These aren’t really your best bang for your buck lip product, considering you only get 0.086 oz. for $24–a NARS lipstick contains 0.12 oz. but also costs $24.00.  NARS has plenty of pigmented lipsticks in their collection (along with sheer shades, of course), so I’d probably start there in a lip color hunt.  I like these, in terms of the actual product (and discounting the price differential), more than NYX’s Jumbo Lip Pencils, because they feel a little more high quality and they do last much longer on me (about four to five hours).

Bottom Line: I don’t love the new shades from holiday.  I don’t own any of the permanent shades, but I’ve tested them in-store and have been more drawn to them there than I was when I swatched these two (and liked them even less when I actually used them!).  Neither color really pops for me, and I’m not sure why these aren’t as hydrating as NARS touts the product line to be.

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

  • Product: 21/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: I’d recommend trying these in-store before purchasing, to see if the texture meets your expectations!

Availability: Beauty.com, NARS Cosmetics, Sephora

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Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

China Glaze Cleopatra Nail Lacquer
China Glaze Cleopatra Nail Lacquer

Glitter Polish: China Glaze Cleopatra Nail Lacquer

China Glaze Cleopatra Nail Lacquer ($3.50 to $6.00) is a warmed-up yellow gold with small-sized gold particle glitter with a little mix of multi-colored shimmer. On my nails, it read more yellow gold and I didn’t notice much of the holographic glitter.

It’s kind of the opposite of Medallion, which is more of a cool-toned antique gold in comparison. Between the two of them, I do prefer Cleopatra with my skin tone — it really just warms me up.

This is also glitter suspended in a clear base, so it can work nicely as a glitter top coat over your favorite nail polish or worn alone for a sheerer look. It took me three coats to achieve the results in the swatches, but I could have waited a little longer in-between coats to get a more opaque look. (I was trying to get it done before my boyfriend came back to the office!)

It’s not as smooth as the average China Glaze lacquer, and it has the same consistency and feel of Medallion–a little gritty, not the easiest to apply, but it’s workable and not bad for a glitter polish.  It removes like the average glitter polish.  If I could improve it, I’d definitely wish for a smoother application–just one that spread the glitter evenly and quickly, and perhaps, a faster drying time.

From the various shades I’ve tried from China Glaze’s fifty new glitter lacquers, Cleopatra is my favorite! It’s just the right shade of gold that I’m automatically drawn to–plus, it complements my skin tone quite well.

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: Looking for a warm gold, totally blinged out lacquer? Cleopatra might be it.

Availability: 8ty8beauty.com, Head2ToeBeauty.com, TransDesign.com

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