Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Illamasqua Fable Lipstick: Matte Bubblegum Pink

Illamasqua Fable Lipstick ($20.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “matte bubblegum pink” by Sephora.

Fable is an opaque, warmed-up bubblegum pink. I’ve found most bubblegum pink lipsticks to run a tad cool, while I find this one has a definite warm edge to it. I also wouldn’t call it matte, and I’d say it is more of a semi-matte finish, because there is some glossiness/sheen to it that I don’t normally see in matte textures. I do like the way it looks with just the hint of glossiness, because it keeps the lipstick from being too dry (it’s a smidgen creamy) or flat. Illamasqua packs plenty of pigmentation into this tube of lipstick; there’s no building or layering required to achieve the opacity as seen in the lip swatch.

Though a lipstick will cost you $20, the value is still strong, because you get 0.14 oz. for your troubles. Compared to other high-end brands, Illamasqua is just a bit more expensive than MAC ($140/oz. vs. $143/oz.), but not by much. Their lipsticks are priced right in line with other competitors like Cargo and Make Up For Ever, as well.

The packaging is functional and isn’t over-sized (like their eyeshadows/blushes can feel like)–there’s just nothing special to it. I will say I do feel like their labels tend to rub off all too quickly.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: If you like intense lip color, you may find Illamasqua’s matte lipsticks to be just the right kind for you.

Availability: Sephora.com

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Monday, August 31st, 2009

True Blue Morocco Cedarood & Spice Warming Body Scrub is a Bit Cool

Cedarwood & Spice Warming Body Scrub ($15.00 for 6 oz.) is a spicy, exotic smelling body scrub.  It’s designed to warm on contact with the skin to be both soothing and invigorating.

It’s a mild exfoliant with a very fine particles, actually feels fine enough to be more of a body polish than a scrub. I actually found that there was not enough scrubbies in it to really make an effective scrub, just because you either use a ton or you end up having them sparsely on your legs/arms. I did, however, really enjoy the warming sensation! I just wished the warmth would last longer or allow me to spread it out a bit more before the sensation began. I found it worked well in spots, but it didn’t work so well when I wanted to lather and massage it into a larger area of skin (e.g. a leg).

So, if it doesn’t do much scrubbing and the warming sensation is short-lived, what makes me like this product anyway? Because it smells divine! It is a fairly strong aroma of sandalwood, amber, musk, and cedarwood. It’s very spicy and woody–very masculine in a way. I like! I’m just a fan of some of these darker, woodier scents, and it actually lingers on skin all day long. I’ve found most body scrubs and gels to have great scents while I’m in the shower, but they fade shortly after I’ve toweled dry. That is certainly not the case here–the scent is noticeable but not overwhelming; you could layer with a similar scented body lotion, too, but even alone, it works as a very subtle, muted fragrance.

This product has so much potential to be amazing–I really would love to see the addition of more scrub particles so it actually exfoliates well. Even though it doesn’t feel like there is much scrubbing action, it does leave skin soft and smooth wherever you do scrub, and the scrubbing particles don’t disappear/melt away quickly, so you can massage it in a bit. I like more in my scrub, but perhaps there are others who like a much finer, lighter scrub.

  • Product: 6/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: If it weren’t for the heady spicy, woody scent, I might find this product pretty useless. Because I do love the scent and it lingers throughout the day, I do find myself reaching it for often. It can also be nice to use on specific, targeted areas like feet or on a strained muscle to take advantage of the warming sensation.

Availability: Bath & Body Works

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Korres Vanilla Cinnamon Body Milk for Soft Skin

Korres Vanilla Cinnamon Body Milk ($15.00 for 8.45 fl. oz.) is a thin, highly liquid moisturizer for the body. It smells exactly as I would imagine vanilla and cinnamon to smell together. It has the softer, subtler sweetness of creamy vanilla melded with the spiciness and woodiness of cinnamon. Korres describes the scent as “a creamy touch with insistent woody tones.”

The body milk has the consistency of heavy, heavy milk cream, so some might even call it “runny.” I was actually surprised at how thin and lightweight the body milk was, because it quite easily poured out of the container (I have a sample size–just under 2 fl. oz–as the full size versions come with a pump–thankfully!). Despite being incredibly thin, it actually moisturises very well. It kept my legs and arms scale-free all day, and I didn’t feel the need to reapply throughout the day. It absorbs quickly (less than five minutes) and doesn’t leave any greasiness or stickiness behind.

I’m really pleased that the full-size packaging has a pump, because it’s extremely helpful with this product in particular, as the consistency is so thin, it is easy to pour/squeeze out more than you need. The pump gives you much more control over just how much you need, and I have always had a preference for pump-mechanisms for a lot of products. I feel like you can “measure” how much you need by how many pumps you need, so you can be consistent day-to-day. It is also very hygenic!

The price just right, too.  It’s not necessarily the cheapest way to moisturize your skin, but it doesn’t break the bank either.  For me, it is in that perfect position of being affordable but still feeling like I’m indulging–just a bit.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 9/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: If you like spicy/woody scents, Vanilla Cinnamon is fantastic. Smells very natural, not synthetic/perfume-y. The Body Milk is hydrating even on dry skin, and it never feels heavy or greasy.

Availability: KorresUSA.com (Don’t forget — save 30% off your orders with code TEMPTALIA, good until 9/15/09!)

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Dolce & Gabbana: Black Crayon Intense Eyeliner

Dolce & Gabbana Black Crayon Intense Eyeliner ($29.00) is an intense black eyeliner with microfine gold glitter. The eyeliner itself is double-ended with the crayon on one side and a smudging sponge brush on the opposite end.

The liner stays on about average as far as my eyes are concerned — lasts for a few hours, doesn’t fade too much as wear extends, and it certainly doesn’t disappear. It doesn’t stay pristine throughout the day, though, unless it is smudged out quite a bit and set with some powder. I liked the intensity of the black color, and the gold glitter is subtle (and surprising) enough that it can work for everyday or to glam up a look in the evening.

For the price tag, I personally would expect better wearing time–at least eight hours of no budging, smudging, or fading. It can handle about four hours, but after that, there is noticeable (though not terrible) migration and fading on the lower lash line. It does wear better on the upper lash line, because it less disturbed and prone to fine lines like the lower lash line is. Because of the glitter, I would not recommend using this on the waterline (so I didn’t).

The eyeliner was not as soft as I would like, either. It wasn’t as creamy and soft as Urban Decay’s 24/7 Liners, though still harder than Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Eyes liners. I found mine to feel just a bit rougher than I think is necessary in a pencil, though it does allow one to get a more defined, precise line. I would suggest quickly giving it a shot of heat via your blow dryer if you have sensitive lids or find yours particularly hardened.

  • Product: 6/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: Unless there was a particularly unique shade amongst D&G’s eyeliners, they’re not the first product I’d recommend from the D&G line. (I’d probably recommend their lipsticks first.)

Availability: Saks

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Saturday, August 29th, 2009


Dolce & Gabbana Provocative Blush

Get Sexy with Dolce & Gabbana’s Provocative Blush

Dolce & Gabbana Provocative Blush ($44.00 for .17 oz.) is a smooth, matte baby doll pink blusher.  It runs just a little cool, but overall, it’s suitable for both cool and warm-toned complexions.

It actually reminds me a lot of one of my all-time favorite blushes, MAC Don’t Be Shy Blush, which was limited edition, so I’m happy to have found an awesome alternative.  This one is actually smoother and silkier in its texture, and the color is quite pigmented (though it is not overly pigmented–I know, some may find there’s no such thing, but I like a good medium when it comes to blush pigmentation).

When it comes the packaging, while there’s heft and it looks gold and shiny, it does show fingerprints, which is a pet peeve of mine.  I really do like the color, and while I’m sure I’ll never get through an entire pan, the amount you get for the price tag is actually less than some of the other high-end brands like Chanel, Dior, Guerlain, etc.  I do consider this more of a splurge/indulgence, but I am pleased with the product’s quality overall (which cushions the blow to the wallet!).

D&G’s makeup line includes four other blush shades:  Nude, Peach, Rose, and Warm.  According to their website, Pat McGrath recommends, “For day, brush a soft rose or peach colour high on the cheekbones in a circular motion using a large powder brush. For evening, contour the face with a blush that is slightly darker than natural skin colour. Brush the contour along the cheekbones, temples, and chin for a subtly sculpted effect.”

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation:  If you have the dough and are in need for a light pink blush, you can’t go wrong with Dolce & Gabbana’s Provocative!

Availability: Saks

See swatchesContinue reading →

Friday, August 28th, 2009

At Home with Beauty: Sleep Pillow Mist

Bath & Body Works’ Sleep Pillow Mist in Lavender Chamomile ($10.00) is an easy way to add a little more relaxation to the end of your day. Whether it’s the blend of lavender and chamomile or just the simple act of taking thirty seconds to consciously take a few deep breaths and relax… it does have a calming effect.

It’s a quick-drying lightly scented product that you just spritz as you please. I personally would spritz two or three times on the edge of my sheets (areas where my face wouldn’t touch), which was enough for the scent to reach my nose, but not overwhelming. The scent is light enough that you could definitely spray it on your pillow (for those with less sensitive/acne-prone skin), though. It doesn’t stain or leave any residue behind once it dries. The scent fades by morning, so you will need to reapply regularly.

If you really want a relaxing experience, I highly recommend doubling-up and lotioning up from head to toe with matching body lotion ($13.00). The scent may certainly relax you, but so will the act of massaging the body lotion into your skin before you slip between the sheets. One of my favorite features of B&BW products is that if you like a scent or find one that really works for you… you can often find it in just about every other body care product you’d need. Matching made easy!

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: If you don’t always fall asleep once your head hits the pillow, you might want to try adding some lavender to your nightly ritual!

Availability: Bath & Body Works