Saturday, June 19th, 2010

NARS Pro Prime Skin Smoothing Face Prep

How Pore-less Can You Be?

NARS Skin Smoothing Face Prep ($30.00 for 0.26 oz.) is a skin prepping product, not quite a primer, that’s supposed to minimize the appearance of fine lines and pores to give skin a smoother look.

Get closer to an Immaculate Complexion with NARS Skin Smoothing Face Prep. With one application, skin is smoother and the appearance of fine lines and pores is minimized. A truly multi-use product, it may be used before primer to create a flawlessly matte finish or used throughout the day to combat shine and rejuvenate the complexion. Apply to fine lines, large pores or rough spots for an instant smoothing effect. For all skin types.

I’ve seen some mentions about the product size being small for a primer–but it’s not meant to be used like a primer–perhaps a targeted primer, but even NARS describes it as being used before primer or as a blotting agent during the day. It still feels like it’s on the small size based on packaging, but I don’t see using too much per usage either. However, it does very much the same thing as MAC’s Prep + Prime Line Filler ($19.50 for 0.5 fl. oz.) (review here, swatches here), though Line Filler is listed as a primer.

NARS has a better consistency for on-the-go, since it’s almost like the consistency of a candle (yes, a candle!)–it’s thick and solid–but melts a bit when you apply it to the face or use your fingers to apply. It smooths out well against the skin, and it does minimize the appearance of the lines and imperfections on the back of my hand. It can be applied over or under foundation, but I think it may make a nice blot powder alternative, because of the silicone and silica in it, which both will help to give skin a softer, smoother appearance. The whole effect is very much a diffused, soft focus kind of look.

Because this is loaded with silicones, I didn’t (and won’t be) testing it fully on my face any time soon, so this is only a partial review (and why there is no rating) based on testing it on my hand and playing around for consistency and the like. I did notice that my hand slowly but surely made its way back to its usual state of more visible lines and the like after about two to three hours.

I also applied it on top of my cheeks and around my nose to see how it handled pores (I think mine are getting bigger… I never obsessed over them before, but now I feel like they’re about to become black holes and suck all life into them!).  Even though I didn’t test it for wear over time, the improvement in my fine lines and pores really just wasn’t significant.  It did, however, give my skin a very soft, silky feel when I ran my fingertip over the areas I used the product on, and it had a softer look.  Like as if someone blurred the skin there a bit, but the fine lines underneath my eyes were still as noticeable as ever, even if slightly diffused.

If you have the most minute fine lines and just the beginnings of the slightest wrinkle, this may fade those into oblivion, as it does an impressive job on the back of my hand.  It just didn’t show up to the party so much on my fine lines.  When it came to my pores, the side with the Face Prep looked softer and smoother, but the pores were still there.  It worked (hey, NARS doesn’t say it will erase all, just “minimize”), but it’s just not as effective as I’d want it to be in order to justify adding the product into my routine.

Recommendation:  This might be a nice product for those with more oily skin or for those with oilier and drier areas where a full-on primer may be too much on drier patches of skin.  It’s a product that can be applied both under and over makeup, which is nice, and it could definitely work to help keep the oilies at bay throughout the day.  It might be nice if NARS included a little sponge that fit inside the jar for those afternoon touch-ups, though.  If you’re looking for something to miraculously fill in your fine lines and shrink your pores to nothing, I think you may be disappointed.

Availability: NARS, Sephora.com

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Friday, June 18th, 2010

NARS Niagara Lipstick
NARS Niagara Lipstick

The Summer Season: NARS Niagara Lipstick

NARS Niagara Lipstick ($24.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a smooth shade of lightly brightened coral-pink with a frost-gloss sheen.  It’s not a fully glossy look, but it’s not quite frosty, either.  Thus, frost-gloss sheen texture is born!  The shade is quite pigmented, giving pretty much full, opaque color without having to layer heaps on.  NARS Lipsticks are scent- and taste-free, though they have a little waxy scent to them (which is more of the “natural” scent, e.g. from the ingredients themselves, rather than infused with fragrance).  It’s lighter and not as shimmery as MAC Crosswires, which runs a little more coral, and this one leans a little pinker.

Is this the right coral for you? Would you wear it?

The Summer Season is a series of posts featuring bright, vibrant shades of coral, orange, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for a summer of fun — that runs through July 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

MAC See Sheer Lipstick

The Summer Season: MAC See Sheer Lipstick

MAC See Sheer Lipstick ($14.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a slightly muted coral-orange with a glossy sheen.  It has a creamier look to it, as there is no noticeable shimmer in it.  It delivers nearly full-color coverage–you can just lightly see the freckle on my lower lip.  It wears very well and feels incredibly comfortable on–soft, moisturizing, clinging enough to wear for three to four hours, but not tight or drying.  It’s a fun way to wear coral without going full-on coral.

Is this the right coral for you? Would you wear it?

The Summer Season is a series of posts featuring bright, vibrant shades of coral, orange, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for a summer of fun — that runs through July 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

SpaRitual Summer 2010 Colleciton
Nail Lacquers: Twinkle, Crystal Eyes, Illume, Color Trip, Imaginarium, Looking Glass

SpaRitual Nail Lacquer in Summer Hues, Part 2

I have six more fun-for-summer shades to share with you from SpaRitual, and all six shades are from their summer collection titled Kaleidoscope.   Just like the previous six I reviewed, the formula is excellent.  It’s consistent across twelve different shades with varying finishes.  It’s thick without being goopy, thin without being runny–in other words, just right!  Pigmentation is amazing with most shades requiring two coats for opaque color.

  • Twinkle is a blue-shimmered deep navy blue. This is a stunning shade when worn–looks like shimmering deep ocean blue water in the sunlight. Nearly opaque in one coat, but swatched with two.
  • Crystal Eyes is a muted indigo blue cream. Just two coats for full color coverage. It’s a nice way to wear blue without being over-the-top.
  • Illume is a rich purple cream with red undertones. Two coats in the swatch. It’s difficult to photograph — it behaves and looks much like it does in real life in the natural lightphotos, but the flash makes it glow much more than it actually does.
  • Color Trip is a magenta cream. It applies evenly and smoothly, and I think three coats would be just enough — I applied two and there is just a faint appearance of my nail line.
  • Imaginarium is a neon hot pink with silver-pink micro-shimmer. This shade GLOWS. I really loved this color, because of the way it shimmered and glowed and was so easy to apply. I did need three coats with this shade, though.
  • Looking Glass is a silver metallic foil. Brushstrokes are visible, but they’re surprisingly subtle in the light. One coat is nearly opaque, but I found two to work just right.

Twinkle and Imaginarium were my two favorite shades out of the six here.  Twinkle is less unique than Imaginarium, though, so if I had to choose a top pick, it would definitely be that bright neon pink with a lil’ shimmer.

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RecommendationImaginarium has such a bright, fun look to it with its glowing neon color and the subtle shimmery finish.

Availability: Skinstore.com, SpaRitual

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Thursday, June 17th, 2010

SpaRitual Summer 2010 Colleciton
Nail Lacquers: Lustress, Love & Happiness, Solaris, Golden Gleam, Optical Illusion, Dreams Becoming Reality

SpaRitual Nail Lacquer in Summer Hues

Just in time for summer, here are six fun shades from SpaRitual that are truly representative of the season.   Each shade retails for $10.00 and is vegan and free of DBP, Toluene, Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde Resin.   Lustress, Solaris, Golden Gleam, and Optical Illusion are from the summer Kaleidoscope collection.

  • Lustress is a deep red-tinted pink with flashes of pink shimmer. It almost looks like glass flecks to me. Just two coats for complete color.
  • Love & Happiness is a coral-orange cream. It’s not quite neon, but it’s almost there. Two coats for opaque color.
  • Solaris is a bright, neon orange cream. Super, super pigmented — two coats shown, but you could almost get away with one.
  • Golden Gleam is a bright yellow gold with lighter gold shimmer and a near metallic finish. Some brush strokes were noticeable, but it wasn’t too obvious. Two coats for opaque color.
  • Optical Illusion is a deep olive green base with lighter olive green glitter-shimmer. Just two coats for opaque color, though it was nearly opaque with one coat. Truly a stunning shade!
  • Dreams Becoming Reality is a shade from an upcoming fall collection, so I’ll have swatches and more information on it then.

SpaRitual knows how to make a good, consistent formula.  The application on all six of these was absolutely superb–smooth, rich color that wasn’t too thick or thin.  No streaking, fussing, or dragging.  Drying time on the brighter creams seemed a little speedier, but otherwise average and nothing noteworthy either way. Optical Illusion stands out something fierce amongst these, though — a really unique shade that just sparkles in the light.

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  LOVE Optical Illusion!  I also really love and appreciate SpaRitual’s formula consistency–it’s a good formula and it’s found in all six.

Availability: Skinstore.com, SpaRitual

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Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Aveeno Positively Ageless Daily Cleansing Pads

Not Quite Travel Friendly:  Aveeno Daily Cleansing Pads

Aveeno Postively Ageless Daily Cleansing Pads ($8.99 for 28, $0.32 each) are pre-moistened, dual-sided cleansing pads that are approximately 3″ in diameter. One side is smooth, while the other side is textured to provide gentle exfoliation.

I liked the way these felt on the skin, and the scent was pleasing to me (smelled like Baby Shampoo), though it didn’t linger. I just have some issues about the practicality of this particularly product. Each pad is very, very saturated–I’d almost say overly so–and while it means you’ll get plenty of moisturize and cleanser on your face to clean it, it seems like overkill. It lathers and foams up a little but not excessively, and it does leave skin feeling clean. I experienced a smidgen of tightness, but it was very, very subtle and barely noticeable.

Based on using these for a week or so, I’d recommend cutting the pads in halves or even thirds to maximize your purchase–but it doesn’t sacrifice quality or anything; there truly is plenty of moisture and cleanser even when cut into thirds to clean your face!  Otherwise you’ll be running through a jar in less than a month!

I’m concerned at the enormous container compared to the contents inside it. As you can see in the photo above, it comes about 2/3 to 1/2 full, but the pads themselves don’t take up the entire diameter of the jar, let alone the height. I’m not sure why it’s so big. It seems like it’d be a better idea to minimize excess air inside the jar to maintain the moisture of the pads (but these were plenty saturated, not even a hint of dryness). I think because I really can’t see the purpose behind such over-sized packaging, I find it particularly wasteful and almost a turn-off from the product overall.

These are more expensive than some makeup removing wipes, which work as well, and come in more economical packaging to boot! You’ll also need to rinse your face after using, so it’s not as convenient as makeup removing wipes (which shouldn’t need you to rinse). I guess I’d rather just use a regular cleanser (and though I have not tried it, there is Aveeno Positively Ageless Daily Exfoliating Cleanser) and use my hands rather than a small pad.

I could see some utility out of these as a nice travel option, but because the jar is mammoth, I don’t see myself traveling with it–it’d take up way too much room for what it’s worth. If I actually have that much space, that means I’m checking luggage and can just bring my regular ol’ cleanser–and if I’m just carrying-on, there’s no way it could fit!

They do their job — they do cleanse, remove the majority of my face makeup (but I wouldn’t use this on the eyes, so it’s a no-go for eye makeup), and didn’t dry out my skin. I’m just less than impressed by the glaringly wasteful packaging.  If you cut the pads into halves or thirds, I think you’ll be able to stretch the usage out where it’s much, much more in line with affordable skincare.

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

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 2/5

Recommendation:  If you’re often on the go and would love to have a pre-moistened cleansing pad help keep you and your skincare routine on track, you might find these a more practical investment!  Or if you have particularly sensitive skin and find most scrubs and exfoliators too harsh on skin, the textured side of this pad is very gentle and may be a better fit for your skin type.

Availability: Drugstore.com

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