Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash
Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash

Quick & Clean with Kate Somerville

Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash ($32.00 for 4 oz.) is a no-frills cleanser for me. I really like it, because it just gets the job done quickly and effectively. I purchased mine several weeks ago via Gilt, when they had a Kate Somerville sale, so I bought the economy-sized 16 oz. bottle for $47 (regularly $95, from what I see on QVC).

Ingredients: Purified Water, Sodium Alpha Olefin (C14-16) Sulfonate, Cocomidopropyl Betaine, PEG/PPG-8/3 Diisostearate, Glycerin, Acrylates Copolymer, Silicone Quaternium-8, Quillaja Saponaria Bark Extract, Salvia Offincinalis (Sage) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Zinc PCA, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Chlorphenesin.

It’s a lightweight gel cleanser that has a light lather that smells a little like lavender and tropical fruit.  I have no idea why I always get tropics out of it.  Nobody else does, so I think my nose is engaging in some wishful thinking!  It cleans effectively and quickly; directions state to work into moistened skin for thirty seconds and then rinse.  There is no tight feeling left behind, and my skin doesn’t feel parched either.  I just feel clean and refreshed!

For me, it does all the cleansing that I need.  It gets rid of dirt and grime and any foundation/tinted moisturizer I’ve worn that day.  This won’t breakdown heavy eye/lip makeup, but in my experience, gentle cleansers rarely do as that is not what they’re designed for.  (I personally use something targeted for makeup to do a preliminary/makeup cleanse, and then follow-up with a gentler cleanser.)  I was surprised it removed my foundation so well, though, but the toner-test (take a cotton pad with toner and see if your cleanser missed any makeup) showed nothing was left behind.

At its regular retail price, it’s a rather pricey no-frills cleanser.  A little goes a long way, certainly, so I imagine this super size would get one through at least six months’, if not a year’s, worth of cleansing.  The jumbo size also features a pump system, while the normal, regularly available sized cleanser comes in a squeeze-tube. I think I’d actually like the squeeze-tube better, even if it is easier to manage a pump with damp hands.

I don’t need a full pump’s worth, so I usually do about a half pump, but this has resulted in excess cleanser getting stuck in the dispenser and hardening a bit from exposure to the air.  It’s easy to remove, but it’s a little annoying, too.  (It’s kind of like if you squeeze too much toothpaste out of the tube–it lingers until you remove, and it’s not difficult, but it’s a bit frustrating.)

I do really like this cleanser in conjunction with the Clarisonic, though.  It has just the right gel consistency and light lather that works well with the device!   I will probably switch to another cleanser soon so I can test-drive something else, but I definitely see myself keeping and returning to this one at some point.  If the boy doesn’t steal it and use it all up!

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you have the dough, it’s a nice cleanser that feels gentle and does the job.  But it’s not exactly revolutionary, and as much as I like it, it’s quite costly, even relative to other high-end brands of skincare.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

CoverGirl Lash Blast Fusion Mascara
CoverGirl Lash Blast Fusion Mascara

How Does LashBlast Fusion Stack Up?

CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion Mascara ($8.99) is designed to both lengthen and volumize your lashes in just one formula. A year ago, I reviewed LastBlast Length with pretty good results–not my perfect mascara for my eyelashes–but a solid lengthening mascara all the same.

It is a fiber mascara, which makes it very easy to remove. Despite easy removal, I did not encounter any smudging or flaking during the twelve hour test I gave it. Everything stayed put as it should. This is a great mascara if you use about two coats or three really quick coats–if you work slowly on each coat, you’ll end up in Clump City. It didn’t seem prone to clumping so much as it dries quickly. When it’s dried, my lashes didn’t feel heavy or crunchy, and they still looked like they had a natural softness to them.

I think what left me less than impressed with this mascara is that the effect is more on the natural side, which isn’t what LashBlast seems to be about. It gives some length, a little volume (I didn’t notice much myself), and smidgen of thickening–but it doesn’t do any of these with any va-voom. The original LashBlast does all of these better, and LashBlast Length does a better job of lengthening.

When it comes to rating a product, it’s about how good it is–but also how good it is at what it’s supposed to do. While it’s great when a product does more than it should or does something great, I always consider whether it lives up to the marketing claims. Fusion doesn’t fail, but it doesn’t live up to its claims about volume for me, but it does a decent job of adding length.

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

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I don’t think any of the LashBlasts will treat you poorly, but Fusion seems to give me the most natural look of all three. (And yes, I’m totally aware that I don’t actually have a review of the original LashBlast up at this time.) I’d probably stick with the original for a more multi-tasking mascara or opt for lengthening if you need just length.

AVAILABILITY: Drugstore.com

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Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. III
Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. III

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. III

Sure we’ve all got our different styles (usually not including Carrie-style hotpants and tutus), but just like what we love about NYC, this Book of Shadows is a melting pot of color. The ribbon pull drawer reveals 16 natty eyeshadows, deluxe-minis of our award-winning 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils in Zero and Ransom, and a travel size Eyeshadow Primer Potion.

Inspired by the city, its diversity, and the fact that 8 million people each have their own story, Book of Shadows Vol. III is a tribute from the ultimate California beauty brand to the people and stories that make NYC the apple of our eye. The pop-up book-style palette is loaded with hand-illustrated depictions of the city that never sleeps. We give you glitz and glam alongside characters from all walks of life living amidst the LED-lit (yup…this palette lights up!) landmarks we all love.

Palette contains 16 eyeshadows:

  • Bordello Purpley-pink with gold shift
  • Kush Bright green
  • Loaded Deep emerald/black
  • Money Silvery pale green
  • Radium Bright blue
  • Rockstar Deep eggplant with metallic base
  • Suspect Oyster with dimensional shift
  • Haight Shimmering, mermaid blue (Permanent)
  • Psychedelic Sister Purple amethyst (Permanent)
  • Snatch Peachy-pink with glitter (Permanent)
  • Last Call Plum punch (Permanent)
  • Maui Wowie Medium gold with silver glitter (Permanent)
  • Midnight Cowboy Rides Again Golden beige with bronze, gold, and silver glitter (Permanent)
  • Smog Deep coppery bronze (Permanent)
  • Perversion Matte jet black (Permanent)
  • Uzi Metallic silver with big iridescent sparkles (Permanent)

Also included:

  • Ransom 24/7 Eye Pencil
  • Zero 24/7 Eye Pencil
  • Eyeshadow Primer Potion (Travel-size)

Availability: The palette will retail for $54 and be available this holiday 2010 at Macy’s, Sephora, ULTA, and urbandecay.com. However…

How to Get Your Palette Before Everyone Else…

As a tribute to NYC, Urban Decay will be hosting a one-day, sneak peek event at Sephora Times Square (1500 Broadway, #304) on Saturday, August 28th from 1 to 9PM where 1,000 pieces of the limited edition Book of Shadows Vol. III will be available for purchase on a first come, first served basis. The first 200 die-hard fans will also receive a limited edition Urban Decay t-shirt with their consultation. Urban Decay’s Eric Jimenez, Worldwide Retail Sales Director and International Makeup Artist, and his team of A-list artists will also be in attendance!

Where: Sephora Times Square, 1500 Broadway #304, NYC, NY 10036
When: Saturday, August 28th, 1-9PM

Note: There is a limit of three per person!

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Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Illamasqua Baptiste Nail Varnish

Perfect for Fall: Baptiste

Illamasqua Baptiste Nail Varnish ($14.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.) is a stunning shade of shimmering royal purple with flecks of red and fuchsia-violet shimmer. It’s gorgeous in the light as well as out of it; it looks inkier when in the shade, but when the light hits it, all of the shimmer comes into play.

The formula was amazing! Smooth and easy to apply with plenty of pigment. I only used two coats on Baptiste, and it was completely opaque. It’s not too thick or thin–just right–which makes it easy to apply without worrying about streaking or patchiness. The wear was also excellent. Admittedly, I don’t do dishes (the boy takes care of that), but I do type all day, so sometimes that alone will show a polish’s true colors–Illamasqua stayed as pretty as when I put it on seven days later with just minor tip wear.

The Glossover

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Baptiste

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Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

MAC Media Lipstick

The Sultry Season: MAC Media Lipstick

MAC Media Lipstick ($14.50 for 0.10 oz.) is a deep, dark red wine.  This is a shade that also works particularly well as a lip stain–just layer a little on, blot, and then dab a touch of clear gloss on top and voila.   For a satin finish, Media is very… lustre-like.  It has that slicker feel of a lustre finish lipstick, but it also has the look of one.  I do find that Media settles into my lip lines more than I’d like, though.

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

The Sultry Season is a series of posts featuring deep, rich shades of brown, berry, plum, and wine lipsticks and lipglosses — just right for autumn — that runs through October 2010.

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Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Smashbox Golden Nude Photo Finish Lid Primer
Smashbox Golden Nude Photo Finish Lid Primer

Smashbox Photo Finish — Maybe for Face, Not for Eyes

Smashbox Golden Nude Photo Finish Lid Primer ($20.00 for 0.08 oz.) is a shimmering peach-gold colored eyeshadow primer. Smashbox says you can use this alone as a wash, lid corrector, or as a base underneath your eyeshadows.

This is a product that looks pretty when swatched, but it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do at all.  Despite being on the drying side, it creases within a few hours.  Whether worn alone or as an eyeshadow base, this primer left my makeup in ruins by the third hour.  The darker color of this particular shade makes it better as an all-over wash than an eyeshadow base, because it tends to eat color and be fussy when it comes to blending shadows on top of it.

I tried it three times, and I just gave up on it–I couldn’t get it to stay put whatsoever!  I liked how opaque it was, and I could see that it would be useful in camouflaging imperfections on the lid, but it’s such a shame that you’ll have raisin-like lids before the end of the day.  The best use from this, after all that, is as a brow highlighter–incredibly sheered out, but even that is a stretch if you don’t have a medium skin tone with warmer undertones.

I’m also disappointed in the amount you get.  Most primers are around 0.30 oz., but Smashbox is two-thirds less and just as expensive.  I feel like Smashbox really phoned it in with this one!  But keep in mind that like any review, it’s based on my experience–which involves my skin, my face, etc., so if this is a product that worked for you, I’m more than happy it did.  I’d always rather a product work amazing for you than anything else.

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

  • Product: 15/30
  • Value: 5/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: For a brand that has such a popular face primer, it’s disappointing that their lid primer completely misses the mark.

AVAILABILITY: Beauty.com

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