Monday, January 14th, 2008

Harsh winter winds can create the worst of chapped, cracked, dried-out lips, and when that happens, it’s a rough time, figuratively and literally speaking. Lips should be smooth and soft to the touch, especially for those who want to wear lipstick. Rougher surfaces make it difficult to both apply lip color as well as have it look nice. Some suffer from chapped lips throughout the year, but take heed, there are some solutions.

LUSH Lip Service ($7.95) comes in a cute, thin tin with a solid lip balm inside.  It’s colorless and leaves a matte finish behind, rather than any glossiness or sheen.  LUSH offers eco-friendly beauty addicts to nab a lip balm that has several organic ingredients by a company who loves to be green.  This lip balm has cocoa butter, beeswax, and shea butter–all major helpers in giving you soft, supple lips.  In addition, there are a number of essential oils used to increase moisturization.  I found this to be a great no-muss, no-fuss lip balm that fits in your pocket (and even better to carry there because the body heat melts it just a touch so it is super easy to apply) or purse.  My only problem is my apartment gets quite cold at night, and I find I really have to use the heat of my finger to soften the top layer to get enough to apply on my lips.  LUSH also offers several flavored lip balms, Honey Trap being one of my favorites from the past

Treat’s Cacao Lip Scrub ($16.00) might seem like a small tub, but trust me, a little goes a long way, and this jar should last you quite awhile.  Lip scrubs are designed to exfoliate and remove dry and dead skin cells from the lips.  It is sugar-based as the particles have some roughness to them, but it is still a gentle exfoliant.  This product uses all natural ingredients, so you can actually lick it off (I wouldn’t say I’d love to eat this stuff, but I did test out the flavor, and it wasn’t half-bad), or at least, not fear you’re ingesting something terrible if you accidentally do (or have the habit of doing so!).  The main ingredients are shea butter, sugar, and cacao.  Cacao is an antioxidant with a lot of Vitamin C, which we learned is a vital nutrient for skin health.  I find I only need to use this once a week or less, and I find this less abrasive and harsh than using a toothbrush or washcloth as others have recommended as cheap and easy ways to exfoliate the lips.

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick ($17.00) comes in a lipstick tube, making it easy to carry in both your purse or your pocket (I go the pocket route often).  It has SPF15 in it, and while more of us are paying attention to sun protection, I am sure we often forget that perhaps our lips need some SPF, too!  It never hurts, right?  Arden’s Eight Hour family of products is a remarkable line of ultra-hydrating and moisturizing products that last for several hours at a time.  I liked the stick formula, because I didn’t have to worry about clean fingers before applying.  It also went on quite easily, albeit a touch slick.  It left only a semi-glossy sheen, and it can be used sparingly or more generously for a desired feel.

Clinique Superbalm Moisturizing Gloss ($13.50) is a super glossy lip balm (though it really feels more like a gloss, I wouldn’t call it a balm as I associate balms as being more solidified) that comes in a variety of colors.  I tried Apricot, as it is a nice pink with only a touch of peach undertones.  When applied, I didn’t notice much more than a pink tint (and only slightly) on my semi-pigmented lips.  While some of the other lip products I tested seemed to sink into my skin, Superbalm felt more like it was a surface protectant.  It took much longer for me to feel like some of it sunk into my lips (which may or may not be relevant, just an observation).  It definitely feels like a gloss on the lips, and it does look glossy, so this is something you wear alone or on top of a lipstick, but not as a primer to lipstick.  There are eight shades currently available in the Superbalm family, and I think I would love Raspberry (deeper hued) for a slightly tinted ultra moisturizing gloss.

Did you miss part one of this series featuring Eminence’s Citrus Lip Balm, Principessa’s Bacio Me Lip Balm, and Von Natur’s Lip Treatment?  Well, don’t!

Friday, January 11th, 2008

Harsh winter winds can create the worst of chapped, cracked, dried-out lips, and when that happens, it’s a rough time, figuratively and literally speaking.  Lips should be smooth and soft to the touch, especially for those who want to wear lipstick.  Rougher surfaces make it difficult to both apply lip color as well as have it look nice.  Some suffer from chapped lips throughout the year, but take heed, there are some solutions.

Eminence Citrus Lip Balm ($24.00) comes in fun packaging, as it’s a dome-shaped lip balm jar.  It’s light and easy to carry around with you in your purse (though too tall to comfortably fit in your pocket).  I must first confess that I’m a touch of a germaphobe, so sticking my finger continuously into the same jar is not something that I go headlong into.  On that note, I make sure that my lip-balm-applying-finger is clean (and my lips are relatively clean, too).  I loved the scent of this, pure lemony citrus, and it went on very smoothly with a touch of a buttery feeling.  However, it was not oily, too slick or thick, for me.  I love Vaseline for a cheap drugstore solution, but it does have a bit of an ooey-gooey, goopy feeling that can be too much for some, and I tend to only use it as a night time solution.  I felt like this kept my lips hydrated for several hours without need to re-apply, which was great.  At $24.00, the price tag may be steep for some readers.  It’s definitely a balm full of essential ingredients, like shea butter and sunflower seed oil (subsequently, Vitamins A, D, and E), along with beeswax and salicylic acid (anti-inflammatory, reduces surface impurities), hawthorn berry (antioxidant, Vitamin B and C), peptides (encourage collaged production), and paprika (adds a bit of plumpness to lips).  So perhaps because it really does seem like the overachiever of lip balms, getting that much infused into your lips justifies the cost.

Principessa Bacio Me Lip Balm ($11.00) is a lip balm packaged in a cute tin.  I found this container to actually be a bit hard to open, and I felt like I really had to work it to open.  It’s definitely not something you should try shortly after moisturizing!  The texture of this product reminded me more of jelly than of a thinner balm, so for those who like thicker, slicker treatments, this one is definitely something to consider.  It contains both shea butter and Vitamin E to help keep lips super soft.  Since it has a jelly-texture, you get some sheen out of the balm, which is nice for days lazing around the house or running out to get the mail.  If you wanted to wear lipstick over this, it might not go so well.  Lipgloss?  Perhaps, but this is a lip balm I would probably use on its own rather than underneath lip colors and glosses.  In fact, if you find yourself always wearing lipstick and gloss, this would work better as a night lip treatment.  This lip balm is small enough to fit in your purse and light enough not to add much weight.  It’s durable (it is a tin, afterall), so you won’t have to worry about it breaking or cracking.  The price point is manageable, a little less than a typical lipgloss.

Von Natur Essential Lip Treatment ($11.00) is an 85% organic lip care solution for those who want slightly plumper lips in a very stimulating fashion, along with the promise of redefining the tissue around the lips to help reduce wrinkles.  Let me say that I could not handle this product myself.  I only used it three times, and one time I removed it immediately.  The product warns that it may tingle or you may feel heat, but it was just too much for me.  I might have sensitive lips, but either way, I just couldn’t take the heat so I got out of the kitchen!  To be sure, I am not a fan of many lip plumpers in general because the tingling sensation is more than I care to deal with (plus, my lips are plump naturally, thankfully, so I’m less inclined to suffer an ounce for something I don’t really need!).  As I have tried DuWop Lip Venom in the past, I would say the sensation is on par with it in terms of intensiveness.  This lip treatment has DMAE (recommended ingredient for healthier skin) and antioxidants, which, as we’ve learned, are all good things to find in any product designed to moisturize and better the skin.

Stay tuned for part two of this series covering LUSH’s Lip Service, Treat’s Cacao Lip Scrub, Clinique’s Superbalm Moisturizing Gloss, and Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Lip Protectant.

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

With the new year, it is only fitting for us to reflect back on the posts from Temptalia in the past year.  In this special year-end “best of” post, you will find a few favorites from both readers and myself.  If you had a favorite post that you remember, feel free to share it!

Features

One of the new additions to Temptalia has been “Temptalia Asks You,” which stemmed off of “Ask Temptalia.”  Some of the best questions (rather, the best answers) have given:  a slew of eyeliner tips, your very first makeup buys, five products you use everyday, your strange beauty habits, how others view your makeup addiction, great skincare tips, and makeup tips for beginners.  Plus, you answered and we compiled to give you the First Annual Temptalia Beauty Awards!

Tutorials are a popular favorite around these parts, but these few have been particularly well-received this year:  cateye eyeliner tips and tricks, achieving flawless skin (complete with contouring, blush, and highlighting!), bold, bright, and totally teal, how-to get perfect red lips, my top ten makeup tips, learn the parts to the eye, Temptalia’s signature black smoky eye, how-to for blending, and duplicate Barbie Loves MAC face chart.

Sometimes the looks on Temptalia are like peacocks, even a bit wacky, experiments with Metal-X, and reminiscent of fall.

Celebrity look breakdowns only began late this year, but while it is a hate-it-or-love-it kind of column for many, Arielle Kebbel dazzles with icy blue shadow, while Keira Knightley has an awfully plump pout, but still looks gorgeous.

So many opportunities happened in 2007, including many, many interviews with fabulous people.  MAC let us interview Viva Glam spokseperson Dita Von Teese, which was one amazing experience, but there were some great home-grown interviews with makeup artists from all walks, including founder of Face Time, Linsey Snyder.

It is always fab to have Temptalia readers submit to the site, and how can we forget Skyler’s enviable pigment storage solution?  Skyler, tell Doug I desperately want one, too!  (But here’s my storage solution… for now.)  Check out the readers’ pick for winner of the Halloween mask contest, as well as the judges’ pickKris shared this awesome teal look with us, while Janis goes smoky eyed.

MAC

We are already anticipating for Spring 2008 here in the beauty world, but MAC’s collaboration with Heatherette and Fafi have everyone in a tizzy, excited for February and March to roll around already!  While the unsung hero of the year will have to be Sculpt & Shape, only because it gave me the perfect contouring color, and The Originals turned out much better than expected.  Although Antiquitease and Holiday 2007 offerings overwhelmed us a bit, I loved the look of the Antiquitease crackled nails enough to try it myself.  MAC put out a lovely collection of smoky blues in Blue Storm, but we still wish MAC would make Temptalia’s Color Story.  Many loved, and some hated, but C-Shock was a shock to the sensible with its bright and bold hues.  Don’t forget how everyone ran, not walked, to get Barbie Loves MAC (which I liked, but didn’t love).

Reviews

YSL teaches us a lesson in truly luxury beauty and makes us fall in love with their cream blush, while our experience with Chanel Glossimers hasn’t yet converted us to the dark side!

Skin discoveries were abound this year, and Osmotics Cream Extreme saved me from a fate worse than death.   I can’t go a day without Estee Lauder’s DayWear Plus–it is the perfect morning cream.  What else could be love at first sight?  Oh, Renee Rouleau’s AHA/BHA cleanser!  Even though I shared my skincare routine with you this year, I think 2008 will require an updated version as I have found all new light o’ loves.

Also, as a reminder, don’t forget about submitting your Reader Feedback Survey nor participating in our New You with New Beauty contest!

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

The Audience
Temptalia readers are composed of 97.6% females and only 2.4% males (hey guys!). The majority of our readers are aged 22-30 (44.5%), with 32% of readers aged 18-22; this means 76% of our readers fall into the category of 18-30 (one of the most prized female demographics). 13% of readers are age 30-40, while only 4% of readers are over 40. We have a few younger readers, roughly 7% of readers are under 18 (but only 0.2% are under 14).

Now, see the results for the best brands, products, and collections of the year, from your votes! (Be sure to add your own result commentary by leaving a comment!) Continue reading →

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

Whether you have your nails done professionally or prefer to do them while watching an hour of reality television, we have picked some of our favorites to recommend to you for perfectly polished nails. As always, polishes in reds are always in season when it comes to the holidays, but we are fortunate enough to have experienced the trend of jewel-toned tips in shades like rich, bold navy blues and emerald greens.

Tips for Nails:

  • File down nails (preferrably with a glass file to minimize tearing and splitting) to even them out relative to each other. Sometimes if I break a nail, I may keep that one short but keep the rest even with each other. In general, I try to keep them all in line, in terms of length and shape, with each other.
  • Find the shape that suits your hand. I go for the “squoval” or a squarish oval.
  • Take care of cuticles by using a product like Creative’s Cuticle Eraser (I always keep a couple on hand and stash them around the house: by my desk, on my nightstand, and on the bookshelf near the couch).
  • Wash hands thoroughly before beginning the process of applying polish. Any dirt, grime, or lotions will make it harder for the polish coats to adhere to the nail base.
  • Find a good top, base, and fast dry coat to use. I love Zoya’s ColorLock system because it comes with everything you need, and I’ve been using it for weeks now with amazing results. I have also had good results using Creative’s Stickey base and Seche Vite’s Fast Drying Top Coat.
  • I prefer a top coat or dry coat that quickly dries my polish–enough at least–that I can resume some activity. Remember, nail polish doesn’t set immediately, even with a dry coat; usually the polish is fully set an hour later. Ensure that you don’t get texturized by your bed sheets by applying polish well before bed time!
  • By applying a base coat (which anchors the polish better) and a top coat (protects the color, prevents chips), you automatically increase the wearing time of your manicure.
  • Buy your salon favorites at online retailers like 8ty8 Beauty, Head2Toe Beauty, & TransDesign, rather than in drugstores. If you buy enough, you will not only offset shipping, but save money, too (and who doesn’t LOVE to do that?).

Now that you know how to make the most of your polish, here are some great shades to help you mix and match and coordinate with your holiday pieces this year. Continue reading →

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

We have given you several gift guides to celebrate the season of giving, and we hope you have found a few ideas for your family and friends (or even a few for your own wish list!). Make sure you didn’t miss any of the ones we’ve posted this month…

What are some of the beauty-related gifts you’re giving this season? Share your ideas in the comments!