Sunday, January 10th, 2010

Weekend Quickies:  Carnival Lights, Lancome Cream Shadows, Philosophy Holiday Shower Gels

Here are some products I’ve tried in the past few months with reviews done all quick-style ;)

  • China Glaze Carnival Lights Nail Lacquer ($3.50) has a medium pink jelly base with silver micro-glitter and larger silver hexagonal glitter. It doesn’t go opaque on my nail, as you can still see the tip of it a bit. Above is two coats.
  • Lancome ‘Color Design’ Cream Eyeshadow ($22.00) came in three shades: Garter Belt (deep burgundy with red shimmer), Haute Smoke (soft taupe brown with multicolored shimmer), and Pink Lace (a milky pale pink). These lasted on my lids well (until I took it off, so about eight hours or so), though they are advertised to last for sixteen hours (I don’t think I usually wear my makeup for much more than eight hours!).
  • Philosophy Candy Cane Shower Gel ($16.00) smells exactly as advertised — like the peppermint-y candy canes of the holiday season. Lathers up quite well, as the rest of their shower gels do.
  • Philosophy Have a Cherry Christmas Shower Gel ($16.00) lathers up nicely and smells like slightly sweetened cherries that still have that tartness to them. The Muse has a more in-depth review if you’re curious. I love me some Philosophy Shower Gels, but how many times can I tell you that? Ha! ;)

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Tuesday, December 8th, 2009


Philosophy’s The Gingerbread Man

Scrub-a-dub with Philosophy’s The Gingerbread Man

Philosophy The Gingerbread Man Body Scrub ($25.00 for 23 oz.) is a hot salt scrub with a citrus-y ginger scent.

I was actually disappointed that this didn’t smell more like gingerbread, because it was definitely more natural ginger scent with a kick of citrus–maybe orange–instead. Philosophy is usually totally on target with scent, so I’m not sure if maybe I just expected the wrong scent. It’s not a bad smell, but it wasn’t what I expected!

I was also a little confused over the best way to apply/use it, because it is advertised as a scrub for the “tub and shower,” but the instructions tell you to apply to dry skin, rub in a circular motion, and then rinse off. I don’t know about you, but once I’m in the shower, there really isn’t any dry skin anymore! I tried it on dry skin once, right before I jumped into the shower, and I don’t think it’s the way to go. It felt much too harsh, was tough to apply (there wasn’t enough slip), and it was messy (I had salt granules all over my floor for days, much to my boyfriend’s chagrin).

So, after that, I decided to try it another way — in the shower. So, so much better! It’s a gritty scrub as it uses big salt particles to exfoliate, which means it might not be appropriate if you prefer softer granules or have sensitive skin. In the shower, it’s just gritty enough to give you lots of exfoliation while you rub it onto damp skin. It does dissolve, but it doesn’t do so immediately upon contact with water — you can get a few minutes of “scrubbing” time in before it’s time to rinse and still have granules left.

Bottom Line: I didn’t notice much of a warming feel–maybe just slightly–but I did have much smoother, softer skin post-shower, and the scrub itself has enough hydration to keep my skin from getting scaly. I like that there’s no greasy residue or oily feel afterward as well! It’s a solid scrub, and you certainly get plenty for your money. After years of trying different scrubs, I’ve found I prefer slightly less coarse scrubs, so that’s why this one didn’t have me on my feet — but it’s still a worthwhile scrub if you do prefer coarse, salt-based scrubs.

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: If you like coarser bodys scrubs, you may enough this one.

Availability: Nordstrom, Sephora

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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 18th, 2009

Philosophy Pumpkin Spice Muffin Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath Review

Philosophy Pumpkin Spice Muffin Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath ($16.00 for 16 oz.) is yet another fun, aromatic scent from Philosophy, just in time for the fall and holiday season. I already reviewed a few of their other holiday scents, but I knew I was going to fall in love with this one.

I am ALL about pumpkin spice. Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte… Pumpkin Spice Creamer (now I can use my beloved Nespresso to make the BEST at-home pumpkin spice lattes!)… Panera Pumpkin Muffins… you name it, if it has pumpkin spice in the title, I’m all over it. Seriously. LOVE IT. It’s so cozy and homey and autumn. Philosophy totally nailed this scent in a way that really blows me away. I was like, “How did they manage to get that pumpkin spice WITH just a touch of muffin in it?” It’s just so on point. It has the exact scent of pumpkin spice, but as you take a sniff, you can totally detect that it’s more of a pumpkin spice muffin you’re smelling. I was just particularly amazed as I was really dissecting the scent last night in the shower.

I love Philosophy’s 3-in-1 Shower Gels, because they lather up quickly and easily, and they smell so good. (If you aren’t feeling pumpkin spice–how could you not?!–they have a variety of scents, mostly food-related.) I personally also love that the scent fills the bathroom/shower, but it doesn’t linger on the skin. This allows me to wear any body cream/lotion or perfume post-shower and not worry about mixing and matching scents. One 16 oz. bottle lasts me about three or four months (for two, maybe more like a month and a half or two), so I’m satisfied with the cost-per-use value I get out of each bottle.

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: If you love pumpkin spice, I think you’ll love this scent!

Availability: Beauty.com, Nordstrom, Philosophy, Sephora

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Philosophy:  Peppermint Hot Cocoa Shower Gel
Philosophy: Peppermint Hot Cocoa Shower Gel

Philosophy Peppermint Hot Cocoa Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath ($16.00 for 16 oz.) is a fun, holiday scent from Philosophy’s Holiday Collection.  The first time I lathered up with this product, I was instantly reminded of peppermint mochas from Starbucks.  It’s that chocolaty sweetness mixed with a pop of peppermint.  I think Philosophy nailed the scent, and the name is perfectly suited to it.  It’s a good mix of chocolate sweetness and richness and peppermint where neither scent overpowers the other.

Philosophy describes this scent as, “a minty spin on a chocolaty holiday favorite. this super-decadent, new peppermint hot cocoa shampoo, shower gel & bubble bath 16 oz. will surely become your favorite shower-time treat. the ultra-rich formula provides a moisturizing lather from head to toe to gently cleanse and condition your skin and hair. it even comes in a giftable holiday box.”

I am a big, and a long-time, fan of Philosophy’s 3-in-1 gels.  I only use mine as shower gels (I prefer other products for shampoo, and I rarely take baths), but I love these for two reasons:  1) sheer variety in scents available and 2) they lather up so easily and quickly and feel great when you’re using them in the shower.  I think these are affordable products, because one 16 oz. bottle lasts me about three or four months, easily.  You don’t need much to lather head to toe or to get the scent to fill your shower.  The only thing I don’t like about these is I find the bottle packaging to be of a very hard plastic, so it isn’t as easy as I’d like to squeeze out the product when it starts getting empty–requires a little strength!

Bottom Line: If you prefer shower gels that give you a lingering scent after the shower is over, Philosophy’s aren’t really designed for that purpose (they actually advertise them as scents that don’t linger past the shower/bath).  If, however, you want to enjoy a burst of scent in the shower in various fun scents like Peppermint Hot Cocoa, but don’t necessarily want to walk around smelling like that, these are amazing.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  As with most Philosophy shower gels… if you like this kind of scent or it sounds like one you might like, I urge you to give it a whiff!

Availability: Philosophy, Sephora

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Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Philosophy Holiday Spice and Everything Nice Gift Set ($20.00) includes Holiday Spice and Everything Nice Shower Gel (8 oz.) and Lip Shine (0.5 oz.). It’s just one of the many gift sets available from Philosophy’s Holiday Collection.

Holiday Spice and Everything Nice is kind of a holiday-esque spicy scent blend with a citrus-y feel. I found it definitely had a slight orange-y citrus scent to it, amongst the holiday spice. I can’t really describe what it smells like, except Christmas, to me. Philosophy doesn’t do much better, as they describe this scent as, “a sensational blend of citrus and all your favorite warm holiday spices, created to heighten your holiday experience and give you the warm-fuzzies.”

I found that that the Lip Shine had a stronger scent than the shower gel, and like most Philosophy shower gels, the scent doesn’t linger much further than the bathroom. (This is good for me, since I usually use a scented body lotion or perfume, so I’d rather not deal with how things layer.) Philosophy’s Lip Shines are non-sticky, slightly jelly-esque, and tend to be more shimmer than color. I didn’t notice much taste (more like tasteless) in the product when I licked my lips, though.

This set isn’t really a value set, because you don’t really save any money by buying the two products together, but you don’t spend more to get them together, either. Also, as far as I know, you can only purchase full-sized shower gels, which are $16 for 16 oz., and this is half the size. Since I’m more of a “gotta try ‘em all” person when it comes to Philosophy’s shower gels, I’m more apt to try out their kits. (But then again, I also collect their Lip Shines!)

I do feel like Philosophy keeps their products are a relatively affordable price point when it comes non-mass brands. One bottle of shower gel lasts me months, and I adore the variety of scents they offer.

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  It’s not my favorite scent, BUT I think if you like Christmas-y scents, you may like this one.  I love Philosophy shower gels, though, so if the scent is up your alley, I recommend it!

Availability: Nordstrom, Philosophy

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