Saturday, March 6th, 2010

Korres Makeup Removing Wipes

Makeup Remover Wipes: Let’s Talk Korres

Korres Pomegranate Cleansing & Make Up Removing Wipes ($12.00 for 25 wipes) are a rosy-floral scented makeup wipe that will remove makeup decently but doesn’t get off every trace of it.

These wipes don’t get the job done when it comes to long-wearing, water-resistant, or otherwise “stubborn” makeup like mascara and eyeliner. I also found that my pack seemed a little dry, so I put a little water in it and turned it upside down (my trick for keeping wipes moist!). The best part about the Korres’ wipes is that it’s a non-greasy, non-oily makeup remover, so it won’t leave you feeling greasy nor do you need to rinse after you use one.

I actually like these more for a post-workout wipe down than removing my makeup (just because I do often wear more long-wearing products). They’re extremely refreshing, and since they’re not at all oily, it takes care of your skin without adding anything to it. Really gives me a clean feeling without the tightness.

Price-wise, the Korres’ wipes work out to be just under $0.50 each, so they’re a little pricier than I’d like. At the end of the day, though, say you used this nearly once per day, it works out to about $12 a month as a cost–not necessarily make-or-break, you know? Less than a MAC Lipglass! I wish they’d have a better closure device on the Korres’ wipes, but it’s just a peel-back sticker/closure that you press close (which just isn’t as secure as something with a “click”).

My favorite wipes for makeup removing are MAC Wipes (available for $26 for 100, works out to be $0.26 each), because they’re effective without being drying. However, they’re not designed to be used around the eyes (no, seriously), and I know that I can’t use them for eye makeup removal, because they’ll burn/sting around the eyes.  Korres’ wipes don’t burn around the eyes, so that is a huge difference between the two for me.

MAC Wipes, though, are one of my beauty blogging staples (along with an awesome camera!), because it’s so easy to remove even stubborn eyeliner that’s been stuck on your arm for hours.  I tried Korres for this task, but it just couldn’t get everything off as cleanly or smoothly as MAC Wipes.

Korres’ Wipes are decent, but they’re not superb.  They work well if you wear more minimal makeup or stick with less long-wearing makeup.  One sheet will remove the majority of my tinted moisturizer.  They smell lovely, too, with that rose-ish scent (I know, it’s supposed to smell like pomegranate, but I get a lot of floral when I sniff it!) and didn’t irritate my skin (always a plus!).

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

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: If you need something to help refresh you after a workout at the gym or you only wear a little makeup, these are nice to have in your arsenal.

Availability: Beauty.com, Korres, Nordstrom

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Bobbi Brown

Bobbi Brown EXTRA Tinted Moisturizing Balm with SPF 25 Review, Photos

Bobbi Brown EXTRA SPF 25 Tinted Moisturizing Balm ($50.00 for 1 oz.) is a thick tinted moisturizer that comes in a glass pot with a black screw-on lid. It’s available in eight shades: Alabaster (lightest), Extra Light Tint, Light Tint, Light to Medium Tint, Medium Tint, Medium to Dark Tint, Dark Tint, and Deep Tint.

It is described as, “A lightweight foundation alternative for dry, dehydrated skin, this formula is ultra-rich, and blends easily, giving skin a dewy look with light coverage. SPF 25 helps protect skin against damaging UVA/B rays. Dermatologist tested.”

Bobbi Brown also has a SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizer (not so thick) that retails for $40.00 for 1.7 oz. (but I haven’t tried it myself beyond squeezing a drop or two out in-store, so I can’t give you direct comparisons). According to the Bobbi Brown website, though, the SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizer is ideal for Normal to Dry skin types, whereas the SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizing Balm is recommended for drier skin types.

EXTRA feels like a cream and looks like one, too, in the jar, but you have to remember that it’s a tinted moisturizer and not use it as a cream–seriously, if you use it as a cream, you’ll end up with far more product than you need! Whether you use fingers or a brush (or a clean spatula, whatever!), you really don’t need more than a pea-sized application to cover the entire face with a sheer, lightweight layer of tinted moisturizer. It also has a lovely lemon-y citrus scent that’s dreamy (very tarte, not sweet).

This tinted moisturizer does have a distinct dewy finish; it was too dewy for my taste by itself, so I had to set with powder to minimize some of the dewiness–then it was just fine for everyday wear. It’s also definitely a sheer coverage product; I’ve tried some tinted moisturizers where coverage is a bit more than sheer (more like a light coverage foundation), but EXTRA is sheer. It’s like “your skin but better,” because it’s not going to hide too many skin imperfections, but it will help even out your skin tone. This is, though, the very nature of tinted moisturizers, to be sure!

When I’m on a good skin kick, EXTRA is just enough for me to wear on a daily basis, even with full makeup elsewhere (eyeshadow, lipstick, blush, etc.). With the dryness of the winter season, my skin is definitely more normal-to-dry, so EXTRA is just moisturizing enough to help keep my skin hydrated throughout the day. I do, though, tend to use a moisturizer in the morning, because I often shower in the morning but not apply makeup until a few hours later. I don’t find it too heavy, though, doing that double-duty moisturizing.

I do think this may be a little too rich for those with normal or normal-to-oily skin types, just because it such a thick, rich cream-type tinted moisturizer. I would recommend trying a sample to see if it works with your skin type. Most tinted moisturizers feel more like a lotion or a thickened liquid foundation, but this feels just like a face cream, so it does feel quite nice when applied to skin. I would also recommend waiting five to ten minutes for it to dry a bit before layering any makeup on top (like blush or bronzer).

Bottom Line: I like it a lot, but I’m more of a matte-finish kind of gal, so the dewy finish is just not my style. I did receive several compliments from readers when I wore it in some looks this past month–some saying it looked better than my usual tinted moisturizer (Kiehl’s, lately). It’s a good tinted moisturizer for those with drier skin who are only looking for sheer coverage to help even out skin tone. It is also significantly pricier than Bobbi Brown’s regular Tinted Moisturizer–EXTRA costs $10 more and you get about 35-40% less. To be fair, a pot of EXTRA is going to last you at least a few months since you need so little per application, though.

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’ve been looking for a more hydrating tinted moisturizer, Bobbi Brown’s EXTRA may be the one to quench your skin’s thirst!

Availability: Bobbi Brown

See more photos of me wearing this tinted moisturizer! Continue reading →

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Affordable Skincare: Aveeno Positively Radiant Makeup Removing Cleanser

Aveeno Positively Radiant Makeup Removing Cleanser ($6.99 for 5.5 fl. oz.) is a foam-based cleanser that feels lightweight, doesn’t dry out skin, and removes most makeup.

This review is one of those short and sweet kind, because the product itself is really simple.  Like many Aveeno products, it’s not about frills, it’s about meeting a need.  If I had to compare this to another high-end brand, I’d consider this similar to Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple (Foaming).  This one comes in a bottle-shaped container with a pump to distribute the foam cleanser.  I find one or two pumps is all I need to feel clean.

It is advertised as a makeup removing cleanser, not just a cleanser, and it’s unfortunate, because it doesn’t quite remove all makeup.  Whenever I have a makeup remover, I test it against the long-lasting power of MAC Fluidline.  This removed some, but it didn’t remove all.  It does remove the majority of my makeup (eyeshadow, non-waterproof mascara, foundation), but it’s not necessarily the best choice for heavier or more long-wearing products.

I do, personally, prefer to remove heavier makeup with an oil-based makeup remover (like Lancome’s Bi-Facil) before I do my nightly cleanser, so it’s not a big deal for me.  It’s just something that does take away from this product’s score, since it doesn’t completely live up to its claims.

It smells like something soft and clean and a little sweet–it reminded me of baby shampoo, to be honest.  When I was trying to describe it, all I could think of was baby shampoo as my descriptor.

Bottom Line: This is an affordable cleanser that works well for daily dirt and grime and light to medium makeup.  If you’re looking for a cleanser to remove heavy eyeliner, you may want to look elsewhere.   I actually really liked it, and I was pleasantly surprised by it overall.  I’ll probably be switching over my boyfriend over to this from Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple when he runs out.  (Well, I’m going to have to see if Aveeno offers a foaming cleanser in this product line that doesn’t have “makeup remover” on it!)

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: For an easy, lightweight cleanser that works well on daily dirt and build-up, this one is worth checking out!

Availability: ULTA

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009


Wearing Guerlain Parure Gold Liquid Foundation

Guerlain Parure Gold Fluid Foundation ($78.00 for 1 oz.) is a recently released liquid foundation by Guerlain that’s designed to add a bit of a glow to skin with medium coverage. The product itself is also supposed to have a bit of skincare in it, as Guerlain says it should, restor[e] luster and revitaliz[e] skin in the long term, thanks to the exclusive double-sided Gold Radiance Pigment” along with “the regenerating properties of Myrrh Oil, and the lifting and smoothing properties of Peptides, long-term results include the diminishment of fine lines and smoother, softer skin.”

First, as I feel it’s necessary to do in any reviews relating to a product with anti-aging properties, I’m 23. I’m still in my so-called youth, so I don’t have too many signs of aging yet (thankfully), and I think it’s important to note that. It’s a lot harder to see a measurable change when there are few areas that might even get changed. I have some fine lines around my eyes, but these tend to be exacerbated if I don’t drink enough water or get enough sleep. Personally, I don’t seek out anti-aging products in my skincare regimen at this time. I feel the best regimen is preventative care vs. reversal care, for me, and at this stage in my life.

I’m just not going to be able to give you much insight on whether this product actually diminishes your fine lines with much substance. I will say my skin has never looked better since using it, and I do feel like my skin has a healthier look when it’s au natural. I used to be a little more self conscious about going out nekkid faced, but after using this pretty consistently (I did/do alternate with tinted moisturizer), I like the way my skin looks. With most things, it’s easy to create causal links that may not really be there–skin is so faceted, so it could be a change in hormones, better diet, getting sick (seriously, my skin never looked better!), etc.

What’s more important to me is how well it acts as a foundation, and it that area, I can definitely tell you, from my experience, that it excels. It’s a great lightweight, medium-coverage liquid foundation that makes skin look smoother, softer, and very, very natural. It’s not heavy, never gets cakey, and is so easy to smooth onto skin. I don’t normally like foundations that purport to give you a “glow,” because it tends to translate to oiliness for me. I’m normal-to-dry, and typically, “glowy” foundations make me look oily, which is so not my thing. Parure Gold doesn’t. It really does give you that natural glow. Just that little, “Oh, did you cut your hair?” kind of glow that people don’t attribute to your foundation. It feels like heaven on, and it hasn’t broken me out after using it for these past few months (always a good thing!).

Application: I always apply my liquid foundation in the same manner: apply the foundation in spots all over my face with a concealer brush, then I spritz a fluffy brush (I’m loving MAC 109 for liquid) with plain ol’ water. I then work the foundation out and all over my skin and the brush both applies and blends at the same time. If that was confusing, I did do a video tutorial for applying foundation with the 109 brush. I use this method with Guerlain’s foundation, because it stretches out the product (I just find it’s so easy to overwear foundation, and the water stretches it out and gives you a more natural look where you can go back and apply more in the areas you need it) and makes it incredibly easy to blend and smooth onto the skin.

It has the traditional sort of perfume-y scent of most Guerlain skincare/face products, though, which may be something those who are more sensitive to perfumes and scents can’t tolerate. The price tag is another obstacle for some, as it is considerably pricey at $78 per ounce. I’ve sinced swapped this for my previous find DiorSkin Nude Liquid Foundation, which was also a bit more expensive at $45 per ounce. I imagine the price hike is attributable to the skincare properties in the foundation itself (which isn’t a bad idea, considering you often wear foundation for eight hours or more).

It is available in six shades: #02 Beige Clair, #03 Beige Naturel, #04 Beige Moyen, #05 Beige Intense, #06 Beige Profond, and #13 Rose Naturel. The shade I’m currently using is #03 Beige Naturel, which I think matches my skintone quite well (I’m around NC25/NC30 in MAC foundation, for reference). The packaging does hold some fingerprints, which can make the product itself look messy, but it comes with a pump, and I use one to do my whole face.

Bottom Line: For a splurge foundation, Guerlain Parure Gold Liquid Foundation gives amazing coverage, feels lovely on, and looks even more amazing. I’ve loved it enough to have stuck with it for the past two or three months, and it’s my go-to for liquid foundation. I do wear a lot of tinted moisturizer, just because if I’m not doing a full face of makeup, tinted moisturizer is all I need (but to be honest, I do go bare-faced quite often). The only real drawback (to me) of the product is the price tag.

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

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

Recommendation:  A stellar liquid foundation that covers well, feels like nothing on, and looks fantastic — if you can get past the price tag, there’s a lot of great things to say about this foundation!

Availability: Nordstrom, Saks

See more photos of me wearing this foundationContinue reading →

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Benefit Georgia Face Powder ($28.00 for 0.4 oz.) is a pale, warm-toned peachy pressed powder. Benefit describes it as, “Our “just peachy” face powder leaves your complexion warm and vibrant. Georgia is a dream…it’s peaches and cream!”

Georgia is best used as a sheer, all-over powder on light to medium skin-tones. I think darker skin tones will find this can go on ashy or so sheer they’re not sure they’ve put anything on. It’s really good for brightening and warming up lighter skin tones, so it’s actually a very product for barely-there makeup days. When I’m in a rush, this is something I can easily dust on to make my face look a little more alive and less likely I only slept four hours the night before.

I think only the lightest of skin tones will find this useful as a blusher, just because the color is both sheer and pale. In my swatch, there’s only a hint of product that shows up, so you can see that my NC25/30 skin tone starts to get close to the end of the spectrum for this product’s usefulness. I also think that some people go into purchasing this product expecting to use it as a blusher, and then find themselves disappointed by its sheerness. I do like it as an all-over face powder, but it does have shimmer in it, so if you don’t want shimmer all over your face, this isn’t the best choice in all-over powders for you.

Additionally, this can be used as a highlighter on cheeks alone, too. It’s a more versatile product than you’d think, but I think a lot of us just get trapped into expecting a blush and not getting it. Georgia also feels a bit powdery/chalky, which is yet another reason I think it’s not a workable product on darker skin tones. I find this best applies with a stippling brush (like MAC’s 187) all over the face for a light, warmed up look without too much shimmer or product.

By the ounce, Benefit Face Powders/Blush colors are actually cheaper than MAC! Benefit comes in at $70.00/oz. while MAC is $88.10/oz. Benefit Face Powders/Blushes are actually some of the most bang-for-your-buck in the high-end department. The packaging is cute and exactly what I’d expect out of Benefit. Georgia actually does have a light peach scent to it, though it’s not something I notice while wearing the product–only when I sniff the product itself.

Bottom line: It’s not replacing any products I’m already using, and I’d probably be more apt to use it if it provided more of a peachy blush color than an all-over color.  I prefer other highlighters and all-over powders with setting qualities, as well.  It’s a quality product, but it doesn’t work for everyone, and it’s best used as an easy all-over powder.  I think if that’s what you’re looking for, you’d enjoy this product.  For others, this is nice, but it isn’t a must-have.

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a sheer, warm-toned all-over powder and you’re light to medium in skintone, this might work for you.

Availability: BenefitCosmetics.com

See more photos and swatchesContinue reading →

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator Review

MAC Style Black included two pieces of limited edition skincare — the ever-raved about Volcanic Ash Exfoliator and previously-mentioned-but-finally-released Volcanic Ash Thermal Mask.

I’ve been a big supporter of MAC’s Volcanic Ash Exfoliator since it released.  I loved it.  I sparingly used it so it would last as long as I could manage.  I managed to make two tubs last me a year or so (it was launched in 2008).  I couldn’t even begin to tell you how excited I was for it to be re-released with Style Black!

The re-released Volcanic Ash Exfoliator is slightly different than the original in a few key ways, though the product still feels, smells, and does the same (for me!) as the original version did.  This release of Volcanic Ash Exfoliator uses both sugar (sucrose, specifically) and silica for exfoliating, whereas the original release only used sugar.  Before, when you scrubbed your face with the exfoliator, the sugar particles would eventually dissolve, but with the addition of silica, you’ll notice a slightly gritty texture the whole time.

From what I can tell, MAC was attempting to address some of the problems/concerns the product created when it was originally launched.  The tub packaging was both unsanitary and was not shower-friendly (which is the most convenient place to use this, because it can be messy).  The tub seemed to get a lot of water in it when I had it in my shower, which kind of resulted in the sugar dissolving faster than I’d like–and the heat of the shower also caused some of the sugar to dissolve, I’d imagine.   Since silica doesn’t dissolve, it also makes it a more shower-friendly ingredient when it comes to exfoliation!  The new tube packaging now makes it more hygienic and shower-friendly, as well.

Considering I ended up having half a tub of exfoliator without any exofliating properties because all the sugar dissolved, I’m happy it’s in a tube!  I also think that while it feels thicker, it’s also hard to judge, because before you were scooping it out of a jar so the two processes are different enough.  I also don’t have any of the old stuff left to compare.  It does, though, feel a little thicker.

In the end, it applies and feels like the original.  I’d say it’s a little grittier than it previously was, with the addition of silica, but it still doesn’t feel like a harsh, aggressive exfoliator.  It’s fairly gentle, and it should be used once or twice during the week, depending on how your skin takes to exfoliants.

Product value on this could be better, because they took out about an ounce of product and tacked on an additional fifty cents.  I can handle the slight price increase, but I’m less than impressed with the decrease in the product itself (particularly since it’s 3.4 oz.), since it represents about 20-25% decrease in how much you get for your money.

Bottom line: It’s a mild exfoliator that has an earthy, ashy smell that’s not unpleasant (at least not to me), nor is it like ohhh, yummy! , it’s just kind of the scent I’d expect from it.  It leaves skin feeling soft, smooth, and may even give you a lil’ bit of that glow.  I still love it, but I’m not quite as in-love as I was originally (I think that’s more because of all the other exfoliators that I also love).  I definitely still recommend trying it out–ask for a sample if you’re unsure–because it is a fantastic exfoliator!

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

Recommendation:  If you liked the original, I think you’ll still like this slightly reformulated version!  It’s a good, mild exfoliator!

Availability: MAC Cosmetics