Sunday, August 16th, 2009

Parched Skin? Clinique’s Maximum Hydrator to the Rescue!

Clinique Maximum Hydrator ($27.00) is a moisturizer designed as part of their men’s skincare line. Gender aside, this is a fantastic moisturizer, and it’s actually one I’ve repurchased–for myself, not the boyfriend! This is an excellent moisturizer for those with normal to dry skin, because it is incredibly hydrating, and if you have oily skin, it may be too much for you. It is a gel-based formula, though, so it doesn’t feel heavy.

Maximum Hydrator is a multi-purpose product that is supposed to be used both in the morning and the evening. For men, it is touted as a post-shave product to help soften and plump up the skin. Here are the ingredients Clinique wants us to know about:

  • Aloe Leaf Water helps restore optimal moisture levels within skin while soothing dehydrated skin.
  • Moisture-binding polysaccarides (sugars) Trehalose and Sorbitol work along with Sodium Hyaluronate to help skin retain moisture and maintain important natural performances.
  • Palmitoyl Oligopeptide signals skin to stimulate the natural development of collagen.
  • Glycerin, a powerful humectant, helps attract and secure moisture to skin’s surface for immediate comfort.
  • Green Tea Extract and Sea Whip help soothe and protect delicate skin from potential damage from daily irritants.
  • Vitamin E helps fight damage caused by free radicals while Cucumber Extract soothes and de-puffs eye area skin.
  • Caffeine works as an anti-irritant to help soothe and calm easily distressed skin.
  • A blend of 3 different weights of Dimethicone provides improved slip, cushion, and a comfortable end-feel to the product while helping skin retain surface hydration.
  • PhytofixTM , a specially formulated blend of Sunflower Seed Cake, Barley, and Cucumber Fruit Extract, supplies skin with a powerful capacity for barrier repair for improved long-term hydration.

Whether you’re a woman or a man or a woman shopping for your hubby, this is a slam-dunk moisturizing choice. It helped soothe my painfully dry skin from my trip to New York back in February. It was gentle enough not to aggravate my existing breakouts nor cause additional ones. It was hydrating, fragrance-free, and absorbed quickly. You get a good amount for your money, and each jar lasts me about two months if I use it just once a day (I usually use mine at night, though sometimes I use it in the morning, too).

The only downside to this product is that it doesn’t come with any SPF, which is something I think would be a nice addition, because most men in my life aren’t going to be vigilant enough to use a separate moisturizer and SPF–they are too lazy and need an all-in-one kind of product.  The packaging isn’t phenomenal, and I do prefer creams/moisturizers in airless pump containers, but the packaging is simple and no-fuss, so it’s functional.

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 9/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: Dry skin? Sensitive skin? Definitely give this a shot–try asking for a sample next time you’re near a Clinique counter. This is one of my favorite moisturizers, and it is one that I’ve gone back to when other moisturizers aren’t working for me. This is a definite must-have for me during the winter, too, when my skin gets quite parched.

Availability: Nordstrom, Clinique, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sephora.com

Saturday, August 15th, 2009


Pristine Eyeshadow, Cloudaine Elegant Lip Gloss

Kevyn Aucoin:  The Prime Color Creme Eyeshadow

The Prime Color Creme Eye Shadow ($27.00) is an eyeshadow in a twist-up pen form. The eyeshadow itself has a cream consistency. It is true to its claims about creaseless-ness, as I found it didn’t crease after eight hours of wear, but the product itself is not my favorite. It can be difficult to blend the color out and apply from the get-go, and it isn’t the best base I’ve worked with either, because blendability is an issue. The shade I tried was Pristine, which is a soft, golden brown-champagne shade. This is something that can be worn alone on lids if desired, and if that’s the aim, this product meets it well.

  • Product: 6/10
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 5/10
  • Packaging: 6/10

Recommendation: Compact and travel-friendly, the Prime Color Creme Eyeshadows might be your new travel companion. They’re difficult to use, and they aren’t the easiest to blend, so for those two reasons, I won’t be buying any more shades in the future. I also find the price a bit steep for what you’re getting, which is just one more reason these aren’t up to my standards.

Availability: Sephora

Saturday, August 15th, 2009


Cloudaine Elegant Lip Gloss

Kevyn Aucoin: Elegant Lip Gloss

Cloudaine Elegant Lip Gloss ($27.00) is a potted lip gloss that goes on sheerly, but it does provide some color–it’s not really a lip balm, though it looks a bit like one. It has a glossy, lipgloss feel once you’ve broken through the top layer. It does come with a retractable lip brush, which makes the value go up a bit, since I do find the price tag a bit steep for this kind of a product. Cloudaine is a soft, sheer milky pink with multicolored shimmer and a fair amount of glossiness. It’s a very wearable shade–great for everyday. I’m, personally, not a big fan of potted lip balms or glosses, because it requires usage of a brush if you want to avoid bacteria and the ick-factor.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 6/10

Recommendation: If you need a travel-friendly option of lip gloss, consider this solid form of lip gloss. It’s easy to take with you anywhere, and the included retractable brush makes application easy.

Availability: KevynAucoinDirect.com

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Friday, August 14th, 2009

Sneak Peek: MAC Makeup Art Cosmetics Collection — Lipstick & Lipglass

To wrap up our sneak peek of the Makeup Art Cosmetics Collection, let’s take a look at Hold the Pose lipstick and New Spirit and On Display lipglasses.

Lipstick ($14.00)

  • Hold the Pose is a sheer plummy shade with soft golden shimmer and a bit of glossiness. It has a lustre finish, which is why I was expecting it to be sheer. It gives my lips a bit of a rosy plum look, but otherwise, it doesn’t add much to my lips.

  • Product: 7/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Lipglass ($14.00)

  • New Spirit is a light orange-y coral with soft golden shimmer. I was reminded of a more orange version of Orangedescence lipglass (limited edition from quite awhilea go). I liked it, and I liked the way it gave my lips a brighter look and the shimmer was noticeable.
  • On Display is a stunning deep burgundy-wine with gold shimmer. This one is absolutely stunning both swatched and on the lips. I haven’t been this pulled by a lip color by MAC in what feels like way too long. I like this one so much I’m considering a back up…

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 8/10
  • Overall: 8/10

Recommendation: If you’re a fan of lustre finish lipsticks, Hold the Pose isn’t a bad choice. The gold shimmer keeps it from being too muted, but the color is very work appropriate, too. Since I’m not a big fan of lustre lipsticks, it’s not a must for me. I do love both of the lipglasses I tried, so now I’m eager to check out the other two from the launch. I definitely recommend everyone check out On Display!

Availability: MACCosmetics.com (August 20th), MAC stores

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Friday, August 14th, 2009


Heritage Rouge pigment

Sneak Peek: MAC Makeup Art Cosmetics Collection — Pigments & Reflects Glitters

The talented photographer Marilyn Minter was inspired by MAC’s glitters and pigments. From her portion of the Makeup Art Cosmetics Collection comes two Reflects Glitters (Copper and Rust), two Glitters (Gold and Fuchsia), four pigments (Cocomotion, Brash & Bold, Heritage Rouge, and Push the Edge), as well as Gloss Texture in Clear.

Pigment ($19.50)

  • Heritage Rouge is a dark, cranberry-burgundy frost. It’s incredibly pigmented and goes on smooth. It’s one of the best pigment textures to date. This was a previously released shade, so be sure to check your stash to make sure you don’t already have one.
  • Push the Edge is a deep blue-based violet purple with soft shimmer/sheen. It reminded me a lot of Entremauve pigment but bluer, not quite as plum. The textures are even similar, as this one is a bit chalky (though not terribly so).
  • Cocomotion is a rich shade of antique gold with a bit more brightness than your typical antique gold. It’s one of my favorite shades of pigments (again, check your stash before buying), because it’s extremely smooth, rich in pigmentation, and is a dream to work with.

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Reflects Glitter ($19.50)

  • Reflects Copper is a shimmery, glittering confection of orange copper. It is not eye-safe, so while it’s gorgeous to look at, I know there’s not much for me to do with it. Some things you can do with glitter that’s not eye-safe: mix with nail polish, mix with body lotion, mix with hair spray, and mix with lipgloss.
  • Reflects Rust is a rusty shade of orange-red. It’s just as glimmering as Reflects Copper, and the glitter is incredibly fine, but again, not eye-safe, which is just a bummer.

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 6/10
  • Packaging: 8/10
  • Overall: 8/10

Recommendation: I adore both Heritage Rouge and Cocomotion pigments. Push the Edge is nice, but not amazing like the other two. It is a rich shade of violet, so it may be worth some of the work to make it really pop in a look nonetheless. As much as I adore the way Reflects glitters look and feel, I find myself rarely using them. Both are beautiful shades, though they are also both permanent at PRO stores, so you don’t have to hurry if you’re on a budget.

Availability: MACCosmetics.com (August 20th), MAC stores

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Friday, August 14th, 2009


The Perfect Cheek

Sneak Peek: MAC Makeup Art Cosmetics Collection — The Perfect Cheek, Violet Trance, Colour Matters, Obviously Orange

Also designed by Richard Phillips, two blushes (The Perfect Cheek and Notable) appear from MAC Makeup Art Cosmetics Collection. While on the other hand, illustrator Maira Kalman’s Makeup Art Cosmetics Collection includes six colorful shades of eyeshadow complemented by five shades of technakohl liners.

Powder Blush ($18.00)

  • The Perfect Cheek is a powder blush with a matte finish that goes on a dusty, pale pink. While it was visible on my skin tone, I found it hard to detect, and the inside of my forearm is probably around NC20 range, which leads me to worry about visibility on deeper skin tones. On some deeper skin tones, this may appear ashy as well.

  • Product: 7/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Eyeshadow ($14.50)

  • Violet Trance eyeshadow is a matte dark blue-based violet purple. This originally released two or three years ago, so avid collectors may already have this in their stash. As lovely as it appears in the pot, it’s not the easiest matte to work with. I’d have to vote Make Up For Ever #92 if you’re looking for a deep, intense purple, just because this one doesn’t have a dream texture. It’s so-so, a bit chalky and thus drags a bit, and pigmentation is decent but not intense.

  • Product: 6/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 6/10
  • Packaging: 8/10
  • Overall: 6/10

Technakohl ($14.50)

  • Colour Matters techankohl is a satiny chartreuse shade. It looks nearly the same as True Chartreuse pigment does, just in technakohl liner. Since I’m lazy at heart, I am pleased to see it in technakohl form (even though, if you’re on a budget, you could use the pigment form to create your own liner).
  • Obviously Orange technakohl is a pop of medium-bright orange. It’s not neon orange, and it’s not rusty or coppery either. Compared to Colour Mattes, this one has a much more noticeable shimmer/frost to it–kind of a golden shimmer.

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 9/10
  • Packaging: 9/10
  • Overall: 9/10

Recommendation: I’d skip the blush if you have medium or darker skin unless you can try it in-person and decide for yourself. Violet Trance eyeshadow doesn’t impress me much, and I’d rather opt for a better quality shadow from another brand. I love technakohls, though, so I was quite pleased with the creaminess, opacity, and look of the two new technakohls I’ve tried so far.

Availability: MACCosmetics.com (August 20th), MAC stores

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