Monday, September 7th, 2009

Clarisonic MIA

Clarisonic Mia Sonic Skin Cleansing System

Clarisonic Mia Sonic Skin Cleansing System ($149.00) is the latest launch from Clarisonic. It is a miniature-sized version of the original Clarisonic, and it is also $45 cheaper. It’s also available in pink.

You may wonder how this possibly can be part of Money Saving Mondays… because I know the Clarisonic can be a hefty investment for some who really want it, this does offer you a way to get it for less. It is also just as effective as the original, more expensive Clarisonic, so it represents true savings.

First, Clarisonic has a really useful comparison chart for the four models: Mia, Classic, PLUS, and PRO. The Clarisonic Mia is about an inch and a half to two inches smaller the the original,and it doesn’t feel as bulky. The Mia comes with a pLink charger whereas the Classic used a cradle charger, which makes it a lot more compact. The Mia brush head is the same size as the Classic, so you don’t lose anything in how well it cleans or the area it cleans.

Surprisingly, the Mia feels heavier compared to the Classic, but not by much (note that neither are, by any means, heavy). When you opt for the Mia, you have only a single speed setting, whereas the Classic provided you with two. Since I’ve used the Classic forever now, I can say that it’s not a big deal, and it wouldn’t surprise me if you didn’t even know you had two speeds on yours! The Mia also only lasts twenty minutes on a full charge compared to the Classic which lasts thirty minutes. Again, this is not really an essential difference to me; twenty minutes is still ten or so uses, which is plenty on a single charge.

I recommend you read my original review for the Clarisonic to get a more in-depth look at why I really love the cleansing system and recommended it even at $195. In brief, it is an easy, efficient way of cleansing the skin. It helps with skin turnover and keeps my skin clearer and smoother looking overall. I’m not often sold on advertising claims, but the Clarisonic is one beauty gadget I can’t live without!

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

Recommendation: If you want to get your skin its best shape, the Clarisonic can help. It gives skin a softer, smoother appearance while deep cleansing every time you use it without irritating even sensitive skin. If $145 is still out of your budget, consider looking out for F&F sales at Sephora where you can save another 10-15%. Or put it on your wish list!

Availability: Sephora

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Monday, September 7th, 2009

L'Oreal Color Riche Lipstick
Spicy Pink, Robust Raisin, Captivating Copper, Naturally Nude

L’Oreal Color Riche Anti-Aging Serum Lipstick: Robust Raisin, Captivating Copper, Naturally Nude

L’Oreal Color Riche Anti-Aging Serum Lipstick ($9.99) is a newly released lipstick formula from L’Oreal — similar to the orignial Color Riche line, but with an Anti-Aging Serum core. If you notice, there’s a small teardrop of “Anti-Aging Serum” that runs through the middle of the lipstick. These are designed to help improve the look of lips, including minimizing fine lines. The way the product does this is mostly by acting as a lip plumping lipstick thereby minimizing any lines.

This post features four shades:

  • Robust Raisin (#706) is a browned-down raspberry-wine shade with more of a glossy sheen than a frosty finish as is common with many of the other shades in this line.
  • Captivating Copper (#802) is a sheer brownish-nude that goes on glossy and doesn’t appear copper to me whatsoever on lips.
  • Naturally Nude (#803) is a coralish nude that goes on semi-sheer but still opaque enough to deliver color on my lips once applied. It has a slightly glossy sheen that also has a frost finish.

As in part one, these are lightly creamy, semi-glossy/frosty in finish (depends on the shade), and they can be sheer to semi-opaque in color pay off. The same two issues apply as well: packaging feels cheap (just give me plastic, don’t try to psyche me out!) and the scent is a bad mix of lipstick and stale perfume.

Again, I know some dislike lip plumping products, so I’d recommend checking out the original Color Riche line if that describes you. There’s a slight tingle, but it disappears quickly and isn’t painful (as far as lip plumpers go). I think these are a good buy when you can catch ‘em on sale — otherwise $9.99 a pop is more than I’d spend at the drugstore.

  • Product: 7/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 5/10

Recommendation: If you’re on a budget and are looking for non-drying lipsticks that give you decent color, L’Oreal’s new Color Riche Anti-Aging Serum Lipsticks are a good choice!

Availability: Drugstore.com

See swatchesContinue reading →

Monday, September 7th, 2009

L'Oreal Color Riche Lipstick

L’Oreal Color Riche Anti-Aging Serum Lipstick:  Pucker Up Pink, Peach Parfait, Compelling Coral, Spicy Pink

L’Oreal Color Riche Anti-Aging Serum Lipstick ($9.99) is a newly released lipstick formula from L’Oreal — similar to the orignial Color Riche line, but with an Anti-Aging Serum core. If you notice, there’s a small teardrop of “Anti-Aging Serum” that runs through the middle of the lipstick. These are designed to help improve the look of lips, including minimizing fine lines. The way the product does this is mostly by acting as a lip plumping lipstick thereby minimizing any lines.

This post features four shades:

  • Pucker Up Pink (#102) is a neutral-cool raspberry pink with frosty shine that goes on fairly opaque.
  • Peach Parfait (#401) is an orange-y coral with a frosty shine that is semi-sheer when it’s actually applied. (It looks nowhere this bright on my lips–more like a peachy nude.)
  • Compelling Coral (#402) is a coral-pink with a frosty finish and goes mostly opaque.
  • Spicy Pink (#704) is a dark raspberry-pink with a soft sheen and a bit of frost in its finish. It goes on semi-opaque.

I haven’t tried the original Color Riche formula (at least not that I can recall), but this formula is soft and lightly creamy with decent color pay off. I find the average wear time is just about two hours (assuming no eating/drinking) before it’s faded away enough that it needs to be reapplied. In terms of colors, I liked Pucker Up Pink and Compelling Coral the most–I felt these shades flattered and delivered in terms of color. Peach Parfait was a bit misleading, going on much sheerer and paler than it appeared, and Spicy Pink wasn’t as dark as it looked in the tube as it was on lips.

I have two gripes: the packaging feels incredibly cheap. It has a metal look, but it’s either plastic or a very cheap metal–it’s extremely light and just feels cheap. The outside casing still holds fingerprints (always annoying). The scent of these lipsticks smells of stale perfume and a bit of the trademark scent of lipstick. It’s just not pleasing, and I’d love it more if L’Oreal would switch to something less cloying (like vanilla or whatever).

Also, if you dislike lip plumping products, you should opt for the regular Color Riche line, as these do have a slight tingle. The tingle is about a three on a ten point scale (with DuWop Lip Venom being a ten for me). These are best purchased when your local drugstore or mass retailer has these on sale for buy one, get one. I find $9.99 a bit steep otherwise.

  • Product: 7/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 5/10

Recommendation: If you’re on a budget and are looking for non-drying lipsticks that give you decent color, L’Oreal’s new Color Riche Anti-Aging Serum Lipsticks are a good choice!

Availability: Drugstore.com

See swatchesContinue reading →

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

Smashbox Reign Collection Regal Blush

Smashbox Reign Collection: Regal Fusion Blush

Smashbox Regal Fusion Blush ($32.00 for 0.25 oz.) is a combination blush with one half with a matte finish and the other half with a shimmer finish. It’s described by Smashbox as a “peachy nude.”

When I swatched it, it looked more like a peachy orange to me, but it does work well to flush cheeks on those with warm undertones. I think there is a fair bit of warmth to this shade, so it may not be as suitable on those with cooler skin tones. Like the eyeshadow palettes, it’s difficult to keep the matte and shimmer sides from mixing, and it’s not easy to keep a matte clean of shimmer. Once shimmer crosses over the border… it is such a pain to push it back!

The palette, though, is large enough to grab the half you’d like to use, which is a huge plus. Often you’ll get multiple strips of color in products, but they’ll be so small that it’s near impossible to use them alone. You also get a lot of product for your buck. Normally, Smashbox Blushes are $24 a pop for 0.13 oz. You get nearly double the amount of product for $8 more — so it actually has good value. The Reign packaging just didn’t do it for me, but I know others liked it, so you may want to see it in person to judge for yourself.

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

Recommendation: I liked the concept of a matte/shimmer duo blush, but it’s not as practical as I’d like it to be. The shade is flattering on warm skin tones, but those with cooler skin tones may want to see it in person first.

Availability: Sephora

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Sunday, September 6th, 2009

Smashbox Reign Collection: Jet Set Eyeliner Palette

Smashbox Jet Set Eyeliner Palette ($48.00) contains four shades of cream eye liner. They’re described as budge-proof and water proof. The palette comes with a miniature-sized angled brush as well. It is part of Smashbox’s Reign Collection for the fall.

The shades you get are dark black, dark brown (neutral-cool), metallic gold, and metallic dark brown (with warm tones). I like Smashbox’s Jet Set formula overall — it’s definitely long-wearing, holds up to humidity and heat, and is pretty waterproof. However, I have found these liners to be prone to drying out if one is not careful about sealing the container after each use. With the Jet Set palette, this is a definite concern, because it’s not really air tight – the palette flap just opens and closes but never feels sealed. I do worry about how long before you start noticing these drying out.

The shades are so-so — the photos I took of the palette are of a counter’s testers (which accounts for some of the “ew” factor!), and the shades are certainly wearable, but maybe not enough variation to merit $48. I could buy two full sized shades for $22 each ($44 total). I don’t really need a dark brown and a shimmery dark brown in the same palette, you know? I don’t feel that this palette represents Jet Set liners overall, and I’d recommend checking out the real, full-size versions instead of this palette.

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

Recommendation: The packaging may sway some, but be careful — it may lead to drying out of those cream liners faster than you can use them up.

Availability: Nordstrom ($48.00) contains four shades of cream eye liner. They’re described as budge-proof and water proof. The palette comes with a miniature-sized angled brush as well. It is part of Smashbox’s Reign Collection for the fall.

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Saturday, September 5th, 2009

American Grown Hand Soaps & Shower Gels

Bath & Body Works’ American Grown Hand & Body Soapsicon ($7.50 to $12.50) is a limited edition collection of hand soaps and shower gels that has customers clamoring to give this line permanent-status. The collection is based on the concept of hand soaps and shower gels that are inspired by great American destinations with affordability in mine.

American Grown Destinations

  • Washington Apple In the fertile valleys of Washington State in America’s far west, growers tend orchards that produce the world’s most crisp, ripe apples. Formulated with Apple Extract to help nourish skin, Washington Apple instantly evokes your first bite of a shiny red apple, an unmistakably juicy flavor.
  • Napa Grape In the rolling hills of Napa Valley’s wine country, the alluring scent of ripe grapes wafts through the air. Breathe in this irresistible fragrance and experience the intoxicating aroma as grape seed oil conditions and protects skin.
  • Siesta Key Lemon Nothing says summer like fresh-cut Meyer lemons from Florida. Sweeter than other lemons, the plump, smooth-skinned citrus produces a sparklingly fresh fragrance. Take an instant vacation to Siesta Key as Lemon Oil refreshes and brightens the skin.
  • Savannah Mint A frosty glass of iced tea in a hot Savannah summer is twice as refreshing with a cool sprig of mint. Breathe in this invigorating fragrance and experience the romance of southern charm and gentility while Peppermint Oil energizes your skin and your senses.
  • Montana Sky Experience the clear, crisp quality of the mountain air in big sky country with formulas inspired by the vast beauty of an endless blue sky. Bathe your skin in calming spring waters as you inhale a rush of fresh air.

I’ve tried two scents: Napa Grape Hand Soap ($7.50 for 16 oz.) and Siesta Key Lemon Shower Gel ($12.50 for 24 oz.). Napa Grape smells like a lightly sweetened grape, almost like a very fragrance, sweet wine or sangria. As a soap, a little goes a long way (in fact, I find one pump to be too much!) and it lathers up easily. I felt like these didn’t dry my hands out as some soaps are prone to do.

Siseta Key Lemon is exactly that — lemony goodness. I love, love lemon scented stuff, particular for soaps and the like. (I think it was a childhood of growing up with Joy dish soap.) Just like the soap, a little goes a long way and the product lathers up easily and smells amazing–very natural, not a perfume-y lemon, but a freshly squeezed lemon with just a touch of sugar.

The packaging is simple and functional, but the bold colors of the products themselves really make them standout in your shower/counter-top. American Grown is an extremely affordable line of products. No frills packaging and effective products at a low cost? Really? I know these are supposed to disappear in September, so I urge you to check it out next time you’re near Bath & Body Works!

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: Love natural scents that aren’t perfume-y, consider American Grown for your hand soap and shower gel needs.

Availability: Bath & Body Worksicon