Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Here’s a sneak peek at NARS’ Summer Collection! :)

I know everyone was really excited over Tropic eyeshadow ($22.00), including me, but it disappointed me in the end. In the promotional image, it looked like a gorgeous shimmering blue–like glittering water on a hot summer’s day, you know? In real life, it’s extremely different. It has chunky, silvery bits and pieces that lay on top on a matte, dark bluish-teal. When swatched, it really ends up being a mostly matte color, because the silver glitter is really too large to stay on easily. It’s pigmented, though it is more powdery in its finish, so if you have trouble working with mattes, this one might give you a tough time, too.

Scorching Sun duo eyeshadow ($32.00) was another product that caught my eye from the get-go, because it looked like it would have a really sunny orange in it. It’s more of an orange with a little bit of yellow in it paired with a medium orange. The lighter orange doesn’t have much shimmer (if any), while the medium shade of orange has a little bit–enough of it to give it a soft sheen. The duo is pretty, and the texture and pigmentation are right on par of what I’d expect in a NARS eyeshadow. A part of me just wishes it was yellower!

Outsider lipstick ($24.00) is a sheer peachy-pink shade with a fairly frosty finish. I think Falbala lipstick would probably be more pigmented, but I’ll have to check it out in stores to confirm. Belize lipgloss ($24.00) is a lovely shade of subdued fleshy pink with gold shimmer.

Overall, I’d pass on the lipstick and Tropic eyeshadow, but I’d suggest checking out the eyeshadow duo for sure. If you’re a gloss kind of gal, Belize might be up your alley, too. For $24, I’d rather blow it on one of NARS’ permanent eyeshadows than the gloss, though, so perhaps test out some of their other eyeshadows!

See more images and swatches! Continue reading →

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Get Sunkissed Without the Risk: Josie Maran Bronzing Argan Oil ($52.00 for 1.7 oz.)

Josie Maran has created Bronzing Argan Oil to keep you get that sunkissed look without the sun. It’s a lightweight moisturizer that can be used all over–your body, face, and even hair. I like it on legs over all else, but the “bronze shimmer” is subtle enough to be used on the face. It’s really a natural glow, a bit bronzing but more brightening, than anything else, too. It has an earthy orange-y citrus scent, which I do like more than the scent of Josie Maran’s original Argan Oil. It’s worked so far on my acne-prone skin without incident (yay!), and I think those of you who have great skin already, this is a nice way to enhance it without covering anything up, too.

Ingredients: Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Silica, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil May Also Contain:Mica (CI 77019), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Tin Oxide.

Josie Maran’s products are formulated to be more organic and natural. Her Argan Oil products contain 100% Organic Argan Oil. It’s Earth Month, so for those looking to go be a little more natural in their beauty regimens might want to check out Josie Maran’s line of products. I like that the Josie Maran website offers detailed information about ingredients, packaging, and a great symbol key to put it all in perspective.

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

Get Sunkissed Without the Risk: Try Clinique

Clinique Sun SPF 30 Face Cream 9$17.50 for 1.7 oz.) is a newly launched product by Clinique as part of their suncare line. It uses “SolarSmart” technology, which is meant to stabilize high-level protection against aging and burning effects from both UVA and UVB rays. There are solar-activated antioxidants to help prevent visible damage to the skin.

Okay, so sounds like there are some fancy schmancy ingredients in this product, right? I can’t really tell you about preventing aging or skin damage (how am I going to know? it’s usually on such a micro-level, you can’t see any visible damage for years!), but I do want to tell you about how it feels, applies, and works as a facial sunscreen, because that’s really why I wanted to try it! It’s a fairly thick cream, but you actually don’t use very much when you go to apply it. I do find that on normal to dry skin, you may want to use your normal moisturizer in conjunction, rather than instead of. With oilier skin, you may find that just this is perfect.

With SPF 30, this face cream is a good choice for everyday wear. You get good coverage for both UVA and UVB. It’s a blend of avobenzone (broad spectrum UVA), ethylhexylsalicylate and homosalate (UVB abosrbers), oxybenzone (broad spectrum UVA & UVB), and octrocrylene (UVB and short UVA). It is always a good idea to look for a sunscreen with ingredients that protect you from both the UVA and the UVB spectrums. (Check out our Sunscreen 101 post, so you know which ingredients do what!)

The packaging is sleek and fun–the yellow is perfect for summer–and the tube technology means less exposure to light and dirty fingers. The product itself feels lightweight when applied, and it doesn’t have any greasy or oily feel either (very important!). It takes makeup well, and it doesn’t leave a whitish cast when it’s dry. It didn’t cause me to breakout, and I seemed pretty sweat-resistant, too. I like the price tag, because I feel a tube should last me at least a month of daily wear, perhaps even a little longer.

Anyone else try out Clinique’s new Suncare line?

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

Black Opal Papaya Gentle Body Exfoliator ($6.95) is a great drugstore body scrub that you can find at a lot of your local retailers. I saw it at Wal-Mart (that’s the closest “drugstore” to me at the moment), actually. It caught my eye because it smells like tropical paradise to me–which I suppose is a mix of papaya, pineapple, mango, etc. All I know is whenever I use this in the shower, I feel like I’m getting ready for a lazy, summery day spent at the beach. (Of course, I’m not really, but it’s a nice way to wake up!) It uses papaya enzymes as a natural exfoliator and brightener, so it’s extremely gentle and can be used a few times a week.

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

MAC Cleanse Off Oil ($21.00 for 150ml) is my new best friend. When I heard my favorite MAC girls gushing and I mean, GUSHING!, over Cleanse Off Oil via Twitter all during Fashion Week, I knew I had to try it for myself. Despite being a huge MAC fan and collector, I must admit I tend to overlook their skincare, though I’ve been pretty happy with the skincare products I’ve tried by them (hello, Volcanic Ash Exfoliator!).

The description off of MAC’s website lists Cleanse Off Oil as, “An industry-strength oil-based makeup remover that’s gentle on the skin. Botanically formulated with oils of olive fruit, evening primrose and jojoba seed and absolutely 100% mineral-oil free. Massages onto the skin to loosen all makeup, including waterproof mascara. Emulsifies into a lotion-type liquid with water: rinses off easily, no tissues required—and no residue! Protects with vitamin E. Skin softening and conditioning.”

Nick Gavrelis, VP of Product Development for MAC, tells us that Cleanse Off Oil was originally developed for their Asian Markets as a quick, makeup removing oil that “quickly and thoroughly dissolves all traces of make-up, cleanses and conditions skin and can be emulsified in contact with water then rinsed off completely.” He tell us the best way to apply it is to massage it to “blend well” with your makeup. Then, simply rinse off with lukewarm, as “emulsifying” the oil with water.

Cleanse Off Oil is designed remove all makeup, including waterproof mascaras. It contains several different oils (including jojoba, rose hip, olive, and evening primrose), while being mineral oil-free, all working together to really break down your makeup. I have to tell you that I think Cleanse Off Oil might actually be one of the reasons my skin is on the up and up lately. It really does clean and break down makeup, whether it’s fluidline or foundation, and it rinses away with water.

I’ve tried the Oil Cleansing Method using a mixture of olive oil and another oil (I’m blanking on which one), but I didn’t love the way it felt on my face. It was just too thick, too oily–it felt like it even when I had rinsed it off. Cleanse Off Oil feels like a very thin oil when you initially massage it into your face, but any oiliness goes away as soon as you rinse it away. My skin felt clean and soft, but it didn’t have that stripped feel that some cleansers can leave. It is SUPERB in removing makeup from eyes to lashes to lips — it’s better than my go-to eye makeup remover Bi-Facil. I recommend everyone check this product out! Try it with Liquid Last Liner to be truly amazed :)

When I asked MAC Senior Artist Tiffany Johnston why she can’t get enough of the Cleanse Off Oil, this is what she said:

“I LOVE this product! I use it to breakdown and remove all my makeup (including airbrush and waterproof makeup), I also use it on my bodypainting brushes. It brings my dual fibre brushes back to white! I also use it to shave my legs!”

So now I am off to see if I can get some of my slightly-stained white-bristled brushes back to their original state! Wish me luck!

Who else knows the joys of Cleanse Off Oil? (Anyone not impressed by it?)

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Mario Badescu Summer Shine Body Lotion ($10.00 for 6 oz. or $22.00 for 16 oz.) is a new favorite for all over body glow. One of my staple products during the warm months are shimmery body lotions, and while I love myself some shimmer, I am a bit particular about it. I like subtle shimmer, not a lot of glittery bits. I just want to see some extra sheen and va-voom added to my legs when I wear a dress or a sleeveless tank. Summer Shine is a moisturizing body lotion that feels weightless and sinks into skin quickly. I also find that it doesn’t seem to get all over my clothes, and it doesn’t feel sticky at all. I tend to prefer thicker lotions and creams for the body, but when it’s hot outside, thinner lotions like this one are more practical. I’m also a huge fan of the price tag on this product! I’d say a 6 oz. bottle will last you a good two months of regular use.