28 October 2009

Product testing

I've been rather slack in posting lately, due to family in town and lots of stuff going on with school, but in the time that I have not been posting, I've been actively testing things for your enjoyment. I've tested lipsticks, eyeliners, lip gloss, perfume, tooth whitener, shampoo and conditioner, and a couple of nail polishes here and there. I've even been retesting products that I didn't like in the past, hoping that I'll like it now.
Watch this spot though, because there is going to be a mass influx of posts for the next few days!

Love and kisses,

22 October 2009

Fall back in love with colour

The air is getting crisper with a little bite to it, the leaves are starting to change to brilliant oranges and rusts and Halloween is a week away. It's time to take the trench coat to the dry cleaner, pull out the gloves, and take a cue from nature. Fall is a great time to start experimenting with colours that are a little darker, a little more saturated than you would normally wear.
Revlon Super Lustrous lipstick in Rosewine is an amazing muted red that Revlon categorizes as a 'Rose' shade. It goes on very creamy, with full pigmentation and a slight matte finish. It's perfect for people who want to start wearing reds and aren't quite ready to wear vibrant, brick reds, but it's also great for those of us who just fancy a bit of a change. I've seen this shade on a couple of people I know, with varying skin tones, so I can pretty confidentially say it will suit just about everyone.

Cost: $7.99 at Target
Is it Worth It: Yes

17 October 2009

High Roller Red

I love all things red. Red lipstick, red nail polish, red hair, red shoes, red cars, red flowers... you get the idea. Because I love all things red, I have enough different red nail polishes to fill a shoebox. That's right. I collect red nail polish like how some people collect stamps.
My bottle of "High Roller" by China Glaze has been sitting on my coffee table, taunting me, for about three days now. I thought that perhaps I could ignore it's siren song and try different colours, like the gunmetal polish I picked up three weeks ago and haven't opened, or maybe a blackened purple like "Midnight In Moscow" by OPI. The more I saw "High Roller," the more I wanted to use it again.
"High Roller" is a gorgeous, blue-based red that would compliment about any skin tone. I would say that it is almost a classic, bright red, but it has more depth to it.

Items used:
Pink Cuticle remover (unknown brand) from Sally Beauty
Revlon full-jaw cuticle nippers
Ulta crystal nail file
Ulta Base Coat
"High Roller" by China Glaze (obviously)
Seche Vite top coat

Price: $6.50 at Ulta
Is It Worth It: Look at my nails and tell me it isn't.

16 October 2009

Mask-erade Party

One of the favourite things in the world is using a good face mask. For those of you who are unfamiliar with them, they are a great way to clear up problem skin without paying a ton of money to go see a facialist.
For the majority of us, we have combination skin and the best type of mask to use is one that is clay based. Clay based masks are going to soak up excess oil without being overly drying, tighten pores, and draw impurities like oil, make up, and dirt to the surface. A word of caution, though: it is entirely normal and expected to break out a little after masking, so most people recommend using it only once a week.
The best and most inexpensive mask I have found is Queen Helene's Mint Julep Masque. It can be found all over the place, but most of the time I pick it up in my local Walgreens since they often have it on special price. Queen Helene's is a clay based mask, with a smooth, even texture that smells slightly of mint and has a relatively quick drying time.

If you're going to mask, I recommend thoroughly washing your face to remove make up so the mask can actually do it's job. It's not a bad idea to go ahead and exfoliate prior to masking to remove any dead skin lurking on the surface. Spread a thin, even layer of mask across your face, being careful to avoid your eyes and lips. Allow the mask to dry for about fifteen to twenty minutes, then rinse. If you use toner afterward, it will pick up any mask you may have missed. I often follow masking with using an acne spot treatment that is made with Salicylic acid, to get a head start treating any bumps that may pop up after masking.

Price: I've picked it up for as little as $3.46 at Walgreens.
Is It Worth It: Absolutely, yes!

p.s. a good spot treatment is Murad Acne Spot Treatment.

14 October 2009

Best Foot Forward?

I know you've all seen the commercial for the Ped Egg. It's egg shaped for ergonomic comfort and ease of use, boasts ~150 wee little blades, and best of all, has an internal reservoir to catch all your nasty foot shavings.
I was really excited about getting the Ped Egg, because I like foot mantainence to be as quick, easy, and painless as possible. I wear heels a lot and I'm on my feet all day at work, so I get those lovely little calluses that are annoying to get rid of. I bought the Ped Egg, hoping to be blown away by how wonderfully well it worked and how it made my feet feel baby soft and sandal ready in just a few short minutes. I had hoped that I could call everyone I know and enthuse about how amazing the Ped Egg was, but my expectations fell short. If I were to talk about how great I thought the Ped Egg was now, it would be in a very sarcastic tone.

The Ped Egg was awkward and uncomfortable to use, my hand cramped instead of being in a 'natural' position, and the callus shavings went everywhere in a fine, chalky dust. The stick-on emery pad you're supposed to use to do the fine smoothing with doesn't work particularly well and wears down very quickly.
Now, before you start thinking that perhaps I have mutant, dragon lady feet and that's why the Ped Egg didn't work well for me, hush your mouth. I spoke to several of my girlfriends and they all came to the same conclusion: The Ped Egg is a dud.

Cost: $9.95
Is It Worth It: No. Save your ten bucks, by some Sally Hansen Deep Callus Remover, and a good pumice stone.

12 October 2009

Make Up Clean Up

Every couple of months or so, I try to go through my boxes of make up and get rid of any make up that I a) don't use anymore and b) have expired.
As a general rule of thumb, I throw out mascara after three months. Mascara tubes are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria that can cause all sorts of optical problems, that can lead up to and include blindness. They're warm, damp environments that are constantly introduced to new elements- such as mold spores in the air, dirt, soap from face washing, and even just general eye germs- during use, after which the brush is returned to the tube where any new bacteria that was picked up can incubate. If you notice a change in the application of your mascara, like thickening or it becoming watery, or if you notice a change in the smell, be on the safe side and toss it out.
With lipstick, foundation, and concealer, you have a bit more time before you should toss it. Like mascara, if you notice a change in the scent of your lipstick (or foundation or concealer) or the texture of it, toss it. The components of lipstick, etc. can break down and separate over time, so you're not going to get an even application and the colour can change on you.
I know, it's a bummer to have to toss out make up- to me it's like having to toss a good friend- but your health is worth much more than a $5 tube of mascara.

11 October 2009

A disappointing purchase

A few weeks ago, I started seeing commercials for Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick. I was hooked as soon as they said that it was last all day without being drying, since it was supposed to have a moisturising topcoat built in. I promptly went out to the closest Walgreens to find the perfect one for me to test out. I chose Top Tomato, a red, which to me is always the right choice, went back out to the car and started applying.
To say that I was underwhelmed would be an understatement. ColorStay has a doe-foot applicator, which I usually love, but I feel like a brush would have given better control and product distribution in this case. The doe-foot seemed to give a more pronounced line at my lip line and it was hard to fill in the center of the lip. I also found the ColorStay formula to be EXTREMELY drying and it made any lines in my lips stand out, making my lips look like they belonged to a 60 year old.
I dislike this product so much, that I'm not even going to post a picture of it being worn.

Price: $10.99
Is It Worth It? Absolutely not. Buy a nice matte lipstick and just use a base of foundation and you'll get much better results.

10 October 2009

L'Oreal HIP Kohl Liner

When I first saw the Kohl Liner in stores about a year ago, I was a little perplexed by it. Why is in such a tiny packaging and why is it seemingly so expensive? Why is it a powder? What's going on with the brush? I looked at it a few times and finally decided that it wasn't really that expensive and that I may as well give it a try, after all, they had such a gorgeous teal liner, and who doesn't love teal liner?
I recently purchased a burgundy liner from the HIP Kohl Liner line and it is gorgeous. I was hesitant, because I thought the red in it would emphasize eye-redness that many of us get from lack of sleep, and no one wants that. After I tried it, I saw that it was a gorgeous bronzy-brown with a hint of shimmer. For you ladies with the beautiful blues and enchanting greens, this is really going to make your eyes pop. For those of us with the sultry browns, this is going to make the brown clearer and richer.
As a side note, when they say "High Intensity Pigment" (AKA HIP), they mean it. A little bit goes a long way with this liner.

Price: $10.99 (at Target)
Is It Worth It: Yes!

09 October 2009

Taking the Day Off

I'll admit that I'm not the best about always taking my make up off before going to bed. There's some nights that I'll come home from work and I am just too tired to do anything but crawl in bed. On those nights, it's good to keep make up remover wipes on my bedside table.

I've tried a lot of different ones, but I've found one that I really like: Neutrogena Make-Up Remover Cleaning Towelettes. It's a mouthful to say, but a great product.

I love bold, dark lashes and a lot of the removal wipes are kind of wimpy and don't get all of my mascera and eye liner off. However, one of the wipes from Neutrogena is plenty to take the day off without leaving a filmy, greasy residue.

08 October 2009

Today's Nails

It’s no big secret that I change my nail polish almost every day. I get bored of looking at the same colour all the time, so it’s rare that I have the same polish for more than two to three days, maximum.

The constant changing does a number on my nails, so I try to pamper them as much as possible. I use nail polish remover instead of just chipping the polish off, I (almost always) use a base coat, and I don’t use my nails as tools. That last bit seems obvious, but if you stop to think about it, we use our nails for so much that is definitely not their intended purpose- prying things apart, anyone?

Today’s nails are “A Peony for Your Thoughts” by OPI. It’s a very pale pink, almost nude shade, with a slightly opalescent finish. It’s perfect for using in French manicures, since it is an almost nude, but it’s also great worn alone.

It has a great, smooth formula that layers well. I usually do between three to four coats of it so it isn’t so sheer.