Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Review: Pureology Antifade Complex Essential Repair Split End Treatment

We all know that growing hair that is long and strong is a constant battle. The main offender: split ends. You don't want to cut your hair because you want it to be long, but if you don't visit the salon every 12 weeks split ends will crawl up your hair shaft so far that you will have to get more cut off than you wanted. So split end repair treatments are all the rage in the cosmetic industry. They promise to repair your split ends until you have time to visit the salon. Now the question is: do they actually work?

Description of the Product

 Cost: $25-$35

Pureology products protect hair color and are sulfate-free (as are most salon brand products). I also believe that most, if not all, of their products are vegan (don't hold me to this statement though). The Essential Repair Split End Treatment is made to repair split ends while also making hair shiny and soft.

Using the Product

You don't have to use this product all the time. From my impression, you should use it when you start to notice split ends and are in need of a haircut. Therefor it should be useful for when you are trying to grow your hair out. Apply to the ends of your hair when it is wet. No need to apply it to your roots. That's it!

Review of the Product

Unfortunately, I found this product to be a waste of money. I didn't have less split ends and my hair wasn't softer or shinier. In fact, it left my hair a little stiff and heavy. I've used it many times all with the same result. If anyone has used the Nexxus Brand equivalent of this product, which is advertised on TV, I would love to hear your experience.

You know what gets rid of split ends? Taking care of your hair! Don't wash it every day, don't use too much heat, and for god sakes put down the hairspray. Maybe I'll write a post about proper hair care....

Recommend (y/n): No

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Review: Estee Lauder Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher

Sorry I have been AWOL for a while! I've been pretty busy trying to find a full-time job, so I've been writing more cover letters than blog posts.  I am back and this time I'll be talking about my quest for smaller pores! As I said when I reviewed the Biore Pore Strips, I truly believe that pore size is genetic, but keeping your pores clear will help them appear smaller! So in the world of photo-shop where celebrities don't even have pores (it's crazy, are they aliens?) we must all try our best to have skin that is fit for the cover of Cosmo.

Description of the Product

Cost: $47 for 1 oz.

Estee Lauder's Idealist is meant as a quick fix as well a long-term solution to reducing pore size and controlling oily skin. They describe it as "this exclusive complex of multi-hydroxy acids retextures skin to dramatically improve smoothness, clarity and radiance--in just one day". Multi-hydroxy acids usually increase skin turnover rate so that your pores don't have the time to become clogged-which eventually makes them appear larger. The product should immediatly make your skin feel smoother and with regular usage should help control oil and increase the rate at which your skin sheds (yummy!).

Using the Product

You should first cleanse your face with your normal cleanser. I've recently switched from an acne-fighting cleanser to a more gentle normal cleanser. Then put Idealist on before your moisturizer. The product is smooth and easy to apply so you shouldn't need to use an excessive amount. I would wait a minute and then apply your normal moisturizer. After this I always apply primer before putting on my makeup. As a reminder, this product is not a makeup primer. It may make your skin feel smooth like a makeup primer, but it is not meant to do the same job of holding your make up in place. Using both Idealist and a makeup primer will make your skin feel extra smooth!

Review of the Product

I've only been using this product for two weeks now but I think it does a great job of smoothing out my skin. In combination with regularly using the Biore Pore Strips I think the pores on my nose definitely look smaller. I've seen other claims that long-term usage really does help with oil control in the T-Zone, but I didn't want to wait 8 weeks to review this product. The only downside of Idealist is the cost. I wouldn't spend the money if you can't normally afford to buy department-store makeup or if  you already have great skin. If you are looking for a solution to large pores and oil-control this is a good product for you! Even better if you can find it in a sample (as I did...Thanks Mom!).

Recommend: Yes if you need pore and oil control, No if you have great skin already.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Great Way to Store Your Cosmetics: Make-up Magnet Board

Found this on another site today and I thought it was the coolest thing ever! When I get some time and money for supplies (which won't cost much) I totally want to make one of these things. You can find instructions here.

**Photo is accredited to laurathoughts81.blogspot.com

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Review: OPI Shatter Nail Polish

I have a confession: I don't handle stress well. More specifically, my body doesn't handle stress well. Besides removing myself from stressful situations and avoiding dramatic friends, I have to do little things to de-stress before it starts to affect my life in major ways. Since I can't afford weekly massages or acupuncture, I get pedicures! This week I was feeling a little adventurous and asked for a design and the nail technician suggested crackle nail polish. I'm beyond excited about this product so I'll share my experience with you.

Description of the Product

Cost: $5-8
OPI Shatter Nail Polish should be applied on top of another nail polish color of your choice. As it dries, the nail polish creates a crackled pattern. The bottom color will show through the cracks of the crackle nail polish. 

Applying the Product

My nail technician applied a based coat plus two coats of bright pink/red nail color that I picked out. She then waited for it to dry. She then applied the white shatter polish and blew on the polish so it would dry and shatter quickly. Then she applied a top coat.

Review of the Product

I think this stuff looks pretty cool and it has kept up well so far. My only regret is that I put a reddish color on bottom with white on top.  I used to do ballet so this combination reminds me of bloody toenails; next time I'll do a different color combination. I'll keep using this crackle nail polish until I get sick of it because I think it's that cool. While I wouldn't suggest wearing it on your fingernails to work, you can always be a little more adventurous with your toes! So go out and get some OPI Shatter nail polish.

Recommend (y/n): Yes

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Review: Lancome Exfoliance Confort

I love exfoliating my skin! It's one of the most important steps in skin care as it removes dead skin cells to prevent acne and it also opens up your pores so skin-care products, such as sunscreen and moisturizer, can be better absorbed.

Description of the Product
Cost: $25

Lancome's Exfoliance Confort is made with tiny micro-beads to exfoliate your skin without drying it out. The micro-beads are very small and not rough so they won't tear your skin. Other exfoliators, such as St. Ives, are made with rough particles that will tear the skin instead of gently sloughing it off. This can result in over-drying and then the skin overcompensating with oil, which eventually causes breakouts!

Using the Product

After cleansing, gently rub the exfoliater on your face in small circles. Rinse off with lukewarm (not hot) water and dry with a soft towel.

Review of the Product

While I currently can't afford the product, I have used it in the past and it is my favorite exfoliater. I love how the micro-beads are so small, gentle, and effective. To provide a construction-related example, it's kind of how fine-grain sandpaper actually does a better job than large-grain sandpaper. The only downside of this product is the price...but if you can swing it, it is worth it. This product will smooth your skin without damaging it. I exfoliate 1-2 times a week, but it depends on your skin-type and skin care regime.

Recommend (y/n): Yes

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Review: Biore Pore Strips

Description of the Product

Cost: $8 for 14 strips

Pore strips: some people love them, some people don't see the point. Pore strips are meant to clear your clogged pores from blackheads, dead skin cells, and oil all at one time. Biore Pore Strips are the most popular brand of pore strips on the market and easiest to find in your local drug store.

Using the Product

1) Cleanse your skin. You can exfoliate your skin beforehand if you wish.
2) Wet the skin on your nose (or forhead if you are using the face strips). Your skin needs to be very wet for the strip to work.
3) Spread the strip on your nose and press down. Don't leave any air bubbles.
4) Wait 15 minutes. The strip will be hard and stiff when it's ready to be pulled off.
5) Pull off slowly. It may hurt a little, but shouldn't hurt a lot. If it does, wet the strip lightly.
6) Look at all the gross stuff that was clogging your pores!!!

Review of the Product

These strips have been effective for removing blackheads from my pores, or at least that's what I gather from all of the material stuck on my pore strip after the entire process. In all seriousness, I can see that my pores are now clear. Using the product doesn't prevent new blackheads from forming-only proper cleansing and exfoliation can do that. While I don't think that over time they make your pores look smaller, I do think that they are great for a rapid clearing of blackheads. In fact, I'm pretty convinced that pore size is genetic and there is probably nothing you can do about it, but that may be left up to another product review...

Even if you don't need serious blackhead patrol the strips are pretty fun to try at least once.

Recommend (y/n): Yes, unless you have extremely sensitive skin.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Best Moisturizers For Every Occasion

Why am I an expert on moisturizers? Well let me tell you. Since I was a kid I had eczema, which is an inflammatory skin disease. While everyone's eczema is different, I had these itchy red bumps on my thighs, knees, and elbows. In elementary school most kids assumed I had poison ivy all the time and wouldn't believe me when I told them different. Overall the whole experience was horrible but I mostly grew out of it (which most people do), but it comes back if I don't use the right body wash or moisturize every single day. Therefor, I have tried and tested a lot of moisturizers on the market and I'm going to share my extensive knowledge in a few short reviews!

For every day...

Jergens Naturals Moisturizer

Simply put, I love this stuff because it does what you need it to do for an every day moisturizer. It moisturizes skin for 24 hours (or until your next shower, which I hope is in 24 hours), it isn't too runny or too thick when applying, and it has a light scent that won't interfere with your perfume. I also love it because it's made of 93% naturally derived ingredients and doesn't use parabens. I've talked about parabens before, but they are preservatives used in cosmetic products that are highly linked to certain types of cancer. Sometimes when you are using all-organic or all-natural products they don't perform as well as traditional cosmetic products so this is a nice compromise.

For the all-natural girl....

Burt's Bees Naturally Nourishing Milk & Honey Lotion

All natural and lasts for 24 hours. While I don't think this goes on as smooth as other lotions, it smells nice and moisturizes properly. You can buy it in multiple sizes (small for travel, big if you use it every day). They also sell fragrance-free moisturizers if you don't like this particular smell.

If you want to smell yummy...

The Body Shop Body Butter

Creamy and nicely scented I love this stuff. It's thick and creamy but absorbs quickly and doesn't make you feel sticky. With over 20 scents ranging from Olive to Hemp to Blueberry, you can easily find something for you. Almost all of the scents are so delicious that you want to eat the body butter instead of spreading it on your skin. Unfortunately, it usually runs around $16 a container and it can go quickly. If you want to try out new scents you can usually buy the smaller containers at 2 for $10.

For really dry skin....

Eucerin Original Moisturizing Lotion

Every doctor I've ever seen for my eczema has recommended using Eucerin lotion every day, immediately after I shower. This stuff is super thick but it will repair your skin until you can get it back to normal and can use other daily lotions. Eucerin makes other formulas which may not be as thick, so keep this brand in mind when your skin needs serious repair.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Self Tanning Lotion: 2 Ways

For this post I'm going to write 2 short reviews of 2 different self-tanners, both of which you can purchase at your local drugstore or superstore. While professional spray-tans have improved since they first came out (does everyone remember how they literally turned people orange at first?), they can be costly and only last 7-10 days per session. While you can get do-it-yourself spray tanners, I'm always afraid of missing a spot. Gradual self-tanning lotions are great alternative if you want to skip the sun damage or you don't want to look like a ghost when you arrive at the beach. They allow you to build color slowly so that if you miss a spot one day, you will probably get it the next.

Dove Energy Glow Gradual Tanning Body Lotion

I use the bottle for fair to medium skin tones because although I tan, my natural skin tone is not that dark.

Upsides: Does a good job at gradually tanning your skin and smells great. I had a guy in college constantly say I smelled good whenever I used this stuff. It also makes your skin really shimmery, which is awesome for summer.

Downsides: It didn't provide enough moisture for my skin so I had to use it every other day, alternating with my normal daily lotion. I have eczema and if I don't use the right lotion my eczema will come out. This problem depends on your skin type though, so if you have dry skin you might run into a similar problem.

Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer

Again, I chose the bottle for fair to medium skin tones. One of my friends used this so I thought I would give it a try!

Upsides: Tans your skin pretty quickly and provides a thick layer of moisture.

Downsides: Smells like an old-school self-tanning lotion. I only use this stuff if I take a shower before bed, put it on, and then shower in the morning as well. While the smell isn't that bad and may be only noticeable by the wearer, do you really want to be thinking about how you smell all day?

Who wins?: Dove

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Top Ten Must Have Products for Summer

Summer brings many good things: baseball games, beach vacations, tan skin, and usually a little romance. Unfortunately, summer also brings heat and humidity which can wreck your hair and makeup. I've compiled a list of my top-ten products for the summer. While I use more then these 10 products throughout the summer, I think that these 10 are essential to keeping yourself put together and fresh, even on those triple-digit days.

1) Smashbox Photo-Finish Light Makeup Primer: I know, I know. I talk about this product all the time. But ever since I reviewed it, I haven't gone a day without using it! This stuff is fantastic at keeping your foundation on through heat, humidity, and rain. If you are sporting heavy eye makeup, I would also suggest adding an eye-primer to your routine. But remember, during the summer less is more when it comes to makeup. Your skin is already tan, let your beauty shine through! (as corny as that sounds)

2) Physicians Formula Bronzer: I always have trouble finding the right shade of bronzer because they are usually too dark and orange for me. I need something in the more peachy tones. Physicians Formula has many shades of bronzer that will work for everyone. While bronzer is mostly used to highlight the cheek bones, it is great at smoothing out your skin tone all over your face in the summer.

3) Neutrogena SPF 15 Oil-Free Moisturizer: You cannot go through the summer without protecting your skin from the sun! I use this product year-round because sun damage is the number 1 cause of wrinkles. The moisturizer is light, non-comodegenic, and protects your skin. What more could you ask for?

4) Lancome Artliner: This liquid liner stays on, even through the most humid days. Super easy to apply, it's an essential ingredient to your summer makeup routine.

5) Aveda Anti-Humectant: You can read my earlier review for a full description of this product. But it will keep your hair frizz-free all summer long.

6) Neutrogena Body Oil: With a light sesame scent, this body oil will make your skin look, smell, and feel  irresistible. It gives you a light shine and moisturizes skin. If you are baring any skin in the summer, this body oil is a must-have (Tip: Apply this oil when your skin is still wet from the shower).

7) Covergirl Lashblast Length Water-Resistant Mascara: In the summer you won't want big clumpy lashes, you want your eyes to look fresh yet still noticeable. This mascara won't melt off and it will give you the length and definition you are looking for. Don't use waterproof mascara all the time though, it will make your eyelashes fall out over time (truth!!).

8) Covergirl Outlast Lipstain: I also reviewed this product earlier, but it's a great solution for summer because you won't have to worry about touch ups! Just throw on some chapstick containing sunscreen afterwards and you are ready to go.

9) Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Body Mist Sunblock: Can you tell I love Neutrogena products? This spray sunblock not only protects you from the sun, but it will actually cool your skin off temporarily! Even if you don't want to buy it, you should at least try a cooling mist sometime for the entertainment (Bath and Body Works sells them as well). Neutrogena sunblock is great because it has UVA/UVB protection, but its also non-comodegenic, and it doesn't contain parabens (preservative chemicals found in most cosmetic products that are linked to cancer). Remember to always wear sunblock!

10) Bumble and Bumble Curl Conscious Defining Cream: For you curly haired-girls this curl cream is a great way to fight frizz. It is light and flexible, as opposed to gels and serums. Your curls will be soft but defined every day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

You Asked: Bumble and Bumble Defrizz

I'm back with another "You Asked" Column. Many of you asked for reviews of Bumble and Bumble products, and since I use and love them, I will be reviewing Bumble and Bumble DeFrizz.
Description of the Product

Cost: $20-25 for 4oz.

Bumble and Bumble's Defrizz is an anti-frizz product to protect hair against humidity and smooth flyaways while leaving the hair soft, not greasy. This product is good for those with straight or curly hair (and even those of you in-between!).

Using the Product

You can use this product during any point in your styling process. I personally use it at the end of my styling process, but I have occasionally put it on wet hair to protect against frizz if I don't have my regular curl cream. Put a dime sized amount, or smaller, on your hands. Rub your hands together. Run the product through your hair from back to front, from your tips to your roots. Like any smoothing product, you want to avoid putting too much of it near your roots because it can leave your hair looking greasy. I would start with a little and then use more later if necessary.

Review of the Product

I think that this product is great for every-day smoothing needs. As advertised, it is very light unlike other smoothing products loaded down with silicone. While it won't protect your hair from the most humid situations (for that I would recommend Aveda's Anti-Humectant Pomade) it is dependable enough to keep your hair looking smooth until it's next wash.

Recommend: (y/n) Yes, for every-day usage.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Review: Maybelline Fit Me Foundation

As I was wandering through Target the other day I found myself in the cosmetics aisle (Surprise, Surprise). I genuinely did need to buy makeup sponges, but I remembered that I was getting low on foundation as well. I used to use Lancome foundation, but I found that it always left my skin a little oily. After that, I started to use Covergirl's CG Smoothers All-Day Hydrating Makeup. This is doubly convenient because it saves money and I've never had a problem with the foundation. I will say that I do use some makeup products from department store brands, but I don't see any reason not to mix and match between high and low end brands as long as the product works for you. Anyways, I decided to try the Maybelline Fit Me Foundation because I'm drawn to their TV commercials. I'm a sucker for advertising. If you have great advertising, I will probably buy your product (although I'm good at resisting infomercials)....

Description of the Product

This foundation is made to adjust to your skin color as you put it on, providing an exact match so you don't have to be stressed out over picking the exactly correct shade. I settled on 115 (second to lightest shade). Although I tan pretty well, my skin is fairly light throughout the rest of the year. I might change over to shade 120 in the summer. The product is advertised to give you a natural and dewy finish, so if you are looking for a matte finish foundation this is not the product for you. It does not provide a high amount of coverage so it won't work for covering up highly blotchy or red skin, severe acne, or sun spots.

Using the Product

I applied the foundation after using my Smachbox Makeup Primer (*read my earlier review, I've been using this stuff every day since I got it!). I used a makeup sponge to apply it all over my face, and you can actually see the foundation changing color to adjust to your skin tone. Apply the rest of your makeup as normal.

***Note: always apply concealer AFTER foundation, not before***

Review of the Product

So far I like this foundation because it does give me a dewy finish, whereas my former foundation gave me more of a matte finish. It depends on your personal preference, but because I like a natural makeup look (I would go without foundation if I had perfect skin), it works for me. I read a couple of reviews that said this isn't a good choice for oily skin, but since I use a makeup primer I havn't had many problems so far. Because this foundation doesn't give heavy coverage I wouldn't suggest it for important events such as weddings, proms, etc...but it has worked so far for normal wear.

Recommend (y/n): Yes, but it may depend upon your skin type and coverage needs. Great buy for $7

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Review: Goody Spin Pin

My roomate asked me to try this because she wanted to try it before she bought it. That's the purpose of my blog, so here's my review of the Goody Spin Pin.
Description of the Product

The Goody Spin Pin is a hair accessory designed to hold your hair in a bun without the use of hair ties or bobby pins. The package comes with 2 spin pins. You are supposed to use both, facing in opposite directions, to hold up your bun. They also sell mini spin pins for wearing your hair half up, or if you have thinner/shorter hair.

Using the Product

These pins are surprisingly easy to use. You gather your hair into a ponytail. You can do high, low, or off to the side. Don't use any hair ties. Twist your hair into a bun, tucking in loose pieces. Then insert one pin, twisting clockwise to secure your bun. Insert the other pin from the opposite direction. Do not interlock the pins! This will tangle your hair. You can either insert the pins vertically or horizontally. I found that vertically worked best for me, but it probably depends upon your hair length and the amount of layers in your haircut. Once your finished your hair should be in a secure bun!

Review of the Product

While I was a little skeptical of this product actually performing as it said it would, the pins created a secure bun for me! They were easy to put in and remove, and I think they would cause less damage then hair ties and bobby pins. I do have a few tips for using the product though...

1) I think these spin pins work best with hair that has a little texture. I tried them out when my hair had been flat ironed, and my bun just looked really small and tight. I'm excited to use the pins for when my hair is curly. If you have flat or thin hair, I would try using either a curling iron or a texture spray before putting your hair in a bun (this is true even if you aren't using the spin pins).

2) If you have layers in your haircut, you still may have to use bobby pins if you don't want a couple loose pieces coming out from your bun.

Review (y/n): Yes

Monday, April 25, 2011

You Asked: Sally Hansen Salon Effects-Real Nail Polish Strips

I've always been horrible (and I mean horrible) at painting my own nails. I have shaky hands and I'm extremely right-handed, so using my left hand to paint is a disaster. Furthermore, polish never sticks to my nails for long, even when I pay for a manicure. One of you asked me to review this product, so i thought it would be a good opportunity to see if these are a good option for my polish-challenged nails.

Description of the Product

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips are made of real nail polish and are made to stay on your nails for up to ten days. While they look like stickers, they have to be removed with nail polish remover. They come with detailed and easy to understand instructions. I bought them in Frock Star color. The benefit of these strips....

1) You can look like you've had a manicure without going to the nail salon
2) No dry time! So you don't have to worry about smudges
3) For those of you with shaky hands, you won't have any nail polish to clean off of your skin after applying these strips.

Applying the Product

First you can use the included cuticle stick to push back your cuticles. I would suggest soaking your hands in warm water first to get the best result. Then clean your nails with nail polish remover to remove any excess dirt or oil. Then to actually apply the nails...

1) select the correct size strip for each nail
2) peel off the protective film
3) detach the polish strip from the backing
4) press on to the nail and file off the excess

Review of the Product

I was pleasantly surprised with these nail polish strips! I had no idea how they would work and I hadn't even heard of them until recently. They were a little difficult to apply, but once I got the hang of it the process went a little quicker. I didn't have any problem with the strips tearing. They look good and they have stayed on for 2 days without any chips (seriously, my nails usually chip within 24 hours). The benefit is that I get a smooth line of polish whereas normally I would have a lot to clean up because I'm not good at painting my nails. The designs are also fun and playful without looking cheap. I would say that the downside is that they are a little pricey ($10) so I don't think I will purchase them in a plain color, but I will definitely be buying more of the patterns in the future.

Recommend (y/n): Yes

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Review: Aveda Anti-Humectant Pomade

Today the hot and humid weather rolled into the DC Metro area. While it probably won't stick around permanently with some cold weather surely to return again before summer, a girl should always be prepared for hair disasters.

Description of the Product

Aveda's Anti-Humectant Pomade is a styling pomade produced to protect hair against frizz and flyaways caused by humidity and other weather anomalies. This is some serious stuff that isn't made for people with a little frizz. We are talking about curly haired, bushy tailed, I-Might-Be-Mistaken-For-A-Wild-Animal kind of frizz. 

Cost: $19.00

Applying the Product

This product is thick so it should be used sparingly. Although the directions say that you can use it before or after styling, I always use it after. In my previous review, I talk about Bumble and Bumble's Straight, which I use when wet. On really hot and humid days I will apply this product after I am finished straightening my hair. Take a little pomade, rub it between your hands, and apply to hair from roots to tip . Do not start at your roots! You will look like you didn't wash your hair. Use as much pomade as you think necessary for how frizzy your hair is, how curly it is, and weather conditions.

Review of the Product

While this product is pretty heavy duty and can weigh down hair, it really works. It is the only thing that will keep my hair straight on a hot and humid (and I mean really humid) day. Besides controlling frizz, it keeps my straight style. I would recommend it to anyone with thick or unruly hair. I would not recommend this product for anyone with fine or limp hair, as it is a heavy pomade rather then a light cream or serum. Although the directions say that it can be used on curly hair I will admit that I have never tried this. On humid days I just give up on wearing my hair curly, and if I do I will put it up. My sister on the other hand does use this to style her curly hair and she likes it. 

Recommend (y/n): Depends. Yes if you have frizzy unruly hair that is affected by the humidity, No if you are looking for light frizz-control.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Review: Covergirl Wetslicks Amazemint Gloss

Description of the Product

Covergirl's Wetslicks Amazement Gloss is meant to go beyond the ordinary lip gloss. Covergirl advertises that it will actually brighten your smile and freshen your breath while it makes your lips shiny, but not sticky. Covergirl achieves these goals by adding Crest peppermint oil to the formula

Applying the Product

Applying this product is not too difficult...use it like you would any other lipgloss. I purchased it in the "No Care Bare" shade as a nude lip color to compliment a smoky eye.

Review of the Product

Sadly, I was disappointed with the product. I purchased it mostly for the nude shade rather then the extra benefits of whitening my smile etc...There isn't much color saturation to the gloss so it didn't give me the desired shade of nude. Furthermore, I dislike lip glosses that claim to freshen your breathe. Like others, this one was overly sweet and the gloss was indeed sticky. I don't think it made my teeth brighter either. This gloss is a no-go.

Recommend (y/n): NO

Friday, April 15, 2011

Quick Update

Hi All,

I normally would like to aim for 2-3 posts a week, but obviously that hasn't happened this week. I've been sick this week and haven't been able to get anything productive done. I should be able to complete another product review this evening! So please check back later tonight or tomorrow.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Review: Covergirl Outlast Lipstain

Description of the Product
Covergirl's Outlast Lip Stain, which is part of Covergirl's Outlast Collection, is water-based and easy to apply. This Lip Stain is the lighter version of their other Outlast products, such as the Outlast All Day Lip Color which is meant to last up to 12 hours. The lip stain will last from one hour to a couple of hours, and you can put chap stick or gloss on top of it to add a little shine. 

Applying the Product

This product is easy to apply because it is shaped like a pen or marker. It is kind of like drawing on your lips with a sharpie. This should be the base product on your lips, and will not work if it is applied on top of gloss or lip balm. You can add either clear gloss on top of it after application to increase shine, or use a similar color gloss to increase saturation of the color. 

Note: Avoid using lip stains if you have chapped or dry lips. It will make the problem worse, so get your lips healthy before using this product!

Review of the Product

This stuff is awesome! I use the Everbloom Kiss shade because it's bright pink. Whenever my lips get sunburnt (which isn't good!) they become a great shade of sun-kissed pink, like I was sucking on a cherry popsicle; this lip stain gives the same color to my lips. I just throw on some lip balm afterwards and I'm ready to go. I can't use all day lip stains because of the shape of my lips, but this stain is light enough that it works for me and lasts for 2-3 hours then fades slowly. 

Recommend (y/n): YES

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

You Asked: Bumble and Bumble Straight

You asked for Bumble and Bumble products, which luckily I already use, so this week I will be reviewing Bumble and Bumble Straight.

Description of the Product

Cost: $20-$26

Bumble and Bumble's Straight is a silicone product that is meant to help straighten hair during the blow-out process; it also protects your hair from heat and humidity when your hair is dry. It is light and easily integrated into the hair. You can use this product anytime during your styling process. I started using it at the suggestion of my hair stylist in my hometown (Hershey, PA). I love Bumble and Bumble products so much that if I move to a new area and need to find a salon, I only trust salons that carry Bumble and Bumble.

Using the Product

Silicone can be heavy so you don't need to use much of this product for it to be effective. I have a lot of hair and I use less than a dime amount of product. I run it through my hair, starting at the bottom of my head and working my way up to the top, when my hair is completely wet. Try not to get too much product near your roots either because this can cause oiliness and product build-up. I then wait for my hair to air dry a little (usually 30 minutes) and blow out my hair in layers with a large round brush. Finally, I flat-iron my hair to smooth out any frizz.


Bumble and Bumble's motto for this product is "All you need is this, a blow dryer and a brush for the straightest, sleekest style on the street." While this may be true if you are a professional hairstylist and can blow out hair like it's nobody's business, I still need a little help from my flat iron after blow drying. That being said, I love this product and have used it for years. My hair never feels heavy from the product (unless I accidentally use way too much of it) and it does help straighten my hair. It also protects from humidity as much as possible, but if you have curly hair there is only so much you can do to fight the weather! If you need more help fighting frizz you can try products such as Bumble and Bumble Defrizz or Aveda Brillant Anti-Humectant Pomade, which I will review in the future. Overall, I would recommend this product to anyone who needs help in the straightening department.

Recommend (y/n): Yes, but only if you have wavy/curly hair. Straight locks don't need it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

You Asked

I want to review products that you want to hear about, so if you have wanted to try a product but want to hear someone else's experience first, please leave a suggestion for products to review in the comments section, on my facebook, or on my twitter.  I will review one of these products a month under the title "You Asked."

Note: Please try to keep your suggestions to fairly inexpensive products. I am finishing up graduate school!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Review: Smashbox Photo-Finish Primer Light

I am new to the primer world! As the weather is warming up I will be facing the challenge of trying to get my makeup to stay on in the suffocating D.C. heat and humidity this summer. I hate having to reapply my makeup around 5pm every day if I'm doing something in the evening after work; no one wants to go to happy hour sporting runny eyeliner with most of their foundation melted off. In the past I have used tinted moisturizers in place of foundation during the summer, but they never offer as much coverage as I like or need. So I did what I always do and searched the Internet for summer makeup solutions. Using a foundation primer popped up on my google search results and my research had begun!

Description of the Product:

Primers are meant to create a barrier between your skin and your makeup as well as providing a smooth surface for your makeup to adhere to. For you artists out there, you can think of how you have to prime a canvas before you begin using oil paints. Foundation primers smooth out wrinkles and fill in pores to make them less visible (as a side note, I've seen primers that are meant to smooth out wrinkles and they really do work before your eyes. it's amazing). They also claim to allow you to use less makeup because instead of absorbing into your skin, foundation will sit on top of the primer. The downsides of primers are that they are made of silicone, so this can feel heavy on your skin and even cause breakouts if its not the right product for the right skin-type. Some people also think that primer's aren't "worth the extra step" if you already have smooth skin.

Finding and Trying the Product:

Because I have combination skin, I knew that I would have to look at many primer reviews before choosing the right one. I settled on Smashbox's Photo-Finish Primer Light because it's meant for an oily complexion. It had many positive reviews so I ordered the .5 oz bottle from Amazon. I tried this product last night, before going out to a bar, and today when I went to see the Cherry Blossom Festival in D.C. I will include the steps for applying primer below. So far, I've been very satisfied with the primer. I could see a noticeable difference after I applied the primer and before I put on my foundation. It filled in the larger pores on my nose and my makeup just looked more professional. All in all, I had a smoother canvas to work with. Furthermore, after taking the metro downtown, walking around D.C., and taking my dog for a walk my makeup hasn't smudged or melted off yet. The product doesn't feel heavy on my skin and the extra time to add the primer to my daily makeup routine is worth it.

Steps for Applying Primer

1) Cleanse your face as normal.
2) Apply your normal moisturizer. I always use a moisturizer with sunblock to prevent sun damage, and so that I don't have to add this step in later on during my routine.
3) Wait 3 minutes, and then apply the foundation primer.
4) Wait 3 minutes, and then apply your foundation as normal. You won't need to use as much foundation as normal with a primer Tip: Always use a cosmetic sponge or brush to apply your foundation. This creates a smoother look and prevents the spread of bacteria from your hands to your face, therefor limiting breakouts. 


While I wouldn't say that this is a miracle product, I think that its a great product for those of you who don't have picture-perfect skin and are looking for that little extra advantage. I've heard that many other people can feel comfortable wearing just primer on those days that they don't want to wear makeup. I also think this primer will be a great solution for anyone looking to keep makeup on in the heat and humidity of summer.

Recommend (y/n): YES

Friday, April 1, 2011

Review: Pureology Anti-Fade Complex Pure Volume Shampoo

I will give a little background on why I buy salon-brand shampoo as opposed to the Herbel Essences that you can buy at your local CVS. As I stated in my first post, I have difficult hair. Genetically speaking, I should have nice hair; my mother has nice hair. But we all know that DNA is a crapshoot and you get what you're given. My hair is wavy and frizzy, but it's also thin and lacking volume. Thankfully I have a lot of it so it doesn't even look thin. My hair is very deceitful. To clarify, I do not have ethnic hair which is more difficult to deal with than my hair, but for an ango-saxon american I have pretty difficult hair. When your hair is long and not strong, you have to use good products so that it does not sustain more damage than it is already prone to. I started using salon-brand shampoos after high-school. Anyone I know who uses them never goes back to other brands. I justify the cost with the fact that I no longer color my hair anymore and only frequent my overpriced salon for trims (we will talk about expensive haircuts at another time). So, on to the product review!

I bought this shampoo at the recommendation of my last hairstylist. I use Pureology's Hydrating Conditioner, and my hair seemed to be getting too used to my other shampoo, so I thought I would try this. We chose the Pure Volume variety because hydrating shampoos can carry some weight and I hate weighing my hair down. Unfortunately, I've been disappointed with this product. For a volumizing shampoo my hair still feels heavy and almost like the shampoo leaves a residue. The only way I can avoid this is to shampoo my hair twice in the shower. For the record, the shampoo bottle does suggest this but I always think that it's a ploy to use the product faster so you have to purchase it again. While this shampoo may work for others, it's just not right for me.

Recommend (y/n): NO

My Beauty Blog

     Ah yes, the quest for beauty in the consumer society. I will admit that I am part of the never-ending search for the right product that will make my skin smoother, eyes brighter, and lips fuller. Unfortunately, I'm not one of those people who can roll out of bed, brush my hair, slap on some lipgloss, and run out the door. I have difficult hair and I constantly battle with my skin even though I'm way past puberty. Despite all of this, the truth is that when I look good I feel good so most days I attempt to conquer the not-so-perfect aspects of my appearance. With the ease of the internet I have devoted myself to reading reviews of beauty products before investing in them (because, lets admit it, some of our products cost enough to be considered an investment). You wouldn't want to buy a $60 bottle of foundation without hearing from the majority of its users that it is worth it, would you?

     The other day while searching for a makeup primer, which I have never tried before, I came up with the idea to start this blog on all of the beauty products I use, try, and purchase. For some products, mostly cosmetics, I will be posting before and after pictures. Hopefully my friends, and maybe one day the general public, can benefit from the reviews I give to these products. Occasionally I may be commenting on developments and other articles related to "beauty culture" and body image issues. While you won't hear the juicy details of my love life on this blog, you may be able to make a decision on whether or not you really want to buy that Chanel lip gloss.