Wednesday, March 31, 2010

End of the Month Lemmings, March

Wow, that month went by fast.  Finally got some sun (YAY!).  Hope we have no more flooding in April.

This months lemmings!

1) Reebok EasyTone

image from

My primary form of exercise is walking/hiking (I live on a very steep hill), and my walking shoes are finally starting to die on me.  These shoes claim to feel like walking on sand, causing your muscles to compensate for the instability that that entails.  More muscle engagement during the same amount of time doing the same exercise?  Sounds good to me.  A little pricey at 100-110, depending on the style, but they should last me a decent amount of time.

2) Dior 'Addict' Ultra-Gloss Reflect Backups

image from

I have heard word that this gloss is being discontinued to make way for a new formulation.  While I can't say if this news is 100% correct, I do know that is already not carrying some of the colors, including my favorite, so there might be something to this story.  Unfortunately, my favorite gloss is in this line, so I need to stoke up on at least a couple to last me through the summer until I find a replacement favorite.

3) Guerlain Terracotta Loose Powder Kohl  - Mirage

image from

This is the newest color from Guerlain for their Terracotta Loose Powder Kohl, and it seems to look a lot like the Oriental Metal that I missed out on.  I find the black to be a little harsh, so having another color that I can wear during the day sounds great to me.  It is currently available on Nordstrom, but the swatch online is total crap, like usual, hehe.

4) Freeman Feeling Beautiful Facial Enzyme Mask, Pineapple

image from

This mask claims "Pineapple extract and AHAs exfoliate, Restores radiant skin, Contains natural ingredients," all things that sounds really good.  It also smells like pineapple, which is like saying something smells like chocolate or mint... I'm all over it.  Being cheap at only $4 for a 6 fl oz bottle, this is also a mask that you don't have to feel bad using up quickly.  I can't wait until I use up my current masks to give this one a try.

5) Bonne Bell Glimmer Bronze Highlighting Dust, Gold'n Glitz

image from

I have no loose powder bronzer.  Sad, but true.  I also have no highlighting/shimmery bronzer that I can just dust lightly over my face.  This bronzer would cover both of those needs, and at only $4, it won't break the bank, unlike NARS.  The only problem is that no one in my area carries Bonne Bell anymore (which is really sad, because I grew up buying from this brand).  This one is going to have to wait until my next purchase.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Orly Top 2 Bottom Basecoat and Topcoat

 image from

Price: $7 for .5fl oz, 14ml

What they say:
"   * UV protection prevents nail polish from yellowing & fading
    * Helps polish last longer
    * Bonding power of a basecoat
    * Protection of a topcoat
    * Creates strong, chip-resistant manicures
    * Convenience of two products in one
Combination product makes manicures quick and easy. "

What I say:
I definitely like this stuff a lot better than Orly's nail polishes.

I bought this to take the place of my old top and bottom coat, since I think it was reaching the end of its life, and I didn't really like it to begin with.  The ratings that I saw online seemed good, and the price was right, so I decided to give this a go.

First off, the bottle is really nice.  Like Orly nail polishes, the handle of the brush is rubberized, making it very comfortable to use.  The rest of the bottle is just pretty standard, but the handle is great.  The brush is pretty small, but that could be a good or bad thing, depending on preference.  I didn't find it hard to work with, but I would have liked it to be a little bit larger.

The formula itself is pretty good.  It dries quickly, which means I can put my next layer on as soon as I get back to that nail (I go in a circle).  The base/top coat dries clear, with a slight glossy sheen, though I would say that the sheen was less than what I saw with Seche Vite.

The smell is standard, but I think it is actually a little less than normal.  I don't go around just sniffing my nail polishes, though, so I'm not really sure, hehe.

I can't really say how the wear is just alone with this, since I was also using Seche Vite, but I do know it is higher than OPI's top coat.  This lasted 2 days on me before my polish started to chip on the ends, but to be fair, that's pretty amazing considering how rough I am with my hands.  As a base coat, this worked amazingly well, helping to bind my polish to my nails like no other.

Overall, I recommend checking this top and bottom coat out.  It's worth the price, since you get two products in one, and actually lasts a respectable amount on nails that see a bit of action.

Top coat: 4/5
Base coat: 5/5

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

China Glaze For Audrey

image from

Price: $4-6 for 14ml, .5 fl oz, depending on seller

What they say:
"   * Professional 220-strand brush for easy application
    * Long-wearing nail lacquer is an oil base
    * Flexible and will not chip
    * Greatest fashion shades
    * Great coverage
    * Non-Thickening formula
Unleash your inner color with China Glaze ... your long wearing professional nail lacquer choice! Long wearing formula with hardeners features great coverage and is DBP Free. China Glaze Nail Lacquer makes nails look spectacular and dries in seconds. China Glaze offers the latest technology in formulas and color selection. "

What I say:
Man, this nail polish is great.  I was able to find it on Sally Beauty, though I have seen it other places online, and was really looking forward to when it arrived.  I'm really happy I ordered this nail polish, because I think it is even more beautiful in person than it is in pictures or online!

For Audrey is described by many as being "Tiffany blue."  I can't say for certain if that is correct, since I really don't know what Tiffany blue is supposed to look like, but I think this is more of a turquoise blue (real turquoise, not the fake, painted stuff).  It is a lovely light blue, which I think would work better in the spring and summer months.  Some might also describe it as a sky blue, but I think it's a little too light for that myself.

Two coats of this was more than enough to make it opaque, but one coat was a little streaky.  Wish there was a way to make 1.5 coats happen, hehe.  Once on, this stuff stays true to color when drying, and seems to have better chip-tolerance than many nail polishes that I have tried.  It is not a fast-drying nail polish, but it is not one that takes forever, either.  Pretty average.

Overall, I'm really happy I tracked this polish down.  I can see myself using this a lot, and a bottle of this is really worth it's price (unlike, say, YSL.  I don't care what you say, unless the thing can cure some sort of disease, $20 for a bottle of polish is just insane).


Saturday, March 20, 2010

MUFE Kabuki Brush

Price: $39

What they say:
"What it is:
HD Kabuki Brush is a soft-to-the-touch yet sufficiently firm nylon brush designed to easily sweep powder on the face.

What it does:
This Sephora-exclusive brush was designed especially for HD Microfinish Powder, or other loose powder application. It can also be used to remove excess powder after initial application.

What else you need to know:
This conveniently small brush fits into its black, zipped pouch for easy transportation. "

What I say:
I actually got this a while ago when it came in a set with the MUFE HD powder, so I didn't pay full price for this.  I wish the set came with the travel pouch, but it's not really a problem.

This brush is incredibly soft.  Like, I want to have my bedding be this soft, soft.  It's also pretty small.  I was surprised when I saw it in person just how small it was, since I'm used to seeing larger kabuki brushes.  I'm not saying it's tiny, because it is not, it's just a little smaller than most.

The brush head is made from nylon, though is looks like it is made of hair from the pictures online.  This means that it takes a while to dry, since I swear all synthetic brushes like to take their sweet time drying.  I haven't noticed shedding from mine, which is a plus, but even good quality brushes are known to shed the first 6 or so times you wash them, so until it is past that stage, you can't really judge anyway.  Still, no shedding, so yay.

I think that this is best used with powder, like foundation, setting, blush... well, any powder, really.  I do not think it works well with cream or liquid, though.  Some kabuki brushes work well with those formulas, and maybe others have had better luck than I have, but I think the softness of this brush actually make it really hard to apply and blend those formulas evenly.

Overall, I'm happy I purchased this brush.  I'm not sure if I didn't already have this if I would pay full price for it, though.  It is rather small, and it only really works for powders, which I'm not always using.  It is rather soft, and feels great on your skin, but being limited to only using powder foundation, or just using it for setting powder, seems like a bit of a waste to me.  This is from someone who likes her brushes to multitask, though.  If you are fine with a brush that can only do one thing, by all means check this one out in person.

4.5/5 (-.5 for size and powder-only)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Max Factor Volume Couture Waterproof Mascara

Price:  $6-9, depending on store.

What they say:
"The advanced flexible iFX brush defines and maximizes every lash - base to top, corner to corner - with a waterproof formula. "

What I say:
While I absolutely did not like the 2000 Calorie mascara from this company, I will be sad to see this one go.  I originally got this because my brother's graduation was during the winter, and I knew it was going to be really rainy.  Since I didn't want to look like a raccoon, I decided to pick up a waterproof mascara, and since it was on sale, I went ahead and bought the Max Factor one, even though the last mascara that I bought from them was pretty bad (but, hey, so are most L'Oreal mascaras, but I like some of them).

Initial impressions were good.  This mascara is wet, but not sticking my lashes together wet.  The formula was black, not grey, and is indeed waterproof.  Unlike, say, Japanese brand mascaras, though, this does come off rather easily with makeup remover, so at the end of the day, you don't have to rub a whole lot to get it all off (not that I do that anyway.  I let my makeup remover sit for a bit before trying to take the mascara off).  As mentioned, the formula is wet, so it does take a couple more seconds than dryer formulas to get to the point where it doesn't transfer to your upper/lower lid when you blink.  Just resist the urge to blink, and you'll be fine.  This tube also didn't dry out quickly, which I've had some mascaras do to me.  I'm reaching the 3 month mark, and it is still perfectly usable.

The wand is a nice rubber type, not too long, not too short, and definitely not too soft.  The end gets to my inner and outer corners without hassle, so I'm able to get all of my lashes with relative ease.  It also doesn't cause clumping on my bottom lashes when I try and put mascara there, which is a large plus for me.

I didn't notice too much length or volume being added with this mascara, but I wasn't adding more than one layer most of the time.  While I don't think it adds much volume or length on its own, I do think it would make a nice layering mascara.  Just add the mascara with the qualities you want to your lashes, and then at the end put this one on top to get a waterproof coating to prevent running/smudging.  Kinda like using an umbrella when it rains.

I actually like the tube design for this mascara.  It's not too large, which is a plus for traveling people, and the added blue band so you know it is the waterproof formula at a glance is a nice touch.  It does get scratched easily, but why would you be staring at your mascara tube enough to care?

Overall, I'm happy with this mascara, and will miss it when it leaves, since waterproof mascara and I normally don't get along too well.  Hopefully Covergirl (who is owned by the same company as Max Factor) has a mascara similar enough for me to enjoy.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Clinique All About Eyes Cream

Price:  $28.50 for .5 oz, $47 for 1 oz

What they say:
"Diminishes the appearance of eye puffs, darkness, fine lines. Lightweight, non-creep, cream/gel formula actually helps hold eye makeup in place. For use morning and night, under eyes and on the lids. "

What I say:
I actually got this as a gift with purchase (from my mom), so this is a freebe for me.  Would I actually buy it?  No, probably not.

The texture is a thick cream, of the sort that you have to warm up before you try to put it on your eye area.  It is creamy, slightly liquidy when warm, and seems to absorb, but does take a little while.  Nice for nighttime use, but day users might think it takes a little too long before they can put anything else on that area.  It claims to be able to hold makeup in place... yeah, I don't really think so.  This seems to be way too creamy to be able to do that, and might actually help in the destruction of your eyeliner and mascara.  Maybe if your eye area absorbed it to the point that it isn't even there anymore, but at that point how can it help to keep makeup on?

Once this cream absorbs, the area around the eyes is nicely moisturized, but nothing dramatic.  This is a good cream for someone who has dry skin, but not Sahara dry skin.  My husband actually suffers from dry skin in the winter around his eyes, so I have been using this on his eye area, and it really seemed to help.

There is no really detectable smell, which is a plus for me.  The color is kinda a pink fleshy color, but it is completely clear when it is melted and absorbing.  There is no shimmer, or other reflective properties, to this cream, so this won't help with making your eye area look more refreshed except by making it more hydrated.

"Diminishes the appearance of eye puffs, darkness, fine lines."  Didn't see any of that.  Eye puffiness is one of the few things I don't suffer from, so I pass on discussing that, but darkness?  No help there.  My undereyes are are dark as they ever were (well, a little less dark, but that's because of another eyecream).  Fine lines?  A yes, and a no.  Fine lines being permanently gone requires more than this eye cream can give.  Fine lines being temporarily gone because your skin is more plump from hydration, on the other hand, this can actually do.  I did notice a little help in this field, but I would expect that help from any hydrating cream.

Overall, I would not repurchase this eye cream.  That is not to say that it is rubbish, it just isn't good enough for the price, and honestly, with how often it is thrown into gifts with purchase from this company, I really don't think anyone really needs to pay money for this, since you can get a pretty large sample for free that way.  My husband does still enjoy this cream, and I think it's alright for when my eye area is in need of extra moisture, but otherwise, this is a pass.

One last thing I can say about this is that I never had breakouts around my eye area from this.  Thought that might help someone, hehe.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bobbi Brown Corrector

Color: Light Bisque

Price: $22.00 for .06oz/1.7g

What they say:
"For very dark circles and extra coverage, Bobbi's secret is her Correctors. Use daily or just when you need extra coverage. Designed to be layered under your yellow-based Creamy Concealer shade, Correctors come in a range of twelve Bisque and Peach shades.

Use fingers or the Concealer Brush to apply up to the lashline and into the inner corner of the eye. Smooth and blend by gently patting with the pads of your fingers. Follow with a layer of your regular Creamy Concealer shade."

What I say:
First off, for those of you who are really pale, and have a pink undertone, there is absolutely no reason that you have to use a concealer with this.  Bobbi Brown's concealers and foundations are known to be more yellow base than a lot of people can handle, while the correctors have a more pink base or salmon base to them, depending on the shade that you get.

That said, this product is a lifesaver for me, since I have what are known as "dark circles of doom" inherited from "dark circle genes of doom."  I cannot escape the look of perpetual sleep deprevation, so for me, something like a opaque concealer or corrector is manditory.  This corrector definitely fits the bill, and does so with a few perks.

Perk 1) This has a mirror in it.  That might not mean much to some of you, but for those of us that travel a lot, having a mirror in the lid of a concealer or corrector is very convenient when stuck in an airplane seat, and needing to do your makeup so you don't look like a zombie upon landing at your destination.  Also, it is great for touchups at your desk, or in the car, or at your SO's... you get the idea.

Perk 2) While being small, a little goes a long way.  This will last you a long time, and doesn't dry out quickly like a gel eyeliner/cream eyeshadow might.  Which leads to...

Perk 3) The small size makes it great for your purse/makeup bag.  Small, light, and convenient.

This corrector does its job well.  It applies easily when it is warmed with your fingers, or when warmed on your skin before blending.  I haven't noticed it migrating into fine lines when applied in a thin layer, but if it is applied too thickly, it can start to rebel.  This layers well with others, but anything too hard/dry on top can cause it to be pulled off of where you applied it.  I wouldn't call that a flaw of this product, since it was the other one that did it, but it is something to watch out for.

This does last a decent amount of time, but I usually put a powder on top of it, so I'm not sure how it would fair on its own.  It doesn't get cakey with powder on top of it, so I just go ahead and do it every time, since I'm powdering my t-zone anyway.

Overall, this is a good product.  I can't think of anything I would change about this product, which is not something I can say for many things.  Like I said before, a little of this goes a long way, so while the size is kinda small, I do feel that it is worth the money.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Shiseido Tsubaki Conditioner

Price: $14 for 500ml

What I say:
Part two!

As I stated in my earlier post, this stuff is moisturizing.  After rinsing out my hair of all the shampoo, I take 1.5 pumps of this, put it all over (except at my scalp), and wait a few minutes.  Now, when you see the size of the pumps of this, you will think that it will not be enough conditioner to really, well, condition your hair.  This is not the case.  Not only will adding the amount of conditioner you normally would be overkill, it would also weigh down your hair too much, because this does, in fact, have oil in it, and without cleansing that out, you would just have lots of oil on your scalp.

This stuff is thick.  Normal conditioner that you might be used to is a little runny.  This stuff is the boiled down cream that normal conditioner wishes it could be.  While this is nice for your hair, it is a little of a pain to spread evenly.  I suggest leaving in a little more water than you normally do in your hair to give it something to slip with when spreading this out.

The smell of this is really nice, and stronger than the shampoo.  Again, you might not like this, but I thought it was nice.  To me, at least, it's not a headachey, annoying smell.  When it is washed out of your hair, it is also still noticeable, but in a more in the background like a candle at the other side of the room way, or perhaps even fainter than that.  The smells does go away, so don't worry about having your hair permanently smell like this conditioner, having to wave flies away from your hair, or anything else associated with conditioner smell that over stayed its welcome.

Washing this out is surprisingly easy, considering the texture and thickness when applying.  What's left behind is nice soft hair, much softer than how my hair feels after using most high end brands.

As far as shine from this goes, it's really nice.  Not over the top, more natural than a lot of shine products.  This looks more like your hair is healthy, less like your put a product in it to make it look that way.

One last thing to note is that my hair has not needed to be cleansed more often with this combination.  Even though this has Camellia oil in it, a lot of conditioners have oil in them, so this is not a new concept.  This difference in this product and others is the type of oil, not that it has any.  Camellia oil is said to be the closest oil to natural human oil, and therefore absorbs better into the skin/hair.  I haven't done tons of research into those claims, but I have noticed Camellia oil and my body getting along better than a lot of other, thicker, oils, so maybe there's something to that.

4/5, might repurchase, unless something better comes along.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Shiseido Tsubaki Shampoo

Price: $14 for 550ml at my local Asian market

What I say:
This shampoo is wonderful.

Normally, I'm a drugstore shampoo and conditioner person, with the occational splurges on higher end (usually from my mom).  Drugstore shampoo and conditioner has serves me well, and for the most part, higher end brands tend to just show me that they are not worth the price, and that I shouldn't waste my money on them.  The exception, of course, being leave in conditioner, but that's not this post.

That being said, I suffer from what I would call not quite dry hair.  My scalp gets oily at a normal rate, but the rest of my hair gets dry rather quickly, and is always in need of a little helping hand.  Shampoo, unfortunately, does not normally have this as a choice when you are looking at what they do.  Most companies tend to look at the scalp, and not really look much at the rest of the hair shaft, except in terms of frizz, split ends, etc.

I got this shampoo because I finally thought "enough is enough."  I had heard good things about this, mostly from MakeupAlley, so I thought I would give it a go.  I already use Camellia (also known at Tsubaki) oil in my hair for shine (when it needs it), so I knew basically what to expect.  Last time I was at Nigiya (love that market, by the way), I look the plunge, and bought the shampoo and conditioner.

The first this I noticed was the texture, which is not really as runny as a lot of shampoos I have tried.  The color what a nice pearly white, which I have always liked (not only in shampoo).

The smell... mmmmmm.  Camellia flowers.  I can tell that a lot of people might be put off by the smell, but for me, it was nice and refreshing.  It also lasts quite a long time, so I enjoyed that, as well.

This stuff really suds up, with 1.5 pumps being enough for my hair (scientific binary search to find the right amount).  The smells sticks with you during the sudsing, so good times for me.  My hair got really clean, really fast, but without the usual stripping of all oils that I normally associate with really clean hair.  This is one shampoo that not only cleans, it also moisturizes, if only a little.

This rinsed out nicely from my hair, and left it ready for round two (to come later).

I have heard a number of people say that this label causes buildup in their hair, and that it weighs it down.  I have used this exclusively for over 2 weeks, and have had no problems of that sort, even with long, thin, lots of, hates volume hair.  I did notice a little lack of volume at my roots compared to normal shampoos that I am used to, but just changing drying technique and how I lay my hair at night has solved this without the addition of other products.

One last note, I love the packaging.  I got the large pump bottles, and the amount that they release is actually an amount that people might really use.  If I had short hair, one pump would be perfect.  Also, Shiseido makes refills (400ml) that are cheaper than the pump bottles, so yay!

4/5, I'm probably going to repurchase.