Sunday, September 19, 2010

Review: Neutrogena Advanced Solutions

Product's website description: "Clinically Proven To: Reduce blackheads, whiteheads, redness, and inflammation; Reduce oiliness; Kill acne causing bacteria; Improve skin texture/reduce bumps; Visibly reduce appearance of acne; Provide SPF sun protection. An easy 2 step regimen twice a day. " [website]

Contains: Skin Polishing Acne Cleanser, Oil-Free Lotion, &  Overnight Acne Control Lotion

Price: $20

Review: 1 Star

I do not have acne prone skin, but I was looking to clear up some persistent spots to the side of my mouth.    The box that I got said that it's proven to work faster than ProActiv, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I tried this for the whole summer and my skin got worse and worse by the day. Had I known that the official product site has a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee before the 90 days was up, I would have taken them up on their offer. Instead I gave them the benefit of the doubt, thinking it's one of those products that might take a little while to kick in.

The first few uses I was fine until one day my face was on fire and started peeling, but those side effects went away pretty quickly.  However, this product did not work at all to get rid of any acne.  I'm almost positive that it was the Skin Polishing Acne Cleanser that caused the bad reaction, but it did do a good job cleaning my face.  The Oil-Free Lotion has SPF 15 so on its own it has its merits.  But as a whole the product did not work for me. Maybe you have to have a lot of acne for it to work??? Everyone's skin is different and they did have just as many positive reviews as they did negative. This is just one girl's opinion!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Haul: The Beauty Sampler

Product's website description: "[W]e are in the process of adding and expanding a product line of our own, aptly name CrAvE.  CrAvE will be an exclusive, full line of mineral products that not only look and feel great, but are actually great for your skin as well.  Of course, we will continue to provide our full line of authentic, professional-grade MAC samples as always." [website]

Colors Purchased: See photos below

Price: $1.74 each w/ promo code. No S&H.

Review: I found out about this site from Youtuber xsunshiine and I knew I had to try it out. I sent an email inquiry to Beauty Sampler and they answered it promptly, so it gave me more confidence to order from the site while they're remodeling.  But what impressed me even more is that once I ordered I received an email a few hours later stating that my order had been shipped. That was on Wednesday and I received my package on Friday! I got my 14 MAC pigment samples (1/4 tablespoons each) in two cute little Hello Kitty ziploc baggies.  I haven't tried them yet, so I'm merely reviewing the Beauty Sampler service rather than the product. The size of the product didn't bother me because having had full-sized MAC pigments, I knew that a little goes a long way. I still have a Deckchair pigment from 2-3 years ago that looks like I've never even used it even though I use it all the time. I would have spent $24 on one full-sized MAC pigment, but instead I got 14 different ones. I'm sold without even trying them on yet!

Brash & Bold - Reddish fushia
Dark Soul - Dark gray
Platinum - Silver

Antique Green - Brownish (?) green
Golder's Green - Golden green
Teal - Teal ;)

Pink Pearl - Purplish pink shimmer
Push the Edge - Dark purple (grape)
Violet - Light purple
Cornflower - Purplish blue (My fave)

Dusty Coral - Darker version of Melon
Rushmetal -Golden brown
Chocolate Brown - Rich brown
Blue Brown -  Brown with blue flecks

Warning: Bare Face Ahead

Step 1 (Left): So this is what I look like without a stitch of makeup on. except I do have moisturizer applied.  As you can see, I have VERY pigmented eyelids that look like I have brown eyeshadow, and dark circles under my eyes...courtesy of my insomnia. People often ask why I wear foundation if I have good skin and I tell them that they're only saying that because they haven't seen me without foundation. My skin is splotchy and I do have acne scars around my chin.
Step 2 (Right): Added Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Double Face Protector (Concealer + Highlighter) in Light on eyelids and under eyes, only using the concealer side. Bye, bye brown shadows! Dabbed some concealer on my acne scars as well.
Step 3 (Left): MAC Studio Fix Fluid (NW25) using a Sonia Kushuk foundation brush. After seeing this picture, I have a feeling that I didn't put very much foundation on knowing that I was going to be applying the powder foundation right after.
Step 4 (Right): First time using the MAC Studio Fix Powder + Foundation (NW25) today, and wow what a difference! I applied it over the fluid foundation.  The powder foundation really did cover up all of my imperfections and took away the shininess from the shimmer in the fluid foundation. I thought the fluid alone looked good until I saw how Step 3's photo dulled in comparison to Step 4's photo.

Step 5 (Left):
Cheeks - NYC Blushable Creme Stick in Berry New Yorker & Plaza Pink (blended). Very bright until you blend it. Only use when I want natural cheeks.
Lips - Revlon Just Bitten Lipstain + Balm in Twilight. Product is drying out so doesn't look like when I first bought it. Looks pink instead of berry now.
Eyes - Physician's Formula Shimmer Strips Pop Collection for Hazel Eyes (Trio #2: Playful).  Applied wet, and used as shadow & liner. I haven't been able to get good coverage if I use this product dry.
Mascara - Maybelline The Falsies. Oh, look, I have eyelashes now!

OVERALL: The MAC products combined together were A+ in my book.  The Physician's Formula Pop Collection looks super bright in the box, but it blends together nicely.  I was looking for a very muted look today, with just a little bit of color.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Review: Revlon Just Bitten Lipstain + Balm

Product's website description: "*Kiss-proof color with soft shine *Nourishing balm for supreme comfort *Lipstain and balm in one convenient, dual-ended package *Lipstain marker provides precise application *Color does not smudge or streak *Contains vitamin C for for anti-oxidant protection *Creamy, lightweight balm perfectly melts on lips for smooth, glide-on application *Translucent balm provides instant moisture and soft shine *Available in 10 lightweight shades " [website]

Color: Twilight (2nd from bottom in photo)

Price: about $7

Review: 2 stars

As much as it pained me to buy something called Just Bitten in the shade Twilight, for obvious reasons, that was the color that stood out to me the most. It's a nice berry color.

Since it is a lipstain, it does create a problem by accentuating cracks in your lips. The balm does help soften the look, but the color remains looking a bit flat. There is no shine, even with the balm. As the day goes by and the lipstain starts to wear off, you're left with patchy colors on your lips.

I've only had this product for two months and don't use it regularly, but it seems to be drying out already. It doesn't even resemble the same shade as when I first bought it. That is the main reason why I won't be buying this product again.

Review: M.A.C. Studio Fix Fluid

Product's website description: "A modern foundation that combines a natural matte finish and medium-buildable coverage with broad spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 15. Comfortable and long-wearing: lasts for up to eight hours. Applies smoothly, builds coverage quickly and easily. Contains specially treated micronized pigments and soft-focus powders for a super-smooth look that helps minimize the appearance of imperfections. Absorbs and disperses oil. Contains special skin-conditioning ingredients. Oil free." [website]

Color: NW25

Price: $26 for 30 ML

Review: 5 stars

M.A.C., where have you been all my life? I didn't rate it 5 stars because I haven't been able to provide the complete coverage that I'm looking for, but this is still the best foundation that I've used to date.

When I first went to M.A.C. to get color matched for my foundation, it was not a good experience. The makeup artist was horrible (she actually gave me the wrong product - powder instead of fluid when I made my purchase so I had to go back the next day). The foundation brush she was using was leaving brush lines all over my face. She first color matched me with a way too orange foundation for my pale skin. I made her go a few shades lighter, but it still felt dark to me. However, upon photographing my face, I realized that NW25 was a perfect match. I still haven't gotten used to it, but those nearest and dearest to my heart have told me that there's no distinction between my face to my neck. No dreaded neck line!

I just bought the Studio Fix Powder + Foundation tonight, so I haven't tried it out yet. Can't wait to see how it compares to the fluid. I heard it works awesome paired together, so I'm excited.

Review: Basin Bath Bombs

Product's website description: "Drop a bath bomb into a warm bath and relax as it fizzes and dissolves. Our bath bombs release all-natural essential oils and fragrances, transforming your bath from ordinary to extraordinary." [website]

Purchased: Bath Bomb Barrel (5 Medium Size)

Price: $20 for barrel, almost $5 for each bath bomb

Review: 4 stars (Couldn't give it a 5 b/c of price & location)

If I was a millionaire, I would go to this store every month. Instead, I usually only go around gift-giving times.

I LOVE taking a nice, hot bath to relax. When I first discovered this store, which is only at Downtown Disney, I couldn't resist buying some despite the price because of just how good the store smelled. It's like when you walk by The Body Shop and they've got the oils going. Mmmm, smells so good.

But $20 for 5 bath bombs? Why couldn't I just get a $5 bubble bath from Wal-Mart? Answer: Because I've never found a bath product to replicate the same intoxicating smell as even my least favorite bath bomb. My skin feels super soft after using these too.

Just writing this review makes me want to go drive out there tomorrow to pick some up, but I must refrain from doing so. You can order online too, but I never have.

Tip #1: Don't bother with the Hidden Treasures bath bombs. They suck. It's just a sponge heart/dinosaur/Mickey. I really don't see kids using a bath bomb, so its appeal is lost to adults.

Tip #2: Buy the medium sized bath bombs and then crack them in half while inside a ziploc bag (or else you're going to make a powdery mess). There is a big enough price gap to warrant saving a couple cents by buying the smaller bath bombs.

Review: N.Y.C. Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil

Product's website description: "... tear-proof, sweat-proof and swim-proof eyeliner pencils that are perfect for an active lifestyle. The waterproof formula provides long lasting coverage, so you don't have to re-apply during the day." [website]

Color Purchased: 931A Black

Price: Under $3

Review: 2 Stars

This has been my daily go-to liner, but I'm not very satisfied with it. I always end up with raccoon eyes by the end of the day. I notice it doesn't say "smudge-proof" in the website description, but I'm sure that's implied when it's "*-proofed" on everything else.

I'm waiting on my shipment to arrive for my very first eye primer, so I may have to revise my review after I try this product paired with the primer. I'm guessing it will have more staying power then.

Also, I have not had great success in perfectly lining my eyes. You cannot get smooth lines using this. My bottom lash line is ok. But when I do the top lash line, the color feathers out and ends up looking like a dull black while my bottom lash line stands out.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Review: TRESemme Fresh Start Dry Shampoo

Product's website description: "Zap oil and odor in between washes with this new dry shampoo. The unique formula gives hair a clean look and feel with gorgeous volume, even when you don’t wash." [website]

Price: Almost $7

1 Star

I usually wash my hair every other day, unless I've gone to the gym. So I was excited about trying this product. I thought it would make my hair less oily. You just spray it in your hair, let it sit for a few minutes, and then brush it out. Easy, right? Too bad it doesn't work. At the first initial spray, I liked the smell. However, after a few sprays, I was ready to pass out from the fumes.

My hair went from blah to nasty. I had to take a shower at midnight just to get the funk out of my hair. Maybe I was using it wrong, but a friend of mine said she had the same bad results. When the guy at CVS asked why I was returning the bottle, I said because "It stinks!"

A New Me

I just turned 30 at the beginning of the year, but I still look like a baby. This summer I decided it was time to revamp my boring everyday look.

First things first, I finally broke down and bought some MAC foundation. The MAC girls have always scared me for some reason, possibly because I'm a totally newbie when it comes to experimenting with colors. I am very pale and was used to purchasing my drugstore foundation in the lightest color possible. Imagine my surprise when the MAC girl chose NW25 for me. I was ensured that I'm supposed to match to the color of my chest & arms, not my real face color. You mean I'm not supposed to be geisha white? I'm still getting used to the extreme difference in color. My boyfriend actually loves the new foundation on me & joked that I don't look dead anymore. Uh, thanks?!

Now that I have my MAC Studio Fix liquid foundation, I feel like my old makeup just doesn't cut it anymore. My usual neutral eyeshadows and pale blushes get swallowed up my the foundation. So I've come to a conclusion...this is the year to reinvent myself!
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