Monday, February 28, 2011

Buxom Lash Mascara

Hi guys!

I've been trying to blog about some "boring" products; I love showing off things with color, but often it's the products we use everyday to build a look on that can really make or break it. So, bearing this in mind, I decided to show you Buxom Lash mascara! Mascara is one of my favorite products; if I have any makeup on my face, you can bet that I'm also wearing mascara. It's like insta-pretty! Unfortunately, it can also be one of the trickiest products. So many mascaras make claims they can't live up to, and then you have to worry about formulas that clump, smudge, flake, and/or look spidery. Unfortunately, from what I can tell, a lot of this has to do with one's own chemistry, so a mascara that may not smudge or flake on me might give you raccoon eyes, depending on your skin type and a bazillion other factors I can't begin to conceive of, seeing as how I am not a chemist. Likewise, some of you may like an emphasized but natural look, while others of you want va-va-va-voom mascara that lengthens, volumizes, curls, and darkens. I happen to fall into the latter camp, which makes finding a good mascara harder for me. I've fallen in love with a few mascaras that don't clump and stay put for days, but only darken, or only volumize, or only lengthen, instead of doing all of these things to make my lashes look over the top. Honestly, if I felt more comfortable with false eyelashes, I'd probably wear them every day. Until then, I'm hunting down the perfect mascara to give me a false-eyelashes effect.

Enter Buxom. I've heard rave reviews of this mascara; just hop on over to Sephora's website, and you can read about how much people love this product. I got a full size mascara in a free set as one of my Beauty Insider perks, and was thrilled, since I've been wanting to try it, but have had hit-or-miss experiences with Buxom and their parent company, Bare Escentuals. I have this mascara in Blackest Black, which I find to be a true black, and it will run you $18 for .37 ounces (on the generous side of average for mascaras, whose volume usually hovers around .3 ounces, give or take). While this mascara doesn't flake or smudge on me, it doesn't exactly bring the drama, either. It makes my lashes darker and lengthens/ curls just a tiny bit, but I see no volumizing  from this mascara. The formula is a little on the thin side, which some of you may prefer; it makes clumping less likely than with a waxy formula, and seems to dry fairly quickly. It washes off easily with a good face cleanser, requiring no extra eye makeup remover. The brush is a rubbery deal with spikes on it; it has an hourglass shape, which is supposed to catch all your eyelashes; personally, I find this shape hard to use. I can't tell you how many times I've poked myself in the eye with this applicator, and while I may be pretty klutzy (confirmed fact), I don't do this with other mascara wands. I think it's because of the bulbous tip; I try to get the narrow part up against the base of my eyelashes, and end up gouging my eyeball with the wide part. This might be great for some eye shapes, but not for mine.

Here is the tube itself; it's fatter than most mascara tubes! I guess because it's Buxom?

Buxom Lash!

The sticker at the bottom

Buxom! It's made by Bare Escentuals... I wonder how much this differs from the B.E. mascara?

Buxom with the wand out

Here's a close up of the wand. Look at those spikes!
 In the following picture, I applied mascara to only one eye (the left one, in these pictures). Sorry if I look really tired... Apparently just mascara and foundation is not a good look for me! I think you can tell from the pictures that the mascara definitely darkens and defines my lashes, without getting clumpy. However, I don't know that it volumizes at all, and any lengthening is negligible. There might be just a hint of curl... It's hard to say. I did not curl my lashes before putting on this mascara.

Close up of eye with Buxom mascara

Close up of eye with no mascara!

I am wearing Buxom Lash on my left eye, but not on the right

Once again, Buxom Lash on the left but not on the right. 
Rating: 7 out of 10

I'm giving this mascara a 7/10, because although it doesn't give me the dramatic lashes I look for, it doesn't smudge, flake, or clump, and this is a more reasonably priced high-end mascara. However, I do think that there are better mascaras out there that can be had for cheaper. If you want slightly emphasized lashes, though, this may be your perfect mascara; it's a dark black that will subtly enhance what you already have, even if it does not give you full, plush lashes. Currently, I'm using this under Dior's Dior Show Black out, and I love this combo; the Dior by itself clumps if I do more than one coat, and this on its own isn't quite enough for my taste. This being said, I wouldn't re-purchase this. It's just not what I'm looking for, and I don't want to have to buy two mascaras (totaling close to $50!) each time I need mascara. You may be wondering why I'd give this such a relatively high rating when it's not something I'd go back to; I think it is important to differentiate between a good product that isn't what I'm looking for, and a product that performs poorly overall. This is definitely the former; this performs well and is a good formula, even if it's not right for me personally.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

O.P.I. Nail Polish in Black Cherry Chutney

Hi Dolls!

I'm FINALLY showing you one of my favorite nail polishes today. I had waffled on buying this one for awhile, but when my aunt took me to get a manicure and I chose this one, I fell in love with the shade over the week I had it on my toes. O.P.I. nail polishes are a mid-range salon brand, known for their punny shade names, 3-free formulas, and chip resistance. Frankly, I don't know that these stay on my nails much longer than the "nicer" drug store brands (Sally Hansen's salon formula or Revlon, for example) and comparable salon brands like Essie, but I do get about 3 or 4 days with minimal tip wear, followed by a few days of random chips here and there before it starts to devolve. I should note that I've had this polish for more than a year now, and I haven't had to use any sort of thinner with it; the consistency is still as nice as the day I bought it. F.Y.I., nail polishes don't really go bad, but some of the ingredients will evaporate and make them thicker. To revive them, you can add nail polish thinner (readily available at beauty supply stores), which is basically these evaporated ingredients. A drop or two will usually do the trick. Do not use nail polish remover! I keep reading about this tip, but nail polish remover is designed to break down nail polish... Yes, it will make it thinner, but because it's destroying some of the ingredients, not restoring them. It might be a quick fix, but if you want to be able to use the entire bottle, just wait until you can pick up a nail polish thinner. They're not too pricey, and a little goes a long way.

I am such a sucker for dark purples and reds, and Black Cherry Chutney certainly fits the bill; it can almost look black in indoor light, but it has insane shimmer that lends it shine and depth. In bright light, it's a dark warm purple with wine colored shimmer. O.P.I. polishes will run you about $8.99 for .5 ounces, and are available at many salon/ beauty supply stores and Ulta. Black Cherry Chutney is part of the permanent collection, so it should be fairly easy to find anywhere that carries the line. I found that two coats of this was fine to get a nice, opaque color on my nails with no streakiness at all. I have no complaints about the brush that these polishes come with, though they don't do much to make application *easier* than average. The bottle itself is attractive and easy to grasp; I like that the brush handle is textured so that you can unscrew it easily, and it's a comfortable shape to hold.

I'm going to warn you; I was doing my nails in the near-dark (as my boyfriend diligently changed all the burnt out light bulbs in the only light fixture in the room I was painting my nails), so I made a mess on my cuticles. At any rate, you can still see what a beautiful color this is, and imagine how sexy and sophisticated a neater manicure would be in this polish.

Here are some shots of the bottle! You can get a good feel for the shimmer from some of these pictures. Encouragingly, this shimmer does translate onto the nail!

Black Cherry Chutney, by O.P.I. Crazy flash!

O.P.I., black cherry chutney

The label on the bottom of the bottle. I have not peeled there. 

Black Cherry Chutney; the back of the bottle

And here is my manicure, worthy of an uncoordinated three-year-old. The colors in the pictures are fairly true to life, depending on what kind of indoor light you're in. For reference, I'm wearing this over a L'Oreal base coat and with Seche Vite top coat.

Look at that shimmer!

With flash; you can really see the depth of Black Cherry Chutney in this picture!

Without flash; here you can see how it verges on a complex black. 
Rating: 8 out of 10

This is a great polish; it goes on nicely and wears well. I also love the color; it's unique without being "weird", and is a nice take on the almost-black purple that has been popular for a few years now. Whether or not this color is "in", I love what dark wines and berries do for my skin tone, so I'm sure this will be a staple for many years to come (as it has been for the last year+)! I can unreservedly give this product an 8/10; if it had above-average wear time for me, I'd give it a 9, and I know for some people O.P.I. is their holy grail nail polish formula; if it is for you, you may be even more over the moon with this color than I am!

Friday, February 25, 2011

L'Oreal Infallible Le Rouge in Unending Kiss

Hello Beauties!

I'm bringing you a review of L'Oreal's Infallible Le Rouge in Unending Kiss. I reviewed this lipstick in Brazen Bronze last month right here, and have been wanting to try a second color ever since, I was so impressed with the formula. I've been wanting an everyday pink for awhile now, so I thought I'd try one from this line! So far, I'm really happy with Unending Kiss; it's a very wearable pink; it's not too bright or dark, nor is it frosted, NOR does it read "nude" rather than pink. Like Brazen Bronze, this is part of the long-wearing Infallible line, though I didn't find it particularly long-wearing (I get about 3-4 hours of wear from it; average for me). However, its creamy (though this shade wasn't as creamy as Brazen Bronze) without feeling thick or heavy on the lips. I actually find it to be a very comfortable formula. It has a faint "makeup" scent, but no discernible flavor.  I don't find it moisturizing or drying; if you have extremely dry lips, you may want to wear lip balm under it, but otherwise you shouldn't have to worry about your lips getting dry. It is also a very opaque formula; one pass is all I need to get a nice saturation of color. I got my tube of Unending Kiss from Target for $8.99, though the official price is $9.99 for .09 ounces of product.

Unending Kiss is a pale pink with a faint gold microshimmer. It almost looks like a cream at first glance, but the shimmer keeps it looking a little fresher. The packaging is fine; better than a lot of the drugstore lipstick tubes. However, the twist-up portion of the tube operates differently than most twist-ups, with less rotations per turn. I smushed the tip of Brazen Bronze because of this non-standard twisting the first time I tried to screw it down and put the cap back on; the lipstick bullet has to basically be all the way beneath the metal tube before you put the cap back on. Just to warn you. Because I did it. And felt real dumb when I did.

L'Oreal Infallible Le Rouge

Infallible Le Rouge in Unending Kiss

The lipstick! 
 Here's the product itself; it almost looks like a matte lipstick in the bullet, though it doesn't apply like that.

And a swatch in low light!
L'Oreal Infallible Le Rouge in Unending Kiss
 Another in good light!

L'Oreal Infallible Le Rouge in Unending Kiss

Now, on my lips in good light, no flash:

Le Rouge in Unending Kiss

Unending Kiss
 And with flash:

L'Oreal Le Rouge, Unending Kiss

L'Oreal Le Rouge, Unending Kiss

Rating: 8 out of 10

I have been very pleased with this lipstick formula! I wish they'd make more colors that I want, though; so many of them look very "senior" as they are frosted neutrals. I certainly think that younger generations can pull these off, but they're not up my alley. This being said, the formula is great, and the colors I have bought have been gorgeous. Unending Kiss is a great everyday pink to wear when you want a pretty lip to compliment a bolder eye or cheek. Sure, this formula isn't as wonderful to work with as some higher-end lipsticks (like NARS or Aveda), nor does it have the luxurious scent or feel of these, but it's very comfortable and wears very nicely. I don't know that you can do better for the price; as far as drugstore lipsticks go, this is a great choice. Hopefully L'Oreal will get the hint and expand this collection to include more colors!

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencils in Delinquent and Morphine

Hi all!

I'm finally getting around to writing about the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencils, a product I've been sitting on for awhile... Part of this was because when I first swatched them, I had really mixed feelings. They didn't live up to the high hopes I had for them when I first used them. I'm happy to say that after experimenting with them a little, I've figured out "the rules" and am now very happy happy with my purchase and the effect these give. I am a purple eyeshadow junkie; I thought for sure that Mercury and Wasteland would be the first two I picked up, since they're neutrals but still nuanced and edgy. However, as soon as I saw these in real life, I fell for Delinquent and Morphine. Hard. Morphine is very much in the line of Urban Decay's Eye Shadow in Asphyxia, an iridescent shade that shifts between blue violet and fuchsia violet. Delinquent is a warm purple with an incredible pink shimmer. Both are really unique shades that just wouldn't read the same in a shadow form, which justifies working with these pencils.

For those of you who have used Urban Decay's cult-favorite item, the 24/7 Liners, you may understand why I expected to be able to just slather these on and have them stay put FOREVER. This was not the case; the formula is ever so slightly less pigmented than the eyeliners (as you'd expect in an eye shadow product), and a little creamier, too, to facilitate blending. And trust me, you need to blend these if they're going anywhere near your crease. You can wear them as a liner; the pencil is chunkier, so you won't get a precise line, but they'll definitely stay put near the lash line once they set (after about 30 seconds or a minute). However, once you paint these beauties up onto the lid and into the crease, you need to blend them out a little into a thinner coat to keep them from looking patchy and creasing. Once you do this, they stay beautifully all day (use them over a primer, and if you have oily lids, set them with a bit of translucent powder or shadow just to be sure, though I haven't found this necessary on my own normal lids). These pencils contain .1 ounces of product, and are $20.  The texture is very creamy and stays tacky for awhile; it's not sticky, though powders will stick to it very easily if you load them on top of it.

The Packaging!

24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencil!

The Schpeal

Recyclable! Cruelty Free not once, but Twice! 

24/7 Shadow Pencil in Morphine

24/7 Shadow Pencil with the cap off!

A swatch! Heavy on the left, blended out on the left. 


24/7 Shadow Pencil in Delinquent

A close up of Delinquent

A swatch of Delinquent! Heavy on the left, blended out on the left. 

And here was my first attempt at wearing these. They're over NARS Eyeshadow Base, but they still ended up looking patchy. I kind of just loaded them on and then went for it to see how they'd act. In retrospect, this was a mistake. I have Delinquent on the lid and especially heavy around the lashline, with Morphine blended out from the crease and in the inner corner.

No flash!

No Flash! Patchy horror!


I thought I should show you the results of further testing to show that these can be worn successfully when blended out a little. In the next pictures, I am wearing Delinquent over a liquid shadow (but no base), blended out on the lid, with a second layer also blended out on top of the dry first, and then I just used the pencil as a liner (without any blending) on the lash line. I used a light gold shadow in the inner crease and under the brow bone as a highlighter. As you can see (especially if you enlarge these) the pencils are still a little patchy, but nowhere near as bad as they were the first time I used them.

Delinquent! Flash. 

Delinquent, no flash.

Delinquent, no flash. You can enlarge this to see the pencil on the lid better. 
 Rating: 7 out of 10

These are way too difficult to work with to garner a higher rating than this, but the colors are really beautiful, and I think the effect is worth playing around with these. I think the best way to use these is over an eye primer and with a shadow over them (at least in the crease) and then set with a bit of translucent powder; used like these, I've worn them all day with no patchiness or creasing, although the powders dull the dazzling straight-out-of-the-pencil effect a bit. I also like that you can use these so easily as a liner, even if they are a little too chunky to create a precise line. I urge you to check these out if you're comfortable experimenting with these over bases and set with powder shadows or translucent setting powder. It's a neat product, if not fool-proof. However, I do think these shadow pencils have come a long way from other shadow pencils I've used in the past, but they're still not a perfect product, and using a traditional powder shadow may be simpler if you're uncomfortable with the idea of having to take extra steps and time to use these.

Thanks guys!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Burt's Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream


I rarely blog about beauty products other than makeup, but I've been trying to branch out a little bit... Beauty is about a lot more than just slapping some color on your face; taking care of your skin is really important, too! I have fairly sensitive skin and so I have to be careful about what products I put on my face. This cleanser is very creamy and doesn't produce much lather. It doesn't dry my skin out, unlike most cleansers; it leaves a very little bit of a moisturizing film after it is rinsed off. It also feels very (aggressively) invigorating on my skin; I had the distinct feeling that my eyes had just taken a menthol throat lozenge, and, lo and behold, there is menthol in the ingredients. It doesn't hurt, exactly, but it is disconcerting.

I always try to use cleanser that will get all of my makeup off in one go, including eye makeup; this is the Burt's Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream's weakness; it's difficult to get all of my dark eye makeup off with just this cleanser. However, if I use a specialized eye makeup remover before this cleanser, I don't have to worry about any dark smudges around my lash line or makeup residue.

On the plus side, this product is 97% natural and formulated without parabens or sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate. It is also pH balanced and won't clog pores, according to the packaging. Chamomile and aloe are supposed to soothe and soften skin; rosemary and echinacea reduce inflammation, tighten pores, and increase cell renewal. I haven't noticed any of these pore tightening, cell renewal results, but I do feel like it leaves my skin calm, soothed, and moisturized. This is also a fairly affordable and easy to find product; you can find it at stores like Target (where I got mine), Walmart, CVS, and online. Six ounces will run you about $7.99.

Here are some pictures of the packaging!

Click these pictures to make them bigger if you want to read the claims or ingredients list!

Front of the product

The back of the product
 And here's a little bit on my wrist, so you can get an idea of the consistency; it's pretty thick and creamy, and feels great! Except for the tingling around the eyes...

Rating: 5 out of 10

I feel very ambivalent about this product. I'm going to finish my bottle, because it cleanses effectively, but I don't like having to use a separate eye makeup remover. I also don't like the tingling around the eyes, but it doesn't hurt or irritate my eyes, so I'm just working through it. If you're looking for a natural cleanser and don't mind using an eye makeup remover with it, this might be just the thing; however, I don't think it's the right product for me. On the plus side, it smells great and I love the consistency, and the consistency that I hate around my eyes is a very pleasant tingle on my face. I also appreciate that I can go a few minutes before applying moisturizer after cleansing without my face tightening up. Based on my experience with this product, I'd try a different Burt's Bee cleanser to see if I could find a better match for my skin and needs.

NARS Blush in Exhibit A

Hi All!

Today I'm blogging about a particularly wild but surprisingly wearable shade of one of my favorite products, NARS blush. Exhibit A is a vibrant, matte orange red blush. I've impressed with all of NARS' blushes; they are incredibly pigmented, and can be applied very sheer to make them more natural and subtle, or heavily to make them more of a focus. I also appreciate that NARS includes a range of colors in both shimmers/ glitters and mattes in their blush line, branching out from the normal bronzer-pink-coral fare. According to their website, these blushes are formulated with "transparent" particles to keep them from looking heavy; whatever they're doing, it works; these blend on the skin very easily, never look powdery, and stay put all day. They retail at $27 for .16 ounces, and come housed in a sturdy matte, rubberized black compact with a sturdy mirror. Like all of NARS' products packaged in this material, these blushes gets messy looking rather quickly, but they are functional, good quality, and easy to open without coming open on their own.

Here are some photos! These next few are of the packaging and product themselves.

NARS Blush Compact

NARS Blush in Exhibit A

NARS Blush in Exhibit A

The back of the compact 

And here's a swatch! Good light, but no flash.

Heavy on the left, blended out on the right. 
 And here is the blush on my cheeks! I like applying this under the cheekbone further back on my face, keeping it away from the apples of my cheeks; otherwise it ends up looking too doll-like!

NARS Exhibit A on my cheeks; no Flash

NARS Exhibit A, flash.
Rating: 10 out of 10

I couldn't be happier with a red blush! NARS blush formula is absolutely a dream to work with, and I love that I can use this for very dramatic looks, or softly for every-day. I also like that this is an orange-red with no shimmer, which makes it a little more sophisticated, a little less "Raggedy Ann." If you've been looking for a red blush that is wearable, definitely give this a shot. Even on my pale skin, this is really easy to wear when I use a very light hand, but it is so pigmented it would work on a variety of skin tones.