Archive for February, 2010

Tarte Natural Lip Stain

Posted in Health and Beauty on February 18, 2010 by sbulletforever

Tarte is, in my opinion, a hit-and-miss company. Their products either ROCK THE WORLD or they just plain suck, but I always feel the need to give all their products a fair try. Anyways, I was in Sephora yesterday (I was avoiding it after that harassment case two months back) and was desperately looking for a good lip color. My hair went from being moderately blonde and pink to very dark brown and platinum blonde, so I needed to update my makeup to coordinate with my hair.

I tried on Too Faced Lip Bronzers, Smashbox O-Gloss, Smashbox Lip Enhancing Glosses, DuWop Venom Gloss, Sephora Nectar Shine Gloss, Laura Geller Heal and Seal Gloss, MAKEUP FOREVER Full Color Gloss, and Smashbox Heartbreaker Gloss. By the time I was done trying all the brands and colors, my lips felt a little raw and I was quite discouraged. Nothing looked perfect. So then I stopped by the Tarte section to look at cheek stains and found the new Natural Lip Stain. I picked up ‘Charmed’ (a light pink) and tried it on.

There’s nothing else quite like it. It’s made like a lipstick- has a retractable tube and a pointed top- but is too fluid to be a solid lipstick. It goes on your lips very, very smoothly, like a lip treatment or a gloss, but it doesn’t have the shiny finish or the stickiness of a gloss. It literally feels like someone injecting your lips with water. And believe me, this is a hydrating gloss. It’s meant to increase your lips’ moisture content by 6000%. My lips felt super slick and soft right after I applied this.

The wetness of the Natural Lip Stain wears off pretty quickly, though your lips still feel soft and smooth. And when it does, your lips look DRY like the DESERT. The color stains your lips a very vivid color and highlights every chap in your lips and looks cakey. You must either reapply this constantly or wear a clear or coordinating gloss color with this to keep your lips from looking old, cakey and chapped as hell. Charmed, the light pink color I bought, was a sweet baby-pink that ended up looking terrible with my pale skin and dark lips. It looked amazing on my mother, though, who has a slightly warmer skintone and lighter lips than mine.

They have a variety of colors, just like with their cheek stains: light pink, bright pink, rose, peach, red, and deep berry. It really is an interesting, easy-to-apply lip stain that I want to love. However, the moisturizing benefits feel superficial, like they don’t penetrate my lips and just make my lips feels slick. The stain ends up drying out WAY too much on my lips (though it doesn’t actually dry my lips out) and it looks terrible if you don’t have something overtop to cover the cracks and chaps in your lips.

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Bare Escentuals RareMinerals Blemish Therapy

Posted in Health and Beauty on February 16, 2010 by sbulletforever

Bare Escentuals, the king of mineral makeup, came out with a skincare line a year or so ago. They use minerals in their face wash, moisturizer, eye cream, and their RareMinerals acne treatments, which is fantastic for sensitive and oily skintypes. But let’s just go over the Blemish Therapy for now.

The RareMinerals Blemish Therapy($28) is a .07 ounce container of powder and a small concealer brush. You tap some powder out of the jar and into the lid, and you use the concealer brush to apply it as a spot treatment. Using sulfur (a miracle for troubled skin), it minimizes the redness and irritation of your acne and destroys blemishes within a day or two. The powder is a translucent white, so it’s great as a concealer. You just throw some on your acne spots and put your makeup overtop. Your makeup won’t look unnatural with the powder on your face, your blemishes will still be healing, and most of your redness will be gone. You can also put it on enlarged pores and blackheads- it works to heal them and cover them up just as well. The powder is mattifying, so even oily skintypes can use it.

Most people use this as a night treatment that you put on before bed and just sleep in. It really does work to heal your acne spots- most of my tiny spots and some blackheads will be gone by the morning. If you use it diligently over a couple of days, it’ll help heal your bigger, nastier acne spots.

Is this perfect? NO. This will help with acne, but it won’t destroy it overnight. This is a gentle mineral formula that is meant to keep your skin from being irritated and drying out. It works great as a concealer for sensitive and oily skintypes, but it’s also messy. This is a sulfur powder, which smells like sulfur, and it can get all over the place. That’s just the danger of using mineral powder products. Also, the price is a bit much for only .07 ounces of product. If you use this everyday, like most people do, then it won’t last you too long.

It’s a great treatment, but it isn’t for everyone. I prefer other sulfur treatments like DDF’s Sulfur Mask ($38). The 4 ounce jar will last you FOREVER since you’re only supposed to use it a couple times a week. Though it won’t go under makeup, you can use it as a spot treatment or as an all over mask. It’s more intensive than the RareMinerals Blemish Therapy and will do more for your skin, and it won’t dry your skin out! The mask sucks out blackheads like a vacuum cleaner, clears up excess oils (really helps oily skin calm down), and works hard on existing acne. The perfect overnight treatment!

Dior Addict High Shine Lipstick

Posted in Health and Beauty on February 10, 2010 by sbulletforever

The Dior Dior Addict High Shine Lipstick ($26) comes in twenty different shades of pink, and it’s labeled as a “translucent, long-lasting lipstick designed with high fashion in mind.” I’m no fan of Dior (their prices are simply insane), but I figured I’d try this out.

The lipsticks are smaller than your average lipstick; they come in a thin tube and have no point to them. They’re literally just sticks. You can see the glimmer and glitter in the lipstick, and it’s almost blinding. The colors are super vibrant and glossy.

When Dior says “high fashion”, what they mean is “runway color”. These colors have no place in the real world, unless you’re going out and want an edgy look. The lighter pinks have a super frosted look, and the vibrant pinks are out of control. I tried on EVERY SINGLE COLOR and wasn’t happy with any of them. And believe me, I’m a huge fan of pink lipsticks and gloss. They do go on smooth, and the shine is truly intense. Your lips will be super moisturized when you use these. But I just couldn’t find a good color in this.

Smoky Eye Palette Guide

Posted in Health and Beauty on February 3, 2010 by sbulletforever

The smoky eye is a staple look- every girl should know how to do at least a basic version of it. But not a lot of people know how. So those of us in need of instruction turn to the only teachers we have: Instructional palettes. A lot of companies sell smoky eye palettes with instructions and all the colors you need to complete the look. But which ones are good? Which ones suck? This guide will tell you everything you need to know.

Sephora sells three of their own Smoky Eyes Palettes ($36). One is a traditional black kit, one is a brown kit, and one is a glitter kit. The black and brown kits come with four different shadows, a matching eyeliner, a mascara, and a mini brush/sponge applicator. The glitter kit only comes with two shadows, a glitter eyeliner, a mascara, a glitter mascara liner, and a mini brush/sponge applicator. All the shadows are engraved with steps (i.e. Base is #1, Contour is #2, Lid is #3, and Light is #4) and are highly pigmented (the shadows are mostly matte with little shimmer). That means that you aren’t going to have dull shadows- these are vibrant even without a primer and base. The liners are okay; they aren’t very smooth. The mascara is wonderful and non-clumping. The inside of the palette has a large mirror and instructions that are attached to the palette so you won’t lose them. The instructions are very simple to follow and pretty much foolproof. Is it perfect? Unfortunately, no. This smoky eye palette creates a very dramatic eye that can only be worn out on the town. It’s too intimidating for daily use, or even to wear out on a date. I tried to tone it down so I could wear it out during the day, but it didn’t work.

  • Basically, the kit and its instructions are as foolproof as they come. But these Smoky Eyes Palettes are only for nights out on the town when you want a super dramatic eye. It’s too much for daily use, and it’s too intimidating to wear out on a date. Not a ‘traditional’ smoky eye.

Stila has a Smoky Eye Talking Palette ($40) in a wide variety of colors: Bronzes, Emeralds, Greys, Platiums, Sapphires, and Original. The palette contains four different colors and a recorded instruction of how to apply the smoky eye. The instructions are the most detailed and easiest to follow out of all the smoky eye palettes I’ve seen, even recommending to wet your brush if you want a deeper color. The shadows are definitely pigmented, but not as deeply as the Sephora brand. And, unlike the Sephora palette, these shadows have a lot of shimmer. You’ll need to use a primer with this one for sure. The real problem with this palette is the price and the lack of brushes. It does contain liner, if you were wondering- one of the four shadows it meant to be used as a liner. But the instructions tell you to use certain brushes that Stila sells separately, and it only uses the numbers. You have to look up the numbers and the brushes to actually see what kind of brush you need to use. And believe me, brushes aren’t cheap. Almost all smoky eye palettes contain mini brushes for you to use, but this one doesn’t. And considering the price, it really should.

  • Basically, the instructions on this palette are the most detailed and easiest to follow. However, the shadows are a little too shimmery and the price is simply outrageous. It doesn’t even contain brushes for you to use, which almost all other palettes have, and it only recommends using certain numbered Stila brushes. It’s a decent kit with a lot of color choices, but the price is stupid.

Bare Escentuals has a monopoly on the mineral makeup market, and they sell two different Smoky Eye Palettes ($32). One is a traditional smoky eye and the other is a ‘V’ eye (a lot like a cat eye). The kit comes with two mineral powder shadows, a dual-ended brush, and a detachable card that has tips on it. I’ll tell you right now that mineral eyeshadows make for a mess. The shadows are shimmery and moderately pigmented, which means that you won’t get a major color payoff. And applying multiple coats only gives you more fallout. The shadow will fall from your eyes onto your cheeks and smear around your eyes, which makes for a mess. Also, they have a tendency to crease pretty badly. You need a primer and base with these kits. The brushes are okay, though the ‘V’ brush is often too wide to use correctly. The instructions are confusing; you get ‘tips’ that don’t make a ton of sense to smoky eye beginners, and it doesn’t give you the step-by-step you need.

  • Basically, both the Smoky Eye and Smoky ‘V’ Eye Palettes are junk. The mineral eyeshadow is messy, too shimmery, likes to crease, and will fall all over your face and cheeks. The brushes are only mediocre to use, and the instructions are confusing. Don’t bother with these.

Benefit Cosmetics has a Smokin’ Eyes Palette ($36) that I like to call the ‘Makeover Kit’. The palette contains three eyeshadows, a liner, a dual-ended brush, a pair of tweezers, a brown powder, and a brown highlighter. You actually get a smoky eye kit and a brown kit all in one! The Smokin’ Eyes Palette comes in a tiny case that is meant for your purse. Whether you need a touch-up at the end of the night or if you’re far from home and need to dress up, this is perfect. The instructions are easy to follow and the shadows have just the right amount of pigment. You’ll get the real, traditional smoky eye that isn’t too dramatic or shimmery. The brow kit is really decent if it’s all you’ve got, since something is better than nothing, but Anastasia sells the best of the best when it comes to brow kits.

  • Basically, this is a good kit. It’s portable, contains the perfect shadows for a traditional smoky eye, and has an emergency brow kit. The instructions are easy and it contains all the tools you need. What more can you ask for?

DuWop sells a Smoke Palette ($28) in two shades: Black Gold and Plum Wine. You get two shadows, a liner brush and a shadow brush. It’s a very tiny kit that fits in even the tiniest of places- you can even throw this in the pocket of your tight jeans and have it with you all night. I wasn’t all that impressed with Black Gold, but Plum Wine contains two of the prettiest purple shades I’ve ever seen. The shadows are highly pigmented with little shimmer, so you get major color payoff. The instructions are short, but simple and easy enough to follow. This is a kit that truly is beautiful to behold, but it isn’t perfect. The smoky eye is very dramatic and, if you aren’t very careful when you apply, can get very messy. I got a little frustrated with it the first time I used it, but it didn’t take long to get the hang of it.

  • Basically, it’s a good kit. The price is high for what you get, but the colors are unique and the brushes are high quality. You’ll need to read the instructions a couple of times and practice with this kit before you get it right- pure beginners might get frustrated with it. This smoky eye is too dramatic for daytime use, but it’s nice for a night out or a hot date.

Dior has what seems to be an endless supply of 5-Colour Eyeshadows, one of which is a “Designer All-In-One Artistry Palette – Smoky Design” ($58). This palette comes with 5 shadows, two dual-ended brushes, and a technique sheet. These shadows are highly pigmented and a little shimmery. You will need a primer and foundation base with this to make it stay, I’m not kidding. Luckily, it’s very small and portable for touch-ups. The techniques are easy to follow and straight forward.

  • Basically, this is a good kit, but not for the price. You get five quality shadows, mini applicators, and a technique sheet for $58. But the shadows desperately need a solid base and primer, or else they crease and fade away. It’s too much money for a kit that only contains shadows which aren’t 100% perfect.

Korres has an interesting Smoky Eyes Collection palette ($39.50) that, unfortunately, doesn’t contain instructions. But I’m including it in this list anyways because it is a smoky eyes kit. You get a mascara, eyeliner, lipgloss, and four eyeshadows. What’s awesome is that everything but the lipgloss is full-sized, so you’re getting a killer deal. The shadows are a bit shimmery and highly pigmented, and you don’t necessarily need a primer. I’ve never had problems with creasing. The shadow colors are awesome because you can make three different kinds of smoky eyes (plum, brown, or grey). I’m not as fond of the gloss. It looks great, but it tastes funny because it has cherry oil in it. The mascara is nice, but it smells strongly. The pencil isn’t super smooth, but it works.

  • Basically, this palette is for people who know how to apply a smoky eye. No instructions included. But it does contain a lot of full-sized products for a great price. And this can create three different colored smoky eyes. It’s a great deal, but not my favorite.

Too Faced is my favorite Smoky Eye Palette ($34) by far. It isn’t perfect, but it’s what I love. This little devil comes with nine different shadows (3 are full-sized), two dual-ended brushes, and three different instruction sheets with pictures. This is a big kit, so you won’t be stuffing this in your purse for touch-ups. The three different looks you can make are a brown smoky eye, a traditional black smoky eye, and a wild blue/green smoky eye that will knock your socks off. The shadows are moderately pigmented, so you’ll need a base and primer to make the color stand out and the shadow stick. Also, the shadow may fall onto your cheeks, so be sure to tap off an excess from your brush before applying. Priming and setting this is a must. Use Too Faced’s Shadow Insurance to insure maximum color payoff. The instructions aren’t clear, step-by-step ones, but the picture is what really helps. Most palettes don’t include pictures. You can have a smoky eye for the daytime (brown), a date (traditional black), and for a night out when you really want to stand out (green/blue). Talk about gorgeous! 

  • Basically, this palette isn’t perfect. The instructions aren’t terribly clear and the shadows need careful handling and priming to make sure they stay put all night. But the combos are great, and the blue/green eye is truly unique. You can have a natural smoky eye for the daytime, a regular smoky eye for nighttime and dates, and a fashion eye for when you want to stand out.

So there’s the guide. I hope it helped. If you have any questions/comments, let me know.

#1 Face Wash: Dermalogica Daily Microexfoliant

Posted in Health and Beauty on February 1, 2010 by sbulletforever

I’ve tried every skincare line known to man. In stores, online, over the counter, prescription, infomercials- I tried them all. My skin used to be super oily, covered in acne, and prone to scarring. Even if my skin was clear (by some miracle), there were dark marks that marred my face. But low and behold, I discovered a miracle: Dermalogica’s Daily Microexfoliant face wash.

The official description of the face wash is that it is a “unique, rice-based enzyme powder activates upon contact with water, releasing Papain, Salicylic Acid and Rice Enzymes to smooth the skin and accelerate cell renewal.” Yes, it starts out in powder form, which you mix with a little water in your hand to make a paste. The Daily Microexfoliant comes in a tall bottle that lasts quite a while, but it DOES cost $50. It’s steep, but it’s worth every little penny.

This face wash works wonders. It scrubs and eats away dead skin cells, destroys bacteria, smooths your skin, and causes your cells to regenerate faster. It also contains skin brighteners that balance uneven skin pigmentation (scars and dull skin). How well does it brighten? It KILLED my scars in a matter of weeks. They literally disappeared and never came back. I started to use the Microexfoliant on my back to help clear up my back acne/scars, and that made a world of difference.

Despite all the work it does to your skin, the face wash won’t dry you out or irritate your skin. A lot of products that contain acids/peroxide will cause inflammation and make you look red and blotchy. But this contains green tea, ginkgo and colloidal oatmeal to help soothe and calm your skin.

Without this face wash, I wouldn’t have discovered how beautiful my skin could be. My oil production started to reduce, my scars started to fade away, and my acne was less severe. And since my skin started to clear up, I started to seek out other products that could work for me, which got me into my makeup obsession. This little bottle started it all. Of course, I will WARN YOU that it took daily face care, daily moisturizing, mineral makeup, and birth control to truly perfect my face. (Birth control regulates hormones and severely reduces excess oil production, among other things. Talk to your doctor about it, even if you have no interest in sex.) But this face wash is a mile in the right direction if you want amazing results.