Archive for November, 2010

First Aid Beauty: Be Fabulous Kit

Posted in Health and Beauty on November 21, 2010 by sbulletforever

I over-stressed my skin last week and have been paying the consquences. Despite knowing better,  I get frustrated with my skin’s lack of perfection and exfoliate like the devil constantly. I’ve been using my Dermalogica ‘Daily Microfoliant’ too much, rather than alternating it with another wash, which didn’t help. And I used my Origins ‘Night-A-Mins’ during the daytime as well (because I ran out of daytime moisturizer and am looking for a new one), which didn’t help. And I’ve been trying new foundations in the search for a decent one, and that really didn’t help.

So, anyways, I came across this kit while looking for a gift for my grandmother. I’d read a few solid reviews saying that the First Aid Beauty ‘Ultra Repair Cream’ was great for psoriasis, which she has, and a number of other skin diseases. I came in to Sephora to get it and ended up buying a whole ‘Be Fabulous Kit’ for myself. The kit comes with three full-sized products: a 5 oz ‘Face Cleanser’, a .34 oz ‘Detox Eye Roller’, and a 6 oz ‘Ultra Repair Cream’. Individually those three products add up to $70, but the kit gives them to you for $35. I couldn’t say no!

The first thing you should know is that this line is purely organic and free of any irritants, fillers, or gunk. It’s recommended by doctors and dermatologists to people with skin diseases like psoriasis, rosacea, and etc. So even the most sensitive of sensitive skins use this without problems, so I figured it couldn’t possibly irritate my dry, acne-prone skin. Anyways, I tried the ‘Face Cleanser’ out today in my shower (with my Clarisonic brush) and didn’t expect much out of it. But I was wrong! The cleanser, which you only need a dime-sized amount of, spreads evenly over your face. I could feel a tingling sensation on my irritated spots of acne and literally could feel it working. I let it sit for a while on my face before rinsing it off so I could get maximum results. I checked my skin at the end of the day and noticed a HUGE difference! It had diminished my acne, helped heal some of my irritated acne spots, brightened my complexion, minimized my pores and cut down on my T-zone oiliness. I ended up using 50% less concealer than normal today, and 25% less foundation than I normally do. I’d pay $100 for something like this! But lucky me, I only need to pay $18 for a bottle of this face cleanser.

The ‘Ultra Repair Cream’ is a whipped, light moisturizer. You don’t need a lot, and you get a ton for $28! It leaves a noticeable soft trace on your skin, so it doesn’t blend in and disappear into your skin 100%, but the soft and refreshing feeling stayed all day. It helped my makeup look not-so-dry, which I loved. My dry skin makes applying makeup a hassle! But this really worked to keep me moisturized all day. Here’s the ‘research results’ I got from the First Aid Beauty site:

  • immediate improvement in skin hydration by 169%
  • After two weeks, improvement in skin hydration by 38%
  • 98% of test subjects noticed immediate improvement in skin
  • 100% noted a lasting improvement in sky dryness

I concur- those aren’t fake results. This really is a miracle moisturizer, and for a great price. Too bad it isn’t more publicized and advertised!

The ‘Detox Eye Roller’ was…alright. I mean, I felt and saw results, but I felt it was a little too  intense. The roller ball stays super cold, which helps depuff eyes, but the formula felt really powerful and potent. Like, it was an almost burning cold sensation. But it certainly helped with my eyes! I have hereditary dark circles and use lots of products on my eyes just to make them look normal, and this helped me use less of those other products. Worth it, for sure, but definitely intense.

I’m sold! First Aid Beauty is my new skincare source. HOWEVER, I will warn you about the single fault of this product: it smells like vegetables. Seriously, the smell reminds me of this veggie and cream cheese dip my mom used to make, and I had to finely chop all the veggies and mix them together. It’s that kind of smell. Not the nicest smell in the world, but the scent is very light and doesn’t stick on your skin. But it reassures me that this skincare line is free of all parabens, fragrance, and other junk I don’t want on my skin. Of course, I still plan to exfoliate a few times a week with my ‘Daily Microfoliant’, but not as much as I’ve been doing.

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Holiday Must-Haves

Posted in Health and Beauty on November 13, 2010 by sbulletforever

The Holidays call for a different kind of style. It’s cold, you’re more than likely traveling somewhere, and you’re going to see friends and family again who will comment (and scrutinize) your appearance. When preparing for the season, it’s best to stock up like you’re going off to boot camp. Here’s my pick of the best products for the Holidays, whether you’re dealing with massive amounts of family or meeting your significant other’s family or just dealing with cold weather and office parties.

  • Chi ‘Silk Infusion’- a hair styling product that does everything. It preps for blow drying/curling/straightening, smooths frizzies, adds shine and moisture to your hair, and won’t make it look greasy even if you use too much. I use it before and after my flat iron, and my hair looks healthy and fabulous. You can now buy this product at Target, but I prefer getting it from Amazon.com for a little cheaper. Price: Around $20. 

  • S Factor ‘Shiny Happy People’ Spray Shine– this is a double whammy for your hair. It adds shine (and vibrancy), but also perfumes your hair. The spray has a powerful peppermint sugar smell that will make your mouth water and have everyone trying to lean closer to you just to sniff your hair. Hair perfumes last longer than perfumes you spray on your skin, so I use this instead of a normal perfume during the Holiday season. Pick this up online or at Ulta. Price: Around $25.
  • Smashbox ‘HALO Hydrating Perfecting Powder’– the perfect mineral moisturizing powder that lasts all day. And in winter, moisture is king! Comes in 4 different shades and blends to perfectly match your skintone. The compact snaps tightly shut for easy travel, and you only ‘shave’ off as much powder as you need for each use. No more messy loose powder! Good for your skin and great for even dry and sensitive skin types. Comes with a small kabuki brush. Pick up at Ulta, Sephora, or QVC, though I will say that QVC offers a couple different types of powder/brush combos. Price: Between $59 and $72. 

  • Perfekt ‘Skin Perfecting Gel’– though supposed to be used as a foundation, I recommend this as a primer. It’s a gel formula that won’t bead up on your skin (like MUFE or Smashbox primers) and does not contain talc, fragrance, parabens, water, or wax. It has vitamins to make skin feel soft, healthy, and moisturized and won’t bother sensitive or dry skin. This is a water-resistant formula that won’t budge unless you scrub with soap and water and won’t transfer to your clothes! Comes in 5 shades- universally clear ‘Translucent’, fair/light ‘Luminous’, light/medium ‘Radiant’, warm medium ‘Rich’ (can be used to fake a tan) and deep ‘Decadent’ (can be used as a bronzer). It’s really, really expensive, so just use it as a base/primer after moisturizer and before foundation. Price: $57.50. Or get the ‘To Go’ mini-bottle for $17.50. 

  • Perfekt ‘Eye Perfecting Gel’- a one-step eye product that will replace your eye cream, under eye concealer, and finishing powder. It seems expensive until you consider how much your spent on those three (or four) products combined to cover dark eye circles. My hereditary nightmare circles are tamed by this product! It soothes the eye, moisturizes it with vitamins and cucumber extract, conceals it, and dries into a powder. It’s water-resistant and lasts until you take it off with soap and water, and it stays smooth and moisturized all day. Price: $45. 

  • Benefit Cosmetics Boxed Powders Collection in ‘Hoola’– an award winning bronzer, and for good reason. You get the right shade of brown (no orange, no super dark chocolate) that you can wear light or layer for darker coloring. Matte, smooth, and long-lasting, this is my favorite choice of bronzer. It’s kind of hard to get out of the box, and do yourself a favor and throw away the cheap brush it comes with. The lid doesn’t stay on the box well, so tape it shut when traveling and avoid putting it in your purse for touch-ups (it lasts all day anywys). For perfect application, use a fan brush to sweep a line down your cheekbones to imitate the look of sharp, pronounced cheekbones. It will contour your face, add definition, and give you a perfect touch of matte, natural warmth. Price: $28. 

  • Laura Mercier Shimmer Bloc in ‘Mosaic’– a powder with multi-uses, but use this as a finishing powder! The shimmer is light and subtle, so you only get light-deflecting properties without any glitter/shimmer/shine. Gives a soft and dewey appearance without adding color to the face, and won’t aggravate dry or sensitive skin. A little pricey, but a must-have for oily or uneven skintones. Price: $38. 

  • MAC Fluidline in ‘Blacktrack’- a gel liner that lasts and won’t dry out. Every girl needs a black eyeliner, and this liner is the best I’ve ever tried. The pot of gel liner will last you well over a year, even if you use it every day. And no worries about the gel formula drying out (like Smashbox’s)! You get a smooth, even, vibrant line of color with this and it lasts even without a primer. For perfect application, use an angled eyeliner brush (NOT a slanted one!). Sephora’s Professional Platinum Angled Eyeliner Brush #23 ($15) has the perfect brush length. Price: $15. 

  • MAC Eye Shadow in ‘Brun’- a shade to use on your eyebrows! Dark taupe/brunette/black eyebrows can use this shade as a replacement for eyebrow powders and pencils. Simply brush and set your eyebrows, using a wax pencil or clear mascara. Then use a slanted eyeliner brush and gently dip in in the ‘Brun’, then follow the contour of your brow. It’s a dark shade, so use a light hand and then build as necessary. To me, this is the most natural-looking brow shade on the market. It won’t smudge or fade because it’s trapped in the hairs of your brow, and MAC shadows last longer than any other eye shadow I know of. Price: $14.50. 

  • MAKE UP FOREVER ‘Glossy Full Couleur’– a super sheer gloss that doubles as the perfect lip balm. Comes in 12 different shades from translucent to red, but they are so sheer that it hardly matters which color you pick. The gel forumla keeps lips feel smooth and moisturized, and makes the gloss last for a very long time. Not sticky! Not smelly! Has a peppermint taste that freshens your breath and brings a cool, refreshing feeling to your lips. Soothes even dry, damaged lips like a balm but gives long lasting and extremely glassy shine! Can be worn alone or over a lipstick. This is one of the few lipglosses I’ll wear out on a date, because it won’t make your date cringe when he kisses you. No sticky, no smelly, no outrageous flavor, and it makes lips smooth and kissable. Price: $19. 

  • CHI Ceramic Nail Lacquer- a nail polish like no other. I’ve tried OPI, Sephora OPI, Essie, China Glaze, and found them to be adequate, but not fantastic. My new CHI Nail Lacquers, on the other hand, have been amazing! They dry super fast, refuse to chip, and don’t damage my nail bed. I couldn’t get nail polish to last a week on my nails, and now I can get it to last three weeks! The bottle is small, travel-friendly, and less expensive than OPI or Essie. Pick it up at Ulta or online (Amazon.com has some great deals!). Price: Around $2-$5.99.
  • Philips Sonicare ‘Healthy White’ Toothbrush– I don’t know if you’re still using regular plastic toothbrushes, but if you are, stop right now! Sonicare is the way to go for healthier and brighter teeth. I use a regular Sonicare toothbrush, whatever kind they sell at Costco, and it’s done wonders for my teeth. My 8-year-old brother is using one and it’s made a world of difference. I mean, you know how kids brush their teeth- they stick some toothpaste on a plastic brush and let it sit in their mouths for a minute before running away to play. The Sonicare cleans in a way plastic toothbrushes just can’t. The ‘Healthy White’ is an improvement on the regular Sonicare with the promise that your teeth will be two shades whiter in two weeks, and they’ll stay that white. So don’t spend money at the dentists for Zoom! teeth whitening! Don’t waste your money on whitening trays or mouth rinses or toothpastes. Get permanent results and healthier teeth with a ‘Healthy White’ Sonicare toothbrush. Price: Around $119.

Per-fekt Beauty Review (All Products)

Posted in Health and Beauty on November 13, 2010 by sbulletforever

I’ve heard about this Per-fekt Beauty line before, but had never bothered with it. It’s a gel-based line, and I’d never used gel makeup before. Also, the prices seemed a bit ridiculous. But I went in to Sephora yesterday in a desperate search for a decent foundation and ran into the Perfekt Beauty rep, who did my face and my mother’s face up. I’ll review all the products individually for you.

I’ll start with the Perfekt ‘Skin Perfection Gel’. It’s supposed to be a miraculous do-all product that acts as a primer, concealer, foundation, and mattifying powder. It’s water-resistant, ful of vitamins, and free of fragrance, parabens, water, wax and talc. It is one of the only brands that does not dilute its products with water. You get 1 ounce for $57.50 (comes in a pump form) and it comes in 5 different shades. But don’t fear! It’s made with state-of-the-art color technology that adheres to your skintone, giving you the perfect custom shade for your skin. The gel makes skin feel super smooth and moisturized.

The ‘Translucent’ shade is a universal clear shade that basically just mattifies your skin. I imagine you could use it over your regular foundation for that extra perfect touch. Wear it to the beach, the pool, out on an adventure or out dancing all night- this will stay. Water beads right off of it, and only scrubbing with soap takes it fully off. The ‘Luminous’ shade is for al fair/light skintones; ‘Radiant’ is for light/medium skintones; ‘Rich’ is for medium/dark skintones (and can be used as a can-in-a-tan face tanner for all skintones), and ‘Decadent’ is for deep skintones or can be used as a bronzer on your cheeks.

First, I should tell you that when I had my makeup done yesterday, the Rep used tons of product on my face. I mean,she used half a month’s supply of the product on my face in one sitting. And she said we should only used a tiny bit, ’cause the 1 ounce bottle would last us 6 months, but she kept using more and more of it! How did it look? Flawless. The gel applies darker, but fades to your natural skintone. You pat it on your face and, as you notice the color fading, use clean fingers to rub it in your skin. It lasts all day and looks as fresh as the moment you put it on- no joke! It looks so natural that you can’t see it in harsh halogen light or out in the bright sun. It mattifies even the oiliest of skins, and looks more and more flawless and natural as the day wears on. I thought it was a dream. HOWEVER, I discovered its greatest flaw this morning as I put my makeup on. It only provides very sheer coverage and requires building to get that medium/full coverage look. But that requires a lot of product, and this stuff isn’t cheap. You’ll end up using the Perfekt ‘Skin Perfection Gel To Go’ ($17.50, a one month supply in a squeeze tube) in much less than a month if you use it every day and want medium coverage. The $57.50 will last you a couple of months, but definitely not 6 months.

Sorry to say, as wonderful and flawless as this product is, I can’t afford it. My skin is young and flawed with acne, and I need medium/full coverage to be happy. My mother, on the other hand, with older skin that doesn’t worry about acne and scars anymore, loves this. She can use a small amount and look wonderful, but I require much more.

I’ll move on to the next product- the Perfekt ‘Cheek Perfecting Gel’. Comes in two shades: ‘Blushed’ and ‘Bronzed’ in a pump form. You get .33 ounces for $28, but you can get the duo in a package deal for only $42.50. It’s made of the same stuff as the ‘Skin Perfecting Gel’ and applies the same. Pat a small amount on your cheeks (it will look insanely dark at first) and as it fades, rub it in. I tried the ‘Bronzed’ shade and liked it a lot. It was flattering on my pale skin, giving me a hint of warm color that looked totally natural and part of my skin. However, it was a bit on the orange side, and I prefer dark and matte bronzers, so I passed on this. My mother tried the ‘Blushed’ color and loved it. It gave her a very youthful rosy glow on her cheeks that made her look younger, and it looked so natural! The Rep also put some of it on her lips, and it made a beautiful lip color. The gel moisturized her lips and gave her a beautiful pink lip that lasted all day. The ‘Blushed’ is worth in, in my opinion. It doubles as a flattering lip and cheek color. The ‘Bronzed’ is good if you like light, slightly orange bronze, but I prefer a darker bronze for my cheeks.

The ‘Body Perfection Gel’ is what Victoria’s Secret models use on the runway to look glowing and fabulous. You get 3 ounces for $48, and it comes in 3 different shades. Use it as a body concealer, a natural glow or a can-in-a-tan alternative. The water-resistant formula makes sure that no sweat or water will take this off! In fact, it does NOT rub off on clothes. We did a test and could only get it off with soap and water and a little scrubbing, so no transfer. Worth it for flawless pictures or if you have some body imperfections and need to cover them up. Comes in a large squeeze tube.

Last, but not least, is my favorite product: The ‘Eye Perfecting Gel’. $45 for .3 ounces means it’s ridiculously pricy, but worth it. I have hereditary dark circles that make me look like a zombie most days, despite the fact that I use eye cream and get plenty of sleep. My circles are 3x as dark as my mother’s dark eye circles! And I have to go through a very long and expensive morning ritual to look semi-normal. Eye cream, one concealer, then a second concealer, then a little foundation, then a concealer touch-up. But this ‘Eye Perfecting Gel’ cuts my steps down! It’s a squeeze bottle, so you get exactly how much you need, and it applies with a metal slanted tip. The cool metal helps de-puff eyes and soothes them, and the cucumber extract makes eyes feel cool for hours. Anyways, I use my brightening eye cream (from Origins) and then apply this. This one gel is worth two concealers! I only need a touch of my Lorac Coverup to get model-worthy eyes. My under eye circles look like somebody took an airbrush and covered them up!

In the end, I liked this brand, but hate the prices and the tiny amounts of product you get. The ‘Skin Perfecting Gel’ is only for those with flawless skin. It’s too much money for those of us who need medium/full coverage and have acne marks, discoloration, redness, or scars. The ‘Cheek Perfecting Gel’ was nice, and I could see spending the money on the ‘Blushed’ color since it doubles as a lip and cheek color that lasts all day. The ‘Body Perfecting Gel’ is worth it if you need flawless body coverage. I could see spending the money if you’re taking important photos or going out and want to cover some body flaws. God knows I end up getting makeup stains on the back of my clothes when I try to cover my bad back acne, and this gel would prevent makeup transfer. The ‘Eye Perfecting Gel’ is worth every penny! My hereditary nightmare circles are tamed, and for me the gel is less money than all the concealers I end up buying and combining to cover it up.

Too Faced Lip Insurance Primer vs. Urban Decay Lip Primer Potion

Posted in Health and Beauty on November 6, 2010 by sbulletforever

I’d tried the Urban Decay Lip Primer Potion and wasn’t fond. It was a thick, hard, wax that you had to rub hard into your lips. It gave some moisturizing benefits, but was mostly exfoliating from all the scrubbing I had to do to get it on. And it muted the color of my lipstick/gloss- I needed more than three coats for the color of my lip color to show like it should. Of course, it did make my lip color stay forever, but it had its flaws. Someone finally convinced me to try the Too Faced lip primer, so I gave it a try for Halloween.

It comes in a lipgloss tube with a gloss applicator, unlike the Urban Decay primer that came in a lipstick tube. It’s $19, which is okay. You only pay $1 more for the Urban Decay, but the Urban Decay will last you longer.

While the Urban Decay applies as a thick, skin-colored wax, the Too Faced Lip Insurance Primer is a white-tinted glossy formula. But, honestly, it isn’t a gloss. It has the same powdery, silky smooth consistency most face primers have, and it makes your lips extremely slick and smooth without making them wet and shiny like a gloss. It immediately moisturizes your lips like a dream! Better than any of my normal lipglosses, balms or treatments do. It also covers over the chaps and lines in your lips to give your lips an even surface. It works like a face primer would to cover up large pores, so to speak. Also, I feel a cool, plumping sensation when I apply it. It isn’t the burning, cinammon-infused plumping most plumpers give you, but it definitely made my lips fuller and more defined.

I tried both primers out with my Urban Decay Cremestick Liner in ‘Red Enriched’; a full-bodied, bold red liner that I use to fill in my lips and then add a red gloss overtop. It’s a bold look, and it’s very classic. With the Urban Decay, it definitely adhered to the wax and made my color stay, but it was harder to apply. The wax + the liner made it hard to precisely line my lips and was difficult and a bit messy. But it did prevent feathering, and it certainly made that liner stick like it was a stain all night long. With the Too Faced, the Cremestick Liner applied more smoothly than ever. My lips were so full and hydrated that I didn’t have a single problem with it, and I used my DuWop Reverse Lip Liner to take care of any feathering/smuding problems. It helped keep the color longer than it would have stayed on its own, but it didn’t make it last as long as the Urban Decay Lip Primer Potion. However, it kept my lips smooth, hydrated, and extremely full even after the night was over and I’d wiped away my liner/gloss. It stayed all the way through sleep until the morning, which my lips were very happy about.

Both are good lip primers. The Urban Decay will last you quite some time, and make your lip color last for a very, very long time. The Too Faced will give you rich, full, hydrated lips, but won’t make your color last as long as the Urban Decay. Personally, I’m using the Too Faced primer as a much-needed boost for my dry, chapped, often bleeding lips during the winter. But for going out dancing or on a date, I like having the certainty that my lip color will last through hours of eating, drinking, and whatever else. Using them both, though expensive ($39), will give you the perfect, holy grail lip.