Archive for the Health and Beauty Category

‘Wen’ by Chaz Dean: A Hair Revolution

Posted in Health and Beauty on April 30, 2011 by sbulletforever

I’ve been stuck to Pureology for a long time, so when my mom got all hyped up from some infomercial she watched about ‘Wen’, I said, “No way.” Why change a good thing? But she ranted and moaned about it, so I finally agreed to split a 30-day supply with her.

The first thing you need to know is that this isn’t your average shampoo and conditioner set- this has one bottle of cleansing conditioner that takes care of both. And no, it isn’t a ‘shampoo + conditioner’ mix. It’s a thick, creamy conditioner and not some watery solution that’ll strip your hair down.

The second thing you need to know is that Wen has a ‘more is more’ philosophy. The more you use of this, the better your hair will be. There is no such thing as using too much and turning into a greaseball. The longer you let this sit on your hair, the healthier it will be. And you can wash your hair as many times a day as you wish- there is no limit to using Wen.

Thirdly, there are two places you can buy this product. Either from Chaz Dean’s website or from QVC, and I recommend getting it from QVC. Sometimes their prices are a little better, and there’s usually a payment plan option and an option to have your bottles automatically sent to you every month so you don’t have to reorder them. And the selection is LARGE. Wen has a lot to offer. But before we get there, let me review the 30 day kit first.

So the Cleansing Conditioner automatically comes as the ‘Sweet Almond Mint’. This is the standard conditioner for normal hair, but there ARE other options. ‘Cucumber Aloe’ is best for fine hair and for clarifying your scalp, ‘Fig’ is for thick/coarse/curly hair or very dry/damaged hair, ‘Lavender’ is a volumizing conditioner, ‘Pomegranate’ is a universal conditioner with an emphasis on hydration, and ‘Tea Tree’ is best for those with itchy/flaky scalps and for those who have a problem growing hair. I prefer ‘Lavender’ myself, but it all depends on your hair type and what you want from your conditioner. Anyways, the Cleansing Conditioner comes in a pump bottle, which is nice, except it’s a pain to get the last bits of thick conditioner out of the bottom of the bottle.

To use, rinse your hair with water thoroughly. Then you’ll want to section your hair into four parts (top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right) and start applying. Depending on how long your hair is, use a MINIMUM of four pumps per section. It sounds like a lot! And believe me, more pumps per section is better. I scimp and use only a pump per section (I have short/medium hair) because my pocket book is hurting lately, but I can see a wild difference in my hair when I use more. Rub vigorously, then add extra pumps (depending on your length of hair) to the mid-shaft and ends of your hair. Let it sit for as long as possible! I do my hair at the start of my shower and let it sit until I’m ready to get out. When you rinse it out, towel dry your hair so it isn’t soaking and add a couple of pumps (again, more if you have longer hair) as a leave in conditioner. Just run it through your hair starting at the mid-shaft, then to the ends, then up at the top of your scalp.

Does it work? My GOD, yes. I’ve been using ‘Wen’ regularly for a couple of months now, but I saw results within my first two uses. I have softer, shinier, healthier hair! I have more natural volume and less dry frizzies flying around my head! I have beautiful hair, and it’s super healthy. My boyfriend (whom I’ve mentioned in previous posts) is a hairstylist, and he can’t keep his fingers out of my hair. He’s too much of a ‘guy’ to actually compliment it, but I know he thinks it’s soft because he loves to run his fingers through it and mess it up.

I should also mention that this Cleansing Conditioner is a marvel for colored hair. I have been every shade in the rainbow (for 2 years I was a bright pink/platinum blonde) and am currently a dark brown/platinum mess. When I used Pureology, I had to cut it with a purple shampoo and conditioner that would save my platinum from fading, and would go in to my salon to get it toned every so often. But I haven’t had to use the purple shampoo in ages! The Wen keeps my platinum fresh for a long time, so now I only go in to get it toned once a month or so. And all that bleach that dried my hair for so long no longer bothers my hair! Within two weeks, my hair is fully ready to go through another batch of platinum if I so wanted.

Along with the amazing ‘Sweet Almond Mint’ Cleansing Conditioner, you get the ‘Sweet Almond Mint’ Styling Cream, ‘Sweet Almond Mint’ Texture Balm, ‘Sweet Almond Mint’ Remoist Treatment and a thick, fat comb for brushing through your Cleansing Conditioner and Remoist Treatment (if you have very thick or long hair, it’s nice!).

Now, the Styling Cream is a gel-like, clear cream that you smooth through damp hair before styling. While it does help with hold, I’m not as fond of it. It feels very thick in my hair, and I may be imagining it, but it also weighs it down some. While this is great for long hair, my short/medium hair with lots of curl needs natural volume! But it’s not a bad product either… Depends on what kind of style you like. I’m a ‘let if flow wild’, scrunch-and-run girl. I like looking like I ran off the beach with salty, wind-swept hair! If you like a more tame look, you’ll probably like this.

The Texture Stick isn’t bad either. It looks like a typical wax stick, but it’s much smoother and less sticky. You still have to rub a ton of it on your fingers (or directly on your hair) to get any, and it goes FAST. The really nice thing is that it adds definition and hold to your textured hair and feels light as a feather. You can run your fingers through your hair after using it and not snag on dry, sticky wax! But in my opinion, Bumble & Bumble’s Surf Spray does the same thing but with better volumizing results. I’ll stick to my Surf Spray and firmer, stickier SumoTech from Bumble & Bumble rather than waste $ on this.

The Remoist Treatment is a very thick leave-in conditioner. The instructions recommend you dampen your hair, add tons of it in, comb through with your thick Wen comb, and leave it sit overnight. It’s a lovely leave-in, that’s for sure. I like it better than the giant tub of Pureology leave-in I bought a couple months ago that now sits unused on my bathroom counter… And what’s really nice about the Remoist is that it can be used to tame frizzies! I put just a touch on my fingers and run it through my hair, ESPECIALLY after straightening it with my Hai Elite flat iron. The conditioner really adds moisture and love back to my straightened hair, and it takes care of annoying frizzies very well. This is a must have! And, like all the other products, it comes in whatever blend you want. Mix and match for your particular style or keep all the same type of product (we have all Sweet Almond right now, which is changing to a Lavender/Sweet Almond mix-up).

If you can swing it, spend the money for it. Try the 30-day supply for a month or two until you get the hang of it and know what you want from it. I now buy the big bottles from QVC and know which flavor of conditioner I like. The ‘Sweet Almond’ is great, but I love volume in my bouncy hair, so I’m switching to ‘Lavender’. You’ll probably spend around $45 for a big bottle of Cleansing Conditioner, but consider what it would cost you to buy a bottle of decent shampoo and conditioner! Your hair will be healthier and shinier and more volumized than ever- even if you’ve been using products like Pureology, Enjoy, or Bumble & Bumble for years.

Flawless, Full-Coverage w/o Breakouts

Posted in Health and Beauty on January 21, 2011 by sbulletforever

Well, I disappeared for a while. I got frustrated going back to the same products I’ve used and reviewed over and over, even though they weren’t exactly what I wanted. I tried every brand at Sephora and Ulta, and MAC, only to be sorely disappointed, as you’ve read. Even the Urban Decay Surreal Skin I was using turned out to be a flop- it sat on my skin instead of blending in, making it easy to smear/melt off/disappear through the day. I gave up.

But I went to Bobbi Brown a little over a month ago, just to show my mom their gel eyeliners that everyone raves about. And the lady behind the counter, Laura, was so nice that we stopped and chatted for a while, and eventually agreed to makeovers. And an hour later I signed up for a Macy’s card and bought Bobbi Brown’s entire line. I could review every item I bought, but that would be tiresome, so I’m going to go over all the steps I now use for flawless skin. And let me begin by saying, for those of you who haven’t read my other reviews, that I’m picky. I believe in flawless skin, not flawless makeup. My skin is very acne-prone, sensitive, and fluctuates between oily, dry, and normal. I know that sounds odd, but I do use lots of acne-fighting skincare products, take birth control and get chemical peels/facials done regularly. My face is a BATTLEGROUND.

  1. I start by washing my face with the BB Extra Balm Rinse. It calms the dry, irritated parts of my face that cringe from my excessive use of acids and other exfoliating products. It restores moisture and a healthy glow to my skin, helping clear up the awful uneven skintone I was experiencing for a long time. My face is as soft as it’s ever been during winter. For summer, however, I’m going to switch to the BB Cleansing Oil since the thick, gel-like formula of the Extra Balm Rinse will be too much. Twice a week I mix in the Buffing Grains for Face into a scoop of the Extra Balm Rinse for an exfoliating treatment that is just like a microdermabrasion. Intense, but not damaging, with wonderful results. $55 for Extra Balm Rinse, $40 for Buffing Grains. Worth it!
  2. Because I’m fighting acne, and my skin isn’t super sensitive or too dry, I use the DDF 10% Glycolic Toner. It does stress my skin and leaves it a little dry (especially on my bad acne spots) but it helps eat away the dead skin and heal my acne/scars while preventing new ones. It also helps treat and prevent wrinkles and age spots because of its exfoliating properties, but skip this step if you don’t need it or if you have very sensitive or dry skin. $35 for DDF Glycolic 10% Toner.
  3. After that dries, I use the Bobbi Brown Hydrating Face Tonic. It soothes the redness of my skin and imparts some moisture, counteracting the damage I did with my DDF acidic toner. Doing this step means using less concealer to cover imperfections, and my skin always feels even softer after using it. Honestly, my skin is getting as soft as a cloud from only a month and a half of using these products! Also, this bottle lasts a very long time since you only need a little to cover your entire face. $26 for Hydrating Face Toner. Amazing price!
  4. Now, Bobbi Brown sells a lot of face moisturizers (and I do mean a lot!), but due to my young, acne-prone skin, I use the Hydrating Face Cream. If you have very dry skin, very oily skin, or aging skin, ask a Bobbi Brown employee to help find the right product for you. With 16 types of moisturizers to choose from, you’ll find the right one for your skin. My Hydrating Face Cream is light, smells like cucumbers, and soothes without aggrivating my acne. It’s doing me okay this winter, but if you need more than a little moisture, you’ll need something heavier. $50 for Hydrating Face Cream. Not the best price-per-ounce, but still a worthy product.
  5. The next step is the Vitamin Enriched Face Bace. This is a thick cream, much thicker than my Hydrating Face Cream, but is made to pair with it. I can use as much as I want of the lighter moisturizer and the thicker Face Bace and never get greasy. This is a face primer to help makeup last longer, and imparts that extra ‘oomph’ of moisture I need to get me through the winter. You only need a little, like with all of Bobbi’s products, but I wish it came in a bigger jar. My mom is using it every day (like I am) so it disappears so quickly! $50 for Vitamin Enriched Face Bace. Truly worth every penny, absolutely amazing.
  6. Next comes the eye cream. I still use my Origins GinZing Eye Cream ($29.50), but the Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream is a much better base for my under eye concealer. I use the samples I got of the BB eye cream, but am hesitant about buying the full-size jar. $46 for a jar of eye cream that I use every day is a lot, considering my mom shares my eye cream with me so it only lasts half as long as it would. Still, a light but creamy base that stays on my eye and makes my concealers work better.
  7. While that dries, I go ahead and apply my concealer. I use MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer, which is a full-coverage concealer with a creamy finish. The only MAC concealer I’ve used that truly delivered full-coverage without making me break out. I prefer this over the Bobbi Brown Face Touch Up Stick concealer because I only get light/medium coverage with BB, and it’s a little drying on my acne. $16.50 for MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer, $22 for BB Face Touch Up Stick.
  8. I have hereditary dark circles under my eyes, so just using a concealer doesn’t cut it. I have to use my Bobbi Brown Corrector, which is a pink-based concealer that blocks out the red/purple shades of darkness. I apply this with my Bobbi Brown Concealer Brush where I want it (make sure to get the inner corner of your eyes), then use my fingers to pat it into my skin. The heat from my fingers helps it blend into my skin a little better, and I can make sure the coverage is even. Use as much Corrector as you want! Bobbi herself uses tons to get that flawless look on her models, just make sure to let each layer dry and pat it smooth with your fingers. $22 for Corrector, $25 for Concealer Brush. Worth every penny.
  9. I wipe my brush off and then apply the BB Concealer on top of the Corrector (after it dries, of course). They layer perfectly no matter how much I use, no worries. Just remember to let those layers dry and pat it smooth. I keep this little guy in my purse in case I need a touch-up during the day; he’s so small, I can put him in my clutch when I go out at night! For under eyes only, okay? Don’t cheat and use this for blemishes and imperfections, it’s too bright and is formulated to last under your eyes only. $22 for Concealer, an absolute must-have.
  10. Next I spray my face well with my MAC Fix+ spray, which hydrates and tones my face pre and post makeup application. While my face is moist, I swipe my BB Foundation Stick down my nose, across my forehead, down my cheeks and across my chin. Then I take my foundation brush (from the I.T. Sephora collection) and blend it out. It blends effortlessly and gives me medium/full coverage, and is buildable to get that total full coverage look. The moisture of the MAC Fix+ gives it a dewy look and helps it blend more easily, also helping it to last longer. This never irritates my skin and has virtually no transfer! It only comes off through washing your face. Water-resistant for days at the beach or water park, if you feel you need it, and perfect for even oily skin. The Foundation Stick is portable (along with my I.T. Foundation Brush) so I never have to be without it. $40.00 for the Foundation Stick, my Holy Grail product I’ll never be without.
  11. I go ahead and brush my eyebrows next, setting them with my MAC Brow Set in ‘Clear’ ($15.00). It’s always good to use a wax as well to set your arch, but I can’t recommend a good one right now. Use a brow powder to fill in any missing hairs and line your arch for definition (if you don’t want to color your whole brow, that is). I still use my MAC Eyeshadow in ‘Brun’ ($14.50) and haven’t found a better product yet.
  12. I usually don’t wear eyeshadow every day, but when I do, I apply the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion ($18) before anything else. Then I use a MAC Paint Pot ($16.50) on my lids, whether or not I’m going to wear an eyeshadow, and I love all their colors. Right now I’m using the new LE shade ‘Chilled on Ice’ that is nude, but super sparkly. Great as a base for shadows and stunning on its own, you can’t go wrong.
  13. For eyeliners, I use an angled eyeliner brush (not a slanted one!). It looks like someone bent the brush at the top, and the tip is thin and long. It’s a very foolproof liner brush for even the most inexperienced of us. Then I apply Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in ‘Black Mauve Shimmer’ ($21) across 3/4 of my eyes. I don’t line the whole eye because it makes it too dark and small. To me, the Black Mauve Shimmer is a universal shade that is a black substitute; it looks lighter, more natural, and softer without being a brown or purple shade.
  14. Now, I haven’t tried all of BB’s mascara’s yet, but I’m sticking to her Extreme Party Mascara ($24.00). This mascara is the first buildable mascara I’ve ever used! It never clumps, never smudges, and is very water resistant. It takes more than tears to get this mascara off; I have to use eye makeup remover or wash my face with soap to take it off. A magnificent mascara that I can wear as I please. One coat is natural, two is stunning, and three gives unbelievably thick and full lashes. Touches up like a charm, even at parties. Stays in my purse permanently.
  15. Almost done! I take my BB Shimmer Brick in ‘Bronze’ ($38) and my BB Bronzer Brush ($50) and sweep it along my cheeks. The Bronzer Brush allows me to layer light applications so I get the shade of color I want, and the soft, wide bristles make application super easy. I’m super pale (think MAC NC15) so I have to be careful when I apply bronzers, and I really do prefer a bronzer to a blush for a daily look.
  16. Before I start on my lips, I take BB’s Sheer Finish Loose Powder in ‘Pale Yellow’ ($35) and buff it all over my skin. It’s a universal color for setting foundations; it doesn’t add a speck of color to your skin. Make sure to add it under your eyes as well! It sets your under eye concealers, too!
  17. This step is optional for your lips. I take BB’s Lip Balm SPF 15 ($17.00) and apply it with a lip brush. This hydrates my chapped lips, primes it for lip color and helps soften whatever lipstick I’m about to use. If you want rich, true color from your lipstick, skip this.
  18. Using a lip brush, I apply a couple layers of BB Metallic Lip Color in ‘Jewel Red’ ($22). This softens the color to a juicy raspberry sort of color, which is perfect on my pale skin. Then, to top it off, take BB’s Crystal Lip Gloss ($17) and apply a nice, thick layer. It’s a clear gloss that has a very high shine and is super smooth, giving you those juicy lips that models have in magazine ads. It has no taste and minimal stickiness, and lasts a couple hours per application. I like it even better than the MAKE UP FOREVER lipglosses, though I do admit I like the minty flavor of the MUFE glosses. But it lasts a little longer than MUFE, and the gloss has a higher shine.

Well, that’s it. That’s all the steps. Most of the products I used were Bobbi Brown and I’ll never need to stray to another brand for foundation ever again. I think all I’m looking for now is a good brow wax and brow color, which BB didn’t provide. But these steps bring me as close to perfection as my skin has ever gotten. I look like a model going to a photoshoot every day now, and it takes me about half an hour to look that way. And all these good products are keeping my acne in check, so I use less product every day to achieve flawlessness. I hope you enjoyed!

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.

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.

Smashbox High Definition Healthy FX Foundation SPF 15

Posted in Health and Beauty on October 27, 2010 by sbulletforever

So it turns out that my favorite foundation ever, the MAKE UP FOREVER Face and Body Foundation made my skin break out. I mean, seriously break out. I had to spend $140 on a facial and another $30 getting my Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant to fix it. Now, my skin looks better than ever, but I’m now without a foundation. The lovely girl who did my facial at Spa Toscana (Kayla, maybe?) recommended the Smashbox Healthy FX Foundation.

It’s 1 ounce for $38, which is typical of high-end foundations, but not the best price. It contains SPF, vitamins, minerals, and other good stuff for your skin. It’s also supposed to be moisturizing all day and give you flawless results. Comes in 13 different shades ranging from Fair 0 to Dark D2.

Well, how to define this foundation? I don’t know if I love it or if it’s worthless. I discovered that I’m Fair F2, the darkest shade of fair, but it has just a touch of peach to it. I mean, it blends into my skin and doesn’t make me look freaky, but it doesn’t compliment my natural golden undertones. It kind of…fights them. Not really noticeable, but still worth noting. This means you’ll need to pair it with a powder to make it more even, and the ONLY powder that works with this is the Smashbox Halo powder.

The pump on this foundation is fabulous! I get exactly how much I want, unlike with my MAC Pro Longwear Concealer pump where pressing down means getting more concealer than you need and wasting. It’s a light foundation, and it goes on light and almost watery. You don’t get a lot of coverage, so you can’t skip concealer with this either. It evens skintone and makes me look naturally flawless, but…this foundation has its flaws.

For one, I get a super natural finish (not a supernatural one). This means my skin looks a bit shiny, like I didn’t put any makeup on at all, but I still have some coverage with it. It doesn’t aggrevate my acne at all, and I can definitely see the moisturizing benefits. No highlighting dry patches, or dealing with dry patches later in the day. It stays very well, but I have to work with this a lot to make it perfect. Absolutely needs a primer! My nose is the shiniest by the end of the day, and this foundation doesn’t cover my nose pores.

This isn’t something you can wear by itself, even if you have flawless skin. This foundation requires a primer, concealer, and powder to work. This is the least cake-like foundation ever, even beating the MUFE Face and Body Foundation that was over 70% water. And it’s very acne friendly, which is what I really need right now. It’s light, natural, and makes you look like you aren’t wearing makeup, but don’t have totally imperfect skin. It’s true camoflauge! But I can’t decide if it’s worth the hassle of primer, concealer, and Smashbox Halo powder to keep. But, until I find a foundation that’s not going to break me out, I’ll stick to this.