Monday, January 29, 2007

Sensual Amber

I love this fragrance line from Bath and Body Works. It's a very sophisticated yet simple smell that is warm and sexy, sweet and spicy. B&BW doesn't always produce winners, but this has inspired me to try some more of their new lines. I can't wait to get my hands on the Midnight Pomegranate line that just came out...I'm crazy for pomegranates.

:: Bath and Body Works Sensual Amber ::

Here is my stream of consciousness about this: women are raving, can't keep it in stock, smells much more expensive than it is, amber/vanilla/coconut/woods/smokyness, nice to go out in, or to wear to bed, deep, heady, intoxicating, not overpowering, what smells so nice?

I am using the cream and the EDT and it layers nicely. The cream is lovely on it's own and has more complex layers in my opinion.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Red Red Wine You Make My Feet Smell Fine

I loooooooove this shampoo/conditioner combo. I found it at the GreenStar Market in Ithaca, NY.

:: Desert Essence Italian Red Grape Shampoo/Conditioner ::

Good things:
  1. Sulfate-free shampoo. WoO! Won't strip hair.
  2. Silicone-free conditioner. WoO! Won't coat hair.
  3. Smells like grape soda and/or wine. Very devine.
  4. Unlike most "natural" shampoos, doesn't leave hair feeling greasy or tangly.

Bad things:

  1. A bit hard to find; check organic sections or health food stores or search online.
  2. A tad pricey compared to most drugstore brands, but worth it for the quality ingredients.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Pure Makeup

Stacey turned me on to this foundation and I've been digging it for a while now.

:: Maybelline Pure Foundation ::

Good things:

  1. This is more like a tinted moisturizer (with more pigment in it) than it is a real foundation. Feels like lotion going on, covers imperfections but doesn't have what I would consider full coverage.
  2. Nice and light, nothing in it that will irritate skin or cause breakouts (it's been said you can even fall asleep in it.)
  3. Love the packaging...hygenic squeeze tube.
  4. Cheap! ($5.99 at Target)
  5. It can be a bit sticky but if you set it with powder, it feels so nice and smooth and face looks flawless.
  6. Blends very well and the colors are true, not orangey.

Bad things:
  1. Doesn't seem to last all day if you touch your face at all.
  2. Some women have said that the color turns on them mid-day, but I think this is if you have truly oily skin.
  3. Like I said, coverage isn't full but if you use a concealer on spots that need it, this will be light on your skin and natural.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Skincare 101

I've written before about my skin care routine, but in talking to a few of you folks I realize I wasn't entirely clear about all of the steps, so today I'm gonna break it down for you real sweet and simple. Someone I know (who shall not be named) was using Hydrogen Peroxide instead of Benzoyl Peroxide. :O| Okay if you burn your face off do not hold me responsible.

Night Routine:
1. Wash with gentle cleanser. (Summer: Basis Gel Cleanser; Winter: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser)

On lazy nights, I use CVS Brand Exfoliating Pre-Moistened Face Wipes. (Any face wipe will do, just check to be sure there isn't OIL in the ingredient list. You'd be surprised how many contain castor oil or mineral oil.)

2. Apply 5% Benzoyl Peroxide all over the face in a thin layer. Allow to dry before touching or rubbing with anything, as it will ruin towels and clothes.

There are many different brands of Benzoyl Peroxide products. Check the active ingredient list. Most come in 10% formulas because apparently Americans will only buy things that are Maximum Strength. But 10% is far too drying and irritating for most people, so try to find a 5% formula if you can. Ones to look for: Oxy Standard, Neutrogena On the Spot, Paula's Choice 2.5% BP, Paula's Choice 5% BP, Generic Brands.

3. Moisturize if necessary with an oil-free moisturizer. I usually skip this step unless my face is drying out. Sometimes I'll just do a plain honey mask if I have the time. Other good moisturizers: Wet 'n' Wild Fresh Face Oil-Free Moisturizer, Olay Moisture Therapy Cream for Sensitive Skin, Clean & Clear Dual Action Moisturizer.

Morning Routine:
1. Wash with gentle cleanser. (Summer: Basis Gel Cleanser; Winter: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser)

2. Apply chemical exfoliant like AHA Souffle or another lotion with glycolic acid. Allow to dry completely before applying anything else.

3. Apply moisturizer with sunscreen or foundation with sunscreen.

What is all of this for? This routine is for someone with blemish-prone skin. If you have clear skin, you may not need the benzoyl peroxide but you may wish to use the AHA.

Gentle cleansers are necessary because you don't want to upset the balance of your skin or use harsh detergents that are found in many cleansers. Benzoyl Peroxide penetrates the skin and hair follicle and kills the bacteria that cause acne. It's better to use it all over the face to prevent acne rather than to use it as a spot treatment as often marketed. To get rid of the dead skin that's created it's necessary to use an exfoliant. I prefer the chemical variety because they are gentle and thorough, as opposed to physical exfoliants that are gritty and harsh. AHA is a great chemical exfoliant and it makes you skin look renewed, which is essentially what it's doing. For a gentle physical exfoliant, mix baking soda or brown sugar with your cleanser.

Sometimes using all of this stuff will cause your skin to start reacting by drying out or getting reddish or feeling funny. If this happens, just try to figure out what's causing the irritation and back off on that step for a little while...maybe do it every few days instead of every day. Most of the time, it will be the Benzoyl Peroxide that causes irritation.

It's best to get your routine down and stick to will take a few weeks for your skin to calm down but once you start doing this all the time, your skin will be radiant. Don't stop doing these steps once your skin is clear...keep it up and you won't be sorry. Fuck ProActiv® Solution.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Winnie the Pooh was onto something.

I am here to convince you that honey is the ultimate skin and hair care product you will ever own.

Yes, honey. I prefer raw, unfiltered honey (look in the organic section of food stores) but sometimes I like the kind in the plastic bear just as well.

There are so many things you can do with honey, it ain't even funny. I'll just tell you a few of my faves here.

  1. Plain, as a face mask: Honey is a perfect moisturizer for oily skin with dry patches. With a slightly damp face, rub honey on your skin, and leave it on 30-45 minutes before rinsing. If you put it on 15 minutes before showering, you can rinse by the time you are done showering. It's going to feel icky, and maybe stinky, but it is well worth it! It will leave your face glowing and moisturized. It also reduces pore size and helps eliminate black heads. The best part: pimples go down in it's presence!
  2. Mixed, as a face mask: Try mixing 1 part honey to 2 parts brown sugar for a wonderful exfoliating mask. Replace the brown sugar with baking soda for another version. Also, mix honey with some crushed aspirin and plain yogurt for a great acne mask. (The honey is a natural antiseptic/antibacterial agent and moisturizer; the aspirin reduces redness and inflammation; the yogurt is a gentle exfoliant.)
  3. Mixed with shampoo: Mix 1 part honey to 2 parts shampoo to make even the cheapest shampoo luxurious. Honey will combat dandruff and dry/itchy scalp. It also moisturizes hair and leaves it softer and smoother.
  4. Topically, to heal wounds: Apply to burns, cuts, and irritated skin. Honey reacts with skin's fluids to disinfect without harming surrounding skin. Whether, it's wind burn, a bad chemical peel, or just a bad cut, honey will help heal the wound gently and quickly.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. If honey isn't part of your beauty regimen, you need to give it a try. As with any product, if your skin reacts badly, stop using it. Even natural ingredients can cause a reaction in some people.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Red Velvet Cake

I normally post about drugstore products exclusively, as I'm not a fan of paying high prices and frankly, if it's not at Target I don't really need it. But I am making a rare exception here.

Run, don't walk, to get Philosophy's newest 3-in-1 scent, Red Velvet Cake. I almost passed out in the shower; it was that good.

:: Philosophy 3-in-1 Red Velvet Cake ::

Good things:
3-in-1. You can use it as a shampoo, shower gel, or bubble bath.
The scent is indescribably good. In the bottle it just smells like chocolate and cherries. In the shower, oh my god, it smells like somebody opened up a French bakery and started massaging me with world-class baked goods.
As a shower gel, it cleans but doesn't leave you feeling dry and violated, like some soaps do. Very skin-friendly.
Lathers extremely well.
The scent lingers longer than most shower gels do, which is nice. But it's not so strong that it would be noticeable by anyone who's not sniffing you directly, which is also nice.

Bad things:
A tad expensive at $16 for 16 fl. oz.
Not easy to find if you don't live near a Sephora or something. I bought it on with a coupon.
The red looks a little like blood when you put it on a light wash cloth, but I kind of like that.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Marshmallows Gone Sexy

I like to think that I've outgrown the desire to smell like food. Scents like cookies and fruit were the hallmark of my teens and early twenties. But I was too curious to resist when I saw that Calgon's Marshmallow line for Holiday 2006 was getting such rave reviews from ladies over on MUA. Some are seriously buying it by the caseful.

This scent is highly erotic and addictive. If you can find a set on sale (try Wal-Mart, Target, or CVS), pick it up. Ebay has them too. Not sure when this will be out again.

:: Calgon Marshmallow Gift Set ::

Good things:
Try this if you are a vanilla lover.
It's nice but not sickly sweet.
Faint hint of cocoa.
Slight sparkle/shimmer.
Only $8.99 for body mist, lotion, and lip gloss.

Bad things:
Scent doesn't last all day.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Red Lipstick

Every girl needs a tube of red lipstick that looks drop-dead gorgeous on her. I ask you, what's your favorite red lipstick? Post a comment, and be sure to mention your coloring (hair/skin color) so that others can benefit from these recommendations.

Me? My current fave is New York Color Ultra Moist LipWear in Retro Red. I have a fair, somewhat rosy complexion and reddish brown hair.

Monday, January 8, 2007

She's baaaaaaaaaack

Well kids, I've been gone a long time. And I've missed you. Tons. But, I've had a lot of time on my hands to get bored and make late-night runs to buy new makeup, which means I have tons of things to blog about in the coming weeks. So all that time apart will have done us good.

For some reason lately I've been obsessed with concealer. I've never been one to use it, as I never quite found it necessary. I've always concealed blemishes using foundation and a small brush or Q-Tip. But a new day has dawned. I am now completely sold on the idea of using concealer to "highlight" your face. You apply concealer to the shadowy parts of your face (see photo) and it makes you look dewy and glowy and like someone could eat your face like a peach!

So, on the search for a great new concealer, I decided on L'Oreal's True Match Concealer because of the good reviews it's gotten, and also because I loved the L'Oreal Air Wear but they discontinued it. Because CVS had a BOGO on L'Oreal face products, I picked up the True Match Blush as well.

I never wear blush. Ever. I've always had rosy fact "Rosy Cheeks" was my nickname at the nursing home where I worked in high school. So the thought of adding color to cheeks that were already chubby and red was outside of my reality. But for some reason, on this day, in this CVS, I wanted that blush. I needed it.

I went home and immediately washed my face to redo my makeup (only other addicts will understand this sort of mania). The combination of my new concealer and blush (with my already fabulous foundation and Cornsilk Powder) made me feel so hot and face-forward that I had to be seen by the world. So I drove out to Uni-Mart to buy a magazine from Apu. He dug my face. Believe me.

So here are these two new products I've been raving about. The True Match products come in three different shade areas: Warm, Cool, and Neutral. The color card they give you sucks. Here's a tip: The Warm shades are yellow based, the Cool shades are pink based, and the Neutral shades are a balance between yellow and pink. If you can't see a yellow or a pink undertone to your skin, then you're probably a Neutral like me.

:: L'Oreal True Match Concealer ::
I got this in the lightest Neutral shade. You should definitely get one a little lighter than your foundation if you want to use it as a highlighter.

Good things:
Nice consistency, very blendable and not cakey.
Color is great.
Applicator is a nice brush (as opposed to those cheap spongies) but I prefer to apply it with my foundation brush.

Bad things:
I'm still not convinced this is a holy grail concealer. I'll still be on the search for a better one.
For the price, they should give you more product.

:: L'Oreal True Match Super Blendable Blush ::
I got this in Precious Peach, which is a fabulous peach shade that also is pink enough to look completely natural, not orange at all. The Innocent Flush shade also gets HIGH MARKS from reviewers, so you may want to check that one out. A few days ago I was at my friend's house and I spotted this in her makeup bag. I squealed and said, "I LOVE THAT BLUSH!" and she goes, "I FUCKING KNOW IT'S FANTASTIC!" I love when two people unknowingly love the same thing.

Good things:
Holy grail status, for me.
Not super-pigmented, so it's easy to apply without looking fake, but it also shows up in one-to-two sweeps.
Makes you look like you're glowing, but without the use of shimmer. I HATE shimmer. It makes you look like a 13-year-old whore.
Nice packaging, large surface area for optimal brush-use.
There's magic in it. I swear.

Bad things:
Not a single thing. Worth every penny.