Wednesday, March 30, 2011

{Samples} Target Beauty Is My Bag Sampler

I don't know if you guys had the chance to take part in Targets promotion, but I really hope you did. My sister actually filled out the form for me to get this sampler so I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived in the mail! Basically, it's a cute makeup bag from Sonia Kashuk filled with a bunch of samples and even a full sized lip balm from Neutrogena!

The clutch is really cute too! I'm not really into prints, but I do like it! I think you can actually buy this one at Target if you want. It's a bit smaller than I like than I like for a makeup bag, but I've still been using it a lot.

It came packed with lots of little goodies!!!

The inside is also patterned with the Sonia Kashuk logo, which is cute.

What came in mine:
L to R: Coupon booklet, Revlon Colorburst Gloss sample in Hot Pink, Frederik Fekkai Shea Butter Shampoo and Conditioner sample, full size Neutrogena Naturals Lip Balm, Pantene Shampoo sample, Nivea Hydration Express sample.

So yeah, quite a lot of little goodies! I was most surprised by the Nivea Hydration Express lotion. It's very light but very moisturizing so I might pick it up when I finish my current lotions, which are Philosophy's Grace and H2O + Intensive Moisturizing Gel.

I was also surprised that they gave out a full size lip balm, especially since it's form a new range. I really like it too! It has a fresh minty feel to it!

Lots of good coupons too! Some highlights:

I bought their new dry shampoo with this! Love it!

They also had CoverGirl, hair color, hair care samples and more. I'm definitely gonna use them!!! I think everyone got the same stuff, but if you got something different in your sampler lemme know in comments! More reviews coming soon, as well as March favorites and a haul!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

{Random Favorites} 3 Cheap & Effective Hair Care Products

Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly Conditioner, Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo, and H2O+ Hair Repair Seaweed Masque.

So before leaving for spring break I realized that I never really do hair care posts. So I went and looked through my hair stuff and realized I use a lot of fairly effective products that came from the drugstore or were purchased at a low price elsewhere. My hair is very thick and very straight, so it tends to get oily pretty quickly. Therefore, I look for products that effectively clean and moisturize my hair without leaving it feeling greasy and heavy.

1. Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo
I love this stuff. I don't know what I will do if Suave ever decides to discontinue making it, but it is super cheap (I got the family size bottle for $2) and super effective. What a clarifying shampoo does, for those of you who have never used one before, is clean out all of the left behind hair oil, product, spray, etc. If you use a lot of hair sprays, gels, leave in conditioners, etc, they all leave a little bit of residue in the hair which builds up overtime weighing hair down, leaving it dull, etc. This shampoo gets rid of all that gunk and leaves my hair feeling really really clean. If you have dry to normal hair however, I would not recommend using a clarifying shampoo too often (more than once or twice every two to three weeks) because it can strip the natural oils right of your hair and damage it.

Now, Suave says that this is a daily shampoo. It's not. What I actually did was add a teaspoon of vinegar to my bottle which also helps clean the hair. I use this shampoo no more than once a week. I used to use this shampoo twice a month at home but at school I use it once a week. I swear they have hard water or something in the dorms cause my hair has been so bad lately, very heavy and its been getting greasy a lot faster. And I have thick hair which says a lot.

The odd thing I find with the ingredients list is that instead of using acetic acid, which is what is in vinegar that allows it to clarify hair if added to shampoo, Suave uses citric acid, which from what I've read is not as effective. If you want to make your own clarifying shampoo simply add one to two tea spoons of vinegar into you bottle and shake very well. It doesn't really make it smell worse either. But Suave really is a cheap and fairly effective clarifying shampoo if you are looking for a no-frills product.

2. Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly Conditioner
I've tried the shampoo that comes with this but I didn't really notice much of a difference with it. I do like this conditioner though. I have really straight hair so it doesn't leave my hair looking tousled at all, but rather leaves my hair feeling moisturized but very light as well. I've noticed that with this conditioner my hair is easier to style, especially to curl. I have pin straight hair which resists any type of curling, but this conditioner makes it very easy to work with my hair. It's very light weight.

And it smells so good! Not a very strong scent, but very pleasant when showering. I never used to trust Herbal Essences because their products reminded me a lot of the Garnier shampoos which did absolutely nothing for my hair. I'm really glad I tried this one though cause it works very well for my hair type. And very cheap too, around $3.50!

3. H2O+ Hair Repair Seaweed Masque
Now, I know that H2O+ isn't a cheap brand or a drugstore brand, but I really only purchase what I find of them at Marshall's or TJMaxx, and I see this one there all the time for around $4.99, which isn't to bad at all. I don't think you can purchase this from their website anymore but check out your Marshall's or TJMaxx, because I've seen these there and have been buying them there for the past two years.If you rally can't find it, several drugstore brands like L'Oreal or Garnier have those little pots of hair masks. They are similar, but I really like the convenience of using a squeeze tube.

I've been using this so much that it's almost gone :( Will definitely repurchase! :)

What this is is a hair mask or conditioner, depending on the way you use it. I use it as a conditioner and it leaves my hair feeling sooooo moisturized! Every now and then my hair starts to feel very dry, damaged, dull, lifeless, etc, and I use this and presto! Hair is great again. The one thing I don't like is the smell. It has a very herbal, almost medicinal smell to it. It's not too overpowering and the smell doesn't really linger after you are done showering, but still kinda gross.

You can either use it as a mask by leaving it in for 5 to 10 mins in towel dried hair or you can use it as a conditioner. The way I condition is I was my hair first, put it in, clip my hair up, and then wash my face/body, shave, etc, and then wash it off at the end of the shower. If I put it into damp hair as a mask then my hair feels heavy and gets greasier faster because it's a bit too rich for my thick, straight hair. As a conditioner it works like a charm!

That's it for now! I'll finally have another Tip Thursday up again later today!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

{RIP} Elizabeth Taylor

I couldn't blog today without giving homage to one of the greatest beauty icons ever to live. A lot of people have come and gone, changing the style, the "it" product, the look, but no one person has had as great an impact on the world of beauty as Elizabeth Taylor. And not just in beauty and film either. During her life time she raised more than 100 MILLION dollars for AIDS. She will truly be missed, both for her iconic beauty and her great charitable works.

And I couldn't finish off this post without mentioning Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe's odd beauty secret: shaving their face to exfoliate. Would you ever try it?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

{Review} Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisturizer (For Combo Skin)

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you probably know how much I love gel moisturizers, especially those from Clinique. I've gone through several bottles of their Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel and their Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief Moisturizer. However, while my skin feels better, they make my wallet ache. As far as moisturizers go, they aren't as expensive as other brands. But, for what they are, mildly moisturizing gels, they are a bit pricey. So, when I came across Neutrogena's Oil-Free Moisturizer for Combination Skin, I just had to try it. A friend of mine who has tried it said it was a gel moisturizer so I just had to give it a try. And shocker: it's actually pretty good!

Important: although this moisturizer says it's for combo skin, it really will only work well for people with strictly oily skin. I've tried it on several friends with combo skin and it does absolutely nothing for their dry areas.

What it claims:
"Noncomedogenic, alcohol-free, allergy tested, fragrance-free, moisturizes dry areas, won't make oily areas shiny, and will keep oily areas matte throughout the day." That is a lot. For a drugstore moisturizer that cost $11.99, that is a lot. Heck for my HG Clinique stuff that's a lot lol! But we'll see...

Ok, so one thing I'm loving about this moisturizer is the pump. I've never been a fan of the Clinique DD Gel pump because the square shape makes using the pump a bit awkward. That and it dispenses too small of an amount in one pump, but two pumps is a teeny bit too much. This pump gives a generous amount with one pump that is enough for the face and the neck. And the bottle fits comfortably in the hand.

A swatch:
This is one pump. As you can see, it's a liquidy gel formula that is quite thin.

And rubbed in:

It absorbs right into the skin within a minute. It doesn't leave any kind of greasy film or anything like that, so there is no shine on the skin right after you apply it. Now, Neutrogena claims that this moisturizer will control shine throughout the day. Well, it doesn't. In fact, I've yet to come across a moisturizer that actually controls shine. I've used DDF, Clinique, Lancome, Estee Lauder, etc. They may claim to do so, but none of the ones I've used so far have actually kept my face from getting shiny. With this moisturizer my face gets shiny in about the same amount of time it usually does. It I apply it at 7 am, when I'm usually getting ready, then my face will get shiny around noon. It doesn't make my face greasy though because it does absorb quickly, but that's not the same as keeping my face matte.

It's also important to note that Neutrogena also claims that this moisturizer will moisturize dry areas on combo skin types. Well, it doesn't. In fact, if you have combo skin I wouldn't use this product at all. I've tried it on several of my friends who have combo skin and most of them said that the areas where they had some dryness this moisturizer did nothing, even when I applied an extra layer. I've read a lot of reviews on this moisturizer online as well, and people with combo skin rated this product low while people with oily skin rated it high. This moisturizer is basically a mild day moisturizer for people with oily skin. It is good for people with oily skin because we tend to have fairly well moisturized skin to begin with so we don't need as much moisture. People with combo skin, however, have areas on their faces which do need a bit more moisture which this moisturizer will not deliver.

What I also like about this moisturizer is that it layers fairly well under makeup as well. Sometimes whenI layer moisturizers under makeup my face tends to get oilier faster. Not so with this moisturizer. It absorbs within a minute and leaves my face well hydrated for makeup. The only problem I now have is that it doesn't have an SPF, just like the Clinique version, so I've been mixing this with my Neutrogena Liquid Sunblock. Both formulas are so thin that for the most part they do not make my face oilier. That being said, I've been testing them out at the end of winter so my face tends to be a bit less oily to begin with. When summer comes I'll probably use less of the moisturizer, but for now it works well for me.

In the end, a great moisturizer for people with only oily skin, not so for those with combo skin. It is very similar to Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. For the price, I'd actually say the better buy!

-Light weight.
-Doesn't clog pores.
-Didn't break me out.
-Layers well under makeup.
-No strong scent.
-Doesn't make my face oily.
-Good price.
-Absorbs very quickly.

-Doesn't mattify like it claims.
-Doesn't moisturize dry areas like it claims.
-No SPF.


Price: $11.99

Ingredients: Water, Cyclomethicone, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Glycerin, Cetyl Ricinoleate, Stearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG 100 Stearate, Methyl Methacrylate Glycol Dimethacrylate Crosspolymer, Lysine Carboxymethyl Cysteinate, Lysine Thiazolidine Carboxylate, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Silica, Xanthan Gum, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Diazolidinyl Urea, Benzalkonium Chloride.

Disclosure: The product featured in this post was purchased by me for the purpose of my personal use. If you have any further questions about disclosure, don't hesitate to ask in comments.

Monday, March 21, 2011

{Review} Mary Kay Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover

So a while ago I ran out of my eye makeup remover. I was using the Moisturizing Liquid Eye Makeup Remover from Almay. And while I really liked it, it lasted so long that when I finally finished it I was itching to try something new, so I got the Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover from Mary Kay.

Now, Mary Kay isn't a brand that I've tried very much, only a handful of products over the past few years because my aunt was in love with their stuff. I think one of the main reasons I never really got into it is availability. I really dislike that I can't just got to the store and see/feel/swatch the products myself. Relying on catalog pictures really puts a damper on the shopping experience. That and I think the picture people get when they think Mary Kay is of the older woman. I don't know many people my age that use Mary Kay, but I know my mom and my aunts love the stuff. However, a friend of mine sells Mary Kay now and I finally gave into the urge and tried out a few things from them, the biggie being the eye makeup remover.

Now the unique thing about this bi phased eye makeup removers is that it doesn't contain oil. Usually, one layer is a water (with preservatives, scents, etc) and the other is an oil. With this eye makeup remover one layer is still the water but the other contains silicone. Now, this does make a difference. While the oil actually melts away and dissolves oil/wax based mascaras and eyeliners, etc, silicone products, I think, make it easier to rub them off. The way I realized this was when I noticed that if I just soaked a pad with this remover and placed it over my eye for a minute and then tried to gently slide it off, my eyeliner and mascara were pretty much still there. If I put it on a q-tip and tubbed, voila it was gone! With my Almay oil based remover, I didn't have to rub if I didn't want to.

IMPORTANT: This is a silicone based product. If you have allergies/reactions to silicone based foundations, PRIMERS, etc, this will not be the product for you!

What it actually looks like:
It looks pink in the container, but I think that's the plastic it comes in. The actual remover is clear. I like this new chic packaging much better than the older packaging which looked a bit dated.

You can clearly see the two layers in this pic.

The way this bi phased product works is that you have to shake it up before using it every time. If you don't shake it you'll only get one of the layers and it doesn't work as well.

Shake just a little=pretty!
If you shake it just a little you get this pretty, shimmery bubbly effect!

Pretty, right?

Before shaking:
It's clear.

After shaking:
It's no longer transparent, more milky looking.

The dispenser:
I actually don't like this mode of dispensing. With my Almay one I could just dip a q-tip in, one per eye, and be done. With this, you actually have to pour the product out. Whenever I tried aiming at the q-tip I would end up wasting a lot so now I just pour some on a makeup wipe and rub all over my eyes. I have found that I still use a lot more that I did with my Almay remover.

A comparison:
Almay is on the left, Mary Kay is on the right. Now, you may say that it protects against spillage, but I'm not much of a klutz. I had the Almay remover for close to a year, but never spilled it. I tried removing the stopper with the hole in it (idk what you call it lol) but then when I would close the remover it would leak out of the container, so I stuck it back in.

As a makeup remover, this product works. It will remove the makeup. It removes waterproof mascara, eyeliner and the like. The issue I have with it is how it removes it. I don't like having to rub my eyes a lot. It's different with a q-tip because I'm mostly rubbing the lash line, not the actual skin. I wear contacts and since I've started wearing them my eyes (and the skin around them) have been very very sensitive to things like sunlight, sudden changes in light, glitter, powder, and of course rubbing. I've also read in other peoples reviews that a lot of people have had reactions to this remover. I don't know if it's just the silicone in it or what, but if you have sensitive skin or eyes I would do a patch test before using it because I've heard a lot of people having issues with itching, burning, hives like bumps, etc.

In addition, I hate how much product I end up wasting with each use. If I was able to use this on a q-tip I would not be using any where near as much. Because I have to pour it on a towelette or a cotton pad or ball, I end up using more product for the same result. Since it's not exactly cheap, this becomes a problem real fast for me.

If you don't mind rubbing, this makeup remover will work for you. However, even then there are several oil-free makeup removers at the drugstore which will work just as well and for a fraction of the cost.

-Removes waterproof makeup.
-Isn't greasy.
-Doesn't leave a residue.
-Pretty! The packaging and the bubbles lol!
-No strong smell.

-Silicone based.
-Requires rubbing to be effective.
-Have to shake every single time before using.
-Inefficient dispenser for those who like to use q-tips to remove makeup.
-Expensive (not as much as Lancome's Bi-Facil, but Lancome's works better too).


Price: $15


Disclosure: The product featured in this post was purchased by me for the purpose of my personal use. If you have any further questions about disclosure, don't hesitate to ask in comments.

{Review} Revlon PhotoReady Translucent Finisher

So a few weeks ago I dropped my Stila pressed powder and it shattered :( So I went out and decided to try something a bit cheaper. I do still have my NYC Smooth Skin Loose Powder, but I needed something a bit more convenient and portable than a loose powder. I had a dollar off coupon for a Revlon item so I picked up their PhotoReady Translucent Finisher and while it's a good setting powder, I still don't get why there is GLITTER in it!?!?!?

All it is is a translucent pressed powder that is supposed to matte the skin and set makeup.

Notice that it doesn't say anything about it being illuminating or anything like that.

Now, from a distance it doesn't look like there's any thing in this powder other than well, powder.

If you look closer (and feel free to click the image to zoom in) you can clearly see glitter!!! To me that totally defies the purpose of the powder. I have oily skin. The last thing I want to put all over my face is something glittery.

A swatch:

I swatched it a bit thicker and if you zoom in you can clearly see glitter. To be fair, the glitter isn't that noticeable when you first apply. Unless you're out in the sun you probably won't even notice it. However, I do notice it when I see myself getting oily. By then the actual powder is gone and what sticks to my oily skin is the glitter from the powder. Then it is definitely noticeable. Revlon says the purpose of the glitter is to diffuse light in photography, but what I've always been told when getting pictures done is to avoid glitter/shimmer anything on the face because they tend to reflect light and in flash photography make the face look unnaturally light.

Now, just because it has glitter in it doesn't mean that it is a total fail. If it wasn't for the glitter then it would be a very very good setting powder. It goes on almost completely translucent, more transparent than other powders I've tried. Sometimes powders can sit on the skin, or attach to those teeny hairs on the face and look very obvious. I like this one because it is so finely milled that it is almost completely invisible. And it does keep me completely matte for at least 3 hrs, which isn't bad. It's not the best, but certainly not as bad as a powder I used fromAlmay a while back which actually made me look oily within an hour and a half. The powder itself is very very soft and does give the skin a smooth appearance.

If you have normal or dry skin this powder may work for you. If you have oily skin, I say be careful. You may not notice the glitter, but I have oily skin and I definitely did, in the pan and on the skin. For $12.99 retail, I expect a powder to be perfect. That's actually more than I pay for my Estee Luder Powder re-fills and they work better for me.

-Very finely milled.
-Gives the face a smooth appearance.
-Mattifys for a decent amount of time.
-Is almost completely transparent.
-Doesn't emphasize hairs.

-Has GLITTER in it.
-Is expensive for a drugstore powder ($12.99).
-Brush that comes with it is useless.
-Packaging is unnecessarily large/bulky (for a pressed powder).


Price: $12.99 (Pushing it for a drugstore product, I think.)

Mica, Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163), Zinc Stearate, Silica, Dimethicone, Nylon 12, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Polyethylene, Octyldodecyl Glycol Grapeseedate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Saccharomyces Calcium Ferment, Saccharomyces Zinc Ferment, Saccharomyces Potassium Ferment, Saccharomyces Iron Ferment, Saccharomyces Copper Ferment, Saccharomyces Magnesium Ferment, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Lauryl Lysine, Dimethiconol, Methoxypropylgluconamide, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Lecithin, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (Matricaria), Punica Granatum Extract, Macrocystis Pyrifera Extract, Nereocystis Leutkeana Extract, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Alumina, Phenoxyethanol, Sorbic Acid (A Preservative), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891)
Disclosure: The product featured in this post was purchased by me for the purpose of my personal use. If you have any further questions about disclosure, don't hesitate to ask in comments.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Update! I'm not dead, lol!

First off, I'm so sorry for the week long absence. If you guys knew what I went through this past week with school, my friends, etc. I don't really feel comfortable blabbing about it in a post, but this past week was INSANE!!! ANd mostly not in a good way, lol! Anyhow, I'm off for spring break all week and I will definitely be posting a lot more! I hope all of you had an awesome St. Patricks day! Hopefully you guys got the chance to go out and have some fun! So yeah, just wanted to let you guys know I'm not dead or anything lol! New posts will be up starting tomorrow! And again, really really sorry for the long absence!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

{Haul} Sephora, Target, Xmas Tree Shop!

Top to bottom: Nars E/S in Mekong, Palladio Eye Ink in Navy, Benefit High Beam, and Lavera Trend Sensitive Lip Gloss in No.3 Berry.

Another haul! I stopped by the mall and just couldn't resist these four items which I've been eyeing for some time.

1. Sephora:
Nars Eyeshadow in Mekong and Benefit High Beam To-Go.

Nars Eyeshadow in Mekong.

I've been wanting this eyeshadow ever since they first released it. It's a blackened brown with golden shimmer in it, and it is absolutely stunning. It's very versatile because depending on how you apply it you can get completely different effects. As you can see, I couldn't resist trying it out a few times, haha!

I've been wanting Benefit's High Beam for a while now as well, but I just couldn't justify buying the full size because as someone with oily skin, the probability that I would go through even half of the bottle is very small. I was really happy when they came out with the to-go size!!! Only $10 too!

Nars Mekong and Benefit High Beam.

2. Target
Lavera Lip Gloss in No. 3, Berry.

I don't know if this brand is stocked in every target, but Lavera is a bit on the higher end and they offer natural and organic products. I'm very wary when I see a brand sold in, for all intents and purposes, a drugstore, claiming to be organic or natural, but I was sucked in with the gorgeous color!

Lavera Lip Gloss in No. 3 Berry.

A swatch:
It doesn't look like a berry color, but on the lips it just gives enough color to look full and sophisticated. I love how this color looks with just some navy liquid liner. Stunning!

3. Christmas Tree Shop
Palladio Eye Ink in Navy.

I don't know if you guys shop at Christmas Tree Shop, but the one at my mall has a full cosmetics section, just like the ones you see at the drugstore. They stock the bigger brands like L'Oreal, Maybelline, and Revlon, but also smaller brands like Prestige and Palladio. They also have brushes from Ecotools and a bunch of other brands I would only get at Sally Beauty Supply. What sucked me in is that the liners in the Palladio display had testers and I was pleasantly surprised by the small size of the Eye Ink liners felt tip applicator. I'll do a full review later but I definitely suggest you check these out!

A swatch:

Don't be mislead by the swatch. I didn't fully read the label so I hadn't shaken it before swatching. I'll do a full review with better swatches! I really like this liner and am definitely gonna go get more colors. There area a lot of shades!

Well, that's it for the haul! Nothing major, but I thought I'd share anyway!