Thursday, June 28, 2012

Essence is in Fact God's Gift to Gel Liners

Do you ever buy item after item after item from a particular brand and think to yourself, where is the dud?  Ok, Essence..where is the dud?  Because so far I've adored nearly everything I tried.  Why aren't they a bigger deal in America...sheesh.  So here is today's OMGWTFDROOL from Essence.

It's gel liner!  Gel liner pots are such an amazing invention.  Even graceless thumb clutzes like myself can make a gel liner look good.  That does not mean all gel liners are created equal.  Take MAC Fluidline, classic gel formula, thick, creamy easy to use...but it is $15.00  Then, Maybelline came out with an affordable version of their own.  Affordable, but so waxy and dry it felt like you were dragging a Crayola over your eye (rough on the brushes too)  That gem would run you around $8.00

Now after Maybelline, I held out little hope for any "bargain" formula.  I figured a good gel liner would just be a necessary expense.  Not any more!  This is the best gel formula I've tried. Soak that one in....$ formula ever.  The best part is the texture, I stabbed my jar with an Eco Tool angle brush assuming, like the Maybelline, it would take homicidal violence to get any product out of the jar.  Essence Gel Liner has a moist,  jelly like consistency.  Like flan or a thickened pudding.

London Baby
London Baby (that wasn't my mark )

Midnight in Paris
Midnight in Paris

Here are the pots post swatching. You can see the the creamy texture..the kind of texture you just wanna poke.  At this point I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, awesome price, fun texture.  Applies like water right?

Holy Lord, why isn't Essence HUGE in America??????  This is gorgeous crazy pigmented liner. Intense, deep, slap you in the face color!

Midnight in Paris is a deep intense black.  It's perfectly black.  You can see how it applies with a slight sheen but it dries down to a matte finish.

London Baby is a graphite brown.  It's a nice blend of charcoal and brown and perfectly suited for the looks where a black lined eye may be too intense.  It also starts with a sheen but dries down to more of a satin finish.

These claim to be waterproof...ooooh yeah.  If there is any draw back to this product it is the stayputedness.  This stuff ain't budging.  It took one look at my make up remover and laughed heartrdly in its face.  Not that my makeup remover is anything great, but wow.

Final Thoughts
Please..get thee to an ULTA.  Unlike my last few Essence reviews, almost everyone should have access to this product.  It currently comes in three colors, the two I reviewed above and a silver color called Miami's Ink. It comes in a solid glass jar, just like Fluidlines. For the price of one MAC Fluidline you could own all three Essence liners (and you'd probably like them better)

Where to Buy: ULTA
Price: $3.49 for .1 fl oz or 3 ml

Monday, June 25, 2012

On a Quest for Color w/ L'Oreal Heavenly Berry Color Riche Balm

I think I have a cosmic bullseye on my back.  In fact I am sure of it, at least where the new colored lip balm trend is concerned.  Let me explain.

Familiar with this guy?  L'Oreal's Color Riche Balm is a pretty snazzy product.  Hydrating, moist, just bitten color..a hint or blush of color if you will.  Your lips, only better.

Gorgeous!  The perfect berry mauve for a fresh summer look.  Innocent, perky, exciting!

Hey whats that picture of your arm doing there...ohh I see, there is a glistening blush of color.  Maybe it was subpar lighting.

My lips only b...nope, just my lips.  FML    Let me tell you my super power.  I have the super awesome ability to buy colorless "colored" lip balms.  Colored Lip Balms 3 - My naked little lips 0

Final Thoughts
To be fair, almost all the swatches I've seen for L'Oreal Color Riche Balms were lovely.  I just have this knack of not buying any of those and diving right into glossy nakedness.  This is a comfortable wear, and quite hydrating.  I was totally bummed because I love the feel of the balm, I just don't want to spend  $8 for shine.  Check those swatches before you buy, if you see a color that has some payoff, it is worth picking up.

Where to Buy:  Drugstores
Price $7.99 (ish)

I keep typing blam and it makes me giggle

Sunday, June 24, 2012

New haircut for me....YAY!

So every few months I go a little stir crazy and need to cut and/or dye something.  Today I felt compelled to do both.  I had hair between the shoulder blades  when I walked into Toni and Guy.  This is what I walked out with!

Love it!!  Here is another view

This is the cut I've always dreamed of.

And this is my dream cut from the side.

I've always been incredibly happy with the stylists at Toni and Guy.  They know how to pull off a fun funky cut.  And a special shout out to Phyrra for maintaining a Pinterest Hair board that inspires hundreds.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Face Off: Queen Helene Oatmeal 'n Honey Scrub vs St. Ives Apricot Scrub!

This is a very unusual post for me to write.  I am about to talk skincare, something so unique and so personal, I really am not sure how one actually blogs on it.  However, I use a product so universally awesome, that I feel compelled to share it with you.

Queen Helene Oatmeal 'n Honey scrub is a gift from the Gods!  As I ..erm..mature, I find my once oily skin is turning combo on me.  Combo skin can suck it as far as I am concerned.  My t-zone is oily and the rest of my skin is scaley.  Due to the sensitive nature of my skin and the intensity of the oily bits, I have the worst time coping with my flakey parts.  Enter Oatmeal 'n Honey Scrub.  And here is why it is so desperately bomb.

Queen Helene vs St. Ives
I know tons of people swear by St. Ives Apricot Scrub.  I am not one of them.   Above you can see a side by side comparison  (left) Queen Helene (right) St.Ives  Quite a difference eh?

St. Ives Apricot Scrub
As you can see on the image above, St Ives has large, uneven.. even jagged exfoliating particles. They do very little exfoliating and more often just tear up the delicate surface of your skin.  This wont do you any favors. St. Ives also has a thick, waxy consistency that leaves a slightly scummy feel on the skin.  This leads to dull, damaged skin.  Ick

Queen Helene Oatmeal 'n Honey Scrub
Here is a nice close look at the Oatmeal 'n Honey scrub.  The exfoliating particles are smaller, finer and more evenly distributed.  The feel on the skin is that of extremely fine sand.  The base is more hydrating then St. Ives and rinses cleanly away.

I noticed positive results immediately after using Queen Helene.  My skin was softer, smoother, brighter and far less flakey.  After a week, I noticed a sizable reduction in the number of blackheads in problem areas.

This product can be tough to locate.  I had one tube and one backup and ran out.  For the life of me I could not remember where I bought it.  I looked online, at pharmacies, ULTA everywhere for over 4 months.  One day I walked into a Sally's Beauty and spotted three bottles on a bottom shelf.  I practically leap frogged over the top of my daughter, snatched up all three, cornered the sales woman and begged her to never stop carrying's that good!

Final Thoughts
I will almost never give skin care advice on this blog.  This is the exception.  If you are looking for a gentle, effective exfoliator, I don't think you could do better then Queen Helene Oatmeal 'n Honey Scrub.

Where to Buy:  Sally's Beauty Supply, online retailers
Price: $4.29

Thursday, June 21, 2012

BFTE Cosmetics Needs Our Support!

It's no secret that I am a rabid, obsessed fan of BFTE Cosmetics.  Amazing products, great service, ridiculously fast shipping, low prices..they have it all.  They have an opportunity to qualify for a chance to win a $250,000 business grant.  This could mean big things for this family run business.

Crystal from BFTE has set up a step by step walkthrough on her Facebook page,  so people know how to find and vote for them.  You can find that information here.  BFTE Mission Small Business: How To Vote

They have 9 more days to collect another 95 votes.  You can connect with Facebook and the whole process takes mere seconds, but could make a huge impact for BFTE. 


A Debut Review of Whip Hand Cosmetics: Lip Creme in Atlas

How exciting, it's not every day you get the chance to review products from a brand making it's beauty debut.  I'm speaking of course about Detroit based Whip Hand Cosmetics.  While I've recently tested a number of their products, I am going to start with the Lip Cremes!

Whip Hand Lip Cremes are 2.5 grams of product hand poured into 3oz pans and delivered in  plastic clamshell packaging.  These pans will fit in all standard or free form palettes.  There can be imperfections in the surface of the product since these are hand poured... mainly pits or bubbles. This does not appear to effect the application in any way.

Atlas is a reddened berry shade.  I used to read about women in ancient times rubbing their lips with berries to enhance the color.  That is what this reminds me of.  It has a fresh, delicate look.

Here is the description of the lip cremes from the Whip Hand site.  "Like all of our lip crèmes, "Atlas" can be applied lightly to create a  lip "stain" or heavier for deep, dense coverage that stays-put no matter what the day (or night) throws at you. Simply doesn't budge."  The texture of this creme is moist, supple and velvety.  It makes an amazing stain.  Most stains are super drying and lead to me chewing bits of dried skin off my lips...big beauty fail.  I did not have that problem with Atlas.  I do not think this product is buildable.  I worked it and worked it, both with my finger and a brush and I never got anything above medium sheer covereage.

Three applications of product
As for the third claim....ya this stuff does not budge!  I was so thrilled when 8 hours later my color looked fresh, feather proof and fantastic.  I really thought the moist texture would lead to fading and bleeding, but I was wrong.  One thing to keep in mind, this stuff alot!  I still had traces of this on my lips the next day, the arm swatch was visible for two've been warned. 

Final Thoughts

I'm a bit conflicted.  I like the product and I like how it performs.  Evaluating the lip creme based on the claims on the site, then it is a bit of a let down, in so much as I was not able to build up coverage.  This would have been a big plus for me as the color is so pretty and wearable.  Second issue, I really do not like the pan format.  I think this is probably geared towards the makeup artist and would likely be a plus for them.  When it comes to lipstick, I am more of a chuck it in the purse and go.  I am not sure the price point is where it should be on these.  The Cremes are $9.00.  If they provided variable levels of coverage and/or came in more practical packaging, I would have no problem paying $9.

In my opinion, I would market this as a phenomenal lip stain and offer it in pencil form or something of the like.

I am definitely intrigued.  I want to see how the brand develops over the next few months.  I see a lot of potential.

Where to Buy: Whip Hand Cosmetics
Price: $9.00 for 2.5 grams

Update on volume..I just noticed the label on the front says 2.5oz or .88g  and the label on the back says 2.5g or .88 oz.  I will find out which is which and let you know.

And it is verified, 2.5g or .88 oz ..what can I say, units of measurement are not my strong point. lol

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Passion Pink Look W/ BFTE

Here is a look I did to test the new BFTE pressed/baked pan formula, which I love btw!  I will post a full review soon.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wade into Marble Mania Swirlpool from Essence

If anyone over at Essence is reading this and has the ability to influence marketing...please..PLEASE expand your retail sales!  I am about to bring you another wonderful Essence product from the Marble Mania Trend Edition and I really hope some of you are able to track this down.  I already reviewed the wonderful Marble Mania eyeshadows, and today  I give you the blush.

Swirlpool is a melange of pinks, corals and peaches that swirl together to create a delicate rosey peach shade.  There is a slight sheen to this blush, but it is not a glitter or sparkle.  It is very subtle and helps give the cheek a cheerful brightness.

You can apply this sheerly or build it up for more drama.  Another big plus, I "think" these are bismuth free.  I have three Essence blushes and I don't see bismuth as an ingredient in any, nor do they make me want dig my cheeks all day and night.  Win!

Final Thoughts
The Essence formula is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.  The textures are soft, pigmented, blendable, buildable.  I don't experience cheek irritation with this formula which is a super duper plus for me.  The biggest drawback is they are bloody tough to find.

Where to Buy:  ULTA (not sure they carry Trend Editions) Fred Meyer, H-E-B
Price: $3.49

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Want a sneak peek at my order from Whip Hand Cosmetics?

Hi all!  I am popping in to give you a sneak peek at the items I just received from Whip Hand Cosmetics.  If you are unfamiliar, Whip Hand is a new brand based out of Detroit that creates premium cosmetics embodying their philosophy of confidence, strength, independence, intelligence and personal style.  I've followed the birth and development of this brand for many months and I am so excited to be able to share some of the launching items with you.

Here is a preview

Pictured above are Loose Shadows: Crush (orange) Swamp (green) Black Light (purple)  Eyelid Creme: Corset (brown duochrome) Lip Creme:  Atlas (pink)

Since this brand is totally new to the market, I will do a rigorous wear and tear test.  However my initial response is the colors  are quite good, nicely pigmented, easy to blend.  The green especially is very unique and nothing I've seen in loose form.

I plan to have the full review up in a few days when I've had a chance to test these products.

Stay Tuned!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Holy Sh*t Essence Volumizing Lash Powder Works!!

I am so beyond thrilled I finally decided to try this product.  I have pretty much had to dismiss all eye lash product claims out of unrelenting realism.  I have puny stumpy lashes. I don't care how wonderful your mascara claims to be, I do not expect it to plump, prime, extend, thicken, razzle or dazzle my lashes.  Are my lashes black and will they resist boughts of hysterical crying?  Then my expectations are usually met.

So why even bother trying this you ask?  I unno...glutton for punishment, bored, money burning a hole in my purse.  Who knows.  I wasn't even sure what it was or how it worked until I opened it.

Hee hee, it looks like fake snow,  At this point I figured out this was fiber powder.  And I also allowed myself to get a teensy bit excited.  I've seen a few fiber mascara before and afters and I will admit, beauty cynicism aside I was intrigued.  This beauty tech makes sense and appears to work. 

You can see the fine fibers on the wand (provided).  How this works is you apply one coat of your favorite mascara, I used Essence Marble Mania (review coming).  While the mascara is damp, quickly brush the fibers over your lashes with the wand provided.  And yes, they fly all over the damn place so don't go whipping that wand around.  Once you apply the fibers, seal it with one more coat of mascara.  So does it work??

Here is my naked lash.  I gave it a quick curl.

Here is the other eye with one coat of Essence Marble Mania Mascara.  Since time was a factor I used the other eye.

Here are my lashes with fibers applied.  This is two coats : mascara, fiber, mascara, fiber, mascara.

Here is a final side by side.   Left: one coat mascara  Right: Mascara+fibers

Ummm daaaamn.  This really works.  Are you a stumpy lashed dame?  Does it look like you applied your false lashes with your feet?  Then get your butt to an Essence display and get this now...I said NOW!!!!!

Final Thoughts
I am flabbergasted at the results.  My lashes are something I am very insecure about and aside from spending hundreds on lash growth serums, I figured I would always suffer lash envy.  No more.

Where to buy:  ULTA, Fred Meyer, HEB
Price:  $3.49  $1.99 (even cheaper then I thought)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Essence Restores My Faith in Baked Shadows: Marble Mania

OK, I am going to lay a beauty truth on you.  I..hate...baked...shadows.  Always have. I find them hard, chalky, sheer, just awful in almost every regard.  Enter Essence Marble Mania shadows.  If Essence did not have great tester displays, I'd have walked past these with nary a second glance.  However once I stuffed my fingers into the sample pots...dear lord I was converted.  What struck me first was the velvety soft feel of the shadows.  They weren't hard or rough like I expected, so that was enough for me to snap them all up.  Oh and a little "thanks for kicking me in the balls" side note.  Why was I not informed of the .49 cent Essence nailpolish sale at Fred Meyers??  WTF, there were four polishes left...of course I bought them, but that is besides the point.   Lame!

 *Click images to enlarge.

Essence Marble Mania is a Spring 2012 Trend Edition.  The eye shadows are your typical melange style colors.  In the pan they are: more silver (Let's Get Twisted) more peach (Seriously Mixed Up) more pink (Swirl It Baby)  Once swirled and applied they create three stunning shades of taupe.

Let's Get Twisted

Let's Get Twisted
Let's Get Twisted is a shimmery sandy taupe that leans slightly grey.

Seriously Mixed Up

seriously mixed up

seriously mixed up
Seriously Mixed Up is a satiny red undertoned taupe.  It has an ever so slight pink sheen.

Swirl It Baby

swirl it baby

swirl it baby
Swirl It Baby is a satiny pink/purple taupe with a slight pink sheen.

The product indicates it can be used either wet or dry.  I did not include wet swatches only because I found these shadows applied identically wet and dry.  I was very happy about this because I personally am not a fan of wet application.  Another reason I usually dislike baked shadows.  I've found in the past that baked shadows pretty much require wet application for any decent payoff.

All three colors were wonderfully opaque with one pass.  There was minimal powdery fallout, very nice considering the soft feel of the product.  It's great Essence offers testers of so many products because if you bought this hoping for the dominate color in the pan, you would be disappointed.  However fans of melange style shadows know a "muddy" neutral is usually what you get from these.  Essence Marble Shadows are actually a lot nicer then most.  The taupes are nice and bright and clear with distinct unique undertones.

Final Thoughts

It's not often a product can completely reverse a long ingrained belief.  I really adore these shadows.  The colors are universally wearable and flattering.  They are easy to use and affordable.  If you have access to Essence products check these out.

Where to buy: ULTA (not sure they carry Trend Editions) Fred Meyer, H-E-B
Price:  $2.49

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Trying out new format to share looks.

Hey guys, I am trying a new way to combine my love of scrapbooking with my look postings.  Here are a few I've done.  I am still playing with formats and elements.  Let me know what you think.

Finished look collages will be added to the Looks tab on this blog. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Do Morgana Cryptoria Gel Lipsticks Live Up to the Hype?

Do you want me to take a break from never ending eyeshadow posts???  Okay, okay.  I know I've been in a tiny (re HUGE) blog rut, so I am diving into my review tray to bring you a gorgeous Morgana Cryptoria Gel Lipstick.

This is the first time I've tried the Morgana Cryptoria Gel Lipstick formula.  Wow, I really love the way these feel.  They come packaged in small slimline tubes, similar to Wet 'n' Wild Lip Shimmers or Burts Bees Lip Shimmers.  Perfect to throw in your purse.  The formula is creamy yet not so slick that it bleeds and fades.  It hugs your lips in velvety smooth color.  This shade was opaque in one coat and easily wore for 5+ hours.  It did dry my lips out slightly, but only after many hours of wear.

Violet Coral is a deep coral red with a very subtle violet shift and sparkle.  It's a perfect near red for those wary of the vampy true red lip.    I originally bought this in a search for a dupe of MAC's not, but it is really very pretty.

Final Thoughts

I am a huge fan the gel lipstick formula.  I like it even more then the standard Morgana Cryptoria lipstick formula.  I find it is softer and provides a more comfortable wear.  It also has a collector friendly price tag of $5 for approx 2 grams of product  This biggest issue I have with Morgana Cryptoria is the product pictures do not always match the actual color of the product you receive.  I've never disliked a color I've received, but I do wish this shade was closer to the shade pictured on the website.

Where to buy: Morgana Cryptoria
Price: $5.00

Monday, June 4, 2012

Bed of Roses from BFTE is a Romantics Dream

Hi all!  First I want to say I will have a ton more new posts coming this week.  Between Diablo 3 and two toddlers hell bent on one uping each other with weird infectious ailments, I just have not had time to blog proper.  But rest assured, I am here, working away and I plan to have a great giveaway sometime soon, so stay tuned!

Today's review is one of Beauty From the Earth "Get the Look" Mini Sets.  These are 3 to 4 piece full sized shadow sets that cost anywhere from $18 (3) to $24 (4).  I've had my heart set on trying the Bed of Roses set, so tada!

First, I gotta get this out of the way, while I love all these colors, they look nothing like the colors shown on the website.  I am bummed because that warm green I see on Pricked is the whole reason I bought this.  I am still looking to find a shade similar to that.  All that being said, these are gorgeous colors.  Also, shocking declaration time.  I finally have to admit I am super sucky at identifying the color of sparkles in shadow.  I just blow, so unless it is painfully obvious, I am just going to say sparkles.  Cool?

A La Rose

A La Rose is a satiny warm terracotta with a slight pink shift to it.  Just a hint of sparkle.


 Pricked is a satin slightly yellow sage green with sparkle.

Sugar Coated

Sugar Coated is a shimmery baby pink/peach with moderate sparkles. 

Final Thoughts
While I am sad the colors varied so greatly from the pots on the website, I found these all to be rich, pigmented easy to use and truly lovely shades.  "Get the Look" Mini Sets are a great way to add a few full sized products to your wardrobe.  The colors in Bed of Roses are limited and not available as individuals.  They must be purchased in this set.

Where to Buy: Beauty From the Earth
Price: $18.00 for 3 full sized shadows

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Gorgeous Loose Pigment Shadows from Whip Hand Cosmetics!

Wow...just wow. The very first loose pigment shadows are finally available from Whip Hand Cosmetics.  They are a brand new cosmetics brand based in Detroit and they are starting to make a name for themselves.  Their philosophy is confidence, strength, independence, intelligence and personal style.  Their initial product launch embodies this mantra perfectly.  As soon as my order arrives I will share it all with you.  I cant wait!  Go check them out.  What colors are you dying to try?

Where to buy: Whip Hand Cosmetics
Price: $14.00 for 3 grams