Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Sooooo, did any of you guys indulge in any sales during the Black Friday weekend? Well, I did. Yes, yours truly did a little bit of damage... but just a teeny-weenie bit. I mean, there were some things that were just too good to pass up. Case in point: the Fan Favorite Duo from LORAC that Sephora was offering for only ten bucks! Yes, yes, y'all! Diez dineros!
LORAC's Fan Favorite Duo is a limited edition find that combines the most coveted shade from their PRO Palette with a 3-In-1 Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil. Both items are full-size, which makes this a definite steal of a deal in my book.
First up, neatly tucked away in tissue paper, is the 3-In-1 Waterproof Eyeliner in Ultra Black. It is a twist-up, mechanical pencil that comes equipped with a removable smudger/sharpener at its base.
The liner applied smoothly across my skin with no skipping or tugging whatsoever while leaving a ribbon of full-on, opaque color in its wake. Now, I know some people tend to be consumed with the idea of getting the blackest of the black when it comes to eye products. Me? Not so much. But for those concerned, I will say that while it is a dark black and certainly not grayish, it is not an inky blackity-black. I loved the formula, found that it had great staying power and, yes, was indeed waterproof on my eyes.
Alongside the liner, ensconced in a bubble wrap pocket for good measure, is Pewter eyeshadow. The single shadow comes in a hard, plastic pot with a screw on/off lid.
Those who are acquainted with LORAC's PRO Palette already know this shade intimately. But for the uninitiated, Pewter is a gorgeous, ruddy-tinged taupe and it is ab fab - hence it being voted the fan favorite from the palette (which is saying a lot because all of the colors in the PRO palette are beautiful)! Pewter is buttery soft, yields opaque color with minimum effort and can be used wet or dry.
And so goes the awesome twosome that was available during Sephora's B-Fri online sale blitz. If you're like me and joined Fan Favorite's fan club two weekends ago then fantastic! But if you missed the initial meeting, keep your eyes peeled; there may be some batches floating around at their brick n' mortars (hey, you never know!). So, if you happen upon this dynamic duo, GRAB IT and don't hesitate! You'll be getting two phenomenal products at a pauper's price... as well as entrance into the ultimate Fan club. Trust me, it's a club worth being a member of.
*Secret handshakes and eye-blinks will be given out later...
Monday, December 9, 2013
Well, here's a classic I'm sure a lot of you guys are already familiar with. You know how it goes with me: I ran out of my beloved Ole moisturizer about a week and a half ago so I decided to revisit an "oldie" via a sampler I had tucked away in a bag. I call it an oldie because I had originally tried this moisturizer years ago, long before I grew serious about my skin regimen; I was pretty indifferent towards it back then and quickly dismissed it. But now that I'm a bit wiser and more discerning, I can honestly gauge the tangible effects Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ is having on my skin. And I must say that I'm loving it, which is why I had to indulge in a full-size bottle of the stuff!
The Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ is actually a slightly tweaked version - improved, if you will - of the original. The classic yellow, fragrance-free formula is virtually the same except it now has a strengthening complex that helps to maintain a barrier of moisture on the skin for all-day protection and hydration. The lotion is a component of their 3-step skin care program that caters to both normal/dry and combo/oily skin types, the latter of which has an oil-free, gel version that has not been enhanced with the strengthening complex.
I love the fact that the bottle comes with a pump. I love the way it feels on my skin and how it seems to permeate and penetrate so easily. No greasiness, just softness. Smooth and supple is how my face feels after each use. And with absolutely no dermatological tantrums in sight, I can safely say that I am loving everything about this lotion. Everythang!
So, for all those who've tried it and loved it, I am now a proud member of your sorority. And for all those who are still on the lookout for a suitable moisturizer, this may be one you'll want to put on your must-try list. It really is a wonderful elixir that warrants at least a look-see.
Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ is available at Clinique.com as well as Macy's and Sephora, and retails for $38/6.78oz bottle; $26/4.2oz bottle; $14.50/1.7oz tube.
Friday, December 6, 2013
Hey! I got another birthday gift that I'd like to share with you guys. I almost didn't get it on account of me being a good girl and not burning down the store with makeup purchases last month. But I eventually caved for Black Friday and saw that as a Sephora B.I. (Beauty Insider) my complimentary b'day gift was still available. I loved the one offered last year (which I wrote about here) and I'm getting good vibes from their petite perk this time around. So, you wanna see what I got? OK, cool!
This year, Sephora had a gift set from benefit that included a mini version of their Watt's Up! highlighter as well as They're Real! mascara. And I'm excited to try out both.
For all those not already familiar, They're Real! is one of benefit's best selling products. It's a mascara that boasts lash-volumizing and lash-lengthening powers, so much so that they'll have people wondering... well, wondering whether your lashes are real or not. It has rubber/nylon bristles that extend the entire length of the brush as well as engulf the tip. Hmm... I wonder how they'll fare on my peeper sweepers...
And then there's Watt's Up! - a champagne colored, cream-to-powder highlighter. It comes in a screw-up tube with painted light bulbs adorning its sides. How cute is that?
I have to say that this felt good going on. And since it's cream-to-powder, it dispensed nicely across my skin and had great staying power. I am really looking forward to incorporating this one into some looks. Very lovely, indeed.
Now, benefit products have caught my eye before, especially their popular box blushes. But after swatching a catalogue of them at Ulta one afternoon, my interest waned; I didn't find them to be very WOC (women of color) friendly since every blush from the display failed to show up on my brown skin. And so that was pretty much a wrap - no benefit for me. But these two samples prove to be promising. I mean, I probably won't be buying the full-scale versions, but at least I was able to discover something from the brand that may end up working well for me and my skin tone.
benefit They're Real! comes in two sizes: 0.14oz/$10; 0.3oz/$23. Watt's Up! (full-size, 0.33oz) retails for $30. Both can be found at Ulta and Sephora.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Well, it's more of a fuchsia... which still makes it a part of the pink familia, so it's all good. I like it because it's a great alternative this season to wearing the conventional Christmas reds. Incredibly pretty, it reminds me of one of the press-on, adhesive bows that you put on wrapped gifts. Let me share with you this wonderful color from OPI called Kinky In Helsinki.
Kinky In Helsinki is a jewel-toned fuchsia with undeniable violet undertones. It has a high gloss and great coverage; I was able to achieve suitable opacity in two applications. It also wore well on my busy hands, showing minor chipping on the edges of my nails after about five days.
Now, I am aware that Kinky is from one of OPI's past collections and may not be readily available everywhere or that easy to find. However, the color is not that unique that it hasn't shown up in lineups from other brands. In fact, I've seen the same shade from Revlon, Sally Hansen and Wet 'n' Wild, the latter of which I actually own. Therefore, it's not the brand nor the title from the brand that I'm particularly impressed with, but the beauty of this spectacular shade o' pink that I really wanted to impress upon you. It's just that lovely.
So, if you're able to pick up the OPI version - great! Do so. But if not, reward yourself by finding its doppelganger in another brand. It's a gorgeous, festive fuchsia that would be perfect to don for the holidays. And beyond.
Monday, December 2, 2013
For those of you who do your own nails, do you use a base coat? How about a top coat as a finish? What about both? I've been pretty religious in using a glossy top coat when trying to protect, preserve and prolong a nail art design or finicky polish. When it comes to a base coat, however, I just haven't found it to be as necessary or advantageous.
I bought this China Glaze base coat on a whim along with another China Glaze product. My thinking was that if I sandwiched my nail color between both a base and a top coat then my nail polish would last extra long with minimum to no chipping. Well, this didn't exactly pan out the way I had thought; it works OK under a China Glaze polish, but totally detaches from my nails (lifting and taking the entire coat of color with it, reminiscent of a press-on nail) after only a few days with any other brand. Needless to say, I haven't found it to be all that helpful. Perhaps I should try a different brand?
Moving on to top coats, this one I've had for a while. And it's cool. It does provide gloss and shine, but it's not quick drying and not especially diligent in keeping chips and nicks at bay. But it does shine.
Which leads me to almost everyone's fave: Seche Vite. When I heard about how excellent this top coat was I rushed to my nearest drug store to snatch up a bottle for myself. And an excellent top coat it is; it completely lives up to its reputation for being extremely fast drying and imparting incredible shine. It truly does "coat" the nails and, therefore, lengthen the wear of your color/design.
My only issue with Seche is that after a few uses the already thick gloss started to thicken even more until it began to congeal and get gloppy. As of right now, what I have left is pretty much a dense, stiff, translucent syrup sticking to the bottom half of the bottle.
And just like maple syrup in the cold, my remaining Seche clings to the brush in sticky globes of glob. I was kinda surprised that it conked out on me like that, but I do still consider it a fave and will probably purchase another.
Until then, I have found the perfect substitute: Sally Hansen's Insta-Dry. It, too, is incredibly fast drying and imparts remarkable shine to the nails. I really was impressed with this one.
But what I really like about it is the wide brush. The broad build on this baby practically covers your entire nail within the first stroke, which makes it quick in applying as well as quick drying. And that makes it absolutely awesome to work with.
So, for me the verdict is still out when it comes to using a base coat. Like I said, maybe I should try a different brand if someone can recommend a good one. It's not a huge deal, but I'm open to trying another if it'll make a significant difference as far as wear is concerned. But the clear winner in my book is the top coat! I believe the right top coat can make all the difference in "polishing" up your nail color/design and giving it a longer life. And for those still debating the need for either in your DIY nail endeavors, I hope you found this post somewhat helpful in your journey!
Friday, November 29, 2013
I will do my diligence in keeping my musings brief as I'm sure that most of you are reading this amidst the fervor and clamor of what is traditionally one of the most popular shopping days ever in the history of American shopping days. Or perhaps you are one of the many this year to have gobbled down your gobbler and other Thanksgiving fare all in time enough to participate in the pre-midnight mayhem of Gray Thursday and have already completed your parade of purchasing. Either which way, Black Friday remains the day when many chart a pre-dawn course to ever-so-eager retailers to snatch up one-of-a-kind sales and deals... with some losing their minds while doing it.
Oh, I've participated in a Black Friday once before. Oh, yes, I did the whole staying-up-late thing just to drive-to-the-store-early thing so I could get-into-the-store-early thing and grab-what-I-wanted-before-they-ran-all-out thing. The spell of Black's magic fell on me hard and I was determined to leave with everything on my list by hook or crook. And, thankfully, I did. I grabbed up $20 electronics and super discounted toys for my niece. And when I went, the store was remarkably organized and the sales associates were very accommodating and patient, which led to a surprisingly good experience. There was no pushing or shoving, no knocking people over... no yelling. In fact, there were people helping others to get certain items, passing out pallets full of goods to those peppered in the crowd whose hands were outstretched to receive said items. And when inventory ran out, people dispersed without any rumblings or rancor. Which is in heavy contrast to what has been reported this holiday week thus far. News has surfaced that there have been serious disturbances at a few stores already! Yes, Black Friday has become a careful balance between bargains and brawls. Fisticuffs over a discounted, flat screen TV? Umm... no, thanks. At that rate, you can just have it. It's not that crucial in my eyes.
So as I reminisce over Black Fridays past and remember the rush I felt in scoring my most wanted items that one holiday weekend, an overwhelming sense of gratitude comes over me regarding the advent of a very important tool I'll be exercising this year: the Internet! Never mind fighting the deal-hungry hordes and circling the parking lot fifty times simply to find an available parking spot; one tap of my nimble finger on my computer's pad and I'm set. Easy, breezy shopping - just the way I like it. And I can do it all in my PJs while noshing on pancakes and sipping OJ. Love it!
I really don't need to indulge this year, but I have seen a few things I may pick up. But just a few. And for all those who are braving this weekend's retail bonanza that is Black Friday, may you get all that you set out to find... and find everything you had set on getting.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
I was watching a video clip online of a woman doing her hair and nearly passed out when I saw her take a bristled brush to her wet mane. Now I am totally aware that salons use round, bristled brushes to do blowouts and such, but seeing this brush take such a tight hold of her locks as she raked it through to the ends made me cringe. For me and my head, this technique would not work; I would be bald. OK, not "naked head" bald, but my hair would not be able to withstand such tension, especially while wet, and would snap off. And I consider my hair to be pretty strong. But everybody has their own hair routine and tools with which to perform it... which is why I wanted to come do a quick jotting and list mine for possible comparisons.
Whether wet or dry, I always use a wide-tooth comb to tame and style my tresses. It causes less stress and strain when trying to detangle hair (especially that of the textured variety), which in turn minimizes damage via breakage.
The only time I use a smaller toothed or rat tail comb is when I need to part my hair for a style or when I dry trim my ends. The smaller spaces between its teeth provide a soft tension that allows me to be more precise while cutting my hair.
My initial balking aside, I actually do use a brush on my hair when it's wet; however, I prefer to employ either a rubber or paddle brush for such purposes in lieu of a bristled one. I own one of each and they're both Denmans.
Again, it's the wide setting of the nylon teeth combined with the hair smoothing rubber base that aids in manipulating my drenched hair in a safer, non-combative way. I primarily use my rubber brush when detangling, working leave-ins and styling products through, and blow-drying.
I do utilize my paddle brush on occasion, but that's usually only when I've misplaced my rubber one (which isn't often). Worth noting, I have noticed that my hair becomes a lot fuller when using the padded paddle brush. Either way, I love them both.
Now, the only time I use a bristled brush is when I need to brush my hairline or edges for perhaps a ponytail or French roll. If my hair is pulled back, I might use it then. But that's the only time! And never on my wet hair! I did that once years ago and ended up with a crop circle of broken hairs shooting from the crown of my head! Not cute. So, yeah... NEVER AGAIN!
And lastly, I cut my hair with small styling shears. I don't use sewing scissors or utility scissors or craft scissors, but actual hair scissors sharpened and designed exclusively for cutting hair. This is very important because a dull or mediocre blade will cause ends to be ragged and split. Granted, I don't have the expensive kind many of the professionals tote around, but my little pink shears have done just fine by me and continue to do so. I've got no complaints whatsoever.
So, there you have my list of hair tools. I really like to keep things pretty simple - the less the better. I'm not one for intensely convoluted regimens, but rather a wash, style n' go type of deal. And I think my tools of choice keenly reflect my preference. And hair type.
But I realize that everybody is different. Everyone has their own thang; what works for you may not work well for others, even when it comes down to the basics like the type of comb and brush. And I must confess that the Nosy Nancy in me finds it really interesting what tools and techniques other non-professionals like me use to style and maintain their hair.