Nail the look for less: Deborah Lippmann dupe

If you’re a lover of nail lacquers, you’ll likely have a reaction when you hear the words Deborah Lippmann. If you don’t know the name, you should. In the world of nail polish, Lippmann is among the top ranked for formulation, texture, and unique selection. She has designed numerous polishes for the celebrities who wear them, and she’s famous for her glitters. It’s true; no one does glitter like Deborah Lippmann. Or so I thought.

She recently released a shade that’s absolutely gorgeous, not unlike her others in that way. What does make the polish stand out is the color itself. It’s called “Mermaid’s Dream,” and that’s exactly what it looks like. It’s a shimmering sea-foam green that has blue flecks of glitter and silver iridescence throughout it. I’ve been eyeing (or drooling over) this polish since I saw it at Nordstrom, but it’s hard to rationalize spending $18 on a nail polish and I can rationalize almost any beauty purchase. I was seriously considering taking the plunge until I walked into Urban Outfitters today.

A sign in the window that said jewelry was on sale lured me in, as they often do. After I found a few pieces I walked up to the register where my eyes started to browse the lovely opportunities for an impulse purchase. Sure enough I found one. But not just any one. It was a nail polish that looked strikingly familiar. It looked like an exact dupe for “Mermaid’s Dream.”

Upon closer inspection, I learned the polish was called “Sea Dust” and that it was $5. Sold.

Now, I do not own Mermaid’s Dream so I can’t give you a side by side swatch comparison, but below is a picture of the polish and a picture of my bottle of Sea Dust. You be the judge.

From what I hear there are slight differences between the two in terms of opacity in one coat (Mermaid’s Dream wins) and texture (Sea Dust is smoother), but at a price difference of $13, I say run to Urban Outfitters and grab a bottle of Sea Dust if you’re as intrigued by this color as I am.


YSL Touche Éclat Foundation!

You read right, Yves St. Laurent is releasing a much overdue companion to its best-selling product and one of the best-selling cosmetics of all time, Touche Éclat. The formula has been in development for 10 years, and will be released just in time for the 20 year anniversary of the debut of Touche Éclat.

This new line includes foundations that lean yellow, pink or neutral in terms of undertone which is rare and exciting. Usually a line will offer only yellow or only pink. Some brands like MAC offer both pink and yellow tones, but no neutral. This is the first standout for this new foundation. The second is that there will be 22 shades within the range, going from the porcelain to the ebony. This means that hopefully most women will be able to find an incredibly close match to their natural complexion.

The main draw of this foundation is its finish. It is supposed to act similarly to the original Touche Éclat which is a highlighting pen. Many women mistake it for a concealer and apply it directly under their eyes and are disappointed with the results. That’s because the product isn’t meant to conceal, it’s meant to draw light to the areas of the face that you like which are usually the tops of the cheek bones, brow bones, bridge of the nose, cupid’s now, and chin. The foundation is meant to complement its predecessor and melt into the skin for a natural, radiant finish. Since I haven’t had the chance to try it yet (it’s set to release in the U.S. at the end of July) I can’t speak to the longevity or feel on the skin. From what I’ve heard, though, it’s essential to set with a light powder if you’d like the foundation to last more than 7 hours or so. The formula is made without opaque powders, which makes sense if it’s supposed to attract light, but it also means that if you’re looking for heavy coverage you might want to look elsewhere.

It’s priced at $55 for a 30 ml bottle. It has a pump which is great because it keeps the product application sanitary, and limits how much you dispense.With foundations like these I usually find it best to apply with your fingers and allow their warmth to blend the product seamlessly into your skin, but I will try it with a variety of brushes and my beloved Beauty Blender and give my opinion on what works the best.

Consider me excited for this release. How about you?

BB Cream

Around this time last year, I was planning a trip to Asia. I was almost en route to Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing in order to take part in some consumer research and digital marketing strategy for Shiseido. When I arrived, I immediately learned how important skin care was for the Eastern market. It was a completely different perspective on beauty, and one that makes a lot of sense. Asian women care more about correcting a problem than covering it up. They pay less attention to eyeshadow and lipstick and more attention to skin care lines and foundation. While they want their skin to be perfect and porcelain (the whiter the better) they also want skin care benefits in whatever they put on their face.

While this has been a trend in the Asian markets for some time, it is just making its way over to the United States. There is a certain miracle product beloved by Asian women and it’s known as a BB Cream. Most of the creams in Asia have whitening properties as well as pigmentation correctors and exfoliants, but thus far the ones I see popping up stateside are more along the lines of a tinted moisturizer. Nevertheless, the concept is still new and interesting in the Western world of makeup.

Essentially a BB cream is supposed to deliver the coverage of a foundation and the hydration of a moisturizer, while applying smoothly and self-adjusting to your skin tone. Most BB creams are only offered in 1 or 2 shades. The truly authentic BB Creams are slightly grey in tone until blended into the skin, and they are thicker than a traditional tinted moisturizer. The first drugstore BB Cream has come to the United States via Garnier, but I’ve seen reports of Maybelline and L’Oreal planning to develop them as well. In terms of high-end brands, everyone is jumping on the band wagon including Bobbi Brown, Dior, MAC, Clinique, Smashbox, Too Faced, Stila, Boscia, Dr. Brandt and Dr. Jart. I’m sure other brands will be fast to follow.

Out of that list, I have thus far only tried two. The first was by Dr. Jart and I absolutely love it. The second was from Clinique and I didn’t care for it at all. The main difference between the two was the feel of the product and application. For a cream that is supposed to be hydrating, I found Clinique’s version to be quite the contrary. It didn’t blend well into my skin and it felt very dry. The color match was excellent, though, so it’s really too bad. Dr. Jart, on the other hand, applied so smoothly and it felt very moisturizing. So much so that those with oily skin might shy away from it. After a few hours my skin was glistening but it was a nice healthy glow. If you have extremely oily skin you might end up looking slightly greasy, but this can be tempered by setting it with a powder as you would a foundation. It did a great job at evening out my skin tone, I just needed to add a little concealer (Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage) to hide any redness. It’s perfect for both winter and summer and I’ve already repurchased. They also contain SPF, and I don’t wear a primer underneath.

I do urge you to try a BB cream, from any brand you choose. It’s a more natural approach to makeup which is perfect for the upcoming summer months. Keep in mind though that the Americanized BB creams aren’t exactly the same as the authentic Asian ones, but at least you can test them out in store. I do know women who buy Korean and Japanese BB Creams on eBay and the like, but you have to make sure you can really trust the seller. Indulge at your own risk. Or, just plan a trip to Asia! Problem solved.

Quick Tip: Get your scissors!

I’d like to share a helpful tip that some of you may or may not already know. This one comes from my grandma, a very wise woman whose only cosmetic of choice throughout her life was red lipstick. Even now she has beautiful skin, so it makes sense that she never had to put anything on it.

I was going to throw a tube of my recently reviewed Shea & Cashmere hand cream in the trash, thinking I had used it all up. My grandma told me not to throw it away just yet, to cut it open and get some of the last bit of product out. “You’d be surprised how much you still have left in there.”

Boy was she right. I was foolish and didn’t listen to her on the hand cream, simply because I had another tube on-the-ready and didn’t feel like operating on my current one. But I decided to heed her advice when I discovered I was running low on my Laura Mercier primer. I cut open the tube right in the middle, and there was a ton of primer clinging to the sides and up under the cap. I scraped it out and put it into a small cosmetics container, one of those that you can buy at Target for travel needs. That container has lasted me two weeks so far. And I would have just thrown that tube away otherwise. Gasp!

My grandma is full of helpful tips and I’m lucky to be related to someone so beautiful inside and out. She’s also the only person I know who likes burnt toast, black jelly beans and cabins in Minnesota for an ideal vacation spot. So take it from a lady who knows, don’t be afraid to slice open your cosmetics!

Love you, Gram.

New from Revlon

I get pretty excited when I hear about a brand releasing a new item and/or collection. I get doubly excited when it’s an easily accessible and affordable brand like those carried in your local drugstore. Add to that the term “limited edition” and my interest is peaked. Women seem to go nuts over limited edition products. I don’t know what we think we’ll miss out on but hey, this tactic works.

Luckily, the new items set to release from Revlon are reported to be part of its permanent line, or will be eventually. I’m referring to a new line of lip balm/stains and a line of whipped foundation. I’m interested in trying both products and I’ve kept my eye out for them but no luck yet. The lip stains look comparable to Clinique’s Chubby Sticks or Tarte’s LipSurgence, but Revlon’s are a mere $7.00, depending where you find them of course.

These are the first I’ve seen of this kind of lip product offered from a drugstore brand. They are really stepping up their game both in terms of quality and product variety. The foundation is also unique on the drugstore market, being somewhere between a cream and mousse product. It might be a tad heavy in terms of coverage for the summer, but I have yet to try it out so I can’t offer a concrete opinion.

Stay tuned!












theBalm Nude ‘Tude palette- Sale!

Eyeshadow palettes seem to be taking over the world of cosmetics as of late, in fact palettes are in general. Women seem to like the idea of having everything in one compact and the portability factor doesn’t hurt.

One of my favorite eyeshadow palettes is from a line called theBalm that used to be carried at Sephora but it is now only online and at a few select boutiques here and there. I wanted to let you know of the Nude ‘Tude palette now because theBalm is being featured on HauteLook today so you can snap it up for half price! It’s free to sign up on HauteLook and you can find some great deals on brand name items ranging from cosmetics to clothing to home furnishings.

The reason this palette is my favorite and most reached-for in my collection is because of the variety and quality of the eyeshadows it contains. They are smooth and incredibly pigmented, and blend together seamlessly to create beautiful gradient looks. The shades range from a deep smoky burgundy (my favorite) to a pure white, which I like to use to highlight my brow bone and tap on the inner corners of my eyes to brighten them and give some lift. It makes for a great travel palette as you have almost every color you’d need to create a look, plus it’s fun to pull out of your makeup bag. This palette is unique because of its ability to give you a neutral or colorful look, while most palettes are exclusive to one or the other. There is also a mix of matte and shimmer which is a nice surprise.

The packaging of this palette and of the line as a whole is beyond adorable, and I’m quite gullible to marketing efforts and product design. That being said though this palette delivers on quality as well as aesthetics which makes it all the more enjoyable. It features vintage pin-up girls as a display for each color with names like “Standoffish,” “Sophisticated,” and “Sassy.” There are two different palettes, one called “Naughty” with the pin-up girls, the version that I have, and one called “Nice” which is a vintage living room setting. Both contain the same shades, it’s just about your packaging preference.

You get 12 shades and a brush for $36, but as I said you can get it from HauteLook for $18 if you’re interested and act quickly. The offer is available through Friday 5/18 but this line tends to sell out quickly so check it out.

What’s your favorite eyeshadow palette? Or do you prefer singles? Do share!


Amazing Cosmetics Concealer

Since I accepted a new position and bid sleep adieu, also the reason for my sudden absence, I’ve been on the search for a pigmented, smooth, long-lasting and affordable concealer to brighten up my undereye area. In short, I was looking for a miracle. Well, I’m back to tell you that I’ve found a pretty good product, definitely the best concealer I’ve used.

Amazing Cosmetics concealer is…amazing. I’ve ignored the hype about this product for so long; it actually says “World’s Best Concealer” right on the packaging. But I always figured; don’t they all claim to be the best? Well I think Amazing Cosmetics takes the cake. While it is a bit pricey at $28 for a 0.2 oz tube, a little bit goes a long way so it will last you quite awhile.  To test out concealers, I usually dab the product on the back of my hand and see how it does at covering up any veins. This one almost completely hid the blue on my hand so I knew it was coming home with me.

The concealer covers extremely well without looking cakey or accentuating any fine lines. It’s slightly tacky so I find it best to apply as I do all my eye products, using a tapping motion rather than rubbing it across your skin. Tapping the product in allows it to absorb more smoothly and blend seamlessly with the warmth of your fingers. I tend to use my fingers rather than a brush for that reason.

With some concealers, after application you can still see a slight shadow peaking through, but with this one due to the saturation of the color, shadows are nearly eliminated. Of course this depends on the severity of your darkness, but apply at your discretion. The product applies well in layers, so it’s best to start with a very little amount and build up to your desired coverage.

It wears fairy well, I’d say 8 hours or so with no touch-ups, and I have combination skin. It settles slightly into fine lines, but not offensively so; I’ve never met a concealer that hasn’t. I came across this product in the checkout line at Sephora and since I had a 10% VIB coupon, I decided to pick it up. Sephora doesn’t carry the entire line of Amazing Cosmetics, but Ulta does. The concealer also comes in a 0.5oz tube for $40 if you really fall in love with it. There are 10 shades to choose from, and I picked up the color Fair which is a nice match for my skin.

I’m still currently using my Bobbi Brown undereye corrector in Bisque, and I tap a light layer of Amazing Cosmetics concealer over it and voila! Looks like I got 8 hours of sleep rather than 4.

J’Adore Dior…usually

I have a few favorite Houses when it comes to designers, and the House of Dior is in my top 5. I won’t get into couture and my irrational love of it, but rather concentrate on the subset of Dior that the average woman can get her hands on: the cosmetic line.

Dior cosmetics and fragrances are sold at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s and the like, but I prefer to have my swatch fests at Sephora. I was doing just that and fell in love with the spring collection, specifically the Garden Palette.

This palette was love at first sight. Well I suppose you could say it turned out to be lust because I got the palette home and was totally over it. While the five shades of soft pastels look beautiful in the pan, there is absolutely no color payoff when applied to your eyelids. The palette contains a pink shimmer, buttercup yellow shimmer, pale green shimmer, golden green shimmer and teal green shimmer. Note how they all end in “shimmer” because that they are, so I would not advise using only this palette to create a look. They are embossed with a rose print that’s undoubtedly gorgeous and makes you not even want to use the palette, which is exactly what would have happened had I not returned it. Sephora thankfully has a great return policy.

I bought the palette because when I heavily swatched them with my fingers the colors looked pigmented and felt smooth. But when I got home and applied some shades, it just looked as if there was shimmer all over my eyelids. This is fine if that’s the look you’re going for, but there was no color distinction at all. So at $59.00, this palette went back. It’s too bad because the colors are unique and beautiful…if only they actually showed up when applied.

I haven’t tried any other Dior shadows so I can’t offer a comparison…but I’m hoping this was a one-time fluke.

Cashmere at Your Fingertips

I don’t usually venture into Bath & Body Works, mainly because I’m not that into candles and body sprays and hand sanitizers, etc. I tend to splurge on beauty products with end results you can actually see and save on body washes and the like.

I went into Bath & Body Works awhile ago though because I had a coupon and was looking for a gift for someone who loves the store. While I was there I tried out some hand cream and it turned out to be a fantastic decision. I tried the True Blue Spa Shea Cashmere hand cream, and it was to die for. It has a sweet scent, but not overwhelmingly so. The cream is so soft and smooth it’s no wonder they call it cashmere. It’s quite thick, but not greasy at all. It leaves your hands feeling smooth for hours, but I always apply it after I wash my hands simply because I love the smell. It absorbs into the skin quickly so you can go back to what you were doing right away without having to let your hands dry.

It lingers on the skin for a bit and I usually get complements when I walk into a room. Some people say it smells like coconut, others say chocolate; personally I think it smells like frosting but not a manufactured sugary smell, it’s very rich. Either way, people seem to love it. The price isn’t bad, $10 for 2.5 oz. If you’re lucky you can catch it on sale which is always a nice bonus. I keep one at my desk at work, one on my night stand and one in my car. Moisturizing your hands is just as important as moisturizing your face ladies!

In the Shea Cashmere collection there are also body creams, body washes and body lotions. I haven’t tried any of these out yet but I would definitely be willing.

Caviar Chic

There’s a new trend hitting nail beds across the world, one that hasn’t been done as far as I can remember. While I’m not a fan of caviar on a cracker, I’m oddly drawn to the effect it gives on finger nails.

The manicure doesn’t involve actual caviar, of course, but micro beads or “caviar pearls” that adhere to nail polish that provide an interesting and textured look. The company that is pioneering the market is Ciaté recently put up for sale at The kits will be sold in stores in May. There are currently three kits available; a white, pink and black. Each set contains a polish, the beads, a tiny funnel (to put the unused beads back in the bottle to preserve for another use,) and a tray.

The idea is similar to a glitter project you did when you were a kid. You paint all of your nails with one coat of your chosen polish, then start on them one by one. Paint a second of polish, then follow with sprinkling the beads over the nail. They will adhere immediately, letting any fallout land in the provided tray. Continue one by one until your nails are to your liking, pressing the beads down very gently to ensure they’re intact.

The concept is new and fun to me, but I don’t like being limited in color selection. Also, the kits are selling for $25 each, and the manicure really only lasts 3-4 days with the beads all in place. This brings me to my next point…which is that Michael’s (or your local craft store) sells similar  beads that will adhere to nail polish the exact same way, and you can buy them for around $5 or less. You can choose to put those beads over any polish you like. I haven’t tried this first hand, nor have I tried Ciaté’s yet, but I’m dying to.

Stay tuned!