Celebrate Chic Week with Sephora!


Calling all cosmetics connoisseurs! Don’t forget to take advantage of Sephora’s Chic Week! All beauty insiders get 15% off with code CHIC, 4/12 through 4/21. VIBs can take advantage beginning 4/11 through 4/22 (same code, VIBCHIC). Or you can print your email and bring the bar code to your local Sephora store.

If you’re anything like me, you keep a running list of products you’re dying to try. On mine this month are Hourglass’ ambient lighting powders (particularly Mood Light), NARS Belle de Jour lipstick (a classic NARS nude lipstick that believe it or not I have yet to try), NARS matte lip pencils in Sex Machine, Never Say Never and Roman Holiday, Urban Decay lip pencil in Paranoid, and Tarte’s cheek stain in Awakening.

With new products on the market and new collections launching what seems like monthly at least, it’s hard to resist temptation and not become a total junkie. Of course if you do give in, you might have yourself your own beauty blog! And find your wallet a little lighter. Lovelies, as we know, this can be an expensive habit so we should take advantages of discounts and perks whenever and wherever we can.

Get on over to your local Sephora or sephora.com and indulge a bit without paying full price.

What products are you eyeing?


Trending Thoughts

I know I’m not the only one anxiously awaiting warmer weather. After learning that here in the Midwest we have about a week of April showers to look forward to, I’ve found myself turning to my wardrobe and cosmetics collection in hopes of forcing spring to come.

I’ve noticed other women employing similar tactics; wearing bright blouses and foregoing their down jackets for chic trench coats. But the key here, the simple notion that has held true throughout the decades, is that whether you’re facing gloom in your life or gloom in the sky, a vivid lipstick might be all you need to help you through the day. After all, it’s easier to fake it till you make it when you’re smiling through Dior’s latest shade of hot pink gloss.

As we look toward spring/summer makeup trends for 2013, we’re seeing everything from matte to metallic eyes, dusty rose to fiery red lips, and heavy gel liner. While seasonal changes can spice things up and pull us all out of makeup ruts, I’d ask us all to keep our go-to looks in mind. While trends offer great inspiration, and boost sales, there are products and looks that work for us no matter what time of year it is. It’s this simple: wear what you’re comfortable in. This applies to everything from how your jeans fit to how far you wing your eyeliner. If you’re not comfortable, don’t succumb to a trend because a magazine told you so. Find a trend you like, and customize it to fit you.

I wanted to return to this blog with a long overdue post with this advice, or rather friendly reminders. The beauty community, after all, is supposed to be a place where women feel empowered, supported, and of course, pretty. Stay tuned for more frequent posts coming soon!

What trends are you most looking forward to this summer?

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!












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.

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 Sephora.com. 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!

Covergirl & Olay Simply Ageless: Foundation Fail

I’ve been wanting to try out a crème foundation lately, for the mere facts that application is fast and easy and they’re supposed to be hydrating. I didn’t want to run out and spend $50 on one if I wasn’t sure I’d like the formula, so I started browsing the aisles at Target and came across a collaboration between Covergirl and Olay. I picked up the Simply Ageless foundation which is supposed to smooth fine lines and wrinkles, and is infused with a skin care serum that is visible in the pan, but not on your face. It can cost anywhere from $11-$13 depending on where you buy it and if you have a coupon. The plastic pan contains 12 grams of product and it is unscented. It’s not exactly travel friendly, as the crème is contained in one side, and the other side twists off to reveal a sponge for application. The sponge isn’t terrible, but it will give you heavy coverage so keep that in mind.

I want to tell you I loved this product. I want to tell you it was everything I was looking for and more. But I won’t. Because I hated it. I still hate it and will forever glare at it as I walk by any Covergirl display ever. It’s really too bad, because in terms of the smoothness of the cream and the color I loved it. It matches my very fair skin perfectly and doesn’t oxidize throughout the day. I got shade 205, the lightest they produce. It’s quite emollient and blends flawlessly into the skin. However, some ingredient, and I don’t know which one, wreaked havoc on my skin. Keep in mind that my skin is pretty sensitive, so if you don’t have that problem this foundation could very well work for you. But after my experience, I will be staying far away from this one.

I wore it for one day, about 8 hours or so, and I thought it wore quite well. The coverage is medium-full depending on how much is applied. It’s easy to get heavy-handed with crème products but try to avoid it because the end result will be a cakey mess. A few hours into the wear time, my skin began to feel itchy. I looked in the mirror and noticed little red marks on my skin accompanied by a blemish. RED FLAG. As someone who prefers flawless skin, I was mortified. And furious.

I went back to my normal liquid foundation and my skin calmed down within a few days, but I won’t be trying that again. I’m assuming it was the Olay anti-aging serum in the product that caused my skin irritation, but I’m not 100% sure. If you have sensitive skin, proceed with caution. Or not at all.

MAC Fix+

There are products that are nice-to-haves, and those that are need-to-haves. Products that fall under the category of cosmetics are necessities in my opinion, but I’m admittedly a junkie. That being said, even I have my limits. These usually fall within the realm of setting sprays and the like; I just find them unnecessary. This was the reason I usually breezed right by MAC’s Fix+.

When I was giving into temptation and purchasing from yet another MAC collection some months ago (they release two per month…excessive??) I spritzed some Fix+ on my skin just as a refresher, not thinking much of it. After the spray set in, my skin felt better. Not only that, but it looked better. It revitalized my skin and gave it a natural, dewy appearance. A bottle came home with me that day. 

I’ve been using it every day after my makeup is complete. I don’t see it as a setting spray; it doesn’t really prolong the wear of my foundation. I have primer for that. I use it as a last step to make sure everything is blended and the appearance is natural. It’s a great tool if you happen to get a little heavy-handed with your blush or bronzer, causing your face to look loaded with power. Fix+ works as a diffuser and softens up your look. I keep a travel size bottle (only available at MAC Pro stores, not at your local department store counters) in my makeup bag at all times, and it proves especially useful in the hot summer months when you need a little pick-me-up.

There are many other uses for Fix+ if you’re trying to justify the price, which is $20 for a 3.4 oz bottle. It’s not bad considering how long it lasts and what it will do for your skin. It is unlike any other product and a simple spray bottle of water will not do the same thing, trust me. A travel-size bottle is $10 and will get you 1.0 oz of product. You can use Fix+ as a mixing medium for foiling eyeshadows to give you a metallic effect, you can use it to turn powder eyeshadow into an eyeliner, and you can use it with loose pigments to make them appear more vibrant on your eyelids. You can also spray it on your hair to tame flyaways and it works surprisingly well.

I’d recommend at least trying Fix+ when you’re browsing your cosmetic counters to see how it feels on your skin and what a lovely appearance it gives. It’s a solid product to have in your arsenal that can turn out to be a life-saver, more than once.

Magnetic Nail Polish

I’ve been curious about the magnetic nail polish craze for a while but never bit the bullet until now. The effect is unlike anything else on the market and it’s definitely a conversation piece. I picked up a Nails Inc. polish in “Whitehall” which is a creamy teal. The polish on its own looks fantastic. It’s quite creamy and goes on like a dream, opaque in one coat. It leaves a fantastic shine on the nails without any top coat, but I almost always use one for good measure.

To get the design on your nails, you simply turn the cap over and place the lip on your cuticle allowing the magnet to do its work. Hold it over your finger, being careful not to touch it to your nail, for 10-15 seconds. You’re left with the interesting design that you can see in the photo. It’s almost a chevron print, but the lines aren’t as sharp. I actually like it for something different to wear on occasion, but I don’t see this being my every day nail polish. If you want to tone it down, you can use the magnet for effect on just your ring finger. This can be your accent nail while you paint the rest with just the color.

In terms of wear, the polish on its own isn’t so good. I applied it without a base or top coat to test out the true longevity of the formula. It was chipping by the next morning. I would strongly suggest applying both a base and top coat to seal the polish.

Nails Inc. originated in the UK but has made its way to the US via Sephora. The brand features a wide array of shades in a regular formula, and five in the magnetic series. There is a deep purple, grey, berry and brown along with the teal color that I bought. They all look beautiful, but at $16 each I might consider trying one of the brands that are imitating this polish.

What do you think of the effect?