5.05.2012

Xen Tan Scent Secure Gold Tinted Moisturizer Review

As summer rapidly approaches, many of us are busting out our self-tanner to get a healthy faux glow.

But what to do about that tell-tale self-tanner smell?

Xen Tan Scent Secure Gold Tinted Moisturizer ($35) makes a noble attempt to solve this problem. Sadly, it does not succeed.

Xen Tan Scent Secure Gold Tinted Moisturizer
Xen Tan Scent Secure Gold Tinted Moisturizer 

I got out of the shower this morning and slapped on some Jergens Natural Glow.I reached for my bottle of Xen Tan Scent Secure Gold and ran into my first problem -- The directions say to wait one hour after putting on self-tanner to apply Xen Tan Scent Secure Gold. Not the biggest deal in the world, but not everyone has time to wait and watch the clock.

After my hour was up, I applied Xen Tan Scent Secure Gold Tinted Moisturizer. The scent was overwhelming! It smells pleasant (like a watermelon Jolly Rancher) but a little strong for me. Still, it completely covered up the self-tanner odor so I figured it was doing its job.

Xen Tan Scent Secure Gold Tinted Moisturizer
Xen Tan Scent Secure Gold Tinted Moisturizer 

Xen Tan Scent Secure Gold is a deep bronze color with glitter. The liquid is a runny, drippy, and difficult to apply evenly. I ended up with some streaks.

Luckily, the deep bronze color turns pretty light on skin so my streaks were not that noticeable.

What IS noticeable about Xen Tan Scent Secure Gold is the glitter it leaves behind. I'm fine with some shimmer, but the glitter in this product is too large for my taste.

Xen Tan Scent Secure Gold Tinted Moisturizer
Xen Tan Scent Secure Gold Tinted Moisturizer
Glitter on my Arm

All of this could be tolerated if Xen Tan Scent Secure Gold Tinted Moisturizer concealed self-tanner odor effectively. However, despite its initial success, Xen Tan Scent Secure Gold wore off after about an hour and I could smell my self-tanner again.

I guess you could apply more, but it's not worth it to me.

I would rather deal with the self-tanner smell than have to reapply this overpriced mess every hour.

What do you think? Do you have a strategy for attacking the self-tanner scent or do you just deal with it?

Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti Review and Swatches

Revlon's Colorburst Lip Butters ($5.99) are gaining quite the amazing reputation.

They deserve it, too. With a sheer, balmy texture that leaves a perfect pop of color, Revlon Lip Butters have quickly earned themselves must-have status.

Available in 20 shades, Revlon Lip Butters contain mango, coconut, and shea butter to leave your pout supple and smooth. The moisturizing texture makes for a gorgeous glossy finish as well.

Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti
Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti


I tried Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti. Tutti Frutti is a tangerine-coral with the perfect amount of subtle brightness. The color reminds me of a more sheer and pink version of MAC Sheen Supreme Lipstick in Korean Candy. Revlon Lip Butters are vanilla-scented so you'll feel like you're wearing MAC as it is!

Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti is definitely in the spirit of Pantone's Color of the Year for 2012, Tangerine Tango.

Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti
Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti -
Swatched on Arm in Artificial Light
Bottom Line: I am very impressed with the balance between brightness and sheerness that Revlon has achieved with Colorburst Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti. The result is a color that is casual and wearable while still supremely fashionable and fun.

Go check out Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti; it's a total drugstore steal!


5.04.2012

Tarte Gifts From the Lipstick Tree Achiote Color Collection Review and Swatches

Tarte's gorgeous Gifts From the Lipstick Tree Achiote Color Collection ($42) takes its name from a Brazilian fruit tree that bears honeysuckle-pink seeds.

According to the product description, Brazilian women use seeds from the Achiote tree to tint their lips and cheeks. This beauty secret is the inspiration for the Gifts From the Lipstick Tree Collection, which incorporates pigments from the "lipstick tree" in each product in the golden pink trio.

Tarte Gifts From the Lipstick Tree Achiote Color Collection
Tarte Gifts From the Lipstick Tree Achiote Color Collection -
Maracuja Lip Gloss, LipSurgence, Amazonian Clay Blush

Tarte Gifts From the Lipstick Tree Collection includes Achiote-pink versions of Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss, LipSurgence Natural Lip Luster, and Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush. The Achiote shade is exclusive to this set.

Tarte Gifts From the Lipstick Tree Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Achiote
Tarte Gifts From the Lipstick Tree Color Collection
Amazonian Clay Blush, Maracuja Lip Gloss, LipSurgence
Swatched on Arm

And what a lovely shade it is! 

Instead of being identical in color, the Amazonian Clay Blush, Maracuja Gloss, and LipSurgence are all variations on warm pink. They complement each other nicely and make for a great look that isn't overly matchy-matchy.

Tarte Gifts From the Lipstick Tree Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Achiote
Tarte Gifts From the Lipstick Tree
Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Achiote

At first glance, Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Achiote looks like it has too much beige in it. But to my surprise, it comes off as a totally sweet, doll pink when applied. It's sheer, but not so sheer that you need layers and layers for it to show up.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush in Achiote
Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Achiote

As for wear time, Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Achiote did not last 12 hours on me. I think I went about 4 - 5 hours before I noticed some fading, and the blush was basically gone after 9 hours. I don't think that the wear time is particularly bad, but it just doesn't meet the 12-hour claim. Illamasqua Powder Blusher in Tweak lasts longer on me.

Tarte Gifts From the Lipstick Tree LipSurgence in Achiote
Tarte Gifts From the Lipstick Tree
LipSurgence in Achiote

Tarte's LipSurgences are some of their most popular products. The moisturizing lip pencils provide sheer color, a glossy finish, and a subtle plumping effect. Tarte LipSurgence in Achiote also has a minty tingle that I enjoyed.

The color of Tarte LipSurgence in Achiote is a definite winner - medium pink with just a touch of warmth.

Tarte Gifts from the Lipstick Tree LipSurgence Natural Lip Luster in Achiote
Tarte LipSurgence Natural Lip Luster in Achiote

Tarte Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss in Achiote contains healthy skin ingredients like Vitamin C to brighten, fatty acids to repair, and Vitamin E to moisturize and reduce inflammation.

Tarte Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss in Achiote is housed in a click-pen tube with a brush tip. You have to press the button at the base of the tube quite a few times to get it started, but it flows easily after that.

Tarte Gifts From the Lipstick Tree Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss Achiote
Tarte Gifts From the Lipstick Tree
Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss in Achiote

Tarte Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss in Achiote is a sheer light-medium pink with shimmer. It is somewhat thick and provides quite a bit of pigmentation. Like LipSurgence, Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss has a minty tingle when applied.


Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss in Achiote
Tarte Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss in Achiote 

Both the LipSurgence and Maracuja Lip Gloss are versatile and could be worn with a variety of other lipsticks and glosses. You also get a great look by layering the Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss in Achiote over the LipSurgence Natural Lip Luster in Achiote. Color + shine = perfection!

Tarte Gifts from the Lipstick Tree Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss in Achiote over LipSurgence Natural Lip Luster in Achiote
Tarte Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss in Achiote
Over LipSurgence Natural Lip Luster in Achiote

Bottom Line:  Tarte has put together a gorgeous group of pretty-in-pink products for the Gifts From the Lipstick Tree Achiote Color Collection. The Amazonian Clay Blush and LipSurgence in Achiote are particular standouts. And considering a single Amazonian Clay Blush is $25, the set makes for a pretty good steal as well!


5.03.2012

Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N47 Red Brick Review and Swatches

I'm in my early 20s. I haven't shown you a full face picture, but believe me when I say that I look closer to 17 or 18 years-old! Having a youthful, wholesome face means that I have to be careful not to wear makeup that makes me look like I'm playing dress up. 


Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N47 Red Brick
Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N47 Red Brick

Thankfully, I've found a solution for a more grown-up, polished look. Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N47 Red Brick ($19) is a perfect shade to help young women look like ladies

Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N47 Red Brick
Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N47 Red Brick

Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N47 Red Brick is a deep, warm red shade. The formula is sheer and somewhat glossy. I thought it would be too dark for me, but it is sheer enough to be natural and wearable while still depositing plenty of color.

Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N47 Red Brick
Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N47 Red Brick
Swatched on Arm

The packaging is different from the Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense Lipsticks, but it has a similar aesthetic. Both are sleek black with silver lettering, but the "Make Up For Ever" name is more prominent on the Rouge Artist Natural Lipsticks. Hot!

Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N47 Red Brick
Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N47 Red Brick

Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N47 Red Brick
Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N47 Red Brick

Bottom Line: Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N47 Red Brick is a great shade! It's a deep, no-fuss red with a sheer, wearable formula. I think this lipstick is a fabulous choice for a polished professional look.

Where would you wear Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N47 Red Brick?


5.01.2012

Illamasqua Powder Blusher in Tweak Review and Swatches

My apologies to Francois Nars, but if I were to make a blush called "Orgasm" it would look like this:

Illamasqua Powder Blusher in Tweak
Illamasqua Powder Blusher in Tweak -
Applied Heavily for Photo


Just a pure, healthy flush with no glitter or shimmer in sight. Illamasqua Powder Blusher in Tweak ($24) is a warm reddish-pink that livens up your face with a bright natural glow. 

Illamasqua is a popular British brand that just recently hit the United States. Sold exclusively at Sephora, Illamasqua encourages customers to express themselves through bright, dramatic makeup. Many of the brand's products look intimidating in the pan but can still be used to create a natural look.

Illamasqua Powder Blusher in Tweak is a perfect example.

Illamasqua Powder Blusher in Tweak
Illamasqua Powder Blusher in Tweak

Wow, this blush looks intense!

Illamasqua Powder Blusher in Tweak is a matte formula blush with tons of pigment. It looks like too much for everyday wear, but an appropriate application technique is all you need to make Tweak look perfect.

Blending is key with this blush. Gently dab your blush brush in the pan and tap off the excess. Then, apply it to the apples of your cheeks and blend like hell!

One dab of Illamasqua Powder Blusher in Tweak is enough for a gorgeous, long-lasting flush. On me, the pretty pink-red color makes me look like I just spent an hour in the sun.

Bottom Line: Despite its intimidating appearance, Illamasqua Powder Blusher in Tweak creates a healthy, naturally-flushed look that works on a variety of skin tones. Just make sure you practice blending so that you don't overdo it!


Makeup and Beauty Discounts


Hey all! Here are some makeup and beauty discount codes I thought you might like. Please let me know if you are not interested in these.

ULTA: ULTA is doing another $15 off any order over $75 offer.
 (4/29 - 5/26) $15 Off $75 with FREE Shipping Code: AFP412. Exclusions Apply

E.L.F.:  E.L.F. has several promotions going on right now.
   In honor of May Day, customers get a mystery bag worth $20 with orders of $20 or more:
Happy May Day! Get a $20 Mystery Bag free from e.l.f. cosmetics with orders of $20 or more! Use code MAYDAY, valid 5/1-5/2.

    They also have a free shipping code:
Get free shipping when you spend $25 or more at e.l.f. cosmetics! Use code SHIP25, now through 5/7.

Philosophy: Philosophy is offering a free peony body lotion with $50 purchase:
free peony blossom body lotion with $50 purchase. enter promo code 'flowers' from 5/1 - 5/6!

Vichy Normaderm Triple Action Anti-Acne Hydrating Lotion Review

You guys, please don't bother buying Vichy Normaderm Triple Action Anti-Acne Hydrating Lotion ($23.50).

Vichy Normaderm Triple Action Anti-Acne Hydrating Lotion
Vichy Normaderm Triple Action Anti-Acne Hydrating Lotion

I got a free sample of this product after completing a survey for Allure. After one look at the ingredients list, I have refused to even put it on my face to test it.

The third ingredient is alcohol, which can dry out, irritate, and cause free-radical damage in your skin. Free-radical damage should be avoided at all costs to reduce risk of skin cancer. Alcohol can also inflame your skin's nerve endings and stimulate oil production.

Despite all of these concerns, alcohol is an extremely common ingredient in skin care, particularly anti-acne products. The drying properties of alcohol allow it to work as a quick fix that reduces pimples in the short term. However, the long term damage is not worth the temporary benefits.

Bottom Line:  Vichy has no business advertising this product as a "Hydrating Lotion." The large amount of alcohol it contains will dry out and irritate your skin rather than moisturize it.

4.30.2012

Smashbox Shades of Fame Eye Palette and Brush Review and Swatches

The Smashbox Shades of Fame Eye Palette and Brush ($48) has been calling my name ever since it came out. It has all of my favorite things - warm browns, some matte shades, coral, and gold!

Smashbox Shades of Fame Eye Palette -
Artificial Light
Smashbox Shades of Fame Eye Palette
Smashbox Shades of Fame Eye Palette -
Natural Light


Now that I have it in my hands, I would say that I am about 90% satisfied. I love the color selection, which I believe is a great mix of unique, innovative shades and reliable neutrals. The pigmentation of the eyeshadows is stellar, with one notable exception. Unfortunately, about a third of the shades have quite a bit of fall out.

Smashbox Shades of Fame Eye Palette contains 9 eyeshadows, 2 cream eyeliners, a mini Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer, and a double-ended eyeshadow/liner brush. The palette also comes with a how-to booklet with instructions for 3 eye looks. 

Smashbox Shades of Fame Eye Palette and Brush Photo Finish Lid Primer
Smashbox Shades of Fame Eye Palette, Brush, and Photo Finish Lid Primer

Smashbox Shades of Fame Eye Palette "Get the Look" How to Booklet
Smashbox Shades of Fame Eye Palette "Get the Look" How-To Booklet

Now for the swatches:

Smashbox Shades of Fame Eye Palette Bliss, Honey, Sandstone
Smashbox Shades of Fame Eye Palette -
Bliss, Honey, Sandstone

I love Bliss, a matte cream shade that is super pigmented, soft, and blendable. Honey is warm yellow with a pink duochrome. I really like the idea of this shade, but it is not very pigmented. It requires a lot of layering to show up, but it looks awesome once it does. Sandstone is a silvery-beige shimmer.

Smashbox Shades of Fame Eye Palette Nude Sherbet Safari
Smashbox Shades of Fame Eye Palette -
Nude, Sherbet, Safari
Nude is another one of my favorite shades from the Smashbox Shades of Fame Eye Palette. It is a warm, medium brown that is super blendable. Unfortunately, it does have some fallout. Sherbet is a bright coral-peach with gold shimmer. Safari is olive green with gold shimmer (It is much more green in person. I apologize once more for the cell phone pics. I'm still waiting on my digital camera to get fixed!). Safari is very pigmented with lots of fall out.

Smashbox Shades of Fame Eye Palette Pacific Praline Mocha
Smashbox Shades of Fame Eye Palette -
Pacific, Praline, Mocha

Pacific is a pretty turquoise shimmer. Praline is a gorgeous bronze shimmer. This shade is super soft and pigmented but has TONS of fallout. Mocha is a deep, cool brown with shimmer.


Smashbox Shades of Fame Eye Palette
Smashbox Shades of Fame Eye Palette -
Gold and Bronze Cream Eyeliners

The Gold cream eyeliner is a lovely metallic shade that is actually more bronze-y than the so-called Bronze eyeliner. The Bronze eyeliner comes off as a warm brown with sheen. Both eyeliners are fairly creamy and easy to blend. They might dry out over time from being exposed to air in the palette.

A major PRO of the Smashbox Shades of Fame Eye Palette is the diversity of the shades. I can imagine creating so many different looks with this! The inclusion of the gold cream eyeliner increases the possibilities exponentially.

The biggest CON is the amount of fall out that occurs when applying the shadows. Even with primer, I ended up with tons of dust under my eyes. Using a wet brush might reduce this problem, but you'll probably have to resign yourself to some clean up when using this palette. 

What do you think of the Smashbox Shades of Fame Eye Palette? Will you be picking it up or do you have your eye on something else for summer?


4.29.2012

L'Oreal Color Riche Nail Color in Now You Sea Me Review and Swatches

Get mermaid nails for summer with L'Oreal Color Riche Nail Color in Now You Sea Me!

L'Oreal Color Riche Nail Color in Now You Sea Me
L'Oreal Color Riche Nail Color in Now You Sea Me -
Pre-Clean Up

L'Oreal's new Color Riche Nail Color collection is available in 39 shades. After seeing it in the ads, I chose Now You Sea Me ($5.99), a beautiful muted teal.

The formula for L'Oreal Color Riche Nail Color in Now You Sea Me is a little disappointing. The polish goes on fairly sheer and streaky. I definitely needed two coats to reach my desired opacity. I'll keep you updated on the wear time for L'Oreal Color Riche Nail Color.

L'Oreal Color Riche Nail Color in Now You Sea Me
L'Oreal Color Riche Nail Color in Now You Sea Me -
Artificial Light

In the meantime, what do you think of long nails? My nails have grown out a little and I don't know how to feel about it. I always had long nails when I was younger, but I think shorter nails are in right now. Should I trim them or embrace the length?

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Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum Review

We all want soft, glowing, and flawless skin. Many beauty products promise to provide it, but most of them fail to deliver.

Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum ($65) is the rare exception.

Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum
Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum


I received a deluxe sample of Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum from a Sephora Fan Friday promotion. The 5 ml bottle itself is unbelievably elegant. I love that Hourglass did not skimp on packaging, even for the sample sizes.

Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum contains 14 essential oils, 10 fatty plant oils, and Vitamins A, B5, C and E. The oils were expertly selected for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and emollient properties. Vitamin A is included in the form of retinyl palmitate, which is an effective antioxidant that prevents signs of aging by regulating skin cell structure. Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum also includes silicones to fill in pores and enhance the serum's spreadability.

Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum
Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum -
Bottle with Wand

Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum is a clear, semi-thick oil scented with rose and geranium. The serum doesn't look like much, but magic happened once I spread it on my skin.

The oil absorbed quickly and I was left with exceptionally soft, luminous, and even skin with no trace of greasiness. Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum reduces pores more than any other primer I have tried. I was astonished by how much better my skin looked after I applied No. 28.

Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum plays well with makeup, too. It seems to bind with other products, so my liquid foundation "sticks" on top of it. Although Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum is an oil blend, it somehow manages to leave my skin matte for hours.

I have experienced no skin irritation or breakouts since I began using this serum. Instead, Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum leaves my skin soft and bright even after I wash it off.

Bottom Line: Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum is a must-have. It leaves skin hydrated, glowing, and matte. Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum also reduces pores more than any other product I've used and wears well under foundation. Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum is definitely pricey, but it is beyond worth it if you decide to spend the money.