5.11.2012

NARS Summer 2012: Trio Eyeshadow in Ramatuelle Review and Swatches

NARS Trio Eyeshadow in Ramatuelle
NARS Trio Eyeshadow in Ramatuelle

NARS Trio Eyeshadow in Ramatuelle ($45) is a bit perplexing at first glance. Most coordinated eyeshadow sets include either all warm colors or all cool colors, but NARS Ramatuelle includes both.

The combination of light peach, warm apricot, and a shot of cool silver surprised me, but once I put it on, I realized that NARS totally knew what they were doing.

NARS Trio Eyeshadow in Ramatuelle Swatches
NARS Trio Eyeshadow in Ramatuelle Swatches

The shadows have good pigmentation and are nicely formulated, but they are all pretty sheer and subtle. Both the silver and icy gold peach are light and bright, so only the apricot is available for contouring.

The result is an eye-brightening trio that looks modern, fresh, and youthful. I used the shimmery light peach as an all over wash, then applied the apricot in the crease and outer third of the lid. I used the cool silver to highlight the inner corners of my eyes and line the lower lashline. 

NARS Trio Eyeshadow in Ramatuelle
NARS Trio Eyeshadow in Ramatuelle
Direct Sunlight

NARS Trio Eyeshadow in Ramatuelle
NARS Trio Eyeshadow in Ramatuelle
Diffused Sunlight

I did not capture it in these photos, but lining the bottom lashline with silver wakes up your eyes and widens them beautifully. 

After I finished my makeup, I put on a dark blue tank top, some gold jewelry, and twisted up my hair. The light, shimmery colors of NARS Trio Eyeshadow in Ramatuelle completed my summer look perfectly. 

I am so happy that I took a chance with this nontraditional color combination. When done right, warm and cool colors can work together to create a fresh, unexpected look. 

The moral of the story? Always trust NARS.


5.10.2012

Givenchy Photo'Perfexion Fluid Foundation SPF 20 PA+++ in Perfect Vanilla Review and Swatches

Givenchy Photo'Perfexion Fluid Foundation SPF 20 PA+++ ($48) is a top-notch product for normal to oily skin. Housed in an elegant bottle with a pump dispenser, Givenchy Photo'Perfexion Fluid Foundation has a creamy, silky texture that provides excellent medium coverage. The foundation infuses your skin with a subtle glow and sets to a soft powder finish.

Givenchy Photo'Perfexion Fluid Foundation SPF 20 PA+++ in Perfect Vanilla
Givenchy Photo'Perfexion Fluid Foundation SPF 20 PA+++ in Perfect Vanilla 

For the picture below, I applied Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum and a single pump of Givenchy Photo'Perfexion Fluid Foundation in Perfect Vanilla on my entire face. My skin was pretty blotchy at the time so I could have added more to the sections of my face that needed more coverage, but I wanted to show you how the product looks with just one pump. 

Givenchy Photo'Perfexion Fluid Foundation in Perfect Vanilla is a great color match for my skin, and I love the soft matte finish that enlivens your complexion rather than dulls.

Givenchy Photo'Perfexion Fluid Foundation SPF 20 PA+++
Givenchy Photo'Perfexion Fluid Foundation SPF 20 PA+++

After it sets, Givenchy Photo'Perfexion Fluid Foundation is not going anywhere. It does not melt off or fade during the day, so my skin still looks great when I wash it off.

In fact, I feel like Givenchy Photo'Perfexion Fluid Foundation looks better as the day wears on. It's as if it meshes with your skin over time until your complexion looks even more luminous and fresh.

The mattifying properties of Givenchy Photo'Perfexion Fluid Foundation are extremely impressive as well. I don't blot at all when I use it. Sure, I get some shine here and there after awhile, but it is minimal and seems to disappear after a few minutes.

Bottom Line: Although pricey (I saved up to buy it), Givenchy Photo'Perfexion Fluid Foundation is a worthwhile splurge. This long-lasting matte foundation doesn't make you sacrifice your glow for oil control.


Facebook Page & Other Announcements

Hey everybody!

Nicole Reviews Beauty is finally on Facebook!  If you "like" my page, all of my new product reviews will appear in your news feed.

Check out the Nicole Reviews Beauty Facebook here.

I have another, less fun announcement.  The Too Faced Friends and Family Sale post had an error that I have just corrected. Too Faced had the wrong discount code in their promotional image.

The code was previously listed as FFSPRING11.

The correct discount code is FFSPRING12. I'm very sorry if anyone had to deal with frustration from an incorrect discount code.

The sale lasts until May 16th so there is still plenty of time to take advantage of the 20% off.

Happy Shopping and Happy Facebooking!

Guest Post: Have You Discovered Dry Shampoo?

Today's post is brought to you by Ali Katz, creator of Daughter-In-Law Diaries, a blog designed to help women navigate challenging relationships with their in-laws. Daughter-In-Law Diaries offers a place to vent and seek advice from experts. Follow Ali on Twitter: @DILDiaries



Guest Blogger: Ali Katz of Daughter-In-Law Diaries

I've heard of dry shampoo occasionally in years past, but I associated it with patients in the hospital that go weeks without washing their hair or elderly people. To be honest, I didn’t think much about it or realize it was missing from my life. However, once I tried it I was hooked, and it became a must in my beauty arsenal.

Dry shampoo truly gives me an extra day between hair washing, a lift after a light workout, or time outside in warm weather. It is recommended that you only wash your hair 3-4 times a week to minimize damage and breakage. Dry shampoo absorbs oil and leaves your hair looking and feeling fresh. It is also perfect for rushed mornings when you just run out of time to do your hair. A quick rinse off, a dusting of dry shampoo, lip gloss and you are out the door!

I was given a can of dry shampoo from my college BFF. She is a beauty editor and generously shares a few goodies after she reviews them. The dry shampoo she gave me was by Charles Worthington, a British brand. It definitely refreshed and revived my hair, with a pleasant smell. Applying too much produces a mild white residue and a subtle dulling effect, so I used it sparingly at the roots. When I flipped my head over and sprayed the underneath, it gave me great body and lived up to its promise to “revolutionize my hair routine.”

I recently ran out of my hand-me-down can, and I knew I couldn’t go too long without buying another. I quickly grabbed a can of Dove Style and Care Dry Shampoo during one of my weekly Target runs. Big mistake. Obviously, the price was great, but sometimes you get what you pay for. After just one use, it is already relegated to the back of the cabinet. I am convinced that this product could only be used by someone with no sense of smell. The scent was so heavy and perfumed that it actually made me gag. This product was supposed to give me another day before I had to wash my hair, and the first thing I had to do after praying this was to wash my hair. Talk about frustrating. I couldn’t even think straight until I washed it out. My search continued….

I needed another brand to try pronto, so I turned to my BFF once again for suggestions. She is exposed to a plethora of brands in every beauty category and always has fabulous recommendations. She told me that Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Goat Milk has the best reputation in the beauty crowd in London, where she works. My current favorite shampoo and conditioner are the Nourishing Mango Butter Shampoo and Detangling Conditioner by Klorane, so I felt confident about this purchase and anxious to try it. A bonus is that it was available on Amazon Prime Shipping, which satisfied my need for immediate beauty product gratification and helped me avoid another errand.

Two days after I hurriedly shampooed the Dove product out, it was time for a little spritz of Klorane. I immediately knew that I had found the product I would stick with. The scent was minimal, but fresh and light, and there was absolutely no white residue at all. It was an Allure Best of Beauty Award Winner in 2009 and 2011 and I can see why. Another bonus is that it comes in a travel size, and is perfect to extend the life of your hair on a trip. Isn’t it great to get a blowout before you go away and have it last the entire long weekend?




Klorane Dry Shampoo via Amazon.com

What more can you ask for in a dry shampoo? This is the brand that I will stick with for sure. Although the can is a bit pricey, it won't be used daily and should last quite a while.

Have you ever tried dry shampoo? Grab a can, and if you are feeling generous grab one for your Mother-In-Law too!

(Side Note: I ordered a can of Pssssst which has good reviews and is well priced, but the aerosol top didn’t work, so sadly I couldn’t try it. Let me know if you do!)

 Read more from Ali Katz at her blog, Daughter-In-Law Diaries 


5.09.2012

Too Faced Friends and Family Sale Starts May 10th!


Too Faced's Semi Annual Friends and Family Sale starts this Thursday, May 10th! 


The sale runs from May 10, 2012 - May 16, 2012 and offers 20% OFF on EVERYTHING, including those sweet Eye Shadow Duos that I reviewed on Monday :)

The code is FFSPRING12

I will definitely be taking advantage of this one. I want to try their Lip Injection Lip Plumper and maybe even more eye shadow.

Physician's Formula Happy Booster Glow and Mood Boosting Blush in Natural Review and Swatches

Can't say I'm all that happy with Physician's Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Blush in Natural ($11.95).

Physician's Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Blush in Natural
Physician's Formula Happy Booster Glow and Mood Boosting Blush in Natural

Physician's Formula boasts that this product will improve your mood because it's "infused with our Happy Boost Blend, featuring Happy Skin and Euphoryl, natural plant extracts which have been shown to promote a feeling of happiness by mimicking the effect of Endorphins...The sweet scent of Violet provides a feeling of joy each time you apply."

Whatever, that sounds like a bunch of nonsense to me. I refuse to believe that this blush could have the ability to improve my mood beyond making me feel prettier. Too bad that Physician's Formula Happy Booster Glow and Mood Boosting Blush in Natural doesn't even do a great job of that.

Sure, the product has an adorable appearance. I love the heart pattern! But when you swirl the colors together and apply it to your cheeks, this blush just doesn't rise above "meh" status.

Physician's Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Blush in Natural
Physician's Formula Happy Booster Glow and Mood Boosting Blush in Natural

Physician's Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Blush in Natural is quite sheer. A few layers give your cheeks a nice, if unremarkable, dose of peachy-pink bronze color with a touch of silver shimmer.

If you continue to layer, Physician's Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Blush in Natural turns into more of a bronzed rose with noticeable silver shimmer. I don't really like this shimmer, and I wonder if a warmer shimmer would be more compatible with the color of this blush.

Physician's Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Blush in Natural
Physician's Formula Happy Booster Glow and Mood Boosting Blush in Natural
Swatched on Arm

I tend to prefer brighter colors and more pigmentation for blush. Physician's Formula Happy Booster Glow and Mood Boosting Blush in Natural might work for you if you like really sheer, natural-looking blush.

Physician's Formula Happy Booster Glow and Mood Boosting Blush in Natural is fine but, personally, I don't think I will use it very much at all.


5.08.2012

Z Palette Review and Depotting Tutorial

If you're anything like me, sometimes you have to search and search through your makeup drawer to find what you're looking for.

Z Palette ($14-$25) is here to make your life easier. The brand makes empty, magnetized palettes so you can remove makeup pans from their containers (i.e. depot) and create your own custom palette! Each palette also includes metal stickers so that non-metal pans can stay put in the magnetized Z Palette.

Z Palette
Z Palette

Before I bought my Z Palette, I debated between that and a Unii, another popular refillable palette. The Z Palette is made of hard laminate cardboard with a clear top while the Unii is plastic with a mirrored top. The sturdiness of the Unii was appealing to me, but Unii Palettes only come in a 5.4" by 2.8" size. I am serious about reducing my makeup clutter so I opted for a Large Z Palette with an inside perimeter of about 7.4" by 4."

Z Palette
Z Palette
Half Full

I gotta say, I very happy with my purchase. The palette won't be able to contain all of my makeup, but using the Z Palette has definitely reduced the clutter. I do have some worries about the sturdiness, so I think I will avoid traveling with this palette. Otherwise, it's perfect for day-to-day storage and organization. Plus, I had lots of fun depotting and organizing my makeup in the palette!  Here's how I did it.

How to Depot

If the pan isn't glued to its container, you can simply pry it out with a knife or nail file.

However, the majority of pans ARE glued in, so you'll have to melt the adhesive before you pry them out. I used my old, battered hair straightener to melt the glue.

I turned my straightener on to medium-low heat and placed my Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Cocoa Puff/Honey Pot on one of the plates. You can also place a towel on the plate first.

Z Palette Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Cocoa Puff/Honey Pot
Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Cocoa Puff/Honey Pot
On my sad, long-abandoned hair straightener

I removed the eyeshadow after about 45 seconds (careful, it's hot!) and ran my nail file along the edge of the pans. I worked the tip under the base and popped out the pan. I used rubbing alcohol to remove the glue from the bottom of the pan and set it on a paper towel to dry.

Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Erotica Silk Teddy Depotting
Depotting Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Erotica/Silk Teddy

Repeat until you fill up your Z Palette!

Z Palette
Z Palette and Too Faced Eye Shadow Duos

Have you ventured into the world of customizable palettes and makeup depotting?  Any tips, tricks, or recommendations?


5.07.2012

Too Faced Eye Shadow Duos in Cocoa Puff/Honey Pot, Erotica/Silk Teddy, Teddy Bear/Heaven, and Totally Toasted Review and Swatches

That title's something of a mouthful. But I've got four Too Faced Eye Shadow Duos (on sale for $15.30 each) to review, so strap in for the haul!

Too Faced Eye Shadow Duos Cocoa Puff/Honey Pot, Erotica/Silk Teddy, Totally Toasted, Teddy Bear/Heaven
Too Faced Eye Shadow Duos Clockwise From Top Left -
Cocoa Puff/Honey PotErotica/Silk TeddyTotally ToastedTeddy Bear/Heaven

As I've discussed before, Too Faced eye shadows have exceptional pigmentation, creaminess and blendability. I own and love the Urban Decay Naked Palette, but even those shadows seem hard and less pigmented in comparison (Fightin' words, I know).

In addition to the great formula, Too Faced has included some amazing colors in these duos. Each pair complements my eyes, skin and hair perfectly, but they are versatile enough to work on a variety of complexions.

Let's take a closer look at the Too Faced Eye Shadow Duos:

Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Cocoa Puff/Honey Pot


Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Cocoa Puff/Honey Pot
Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Cocoa Puff/Honey Pot

Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Cocoa Puff/Honey Pot includes Cocoa Puff, a deep warm brown with gold glitter and Honey Pot, a bright, gold shimmer. I love warm browns and Cocoa Puff is my ideal contouring shade. I use it to shade the outer V in the majority of my eye looks.

Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Cocoa Puff/Honey Pot
Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Cocoa Puff/Honey Pot
Top: Cocoa Puff, Bottom: Honey Pot

Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Erotica/Silk Teddy

Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Erotica Silk Teddy
Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Erotica/Silk Teddy

Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Erotica/Silk Teddy includes Erotica, a cool dark brown with a little bit of shimmer and Silk Teddy, a bright, light peach with plenty of shimmer. Silk Teddy looks gorgeous as an all-over wash or highlighting shade.

Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Erotica Silk Teddy
Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Erotica/Silk Teddy
Top: Erotica, Bottom: Silk Teddy


Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Teddy Bear/Heaven


Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Teddy Bear Heaven
Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Teddy Bear/Heaven

Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Teddy Bear/Heaven includes Teddy Bear, a matte medium brown, and Heaven, a matte vanilla cream. I do all-matte eye looks pretty often, so I reach for this duo all the time.


Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Teddy Bear/Heaven
Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Teddy Bear/Heaven
Top: Teddy Bear, Bottom: Heaven



Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Totally Toasted


Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Totally Toasted
Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Totally Toasted

Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Totally Toasted is my absolute favorite of the duos I own. It includes Park Avenue Brown, a copper-bronze shimmer, and Park Avenue Beige, a light pink-peach shimmer. Park Avenue Brown is perfect for sweeping over the lid and into the crease for a simple eye look. Park Avenue Beige is similar to Silk Teddy but with more pink.

Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Totally Toasted
Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in Totally Toasted
Top: Park Avenue Brown, Bottom: Park Avenue Beige


That's a wrap!  These eye shadow duos are currently only available in the Sale section of Too Faced's website, so get 'em while you still can!


5.06.2012

Essie Nail Lacquer in Merino Cool Review and Swatches

I used one of my favorite nail polishes for this week's manicure, Essie Nail Lacquer in Merino Cool ($8).


Essie Nail Lacquer in Merino Cool
Essie Nail Lacquer in Merino Cool 

Essie Nail Lacquer in Merino Cool is described as "a sensuous autumn mulberry," which I guess is code for "dusty grey-purple." While the grey nail polish craze has died down, I think Merino Cool has enough purple in it to still look unique, current, and chic. Essie always seems to strike the perfect balance between classic and trendy.

In addition to the fab color, Essie Nail Lacquer in Merino Cool also has a good wear time for standard nail polish. This nail polish lasts about 4 days with minimal chipping on me.

Check out Essie Nail Lacquer in Merino Cool for all of your dusty-lavender-grey-neutral needs!


Drugstore Curly Girl Hits: L'Oreal EverStyle Curl Activating Mousse Review

My hair is fine and limp with a weak natural wave. Just blah all around!

And to make things worse, products designed to enhance curl and volume usually leave my hair crunchy, weighed down, or both.

Enter L'Oreal's latest hair care releases. I previously posted about L'Oreal's sulfate and silicone-free EverSleek Reparative Shampoo and Conditioner, which are fabulous and affordable no-poo hair care options. I am still using both the shampoo and conditioner and they continue to do right by my frizz.


L'Oreal EverStyle Curl Activating Mousse Alcohol Free
L'Oreal EverStyle Curl Activating Mousse

On the styling front, my new hair savior is L'Oreal EverStyle Curl Activating Mousse ($5.99). This is a fantastic mousse. It enhances curl formation, cuts frizz down to nothing, and has a long-lasting, crunch-free hold.

I was excited to learn that L'Oreal EverStyle Curl Activating Mousse does not contain alcohol. Alcohol dries out your hair and increases breakage. It can make your hair look nice in the short-term though, and that explains why it is such a common ingredient in frizz-combating hair styling products.

Ingredients-wise, there is one problem with L'Oreal EverStyle Curl Activating Mousse. It contains silicone in the form of cyclopentasiloxane so it is not entirely in accordance with the sulfate and silicone-free Curly Girl Method.

If you are okay with using a little silicone, L'Oreal EverStyle Curl Activating Mousse is guilt-free. Not only can you rest easy knowing that it won't damage your hair with alcohol, L'Oreal EverStyle Curl Activating Mousse is 100% vegan.

My most successful hair care routine goes like this:
1. Scrunch hair with a smooth (not terry cloth!) towel
2. Apply Mark Curl Goddess Styling Creme
3. Spritz with volumizing spray and use curl clips at the root to add lift
4. Hang out until about 75% dry then blow dry with diffuser
5. Add L'Oreal EverStyle Curl Activating Mousse to enhance curl, reduce any frizz caused by blowdrying, and increase hold.
6. Finish off with the diffuser to get the most out of L'Oreal EverStyle Curl Activating Mousse's curl-boosting properties.

Bottom Line: L'Oreal EverStyle Curl Activating Mousse works so well for my hair type. The light texture doesn't weigh my fine hair down or leave it crunchy. Instead, my curls are enhanced into a lovely pattern that lasts for hours. And did I mention that it only costs $6?