5.13.2013

RapidLash Eyelash Enhancing Serum: Before and After Review

RapidLash Eyelash Enhancing Serum: Before and After Review
RapidLash Eyelash Enhancing Serum

Hello, my fellow beauty fiends! I apologize for my long absence. I was finishing up my Master's degree, which is quite a time-consuming and stressful endeavor. Now that I'm done, what better way to celebrate than with a review of a lash growth serum? Let's go!

RapidLash Eyelash Enhancing Serum ($49.95) is a non-prescription product intended to condition, strengthen and moisturize your eyelashes (and eyebrows, if you want), with the ultimate goal of helping them grow longer. RapidLash is one of the most popular competitors to Latisse, the gold standard of prescription lash growth products.

In addition to the usual ingredients in over-the-counter lash growth products such as peptides and biotin, RapidLash contains isopropyl cloprostenate. Isopropyl cloprostenate has molecular similarities to bimatoprost, the active ingredient in Latisse. While there is no hard scientific evidence that isopropyl cloprostenate affects lashes in the same way that bimatoprost does, it could be part of the reason why so many people have achieved more success with RapidLash than with other non-prescription lash serums.

I, for one, had moderate success with RapidLash. After about four weeks of use, I saw noticeable growth in my lash length. Some of my lashes were reaching Latisse-like heights, and I was super excited.

However, that growth was not sustained. Now, after using RapidLash for about four months, my longest lashes have fallen out and my lashes overall have regressed to a more moderate length. They're still longer than they would be naturally, but continued use of RapidLash did not cause them to grow longer and longer. Not a bad outcome, but it's one that I think potential users should be aware of.

You can see this in my Before and After:

CoverGirl Lash Blast Clump Crusher Mascara in Very Black Review and Swatches
BEFORE RapidLash Eyelash Enhancing Serum

RapidLash Eyelash Enhancing Serum: Before and After Review
AFTER RapidLash Eyelash Enhancing Serum

I'm sorry about the poor quality of the After picture. While some of the other photos I took were sharper, this one had the most similar angle of the Before so I thought it provided a better comparison despite being blurry + different lighting.

So, you can see that my lashes are slightly longer after using RapidLash, but the difference isn't huge. I believe that my lash length is sustained better with Rapidlash than with Cilea Eyelash Enhancing Treatment, which stopped having an impact after awhile. Also, a major plus is that I didn't experience any negative side effects with RapidLash. No irritation or discoloration whatsoever. 

Overall, I'm glad I tried RapidLash and I believe it had a noticeable, positive impact on my lash length. However, now that my tube has run out, I don't have an urge to repurchase. Instead, I think I will opt to try another non-prescription lash growth serum or repurchase Latisse.

Have you tried RapidLash or any other lash growth product? Share your thoughts in the comments!



Disclaimer: I received a sample of this product from the company for consideration. My review is based on an honest assessment of the product and was not preapproved by PR or brand representatives.

3.16.2013

United Scents of America Fragrance Collection Review



United Scents of America is a new fragrance line inspired by each of the 50 states. Each fragrance is meant to evoke the spirit of a particular place, so you can be reminded of all the locales that hold a special place in your heart. So far, United Scents of America has developed fragrances for 7 states, with plans to eventually release a special scent for all 50. Neat idea, huh?

I first learned about United Scents of America when I saw some of the fragrances available for sale on HauteLook. I was intrigued, but too cautious to purchase one without smelling it first. I emailed the company inquiring about a sample pack and they sent me small vials of all 7 of the currently available scents.

Talk about an exciting package to receive! I was so excited that I wanted to smell all of the fragrances at once, but perfume forces you to be patient. Each fragrance is like a mini olfactory journey, so it's wonderful to take the time and savor the experience evoked by each of these unique scents.

The United Scents of America fragrances each cost $58 for 1.7 oz. They offer good sillage, so you don't need to use very much to get a nice aura of scent. However, I find the longevity somewhat lacking. The scents fade after about 2 hours. The website and sample cards do not specify the concentration of these fragrances, but my guess is that they are along the lines of an Eau de Toilette rather than a stronger Eau de Parfum.

Here's my impressions of the seven United Scents of America fragrances:

Texas:  Texas is described as having a top note of ruby red orange, heart note of red cedar, and bottom notes of white musk, cedar leaf, and amber. When I first dabbed it on, I got a refreshing zing of orange and lemon. The cedar began to fade in and out, which added a woody coolness. The entire composition reminded me quite a bit of Dolce and Gabbana's Light Blue, except with a more subtle dose of amber. Considering that the heavy amber is what keeps me from wearing Light Blue, I found Texas to be a much more pleasing alternative.

Hawaii: Hawaii is described as having top notes of pink plumeria and night-blooming jasmine, heart notes of golden pineapple and papaya, and a bottom note of sweet coconut palm. I must say, I absolutely adore this one. The lovely blend of plumeria, jasmine, and pineapple makes me feel like I am sitting at a delicious tropical brunch surrounded by lush, blooming flowers. It has a relaxed femininity that makes it a perfect summer vacation fragrance. This is one of United Scents of America's newer scents, so it's not even posted on their website yet. Sorry I don't have a link for you, but keep an eye out!

California: California is described as having a top note of fresh cut coconut, heart note of eucalyptus, and bottom note of vanilla bean. I was super excited to try this one since CA is my home state, but this scent didn't quite work for me. That said, it's pretty unique. At first whiff, the coconut top note smells like sweet sunscreen -- very Banana Boat! Then, it gets even sweeter with a dose of creamy vanilla. While I like the smell of sunscreen and am open to wearing a fragrance inspired by it, I found this scent to be too literal and sickly.

Florida: Florida is described as having top notes of fresh ozone, florida orange and grapefruit, ocean breeze and key lime, heart notes of jasmine, violet, rose and melon, and bottom notes of sandalwood, rosewood, white musk, peaches and orange flower oil. I really enjoyed this fragrance. It opens with a lovely blast of citrus, followed by melon and hints of aquatic breeze. After awhile, I smell peach, soft rose, and orange flowers for a feminine composition. This fragrance reminded me of Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gioia without the dose of mint. As was the case with Texas, I prefer Florida to its bigger name counterpart -- the mint in Acqua di Gioia makes it smell a little bit like a mojito, while Florida steers clear of cocktail territory to remain refreshing.

Massachusetts: Massachusetts is described as having top notes of bergamot, sage and lemon zest, heart notes of cranberry and jasmine, and bottom notes of white musk, tobacco leaf and northern red oak. Like Hawaii, Massachusetts is a new fragrance that is not yet listed on the brand's website. I wasn't too excited by this scent. I primarily smelled citrus, cranberry and sage, which combined to remind me of a candle or potpourri. Nevertheless, while it didn't mesh with my chemistry, I could imagine this smelling great on someone else's skin. It did seem like this scent had longer staying power than the others.

New York: New York is described as having top notes of apple, violet, ozone, melon, lime zest, cyclamen and rosewood, heart notes of jasmine, basil and lily, and bottom notes of peach and kiwi. If you are a fan of the DKNY Be Delicious line of apple-inspired perfumes, you will love this scent. New York is a sweet and tangy apple scent that is grounded by the delicate powderiness of violet and the richness of jasmine. It's easy to wear and I believe that it offers an extremely wide appeal.

New Jersey: New Jersey is described as having a top note of fresh buttered popcorn, heart notes of cotton candy, caramel & coconut, and bottom notes of vanilla extract, peach, patchouli. This certainly wins the award for the most whimsical and fun-loving fragrance! To me, it opens with a blast of cotton candy, followed by a swoop of buttery popcorn. The combination reminded me of pink popcorn from a fair -- remember that? As you might imagine, New Jersey is quite a sugary fragrance. It's probably not a good option if you're aiming for sophistication, but I think that you can pull it off as long as you have a sense of humor. The cotton candy top and the patchouli in the base reminds me a little bit of Flowerbomb, except fed full with popcorn and funnel cake at a carnival. 

I really enjoyed sampling all seven of these fragrances from United Scents of America. They already offer such wonderful variety; I can't wait to see what other scents they will come up with.

If I were to spring for a full bottle, I think that Florida and Hawaii would be my top choices. And boy, would that be a tough decision, because I have no idea how I would choose between the two. They are both beautiful, evocative scents that spark my imagination. I know I will be trying to make my sample vials last as long as possible...

What do you think of United Scents of America? Is your home state in the above list? Which fragrance would you most like to try?


        

Disclaimer: I received a sample of this product from the company for consideration. My review is based on an honest assessment of the product and was not preapproved by PR or brand representatives.

3.04.2013

Mario Badescu Hair Care Review

Chamomile Shampoo Hair Rinsing Conditioner Nucleic Moisturizing Hair Rinse


Did you know that Mario Badescu makes hair care products?

It's true! In addition to the brand's popular and expansive skin care line, Mario Badescu offers shampoo, conditioner, and moisturizing hair products.

I tried out Mario Badescu's Chamomile Shampoo ($8), Hair Rinsing Conditioner ($8), and Nucleic Moisturizing Hair Rinse ($8), and I am quite satisfied with the results. Like their skin care line, Mario Badescu's hair products have simple formulas with relatively short ingredients lists.

Mario Badesu Chamomile Shampoo: This product contains chamomile extract and coconut oil to keep hair looking soft. I prefer to use this shampoo when my hair is looking particularly oily, because it includes several deep-cleaning sulfate ingredients. Mario Badescu Chamomile Shampoo is not appropriate for the sulfate-and silicone-free hair care method, but if (like me!) you still use some silicone hair care products, this shampoo is effective at removing product build-up.

Mario Badescu Hair Rinsing Conditioner: This is a basic, effective conditioner. It includes ingredients like lanolin and castor oil that reduce dryness and leave hair soft. I find this conditioner to be a reliable choice that keeps my hair looking nice without any crazy, unnatural ingredients. Plus, it won't build up on your hair because it is silicone-free.

Mario Badescu Nucleic Moisturizing Hair Rinse:  This spray-on hair moisturizer just might be my favorite of the bunch. It makes hair super smooth, silky, and shiny while also detangling to make combing and styling a breeze. Instead of silicone, this product contains panthenol, which is a fabulous glossifying ingredient that does not build up on your hair. Thus, Mario Badescu Nucleic Moisturizing Hair Rinse is a great choice for people following the sulfate- and silicone-free curly girl method.

All in all, I've fond my foray into Mario Badescu's hair care line to be successful. Just like with their skin care products, the brand offers a nice array of options, and the short ingredients lists make it easy to pick a product that will work for you.

Have you tried Mario Badescu's hair care products? How do they work for you?


2.22.2013

CoverGirl Clump Crusher by Lash Blast Mascara in Very Black Review and Swatches

CoverGirl Lash Blast Clump Crusher Mascara in Very Black Review and Swatches
CoverGirl Lash Blast Clump Crusher Mascara in Very Black

CoverGirl Clump Crusher by Lash Blast Mascara ($6.99) has been receiving tons of attention on beauty blogs, magazines, and forums for its supposed ability to lengthen lashes to sky-scraping heights without any pesky clumps. But does it live up to its positive reputation? I tried CoverGirl Clump Crusher in Very Black to find out.

CoverGirl Clump Crusher by Lash Blast Mascara in Very Black is packaged in a chubby, lime green tube and features a unique curved brush. I found that the curved shape of the brush made it easy to coat the typically hard-to-reach the short lashes in the inner and outer corners of my eyes.

CoverGirl Lash Blast Clump Crusher Mascara in Very Black Review and Swatches
CoverGirl Lash Blast Clump Crusher Mascara in Very Black

When it comes to clumps, I find that CoverGirl Clump Crusher by Lash Blast Mascara in Very Black does a good job of living up to its name. This mascara is fabulous for lengthening your lashes while maintaining separation. Additionally, the formula isn't stiff or sticky so your lashes stay looking soft.

CoverGirl Lash Blast Clump Crusher Mascara in Very Black Review and Swatches
CoverGirl Lash Blast Clump Crusher Mascara in Very Black

In the above photo, I'm wearing two coats of by CoverGirl Clump Crusher by Lash Blast Mascara in Very Black. As you can see, the separation is quite good. My lashes aren't perfectly straight though, so it would still be beneficial to run through them with a lash comb.

One drawback of CoverGirl Clump Crusher by Lash Blast Mascara in Very Black is that it doesn't provide much volume. My lashes are pretty short, so I want them to have more volume to compensate. I have to use at least 2 coats of Clump Crusher to get the volume I want.

CoverGirl Clump Crusher by Lash Blast Mascara in Very Black has fabulous wear time. I usually struggle with smudging from mascara, but I don't experience any flakes or smudging over the course of the entire day with Clump Crusher.

All told, I think CoverGirl Clump Crusher by Lash Blast Mascara is a very good mascara that would work well for someone looking to increase their lash length. I think it is particularly well-suited for those with naturally long lashes -- your lashes will look amazing with Clump Crusher! However, if you are more concerned with increasing volume, you might prefer a different mascara.


2.16.2013

Sephora Collection Outrageous Prisma Chrome Metallic Eyeshadow in Golden Peach #2 Review and Swatches

Sephora Collection Outrageous Prisma Chrome Metallic Eyeshadow in Golden Peach #2 Review and Swatches
Sephora Collection Outrageous Prisma Chrome Metallic Eyeshadow in Golden Peach #2 

Long time, no see, blog buddies! I'm in my last semester of grad school at the moment and, let me tell you, things are C-R-A-Z-Y! I'm really busy trying to complete my final projects (and get a full-time job), but I miss blogging on a regular basis and I feel bad for neglecting my readers. So, let me quickly tell you about a product that I am enjoying before I go back to working on an upcoming presentation :-p

Sephora Collection Outrageous Prisma Chrome Metallic Eyeshadow in Golden Peach #2 ($16) is part of a release of eight metallic, shimmery eyeshadows from the Sephora Collection. Each shadow is embossed with a crisscross, lattice-work design to catch the eye (and encourage impulse buys!). I succumbed to the allure of a pretty package and decided to try Sephora Collection Outrageous Prisma Chrome Metallic Eyeshadow in Golden Peach #2.

Sephora Collection Outrageous Prisma Chrome Metallic Eyeshadow in Golden Peach #2 Review and Swatches
Sephora Collection Outrageous Prisma Chrome Metallic Eyeshadow in Golden Peach #2 Swatch

I really love the color of Sephora Collection Outrageous Prisma Chrome Metallic Eyeshadow in Golden Peach #2. It's a mid-tone gold shade with subtle hints of peach that make it super wearable. I find it to be slightly more bronze-y in hue than the popular Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Half Baked.

Sephora Collection Outrageous Prisma Chrome Metallic Eyeshadow in Golden Peach #2 has lots of shimmer. Most of the shimmer is fairly fine, but there are larger pieces throughout for a more glittery effect. This eyeshadow generates a medium amount of fallout.

Sephora Collection Outrageous Prisma Chrome Metallic Eyeshadow in Golden Peach #2 has a very smooth texture, but you have to break through the embossed pattern on the pan first. I've noticed this problem with a few other embossed shadows. It seems like whatever process the manufacturers use to emboss a pattern and seal it in the pan makes the top layer of shadow a little hard and difficult to use. It gets better once you swipe your brush back and forth across it a few times to break up the top seal.

Sephora Collection Outrageous Prisma Chrome Metallic Eyeshadow in Golden Peach #2 Review and Swatches
Sephora Collection Outrageous Prisma Chrome Metallic Eyeshadow in Golden Peach #2

And here it is on my lids! I applied it dry, but I think it still gives a nice, bright shimmer effect. Plus, it lasts FOREVER. Even without primer, Sephora Collection Outrageous Prisma Chrome Metallic Eyeshadow in Golden Peach #2 doesn't begin to crease until about 7 hours after application.

Sephora Collection Outrageous Prisma Chrome Metallic Eyeshadow in Golden Peach #2 Review and Swatches
Sephora Collection Outrageous Prisma Chrome Metallic Eyeshadow in Golden Peach #2 

Overall, I think that Sephora Collection Outrageous Prisma Chrome Metallic Eyeshadow in Golden Peach #2 is a good value for the price. It's soft, well-pigmented and very long-lasting. Additionally, you get a lot more product compared to some more expensive eyeshadows -- this one offers 0.12 oz for $16, while others include only 0.05 oz for the same price or more. 

I recommend that you check out Sephora Collection Outrageous Prisma Chrome Metallic Eyeshadow! If gold's not your thing, maybe give the metallic taupe, silver, or purple a try!


2.08.2013

Stila Color Balm Lipstick in Vivienne Review and Swatches


Stila Color Balm Lipstick in Vivienne Review and Swatches
Stila Color Balm Lipstick in Vivienne

With their new Color Balm Lipstick ($22), Stila seems to be trying to take advantage of the wave of popularity brought on by tinted lip balm products such as the now-iconic Revlon Lip Butters, L'Oreal Colour Riche Balms, Maybelline Baby Lips, and Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments. Unfortunately for Stila, their new offering seems to be missing some of the key characteristics that made those other products attractive in the first place.

For example, the Revlon Lip Butters have a glossy, moisturizing texture that feels and looks great. Stila Color Balm Lipstick in Vivienne, on the other hand, feels fairly dry and not at all glossy. The shine is very minimal and the texture lacks that slick, smoothing feeling that I look for in a lip balm. I suppose some people might not want their balm to have a glossy finish, but why not buy Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm ($6.99) for a third of the price if that's the case?

Another drawback about this product is the packaging. Sure, the silver tube is pretty but the balm stick is quite wide. I don't really have thin lips, but I found the diameter of the balm to be too large for easy application. I feel at risk of going outside my lip line when I use Stila Color Balm Lipstick in Vivienne.

Stila Color Balm Lipstick in Vivienne Review and Swatches
Stila Color Balm Lipstick in Vivienne Swatch

On the bright side, Stila Color Balm Lipstick in Vivienne is an attractive, "my lips but better" shade that would flatter many complexions. It's a terracotta rose shade that I find to be neutral in tone. Vivienne is quite subtle and would be appropriate for daytime wear at school and work.

Stila Color Balm Lipstick in Vivienne Review and Swatches
Stila Color Balm Lipstick in Vivienne

Stila Color Balm Lipstick in Vivienne lasts about 3 hours on me. After it's gone, my lips don't really feel softer or more moisturized. They don't feel dry either, but a product marketed as a lip balm should be more nourishing. Additionally, Stila Color Balm Lipstick in Vivienne starts out with a strong peppermint scent that makes my lips tingle, but that sensation fades within one hour of wear.

Overall, I recommend that you pass on this product. It does not provide enough moisture or shine to be worth the $22 price tag. Besides, the drugstore offers several tinted lip balms that are superior to Stila Color Balm Lipstick in pretty much every way!


2.05.2013

Sponsored Post: Olay


Check out some of these featured posts from other fashion and beauty bloggers on the BlogHer Publishing Network! You can also view beauty how-tos in my newly added BlogHer TV widget, located in the right sidebar.

Which celebrity do you think rocks the best red carpet makeup looks?


2.04.2013

Tarte Call Of The Wild Amazonian Clay 8-Shadow Collector's Palette Review and Swatches

Tarte Call Of The Wild Amazonian Clay 8-Shadow Collector's Palette Review and Swatches
Tarte Call Of The Wild Amazonian Clay 8-Shadow Collector's Palette

I haven't tried a whole lot of Tarte's products. In fact, I think my experience has so far been limited to the Gifts from the Lipstick Tree Achiote Color Collection (Liked) and the Clean Slate Poreless 12-Hr Perfecting Primer (Disliked). I was eager to try something new to refine my opinion, so I got my hands on the Tarte Call Of The Wild Amazonian Clay 8-Shadow Collector's Palette ($36). After trying it out for about a week, my opinion of Tarte has improved! This palette is nothing revolutionary, but it's still a wonderful selection of basic shades for a sure-fire pretty look.

Tarte Call Of The Wild Amazonian Clay 8-Shadow Collector's Palette is a beautifully selected set of eight complementary shadows. It's got a nice mix of matte and shimmer finishes in shades that are subtle, on-trend and easy to wear. Plus, it's got a good-sized mirror and leopard print packaging that many ladies are sure to love.

Tarte Call Of The Wild Amazonian Clay 8-Shadow Collector's Palette Review and Swatches
Tarte Call Of The Wild Amazonian Clay 8-Shadow Collector's Palette

I love how the colors are organized in the palette. There are three main groupings of light, mid, and deep tones to make it easy for you to craft your look. 

Additionally, I love how the shades progress from warm to cool. The shadows on the far left are very bronze-y and warm, the middle shades are fairly neutral, and the shadows on the far right are quite cool-toned. This organization also helps you to coordinate looks. While shades on either end can be mixed with shades in the center of the palette, the layout makes it more obvious that you probably shouldn't use a shade from the far right with a shade from the far left!

Tarte Call Of The Wild Amazonian Clay 8-Shadow Collector's Palette Review and Swatches
Tarte Call Of The Wild Amazonian Clay 8-Shadow Collector's Palette

As for quality, thee shadows in Tarte Call Of The Wild Amazonian Clay 8-Shadow Collector's Palette are pretty nice. I found some of these shadows to be a little hard to the touch. The pigmentation is hit and miss. Some of the shadows have great color payoff while others are merely good.

All of the shades have adorable, jungle cat-inspired names too, which is pretty fun.

Tarte Call Of The Wild Amazonian Clay 8-Shadow Collector's Palette Swatches Meow, Jungle, Call, Instinct
Tarte Call Of The Wild Amazonian Clay 8-Shadow Collector's Palette Swatches
L-to-R:  Meow, Jungle, Call, Instinct

Unless otherwise stated, I experienced minimal fallout with these shadows. The shades in Tarte Call Of The Wild Amazonian Clay 8-Shadow Collector's Palette include:
  • Meow - shimmery bronzed gold. Good pigmentation.
  • Jungle - deep bronze shimmer. Good pigmentation.
  • Call - light peach with just a hint of sheen and shimmer. Decent pigmentation and some fallout.
  • Instinct - shimmery snowflake white. Decent pigmentation. 
  • Wild - deep burgundy bronze. Stellar pigmentation and softness. 
  • Lynx - greyish taupe matte. Great pigmentation.
  • Primal - light blue grey matte. Decent pigmentation.
  • Roar - navy blue grey matte. Good pigmentation.
Tarte Call Of The Wild Amazonian Clay 8-Shadow Collector's Palette Swatches Wild, Lynx, Primal, Roar
Tarte Call Of The Wild Amazonian Clay 8-Shadow Collector's Palette Swatches
L-to-R:  Wild, Lynx, Primal, Roar

For this look, I applied Call from lashline to browbone. I used Wild to contour in the outer third of my lid and in the crease. I also used Wild for some smudgy eyeliner along my upper and lower lashlines. I used Instinct to highlight my browbone and inner corner. I found all of the shadows in Tarte Call Of The Wild Amazonian Clay 8-Shadow Collector's Palette to be easy to blend.

Tarte Call Of The Wild Amazonian Clay 8-Shadow Collector's Palette Review and Swatches
Tarte Call Of The Wild Amazonian Clay 8-Shadow Collector's Palette

The lasting power is fantastic. The shadows in Tarte Call Of The Wild Palette lasts for 8 hours without primer! I have oily lids, so that is quite a feat. I wonder if that's due to the Amazonian Clay that Tarte's always hyping in their products?

All in all, I think the Tarte Call Of The Wild Amazonian Clay 8-Shadow Collector's Palette is a great buy for a beginner or someone in need of neutral, everyday shadows. The lasting power is great and the quality is good. 

It may seem expensive, but $36 for 8 shadows comes out to only $4.50 per shadow. Plus, the square pans hold 0.09 oz of shadow and the skinny rectangular pans hold 0.10 oz. This is double or even triple the amount that Urban Decay offers in their palettes. Sure, I find Urban Decay shades to have slightly better pigmentation, but you won't suffer with Tarte Call Of The Wild Amazonian Clay 8-Shadow Collector's Palette either. It's definitely a more cost-effective palette.

What do you think of Tarte Call Of The Wild Amazonian Clay 8-Shadow Collector's Palette? Have you tried Tarte's eyeshadows before?


1.31.2013

CoverGirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss in Always Naked 200 Review and Swatches

CoverGirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss, Always Naked 200 Review and Swatches
CoverGirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss in Always Naked 200

I wasn't expecting much, but it turns out that CoverGirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss in Always Naked 200 ($4.99) is a pretty amazing nail polish!

More than anything, CoverGirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss in Always Naked seems like an improved version of Revlon ColorStay Long Wear Nail Enamel. It has a similar texture (a little goopy) and opacity level (high). Most importantly, it also has similar wear time -- I found that CoverGirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss in Always Naked lasts for over a week even without a top coat. After 7 days, it still wasn't really chipping, but instead showed signs of wear and tear such as loss of shine and minor denting.

Where CoverGirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss in Always Naked differs from Revlon ColorStay Nail Enamel is dry time. While Revlon ColorStay Nail Enamel takes seemingly forever to dry, CoverGirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss has a much more average dry time. The result is better-looking nails because I have fewer opportunities to smudge them while they're still wet!

As for the color, Always Naked isn't my ideal neutral shade but it has grown on me quite a bit. First of all, I thought I was getting something entirely different based on the picture on Drugstore.com, I was expecting a mid-tone khaki. Instead, CoverGirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss in Always Naked is a light, taupe-y nude cream. After my initial disappointment, I find myself really enjoying the color. Always Naked is a polished (heh) and professional shade that makes my hands look long and slender.

Bottom Line: I found the quality of CoverGirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss in Always Naked to be a wonderful surprise. The coverage and dry time are good, and the wear time is great. I hope that this product becomes a hit at the drugstore!


1.26.2013

L'Oreal Visible Lift Colorful Lift Blush in Rose Gold Lift Review and Swatches

L'Oreal Visible Lift Colorful Lift Blush in Rose Gold Lift Review and Swatches
L'Oreal Visible Lift Colorful Lift Blush in Rose Gold Lift

As part of the brand's new "Visible Lift" line, L'Oreal has released L'Oreal Visible Lift Colorful Lift Blush in Rose Gold Lift ($12.95). While L'Oreal's Visible Lift products are ostensibly "age-reversing," you won't find any anti-aging ingredients here. Instead, this is simply a silky, lightweight blush infused with subtle shimmer to contour and illuminate your cheekbones.

L'Oreal Visible Lift Colorful Lift Blush in Rose Gold Lift has a very interesting texture. It's a powder, but it feels very creamy and almost springy to the touch. In fact, the texture reminds me very much of L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hr Eye Shadows, except without the fallout problems I encountered with those products. 

L'Oreal Visible Lift Colorful Lift Blush in Rose Gold Lift Review and Swatches
L'Oreal Visible Lift Colorful Lift Blush in Rose Gold Lift Swatch

L'Oreal Visible Lift Colorful Lift Blush in Rose Gold Lift is quite a lovely shade. It's a rosy pink with subtle gold shimmer that will flatter a wide variety of people. I see some peachy undertones in this blush, though far less than you find in blushes such as NARS Blush in Orgasm. Additionally, I think the shimmer in this blush is more refined than the gold glimmer of NARS Orgasm. It's not obvious at all once applied.

However, L'Oreal Visible Lift Colorful Lift Blush in Rose Gold Lift is not very pigmented. Unlike the strong pigmentation of the L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hr Eye Shadows, this blush is decidedly sheer. That's fine if you don't mind building up layers (and it certainly prevents over-application errors), but I sometimes get tired of having to return to the pan over and over to get enough color.

L'Oreal Visible Lift Colorful Lift Blush in Rose Gold Lift Review and Swatches
L'Oreal Visible Lift Colorful Lift Blush in Rose Gold Lift

The sheerness of this blush also affects its lasting power. Because it's so subtle, I noticed it fading away after 5-6 hours. Of course, that's not horrible wear time, but it could be better.

Honestly, all told I think that L'Oreal Visible Lift Colorful Lift Blush in Rose Gold Lift is overpriced for what you get. I think you can find better blushes for a similar price at the drugstore. For example, I am far more impressed by Revlon PhotoReady Cream Blush in Flushed (though the comparison is slightly off because it's a cream blush and L'Oreal's is a powder). On the other hand, L'Oreal Visible Lift Colorful Lift Blush in Rose Gold Lift might work well for you if you are looking for a sheer, subtle shade. 

What do you think of L'Oreal Visible Lift Colorful Lift Blush in Rose Gold Lift? Is it going on your wish list?


1.20.2013

Wet n Wild Fergie Nail Color in Make Them Boys Go Loco Review and Swatches

Wet n Wild Fergie Nail Color in Make Them Boys Go Loco Review and Swatches
Wet n Wild Fergie Nail Color in Make Them Boys Go Loco

Wet n Wild Fergie Nail Color in Make Them Boys Go Loco ($3.49) is a pretty good quality nail polish for a low price -- the dry time is fine, the coverage is decent, and it lasts for about four days -- but man, this shade is NOT for me!

Wet n Wild Fergie Nail Color in Make Them Boys Go Loco was developed in collaboration with the pop singer Fergie, currently of the Black Eyed Peas. I like Fergie well enough, but this black and chunky red glitter polish does not work for me whatsoever. It looks very tacky with the rest of my style. Perhaps it would look better on someone with more of a goth look?

Because of the chunky glitter, Wet n Wild Fergie Nail Color in Make Them Boys Go Loco has a fairly rough, uneven finish. This polish could definitely use a top coat to smooth it out and provide a glossy finish.

I personally didn't apply a top coat in order to more accurately assess this polish's wear time. I think it made a difference too, because I got most of my chips when rough edges from the glitter pieces got caught on something as I went about my day. This caused sections of the polish to peel off. On Day 4, huge swathes of polish started to peel off as I showered, did my hair, etc.

So Wet n Wild Fergie Nail Color in Make Them Boys Go Loco certainly is not a long wear polish, but I've encountered worse from more expensive brands. The Fergie line includes 23 shades, so I'd be willing to try another bottle in a more flattering shade. It's not amazing but I think it does the job for $3.49.

Have you tried Wet n Wild Nail Polish? How did it work for you?


1.18.2013

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Primer Skin Transformer Review

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Primer Skin Transformer Review
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Primer Skin Transformer 

The claims for what Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Primer Skin Transformer ($7.99-9.99) will do are pretty high:
  "Skin looks instantly transformed into a perfectly smooth canvas for ideal makeup application,"
  "Wrinkles, pores and imperfections appear to instantly vanish in just one step,"
  "Subtle pink tint for youthful glow."

Given these lofty expectations, how does this new drugstore face primer stack up?

After using it for about a week, I've come to the conclusion that Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Primer Skin Transformer is not terrible, but nothing to write home about.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Primer Skin Transformer is almost all dimethicone, which is a type of silicone. This means that this primer has a very slippery, smooth texture that fills in pores and imperfections somewhat. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Primer also includes stearyl heptanoate and pentaerythrityl tetraoctanoate, which are moisturizing ingredients, and silica silyate, which is another type of silicone. And that's pretty much it.

Given this short ingredient list, applying Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Primer Skin Transformer is pretty similar to using pure silicone on your face. The texture is slippery smooth but also feels greasy. The consistency reminds me of Tarte Clean Slate Poreless 12-Hr Perfecting Primer, except Maybelline's does not have the same balling issue as Tarte's. My pores and imperfections look reduced but definitely not "vanished." I also can't seem to detect the "pink tint for youthful glow" promised by the packaging.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Primer Skin Transformer helps my foundation go on smoothly, evenly, and last for a long time, so those are pluses. However, because this primer lacks any absorbent ingredients, my skin gets oily pretty quickly when I wear it.

I certainly love silicone-based primers for their ability to smooth skin and provide a great base for makeup. Nevertheless, I still like my primers to include other ingredients to improve performance. For example, my favorite primers all include absorbent ingredients to keep shine at bay. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Primer Skin Transformer just doesn't impress me that much.

On the other hand, Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Primer Skin Transformer is very similar to some high-end primers with basic ingredients, like Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. If you like Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer, Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Primer Skin Transformer might be a good way to get a similar product for much less money.

Although if you want to go really dirt-cheap, consider trying Monistat Anti-Chafing Gel ($5.99) as a foundation primer. I'm serious! The ingredients list is remarkably similar to both Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Primer Skin Transformer and Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. It sounds like a weird substance to put on your face, but it's basically silicone and Vitamin E, which is great for your skin. I haven't tried it yet, but I hear lots of buzz about its utility as a foundation primer in the makeup world. If you can get over the weirdness, it could be a good primer option if you're searching for a silicone-smooth makeup canvas.


1.15.2013

Drugstore Dupe: L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stains in 188 Coral Tattoo, 190 Endless Red, and 193 Eternally Nude Review and Swatches

L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stains in 188 Coral Tattoo, 190 Endless Red, and 193 Eternally Nude Review and Swatches
L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stains

Yes, yes, yes! The buzz you've heard is true: the brand new L'Oreal Colour Caress Wet Shine Stains ($7.99 - $9.99) are an extraordinarily good dupe of the wildly popular (and expensive) Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Vernis À Levres Glossy Stains ($32). Seeing as I wear YSL Glossy Stain in 12 Corail Fauve almost every day, I was eager to try this product out ASAP. I got my hands on L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stains in 188 Coral Tattoo, 190 Endless Red, and 193 Eternally Nude and was stunned by the amazing results.

Considering that L'Oreal owns YSL's Beauty division, it makes sense that the two companies would end up sharing formulas and the like. What's surprising is just how well L'Oreal has managed to duplicate YSL's stellar product at a third of the price without compromising quality.

L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stain in 188 Coral Tattoo, 190 Endless Red, and 193 Eternally Nude Review and Swatches
L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stains in 188 Coral Tattoo, 190 Endless Red, and 193 Eternally Nude

Like YSL's Glossy Stains, the L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stains are packaged in a sleek gold tube. However, while YSL's tubes feel sturdy and luxurious, these tubes feel quite a bit more flimsy and cheap. Packaging is probably one area where L'Oreal is cutting costs in order to offer a lower price.

To their credit, L'Oreal has still managed to deliver a great applicator. Once you untwist the tube, you find a high-quality doe foot wand. The angled wand and tapered tip allow for easy and precise application.

L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stain in 188 Coral Tattoo, 190 Endless Red, and 193 Eternally Nude Review and Swatches
L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stains

Of course, it's what inside that counts, and L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stains certainly deliver on that front. Like their high-end twin, L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stains offer rich-yet-sheer saturated color, a gel-like texture with a good dose of shine, and killer staying power.

Picture this: I applied L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stains in 193 Eternally Nude, worked out for 40 minutes, took a shower, and still had a lovely, even stain across my lips. The L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stains also survive admirably well through eating and drinking, though the gel finish transfers and fades over time.

Unlike other long-wearing lip products, L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stains do not dry out my lips. Instead, I find these stains to be very easy on the lips and rather moisturizing. 

L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stain in 188 Coral Tattoo, 190 Endless Red, and 193 Eternally Nude Review and Swatches
L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stain in 188 Coral Tattoo, 190 Endless Red, and 193 Eternally Nude Swatches

L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stain in 188 Coral Tattoo is more orange than coral. I was worried that it would be too bright, but the sheer nature of this product makes the shade so much more wearable. If you are scared of orange lip products, L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stain in 188 Coral Tattoo is a really easy way to experiment with the trend. This shade is a great way to warm up your face for a radiant, Spring-y look.

L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stain in 188 Coral Tattoo, 190 Endless Red, and 193 Eternally Nude Review and Swatches
L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stain in 188 Coral Tattoo Swatch

L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stain in 190 Endless Red is a beautiful deep red. It looks pretty neutral when swatched but pulls a little warm against my skin tone. Similar to Coral Tattoo, the sheer formula of Endless Red makes it a great way to experiment with red lips if you're shy about using bolder lipsticks. 

One thing to note is that 190 Endless Red looks magenta in the tube, but it doesn't really apply that way. However, as the stain fades over time some of the pink tones come out. 

L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stain in 188 Coral Tattoo, 190 Endless Red, and 193 Eternally Nude Review and Swatches
L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stain in 190 Endless Red Swatch

Like 190 Endess Red, L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stain in 193 Eternally Nude doesn't apply exactly how it looks in the tube. Instead of a pinky nude, this is more of a rusty peach shade. It looks more muted in person, especially if you apply lightly. I have been loving this shade for an everyday look that's perfect for both work and play.

L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stain in 188 Coral Tattoo, 190 Endless Red, and 193 Eternally Nude Review and Swatches
L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stain in 193 Eternally Nude Swatch

Have I sparked your interest yet? If these particular shades aren't your style, L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stains are available in a total of 12 colors, including pale pink, berry, and plum. 

I am so excited about this new product line! Seriously, the main difference between the L'Oreal and YSL formulas is the scent. YSL Glossy Stains have a strong rose scent (which I love), while the L'Oreal Wet Shine Stains have a milder, more generic odor. 

Additionally, the two product lines offer fairly different shade options. Sure, they both seem to hit some of the basics, but if you're looking for a dupe of a particular YSL shade you might not find it. For example, as stated above, I love YSL Glossy Stain in Corail Fauve. L'Oreal doesn't offer a similar shade at the moment (188 Coral Tattoo is very different), but I imagine they will be expanding their shade selection in the future. 

One additional word of advice: these products are listed under slightly different names at different stores. Here's a quick list to help you on your search:

    1. L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stain
    2. L'Oreal Colour Riche Caresse Aqua Lip Lacquer
    3. L'Oreal Colour Riche Caresse Wet Shine Stain

Bottom Line: I wholeheartedly recommend that you try this product! L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stains are an amazing dupe of Yves Saint Laurent Glossy Stains. Both offer beautiful color, shine, and lasting power, but only L'Oreal's product is available for less than $10.


      

1.10.2013

Sephora X The Prismatics Nail Polish in Hypnotic Review and Swatches

Sephora X The Prismatics Nail Polish in Hypnotic Swatch
Sephora X The Prismatics Nail Polish in Hypnotic

Sephora has introduced a new line of nail polishes called Sephora X, which includes nail-transforming top coats and special effects shades along with more traditional colors. Sounds cool, but I haven't had much luck with Sephora's nail polishes in the past (see: Sephora by OPI Nail Polish in Seeing Pink Elephants or Sephora + Pantone Universe Opulent Lacquer Trio in Gold). Still, I tried Sephora X The Prismatics Nail Polish in Hypnotic ($11.50) which is a silver purple metallic with flecks of gold glitter. The verdict? I love it!

Sephora X The Prismatics Nail Polish in Hypnotic is a very multidimensional metallic shade: I've never had a polish that looks purple one minute, then silver, green or gold the next. Additionally, it has good coverage and a thin, ultra fast-drying texture that really reminds me of high-quality nail polishes like Butter London or Julep. Plus, it has fabulous wear time -- here are my nails after wearing Sephora X The Prismatics Nail Polish in Hypnotic for an entire WEEK without a top coat:

Sephora X The Prismatics Nail Polish in Hypnotic Swatch
Sephora X The Prismatics Nail Polish in Hypnotic

Finally starting to chip after a full seven days. That's quite good performance, in my opinion.

Oddly enough, I haven't noticed Sephora promoting their new Sephora X nail polishes very much. I hope they get the word out soon, because these polishes are great! They're not super cheap, but Sephora X is still cheaper than Butter London and Julep while providing comparable quality. 

I hope you get a chance to check out Sephora X The Prismatics Nail Polish in Hypnotic for yourself!


1.05.2013

Jane Iredale PurePressed Eye Shadow Triple in Sundown Review and Swatches

Jane Iredale PurePressed Eye Shadow Triple in Sundown Swatches
Jane Iredale PurePressed Eye Shadow Triple in Sundown 

From Jane Iredale's Simply Magical Fall 2012 collection, Jane Iredale PurePressed Eye Shadow Triple in Sundown ($28) is a bewitching trio of sultry, smokey shades. Additionally, this eyeshadow is vegan, gluten-free, and not tested on animals. 

Jane Iredale PurePressed Eye Shadow Triple in Sundown contains three cool-toned, purple-tinted shadows. There's a pale lilac white, a dusty medium purple, and a dark, muted violet-y blue. All of the shades have a bit of shimmer, and the pale lilac has small bits of glitter as well. 

Jane Iredale PurePressed Eye Shadow Triple in Sundown Swatches
Jane Iredale PurePressed Eye Shadow Triple in Sundown Swatches

I think the colors were well selected for this trio: there's a highlight shade, a mid-tone, and a darker shade for contouring and lining. Easy peasy!

All of the shadows have a nice, silky texture, great blendability, and minimal fallout. The pigmentation is good but not particularly outstanding; thankfully, using primer ensures much better color payoff with these shadows. I found that these shades lasted about 4-5 hours without primer and all day with primer.

Jane Iredale PurePressed Eye Shadow Triple in Sundown Swatches
Jane Iredale PurePressed Eye Shadow Triple in Sundown

Here, you can see the medium purple on my lid and crease and the pale lilac on my browbone. I used the darkest shade to line but unfortunately you can't see it in this picture! Because they're not too bright, I think that the shades in Jane Iredale PurePressed Eye Shadow Triple in Sundown are a nice way to add color into an unobtrusive everyday look.

Overall, I think that Jane Iredale PurePressed Eye Shadow Triple in Sundown has a nice, silky formula and attractive shades. However, I'm somewhat wary of the $28 price tag because the pigmentation is not as good as some other, top-tier eyeshadows. On the other hand, this product has the benefit of being vegan and gluten-free, which I certainly feel is often worth a little extra expense.

What do you think of Jane Iredale PurePressed Eye Shadow Triple in Sundown? Do you think it's an eyeshadow trio that you'd like to add to your makeup arsenal?



Disclaimer: I received a sample of this product from the company for consideration. My review is based on an honest assessment of the product and was not preapproved by PR or brand representatives.

1.01.2013

OMG Nail Foil Strips in Floral (Red/Gold) Review


OMG Nail Foil Strips in Floral (Red/Gold) Review
OMG Nail Foil Strips in Floral (Red/Gold)

Maybe I'm just clumsy, but I am having so much trouble getting OMG Nail Foil Strips in Floral (Red/Gold) ($4.29) to work!

I've been wanting to try out nail stickers for awhile now. They seem so easy and mess-free, and stickers can provide intricate designs without the painstaking effort of traditional nail art. I was so excited when OMG Nail Strips contacted me to select one of their products to review.

OMG Nail Strips offers two main types of products: nail stickers and nail foils. I decided to try a set of nail foils and opted for a metallic red and gold filigree design. 

I was dazzled when the package arrived in the mail -- these foils certainly have a lovely pattern! OMG Nail Foil Strips in Floral (Red/Gold) include 16 strips consisting of 8 pairs ranging from smallest to largest. I have narrow fingers, so I applied the very smallest size to my pinkies and worked my way up.

Here's my nails after I first applied the foils:

OMG Nail Foil Strips in Floral (Red/Gold)
OMG Nail Foil Strips in Floral (Red/Gold)

OMG Nail Strips recommends that you file off the excess. I tried this on my right hand and ran into some trouble. It took a lot of pressure to get the excess to break off, and I ended up with jagged rough edges. I decided to use nail scissors to cut off the extra on my left hand. This produced better results, but my edges were still uneven. 

At this point, OMG Nail Foil Strips in Floral (Red/Gold) weren't sticking very well to my nails. The next step was to blast them with a blow dryer. This caused the strips to better adhere to my nails and made it easier to smooth out bumps and bubbles. However, I still struggled to get the strips to look anywhere near smooth overall.

OMG Nail Foil Strips in Floral (Red/Gold)
OMG Nail Foil Strips in Floral (Red/Gold)

So many creases! Likely as a result of the creased application, these nail foils didn't last very long. They started peeling around the edges within an hour and every last one was off by the end of the night.

Overall, OMG Nail Foil Strips in Floral (Red/Gold) were not successful on me. I'm not sure if I applied them poorly or if there are flaws in the design. I also wonder if I would have had better luck with a set of OMG's nail stickers instead of the foils. Too bad, because I love the beautiful design and wish I could get the foils to work.

Have you tried nail foils or stickers? Did you have better luck than me?
Disclaimer: I received a sample of this product from the company for consideration. My review is based on an honest assessment of the product and was not preapproved by PR or brand representatives.