professional beauty recommendations & comparison shopping

Saturday, December 28, 2013

5 New Year's Eve essentials

There's still time to shop for an eye-popping product that'll make you stand out among all the glitz and glam that is New Year's Eve.  I recommend these essentials - try one or try them all....

SPARKLE:  A touch of shimmery highlighter on the cheek bones and brow bones is a subtle way to go, but for a special night out turn it up a notch and add some glitter to the equation.  Stila Magnificent Metals Foil Finish Eyeshadows are gorgeous sparkly eye shadows that embody both sass and class.  I can barely begin to describe how pretty these are.

SPRAY:  You're going to want your fancy do to last all night, so I suggest going with the hair spray that all the beauty editors rave about - L'Oreal Elnett Satin Hairspray Extra Strong Hold. This stuff locks things into place without creating a helmet head.  It's cheap, it's easy to find at any drug store, it is a must have.

SEDUCTIVE: You've got to use false eyelashes.  Even if you have to go to Sephora, buy a pair there and have the sales assistant apply them for you, it'll add a certain something that nothing else can match.  Of course lashes are available anywhere and they are all pretty good as long as you use DUO eyelash glue, but Make Up Forever makes the most dramatic party-girl lashes out there.

SULTRY:  Nothing else will do but a sultry fragrance: deep, smoky, oriental perfumes reminiscent of a Great Gatsby style New Years bash.  They will ensure you stand out and have people following your trail of scent.  Some of my faves in this category are:
Gucci Rush, Atelier Cologne Amber Nue, Jo Malone Black Vetyver Cafe Cologne, or Dior Pure Poison.

STAIN:  You'll definitely need a lip color that lasts through canap├ęs and champagne.  There are many fantastic lip stains out there but for NYE I prefer something with shine.  Bite Beauty Honey Lip Lacquer is a glossy lacquer that endures.  Not only that but it is made with all natural ingredients which are actually edible, and fortified with super antioxidants like resveratrol.  What could be better than totally natural AND totally glam?

So gear up, go out there, and buy yourself a little something to celebrate the new year with style.

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from the link's websites. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Friday, December 20, 2013

great last-minute gifts at the drugstore

It was a running joke when I was younger that my dad did all his Christmas shopping on Christmas eve.  At the drugstore.  Needless to say we all usually ended up disappointed.  But when I was at Walgreens the other day picking up a prescription there were a few gems that caught my eye, and I thought "Hey, why not"?  With a little thought the drugstore can provide heart-felt gifts, that people would actually like and appreciate.  All with out having to fight long lines and parking lot road rage.  Here are some ideas that I wouldn't mind receiving myself:

Olay  ProX Microdermabrasion Cleansing System is one of the best things you can do for your skin.  It gets rave reviews and from what I hear, everyone has been wanting to try it.

RoC Retinol Correction Max Wrinkle Resurfacing System is another "must have" skincare item.  RoC is one of my all time favorite drugstore brands and this skincare kit not only helps with wrinkles but reduces uneven skin tone (hyperpigmentation) as well.

You can actually find some good perfumes at the drug store.  Brands like Burberry, Gucci, and Dolce and Gabana.  It is also a cornucopia of celebrity fragrances - my favorite being Britney Spears Fantasy which by now has become a classic.

Everyone's feet need help at this time of year and the PedEgg is an amazing do-it-yourself pedicure tool that banishes dry calloused skin.  Pair it with a super nourishing foot cream like Burt's Bees Peppermint Foot Lotion and you have a luxurious gift indeed.

For a splurge Phillips Sonicare electric toothbrushes are the way to go.  My dentist is a huge fan of these because the sonic technology gives a much deeper clean helping to prevent cavities and gum decay.

e.l.f makes a variety of fun holiday makeup pallets.  They have great colors and are inexpensive - perfect for the makeup maven in your life.

So if you haven't finished your holiday shopping yet, just make a quick trip to CVS and you'll be all set!

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from the link's websites. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Monday, December 16, 2013

perfect Winter perfumes

As light catches the snow, sparkling on the bough, and spiced eggnog lures everyone round the fire, it is time to break out my Dior and Chanel.  Not clothes but perfumes.  Winter fragrances need to be lavish, luxuriant. They compliment brocades, furs, and ball gowns. With an abundance of such fragrances out there,  a few of my seasonal favorites are:

Tom Ford Black Orchid - you either love it or hate it.  At my work the camps are pretty much split down the middle, but I myself am firmly in the "love it" group.  This is an opulent oriental that actually contains the strange and rare black orchid note.  With additional notes of black current, black truffle, dark chocolate, and incense, it is completely unique.  A spritz of citrus and a whiff of white floral keep this perfume from being too dark.  Whether you end up loving it or hating it, you owe it to yourself to at least give it a try.

Chanel Cuir de Russie is definitely one I turn to when the weather gets cold.  The name means "Russian Leather" and the tang of fur pelts in a horse drawn sleigh is an image that immediately springs to mind.  Significant jasmine and rose add to the romance of it all, and like many Chanel perfumes it contains some powdery notes too.  Cuir was created in 1924 to celebrate the emancipation of women, allowing them to smoke in public with class.  And this is certainly one classy perfume!

Oud Ispahan from the Dior Collection Privee is a unisex fragrance reminiscent of the lands of Arabia.  In fact it smells very much like a few obscure perfumes I ordered directly from Kuwait.  Sexy.  Exotic.  Erotic.  Like many Middle Eastern perfumes it uses rose as a base note, along with sandalwood of course.  However the oud is the superstar here and if you aren't sure what oud is; think incense, think resin, think woods of the Far East.  But most of all with this perfume, think out side the box.

Versace Bright Crystal is the wild card.  Neither heavy nor rich, it embodies the effervescence of the season.  Most people probably think of this as a Summer fragrance but it reminds me of the holidays. To me it is tinkling silver bells, tinsel on the tree, and champagne flutes clinking in a toast.  Bright Crystal is a citrusy floral, even with some aquatic notes, but amber extracted from redwood anchors the fragrance preventing it from being too flighty.

Caron Bellodgia Eau de Parfum is a mostly floral (with my fave carnation) slightly oriental perfume, grounded with base notes of musk, clove, vanilla, and sandalwood.  Created in 1927 it carries the vibe of flappers and philosophers.  Despite being a formal fragrance, I still think it is girlishly pretty.   As always Caron is meant to be worn with elan, just like Dita Von Teese does.

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from the link's websites. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Friday, December 13, 2013

hot holiday gifts for men 2013

In one of the Sex and the City episodes Miranda says "I know how to please a man.  Just give away all of your power."  I love it!  But whether or whether not that is true I have a few ideas for holiday gifts that will definitely please the men in your life without you having to sacrifice anything.

Jack Black First Class Five Gift Set has their famous Beard Lube, All Over Wash, Lip Balm, Eye Balm, and Double Duty Face Moisturizer spf 20:  everything the man-in-the-know needs. The brand is a cult classic - he can't help but be pleased with these travel-size grooming products.

Outlaw Soaps claim to be Exciting Soaps for Adventurous People.  Their bacon soap would be a prime example - and I ask you, what guy doesn't love bacon?  Ok maybe a vegetarian.  But there are other manly scented soaps such as Hair of the Dog (whiskey), Blazing Saddles, or Fire In The Hole (campfire). 

Malin + Goetz Apothecary And Lab Candles come in minimalist, no-nonsense jars and testosterone-driven fragrances.  There is their ever popular dark rum.  But tobacco, cannabis, or vetiver would go over well too.  You might be surprised to know how many guys like candles - especially ones like these.

Kiehl's Energizing Men's Kit is another perfect way to go.  Men. Love. Kiehl's.  Maybe it's the spare packaging, simple ingredients, or effectiveness of their products but men always go for Kiehl's.  This kit of best-sellers includes:  facial scrub,  body scrub soap, eye cream, shave cream, and face moisturizer.

Atlantic Farms Hops Shampoo is so cool!  Everyone knows beer is made from hops, but along with coconut oil and essential oils, so it this hydrating shampoo.  It smells totally masculine and provides a little volume as well.

CREED Irish Tweed  is the quintessential masculine fragrance.  Made by a French perfume house that has been family owned for hundreds of years, this would appeal to the more discerning gentleman.  It is pricey, but even the after-shave moisturizer or deodorant would make a very special gift.

I think with any of these gifts the man in your life will be suitably impressed.

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from the link's websites. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Sunday, December 8, 2013

super star stocking stuffers

This year my family doesn't have a whole lot of money for presents so we decided to just do stockings.  Still, we didn't want for it to be all chocolate oranges and Crest Whitening Strips.  I think those are fine but there should be one special item that pulls it all together.  So I have compiled a list of stocking stuffers that will wow them.  If you are looking to put together a fabulous stocking that shines bright as the North star, read on.....

Bobbi Brown Every Day Pretty Lip & Eye Pallet is the perfect all-in-one purse size pallet.  With three eye shadows, two lip colors, and one super shiny lip gloss there are neutral colors that flatter most every one.

The Beauty Blender foundation blending sponge is magic.  The impostors can't even touch it - everyone should try it at least once in their life.  The Beauty Blender Travel Kit is a great way to introduce the blender, and their special cleanser is important because the reusable sponge really needs the specific cleanser to get it perfectly clean.

Origins Ginger Burst Savory Shower Gel is a magnificent morning pick-me-up.  The invigorating and uplifting gel smells like real ginger.  With all the natural ingredients you can't go wrong.

Dyptique Mini Pine Bark Candle will certainly set the holiday mood.  If you are not familiar, Dytique is a French luxury brand that makes candles to die for.  This mini smells exactly like pine - a winter scent I miss out here in California.

e.l.f. Essential 9 Piece Glossy Lip Gloss Cube is an adorable set of super pretty lip glosses. Despite being incredibly cheap it is abundantly abundant!  Divide it up and put two or three in each stocking.  Buy it ASAP,  it is limited edition and I suspect it will sell out fast.

Conair Flirty Girl Bling Cushion Brush is also a great bargain. There are plenty of rhinestones because everyone needs a little bling on the holidays.  Gentle on the hair, it comes in three different colors:  black, pink, and purple.

Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer is opulence all the way.  The large, uber stylish packaging makes a one-of-a-kind gift, and the colors are exquisite. 

LUSH Solid Perfume  is insanely popular with its unique scents.  The ideal pocket-size treat, you don't have to spend a whole lot of money on a perfume that will last.  My faves are:  Lust, The Smell of Weather Turning, and B Scent.

So stock up, be merry, and happy shopping!

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from the link's websites. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Sunday, November 24, 2013

high-tech beauty tools to put on your holiday wish list

A lot of men are difficult to shop for.  It seems that all they really want are expensive electronic gadgets.  Well now it is time to put the shoe on the other foot and request high-tech electrical beauty tools for yourself. I've got some wonderful beautifying, pampering, grooming, smoothing items to put on your wish list this year.  This is the season of giving after all, so let someone give to you!  (That may sound a tad bit selfish but when else can you make these requests if not now?)  So here goes.....

T3 Voluminous Hot Roller Set gives gorgeous curls a la Veronica Lake.  Not only do these heat up in a mere three minutes but they are made with tourmaline technology so they are gentle on the hair and give great shine.  If you think curlers are old fashioned think again - this set is extremely popular.  Also included are some styling instructions and additional techniques are on their YouTube channel

Clairsonic Pedi Foot Transformation Set gives celebrity soft feet.  The sonic technology takes dry, cracked, calloused feet and transforms them into flawlessly smooth skin.  This limited edition set includes all the accompanying products to give you the feet you so desire.  There is a cleansing scrub, a deep penetrating moisturizer, an essential foot peel made of glycolic acid, a buffing brush and a smoothing disk.  What more could a girl ask for?!  You might want to move fast on this though, they are selling like hotcakes.

GLO Brilliant Teeth Whitening Device is one of the most advanced ways of brightening your teeth at home.   It combines white optic technology (a lighted mouthpiece) and a peroxide gel to give optimum results with little to no sensitivity.  It is a simple to use system that can brighten your teeth 5-8 shades.  And you only need to use it twice a year!  That's what I call low maintenance.   Buy an extra mouth piece and more than one person can get use out of it.

Bliss Trim and Bare It is a girl's best friend.  This at-home shaver comes with a variety of styling heads to meet a variety of needs.  There is the facial trimmer, the precision trimmer for a ultra close shave in tight spots, and the basic bikini groomer that is recommended to use in between professional waxes to keep things nice and tidy.  But I'll let you in on a little secret:  for those of us who are wax-phobic you can (carefully!) use the trimmer without any of it's attachments to get something that fairly resembles a wax job.  Yes, even a Brazilian.

all products reviewed were either bought or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from Sephora's website. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Saturday, October 26, 2013

holiday make up sets you need to buy for yourself

Before you read any further let me say that you need to buy these NOW.  Don't wait until December because the best sets sell out fast and they are limited edition only.   And while holiday sets make wonderful gifts for others, they are a great value and make perfect investments for yourself.  Another important thing about them is that they often offer a variety of smaller sized products so that you can try a bit of everything.  Fun fun fun!

There are a bazillion choices out there right now but I am going to focus on the most beautiful and most exciting make up kits.  So......

Stila Color Me Glossy Lip Glaze Set is a cornucopia of full sized lip glosses in colors that are flattering for everyone.  Stila lip glazes have been a perpetual favorite for years, and with nine glosses for only $28 the cost is fantastic.  After all, a girl can never have too many lip glosses.

The Tarte of Giving Collectors Set & Travel Bag is an all-inclusive set housed in a gorgeous travel-friendly cosmetic case.  There is a significant assortment of day to night eyeshadows, 8 mini lip glosses, a little skincare, and their famous mascara and Amazonian clay blush.  Tarte is a natural, cruelty free, gluten free makeup line that is beneficial for your skin.  What's not to love?

Korres A Flawless Complexion:  Quercetin & Oak Essentials is another natural brand that is gentle on the skin and contains anti-aging ingredients as well.  The set includes a full sized anti-aging concealer and foundation, and a travel size primer.  Not only is it a fantastic deal but the foundation is one of my favorites out there - totally gorgeous and smooth.  

Formula X For Sephora The Twenty Two has a wide array of colors and special effects in a long-wearing, highly pigmented, paraben free formula.  Just like with lips glosses, a girl can never have too many nail polishes.  I am particularly loving the color "white matter",  an opaque bright white polish.

MAC Stroke of Midnight Smokey Eye Brush Kit has everything you need to achieve that much coveted sultry eye.  There are five high quality, last-forever brushes that come in a mod little pouch to keep them organized.  Bottom line:  who doesn't love MAC?

Smashbox Wonder Vision Eye Set is absolutely stunning!  The six color eye shadow palette comes in a choice of three different color combos, and also includes a mascara, black eye liner pencil, and cards with application instructions.  I can not emphasize how pretty these are.  Enough said.

Isn't everything enticing?  All I can say is get a move on, get out there, and happy shopping.

all products reviewed were either bought or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from the link's website. I am not financially compensated for my reviews