professional beauty recommendations & comparison shopping

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

these are why I am excited for fall

I prefer the equinoxes to the solstices because they feel like the biggest most thrilling changes:  Summer to Fall, Winter to Spring.  I'm all about that, and we are gearing up for another one in a month. But already there are some sneak peaks, and I have to say I think Fall is a sexy season.  Here are some of the reasons I am looking forward to (sexy) Autumn.

You first know Fall is on the way when the September issues of fashion magazines come out.  They are as thick as can be although it's mostly ads.  They are meant to amp us up, and for me anyway they are successful.  It is taking me ages to get through Harper's Bazzaar because I want to savor every little bit.




Next I would have to say plum lips.  Even though I don't believe in colors being assigned to certain seasons I have to admit I am just not in the mood for darker shades in the warm months.  There are a zillion plums, berries, and vamps out there right now but I usually rely on my old favorites MAC Media, and Diva.
Warm and cozy scented candles.  Even though I love candles to death, I am not a huge candle burner in the Summer.  In Autumn I give myself permission to go crazy with them:  musky vanillas, falling leaves, patchouli blends, fig, etc.  My absolute fave is the generic version of Members Only MiN Union Club Limited Edition Candle which cost a fortune but was a special treat and was worth it because it is perhaps the best candle on earth.  The notes are incense, fir needles, leather, gentle smoke, cedar, moss, and exotic spices.  Mmmmm!



SWEATERS BOOTS & SCARVES!  Oh yeah!  In the Summer I look longing at these in my closet.  I hate Winter but these signify exciting changes for me anyway.  Plus there is something about them that is comforting and stylish and mod all at the same time.  (BTW I am a scarf freak:  I have tons and tons of pretty scarves).



Also, in general, I don't like to assign perfumes to certain times of year.  That said, because I think Fall is sexy, I like to break out what are fondly known in the perfume circles as "skanky" scents.  "Skanky" refers to animalic and deep dark musky notes.  They are not for every one but are one of my most preferred categories of perfume.  Miller Harris L'Air de Rein is a good starter skank.



WANT TO TRY:  Aura Candles in Muse (vanilla, orchid, tobacco flower, amber) and Karma (vanilla, cardamom, cayenne)  Not very expensive for an indie brand, they are in my shopping queue.



AND

Hunter Wellies.  I am sure I would get good use out of them because this year we are supposed to have really bad el nino weather which means non-stop rain.








pictures stolen from fragrantica, pinterest, and the MAC, Bazaar, MiN, Aura websites.




And for loads of tutorials and pretty things check out my NEW beauty-vixen youtube channel.
all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. I am not financially compensated for my reviews


Friday, August 21, 2015

products I regret buying (not in a mean way)

I have been binge-watching youtube beauty videos.  It's seriously my new obsession.  Lest you think I am exaggerating, ask my boyfriend.  He will confirm that I am ignoring him for my favorites beauty vloggers.  And as much as I like their "best of" posts, I like their "products I regret buying" too.  Probably because they are kind about it, or at least neutral.  No haters there.  So I thought I'd have some fun and do my own regrets list too.  Here goes.....




I just bought a Make Up Forever 120 Medium Powder Fan Brush and it was beaucoup bucks.  It is actually a sensational brush of the best quality, I just really regret spending that much money on it.  However in my defense I looked everywhere for a fan brush and it was the only one I could find.  I was desperate and I paid for it.

DuWop Lip Venom Lip Gloss in Tulip.  In general I love the formula of Lip Venom lip glosses - they make me look like Lolita.  However this red one appeared so pretty in the tube but was too sheer on my lips.  I bought it on line at dermstore.com and don't want to go through the rigamarole of return shipping.  Bummer.

Back when I had long damaged dried out hair I was looking for the perfect curl/wave enhancing product.  I adore the Macadamia hair products because they are so nourishing, so I bought their Taming Curl Cream thinking it would be not only effective but hydrating as well.  But it did nothing.  Zero.  Zip.  Zilch. Nada.  Maybe I am using it wrong.

Similarly for curl/wave enhancing products I tried the Deva Curl Frizz-Free Volumizing Foam.  It came highly recommended by the sales assistant but I only used it once.  It completely made my hair dry and a weird texture too.  No offense to Deva Curl but what a waste.

This one is no big deal because it was inexpensive, but still I resent the room Caress Body Wash, Daily Silk White Peach and Silky Orange Blossom takes up in my shower.  Someone named it a favorite of their's for having a classic old fashioned scent, but I don't really get that from it.  Disappointingly I get nothing.  So I keep it by the shower door with my foot scrubbing brush to cleanup my feet before I go to bed.  Not a total waste after all.

And last but not least was a HUGE expenditure.  L'Artisan Fou D'Ansinthe Perfume.  I thought it would be really cool to smell like absinthe.  And when I tried it on at Barney's along with a bunch of other perfumes it was the one that stood out and smelled the best.  However when I got it home it just didn't translate.  It is not for me at after all, and damn if I didn't buy a big bottle of it.


Do you have any regrets (no haters please)?


Picture stolen from fanpix.net


And for loads of tutorials and pretty things check out my NEW beauty-vixen youtube channel.
all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

comparing a bunch of face masks

There are a bazillion masks out there these days; mostly popular are the sheets masks, overnight masks, and even eye masks.  Some of those are truly great, it's fun to check them all out, especially the one application packs because you you can try all kinds of things without much cost or commitment.  However I remain an old fashioned girl and still like the archaic (lol) cream masks.  Compared to the sheet masks they are kind of a pain to remove, at least it's one extra step, but some of them are absolutely worth it.  Nevertheless I will review a bit of each.

Sephora Collection Rose (sheet) Mask - Moisturizing & Brightening is one of my faves lately.  It is a great hydrator and very gentle.  My skin was still plump with moisture the following day, which not every mask can claim to do.  I am looking forward to trying all the other masks in this line.  Fun!



Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant - Super Smoothing  Masque is the best way to exfoliate.  Even though it is made with alpha and beta hydroxy acids it is actually a more gentle way to exfoliate than a scrub.  Even my rosacea likes it.**  Plus it makes you super smooth (and I mean super!) and glowy. It completely gets rid of every speck of congestion and old skin.  I couldn't love it anymore if I tried.



Pierre F Probiotic Deep Cleansing Clay Mask with vitamin K and mangosteen is not harsh and drying like you might expect from a deep cleansing clay mask.  It is smoothing and hydrating as well as detoxing so is terrific for all types of skin,   It even gets rid of blackheads.  It's the best way to clean up your skin once a week.  Also I love the thick creamy texture, it has the feeling of being really good for your skin.  Occasionally you get get a break out from the purging action but they should clear up quickly.  I'd say it's in my top three masks.





Shisiedo White Lucent Power Brightening (sheet) Mask Power is the key word here - it killed my skin! But as I have told you a million times, my skin is extremely sensitive.  This just means it has some really active ingredients to get the job done. If you have normal to tough skin I bet you would love this because it does make your skin look like satin.  And I was talking to a Shiseido account executive the other day and she recommended it (with regular use) as one of the best ways to lighten up sun spots and other discoloration.  Shiseido is famous for their brightening products.




GlamGlow Power DualCleanse Treatment is a deep cleansing mud to oil mask.  It left me feeling firm, hydrated, tingly clean, and also soothed.  I actually felt like I had younger skin!  Even though it isn't advertised as anti-aging, we were trained at the store that it is infact anti-aging.  GlamGlow is well known for their series of masks and I find the this one best for my skin (note:  the blue one Thristymud did nothing for me).



I want to keep trying the series of TonyMoly I'm Real Face Mask Sheets - they are so cheap because you get two sheets in a pack so there's no reason not to.  Yesterday I used the moisturizing Aloe one and it was nicely hydrating.  It wasn't as fabulous as all the others I am talking about but it was certainly worth it for the price.  Plus I felt hip using Korean skincare.




One of the first sleep masks to come our way to the US is the Korres GreekYogurt Advanced Nourishing Sleeping Facial and it remains one of my regularly used masks.  It is incredibly soothing and hydrating and I wake up with all my deep chest wrinkles gone.  I haven't tried all that many other sleep masks but I would suggest you try one - who doesn't want to wake up looking younger?


I WANT TO TRY:  any and all Korean sheet masks!  Which ones do you like?







** I leave it on for only 5 minutes instead of the 10 they say to do.

For more about great masks read my marvelous masks


pictures stolen from Sephora, The Face Shop, and Peninsula Beauty websites.




And for loads of tutorials and pretty things check out my NEW beauty-vixen youtube channel.
all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. I am not financially compensated for my reviews


Thursday, August 13, 2015

stress relief products

A sure sign that I am stressed is that I get this recurring anxiety dream:
I am late for work and show up wearing something as far from the dress code as possible.  Because I am late I jump right in and start helping the customers find the right makeup and skin care.  A while goes by and I realize I haven't clocked in.  When I do go to clock in I can't get the machine to work - great!  I'm not getting paid and I'll get yelled at for my clothes.  Then the store gets really big and starts selling groceries as well, and I am anxious because I know nothing about groceries.   They have taken over the store and I can no longer find the skincare and makeup I need. Ugghhhhh!

Anyway, I suppose I should meditate.  Or go to the gym.  Or take a xanax, but none of that appeals to me so I go back and rely on my true love:  beauty products.  There are some terrific ones on the market that turn out to be great stress relievers.

In fact Aveda has a whole line of products called Stress-fix that have been proven to reduce anxiety.  There is a body oil, cleansing oil for the face, body creme, body lotion, bath salts and my fave, Stress-fix concentrate in a handy little rollon ball.  Aveda has accessed just the right combination of essential oils to help calm your nervous system, and it smells heavenly.  It smells all healthy and like it really works.  This line always gets 5 star reviews!



Every time I go by a display of Fresh products I liberally spray on the Rose Floral Toner.  I mean liberally! It is so soothing and refreshing.  And hydrating (but that is beside the point).  It instantly calms me down and feels rejuvenating too.  I know it is meant as skincare but I use it as stress relief.



LUSH makes all kinds of groovy bath bombs but if you are looking for relaxation the A French Kiss bomb with lavender, rosemary, and thyme is your best bet.  It's satisfyingly foamy and smells like just picked lavender.  Everyone knows lavender is relaxing.  It comes in a pretty swirly chocolate kiss shape and is a bit on the pricey side but can you really put a price on your mental health?




Jo Malone Grapefruit Candle smells exactly like a luxurious spa.  If you close your eyes you can imagine yourself on the massage table or on the facial bed.  I keep it on my bedside table and don't even need to burn it.  I just inhale and relax before sleep.  It's divine.


Perfumes can put you in any kind of mood you desire and Jennifer Lopez Glow never fails to comfort me.  It's light and fresh and smells like a fancy French milled bar of soap.  I don't usually go for that kind of perfume (tending more for the heavy ouds) but this turned out to be a delightful surprise.   Perfect for those days that start off with anxiety.  Plus it has a pretty bottle and is inexpensive as far as perfumes go!







I WANT TO TRY:  Phytomer Oligomer Pur Lyophilized Sea Water Bath.  Phytomer was one of the fore-runners of professional marine-based skincare in the USA, and it remains my favorite.  It's actually a French brand and nobody does spa like the French.  These particular bath salts are basically freeze-dried mineral-rich sea water and it is said that 96% of bathers experienced a feeling of well being.  Yeah, it's in a big jar but it is still insanely expensive.



Do you have any anxiety dreams and what are they like?  Or what do you do to relax?




photos stolen from the Dermstore, Aveda, LUSH, Fragrantica, Sephora, and Amazon websites




And for loads of tutorials and pretty things check out my NEW beauty-vixen youtube channel.
all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Monday, August 10, 2015

I'm just not feeling the Fall 2015 Collections

Fall is so my favorite season.  No wait it's Summer.  Or Spring......  well at least I know it's not Winter.

I am excited that Fall is on the way but what I am not thrilled about are the Fall makeup collections.  NARS is pretty if not original.  No one else turning me on.  Especially Chanel - Chanel is blah.  While most collections dedicated to fall are less than inspiring,  I do have some regular, non special-edition color palettes that I think would be exciting to wear this autumn.

The Lorac Pro Palette is a staple.  It is awesome and would work perfectly for Fall or any time of year.  But specifically this upcoming season I am feeling the Lorac Pro Matte Palette.  To me mattes are worth getting out of bed for, and these 8 colors are fantastic neutrals.  There are a couple cool colors, a couple warm colors, and several neutral colors.  There are a couple light colors, a couple dark colors, and several medium colors:  something for everyone.  Lorac is a top-notch, top quality brand, their eyeshadows are silky with lots of pigment.   The matte texture is what makes this palette special, and I am in love with the darker colors.





Urban Decay NAKED Smoky palette is all sultry colors.  It puts you sitting by a fire with your handsome hunny, big goblet of red wine in hand, while a chill is in the air.  It puts you in a microscopic mini LBD smoozing at a cocktail party in a high rise.  Or out to the opera in a (faux) fur stole.....  It really works for Fall.  While it is not limited edition, it is wildly popular so may be temporarily out of stock.  It comes with a little lookbook on how to do various looks.  Cool!





I adore Dior 5-Colour Eyeshadow mini palettes in any color combo. The consistency of the shadows is exquisite and they come in a very interesting array of colors.  Mostly though, they are a bit on the frosty side so that may not appeal to you.  Anyway, for Fall Trafalgar 826 is perfect.  This one is rusty red, burgundy brown, khaki gold, dusky peach, and creamy vanilla.  Kind of reminiscent of the color of Autumn leaves, don't you think? I am absolutely dying to buy it but the $62 dollar price tag has me hesitating.  If you can afford it though, it is worth it for the quality alone.




Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks are super popular now so she came out with even more new colors.  These are by far the best liquid lipsticks I have tried, for lasting power and range of stupendous colors.  You can't not have at least one.  The only tiny drawback for me is that I sometimes get some all over my face (I am like that, I am one of those people that gets food all over themselves when they eat) and because it is a stain it is hard to wipe off.  Clutsy me:-)





I WANT TO TRY:  Rituel De Fille spellbinding pigment makeup.  I just discovered this line and they regularly have a lots of Fall colors (burgundy etc.) I want to try everything of theirs!  They are cruelty free and 99% natural.  The story behind the line is unique - be sure to read their "about" page.








If you liked this post you might enjoy:
holiday makeup sets you need to buy for yourself (2013),
magnificent mascaras: which one is right for you?,
complexion makeup for luminous skin,



Pictures stolen from Google and the Sephora and Rituel De Fille websites.



And for loads of tutorials and pretty things check out my NEW beauty-vixen youtube channel.
all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. I am not financially compensated for my reviews


Saturday, August 8, 2015

fabulous drug store finds

One of my favorite things to do is watch youtube vloggers go over their drugstore beauty "hauls".  I love my high end stuff but I also know that CVS always has something great.  Who wouldn't want to save a buck here or there?  I am too broke right now to do an actual haul but I can tell you about fantastic things I have discovered over the years.  And they are....

NYX Intense Butter Gloss really is intense and not for the faint of heart.  It wears more like a shiny liquid lipstick that turns into a fairly long-lasting stain.  I bought once recently because I am just out of my forties I wanted to shake things up a bit.  And I love it! For a more sheer look try the regular Butter Gloss. (NYX is available only at the occasional CVS or Walgreens but Target and Ulta carry them regularly)



Jergens BB Body Perfecting Skin Cream totally smoothes things out, gives a nice hint of color, and makes your skin look super hydrated and glowy.  Perfect for those of us who are too lazy to do self-tanner.


Garnier Clean + Nourishing Cleansing Oil For Dry Skin takes ALL your makeup off!  Cleansing oils are the rage these days, and can get quite expensive, but it's because they clean so well and so gently.  In general they work on all skin types but this one says specifically for dry skin so I guess I'd stick to that.  This is the perfect dupe for all the fancy brands.




L'Oreal True Match Super Blendable Make Up is seriously the best foundation I have ever tried.  It has medium coverage but you can easily build it to full. There are tons of colors: warm, cool, and neutral.  Plus it covers up my rosacea.  Enough said.



NYX CC Cream comes in peach, lavender, and green to color correct your skin (green corrects redness, lavender sallowness, and peach brightens).  Because I am perpetually red, I tried the green and it cancelled out the red better than any green primer or cream has ever done.  Therefore I just use it as a primer - it is light enough and a little bit matte so I can layer foundation on top.  Of course you can wear them alone for a very light coverage.



Burt's Bees Facial Cleansing Toweletts are my go-to face wipes.  I like some of the more expensive brands as well, but this is truly just as good and way cheaper.  It is my favorite of all the drugstore brand wipes.  They get the job done.



Tresemme Expert Selection Runway Collection Make Waves Shaping Gel Cream is the best at boosting, shaping, and defining the waves in my hair. It is non-drying and I don't even have to blow dry.  It's not for everyone though, because when it defines the curl or wave by sticking the hairs together it can get a tad bit crunchy.  I find that satisfying, especially because it doesn't look crunchy, but it is really up to you.



Maybelline Volum' Express The Rocket Mascara gives good volume and curl, and on me doesn't flake or smudge.  I am always dying to try the latest drug store mascara to see if it matches my $30 Guerlain Maxi Lash yet I keep coming back to the Rocket.  It is that good.



RoC Daily Resurfacing Pads exfoliate gently.  My super sensitive skin can't handle them every day but a couple times a week is wonderful.  But you can use them everyday - they are an easy way to clean your face and leave you glowing.  Just wipe and swipe! 
"love them!" .




I WANT TO TRY:  the new make up line at Walgreens called Circa.  It has cool art deco packaging and was, thoughtfully and with care, put out by Eva Mendez.  I have't heard too many reviews on it yet but I'm a sucker for the packaging.  Have you tried this brand?





If you liked this post you may enjoy: 
the best drugstore buys
great very last minute gifts at the drugstore


Pictures stolen from Walgreens web site and Google images.



And for loads of tutorials and pretty things check out my NEW beauty-vixen youtube channel.
all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. I am not financially compensated for my reviews




Tuesday, August 4, 2015

what I just can't live without

I live right near the mall which is a very dangerous thing indeed. Because I am a beauty junkie I love trying new products all the time, but for now I am on a strict "no buy" phase.  And yet there are a few, in my book, products that beat out the competition every time, so I always replace them without trying something different.   They don't count for my "no buy" rule.  If I run out, these are necessary:


Klorane Oat Milk Dry Shampoo Non-aerosol:  the way it works is that it is in a plastic bottle with a little hole in the top and all you do is squeeze it until it sprays out.  This way you get a nice healthy dose of powder. It works better than any aerosols, and I have tried many many many of them.  The best thing about it is the contents last way longer than an aerosal - it never seems to run out.



Rita Hazen Root Concealer For Gray Coverage:  first I have to say you can use this on any color roots, not just gray.   The second thing I have to say is that it is a life saver.  My roots grow out in 2 1/2 weeks and we all know how expensive it is to get your hair done.  There is good selection of colors that spray on easily for a really natural look.


Bliss Ingrown eliminating Pads:  for me these are a must have.  Maybe more than anything on this list.

Short story:  when I was interviewing for a job at a beauty store they asked me what was my favorite product in their shop.  Without hesitancy I said Bliss Ingrown Eliminating pads!  I think my absolute certainty may have swung things in my favor because I got the job.

Anyway, there is nothing more uncomfortable than ingrown hairs, and waxing gives me horrific bumps so I am reduced to shaving.  And even shaving would give me bumps (though not as bad as waxing) except for regular application of these pads - they leave me smooth as silk and non-itchy  You can use them for waxing of course, just apply before and after your appointment.



Philosophy Shampoo, Shower gel, and Bubble Bath:  It's a blast in the shower!  I use it as a shower gel and also, which they don't mention, a fantastic shave gel.  There are a million different fabulous scents and I always go for the sweet ones like Frosted Animal Cracker.  That smell is not for everyone so I'd have to say Raspberry Sorbet is one of the most popular.



Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50+:  Color compacts are a dime a dozen now but this was the first Korean brand to show up in the United States.  And in my opinion is still the best.  The "foundation" goes on luxuriously, has wonderful, fairly light coverage.  Best of all makes your skin super smooth, takes years off your age, and glows like it is lit from within.  The only down side is that it is quite expensive :-(



Palmer's Coco Butter Formula Moisturizing Body Oil With Vitamin E:  because I have perpetually dry skin I always use a body oil in the shower after I turn the water off and before I dry myself.  I have tried all kinds of expensive luxury oils but Palmer's (from the drugstore) works the best.  I'm not in love with the smell but it is super moisturizing and lasts all day long, so it is totally worth it.



Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Deodorant:  is the only deodorant that manages to keep me dry.  It is named deodorant but is actually an anti-perspirant too.  It has a light powdery smell that doesn't interfere with my perfumes.  Most people would probably think it is too much to pay for an anti-perspirant but for me it is worth it to stay dry.  And despite the price it is actually extremely popular.



If you liked this post, my fave beauty & perfume blogger EauMG does a post once a month that she calls "empties".  It is sort of like this post because she does brief reviews on all the products she has used up that month, including samples, and says whether or not she would buy them again.  It is a lot of fun and I have discovered many interesting things from her.


What are your must haves?


Pictures stolen from Sephora, Bliss World, and Drugstore.com web sites.  And Google images.



And for loads of tutorials and pretty things check out my NEW beauty-vixen youtube channel.
all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. I am not financially compensated for my reviews