Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Honey, Revisited

I've written before of my love of honey as a cleanser and mask, but recently bought some raw honey to use instead, and would like to talk about it today!  If you haven't read my original post, it's a good place to start.  Otherwise, read on!

Tip Tuesday: Nail Care

For a summary of Tip Tuesday, see here.

Nails have been on my mind lately, since I've been testing and wearing a lot of nail polish.  My nails are generally weak, peel-prone, and soft, and my cuticles are often dry and I get lots of hangnails.  This post is as much for my benefit as for yours, though I certainly hope you find it helpful!  (Psst: leave a comment here or on the TT summary page about what other topics you'd like to see covered!)

Prestige Total Intensity Eyeliner in Intense Olive and Strong Slate Review and Swatches

I went to Freddy's to pick up a couple more Essence items (ended up buying only one, because they didn't have the other! sadface) and was simply ecstatic to see that they were having a BOGO 1/2 on Prestige.  It was just the excuse I needed to pick up a couple more eyeliners, one in grey and one in olive green.  I regret to inform that they were not both as awesome as the first Total Intensity eyeliner I tried...
Strong Slate (left) and Intense Olive (right)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Wet N Wild Megalast Retractable Eyeliner in Charcoal Review and Swatches

Rite Aid had 40% off all Wet N Wild last week, and I happened to be in the area and went in.  There wasn't anything in particular on my to-buy list from WNW, but my mother was grocery shopping and I figured it would be more fun to look at makeup than go with her.  I ended up picking up 3 things: two Wild Shine lip lacquers (reviews to come) and the Megalast eyeliner in charcoal, since grey is the one major color I didn't yet have in my collection.  Sadly, this eyeliner will not be filling that gap, and it's going back as soon as I can make my way back over there.

Tip Tuesdays and Recommendation Thursdays

I'm going to try out having several weekly features, because that will give me the structure and routine I love while also making sure that I cover a wide variety of topics and hopefully serve your needs better!

Tuesdays will be the temporal home for makeup and beauty tips and tutorials, but for it to work, I need your input!  (Yes, I'm asking for even more comments, but I promise, it will be worth it!)  I ran a post on eyebrow maintenance and grooming awhile ago at the suggestion of a friend, and my hope is to do other features like that on Tuesdays.  You can ask for any kind of help or guidance for any kind of makeup or beauty problems or questions you have, and I will do my best to answer.  Some possibilities: how to apply eyeshadow, how to make lipstick last longer, basics of hair color, how to do facial contouring, what to do for healthy nails and cuticles, how to choose a lipstick color, etc., etc.  There are no limits.  Ask anything, and I will do my best to answer!

Recommendation Thursdays (because "R" is the abbreviation for Thursday on the UO class schedules) will be a chance for me to suggest products, and ask for suggestions in return.  While Tip Tuesday will focus on how to do beauty things, Recommendation Thursday will emphasize what to use.  Since I haven't actually tried that many products, contrary to what my plentiful reviews would suggest, I'll be relying a lot on other sites to help make my recommendations (Makeup Alley, Sephora, Total Beauty, and other beauty blogs).  Some things you could ask for recommendations for: red lipstick, finishing powder, lip balm, foundation for dry skin, shampoo for fine hair, nail treatment to strengthen nails, volumizing mascara, cream blush, etc.  The possibilities are pretty much endless.  I'll also ask you what suggestions you have for a given product category, because I love hearing what other people use and why they like it!

I'm hoping these two features will allow me to put my mad researching skills to good use, and result in you having a better grasp on beauty-related things and being able to make informed purchasing decisions.

To let me know what topics you'd like to see covered, you can:
Leave comments on this post (a link here is posted under "basics", in the left sidebar)
Leave comments on future Tip Tuesday/Recommendation Thursday posts
Shoot me an email at beyondjustbeauty (at) gmail (dot) com

So!  What do you want to know more about?  Comments are love (and help me make the blog better for you)!

Gingerbread Oven Pancake with Fresh Peaches and Nectarines

Local nectarines and peaches are finally in season, so my mom made this delicious recipe to take advantage of them (there are definite advantages to living at home!).  The fruit lightens the spice of the gingerbread and makes it less Christmas-y and more summery.  Truly delicious, and a treat for all the senses!
pancake shortly after being removed from the oven; the poufy soufléness has gone down a little here

Bloglove 4.0

Karla, of KarlaSugar, is amazing.  She swatches entire lines and collections and shares the pretty pictures with the intertubes.  She's got great arms for swatching, too––no bright blue veins like yours truly.  She does (almost?) entirely high-end products, so she's a great resource if you're placing an online order and want to give yourself as good a chance as possible at dropping a chunk of change on a color you actually like.  She's also funny and a very good writer, and her color descriptions are spot-on.  You should really be browsing her site instead of reading this paragraph.  Go!  Now!  Sheesh.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chanel Chance Eau Tendre Review and Pictures

I've written before of my love for Chanel Chance eau fraiche, still one of my favoritest fragrances.  I was finally down to the very dregs of it a few weeks ago (spraying air as often as perfume, it was sad), but I wasn't sure I wanted to order it again (again).  I have many memories associated with that perfume, and I felt it was time to find a new perfume to have feelings about.  This was, frankly, easier said than done.  I wanted something that I loved, but I also wanted something cheaper than the Chanel.  From the title of this post, you should realize I only succeeded on one count.

I sniffed my way through Macy's fragrance counters, but had yet to find anything that really captured my heart.  I liked Clinique Happy Heart on my wrist, but not down my cleavage (which is where I wear perfume, because that way I can smell it all the time, yummy), where it seemed too soapy, and none of the more expensive perfumes caught my interest enough to justify the price.  Then, a helpful salesman ("helpful" in the overeager, pressuring sense) asked if I'd tried Chance's newest incarnation, eau tendre.  I realized I had not, and asked him to spray it on my wrist.  I proceeded to stand in the aisle, obsessively sniffing my wrist and making pleased noises.  It was disturbing, for everyone involved.  I knew I had found It, the One Perfume to Rule Them All.  One Sephora order later, and I had my precious.  Having worn it for the past week+ has not diminished my love for it in the least, so I figured it was time to share the joy with y'all.

Urban Decay Lip Junkie Lipgloss in Midnight Cowboy Review and Swatches

Out of all the free codes for stuff at Sephora, the one that appealed to me the most was a free mini Urban Decay lipgloss, even though it's a sparkly nude (not my normal choice).  But order it I did, and can now share my thoughts with you.  Oh joy!
Midnight Cowboy swatched on arm in sunlight, unblended

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Deeeep Conditioner Review and Pictures

My hair tangles like mad in the shower.  By which I mean, it tangles like I've made it really mad and it wants to get me back.  It's a problem.  On days when this is particularly irksome, or when my hair has been feeling dry and grouchy, I reach for Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Deeeep Conditioner, that most beloved of cheap deep conditioners.
It comes in a funky squeeze tube with a strange leak-proof opening (picture below because I suck at descriptions).  It's very creamy and emollient, but not too thick, so it spreads really easily through my tangles.
It smells like coconut, which I love, but may be irritating if you don't like fragranced products.  I only need a little bit to detangle my whole head (about twice the amount pictured above, which for me is a little bit!), and I let it sit in my hair while I do my stuff.  It leaves a light film of conditioner on after being rinsed off, which works wonderfully for preventing frizz.  I am also pleased to report that it doesn't weigh my hair down (unless I accidentally use too much), and my curls don't suffer for the deep treatment.  My mother likes it too, and says it helps fight off frizz on the days she doesn't wash her hair as well (I do mine everyday, and yes, I know I shouldn't, but that's one thing I refuse to mess with right now).  It's $2.99 at Target (marginally more at other drugstores) for 8 oz, which is less than the typical conditioner, but this is no "typical" conditioner.  I find I go through a bottle of this at the same rate as I go through a bottle of normal conditioner (which is 50% larger) because I need to use so much less for full conditioning effect.  I have used this as my only conditioner, and it was not too heavy for everyday use, but if you don't have really uncooperative hair like me, you may want to only use it a couple of times a week.
~$3 for 8 oz, available at drugstores

Have you tried 3 Minute Miracle?  What did you think?

theBalm Frat Boy Blush/Eyeshadow Review and Swatches

I picked this up at TJ Maxx at less than half the retail price (score!), because I'd heard good things about it from Temptalia and the Muse, and because I love the other blushes I have from theBalm (Hot Mama and Down Boy).  It's a nearly-matte peachy-pink-apricot with exquisitely smooth texture and rich pigmentation.
theBalm Frat Boy

theBalm Frat Boy

Input Needed!

In the interests of better fulfilling your needs and interests, I am turning to you for input!  What would you like to see talked about on the blog?  More reviews, and if so, what kind (makeup, skincare, diy, face, body, nails, etc.)?  More informational posts (like the one on brow maintenance)?  Beauty tips?  Recommendations?  Blogloves?  Pictures of sugar gliders?  Food?  Anything and everything is open to consideration, and your comments are needed for this to work.  So have at it!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sinful Colors Nail Polish in Hottie Review and Swatches

Next in our series on Sinful's glitter polishes is the blue Hottie.  I'd seen swatches of it on Shimmer Kisser and thought it looked gorgeous, so I decided to pick it up when they were half-off.  I've come to realize that I don't actually like blue fingernail polish, so this is one that will have to be relegated to my toes, but I have some (rather messy) finger swatches for you, since I didn't know I didn't like blue on my fingers until after I'd gotten done painting them.  Live and learn, I suppose!

The same problems with formula plague Hottie as did Nail Junkie and Pink Sparkle; it's thick and goopy, and trying to do thin layers is impossible.  It has a similar mix of sparkle as the other two, with a combination of small sparklies and bigger flakies.
One coat Hottie over Scotch tape
2 coats Hottie over Scotch tape
1 coat Hottie over Wet N Wild Black Creme on Scotch tape
2 coats Hottie over Black Creme on Scotch tape
2 coats Hottie on nails under fluorescent inside light (I was doing my nails at night); I'm sorry for the messy application, but I wasn't willing to wear it long enough to fix it
3 coats Hottie on nails (application is even worse!)

It's nice, but it's not love for me.  If you like blue, though, this might be right up your alley!  See my review of Nail Junkie for application and removal issues.

$1.99 for 0.50 oz, available at drugstores

Quality: 8
Effectiveness: 5
Ease of Use: 3
Senses: 4
Pigmentation: 4.25 (one coat is plenty pigmented if you're layering, but it takes 3+ coats if worn alone)
Duration: 3.75 (I'm assuming it's the same as the other Sinfuls I've tried)
Consistency: 3 (thick and unwieldy, even worse than the others)
Price: 4.5
Value: 5 (even though it's not a color I love, I won't dock points for here, because I must learn to be more objective)
Grade: B-

What do you think of Hottie?

Meow Cosmetics Blush in Spark (from the Firefly Collection) Review and Swatches

Hark!  It's the sound of the last of my Meow blushes!  Described by Meow as a "peach-pink", I would say it's a sheer, golden peach.  Here, my thoughts and some swatches.
Applied with q-tip in sunlight

Prestige Total Intensity Eyeliner in Fierce Blue Review and Swatches

I like dark blue eyeliner (that's the redeeming feature of Night Owl), and I like the convenience of pencils.  I'd heard many a great thing about Prestige Total Intensity eyeliner, not least of which is that it's a drugstore dupe for Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliners, and have long been wanting to try it.  Seeing that Liz from Cafe Makeup (the luxury makeup blog to end all luxury makeup blogs) wears it (in black, but still) really made me want to try it, and Rite Aid's promotion was all the incentive I needed.  I know you're just dying to know how it compares to UD and Prestige Waterproof pencils...
Prestige Total Intensity Eyeliner in Fierce Blue

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wet N Wild Wild Shine Nail Polish in Night Prowl Review and Swatches

I saw this polish swatched by Scrangie, and wanted it so much.  I convinced myself to hold off for a few weeks, since it's not a very summery color, and it's not limited edition so I knew it wasn't going anywhere, but then Rite Aid had their sale where the already-cheap $0.99 polishes were knocked down to $0.69, and I decided to pick it up.  And then, a couple weeks later, decided to write that run-on sentence.  Funny how things happen.

Anyways.  I painted my toes with it a few days ago, and will now share my thoughts!
Wet N Wild Night Prowl in sunlight

Adzuki (Azuki) Beans Exfoliator Review and Tragic Tale

For those of you who have read any of my skincare posts, you know that my skin and I don't always get along (understatement!).  In spite of its tendency to break out at the slightest anything, I have continued my dogged pursuit of diy skincare treatments in an effort to tame it without harsh chemicals.  I've had some successes (honey, sea salt, yogurt masks), and some failures (cucumber toner, green tea [which, in spite of my excitement at the time, has since broken me out]).  None of my reactions, good or bad, have been nearly so impressively epic as the effect adzuki beans had.  Brace yourselves.
raw adzuki beans, image from here

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sinful Colors Nail Polish in Pink Sparkle Review and Swatches (very pic heavy!)

Next up for Sinful sparkles: Pink Sparkle.  It's exactly what it sounds like, you'll be shocked to hear.
Pink Sparkle in sunlight

Essence All Eyes on Me Multi-Effect Mascara in Soft Black Review and Swatches

I've spoken before of my dislike of mascara, but I've recently found myself wishing I had a cheap, easy mascara for those rare times when I want to do a full eye and look super done-up.  So what's a beauty-addicted blogger to do?  Research and purchase, of course!  My obsession with Essence is still on-going, so I started my research with them.  Imagine my delight when I read positive reviews for their super-cheap $1.99 mascara!  At that price point, I don't even feeling bad knowing most of it will go bad before I get around to using it.  I've worn it some the past few days so I could let you all know if this is the answer to all your unaired mascara prayers, and hark!  Here are my thoughts.


Fresh-picked blackberries from up the road. Eating them with homemade granola. Yum!

CoverGirl NatureLuxe Gloss Balm with SPF 15 in Hibiscus and Pinot Review and Swatches

CoverGirl recently came out with a new "natural" makeup line, with ~90% naturally-based ingredients.  The only product that held any appeal for me was the gloss balm, as it seemed like a great candidate for an MLBB.  Unfortunately, full-price it's $7.50 (from Rite Aid, $6.50 from Walmart/Target), which, as we learned from the Prestige Color Persist lipstick, is more than I want to pay (especially for a balm!).  Happily, though, Rite Aid had a BOGO 1/2 off for CoverGirl last week, and I had a $5 off 2 CG items, so I was able to get two of them for $6.25 total (score!).  I got two colors: Hibiscus, a cool pink, and Pinot, a shimmery brown-red.  The latter was intended for my mother (a warm redhead), and the former for both of us; what did we think?
Sorry for the bluriness, my camera thought the brick was more important than the lipsticks; Pinot on the left, Hibiscus on the right

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

15 Weird Things About Me

The lovely Nouveau Cheap posted this and tagged "everyone", and I figured I counted as a member of that group, so why not!

What's a nickname only your family calls you?
I guess the closest thing to a consistent, family-only nickname is Amers, though not everyone calls me that (my mother's name of choice is "sweet pea"), and I'm sure there are non-family members who have used that, too.

What's a weird habit of yours?
I have a lot of weird habits, but I guess the one most applicable to this blog is that I rub my lips together a lot, mostly to ensure that whatever I'm wearing is equally spread (and out of annoyance when I've got nothing on).  I also always set my alarm for a time that is a mathematical equation (so, 8:35 instead of 8:30, since 8-3=5, or 3:41, since 3-4=-1, or 2:22, since 2=2=2).

Do you have any weird phobias?
I hate fire, but I don't think that's too weird.

Meet Matt(e) Palette at TJ Maxx

I'd heard from other bloggers that TJ Maxx had a lot of makeup from theBalm significantly discouned as well as items from their new skincare line, so I went there yesterday to peruse the choices.  They had the new matte palette, Meet Matt(e), for $17 (full price $34.50), which I snapped a picture of:

While tempted, I ultimately decided that I wouldn't get much use out of many of the shades (several blues and greens) and I passed.  They also had Bahama Mama, a matte bronzer ($12, normally $21); Betty-Lou Manizer, a shimmery bronzer ($13, normally $24; I was sorely tempted to get this, because the texture was phenomenal, but decided that I don't wear shimmery bronzer on any kind of regular basis, so it wouldn't be worth it, even at the discounted price); Mary-Lou Manizer, an ivory gold highlighter (reviewed here, $13, normally $24); Sexy Mama, an anti-shine powder (normally $19, don't remember exactly what it was; considered getting it, but realized my Meow Top Cat finishing powder is truly HG and I should save my dinero); Down Boy, a matte pink blush (reviewed here, $10, normally $21); Frat Boy, a matte peachy-pink blush ($10, normally $21; this is the only thing I bought, and I will be reviewing it soon!); Cabana Boy, a pink dusty rose blush ($10, normally $21); and several Overshadows (loose mineral powders).  They sadly didn't have Hot Mama, my favoritest blush, or any lip products (the one area of theBalm I feel I really need to explore), which was good for my wallet.  If you have a TJ Maxx nearby (or Marshalls, since I heard they may have it, too) and want to try out some of theBalm's products, this is your chance to get them on the cheap!

While at TJ's, I spent a fair amount of time looking at their skincare products, particularly face wash, and using the handy barcode scanner on my new smartphone (I finally caved, and I am so in love...I also got it for free, since my 2 years were up and Best Buy was having a sale!).  I felt a little sketch standing under the fluorescent lights, taking pictures of boxes, and I'm pretty sure there were several people there who thought I was some kind of delinquent.  On the upside, it was awesome being able to check up on reviews of stuff before buying!  Yaaay technology.

Okay that's all for now.  This was supposed to just be a quick little post, but I seem to be incapable of that...next time I'll try posting it from my phone, because I would get fed up with swyping the keyboard long before I could ramble this much.

Anywhos!  Have you seen theBalm at your local TJ Maxx?  Would you want to make the trip to check it out?

Suave Captivating Curls Mousse Review and Pictures

I have longish, curly, tangle-prone hair, that manages to be both fine and full-bodied.
Some of the bigger curls, sorry for the blurriness; I couldn't see the back of my head...
It tends to frizz, and because it's so fine, it is easily weighed down by heavy styling products.  In the cold, dry winters in Philadelphia, it would often lose most of its curl, whereas in the humid summers, it was as big and bouncy as could be.  I've tried a lot of mousses, leave-in conditioners, and curl sprays to varying degrees of success, but before going to Germany, none had come close to HG status.  When in Berlin, I tried out some curl mousse from Garnier, Locken und Glanz Power ("curl and shine power").  It was awesome.  I loved it.  Perfect curls, every day, no crunch, no stiffness, no weird film.  Of course, the utopia had to end.  I failed to get a backup canister (or 5) before I left, but figured the Garnier curl mousse here in the States would be the same thing.  Now, what do we always hear about assuming things?  It makes and ass out of you and me and my hair.  The stuff here was not the same; it made my hair crunchy and would flake off if I tried to manipulate my hair in any way.  Gar nicht gut ("so not good").

Monday, August 22, 2011

Essence Colour and Go Quick-Drying Nail Polish in Space Queen Review and Swatches

It's hard to argue with $0.99 for a mini bottle of nail polish, so I didn't even try.  I was wanting a sparkly polish that I could layer with others, and figured this Essence would be a good place to start (in spite of the order in which I am reviewing them, I got this polish before any of the Sinful polishes).
Space Queen

Prestige Color Persist Lipstick in Enduring Blush Review and Swatches

Last week, Rite Aid had a promotion for Prestige Cosmetics: buy $10 and get $3 in +Up rewards good on a future purchase.  For some reason, Prestige never goes on sale, which is unfortunate for me since I really only buy drugstore makeup when it's on sale (or super cheap already, like with Essence, Wet N Wild, and N.Y.C.).  I have a list of items from Prestige that I've been wanting to try for months, so you can imagine my excitement at seeing any kind of discount (or just imagine a 5-year-old on a sugar high, that should give you an idea).  I picked up 2 items, a Total Intensity eyeliner (review to come) and a Color Persist lipstick.  I read about the latter on Nouveau Cheap; she said it was a lip stain-lipstick-lip balm hybrid, which is exactly what I'm looking for.  So, what do I think of it?
Enduring Blush

Pacifica Tahitian Gardenia Body Butter Review and Pictures

Body butter is, meiner Meinung nach, one of life's little luxuries.  It's not something I use all the time (though I try to use it after shaving, because otherwise my legs tend to get dry and itchy), but every time I do, I feel pampered.  Body butter that I didn't have to pay for myself is even better, and that is the case with today's post!


I changed the layout!  (Which you probably already noticed.)  I wanted to make the posts wider, but the old design wouldn't let me, so I decided to abandon it in favor of one that would.  I hope it's not too traumatic a shift for you, but if you have problems dealing with the change, I know some good therapists.

And now, we're back to our regularly scheduled programming!  Hope you all had restful weekends and got to eat some cake of your own.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mini Sephora Haul

My Sephora order finally got here!  It took a week.  These are the times I miss being on the east coast, when my Sephora orders arrived in 2 days...*sigh*.  I needed new perfume, and wanted to get the Sephora rewards points for it (and the cash back from using Ebates, about which I will be writing a post soonishly), and since it was my birthday month, I got a free Philosophy shower gel, along with 4 free samples (the normal 3, plus a mini Urban Decay gloss by using the promotional code).  I'll be reviewing everything in the next few days, though I promise my fragrance review will be short and sweet, because I tend to dislike reading fragrance reviews, and dislike writing them even more.  But without further ado, here's the picture of everything:
Clockwise from top left: Chanel Chance Eau Tendre, Lacoste Essential Eau de Toilette (which I definitely thought was for women, but is apparently for dudes; that's not going to stop me from trying it, though!), Philosophy Vanilla Birthday Cake shower gel, DKNY Woman Eau de Toilette, Ole Henriksen Herbal Day Cream SPF 15 (because I just love trying new moisturizers, I guess), mini Urban Decay Lip Junkie in Midnight Cowboy.

How's your weekend going?  Have you bought anything interesting recently?

Sinful Colors Nail Polish in Nail Junkie Review and Swatches

This is one of the 5 Sinfuls I bought from Walgreens during their sale.  It's super pretty, and super sparkly: love!
Nail Junkie in sunlight

Grading Guidelines Update, Version 2.0

This blog is a learning experience for me, and one of the things that I'm always trying to improve (besides my photography) is the grading system.  I've decided that basing 40% of the grade on the price and value of a product is too limiting; this means that even great products like the theBalm Balmbini palette get not-so-great grades.  In addition, I've come to appreciate more how important scent and feel are to the overall experience and quality of a product.  Nothing turns me off a lipstick faster than that plasticky drugstore smell, while a light tingle from mint is a welcome addition (please don't douse me with it, though [Noxzema, said in my best scolding mother voice]).  Soooo, I've decided to tweak the grading guidelines I use, yet again.  I'm not going to go back and change all the grades of things right now [I may eventually, though no promises!], though I will update the most-viewed and palette posts shortly.  My hope is that the new guidelines will give a better representation of the product's virtues and vices, and help you make a more informed decision about whether it's worth your time and money.

Okay, now that that's out of the way, here's the new guidelines, along with a short description of what each criterion means, and the amount the score is out of.  Let me know if you have any questions or concerns! As noted before, I was inspired by Temptalia's grading scheme.

Quality (how good do I think the product is, overall; how well do all the aspects come together): 10
Effectiveness (does it do what it says it does): 5
Ease of Use (how much work does it take to make it work): 5
Senses (how does it smell, taste, and feel when worn; does it irritate in any way): 5
Pigmentation (is it evenly pigmented, at a level congruent to what it should be): 5
Duration (how long does it last): 5
Consistency (is it smooth and blendable): 5
Price (how expensive is it, taking into account the price of other similar products, regardless of quality): 5
Value (how much product do you get, compared to other similar products, and is the product any good): 5
Packaging (only really good or really bad packaging will get a score here; is it durable packaging, does it protect the product, is it easy to use, etc.): 0
Total: 50

There's more categories by which I'll evaluate products now, and I really hope that helps give the best reflection of the product possible.

So!  Questions?  Comments?  Jokes?

Amazon Associates Information

I'm approved for the Amazon Associates program, which means that if you click through on Amazon links I post, I get a percentage of whatever you end up buying.  I don't know what the percentage is, exactly, but I imagine it's quite small.

I link to Amazon Prime items when available, and to the search results for the product when there's no single-serving Prime option (oftentimes Prime is only available for multi-packs).  Here's a link to an Amazon search for "beauty" for your reference; if you choose to purchase anything on Amazon and get there through any of my links, know that you are helping fund my beauty addiction (and therefore this blog!), and you have my everlasting thanks and devotion!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

100th Post!

Happy hundredth post!  Let's all celebrate with some cheesecake from Sweet Life :-)

Thank you all for reading and commenting.  You're what makes the blog worthwhile and rewarding!

Wet N Wild Wild Shine Nail Polish in Blue Moon Review and Swatches

I was looking through some of Scrangie's gorgeous swatches of Wet N Wild polish and was particularly drawn to the gorgeous sparkling dark blue, Blue Moon.  I chose to put it on my toesies, as usual, and proceeded to enjoy gorgeous jewel toenails.  It's definitely my favorite out of the Wet N Wilds I've reviewed so far (because as much as I admire Black Creme, it's hard to get really excited about a black polish), and a color I imagine I'll be getting a lot of use out of come winter.
Blue Moon in sunlight

Nivea Soft Review

I have dry hands.  Not really dry; they don't crack or anything, just dry enough to feel tight and grouchy.  So, lotion.  Only problem is, I hate that slick feeling many lotions give, even those specifically designed as hand creams (L'Occitane Shea Butter hand cream, I'm looking at you).  I also don't want anything strongly scented, since that has a tendency to linger on my keyboard.  Fortunately (you knew this was coming), I've found my HG hand cream in Nivea Soft.  I discovered it while living in Berlin, but have been able to find it here as well (thank God; I'll tell my tale of woe about the products I haven't been able to find here later––you'll probably cry).

Friday, August 19, 2011

Wet N Wild Wild Shine Nail Polish in Caribbean Frost Review and Swatches

This is one of the first polishes I bought this summer, and one I wore on my toes a couple months ago.  Finally getting around to reviewing it, whee!  It's a lovely green-leaning turquoise with shimmer, very summery.
Caribbean Frost in sunlight (sorry about the blurriness, but the color is accurate!)

Store Makeup and Skincare Return Policy Guide (with a surprise at the end!)

As a pseudo-blogger (and person with bad skin), I occasionally find myself buying products I'm not sure will work for me (see: cleanser fiascos).  It's always awesome when stores let me return stuff I don't like, but it's hard to keep track of what different stores' policies are.  So, for my own benefit, and hopefully yours as well, I decided to write this post outlining the return policies of several chains.  I hope you find it informative, and that it can help make your purchasing decisions a little less stressful!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wet N Wild Wild Shine Nail Color in Dreamy Poppy Review and Swatches

It's summer (sure took its time getting here, though), and that means bright toenails (and iced coffee, and minidresses, and sunscreen).  I've been gravitating more towards darker nails the past few weeks, but had a yen for actually matching the season recently, and picked out a $0.99 Wet N Wild nail polish that seemed to fit the bill.  Dreamy Poppy is a happy hot coral-pink; in the fluorescent lighting in the store, it looked more coral, but I'm pretty pleased with it nonetheless.
Dreamy Poppy in sunlight

UPDATED with new pictures: Jordana Easyshine Glossy Lip Color Review and Swatches

ETA: I retook the lip swatches for all of these; I'm still not completely pleased with some of them (blurry!), but the colors are all very accurate.  I wanted to update them because I really love these lippies––I wear Sweet Strawberry several times a week (impressive, considering how many lip products I have...)––and because it seems to be a popular post, and I didn't want people being disappointed by the swatches they found.  SO!  Without further ado, here's the original post with new pictures and minor edits.  Enjoy!

When the boyfriend was here, we gallivanted around a bit, which led to the happy happenstance of driving through Albany and the Kmart that resides there, and the Jordana, Milani, and E.L.F. that it contains.  I'd been wanting to check out the Jordana Easyshines since I'd seen reviews of them on MUA, but there are no stores that sell them in Eugene (I'd checked the Walgreens, but their Jordana selection was limited), so I jumped at the chance to get some.  The poor boyfriend had to listen to me hyperventilate about all the cheap pretties for half an hour, but was a very good sport about it--he seemed to find it cute, which makes me worry for his mental health.  I picked up several colors, though I do wish I'd splurged and gotten them all (next time I drive my brother up to school, I am so going back!).

Meow Cosmetics Blush in Saucy (from the Taboo Collection) Review and Swatches

Over the past couple months, I've learned more about how to use my camera (and its many lighting and flash settings), though Lord knows there's still a shit ton more that I'm not even aware I don't know.  The reason I say this is because I've gradually come to realize how freaking hard it is to accurately photograph these freaking Meow blush samples.  For one thing, what does "accurate" mean?  Accurate in sunlight?  Accurate indoors?  In the shade?  Applied heavily?  Lightly?  Blended?  With a brush?  So many variables!

In past posts, I've tried to choose the pictures that I felt best captured the sense I had of the blush.  But those days are over, folks.  This post is going to be ridiculously pic-heavy, because I have swatches of Saucy in several kinds of light, and applied in several different ways.  So buckle up, and hope that by the end of this swatchfest we'll both have a better idea of what Saucy has to offer.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wet N Wild Wild Shine Nail Polish in Black Creme Review and Swatches

Black polish is one of those things I never thought I would want to try.  It's so vampy and goth, and I'm so...not.  But I read reviews for sparkly polishes that said wearing them over black polish shows off the shine and shimmer best, so I decided to get a bottle of the $0.99 Wet N Wild black polish to try layering with.

Bloglove: Nail Polish Edition

In honor of the slew of nail polish posts heading your way, I'd like to direct you to a few of my favorite polish blogs, because their pictures and selection are far, far superior to mine.  Most of these blogs also feature makeup, but polish is the focus, and they have gorgeous pictures.  Feast your eyes!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Essence Gel Eyeliner in Midnight in Paris Review and Swatches

I'd never worn gel eyeliners before I got this one from Essence.  For one thing, they're generally more expensive than other types of eyeliners; for another, I wasn't sure I'd be able to pull off the application.  After Karen from Makeup and Beauty Blog gave a rave review to the Essence gel eyeliner, though, I added it to my mental list of things to get, and after successfully refraining from buying it for awhile, I finally caved.  I was torn about which color to get, but ended up deciding on the basic black Midnight in Paris, since I don't have any other black eyeliners that I like (the Wet N Wild one I got I was not a fan of).  Though I usually choose to do dark colored eyeliner (green, blue, purple, brown), there are times I want the nice bold line that only black liner can give (these times usually overlap with when I want to wear mascara!).

Nail Polish Bonanza

My nail polish collection has been steadily growing, even though my nail painting skills are really pathetic, and it went through a growth spurt this Sunday when Walgreens had all their Sinful Colors polishes for $0.99 apiece (usually $1.99).  I stocked up on 5 glitter polishes, and proceeded to swatch my way through my polish collection a couple days ago, layering and painting like mad.  The fruits of my labor: over 100 photos, and a new series for the blag!  You can look forward to a kit 'n caboodle of posts on nail polish in the following weeks, but here are a couple of preview swatches to whet your appetite:

Buckle up, children, for the oh so super exciting posts to come!

What's your approach to nail polish?  Love it?  Leave it?  Layering: pro or against?  Comments keep polish from migrating all over your fingers (which happens to me all the time)!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Noxzema Deep Cleansing Cream Review

Gather round, ye all, for a tale of woe.  A young lass, curly hair and glasses bedecked, was plagued by oily, acne-prone skin.  All she wanted was a cleanser, for use in the morning-time, that did not break her out.  She rashly decided to try a new cleanser from Neutrogena without researching, and came to rue that decision when she discovered it stank of hair dye, and irritated her skin like no other.  She learned from her mistakes, though, as young lasses must, and returned to try another potion, this one the well-recommended Basis Cleaner Clean.  Sadly, our young heroine soon realized she had been betrayed by the evil Cocamidopropyl Betaine, which had absconded from the Neutrogena and taken up residence is the Basis.  "Be gone!" she proclaimed, and with some luck and mild flirtation exchanged the Basis for the classic Deep Cleansing Cream from Noxzema.  But hark!  Although she had slain the coca-betaine, she came to realize she had other enemies, nearly as potent, that were waiting to inflame her skin given half the chance.
Image from noxzema.com

Meow Cosmetics Eye Shadow Swatches

I don't really do loose eyeshadows, because they're messy and challenging and have to be used wet for maximum color payoff.  However, I have received a few free shadow samples from Meow with my orders, and I've finally decided to get around to swatching them for y'all.  I can't speak to their longevity or ease of use, but I think they're lovely, and if you're the loose shadow wearing type, you should check out Meow's enormous selection!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Meow Cosmetics Skinny Dipper in Light Siamese Review and Swatches

I placed an order during Meow's founder's sale, and thanks to the 25% off and the fact that I'd stocked up on foundation samples on a previous order, I was able to convince myself to branch out and try some of their other products.  One I've been getting particular use out of is the Skinny Dipper in Light Siamese (neutral, my foundation shade of choice).  Skinny Dippers are intended to be used for contouring; they emphasize the cheekbones and slim the face when applied below the cheekbones (suck your cheeks in, and contour in the indentation made).  Since they're color-matched to foundation families, they're guaranteed (assuming you know your foundation shade, of course) to offer a contouring effect that looks completely natural.  While I've been using my Benefit Hoola as a contouring product off-and-on over the past months, I wanted to try out something that would be subtler and more natural.  So how do the Skinny Dippers perform?
Skinny Dipper outside under clouds

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Meow Cosmetics Blush in Glisten (from the Firefly Collection) Review and Swatches

I think there's only 3 more Meow blushes for me to review!  Then I'll do a big comparison post, and hopefully never buy blush from them again (okay, not for a few months, at least!).  Today's installment: Glisten.
Photo from meowcosmetics.com

theBalm Special Edition Lip Gloss Review and Swatches

The final review for the Balmbini palette has arrived!  Took me long enough, sheesh.  The last piece of the puzzle is a lip gloss, Special Edition.  theBalm has two lines of lip gloss: a plumping gloss, Plump Your Pucker, which is $15 for 0.25 oz (though most of the shades are on All Cosmetics Wholesale right now for $7.99), and a gloss with SPF, Balm Shelter SPF 17 Tinted Gloss, $19 for 0.19 oz (also on ACW for $7.99).  There's no indication about which type Special Edition is, since it's not a color that's present in either of the lines (Special Edition is special edition, WOW).  So this is probably another review I should not do separately, but I'm a stickler for continuity, so I'm going to review it in full anyways, even though you can't buy it on its own.  I'm sorry!  I've read many reviews for their other glosses (I was thinking about ordering some from ACW, but have so far managed to convince myself it's not worth the money), and they're overwhelmingly positive, so if you're wanting to try a new gloss, it seems like theBalm is a good bet (you just can't get this particular color, though there are others that seem similar: Girly Girl, from the Balm Shelter SPF 17 line, and Water My Melon, from the Plump My Pucker line).
Special Edition gloss, on the right

Friday, August 12, 2011

Basis Cleaner Clean Face Wash Review

After the debacle that was the Neutrogena Naturals facial cleanser, I decided to power forward and try a highly rated drugstore gel cleanser, Basis' Cleaner Clean face wash.  Did it work out better than the Neutrogena?

basis cleaner clean face wash
Image from drugstore.com

Mary Kay Oil Mattifier Review

So, a few weeks ago my mom and I were tidying my brother's room to make space for some furniture that we're saving for my future apartment, and among the piles of clothes, old toys, comic books, and action figures was a small rectangular box that made it just about worthwhile.  Contained within was an old tube of Mary Kay's Oil Mattifier that we had ordered a few years ago, unopened and unused.  I excitedly added it to my pouch of facial tinctures (all my moisturizers and sunscreens) and have used it off and on for the last couple weeks.  Now, I'm going to assume that time hasn't changed the formula of the mattifier (though I realize this is always a risky endeavor), and that the older version I have has the same ingredients the one with new packaging does, but if you've heard otherwise, let me know!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

E.L.F. Essential Beauty School Eyelid Primer Collection Review and Swatches

I've been playing with the three primers that came in the adorable little primer set I snagged at Target the past few days, and thought it was time to share some of my observations.
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