Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Favorites

Happy February 29! What better way to commemorate it than with another monthly favorite post? (There's also a lot of beauty sales going on, if you've still got room in your monthly budget! I, naturally, do not.) I didn't do one for January because there wasn't anything significantly different from December's list, but I've found myself reaching for other things this month (with the exception of Cabana Boy, which is on both lists!) so I thought it appropriate to post a new one.
I've been using Revlon ColorStay frequently since I got it, and I'm still loving it, especially over primer. The color match is great, it offers good coverage, and it doesn't reek! Yay! And, since my skin's been having some issues (check back for Skincare Saturday this week!), I've been very glad to have theBalm TimeBalm concealer on my side. I like applying it with my Ecotools concealer brush and topping it with Kryolan––keeps me covered all day!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Currently Coveting: Haus of Gloi

Currently Coveting is a not-at-all daily feature on products that look interesting, whether new, cult classics, or something in between!

I hadn't heard about Haus of Gloi until Temptalia posted a haul picture on Facebook, at which point I promptly visited their website to see what the deal was. I discovered that the deal was this: delicious bath and body supplies.
Haus of Gloi Emulsifying Scrub Valentine's '12 Who Needs Love
I spent an enjoyable couple of hours browsing the options, trying to narrow it down to something not ridiculous, before I realized that I'm on a bath&body no-buy, and Jesus, Amy, could you just stick to that for once?! So, um, yeah, I managed to talk myself out of buying anything from them for now, but I've got a lot of things I want to try when the time comes, including the Emulsifying Scrubs (they sound like The Body Shop's Body Scrub, which I love for quick and easy moisturizing in the shower), Bubbling Scrubs, and Pumpkin Butter, and the scents Depravity, Elevenses, Haus Amber, Imp, Insalata Nocturna, Madcap Garden, Moon Dog, Picaroon, and Vice, as well as the limited edition Valentine's Who Needs Love. You can see I had problems narrowing my choices down...

Have you tried anything from Haus of Gloi? 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Nail Polish Display Sticks

I love using nail polish art wheels to paint swatches of my polishes, but it can be challenging to do comparison swatches without needing to repaint things a bajillion times (since I have a tendency to misplace/mislabel my wheels!). Delicate Hummingbird posted a while back about nail art tip sticks, and I decided they were the thing for me!

You can rearrange them, compare them, and the long stem leaves enough room to write out the name, color, and number of coats on every stick (very handy for reference purposes!). The only downside is that they're quite long, so it generally takes about 1 more coat to reach opacity on them than it does on the nail, but that's a minor annoyance compared to how handy they are. I wasn't able to fit all of my collection on the 50 that I initially ordered, so this isn't everything, but I did paint everything that seemed ideal for comparison purposes, and I'm quite pleased with them! I'll continue to use my nail wheels to experiment with different layering combinations, and these will serve as my standard of comparison.

These run ~$4-6 on eBay for 50, though to get the cheapest price you have to order from international sellers (I've never had any bad experiences doing this, it just takes longer for them to arrive!).

Do you have a large enough polish collection to warrant some way of keeping track of them? What do you think about these?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Summary

Happy Sunday, lovelies! I hope you've had a nice weekend. I had a date last night (!!!) with a super cute guy, and it was quite wonderful. We've got lunch planned for this Thursday, so I'll let y'all know how that goes :-) It's definitely nice to have someone to squeal about, haha. Also, tonight is the Oscars, so I'm looking forward to all the pretty dresses (and being able to judge all the not-pretty ones!).

A very quick rundown of some of the posts I enjoyed this week:
Jeweled Thumb reviews the new YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain in #5; she finds it to be glossy, but not staining.

Nihrida gives her step-by-step instructions for the perfect at-home manicure. Very helpful!

Getting Cheeky reviews Lipstick Queen's Medieval, a product I've been interested in for years. May not be all that exciting, though!

Goose's Glitter does an awesome colorblind test-inspired mani. Super cool.

Nails and Noms reviews Sally Hansen Gem Crush in Big Money, a champagne-gold and lavender glitter. I think it may be cool-toned enough to work on my skin, score! Now I just have to wait for it to go on sale...

Messy Wands (and the rest of the Lipstick Bandits) posts a perfect "starter" lipstick, for those just getting into makeup, Chanel's Rouge Coco in Mademoiselle. Needless to say, it's been added to my wishlist!

And, because I just can't help myself, a Dinosaur Comic on what makes people special (hint: "I think, therefore I am" is replaced by something rather more cynical and hilarious.)

What links have you been loving?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Skincare Saturday: Aveda Hand Relief

This isn't really a skincare post, but it's a product I use on my hands, and I'm too busy (or lazy?) to write up another that's actually facial skincare, so I'm posting this today anyways. I hope you will forgive me!

While my face is ridiculously oily, my hands tend towards being very dry, so I always have some kind of hand cream within reach.

A friend gave me a tube of Aveda Hand Relief for Christmas, and I keep it in my travel cosmetic pouch that goes with me around town. I really like it; it smells like slightly sweet lemon tea (yummy!), and it's very creamy and moisturizing; it's thicker than Nivea Soft, but not as thick as MOR body butter. It takes a few minutes to fully absorb, which is why I don't keep it by my computer (slick fingers aren't great for typing!), but once it does it leaves my skin feeling soft, hydrated, and happy for hours at a time. It doesn't completely survive hand washing, but I don't find I need to reapply it right after, either. All in all, I like it a lot, and I'm always glad to have it in my bag!
$8 for 1.4 oz, $20 for 4.2 oz, available from Aveda salons

What's your favorite hand cream?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Revlon ColorStay Foundation in 110 Ivory Review and Swatches

I reviewed this way back in one of my first posts, but I recently picked up a new jar and thought it appropriate to re-review it and actually include some swatch pictures (though no before and after shots, sorry! my skin decided it didn't want to play nice with my birth control, so it's not looking great, boo).
Revlon ColorStay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin in 110 Ivory

Revlon Colorstay is the (based on my unreliable sampling methods) most-recommended drugstore foundation by beauty bloggers. L'Oreal True Match always wins the magazine awards, but ColorStay is beloved by internet beauty aficionados, so it's the one I tried several years ago. I never felt the need to try the L'Oreal, so that should tell you something about how I like it!

Currently Coveting: Dior Addict Extreme Lipstick

Oh my God, you guys, I am so. bad. at keeping up with any kind of regular feature. I'm sorry! I realized it's been, like, forever and a year since I've done a CC, and there's been so much exciting stuff released lately that I should really be featuring some of it!
Dior Addict Extreme Lipstick, image via Sephora

Today's covetous item is the new Dior Addict Extreme lipsticks. They're supposed to be long-wearing and moisturizing, and I am dying to try them. Long-wearing means you don't have to reapply, which means you waste less product, and moisturizing means your lips don't want to die after wearing it, and the combination means that $30 for 0.12 oz might not be quite as staggeringly expensive as it first seems! (Still out of my normal price range, though, darnit.) I'm especially interested in Bellissima and Paparazzi; methinks I'll have to check them out when I'm in New York! (Seriously, there is so much stuff I need to see/eat/buy in 5 days, it's getting ridiculous.)
$30 for 0.12 oz, available from Sephora

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Neutrogena Naturals Lip Balm Review

I already have an HG lip balm (Jack Black, because I'm a bblogger stereotype), but when I flew back east over winter break, one of the many unfortunate things that happened on the trip was my leaving a nearly-new tube of Jack Black Shea Butter & Vitamin E (limited edition and everything, waah!) lip balm on the plane. The night I had to spend in Denver, I was without any balm, so I made do with my Le Métier de Beauté lip crème, which worked admirably, but is far, far too expensive for me to want to use as a lip balm. So, naturally, the first thing I did after landing in DC was head to CVS to pick up a few staples, including lip balm. I saw the Neutrogena Naturals balm and, thinking it was the Neutrogena Norwegian balm, bought it, only to realize once I actually read the label that it was not what I thought.
What, they look the same, right?

But, having already forked over the $3.50 (plus tax, lame), decided I might as well try using it. I did, a couple times, when lo and behold, I found an old Jack Black in my coat pocket! The Neutrogena was promptly stuffed away and I didn't think about it again until I found it in my small purse a week or so ago, whereupon I decided to try it for the blog.

I used it one afternoon, and while my lips felt dry, I figured it was just the weather (this isn't very good foreshadowing, sorry). After using it that night and then the next morning, it slowly dawned on me that, hello, it's raining, and that sure as hell shouldn't be making my lips drier. Just to be sure, I applied the balm a couple more times and one more night, and the next day, my lips were dry, tight, scaly, and miserable. It took 3 days of regular Jack Black application to get them back to normal. Altogether, it was 5 days of chapped or near-chapped lips. That is how much I love you guys. And how much I hate that frickin' balm. It may even be worse than Nivea Cherry, as hard as that is to believe, but I'm not about to try to do a comparison test between them––my lips have suffered enough.

In case that last paragraph didn't make it clear, this stuff was just terrible for me. I cannot recommend it, except as a gift to someone you hate. As always, these are just my opinions and the product may work better for you than it did for me! But I wouldn't count on it.

Have you tried Neutrogena Naturals lip balm? What did you think? What's your favorite lip balm (or, more appropriate to this post, your least favorite?)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

30 Days Challenge: Day 6

I'm still quite mired in work, so the rate of posting will slow down a bit before I get on top of my stuff again (here's hoping that happens before the end of the term, but no guarantees!), so you may be seeing more 30 Days/random, swatch/review-free posts, since they're less time-consuming. I'll try to post some food stuff, too––if anyone has problems with that, take it up with Neens!

On a maybe-perhaps-probably-not-really related note, I've decided to just throw caution and reason to the wind and make these up as I go, since many of the questions from the "original" 30 Days (by which I mean, the first one I saw) just aren't applicable for me, so if there's any question you're just dying to see answered, or dying to share yourself, feel free to let me know!

What beauty trend(s) do you shy away from?
I've got a lot of things I either don't want to try or don't have the skill to try (sometimes both!). False lashes hold no appeal for me––I don't even like mascara, for pete's sake! Bright eyeshadows are also generally a no-no, both because I don't tend to like how they look on me, and because my eyeshadow applicationing is...pretty bad. Also, orange lips, I will never seek. Or legit nude lips. I look enough like a walking corpse as it is, thanks. And lastly, crackle polishes. I friggin' hate those things. So glad they're on their way out!

What about you?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

LA Colors Nail Polish in Enchanting Review and Swatches

This was the first of the polishes I got from my Cherry Culture haul that I chose to wear. I'd seen swatches of it online, where it looked so pretty, and was excited to have such loveliness on my nails. It did not quite go as planned.
LA Colors Enchanting

Monday, February 20, 2012

Nail Polish Storage

Okay, guys (probably really girls, but I'm from the PacNW, so "guys" = "y'all"), I have had the best night. In short: adorable fiddler asked for my number, flail! I still have to finish my syntax midterm (whoops), but I didn't want to leave y'all (hey, look, I'm multi-dialectal!) with no post today (oh my God, time frames keep shifting) so I thought I would take a brief break and post my newfound polish storage solution. Also, as a warning, in case you haven't figured it out yet: I have had some alcohol tonight and am a bit spastic. So I apologize. Also, you'll be reading this tomorrow, so all this "tonight" crap really means "last night", but I am far too lazy to bother changing that stuff. I hope you can forgive me. If not, maybe my giveaways will entice you back (more on that later this week!).

Anyways. I have way too many nail polishes. It's...worrisome, actually. The most annoying part about it, though, is that until a couple days ago, they were just sitting on a table in my "office" with no organizational schema. It was very disconcerting. I was looking for polish racks, but the cheapest I could find was, like, $30 excluding shipping, and I would have had to wait for it to arrive in the mail (not that I don't love getting mail, but sometimes I want instant gratification). So you can imagine my extreme excitement when I saw these awesome spice shelves at Target. They are perfect for organizing nail polish, since they expand (these pictures show them fully expanded), have rubberized tops (so the polish doesn't migrate, yay!), are wide enough to accomodate two rows of polish bottles, and are handily...stacked? what's the word I'm looking for? Layered? Damnit, those aren't right. Whatever, you probably get what I mean, and if you don't, it probably doesn't matter. Ugh, this is gonna bother me all night. At least, until I let myself get bothered by shit that actually matters, like my midterm.

Organized by color, whoa!

OKAY MY POINT: These are great. I got mine in store for ~$13; I couldn't find them online, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're not there. If you want a nice, functional, cheap, visually-appealing way to store your polishes, these are definitely worth considering.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Summary

Another week has come and gone! I have, as expected, spent the weekend working on my syntax midterm (and grading some socio midterms!), but I'm taking a brief break from the annotating to give y'all some highlights from the past week.

Nailstah reviews an ingenious little contraption designed to hold polish bottles at an angle to get product from the bottom of the bottle. Plus, it looks like a ladybug! I want one!

Scrangie has some gorgeous pictures and swatches of Lorac's new Lips with Benefits lip gloss. Talk about works of art! I'm almost tempted to pick one up just to look at, since I don't actually like lip gloss, but my frugality will probably restrict me to just stalking Scrangie's post.

Temptalia reviews Tom Ford's $55 blush in Lovelust. So pretty, and jaw-droppingly expensive.

Let Them Have Polish did a gorgeous Hunger Games-inspired mani with one of Jordana's new glitters. Darn pretty!

Makeup Magpie posted another beautifully-photographed post on fragrance. If you don't follow her blog, you really should––her posts are always so impeccably crafted.

Getting Cheeky reviews Laura Mercier's Gel Lip Color in Clementine. Sounds divine! I may have to hunt them down when I'm in New York...

Messy Wands has swatches of Le Métier de Beauté's new (LE, I fear) Lip Crème in Red Velvet, a GWP with a $125 LMdB purchase from Neiman Marcus during their Beauty Event. She compares it to Chanel Dragon, and even though I already have that one (lucky me!), I am having to actively talk myself out of spending enough to get it.

Speaking of possible replacements for Chanel Dragon, Karen of MBB reviews the new gorgeous YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stains in Fuchsia Dore; in 20 colors, perhaps one of them could suffice as the New Red!

theNotice did a characteristically-spastic post on Valentine's Day, just proving how much I love her.

And, because no Sunday Summary is complete without some randomness: Bunnies out for an adventure, and the most adorable picture of a mouse I have ever seen.

What links have caught your eye this week?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Skincare Saturday: Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Cottonseed Review

This was another sample I got from Sephora in their Prep Kit. I'm happy to say I like it much better than the DDF Amplifying Elixir, though honestly, that's no great challenge.
image via Sephora

Friday, February 17, 2012

Zoya Pandora Nail Polish (From the Touch Collection) Review and Swatches

Next up for the Zoyas: Pandora, the one neutral in my collection. I figured I should actually try the nude trend out, since it's ever popular, and figured that even if I didn't like it, it was free (ignoring shipping)!
Zoya Pandora

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Currently Coveting: Jessica Cosmetics Iridescent Eye (from the Peacock Collection) Nail Color

Currently Coveting is a not-daily feature on products that look interesting, whether new releases, cult classics, or something in between!
Iridescent Eye, image via Jessica
Chanel Peridot is a wildly popular nail polish, and with good reason. It's a green-gold-blue metallic duochrome, and it's Chanel. As beautiful as the color is, I cannot justify $26 for a 0.40 oz. Luckily, Jessica Cosmetics has duped Peridot (as well as Quartz and Graphite, the other polishes from Chanel's Illusion d'Ombres collection) perfectly with Iridescent Eye, for a mere $7.50. The PolishAholic recently posted a lovely comparison of Peridot and Iridescent Eye, and Goose's Glitter has swatches and comparisons for the whole Peacock Collection (if you don't follow their blogs, why not?!?!). If you've been lemming the Chanels, Jessica's versions are an excellent, affordable alternative. Shipping is $7.50, which is steep if you just want Iridescent Eye, but pretty awesome if you want the whole collection, since altogether they're only $4 more than one of the Chanel polishes. Methinks I'll add it to my "feeling sad and needing a pick-up/celebratory purchase" shopping list: items I want but can't quite justify without emotional turmoil (in the sense of deviance from the norm).
$7.50 for 0.50 oz, available from Jessica Cosmetics

What do you think of Iridescent Eye? Would you buy this or the Chanel, or do you even like the color at all?

Rite Aid Pretty Woman Magnetix Nail Polish Review and Swatches

Magnetic polish is super cool. That is, or at least should be, a universally-accepted truth. Sadly, it is also rather expensive. Happily, more budget-friendly brands have been coming out with magnetic options: ICING, a tween accessories store present in some malls (not mine, boo), China Glaze, and Color Club have all released or have upcoming magnetic collections. And, lo and behold, a random Rite Aid brand version has recently appeared! Nouveau Cheap posted about it, and I ventured over to my nearest Rite Aid to check it out a couple days later. The line, called Pretty Woman Magnetix (because apparently every brand ever thinks that's a clever play on words? I don't even know), has, like, 10 different colors, and I was frankly swamped with the choices, especially because none of them have names. I ended up purchasing just one, since, while $8 is less than magnetic polish from many other brands, it is still 20% of my monthly nail budget. And, y'know, I sometimes try to not go over that too much (I usually fail, epically). I then bought another to try, but have since returned the first, and may well return the second, for reasons I will outline below! Try to contain your excitement.
The bottle is really weirdly shaped. Obviously.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My First Fyrinnae Order!

Okay, I really don't have time to be posting this, but I'm just so excited I can't help it. I ordered from Fyrinnae last week, and expected to get my order next month (their home page says to give them 35-45 days to ship your order), so imagine my surprise when it shipped a couple days after I placed it! If the USPS had been working properly, I would have had this Monday, but as it is it didn't arrive until today. But still: a week to get my (carefully wrapped) order? Certainly can't complain! That's faster than Sephora orders get here...

Anyways. I can't rationalize doing swatches or actually playing around with my new lovelies (waaah), but I did get some quick pictures of them in their little jars. My camera was on the verge of dying, so I tried to get them done as quickly as possible, so some of them aren't the greatest pictures. I apologize that I don't have more for you today, but I promise I will do a full review-swatch-picture fest next week and then we can forget this pathetic post ever existed. For now, enjoy! And let me know what shades of theirs are your favorites :-)

My haul; click to see better detail

 My free sample, Nijiro, "ivory with rainbow sparkle". Ignore the peach bits; I accidentally pfloofed a little Rapunzel Had Extensions into it (whoops).

Rapunzel Had Extensions, "pale pink with a stunning brilliant light gold highlight".

Wet N Wild Wild Shine Nail Polish in Blazed Review and Swatches

The remainder of this week is unintentionally nail week; it's midterms season (=no time for blogging) and I just happened to have a lot of nail polish swatches and reviews ready to post. Not to worry, though, BJB is not going to turn into a nail blog––I'm lacking in the dedication and skill to do that many swatches! I've got a lot of fun stuff coming up for you soon (like Fyrinnae, Too Faced, NYX, and a couple giveaways!), so if you're not the nail type, take heart, regularly scheduled programming will be returning soon. Now, excuse my while I go meld with my syntax midterm...damn take-home's eating up all my time!

I picked this up during a 40% off WNW sale at Rite Aid because I was hoping it would work for a jelly sandwich (google it, they're awesome), but it turns out I don't have any glitters that are quite right for sandwiching, and this is just a little too opaque to work with the ones I do have. It's still a beautiful color, though, and definitely worth the 60¢ I paid!
Wet N Wild Blazed

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

China Glaze Ahoy! Nail Polish Review and Swatches

What's this, you say? Two posts in one day? Why yes, in honor of St. Valentine. According to Wikipedia, there were actually 14 St. Valentines, and they're not even sure if the day is named after one or the whole lot. Regardless, I'm sure they would all be honored to have two Valentine's Day (I always want to shorten that to VD, but...don't, for obvious reasons) themed beauty posts in their honor.
China Glaze Ahoy!

Revlon Lip Butter in Red Velvet Review and Swatches

Happy Valentine's Day! I am a firm believer that even those of us not in relationships should take the chance to drink some wine, eat some chocolate, and be grateful for our loved ones. Also, that if there's any day it's appropriate to wear red lips, it's today! I'm rocking Chanel Dragon, but I also have a cheaper, more wearable choice to share with you today: Revlon Red Velvet.
Revlon Red Velvet

Monday, February 13, 2012

Zoya Zara Nail Polish Review and Swatches

I got this polish lightly used from Steph during her blog sale, and let me tell you, I am just thrilled to death about it. Zara is, in a word, stunning. She's a light cool orchid purple with gold and copper duochrome shimmer.
Zoya Zara

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Summary

Whee, it's Sunday! I've spent my weekend doing lots of work and not much play. I have to write a paper on the alignment patterns of Lango, a Nilotic (African) language, so I've spent too many hours getting far too well-acquainted with the Lango grammar, and then I have ~30 essays to grade, not to mention a ton of articles to read and annotate. Thank heavens for Swat Guilt––at least I'm used to having too much work! I hope your weekend has been productive, relaxing, and/or fun!
What's the last TV show you watched?
Arrested Development! I recently discovered it on Netflix and have been watching it while I do my nails. I'm almost done with it, though :'-( What about you?

Links of the Week
Goose's Glitter tried out the $50 SensatioNail at-home gel manicure set and has an awesome review. $50 for LED lamp, polish, and various other accoutrements is a heck of a deal (though still outside my price range), and definitely worth checking out if you want a manicure that lasts up to 2 weeks!

The goddess Scrangie, nail and beauty blogger extraordinaire, has a truly fantastic post on magnetic nail polish tips and how-tos (and how-not-tos!). I cannot recommend it heartily enough if you're considering trying out magnetic polishes, or if you've tried them and not had complete succes (speaking!).

More China Glaze Magnetix swatches! This week, both Vampy Varnish and Scrangie shared their opinions of the collection. Basically, I really want them to arrive at my Sally's, goldarnit!

Temptalia featured another new/upcoming China Glaze collection this week: Hunger Games! Her swatches make me think I may need Luxe and Lush after all...oh dears.

Nihrida got some gorgeous Brazilian polishes and featured her favorite Ludurana, Emocionante. I want. And clearly I need to befriend a Brazilian who can send me all the pretties available there...

The Beauty Brains answers the question of what SPF to use, and why. The sun's been more present here than usual lately, and I should really pick up some sunscreen myself––thanks to them, I know to get at least SPF 30!

Makeup and Beauty Blog wrote about the magical brush-cleansing properties of Burt's Bees Mango Orange Energizing Bar, now added to my shopping list! She also posted a wonderful series of notes to herself. If you need a pick-me-up, this is the place to go!

theNotice wrote a characteristically spastic and hysterical review of Calvin Klein forbidden euphoria. So written should all fragrance reviews be!

Lipglossiping has a hilarious guide to treating yourself for Valentine's Day. Methinks she may be on to something!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Skincare Saturday: Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Serum (In Depth) Review

You've probably noticed that I don't do full-face pictures. Part of this is to try and retain some sense of privacy (laughable, I know, what with all the other personal info I give), but most of it is because I have pretty terrible skin and no photoshopping skills to speak of. I've battled moderate-to-severe acne for more than a decade (jeeeeesus), trying literally every kind of prescription acne treatment available. I've had best success with sulfur-based treatments and antibiotics, but recently even those have failed me. The only thing I haven't tried long-term is Accutane, and that's in part because a few weeks after I started it in high school, I got really sick. Whether that's causation or correlation is mostly irrelevant, because my skin is generally not so terrible that I want to risk messing with my body so severely (especially since I have a history with depression). 

I've found that my skin reacts badly to a lot of products, though I still don't have a handle on what the guilty ingredients are, and that keeping close tabs on how my skin reacts to new products helps a lot in keeping my breakouts down. But outside influence is not the only thing that screws up my skin and I found myself wanting something that would help balance my skin's self-caused grouchiness, and after browsing the Bloom website, decided to order the Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Serum.
Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Serum
BCS is an amber-colored semi-viscous liquid that comes in a glass bottle with a dropper, which removes any risk of contamination. I was surprised by how much product there is and how big the container is, I guess because 2 oz is much larger than most skincare treatments are. I find a few drops covers my entire face, though you could certainly use less if you just want a spot treatment. After a month of daily use, I can barely tell that I've used any product up––the bottle will last a long, long time!

The back of the box describes the product thusly: A powerful hydroxy acid complex of certified organic apple, lemon and willow bark unclogs pores, reduces breakouts, and lightens scars while organic aloe, coenzyme Q10 and fat-soluble vitamin C renew the skin for a fresher, clearer complexion.

I've said it before and I'll say it again (probably several times): I have no knowledge of science, so I really can't tell you all that much about how the product works. Lizzy (or anyone else who's science-y), if you have any input, let me know in the comments! I do know that acids in skincare, as long as they're mild enough, are really beneficial in encouraging cell turnover, which then, as the above says, "unclogs pores, reduces breakouts, and lightens scars". And vitamin C is a seriously hyped ingredient that is supposed to be great for anti-aging, somehow (I try not to pay too much attention to the details, heh). Having prefaced with that, let me get to the one thing I am qualified to share: how this worked for me.

Friday, February 10, 2012

An Introduction to Zoya

Several weeks ago, Zoya held a 2-free-polish promotion (just pay shipping). I was, of course, on that like bread on butter. Zoya is an incredibly popular 4 free (no DBP, toluene, formaldehyde, or formaldehyde resin) polish company in the blogging sphere, but there's no place to get them nearby, and at $8 apiece, they're a little more than I want to spend on polish (at least, when I'm not actively nursing a broken heart). But they have a truly staggering array of colors (more than 300!), and are known for having a great formula. Some of their shimmery/glittery shades are really breathtaking (go here and here if you have some time to drool) and they're equally, if not more, well-known for their creams and classic colors. I decided I needed to go outside my normal preferences, so I steered myself away from the pretty sparkly duochromes and opted for a couple of more demure shades.
Left to right: Pandora, Neeka, Zara

Thursday, February 9, 2012

30 Days Makeup Challenge: Day 5

For a run-down of this series, see here.

Do you like to wear foundation? What's your favorite?
I wear foundation 99% of the time––basically, unless I'm really sick (like when I had strep!). I've been favoring MAC Matchmaster (in shade 1) lately, since it offers medium but buildable coverage and controls my oil without drying me out (ideal for winter), but on lazy days (or when I'm running late!), I opt for Meow mineral foundation (a blend of Pampered and Flawless Sleek Siamese). I have trouble finding foundations that match my pale skin and don't break me out, and both MAC and Meow succeed on those fronts. If you're oily like me, I definitely recommend checking them out!

What about you?

CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipstick in Soulmate and Smitten Review and Swatches

These were released last year, I think? Possibly the year before. CoverGirl touted them as being intensely moisturizing and pigmented lipsticks, and even challenged bloggers to wear nothing but Lip Perfection for a week and see if the condition of their lips improved. I hadn't ever gotten around to trying any, though, because there was always something else I wanted to try more, but a couple weeks ago I was feeling sad and decided it was the perfect time to check them out (nothing like lipstick to cheer a girl up!). I decided on two shades, Soulmate and Smitten. Soulmate is a neutral pink-berry with gold shimmer, and Smitten is a cool pink-plum cream; I had hoped that one (or both!) of them would be a good MLBB shade for me. And?
left/top: Smitten, right/bottom: Soulmate

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Currently Coveting: Sephora Color Reveal Lip Balm

Currently Coveting is a semi-daily feature on products that look interesting, whether new releases, cult classics, or anything in between!
image via Sephora
In what is clearly an imitation of Dior Addict Lip Glow, Sephora has just released a new product, a lightly-tinted pink balm that supposedly shifts to become your perfect color. The whole pH-ideal-beauty concept is bunk, but I can't say that a flattering MLBB lip balm doesn't sound great anyways! Unfortunately, $12 for a sheer balm is a wee bit more than I want to spend, especially on Sephora's own brand (yeah, I'm a snob), but I will definitely be stalking the web to see what other bloggers think of it and whether it's worth picking up myself!
$12 for unstated size, available from Sephora

How do you feel about "customized" shades? Does this balm intrigue you?

Milani 3D Holographic Nail Polish in 3D and Hi-Tech Review and Swatches

Yet another item from my Milani Black Friday haul (wow, that was a long time ago!): the gold "holo" 3D and green (legit) holo Hi-Tech. I got these so I could do holographic Duck nails, though I knew (based on other reviews) that the gold one wouldn't be the greatest polish that e'er polished. The green, however, is frickin' awesome, and together, they're pretty ducky. Yeah, I went there.
Milani Hi-Tech (left, ignore the weird orange tint) and 3D (right)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Miracle Skin Transformer SPF 20 Quick Review (that's actually quick! whoa!)

This was another product I got from the Sephora Prep Kit. Much like the DDF Amplifying Elixir, I wasn't quite sure what exactly this product is supposed to do, and honestly, I'm still not sure. It touts itself as being a product that "hydrates, protects, and transforms the complexion for a luminous, airbrushed effect [and] minimizes the appearance of fine lines and pores". I think that's a flowery way of saying it's a primer with SPF. Great.
image via Sephora

So, I tried this out for a few days. I didn't find it to break me out, and it did help smooth out my pores, but: it also made my foundation apply weirdly, and it seemed to make me get oily faster. Not a win for me. Oh wells.
Note: I got the translucent shade, but it also comes in tinted varieties.
$9 for 0.85 oz, $48 for 1.7 oz, available from Sephora

Have you tried Miracle Skin Transformer? How did it work for you?

NYX Gold Glitter Salon Formula Nail Polish Review and Swatches

I have had this polish for months, but haven't written a review of it and figured I probably should so I can get rid of the folder that holds pictures of it! Also, Cherry Culture is having a 20% off sale through tomorrow, so if you're wanting to pick up any NYX products, this is the time! I have previously reviewed another Salon polish from NYX, Maroon (also very belated, but still a couple months ahead of this one!), which I love, and I'm seriously excited for my new polishes to arrive (3 from the Salon line, 3 from the Girls line, and a couple from another brand––it may sound like I have no impulse control, but that is a majorly pared-down assortment!).
Gold Glitter, image via NYX (because yes, I am actually too lazy to go take a picture of mine; bad blogger!)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mavala Nail Polish Reviews and Swatches

Mavala is a Swiss brand that makes mini bottles of polish (0.17 oz, rather than the usual 0.4-0.5 oz) in a stunning array of colors. As far as I know, they're not available in the US, but you can order them from Beauty Bay (which has free shipping options sometimes [editor: like right now!], as was the case when I bought mine, and even when not free the shipping is quite reasonable, ~$6 to the US), which is what I did. They run ~$4, and the greatest challenge is in deciding what shades to get! These polishes are another post-breakup purchase, and by post-breakup, I mean the day after. It took almost a month for them to get to me, though I imagine the time would be less if you're on the East Coast, and for free, I'm not complaining!
Left to right: Electric Green, Charm, Berlin, Dakar

I ordered 5 colors, but evidently one was sold out before they shipped my order (and sadface, it was the awesome duochrome one! Alas), so I have 4 to show you today.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Poll Results, or: Sincerest Thanks to the 6 of You Who Voted

As any person in the social sciences can tell you, a sample size of 6 can't really be considered representative of the population as a whole. On a small blog like this, though, I'm gonna say it's close enough (not least because it's all I have to work with!). So, here are the results, and the analysis and interpretation of them:

Half of the respondents want to see more posts on high-end and indie brands and my own personal musings. I shall endeavor to fulfill those desires. I'm planning a Fyrinnae order soon (though it may be several weeks before it arrives!), and am looking into other indie MMU brands to check out. Samples are a beautiful thing! High-end brands, like those found at Sephora and ritzy department stores, are a little more challenging for me to a) acquire and b) afford. But I'm going to New York for Spring Break and already have a shopping list planned out for Barneys, Saks, and Bergdorf Goodman and am attempting to save up some funds, so I should be able to pick up a few luxe items! As for personal musings, I'll try to include more me-related non-beauty posts, but ironically, they take a lot longer for me to write than beauty posts do, so I don't think they'll be all too frequent.

1/3 of those who voted (a whole 2 people, but it sounds better to do it in fractions, yes?) want cosmetics, skincare, and nails; I'm going to just treat that as "carry on as you have been", but I'll try to do more frequent skincare posts (like, Skincare Saturday may actually become a weekly thing!). Drugstore brands also snagged 33% of the vote, so I'll be sure not to abandon them in my forays into high-end and indie.

The subjects that snagged one lone vote each were bath and body, summary posts, food, and small pleasures. I've had a specific request for more food posts, so I will really try to do that, though usually when I'm around good food I'm too busy eating to bother going and getting my camera. I'm frankly relieved that summary posts (like Tip Tuesday and Recommendation Thursday) aren't super popular, because they take forever to write. However, if there's ever a topic you'd like to see covered, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email (beyondjustbeauty at gmail dot com) and I'll be happy to see what I can do!

Sound good? Anything I'm missing that you'd like to see more of? Thank you to everyone who voted!

The Body Shop Mango Body Butter, Body Scrub, and Shower Gel Reviews and Pictures

Free shipping + half-off Christmas set = purchase-happy Amy. I've been wanting to try the Body Shop's body butter for a while now, but didn't have a good reason. A sale probably doesn't count as a "good" reason, but I took it nonetheless!

The set I got is no longer available on their website, but all of the components still are. Here's the adorable packaging:

I removed the plastic insert and am now using the box to store my polishes that need to be swatched. So cheerful!
I got the mango set because it is supposedly for dry to very dry skin, and I wanted all the moisturizing power I could get for my dry hands.

Sunday Summary

Greetings, lovelies! I hope you've had a relaxing and/or productive weekend. I've spent mine doing a lot of reading and research, which is just...more fun than I can say. There's been a lot of great posts this week from the blogosphere, of which I have just a handful to share (since I am only one person and cannot keep track of the entire internet, especially with all the syntax reading I have to do!).

a england, a British polish brand owned by creator Adina, is releasing a new collection of holos, and I am loving them. I may seriously need to buy some of them, even though they're $14+, because, just, wow. Scrangie has swatches of 5 of the 7 colors, and thanks to her, I now know I need Dragon and St. George. Can you even believe those?! Vampy Varnish and Glitta Gloves' swatches confirm the necessity of my procuring those polishes. They're not yet available on the a england website, but they should be soon, and you can email the creator if you need them now. Awesomely, there's free worldwide shipping, which makes the per-bottle price pretty reasonable! They're also available from Llarowe for $12, though both Dragon and St. George are out of stock currently.
ETA: The Legends has arrived at the a england website! They're not limited edition, as far as I know, so you don't have to freak out about getting them now, but that's not stopping me from picking up Dragon!

In other polish news, swatches of China Glaze's Hunger Games collection are starting to pop up online. They're not supposed to be released until March (though some sources say sometime in February), which gives me plenty of time to giddily anticipate their arrival. Some of the shades fall flat for me, but Fast Track, Riveting, and Smoke and Ashes will be mine, damnit. Ahem. For pictures of those and the others from the collection, check out ScrangieMakeup and Beauty Blog, and All Lacquered Up. Which shades are you loving?

Monthly beauty subscriptions are all the rage, and there's several players on the scene, including the new Beauty Army, reviewed by Pink Sith. If I had endless funds, I would love to try out all the options and see which ones are the best, but barring that, I'll continue enjoying reading about others' experiences!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Skincare Saturday: Shiseido Ultimate Cleansing Oil

Okay, backstory: KarlaSugar did a post on cleansing oils a couple months ago. If you don't read her blog, what is wrong with you?! She is the queen of swatching, and as such, needs to have a quick and effective way of removing makeup from her arms, hence her extensive experience with cleansing oils. She said that Shiseido Ultimate Cleansing Oil is her absolute favorite, and since I was running low on the oil I was using before, Softymo Deep Cleansing Oil, I decided to try out the Shiseido.
image via Sephora

Friday, February 3, 2012

Currently Coveting: Aftelier Perfumes

Currently Coveting is a semi-daily feature on products that look interesting, whether new releases, cult classics, or anything in between!
image from Aftelier Perfumes
Reading Lipstick Musing's post on Cepes & Tuberose perfume from Aftelier piqued my interest in the brand (seriously, go read her review: it's magical, and everything that fragrance reviews should be [and that mine fail to be!]), and browsing the website has only resulted in me wanting at least 6 of the perfumes offered. There's a wide range of scents available in small $6 samples, which is about what a Bond No. 9 perfume sample costs on eBay, and I'm just biding my time until the weather warms up and I can justify trying out new perfumes. Of course, Cacao sounds so delightfully, sinfully decadent that it would be marvelous in the colder winter months, so I may have to make an order sooner rather than later. Secret Garden sounds divine, not least because that was my favorite movie for a couple years (I would go through phases and only rent a particular movie; when I was 5, it was the Lion King, and then I moved on to the Secret Garden, of which there are 3 or so film renditions that I rotated through), and Candide appeals to me because of the name ("the best of all possible worlds!"), even though jasmine hasn't been my favorite scent in the past. But seriously, I pretty much want to try them all, and it's going to be an exercise in restraint when I finally order!

Have you tried anything from Aftelier? What did you think? Which scent appeals most to you? 

CARGO Blush in Tonga Review and Swatches

I'd heard good things about CARGO blush, especially from Delicate Hummingbird, but the price ($26) was high enough that I knew I would only buy it with a discount. There's not a whole lot of swatches of the blushes online, but I managed to decide on what color to get through judicious use of Google and MUA. I knew I wanted a color that I didn't already have in my collection, and ultimately decided that Tonga, a pale nude pink, would be the most different and versatile choice.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rescue Beauty Lounge Piú Mosso Review and Swatches

RBL is, like Zoya and Nubar and Illamasqua, a niche polish brand that is known for their flawless formula and beautiful colors (and for being "3 free": no DBP, Formaldehyde, or Toluene, and no animal testing!). I have been wanting to try their polishes for a long time, but have been dissuaded by the hefty $18 price tag (plus shipping). Luckily for me, Steph of Imperfectly Painted had a bottle of Piú Mosso for $11 during her polish sale, and I managed to snag it. This was especially fortuitous as the sale started the day I was dumped, and had I not been trying to ease my shattered heart by browsing for makeup, I would never have seen it! It wouldn't have mattered what shade was available, since I just wanted to try the brand, period, but I was thrilled that it was Piú Mosso, as that was on my short list of polishes I wanted to try (along with Locavore, Scrangie, Under the Stars, and Iconoclast, to name a few). So, Steph, thank you for fulfilling one of my polish dreams, and for providing a bright spot in an otherwise terrible day! I shall forever treasure this polish for reminding me that, no matter how bleak life seems, there is still much joy to be found in the little pleasures (which, for me, definitely includes beauty bits and bobs!).
Rescue Beauty Lounge Piú Mosso, angled to show the awesome shimmer

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes! Mascara Review and Pictures

Let me start by saying I don't like mascara. I have naturally long, dark, thick lashes, and I wear glasses for severe far-sightedness, so my eyes look huge, and I rarely have any desire to make them look bigger. I hate how many mascaras clump, flake, smear, and make my lashes so long they bump annoyingly against my glasses (yes, this happens). Mostly I just curl my lashes and call it a day. There are, however, some times when I feel that my eye look benefits from more dramatic lashes, and that is the reason I opted to get a deluxe sample of Lights, Camera, Lashes! (henceforth LCL) as my Sephora 100 point bonus. And, of course, so I could share my experience with you all! Because nothing's more fun than mascara reviews, right?
image via Sephora
LCL is an all-in-one mascara. It claims to lengthen, curl, volumize, and condition lashes. The bushy wand deposits plenty of product with one coat, making my lashes longer, though I don't notice much in the way of volumizing (unless some mild clumping counts?) or curling. I still do my normal curl routine after application, because I find that when I curl my lashes before applying mascara, I end up with product all over my lid (the result of an unfortunate combination of blindness and tremor); fortunately, the mascara holds a curl really well, and I don't find my lashes limping at all over the course of the day.
no mascara, no curling
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