Monthly Archives: January 2011

Just Another Mani Monday: OPI Here Today…Aragon Tomorrow

This week’s manicure features an oldie but goodie, Here Today…Aragon Tomorrow, from OPI’s Fall 2009 Espana Collection. I was in the mood for a murky color to match my mood, and after many weeks of dark purples this season, I opted for green. Which is ironic, considering part of my dismal mood was because my Chicago Bears lost out on a chance to go to the Superbowl yesterday. Ugh, and to the Green Bay Packers. To add to the irony, I’m from Wisconsin originally and you know, cheeseheads up there are cra-zy! I’m officially a “traitor.” But I do love this green. One coat looks like sheer seaweed, but two-three is a deep mossy green.

And while I tried my best, my poor hands are feeling the negative effects of winter. They do OK in the moment when I’m oiling them up, but once I expose them to the winter air, all hope is lost. I’m sure that most can sympathize with that right about now. Except those in LA. Why do you get all the nice weather? I’m certainly living in the wrong place!

MAC Stylishly Yours Beauty Powder in Play it Proper

Joining Cham Pale on MAC counters at the close of 2010 was the vibrant Stylishly Yours collection. But it wasn’t the bold colors that stuck out to me, rather, it was the gorgeous beauty powders, particulary Play it Proper. I had an instant magnetic pull to this pale pink compact and I was not disappointed one bit. I thought it would be more of a highlighter, but I actually like it as a finishing powder over cheeks and the areas I’d typically highlight.

Here’s a very heavy swatch of Play it Proper on my pale winter skin. It’s slightly frosty, but only because I layered the swatch heavily. Dusted on the face, it adds just the slightest glow. If you are a lover of MAC Beauty Powders, then you will be very pleased with Play it Proper. And honestly, if you like Mineralize Skin Finishes but are looking for a softer glow, I think you’ll like Play it Proper as well. It’s sort of like a hybrid of the two, in my opinion.

Anyone else drawn to the soft, subtleness of the Stylishly Yours Beauty Powders?

Quest for Big Hair: Jonathan Create Smooth Anti-Frizz Volumizing Serum

As the name indicates, Jonathan Create Smooth Anti-Frizz Volumizing Serum is a jack of all trades. And bonus points: it’s 100 percent vegan too. I tested this serum as part of my “quest” for some lift, but I really wouldn’t call this a volumizing product per say.  The “create smooth” and “anti-frizz” is really what you’re going to get.

It’s completely natural and contains no alcohol or synthetics.  Rather, it has sugar conditioner to soften hair, lemongrass water to add shine, and a blend of almond, white ginger and watercress to improve the look of damaged hair. The serum is meant to combat static and frizz – and somehow, volume and movement are byproducts.

I don’t have particularly frizzy hair, but I deal with common straight hair problems – flyaways, dullness, weighed-down, etc. After using this for the better part of a month, I have a very neutral opinion. It’s good, but not great. It doesn’t make my hair greasy, but I don’t particularly see more movement. You might fare better if frizz is a serious issue for you and volume isn’t a major priority. And if you veer vegan, Jonathan does it well. While this isn’t my favorite product from him, he does have an extensive line of  vegan options for all types of hair needs.

Beauty VIP of the Week: Lancome Exfoliant Fraichelle Invigorating Body Scrub

I am not a morning person by any means and I need all the help I can get waking up in the morning. This week my morning jolt has been this Lancome Exfoliant Fraichelle Invigorating Body Scrub. Usually I do not use body scrubs more than once a week but this one is gentle enough for everyday use. This body scrub is not abrasive and gives off a nice foamy lather at the same time, I love this type for texture in a body scrub. It exfoliates skin leaving it nice and smooth while rinsing cleanly without leaving any residue behind.

The real allure for me is this body scrub’s scent. The fine folks at Lancome named it perfectly because it is exactly what it claims to be… invigorating!It has a super fresh green-floral scent that cuts right through my morning grogginess and perks me right up. The first time I tried this body scrub was when I received it as a sample almost 2 years ago and I’ve been repurchasing this scrub ever since, branching out into the shower gel and body lotion. Just the body scrub alone leaves skin scented for quite awhile but layering it with the lotion raises the stakes.

It definitely is pricey but I usually use this product to treat myself… sometimes because it’s a Sunday or I’m going somewhere special. This week I’m just trying to be good to myself because it’s been a stressful week!

New from NARS: A Ton of Amazing Spring Gift Sets

It was almost like Christmas morning again when I saw all of the new offerings from NARS. These may be the best gift sets they’ve released to-date. I’m literally bursting with excitment over these!

The Front Row Set contains:

  • Nouveau Monde Duo Eyeshadow (silver lilac/rich olive gold) – new for Spring 2011
  • Eyeliner Stylo in Nuits Blanches (shiny black)
  • Lip Gloss in Orgasm
  • Mini Multiple in Palm Springs (golden beige)

This is a Sephora Beauty Insider exclusive, priced at $59.

The Fashion Forward Set contains:

  • Daphne Single Eyeshadow (matte deep violet)
  • Lip Gloss in Easy Lover (sheer hot pink)
  • Soft Touch Shadow Pencil in Hollywoodland (metallic gold) – new for Spring 2011
  • Mini Multiple in Orgasm

This is also a Sephora Beauty Insider exclusive, priced at $59.

The Forever Yours Eye, Lip & Illuminator Set contains:

  • Orgasm Illuminator
  • Deep Throat Lip Gloss
  • Soft Touch Shadow Pencil in Aigle Noir

This trifecta is available to Sephora Beauty Insiders for $49.

The Fashion Icon Set (a.k.a. the Orgasm overload!) contains:

  • Mini Orgasm/Super Orgasm Blush Duo
  • Orgasm Nail Polish
  • Super Orgasm Lip Gloss
  • Mini Orgasm Mulitple

This set is $59, available right now only to Sephora Beauty Insiders.

The Tainted Love Set contains:

  • Angelika Multiple (new, limited edition — only available in this set!)
  • Angelika Lip Gloss
  • Schiap Nail Polish

This set is a Nordstrom exclusive, and also retails for $59.

Are you officially excited as well? I am excited to see some new items in these sets as well as some color combos that feel so perfect for spring. I’m all about the Front Row Set and hello, Angelika Multiple? Game on!

Ten or Less: John Frieda Root Awakening Health Boosting Detangling Spray

John Frieda’s Root Awakening Health Boosting Detangling Spray is one part strengthening and a million parts “smells amazing.”  I’m going on my third bottle of this stuff, and I’m addicted to the scent. Granted, I also happen to like what it does for my hair. I came to the realization maybe a dozen haircuts ago that I wasn’t using enough product. I was almost too low maintenance with my hair. So most days, I use this on wet hair as a first step to make combing through easier before I use any other product. My hair feels healthier and even if I do nothing else to it, I know this is helping prevent damage and injecting some vitamins in those strands.

Now back to the smell. Obsessed! It’s a blend of natural eucalyptus and peppermint oil, so it is actually very “awakening.” And the best part about this spray is that it is about $5.

DIY Manicure Must-Haves

Nine times out of 10, any manicure you see in Just Another Mani Monday is a DIY-er. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting my nails done but I usually just do it myself. I’ve gotten into a Sunday ritual of pampering — hair mask, face mask and manicure. It’s really my favorite time of the week and helps me mentally prepare for the work week ahead. And I’ve come to rely on certain products to give me the spa feeling at home.

While Fresh’s Brown Sugar Body Polish lives in my shower, I take it out on Sundays to give my hands a good scrub. There’s nothing better, as far as I’m concerned. It sloughs off all of the dead skin and contains tons of moisturizing oils. I love how it leaves my hands so soft.

I began using Sally Hansen’s Instant Cuticle Remover about a year ago, and now I can’t remember what I ever did without it. I squeeze it around my entire nail cuticle, and it does the work on its own. For good measure, I use a cuticle pusher to do some tidying and then rinse. This needs to be in every woman’s bathroom cabinet!

I keep my nails a pretty short length, so if needed, I use a nail clipper to trim and then use Trim’s 7-Way Buffer. I actually hoard these and keep them at work and home. They’re just a few dollars, and one of the most useful beauty tools I own. I love side 4 “even out” as a final step in filing because it helps ride of any jagged edges that inevitably wreak havoc mid-polish.

The key to a lasting manicure is less about the actual polish but all of the other protectants, base, topcoat, etc. I have many random favorites in this area, CND Stickey Base and Seche Vite to name a few, but Zoya’s Color Lock System is a really good all-in-one kit. I use the Armor Top Coat as a refresher a few times during the week to protect my mani. And there’s also a polish rejuvenator which is a life-saver for bringing polishes back to life.

After I scrub and before I polish, I always lather up my hands with lotion. And nothing feels more salon-like than using salon lotion. I love Qtica’s Smart Spa Lotion in Papaya Star. Not many salons near me use Zoya products, so I’m happy to use it at home.

What are your DIY mani-must haves? Any tips to share?

Lancôme Ageless Minérale Blush Made for Summer, Perfect for Winter

Lancôme’s Ageless Minérale Blush first appeared in Lancome’s Bronze Riviera collection this past summer, but we can’t help but think this product was made for winter.  Specifically, the shade Brilliant Berry. You see, unlike most people who get that rosy “just been pinched” look when battling the winter elements, I get ghastly white. But Brilliant Berry, for me, is that rosy pinched look to a T.

There’s a slight golden shimmer in this product, which really warms the blush up. I find this incredibly easy to wear, but it requires a light hand. Just a sweep is so flattering on my fair skin, and think it would be equally gorgeous on deeper skin tones.

Perhaps what I like most about this product is the formula. The minerals are ultra fine and silky, and it contains what Lancome calls a White Sapphire Complex, which is intended to minimize perfections and brighten complexions. I definitely found it to be brightening, so while I typically avoid mineral foundations like the plague, I’m now jonesing to try Lancome’s!

Clay, Two Ways: Tarte Amazonian Clay SmolderingEye Liner and EmphasEyes Waterproof Eyeliner

I don’t know about you, but Amazonian Clay has really grown to be one of my favorite ingredients thanks to Tarte. They call it nature’s perfect ingredient…and I tend to agree, it is a smart one. Amazonian clay fits the needs of your skin – removing surface oil yet nourishing dry skin. And when it’s infused into eyeliner, the results are equally powerful. It helps prevent smudging and creasing and is very long-wearing. I’ve been using two different clay-infused Tarte eyeliners, and while the wear is great on both, the products couldn’t be more different.

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Weekend Reads: Beauty Beat 1/15

Happy Saturday, everyone. Chances are, you saw snow this week — 49 states in total got a taste of winter weather! While we’re absolutely looking forward to warmer days ahead, reality tells us that winter is here to stay for a few more months. Luckily, we’ve got plenty of beautiful spring beauty to look forward to, so take a look at what’s been going on in the beauty blogging world this week.

Guerlain has introduced an irresistible collection for Spring 2011. The centerpiece of the collection is Ecrin 6 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette in Rue de Rivoli. You will want to read Amy’s thorough feature on the beautiful palette at Café Makeup.

Charlestongirl was equally smitten with Guerlain’s Sur mes Levres Collection for spring. Head over to Best Things in Beauty to see the three KissKiss Lip Glosses that are quietly earning their own share of the attention.

Smashbox in Bloom will make you dream of a winter getaway. Kelly gave us the 411 on the collection at Gouldylox Reviews, where you can see tropical bright cheeks and lips grounded by earth-toned eyes.

We shared a close-up of the new NARS Spring 2011 Collection here at Product Girl. There are beautiful options for the eyes and lips that should summon spring flowers to your imagination.

Gaia found a stunning lipstick. Check out The Non-Blonde to discover Hourglass Cosmetics Femme Rouge Lipstick in Nocturnal. It’s a perfect shade for any season. She’s loving it now.

Armani Beauty foundations are touted by makeup artists as some of the best in the business, and there’s one for every skin type. Kari from Fab over Forty gave us her point of view on these popular foundations.

Sabrina discovered the elegance and magic of Tocca’s lovely Bianca Eau de Parfum. Take a trip with her to tea time in Italy at The Beauty Look Book.

Debbi had a perfect solution for a snow day. Find out at DivaDebbi how Amica’s Obliphica Oil and Sea Buckthorn Berry will help you fight the winter dry hair blues.

Despite our longing for spring, we are still facing at least six more weeks of winter. Jennifer showed us how Neutrogena’s Winter Skincare line will help us banish dry skin at BeautyXposé.

Jane also shared beautiful tricks for soft, moisturized skin during harsh, dry weather. Find out about her favorite exfoliators at Daly Beauty.