Monthly Archives: February 2012

MAC Perfectly Finished Mineralize Concealer + Powder Foundation

MAC Mineralize continues to expand, with the release of Perfectly Finished. The two front-runners in the collection are MAC Mineralize Foundation/Loose ($30) and Mineralize Concealer ($19). They’re a great pair, actually. The Mineralize Concealer is easy to blend and fairly moisturizing, so it works well anywhere on the face. If I’m going light on the face, I use concealer around the nose to cover redness, under eyes and follow-up with a dusting of powder. These products work together well in that regard.

But I’ve got to give it you straight. One thing working against Mineralize Concealer is that it’s not MAC Pro Longwear Concealer. For me, that concealer is the queen of all concealers. Mineralize is like a first cousin in consistency, but a distant relative in wear time to Pro Long Wear. I give Mineralize a few points in packaging, though. The brush is a really nice touch.

Perfectly Finished is on counters and at MAC stores now. If you’re a fan of the Mineralize line, chances are these items will grab your attention.

Ruby Room + Exclusive Deal for Chicago Readers

One of the first places I discovered when moving to Chicago three years ago was the Ruby Room. It was affirmation that I’d moved to the right area! In a city with all of the big shops and department stores, it is so nice to have a sanctuary with niche brands (beauty + accessories) and spa and healing services. Actually, Ruby Room opened in 2002 as a healing center — putting a modern twist on ancient healing rituals. From there, it’s grown to a salon, spa, beauty boutique, yoga lounge and more.

Last weekend, I had the most amazing Ruby Room experience. I had the Acure Facial, one of their newest services and one that they exclusively offer. Jenifer, the esthetician that I saw, actually wrote the spa protocols for Acure and Ruby Room is the first spa in the country to debut the service. They carry the Acure Organics line as well, which we are really excited about! Everything is truly natural —the creators of the line actually grow a lot of their own ingredients—and super affordable (nothing is more than $30)

All Ruby Room spa services begin like a yoga practice: by setting your intention. You’ll select a card and there’s an accompanying Ruby Room Aroma Flower and Gem Essence filled with essential oils that is used throughout the service to keep your energy positive and clear. I selected ‘b Open’ and the Flower and Gem Essence included pure rose oil, my favorite.

The facial from Jenifer was like none other – a total mental cleanse and detox for the skin. It began with Acure’s Olive + Mint Facial Cleansing Crème, which might just be the best combination of ingredients. The smell of mint is invigorating! From there, Jenifer used Acure’s Brightening Facial Scrub and a blast of steam which felt fantastic. She also did a few manual extractions (NEVER do this at home!) on the stubborn “plugs” of buildup in my pores around my nose and forehead. The rest of the facial was pure bliss, especially the Acure Argan Oil massage. I definitely left there with an energized chakra and brighter skin.

Chicago readers, pay close attention! Ruby Room is offering Product Girl readers a special promotion during the month of March!

  • Take $20 off any 60-minute service* and receive a complimentary makeup touch-up. Just mention Product-Girl.com when you book the service!  I hope that some of you will take advantage of this. I highly recommend the Acure Facial (so new it’s not on their website yet!)

Also, for those not in Chicago, Ruby Room does a “weekly win it” on their Facebook page and the first week of March they will be giving away an Acure product! Their Facebook is also a lovely addition to my news feed, with their daily readings and messages of encouragement!

 *excludes colon-hydrotherapy

**Ruby Room provided spa services free-of-charge to me for review purposes. Al opinions are my own.

Perfecting the Blow Dry

 

After nearly three years of growth, my hair is finally really long. It thrills me to no end, but it doesn’t come without its own set of challenges. Primarily, the blow dry.  If I had the luxury of getting a blowout 3-4 times a week, I’d do it in a second. It takes so much more work to get my hair ready to be dried, and then of course, the actual drying. It’s a total chore. But there is an art to it, so I wanted to share some of the tools, tricks and products I attribute to helping me conquer this necessary evil.  

It starts in the shower. I alternate hair cleansers, but right now, I am really into Peter Lamas Rice Protein Volumizing Shampoo & Conditioner. It’s a 100% vegan and I feel like this protects and nourishes my hair. It’s 2012 — there’s no reason to use sulfates and stripping agents in your shampoo. None. This shampoo/conditioner duo is fortified with carrot seed, chamomile, enriched with aloe and avocado and contains Panthenol (a.k.a. vitamin B-5) to help strengthen hair. Oh, and the rice proteins work to plump up the hair shaft and create a thicker look.

I use a few different brushes/combs during the blow dry. The wide-toothed comb to detangle wet hair as a first step, for example. But this Spornette #955 from the brand’s Italian collection, is my go-to for creating volume at the roots. I’m obsessed with using it, and it makes me feel like a pro. I use it when my hair is more than halfway dry and past the tangle stage and use it to dry sections of my hair, from the crown on down. It gives serious lift at the roots!

If I’m looking to shave some time off my dry, I use Blow Ready Set Blow Express Blow Dry Lotion. Without using alcohol (a “drying agent”), this cream is made from a protein blend that minimizes stress on hair and boosts heat conductivity. I work this throughout my strands and comb it out with a wide-toothed comb. Beyond just speeding up the dry process, it also locks out humidity during the day.

I might be addicted to the lovely scent of Paul Mitchell’s Ginger Awapuhi Hydromist Blowout Spray. It also happens to work quite well. Natural awapuhi and honey extract help eliminate frizz and lightweight conditioners protect hair from damage. It also gives my hair some grit (without a gritty feel).

A Tex-ified GCB Beauty Kit Giveaway

A few things I’ll always love: big hair and television. My DVR is the hardest working electronic in my house, and it will be adding ABC’s new Texas-inspired show GCB to its roster. It’s Texas, so GCB is about big hair and larger than life everything. Premiering Sunday, March 4, at 10 p.m. est. (in Pan Am’s time slot), GCB starts with high school “mean girl” Amanda Vaughn (Leslie Bibb) being forced to return home to Dallas in disgrace after her marriage ends in scandal. The problem is that Amanda is nothing like the girl she was 20 years ago and is hesitant about re-entering this world of opulence, status and salacious rumor mills. She is hopeful for a new start, but soon finds it’s not that easy to escape your past in this tightknit community.

 

To get in the Texas spirit, we have a special GCB Beauty Kit* to give away to one (1) Product Girl reader. The kit includes:

  • Nail Polish
  • Tweezerman Nail File
  • Dual Lip Gloss
  • Big Lash Mascara
  • Faux Eyelashes
  • Minimergency Kit
  • Mini Designer Perfume

 To enter to win, watch the GCB preview below (or here) and leave us a comment with your thoughts! Will you watch? We’ll pick one winner on the day of the premiere, Sunday, March 4.

 

 *Prize pack valued at $55; Prizing courtesy of ABC

**GIVEAWAY CLOSED. Congrats to Kristin, winner of the GCB Beauty Bag!

***For more ways to win GCB prizes, visit www.GCBConfessions.com through March 15 and tweet #GCB to unlock exclusive content and be entered for a chance to win.


Just Another Mani Monday: China Glaze Hunger Games Stone Cold

Bottom: Stone Cold; Top (L-R): Electrify, Foie Gras and Dress Me Up

I first read the Hunger Games trilogy about a year and half ago — pre-movie deal, pre-mania. I loved every page I read — I don’t hide my love of the Young Adult genre. If you haven’t read it yet, you SHOULD. I’m hopeful the movie will do it right. As for China Glaze, they are doing it right with the Hunger Games Colours from the Capitol Collection. The collection will officially be available in early March at Sally Beauty Supply and Ulta stores, but we have a preview of a few shades now!

You may recall this post, revealing the collection shades. It’s a dark and moody collection, overall. Even the burst of orange feels dark and fiery to me. Stone Cold, shown on my nails, is the matte shade in the collection. It’s filled with silver microglitter and very cool! I thought I was over matte shades, but I totally dig this. Plus, a topcoat will be give you a glossy finish if you so desire.

Will you be getting anything from this collection? Also, who is excited to see the movie?

Beauty VIP of the Week: Hot Tools Nano Tapered Iron

Last weekend, I made one of the smartest purchases in a long time. A clipless curling iron! Specifically, the Hot Tools Nano Tapered Iron (1-inch barrel). If you struggle with holding a curl, you need to go clipless. In the short time I’ve had this, it’s quickly become a prized possession. It’s already made Beauty VIP status, which is not something we throw around lightly here. It creates the most amazing waves and they stay. Amazingly, all day and overnight. Just a refresh with the curling wand on day 2 hair and it looks even better than day 1.

I love that there is no clamp to damage or pull at my hair, and this thing gets hotter than any other curling iron I’ve had. For the fearful, there is a heat-protectant glove, but it’s easier to use without. The curling process is faster, too.  The trick is to curl away from your face and not to wrap the hair around the wand too tight. Way back on Monday, I did that and felt a little too “perm” and not enough “beach.” Live and learn, right?

I am so excited about my newfound abilities to hold a curl. Expect me to talk about this a lot in the future. Have a good weekend, ladies!

Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Cream Eyeshadows Revamp Packaging + Welcome New Shade for Spring

How do you make something that’s already great even better? If you’re Tarte, you give your Amazonian Clay Waterproof Cream Eyeshadows new and improved packaging, and introduce a new color to boot! These first appeared on the long-wear makeup scene last summer, and Tarte’s formula is one of the best. Intense colors, a boost of Amazonian clay to reduce oil and natural carnauba wax that acts as a built-in shadow primer and ensures smooth application. Staying power is something to brag about here.  But, the previous packaging, in a tiny round container, made these difficult to use. Brushes and fingers both had difficulty maneuvering in there.  

The new packaging features a square glass jar with a wide opening. It’s not unlike that of Bobbi Brown’s Cream Shadows if we’re comparing.  These are a vast improvement, and while the formula is as good as before, I appreciate the packaging upgrade so I can use these more. I also love how I can easily ID the color by the lid. It’s the little things in life that get me excited!

Four of these shades may look familiar, Plum Smoke from QVC and the others from Tarte.com, but Shimmery Bronze is new for spring. Here’s the breakdown in colors, left-to-right from the above photo:

    • Plum Smoke – The “smoke” really is the operative word here. Whenever I wear this it is instant smokey eye even if I’m not aiming for it. I love that it’s a one stop shop for a dramatic look.
    • Shimmery Moss – A really wearable green, that actually pulls quite antique and bronzey. Love the micro-sparkle in this one, too!
    • Shimmery Bronze (NEW!) – New for spring, this bronze is actually more chocolate espresso. I think that gives it a unique quality. It’s beautiful for blues eyes especially.
    • Seashell Pink – A frosty-ish pink that makes a great base. On my skin tone (and you can’t quite tell on my hand), this pulls a little peach. It’s very flattering on its own, too.

These appear to be an Ulta exclusive for now. Get on over there and use your next 20% off code on ShimmeryBronze!

Skincare System Review: Somme Institute Skin Care

A few weeks ago, Product Girl was approached by Somme Institute to give their 5-step skincare system a try.  I’m fairly simple (ok, boring) when it comes to washing my face and I thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce myself to a regular skincare regime a tad more sophisticated than “lather, rinse, repeat.”

Somme Institute was founded by a group of dermatologists back in the 90s and after years of testing and trials, they have developed what they call Molecular Dispersion Technology or MDT5 for short.  According to the company’s website, “Somme Institute was created with the intention of making perfect skin an attainable goal” and that “Skin care companies should deliver the claims they promise.” Amen! 

Somme Institute says that MDT5 “allows full vitamin absorption by the skin to:

  • Reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Repair sun damage
  • Even out discoloration and brown spots
  • Treat moderate to severe acne as well as rosacea
  • Dramatically improve the skin’s tone, texture and clarity”

The system includes five different products and lots of literature detailing each product, ingredients, what it’s purpose is, etc. I’m going to admit – I didn’t read even half of it but the products also came with a simple card that has colored dots which correspond to each step.  I tucked the card in my bathroom mirror for easy reference so I know the order in which to use the products – now this is the kind of simplicity that is right up my alley!  The five steps include:

Step 1: Nourishing Cleanser (non-foaming/non-irritating) 

Step 2: Transport (gentle exfoliant)

Step 3: Serum (with Vitamin C)

Step 4: A-Bomb (moisturizer with Vitamins A and E)

Step 5: Double Defense (SPF 30+)

I’ve also tacked on a sixth step which Somme Institute simply calls, Eye, a delicate eye cream which claims to improve skin discoloration (something I struggle with), tone, texture and clarity.

After just my first use, my skin felt very supple and moisturized – a difficult feeling to achieve in this dry Chicago winter weather. I’ve haven’t noticed much of a difference yet in my rosacea, acne or skin tone yet but I am going to continue with this for a few more weeks….stay tuned for my final review!

What's the Story with One Love Organics Morning Glory?

Five days each week, an alarm clock ensures I wake up bright and early — whether I want to be or not. And after we get through with that never fun part of the day, One Love Organics Morning Glory Serum wakes my complexion up. You could say it’s the highlight of my morning. While this delicious serum works any time of day, the ingredients are truly made to wake up your skin and draw out your natural radiance. Whenever I use this, I feel ready to conquer the day. It sinks into the skin very quickly, making it very easy to follow-up with moisturizer and sunscreen.

 

Let’s break Morning Glory down. Very few ingredients, all with a very focused job description. First, Organic Wild Raspberry Leaf, which is a natural source of polypeptides, tannins and niacin that work stimulate, tighten and tone the skin. Peppermint and lemon balm deliver a zing of anti-inflammatory antioxidants to de-puff and brighten the skin. From there, we have essential oils of ylang ylang and vegan-sourced Omega 3 fatty acids to help smooth the appearance of fine lines.

Kind of phenomenal, right? It’s like a secret weapon, but way too good of a secret to keep to myself. You can find it at One Love Organics for $48.

MAC Pearlglide Intense Eyeliners Return with MAC Vera

MAC Pearglide Intense Eyeliners are quite possibly the longest wearing eyeliners ever. They’re also sparkly, vibrant and, most importantly, BACK! MAC Vera introduces seven Pearlglides, including Undercurrent which is the green of ALL greens. A golden teal, need I say more? At $15, I think these eyeliners are a best bet. They are super soft and creamy, apply with ease and are just shy of practically PERMANENT. A word of advice…be careful with the sparkle and avoid the waterline. And pick up Undercurrent. You will be so happy you did.

The Pearglide Intense Eyeliners available as part of MAC Vera include:

Shown above:

  • Undercurrent – Teal with pearl
  • Lord it Up – Bronze with pearl
  • Designer Purple – Iridescent violet
  • Black Line – Black with gold pearl

Other shades:

  • Industrial – Periwinkle grey
  • Petrol Blue – Deep navy with pearl
  • Black Swan – Black with pearl