Monthly Archives: April 2012

Bathtime Approved: Archipelago Botanicals Travel Tin Candles

I take bathtime very seriously. Atmosphere is everything, and candles are always a necessary part of the equation. But they certainly aren’t all created equal. Last week, I noticed that a portion of my wall tile was black and chalky because one of my candles was burning black. It was a very luxe candle by a brand I adore but it had to go. Not only was it creating a mess, breathing in that air during bathtime is all sorts of wrong. I’ve since gone all brand loyal during bathtime with Archipelago Botanicals. They have all sorts of beautiful candles — pieces of art if you will — but I’m partial to the AB Travel Tins. Not only are they a budget-friendly $12, especially when burn time is limited to bath time, and they burn clean and evenly. For about 55 hours in total, to be precise. The tins are packaged simply and neatly and the scents are so unique. Arugala and Agave. Cucumber and Rhubarb. Jasmine and Peony. Eucalyptus and Lemongrass. Don’t you just love them?

BECCA Balearic Love Collection Makes the Grade

BECCA’s approach to spring/summer is sultry. When we first saw the Balearic Love Collection, we were intrigued by the color palette. Dark polish? Unexpected. Blush that doubles as bronzer? No-brainer. Pinky nude Lipstick? Gotta have it. New Eye Tint? Sign us up. Anytime there is a new tint from BECCA, be it Beach or Eye, we are excited. I have Carla to thank for my Becca tint obsession.

Sidebar. BECCA is now readily available in Chicago! Walgreens rolled out a new concept store with a Beauty Look Boutique (similar to the Duane Reades in New York) in the Loop and there’s an entire BECCA section.

L-R: Romanticism Eye Tint, Cabrera Line and Define, Bolero Mineral Blush, Valentina Lip Colour

A few weeks with the Balearic Love look, I’m ready to issue a report card.

Mineral Blush, Bolero ($32) BECCA’s blushes blow just about everyone away in the pigment department — seriously. Bolero is this awesome terracotta color that works as a blush or a contouring powder.  Love that it’s a nearly matte finish.

Grade: A

Eye Tint, Romanticism ($24) I’m not sure how BECCA does it, but these manage to be completely crease-proof. The mauve bronze color is beautiful. It takes a few layers to build it up to the intensity seen in the swatch, but wearing it as a base with the eye palette in the collection or a shade like NARS Lhasa brings out the color more.

Grade: A+

Line and Define Pencil, Cabrera ($25) Two liners are better than one, especially when it actually is one. Cabrera’s metallic bronze and deep violet go together like PB&J. I like to layer them together or wear the bronze on the lower lash line and the violet on the upper. I wish the texture were creamier, though.

Grade: B

Sheer Tint Lip Colour, Valentina ($24) These are some of the more moisturizing lipsticks I’ve used – with Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Honey and Vitamin E. Valentina is described as a nude pink, but it’s actually more of a sheer strawberry. I love the color, but it came as a surprise.

Grade: B

Nail Colour, Pasa Doble, Tempranillo, Cala Blanca ($15) It’s still a surprise to see BECCA doing polish, and I love it. These shades are an interesting take on spring/summer, but they are pretty. I might get more wear out of Pasa Doble and Tempranillo come fall, but Cala Blanca is a fab nude shade (featured here in a recent Mani Monday)

Grade: B

Guess That Body Lotion!

Every once in awhile, an opportunity comes along to do something fun and unexpected here at Product Girl. This time we were asked to do a blind test of a new body lotion coming out from a major national brand. We did not receive any information on the product at all, it just came in a box with a question mark on it and labeled for testing purposes. Before I even received the package, my mind was racing thinking about what brand could possible be behind this… Dove? Aveeno? Lubriderm? Either way, I was excited to participate and was anxious to try the new body lotion!

I received the box this week and went directly into testing mode. I’m not much of a body lotion gal but this winter seemed to be determined to make me one. That said, I can’t handle anything that feels heavy or greasy on my skin. I need my hydration to absorb quickly, I need it feel light as a feather and I need it to smell good… and we’re good on all counts. Again, my mind started racing about what brand could be behind this new body lotion. I went around testing the different lotions I had at home to see if I could find some similarity in formula but I struck out. My curiosity is only getting worse now.

Want to join in on the fun with me? This mystery brand wants you to play along. Five lucky readers will be randomly selected to receive this secret lotion to test and provide their feedback to me to report back to the brand. We will find out which brand is behind this lotion together, all you need to do is comment here and tell me what brand you think we’re dealing with. We will select the five readers next week and be in touch more information. Are you in? Comment and good luck!

Beauty VIP of the Week: Make Up For Ever 5N Eye Shadow Brush

The right tools make all the difference, and Make Up For Ever’s Eye Shadow Brush “5N” is proof of that. After some less than stellar finger applications with cream shadows, I randomly picked up this brush from my bin because I liked the shape. The nylon bristles and slightly tapered tip make this brush ideal for blending in small areas. It is absolutely the BEST brush ever for applying cream eye shadows. It’s firm but flexible, and the bristles are the right density so you don’t lay down too much color in one place. And because it’s flexible, you can use this to blend out color in the crease.

I used this with a few different eye shadows and fomulations this week, and said to myself every day, why did I now just start using this brush? Now that I’ve discovered it, it’s my go-to. It’s great with the Make Up For Ever Aqua Creams, naturally, and I find that it worked really well with the new MAC In Extra Dimension eyeshadows which have a unique creamy powder formula (more on that later!)

You can snag the 5N here for $22.

The Secret to Clear Skin Found?

As much as I love wearing makeup, it feels so good to look great wearing no makeup at all. It’s no easy feat, but it just got a lot easier with Kiehl’s newest innovation: Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution. It’s a next-gen Vitamin C product — an ingredient well documented for its ability to even out skin tone and fight discoloration — that contains a derivative called Activated C. Kiehl’s is the very first brand to bring this to the U.S. market. What’s so special about Activated C?  And how does it differ from others?

Activated C is photo-stable and fully active on contact, which means there’s no need for any carrier molecule to help the ingredient work on skin. It penetrates deeper and faster and starts working right away.  Activated C slows down the production and transfer of melanin, and is proven to help break existing spots and imperfections apart even before they form.

Clearly Corrective helps break down the appearance of dark spots, acne spots, discoloration and uneven skin tone. The secret, if you will, to really having flawless skin. This can be used daily, year round by everyone, regardless of skin tone and type. I love that it’s an all-over the face treatment, addressing issues the eye can see and helping prevent anything under the skin’s surface.

I’ve been using this for about six weeks, and my skin looks better in the buff. My nose was the victim of sun damage and now it’s completely transformed. I can’t even BELIEVE it.

Nordstrom GWP Alert + My Shopping List

We have a feeling that this new gift-with-purchase that launched on will be flying off the (internet) shelves. We are forever suckers for a good set of samples and cute makeup bag, so had to share this one with you. With any $125 beauty or fragrance purchase (wish it were $100!), 14 travel-sized beauty faves will be yours.

  • Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum (0.04 oz.)
  • Cartier Baiser Volé Eau de Parfum (0.05 oz.)
  • CAUDALIE Premier Cru Cream (0.06 oz.)
  • Clarins Extra-Firming Day Wrinkle Lifting Cream for All Skin Types (0.5 oz.)
  • Clinique Blushing Blush Powder Blush in Aglow (0.11 oz.)
  • Deborah Lippmann ‘The Stripper to Go’ Nail Lacquer Remover Finger Mitt (1 packette) LOVE!
  • Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Body Creme (1 oz.)
  • Estée Lauder Re-Nutriv Ultimate Lift Age-Correcting Eye Creme (0.17 oz.)
  • philosophy amazing grace perfumed shampoo, bath & shower gel (1 oz.)
  • PHYTO PhytoVolume Actif Volumizer Spray (1.77 oz.)
  • Prada Infusion d’Iris Eau de Parfum Spray (0.05 oz.)
  • Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Foundation Primer (0.25 oz.)
  • TanTowel® Half Body Application – Plus (1 towelette)
  • Xen-Tan® Scent Secure Gold Tinted Moisturizer (1 oz.)
  • Pink faux-crocodile cosmetics bag

Also, Mother’s Day is just a month away (already, it’s crazy!)  As easy as it is to spend on myself, I think this would be a great time to shop for the mommas – but of course keep the GWP as your personal reward for being so thoughtful. Here’s what’s on my shopping list.

Butter LONDON Lippy Lip Gloss in Trout Pout, Sara Happ The Lip Scrub in Green Apple, Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge, Smashbox Shades of Fame Summer Palette, Deborah Lippmann On the Beach Nail Polish

Get Your Chic On with MAC Très Cheek


Blush is one of my biggest beauty vices. Impossible to use all at the rate I seem to accumulate, but I like options and COLOR. A look is not complete without a touch of blush. Even if I’m going for the “no-makeup” look, some type of blush/bronzer needs to be happening. MAC is clearly well aware of our community of blush lovers with the launch of the Très Cheek collection this month.

Bottom: Peony Petal; Top (L-R): Lovecloud, Modern Mandarin

“Everyone loves when you blush. Fashioning your choices: A new sextet of MAC blush powders. Go hip in bright red-orange, or add a glorious touch of peach, pink or lavender – each shade staying as bright and un-beige on the skin as it is in the palette. With a formula that’s seamlessly sheer and unabashedly buildable, what do you get? A look that says Très Cheek.”

There are six shades to tug at your blush-loving heart strings:

  • Pink Tea: Neutral beige pink (Satin)
  • Lovecloud: Bright mid-tone pink (Satin)
  • Peony Petal: Bright blue pink (Satin)
  • Modern Mandarin: Red-orange (Satin)
  • Immortal Flower: Bright peach (Satin)
  • Full of Joy: Lavender (Frost)

Must-haves for me would be Modern Mandarin — reminds me of NARS Taj Majal a bit! — and Lovecloud. The latter is a subtly bright pink with a hint of peach (at least to my eye!)

The “Tres Cheek” blushes are $20 and available officially April 5 (but are online now). Anything catching your eye (or cheek)?

What's in Her Makeup Bag with Kate Leydon of the Ruby Room

I have a mild obsession with the Ruby Room in Chicago. It’s the perfectly curated shop with great beauty finds, accessories and a spa/salon/yoga lounge and even guest rooms to boot.  The woman behind the Ruby Room vision is Kate Leydon, a Beauty & Wellness Alchemist by trade. She opened Ruby Room’s doors in 2002 with a mission to put a modern twist on ancient healing rituals and teach people how to recognize intuition and manage their energy. Ten years later, it’s expanded to 13,000 sq. feet of inspiration for every aspect of life. Hence the phrase “The Style of Wellness.”  

Naturally, we were so happy when Kate agreed to show us what’s in her makeup bag. Let’s take a look!


Lip Lacquer by Senna in colors like Zest and Blink. I have at least five lip glosses in my bag at any given moment and this shiny iridescent tube features a delicious vanilla flavor with amazing lasting power.

I also love the new Moxie Glosses by Bare Escentuals and have at least three in my purse at all times.

Susan Posnick Colorflo Mineral Foundation #7. The absolute best traveling powder companion ever! Just click the self-dispensing tube with a brush provides amazing coverage with no mess!

Totally Transforming Concealer by Senna. I am a concealer freak and this one is great for touch ups with its tiny little applicator and purse friendly container. It goes on with moisture and dries like a powder. Genius!

Mentos Gum – I love gum, I love to pull out this gum because of its fun shape and container. The texture stays soft, flavor bright and it makes chewing gum even more fun!

Colgate Wisp Portable Peppermint Mini Toothbrush. Colgate is brilliant for inventing this little disposable toothbrush. I go to a lot of events straight from work and with all the above items and a quick mini brush, I feel fresh and ready to roll!

And everything fits in my Candy Store Comsetic Pouch…amazingly stretchable, colorful, washable and irresistible.

Miraculous Complexion with Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation

I think I’m onto something pretty phenom, and possibly life-changing for oily-skinned women everywhere. I’m really excited about Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation. It’s luxe and fancy, and quite possibly the most flattering liquid powder ever. Also, the only liquid powder, perhaps? I can’t say I’ve ever used anything like this.

For something that shifts texture, it’s really unique. It starts out as a thin liquid, and then it just sort of disappears into a velvet matte finish that wears like heaven all day. The liquid to powder transformation is straight up cool. Hourglass calls it “miracle makeup for oily skin” and I think that’s accurate but limiting. I do not have oily skin (anymore) and I find this to be perfect. Wouldn’t recommend it for very dry skin, but the formula is not drying. It is, however, oil-free and water resistant, two more props for its longwearing capes.

Oh, and about the luxe part. It’s Hourglass, which is your first clue. A brand we appreciate so much for its attention to detail and care for aging skin. There are two powerful anti-aging ingredients in this that we truthfully have never heard of but are completely intrigued by:

Phytostem Edelweiss – an active derived from a rare plant from the Alps that slows collagen degradation and reduces wrinkle depth.  

Lavandox – an ingredient extracted from Spanish lavender, which reduces the appearance of wrinkles and inhibits muscle contractions.

What we do know is that this makes skin look better. Also, you can snag it at Sephora for 15% during the Beauty Insider sale currently going on now through April 5 (with code CHIC). Check it out here.

What's New With Aveeno Positively Ageless

Aveeno introduced several new products into its “Positively Ageless” collection, which is all about anti-aging. After testing them for a while, I think they are welcome addition to the line and products you should know about. Aveeno infuses everything in their line with something they call “Active Naturals” — ingredients drawn from nature with added benefits. In this line, Aveeno uses Natural Shiitake Complex, an antioxidant from the shiitake mushroom, and Southernwood, a combo of sugars and plyphenols that help bind water to skin. With that, let’s meet the newbies…

Aveeno Positively Ageless Correcting Tinted Moisturizer

Active Natural at play: Natural Shiitake Complex

What it does: Pulls triple duty by evening out skin tone, refining skin texture and moisturizing

Claim to fame: SPF 30

Price tag: $17.99

Aveeno Positively Ageless Skin Strengthening Body Cream

Active Natural at play: Southernwood

What it does: Deeply moisturizes skin for up to 24 hours

Claim to fame: Clinically shown to improve skin’s texture and elasticity within two weeks

Price tag: $8.99

Aveeno Positively Ageless Skin Strengthening Hand Cream

Active Natural at play: Southernwood

What it does: Instantly hydrates dry hands and cuticles

Claim to fame:  Non-greasy formula

Price tag: $5.99

Aveeno Positively Ageless Resurfacing Scrub

Active Natural at play: Natural Shiitake Complex

What it does: Exfoliates facial skin gently with microbeads that help polish away dead skin cells

Claim to fame: Gentle enough for daily use

Price tag: $8.99


*Disclosure: Product Girl is a 2012 Aveeno Ambassador. We received samples of the products mentioned in this post.