Current Skincare and Makeup Loves

Makeup Peek
A peek into my current skincare and makeup routine.

Last year I resolved to use up all of the skincare and makeup I had been hoarding during the last few years. Some of it went in the garbage but most of it was used up to the point where my stash got pretty lean, something the old Carla would have hated. The current Carla is pretty happy with the size of her stash, there is plenty of room for new green additions.

I worked my way through quite a few cleansers, exfoliators and moisturizers. Along the way, I developed an interest in oil cleansing. I was reading everything I could on essential oils and carrier oils until I finally started using my own blends to remove my makeup and moisturize my skin. There was a period of adjustment but I found that I really preferred oil cleansing to how I use to cleanse my skin, it was relaxing and left my skin feeling better than ever. I was hooked but more on that later…

As for makeup, there are two things I have not purchased recently: foundation and concealer. I know a lot of you can relate to this, I had so many bottles of foundation and tubes of concealer that I forbid myself from buying any more. For the most part, I stayed the course. Small samples don’t count, right? I still have some foundation to work through but I’m almost at a point where I’m ready to scoop up some products I’ve been dying to try. I’m looking at you, Gressa and Kjaer Weis!

Do you know that feeling when you’ve gone for a long walk and you realize the end is in sight? That’s how I feel about this foundation/concealer “no buy” of mine, I’m glad it’s nearly over!

Continue reading Current Skincare and Makeup Loves

Obsessing Over Chanel Epatant Illusion d' Ombre

We haven’t talked too much Chanel lately, but we’ve sure been wearing our share. I’m having a major fall obsession with Chanel Illusion d’ Ombre in Epatant. I have worn this everywhere lately. To work, on date night and even to the Justin Bieber concert. You better beliebe it. Epatant is a complicated color but beyond simple to perfect on the eyes. Is it green? gold? silver? grey? Yes, yes, yes and yes. On my eyes it’s a blend of all of those shades with the most sophisticated touch of sparkle. The texture is bouncy and powdery and it wears iron clad on the lids all day (with a primer but odds are even good without).

Chanel Epatant swatched lightly and heavily

While fingertips will work just fine, I prefer to use a fluffy brush to sweep Epatant on my lids. Just a light amount is glowy and dainty and it can be built up more intensely, which I love. Total day to night options at your disposal. While we’re on the subject of amazing complex green eyeshadowss I need to give an honorable mention to NARS Vent Glace, which I think started my fall craving for this shade. Vent Glace and Epatant look stellar together for a more intense green look.

Expert Beauty Tips to Kick 2012 Off in Style

One of our favorite “what’s in her bag” moments this past year was definitely when we got to take a look into Nordstrom Beauty Director Cheri Botiz’s makeup bag. She’s a stunning beauty and has fabulous taste. We always pay attention when she offers her expert advice.  Obviously, we took notes as Cheri outlined some top-notch tips and tricks to help us prepare for New Year’s Eve and kick 2012 off beautifully.

 We know that Cheri loves eyeshadow, as evidenced by her purple moment this spring. Her secret for keeping eyeshadow in place all night? “Pair it with NARS Larger than Life eyeliner,” she says. We have her assurance that it will stay put, no matter what. And we agree completely! These liners are amazingly long-wearing.

And how better to immortalize a memorable night than by spritzing on a brand new fragrance? “Try the new Prada Candy,” Cheri advises. “It’s the perfect scent for a special night, and you’re never fully dressed without your fragrance.” Cheri is not the first to recommend this scent — think I need to try.

Cheri recommends a gutsy red lip for the midnight countdown (and the first kiss of the New Year that follows!) “Don’t be afraid to put a pop of color on that pout,” Cheri says. She recommends Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in La Fascinate for a statement look.

Finally, if there’s any night to try out an over-the-top manicure, New Year’s Eve takes the cake. “Nails really are a girl’s best accessory,” Cheri says. Try THE NEW BLACK’s Ombre Nail Shades Sets – each kit includes five polishes in graduated colors that make mimicking a dip-dye manicure a snap.

Thanks to Cheri for offering her advice. Have a happy and beautiful New Year’s Eve!

Product Girl's Top 11 of 2011

Narrowing down the best beauty releases of the year can be a daunting task. But when it comes down to choosing the best of the best, all we really had to do was look in our makeup bags and on our bathroom counters. From there, it was pretty clear what products we can’t live without and will happily  carry into the New Year. Without further ado, we present to you the Product Girl Top 11 of 2011.  

While this list is officially in no particularly order, NARS Velvet Gloss Pencil is definitely our favorite lip product of the year. We can’t get enough of these. Frivolous and New Lover are my top two, but the deep raspberry of Baroque is a close third.We absolutely love how these look and feel on the lips – the subtle gloss, burst of color and moisturizing properties make them a major winner.

We purchased countless tubes of Burts’s Bees Tinted Lip Balms this year. For ourselves and for others. The Rose is the perfect tint of sheer red, and Honeysuckle is a lovely peachy nude. The formula is 100% natural and the price, at $7, is just right. These are a standout drugstore buy of 2011.

We continue to be mesmerized by this seafoam green tub of youth! Kiehl’s Rosa Arctica is such an  interesting moisturizier. It’s thick in texture, very balm-like, but doesn’t feel like it on the skin, and seems to instantly make our skin look brighter and healthier. Plus, we love the way Rosa Arctica looks on our bathroom counter!

Thank you, Dr. Dennis Gross, for reviving our pale skin and helping me fight my Vitamin D deficiency with the Alpha Beta Glow Pads. Since these launched in February, they’ve been a constant in my beauty routine. I don’t let actual sun rays get near my face, so these were a godsend. Unlike self-tanner, these are skin care. They give you a legit bronze and unleash anti-aging + exfoliating properties into your skin.

Perhaps the most difficult category for us to choose the “best of” was nail polish. But, Chanel Black Pearl managed to take home the honors. This gunmetal green is like an edgy accessory that goes with everything. It looked good no matter the season, and on fingers or toes.

Benefit Cha Cha Tint was worth waiting until 2011 for. It is a delicious mango-colored stain that looks intimidating in the bottle but is like magic on the skin. If you think you can’t wear coral, Cha Cha Tint can prove you wrong. Plus, it’s a stain so it lasts forever.

Another cheek product that dominated our makeup bags the majority of 2011 was Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush. We can’t pick just one favorite, so consider ALL of them the best of 2011. (Although, we might be partial to Amused and Tipsy!) They are the longest wearing powder blush you’ll ever use and the color stays vibrant all day. And the colors are phenomenal and importantly, flattering on the skin.  

2011 will go down as the year the U.S. got a taste of the BB Cream. And we couldn’t be more smitten with Boscia’s B.B. Cream SPF 27 PA++, a skin perfecting “blemish balm” that is like a super-powered tinted moisturizer. It manages to blur out imperfections and moisturize our skin. In the summer, we could get away with using this for coverage, moisture and SPF!  

A serum that actually helps repair and heal damaged hair and split ends? Yes, it exists.  The exotic oils and silk peptides in Phyto Phytokératine Serum  helps strengthen strands and restore moisture to dry hair (and is silicone-free). I truly believe that by slathering the ends of my hair in this, I can go a lot longer without a trim.

The central weapon in our fight against aging is sunscreen. It may not be the most exciting part of our beauty routine, but it’s very necessary. Skinceuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense is the best facial SPF we’ve ever used. We like that it contains only physical blockers and a special extract that increases skin defenses and resistance to UV and heat stress. But the best part? It feels weightless on the skin.

Each month, we looked forward to the arrival of the pink Birchbox! What a treat – which is why this beauty delivery service deserves a spot in our best of 2011 list. We’ve been introduced to some great brands, like Sunday Riley and Oribe, and fabulous products, like Orofluido Elixir and Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensee.

What beauty items topped your list this year? Let us know what you loved!

New for Spring! Chanel Harmonie de Printemps

Chanel Spring hit counters really early this year. I saw it while Christmas shopping the first week in December.  As far as spring collections goes, this one is about as spring as you can get! It almost feels slightly summery with the sheer Rouge Coco Shines, but balances out beautifully with the eyeshadow quad. There are a lot of standouts in this collection — it actually feels a bit overwhelming!

Blush Horizon de Chanel ($58) limited edition

Poudre Universelle Compact  ($45) limited edition

  • Jasmine Luminous beige

Quadra Eyeshadow ($57)

  • Eclosion – peach, gold, beige, plum

Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long Lasting Eyeliner ($29)

  • Garnet

Ombre Essentielle  Soft Touch Eyeshadow ($28.50)

  • Rose de Mai – pink
  • Tigerlily – golden orange

Levres Scintillantes Glossimer ($28.50)

  • Petillant – golden beige
  • Bonbon – soft pink
  • Bagatelle -pink

 Rouge Coco Creme Lip Colour ($32)

  • Superstition – golden beige
  • Paradis – pink coral
  • Charme – pink
  • Destinee – plum

Rouge Coco Shine ($32)

  • Candeur – pastel pink
  • Flirt – soft coral

Le Crayon Levres  Precision Lip Definer ($29)

  • Rose Corail – pink coral
  • Bois de Rose – rosewood

Rouge Double Intensite  Ultra Wear Lip Colour ($34)

  • Rose Topaz Rosewood (U.S. Exclusive)

Rouge Coco Baume Conditioning Lip Balm ($32)

A new product, this moisture-rich lip balm contains advanced Hydratendre Complex, which hydrates and softens lips, for a healthier and fuller appearance.

Le Vernis Nail Colour ($25)

  • April – garnet
  • May – intense pink
  • June – pastel apricot limited edition

Seeing as it is the spirit of giving, I held off on purchasing anything. But, I am loving the June nail polish! I think it will be a perfect spring shade when I can’t possibly wear another muted color. I also think the Blush is stunning and would really perk up a winter complexion.

What are your thoughts?

A Few of Our Favorite Things…Toolbox Edition

I’m known for gifting beauty tools. I find that they make amazing gifts because it’s often something we’re not willing to splurge on otherwise. I came to realize pretty early on as a beauty fanatic that we are nothing without our tools. So we pulled together some of our top tool picks for the holidays, in the spirit of gift giving. Be it for your wishlist or something for others, we think that these beauty tools in particular are pretty spectacular.

  1. Eco Tools Beautiful Expressions Kabuki Set – I can’t get over how cute and mini these are! Let’s also add incredibly functional. These brushes are shaped to target every area of the face, and at just under $15 a set, pick up one for yourself to keep! I found this at Target.
  2. Blow Out In A Box T3 x Living Proof Featherweight Styling Set – If you think about how often you use a hair dryer, it is so worth it to invest in a good one that will treat your hair well. The best set I’ve seen this season is easily the T3 x Living Proof Blow Out in a Box. For the price of the T3 Featherweight dryer ($200), you also get a set of T3 styling tools and a full size Living Proof Straight. This is exclusive to Sephora
  3. Twistband Hair Ties – Call it the anti-scrunchy, the next generation of hair bands. Ever since I received this innocuous stretchy ribbon in my Birchbox earlier this year, I’ve been obsessed. I’ve since abandoned all of my other elastics in favor of the Twistband, which doesn’t crease my hair and is just that much more interesting. You can find these in the Birchbox store.
  4. Chanel Le Coton – Fancy cotton pads are not something you’re likely to shell out the dough for, but what a delightful treat they are. Cushy, soft and embossed with the iconic Chanel logo. $20 for 100 at Chanel.
  5. Shiseido Foundation Brush – This brush may be what foundation-wearing skin dreams are made of. At $30, this is a perfect gift for any woman that wears makeup – be it liquid, cream or mineral. It makes getting an airbrush finish simple and will forever change you. It’s that good. It’s slightly hard to find, but is available on for $30.

For more of our favorite things, check out our previously posted gift guides:

Holiday Gift Guide, Part One
Animal Instincts Edition

Chanel Perfection Lumiere Foundation Review

I am not immune to the power of a great advertisement. And Chanel’s print campaign for its new foundation Perfection Lumiere caught my eye. I mean, who doesn’t want their skin to look like that? I thought Chanel’s Vitalumiere Aqua was a home run, so I was immediately curious (and a bit hopeful) that Perfection Lumiere would be as well. Long wearing, flawless finish and an impressive color range? Obviously, I want on board.

Chanel Perfection Lumiere in B30

I got a sample of this in B30. I actually got the sample at a Sephora in Madrid. The lightest shade was B30, which is what I wear in Vitalumiere Aqua. However, I think that I could have stood for a lighter shade in this. We are heading into “pale” season, after all. Plus, as you can see below, the shades vary between Chanel foundations. For a detailed breakdown of the shade range, you must visit Cafe Makeup. She has a ton of great info and swatches if this is on your radar!

L-R: Perfection Lumiere B30, Vitalumiere Aqua B30

So back to my thoughts. This is a beautiful foundation, with a wonderful finish. I acheived better results with my fingers as opposed to my brush. It sort of melts into your skin that way, and I prefer that. The coverage is fantastic, in fact, more than I’m used to but it feels light as air on the skin. My only hang-up is that it’s a bit mattifying. I’m so used to wearting lightweight foundations and BB creams that this is a major shift.

As with all Chanel foundations, this one is a bit spendy at $55. However, if you struggle with the oilies and color matching, I think you would be very pleased with Perfection Lumiere. I’m not so sure I’m ready to upgrade to a full bottle just yet, but I will be testing this out in another shade!

Bright up your look with antioxidant foundations and allergen-free concealers for non-irritating skin care products.

Chanel Introduces Les Jeans de Chanel for Fashion Night Out

For the last few years, Chanel has introduced limited edition nail polishes for Fashion’s Night Out. Last year it was the Les Khakis de Chanel collection and the year before that was the Jade collection. This year we’re going from khakis to jeans.

On September 8th, Chanel will debut this collection created by Chanel Makeup Creative Director Peter Philips exclusively in Chanel boutiques and on The collection includes three shades: Blue Rebel, Coco Blue and Blue Boy.

Always creating trends that others follow, Peter has developed a trio of blue lacquers, inspired by quintessence of casual chic: denim. A gradation of three shades, the colours range from deep to medium to very pale blue, evocative of the different styles and shades of one of the world’s largest wardrobe staples.

The collection will be on sale through the end of the month. I’m usually not a blue nail polish gal but Chanel could be the one to turn that around for me with Blue Boy. I can’t wait to start seeing swatches of this collection pop up online.

Chanel Black Pearl Nail Polish Revisted

Pretty much every week, I don a new nail color. It’s all in the name of beauty duty, of course. But still, there are some colors that I could happily wear every single day. Chanel Black Pearl is one such color. This launched in the dead of winter with Chanel’s 2011 Spring Collection. It was a fantastic, seasonally apt shade in January when we featured it but I love it even more in the summer heat! My summer style has been a lot of color and a lot of prints, and the metallic edge of Black Pearl complements everything.

I do believe this shade was limited edition, but I still see it hanging around some Chanel counters so fear not if you missed out the first time. Do you have a go-to nail polish? Let us know!

Just Another Mani Monday: Chanel Le Vernis Graphite

Leave it to Chanel to create another “it” color for the upcoming fall season. While the buzz may be about the green-gold duochrome Peridot released with the brand’s 2011 Fall collection, Illusions D’ Ombres, Chanel Graphite has captivated my attention. I can honestly say that I’ve never come across a nail polish with such dimension. It’s a beautiful blend of mixed metals, sometimes gunmetal and other times pewter and gold, with pops of multi-dimensional glitter. What other brand can accomplish all of that and still keep it classy? Of course, Chanel.

While I am quite content wearing Graphite during probably the steamiest week of the summer, I cannot wait to wear it come fall when I’m sporting sweaters and boots! While $25 is a spendy amount for nail color, we think this one’s worth the splurge. I received my bottle as a birthday gift…from my husband. He generally has a hard time understanding the ins and outs of beauty, so imagine my surprise!