Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Illamasqua Satin Primer Review

Illamasqua's Satin Primer is described as a primer that lifts and highlights the face while also creating a stunning dewy effect.

Cost: $30 for 1 oz.

Illamasqua Satin Primer on hand.


Slightly dewy finish on back of hand.

Pros: + Milky texture so a little goes a long way. Easy to apply and blend on face.
+ White in color but doesn't leave a white cast on face (hurrah!).
+ Leaves my face looking very dewy but I wonder if it could be confused for shine.
+ Definitely recommended for those with dry skin since it absorbs into skin well.
+ Lightweight. Doesn't feel heavy on my skin.
+ Has SPF 20.
+ Smells like vanilla candy.
+ Did not bother my sensitive skin.

Cons: - Probably not suitable for those with oily skin since it made my dry-normal skin so shiny/dewy.
- No noticeable lifting in my skin. Not sure about the highlighting unless you count the all over dewyness as highlighter.
- Pricey. $30 for 1 oz? Hmm....

Here is bare skin, before Illamasqua Satin Primer application:
Hmm you can see tiny bumps on my cheek and redness. Anyone know what this is? I've had these tiny bumps on my cheeks since I was in grade school. They're not pimples. :) I always wondered if it was minor rosacea.

Here is after Illamasqua Satin Primer application:

With flash after application:

I've been into primers lately since a friend recently informed me that primers are actually good to use cause they create a barrier between your skin and the makeup you wear so as to not allow your skin to absorb too much makeup. Definitely good to know since nobody wants clogged pores! Still, with the amount of Illamasqua Satin Primer you get for $30, I probably wouldn't purchase this for myself since it's only 1 oz. Thankfully I was able to test out this primer thanks to my friend T. I'd recommend this primer though for those who have dry skin and or as a primer for the winter time. :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hand Braided Rhinestone Bracelets

Todays post is unrelated to cosmetics or skin care. 

Lately, I've been experimenting with trying to make jewelry out of different materials such as metals, clays, and fibers. It has been fun trying out different combinations and sometimes finding a successful combination. :)

I really like this little puffy heart charm. :)

This pink one is one of my favorites. It's smaller than the other two blue ones I made.

Love the color of the thread in this one:

A Poor Experience With Circle Lenses :(

In August of 2010, I purchased two sets of prescription circle lenses from a supposedly very reputable seller. I paid $25.40 for one pair of Geo Nudy Brown and one pair of Geo Angel Brown. They confirmed my payment on 9/1/2010 (one day after I ordered the lenses) and stated that they would email me to confirm when the Pre-Order/Spree closed but they never did. I emailed them to inquire about it and they replied four days later that it had already closed.

My lenses don't arrive at my door till two months later. 
Damn. Talk about some slow ass shipping.

Geo Angel pictures:
The painful lenses.

Authenticity check.

My authentication code.

And it checks out! (Click for a larger image.)

WELL... Once I tried them on, I noticed that the Geo Angel lenses were EXTREMELY PAINFUL. I did the whole "Authenticate Your Lenses" deal and well, supposedly my lenses were real... but they sure as hell felt fake. I tried everything from inverting the lenses (though I knew that wouldn't work), soaking them in contact lens solution for a day, taking it out and putting it back in multiple times... but nothing worked. My eyes teared up intensely each time and I couldn't even open my eyes.

Geo Nudy pictures:
Different shades lol.

With the Geo Nudy's, the left contact lens went into my eye just fine but the right was a tad painful (hence the recent Kiss Me mascara review where I'm wearing one circle lens. Lol. After that review, I threw all of these circle lenses in to the garbage). Also, another weird thing about this set of Geo Nudy's was that they were different shades! What in the world??? Lol.

With this, I contacted the people who I purchased the lenses from and they said they would refund me a portion of my purchase. More than three months goes by and I see no refunds from them in my PayPal account. Good lord. So once again, I contact them and they refund me a portion (not half though) of my original payment. Phew. No more dealing with that seller. I won't be listing their name on my blog since they were kind enough to give me a partial refund but if any readers are curious to know for themselves, feel free to drop me an email.

Darn. I really wanted to like circle lenses too.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Hair Shine & Smooth Serums and Cremes

Sometimes, I wonder about how to pick a hair serum. I have issues with tons of baby hair and frizzyness. I rarely style my hair and more often than not, you can find my hair in a bun (I know, booooring). I've tried to learn how to blow dry my hair properly but I can't seem to get the technique down. Probably doesn't help that my blow dryer is probably older than me, hah! Get this: it only has two buttons. One for low (which is honestly already high to me) and high. And one for on and off. No settings for cool and no nozzle attachments. Maybe an upgrade would help me blow dry properly...

Anyway, I usually just use hair serums to help pat down my frizz and baby hairs. I thought I'd do a little post on serums and creams I've used in the past and/or am currently using:

1. Biosilk
Any hair serum user has probably heard of Biosilk. About a few years ago, they decided to change up their marketing strategy and decided to start selling to the public. No more hair salon only sales or try-to-find-a-friend-with-a-cosmetologist-license issues. You can now easily buy Bioslik at your every day store, like Target!

A little goes a REALLY long way with this product. I've made the mistake one too many times of accidentally applying too much and ending up with grease head. Yuck. Also, for those of you who haven't tried it before, the scent is very strong, potentially overpowering. Someone once said I smelled like a hair salon hahaha. It was my first hair product in middle school and I didn't know how to use it at the time.

2. Loma Pearatin Fortifying Repairative Serum
Their catch phrase is "Reconstruct, Restore, and Shine." This serum smells sooooo good. Almost delectable. Loma Pearatin was my upgrade from Biosilk in terms of hair care. Unlike Biosilk which simply provides a nice shine, Loma Pearatin contains time-released Creatine and Keratin Protein-based serum to continuously reconstruct, repair, and hydrate hair and skin (didn't know it was okay to use it on your skin). It also provides thermal protection and locks-in all haircolor which is great since I color my hair.

One con is that it's difficult to find and pricing varies all over. I originally purchased it when it first came out: ~$10 for 3.4 fl oz. Now I see online prices stating $16 for 12 oz. Shucks.

In terms of frizz and baby hair control, this serum does a fabulous job. I don't have much to say about the reconditioning aspects of Loma Pearatin Serum though since I don't do a lot of damage to my hair but a friend of mine who religiously straightens her hair every single day swears by this serum. She says it's tremendously helped with her dying hair and makes it look so much shinier, healthier, and overall a lot better.

3. Zotos Diamond Shine Weightless Gloss Drops
$4.99 at Sally Beauty Supply

Alcohol free
Adds high-gloss shine
Smoothes frizz
Mends split ends
UV protectants

Diamond Shine haircare is made with a potent blend of real diamond micro-particles, panthenol, and keratin, that instantly infuses hair with high-gloss, radiant shine and exceptional strength. Diamond Shine is color-safe with UV protectants. Get 2X more Shine and Strength* with the Diamond Shine collection and get the beautiful, luminous hair you've always desired!

My Thoughts: A little goes a long way with this product, as with most hair serums. Does well to help with my frizz, flyaways, and baby hair.

4. Miracle 7 Shine Spray
$13.99 at Sally Beauty Supply

Smells great but I didn't see any noticeable results in my hair. Lack of shine (or maybe my hair is already shiny? :)) and did not help tame any frizz or baby hairs.

5. Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum
Smells like Apples!! Mmmmm. This is my current hair serum and I really like it. I received so many compliments on how shiny and healthy my hair looked the first time I used it. I usually rub a little into my hair after I shower to seal in moisture with the silicone and if I see some flyaways as I'm heading out the door then I can add more then. My pump is broken so sometimes I accidentally pump out too much. Don't do that. As with most hair serums, a little goes a long way so use sparingly so you don't look like a grease head. Doesn't weigh my hair down which is nice.

6. Lucido-L Designing Tube Hair Moist Cream
Darn. I really wanted to like this product. It smells sooooo good and manages to give my hair a nice moist, healthy look but definitely doesn't help with my flyaways. I've read some fabulous reviews about it though. Maybe I just need to apply even more to my hair? I'll give that a try next time and update this post if anything.

So I won't be needing anything new hair serums for a while. I still have quite a few of these bottles left. One hair product I do want to try out is dry shampoos! Sometimes, toward the end of the day, the top of my head can get fairly oily so I've been eyeing dry shampoos since they started becoming popular a while back. Recommendations? :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

MAC Cleanse Off Oil Review

I love, love, love MAC's Cleanse Off Oil!!! How have I gone so long without you?

Description from Maccosmetics.com:
An industry-strength oil-based makeup remover that's gentle on the skin. Botanically formulated with oils of olive fruit, evening primrose and jojoba seed and absolutely 100 percent mineral-oil free. Massages onto the skin to loosen all makeup, including waterproof mascara. Emulsifies into a lotion-type liquid with water: rinses off easily, no tissues required - and no residue! Protects with vitamin E. Skin softening and conditioning. Good for all skin types.

Size: 150 ml / 5 fl oz
Cost: $24.00

+ Easy to use. Spreads really easily. My directions: Two pumps, massage into dry skin for 30 seconds, rinse off with warm water (cleansing oil emulsifies to a milky color).
+ Doesn't irritate my sensitive skin! Fabulousss. Skin is so soft after using this. No dryness, no tingling or burning sensation.
+ I only use this on my face (not eyes) and it does a great job of taking off any light foundation or waterproof sunscreen I'm wearing. Note, I do follow up with my normal cleanser afterward.
+ Smells amazing like oranges or something citrusy.
+ Whenever I'm massaging it into my skin, it feels like I'm pampering myself. For some reason, this cleansing oil feels different than other ones I've used, kind of like some amazing massage oil. Seriously love it.
+ Rinses off well. No leftover oily residue on skin.
+ Well designed bottle. The pump locks to a closed position.

- Nada!

Cleanse Off Oil on skin. Love you Mac Frigging Cleanse Off Oil.

HIGHLY recommend this stuff! Doesn't irritate my sensitive skin, does a great job of cleansing off your makeup, feels good, smells great, what more can you ask for?

I only use this on my skin. I do not use it on my eyes. For my eyes, I use a separate eye makeup remover. Please see these two:
Sonia Kashuk Remove
Mandom Cleansing Express Eye Makeup Remover

Monday, April 11, 2011

Palladio Tinted Lip Balm Review

I purchased these Palladio Tinted Lip Balms a while back because I was looking for something that would provide me a decent amount of color without the smell and thick texture of a normal lipstick. These Palladio Tinted Lip Balms have aweeeesome reviews on MUA and across the beauty blogosphere so I thought I'd give them a try since they're only a few bucks and I have easy access to Sally Beauty stores.

Description from SallyBeauty.com: Palladio Tinted Lip Balm is enriched with UV filters to protect the lips, this unique lip balm formula moisturizes while adding sheer, long-lasting color. Wear these lip balms by themselves, or under your favorite Palladio Herbal Lipstick as a hydrating base!

Currently available in eight colors: Cotton Candy, Bronze Pink, Berry, Golden Pink, Champagne, Rosey, Brownie, and Naturally Bronze.

The two colors I purchased were Berry and Rosey.
Natural light. Berry on left. Rosey on right.

With flash. Berry on left. Rosey on right.

Palladio Tinted Lip Balms retail for $3.99 but I got them during one of Sally Beauty's promotions so I purchased each tube for around $2 (I think).

Berry. This isn't the best picture. It's definitely a lot more baby pink than this.


My Thoughts:
- These lip balms feel moisturizing but the moisture doesn't actually sink into your lips. So don't expect a magical fix if you're applying these to chapped lips. You'll just see flecks of color on your dry skin. Moisturize first THEN apply this and you'll get some nice results. :)
- Color intensity is buildable which is great since color needs can differ from person to person. Sometimes I just want a wash of sheer color while other days, I just need a little more pop of color! These lip balms are super pigmented so beware of over doing it on the number of applications.
- Not heavy or sticky!
- Names of balms are definitely misleading. The Berry shade is more of a baby pink, imo. And Berry sounds like it'd be a dark shade too.
- Unfortunately, I can't vouch for the staying power since I'm a guilty constant snacker so I'm always wiping the color off... The color does transfer to my cups/mugs whenever I'm drinking something though.

Palladio Tinted Lip Balm swatched on lips. Veryyy light application.

I might repurchase. I'd like to try some other colors in their range since I'm not terribly in love with these two (Honestly, I miss and want to go back to Burt's Bees Pomegranate Lip Balm....). If I apply too much of Berry on my lips, the color sinks into my lip lines and doesn't look very good. Light swipes of Rosey look fine on my lips but I'm not terribly in love with the color since it's still a tad too dramatic for me (my pictures don't do justice). I'd like to try their Golden Pink next when possible but from what I've read, there's plenty of shimmer in it and frost doesn't look good on me.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bacne & Neutrogena Body Clear Review

Bacne. Yup. Today I'm going to be talking about my little experience with bacne. This feels ever so slightly embarrassing.

Starting with a little background: To the best of my knowledge, I don't breakout on my body. I have really minor Keratosis Pilaris (aka KP or chicken bumps) on the back of my arms but that's about it. But about 2-3 months ago... I started experiencing mild bacne! Sometimes I'd experience minor ichyness and to the touch, I could feel my back producing oil. When the heck did my back start producing oil?? It's always been dry lol. I had no idea and still don't know where it came from or what caused it. (UPDATE 3/18/2012: I completely forgot to update this but it turned out to be my new Tresemme shampoo and conditioner! Just after switching that shampoo and conditioner out, my back went back to normal. Hallelujah! So if you're having this issue, try switching out your shampoo and conditioner! Lately I've been using SLS free shampoo and my body and hair have been responding well.) 

My personal routine:
1. I shower every day.
2. I scrub my entire body down every day with soap/body wash. I alternate between a loofah and an Italy towel (see here).
3. I change my sheets every week.
4. I wash my clothes after 1 wear.
5. I don't wear clothes that's skin tight. I try to keep it loose, cool, airy.. Hah.

Even with this routine, it still wasn't going away! 
What was I doing wrong??

I decided it was time to ask friends for their recommendations. I didn't know who to ask since my friends and I haven't talked about bacne before but surprisingly, quite a few have experienced before and/or are experiencing it now! Now, I wasn't excited about that fact of course but more about the fact that I could get some feedback on what products to use.

All three friends I asked recommended Neutrogena's Body Clear Body Wash(the original one). Unfortunately, when I went to Target that day, Neutrogena's Body Clear Body Wash was sold out! Their Body Scrub & Body Wash in Pink Grapefruit were available though so I went ahead and purchased their Body Wash in Pink Grapefruit. I also purchased their Body Clear Body Spray for reasons you'll read about later. Both were purchased on sale. The Body Spray was $5.25 and the Body Wash was $7.19.

*Where to find it exactly in Target*
It actually took me quite a while to locate the product in my Target store. I scanned the Neutrogena facial care area for a while. Took even longer in the body lotion/body care aisle but couldn't find any of these Body Clear products! After going between both aisles multiple times and receiving a questionable look from a man in the facial care section, I FINALLY spotted it on the adjacent aisle wall of the Neutrogena facial care section. So that's where you look people. I hope this helps to save you some time. :)

I started using Neutrogena's Body Clear Body Spray later that day. TWO days later, my back was no longer irritated or itchy. FABULOUS. I was ecstatic. A few more days pass by (maybe another two?) and my back is clear. WHAT~. I didn't start using Neutrogena's Body Wash in Grapefruit till about three days after I purchased it so I can't really vouch for it's bacne-ridding-properties. In my honest opinion, I don't understand how a body wash with Salicylic Acid would help since it's being washed off your body right after you apply it. But I can vouch for Neutrogena's Body Spray. Stuff's good.

I'd highly recommend Neutrogena's Body Clear Body Spray for those who are having issues with bacne. At least mild bacne since that's what I had. YAY for a clear & itch-less back again! Seriously that itch was probably the most irritating part. Originally, I was thinking, "Oh well. Bacne is kind of normal. I can deal." But I couldn't deal with the itchy back since my arms are so short! lol Phew~

A note about amount of product usage:
The Body Spray will last a loooong time. Me thinks. This picture below depicts 2 weeks usage. Every day after I shower, I use about 6 sprays on my back and I still have a ton left! I know. "Six sprays?? Isn't that overkill?" I just wanted to make sure I was doing well to cover my entire upper back. And it worked! :)

Also, the spray DOES work even when the bottle is upside down! At first I was skeptical but upon inspection of the pump inside the bottle, it does look different from a normal straight pump. Just fyi, it works. :)

The Grapefruit Body Wash on the other hand... This picture below depicts 1.5 weeks usage. It's going to be finished in no time. Probably won't be repurchasing it again but to be honest, it does smell super nice! So maybe. :)

For more information on the two products I used: 
Neutrogena Body Clear® Body Spray
Neutrogena Body Clear® Body Wash - Pink Grapefruit

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Koji Dolly Wink Volume Mascara by Tsubasa Mazusawa Review

If there is one makeup product I couldn't live without, hands down, it'd be mascara. And probably Japanese mascara at that since those are the only mascaras I've tried that can keep a curl! So here's my review of Koji Dolly Wink Volume Mascara by Tsubasa Mazusawa.

First off, my purchase was in no way influenced by the fact that Tsubasa was on the packaging since I know nothing about her. I just really like mascara... :)

Apparently, using this mascara will allow you to achieve a "Mannish Preppy Style." Huh...

I forget how much my tube was exactly but it was definitely over $20. I purchased it at a local Japanese grocer.

I like that the packaging includes a nice pamphlet with tips on how to apply the mascara!

A close-up of the instructions.

IMO, the design of the tube isn't that great. I know mascara doesn't usually come in anything but a plastic tube but this bottle could definitely have been designed a little better for the price. Just imo. Maybe I'm too used to Majolica Majorca's bottles. :)

The interesting thing about the wand is that it's tapered at the end! Perfect for applying mascara to your bottom lashes without accidently scrapping excess mascara onto your under eye area. How clever! 

Here is a picture of my bare lashes, curled:

And after! BAM. If you can't tell the biggest difference between the top lashes, take a look at those bottom lashes. Ooh whee~

I would definitely repurchase. Dolly Wink's Volume Mascara by Tsubasa Mazusawa is amazing! How could I expect any less from these fabulous Japanese mascaras, honestly. I love that upon application, the brush just glided along my lashes. I couldn't even feel the bristles on my lashes, only the mascara formula. It was so smooth. Odd to say but it was comfortable?

+ No flaking or smudging. Lasts all day!
+ Waterproof.
+ Holds curl really well!

- Pricey compared to comparable Japanese mascaras. I believe Majolica Majorca costs a tad less and it's my HG.

Where to Buy: