Saturday, August 16, 2008

Murad Energizing Pomegranate Lip Protector SPF 15 Review

I bought the Energizing Pomegranate Lip Protector SPF 15 last week after reading about it as a best beauty buys in a magazine and I am loving it. Pomegranate is well-known for its high antioxidant content and this lip gloss is infused with doses of pomegranate extract.

What I like about it is that it is not sticky or too glossy, but protects my lips against chapping with a sheer tint of color. Just what I am looking for. I also like to layer it on top of my lipstick or use it alone for a natural look! Best part: it has SPF 15; something everyone should look for in a lip protector.

Buy it today at Sephora, $16.50: Energizing Pomegranate Lip Protector SPF 15. 10% of the retail purchase price will benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Boscia Fresh Blotting Linens Review

An oily and shiny face is never in. To combat shine, I turn to Boscia Fresh Blotting Linens. I found them to be the most economical and it does an amazing job! Unlike powdered blotting paper, this blotting linen absorb oil without creating the cakey look. Boscia Blotting Linens is the size of a card holder and fits perfectly into any makeup case.

Buy it today at Sephora, $10 for 100 sheets: Boscia Fresh Blotting Linens. Comes in Original, Green Tea (pictured), and Lavender.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Clarisonic® Skincare Brush Review

My skin has never been better since I started using Clarisonic Skincare Brush. I purchased this brush at the urging of those models and have been using it for the past 3 months.

I wanted to be sure I got my money's worth because $195 for a skincare brush is no small matter. This is the experiment I did for 1 month. I cleaned half my face with Clarisonic and the other half the regular way. What I noticed after 1 month was that the half that was cleaned by Clarisonic was brighter, healthier, and more luminous. That was all the proof I needed! I started using Clarisonic religiously on my entire face. The sonic frequency moves Clarisonic's soft, gentle brush back and forth at more than 300 times per second to give you the deepest possible clean.

A word of caution, I did a trial by using the sensitive brush. Initially, I did experience slightly more breakouts (for about 2 weeks) but I continued to use it as I was told that was normal. After the 3 weeks mark, the only thing I experienced was smoother, cleaner, and more healthy looking skin. I am not sure why that is, but I think my face just was not used to such a deep clean. The amazing part of this brush is that after I cleaned my face the regular way, I would go over it again with Clarisonic and Clarisonic would pick up dirt from what I thought was a clean face. Imagine my horror!

The following benefits are listed on the website:
  • 6 times more makeup removal
  • Leaves skin feeling and looking younger and smoother
  • Cleanses so well that products absorb better
  • Gentle enough for twice daily use
  • Helps reduce oily areas, dry skin patches and blemishes
  • Helps reduce the appearance of visible pores
  • Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
What I love, love about this brush is that it feels as if I am with my facialist everytime I use it. It has something to do with the sonic frequency that moves the brush back and forth at more than 300 times per second!! I think paying $195 for the brush can actually save me money in the long run because I no longer need to go for facials every two weeks! I do it once a month now because there is just not a need. I have friends who suffer from eczema and rosacea and they love that Clarisonic is gentle enough for them!

Set includes: A Clarisonic brush and charger, one sensitive brush head, a 1 oz Refreshing Gel Cleanser, 1 oz Nourishing Care Cleanser and a 1 oz Hydrogel Cleanser. Replace your Clarisonic brush head every three months and cleanser every two months, if used daily. The gray brush can even be used to apply shaving lubricant for a closer shave. I got mine in pink because that is my favorite color. Buy one today at Sephora, $195: Clarisonic Skincare Brush.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Beauty Gifts: Neiman Marcus

The Estée Lauder Dream Event: Exclusively at Neiman Marcus

Your Free Gift with any Estée Lauder purchase of $55 or more. Enjoy a 7-day supply of Re-Nutriv Ultimate Youth Creme and Hydrating Creme Cleanser, the latest lip and eye colors, a 10-day supply of new Sumptuous Bold Volume™ Lifting Mascara, and a stylish black patent-trim tote and cosmetics bag. A dream gift, worth $150.00.

Your gift includes:
• Deluxe Gold Fluted Compact containing Estée Lauder Signature EyeShadow Duos in Rosenberry, Black Moon, Mocha, and Plum Sugar and Pure Color Long Lasting Lipstick in Rubellite, Autumn, and Sugar Honey.
• Full-size Pure Color Long Lasting Lipstick in Candy.
• New Sumptuous Bold Volume™ Lifting Mascara in Black (10-day supply).
• Re-Nutriv Ultimate Youth Crème, 7 milliliters.
• Re-Nutriv Intensive Hydrating Cream Cleanser, 30 milliliters.

Start shopping at Neiman Marcus.

Beauty Gifts: Bloomingdales

Get a deluxe 5-piece gift with any foundation or moisturizer purchase of $32.50 or more. Choose between Warm and Cool tones. Go to Bloomingdales today.

Guerlain Meteorites Illuminating Pressed Powder Review

The legendary Meteorites powder gave birth to a new illuminating pressed powder!!! This latest product from Guerlain comes from a line of cult favorites and is expected to be a best seller in no time. In fact, the most popular color, Beige Enlumineur, is already sold out at most stores. Lucky for me, mine is sitting pretty on my vanity table :)

Inspired from the classic Meteorites pearl, this pressed version like its predecessor leaves a faint scent as it washes over your face to give a healthy glow.

I did not think Guerlain can ever out-do the Meteorites pearl, but oops they did it again. The packaging for the pressed powder looks classier and prettier than the pearls - paper packaging never really worked for me. The best part, the pressed version makes it easier to pick up the powder with a fluffy brush. I love the subtle glow it gives to my complexion.

As noted on Sephora: Each compact contains an array of four complementary shades that create a luminous glow, the correcting color in the center can be used to conceal redness, cover blemishes, or tone down dark undereye circles. Swirl on the corresponding matte and pearlescent hues to touch up your look with a subtle iridescence.

This visually stunning pressed powder comes in three shades: Mythic Parfait (translucent glow), Rose Frais (rosy glow), and Beige Enlumineur (golden glow). Check it out at Sephora, $65: Guerlain Meteorites Illuminating Pressed Powder. I know it is on the slightly expensive end, but one compact lasts forever (1-2 years, depending on frequency of use). The hardest thing for me was using it for the first time, because it looks so pretty in the compact that all I wanted to do was to look at it!

Vogue Beauty Tips - Tipping at Salons and Spas

Ever wonder how much you should tip?

This month's InStyle Beauty Buzz visits this much debated topic for us and Shamila Zare, spa manager at Sycamore Mineral Springs in San Luis Obispo, CA, provided the following guidelines:

20% for outstanding service
15% for good service
10% not as good as expected
0% if it is unacceptable

As for the owners? Regina Viotto, spa director and co-owners of the Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa in NYC said "I don't expect tips, but I do accept them."

I independently inquired my hair stylist, colorist, facialist, and massage therapist - they acknowledge that the guidelines provided by Zare is best practice! I can always count on InStyle to set things straight.

Beauty Gifts: Nordstrom

With your $100 beauty or fragrance purchase, receive a chic tote filled with the following deluxe samples from favorite brands:
  • Bare Escentuals® bareMinerals® Face Color in Pure Radiance (0.02 oz.)
  • Bvlgari ‘Eau Parfumée au thé blanc’ Oshibori Refreshing Towel
  • Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch (0.13 oz.)
  • Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Body Lotion (0.2 oz.)
  • Ed Hardy by Christian Audigier Eau de Parfum Spray (0.05 oz.)
  • GoSmile Advanced Formula B1 Tooth Whitening Ampoule
  • Kinerase® Intensive Eye Cream (0.1 oz.)
  • NARS Potent EFA Cream (0.24 oz.)
  • Pangea Organics Facial Cleanser—Egyptian Calendula & Blood Orange (0.1 oz.)
  • St. John Signature Eau de Parfum Spray (0.05 oz.)
  • Shiseido ‘The Makeup’ Pre-Makeup Cream SPF 15 (0.21 oz.)

Visit Nordstrom today!

Sephora by OPI Review

Nail giant OPI teamed up with Sephora this fall to launch the exclusive "Sephora by OPI" nail color line. Featuring 54 shades, this collection is affordable ($9) and bound to be a huge hit.

OPI is famous for the quality of their nail polishes and Sephora by OPI is no exception. The color slithers on perfectly and is extremely consistent. The rubber tops are perfect to prevent slippage and provide a firm grip when applying color. It is also extremely helpful when opening the bottle for the first time because they seal them so darn tight!

I am amazed at the color selection from this collection: nude to sheer to bright and bold - there is something for everyone! I bought the following from this collection: Metro Chic (must buy for fall), Never Enough Shoes, Mr. Right Now, I Need Space, Don't Go There, Beauty Junkie, Dear Diary, and Never Enough Shoes. My favorite: Metro Chic. It is already sold out so buy a few while you can.

This collection is free of DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde.

Check out the entire line at Sephora: Sephora by OPI.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Smith's Rosebud Salve Review

Every wonder what is the one thing our favorite gossip girl cannot live without? Leighton Meester opened up to Us Magazine in this week's issue "The thing that I cannot live without Smith's Rosebud Salve." There you have it.

Smith's Rosebud Salve was launched in the 1800s and is still wildly popular today. Celebrities and makeup artists horde it like it is soon to go out of production. And at $6, you cannot ask for a better deal.

I love the cute tin packing and the faint scent of rose. Rosebud Salve is a multi-faceted product and can be used in many ways. Here are some of my uses for this cult favorite product:

1. Lip moisturizer - sometimes I like to layer it over a lipstick or use it as a base before applying my lipgloss.
2. Cuticles cream - every wonder how to get amazingly soft cuticles? Rosebud to the rescue. While on long flight, Rosebud serves as my cuticles cream. What better way to spend time than to moisturize my cuticles.
3. Eyebrow gel - I dab a little bit of Rosebud on my fingers and use it to tame my eyebrows.
4. Pigment primer - I love my MAC pigments, but it is hard to get them on without properly priming the skin. Dab a wee bit of Rosebud all over the lid and those pigments will look as vibrant as they can be.
5. Blush - When I am going for the nude look, sometimes I dab Rosebud on the apples of my cheeks for slight color and dewy effect. If you desire more color, simply top it off with some blush.
6. Hair serum - Believe it or not, Rosebud works wonder at taming frizzy hair.
7. Foot cream - If my feet are really dry, I slather Rosebud all over them and wear socks before going to bed.

I recall I once even used it as a burnt oilment and it worked pretty well!

Buy it today at Sephora for $6: Rosebud Salve.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Vogue Beauty Tips - How to get flawless complexion

Here are a few tips to achieve that flawless complexion:

1. Never go to bed with makeup. Everyone knows this but some people still do it! Those models, see previous posts, swear by this no matter how tired they are, they never go to bed with makeup. Your skin needs to breath to regenerate itself overnight. Leaving makeup on clogs your pores and that is how those pesky pimples breed.

2. Drink water! Some say 8 glasses a day; some say half a gallon. Whatever it is, your body consists of 75% water so make sure you replenish any lost moisture. Drinking enough water also aids the body flush out waste and toxin. If you can substitute one of those glasses with green tea - even better as green tea is full of anti-oxidants.

3. Exfoliate regularly. Exfoliating helps to remove dead skin, unclog pores, reduce the appearance of pigmentation/wrinkles, and aid in the absorption of moisturizers.

4. Use a mask suitable for your skin type once a week. Exfoliating prior to mask application will allow for deeper penetration beneath the skin surface to thoroughly clean your pores and bring your skin back into balance. If you are short on cash, try out the famous aspirin mask. Crush 3-4 aspirin (uncoated) pills, mix a few drops of water to disintegrate the aspirin, then add a tablespoon of honey. Aspirin contains beta hydroxy acid. It helps dry out blemishes, decreases skin's oil production, and exfoliates the skin at the same time.

5. Get enough sleep. Sounds simple, but when I dont, I noticed my skin looked flaky and breakouts are more frequent. That is why I always shoot for at least 8 hours of sleep every night.

Hope it helps!

Monday, August 11, 2008

SK-II Facial Essence Review

SK-II is huge in Asia and loved by many Asian celebrities. I first found out about this collection 4 years ago when I was vacationing in Australia; coincidentally, Cate Blanchett the Great is now the ambassador for the brand.

Like most SK-II newbies, I started my voyage with SK-II with the Facial Essence. The Facial Essence contains more than 90% Pitera (SK-II signature ingredient) and works like a miracle to restore the skin's vitality and promote skin cells regeneration.

As I mentioned in my earlier posts, I used to have pretty bad pigmentation problems due to acne and have found the Facial Essence to work well at reducing those unsightly dark spots on my face. I liked it so much that before I left, I bought 2 more bottles of it to take back home. I noticed after 2-3 months that my skin was more balanced and supple.

This is a must-buy for anyone who wants to try SK-II. I used it like a toner after washing my face in lieu of my regular toner, except I skip saturating it in cotton pads since I do not want to waste any essence! The 2.6 oz retails for $85 at Saks and lasts for approximately 6 months.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Guerlain Le 2 Mascara Review

Since we are hot on the heels of the vibrating mascara debate, I decided to do a review on Guerlain's Le 2 Mascara that I tried a while back. Of all the non high-tech mascaras that have debuted this year, I am most impressed by Le 2 Mascara. I can do without the large bristles wand, but the smaller bristles wand (tilted 7 degrees) truly lives up to Le 2 Mascara's tag line of not leaving any lashes behind. If you recall, I have relatively (ok, that is an understatement) short bottom lashes and have struggled to apply mascara to them since most bristles on the market are too big. If I have a lot of spare time, I will take the small bristles wand and use that to slowly define, curl, lengthen every single lash - top and bottom!

I still like Lancome's Oscillation better, but for defining those bottom lashes, no one does a better job than Le 2 Mascara. Get one at Sephora, $35, for those special nights out when you need to make your eyes pop: Le 2 Mascara. Comes in three colors: Black, Brown, and Blue. I like black because at the price, I want it to be worth its while.