Saturday, March 30, 2013

Review: Lorac TANtalizer Highlighter & Matte Bronzer Duo

highlighter and matte bronzer duo

ProductLorac TANtalizer Highlighter & Matte Bronzer Duo

Review: I've been looking for a great contouring bronzer for a while. I have a medium skintone, and I find that a lot of bronzers are just too light to be great for contouring on me. When I saw this compact came in a limited edition travel-size, I snatched it up right away, because the product description makes it sound like it's specifically for contouring and highlighting and I'm cheap. All I can say is thank god I didn't go and buy the $32 full-size version, because I would have been really annoyed.

First, the good. I like the bronzer well enough. It's still not quite as dark as I was looking for, but it's close and I can get the effect I want on my cheekbones by building up the color. For those of you who think I'm crazy, here is a diagram that is pretty close to what I follow:

bronzer and highlighter for contouring

I contour and blend like a mofo before applying my foundation, so it's all very subtle and whatnot. As much as I HATE Kim Kardashian, this is a great before and after:

how to contour

I might someday get to the point where I cave and use a dark concealer/foundation to get the contouring I want, but I just like powders so much more. Sigh. Anyway, back to this product thingy and me liking the bronzer. It's a good little bronzer. Matte, decent pigmentation, pretty decent texture, and not orangey. Soooo glad it's not orangey or sparkly, you have no idea. It's weirdly hard to find, and I totally plan on using this in the summer when I want to look more sun-kissed (I wear tons of SPF on my face, so it doesn't tan, really). Oh, and I also love the compact. It's gold, shiny, and super cute.

Now for the stuff I don't like. For the bronzer, the only thing that really bugs me is that the staying power isn't amazing and it's not as dark as I would like a contouring bronzer to be (but I understand if I'm in the minority in this, due to my contouring preferences). For the highlighter, I really can't think of anything positive to say. Where to start? First off, it's a weird beigey pink color, which is NOT what you want a highlighter to be. You want it to be more of a neutral vanilla shade, like theBalm's Mary Lou-manizer that I loved so much. This is more like an awkward extremely pale blush than it is a highlighter. You should be able to use highlighter all over your face, but the pink undertones look weird under the brows and pretty much everywhere except your cheeks. Also,  the overall product is horrible.

I have tried tons of blushes and highlighters, and this is, by far, the worst because the product will not stick to my skin. Like, at all. I tried it with and without different primers, different brushes, and no luck. I could see it falling off my brushes all over the place, but almost none would get deposited on my face. The stuff that was left, you could barely see and it would just wipe off. It's like one of those horribly crappy powders you get in a makeup-for-kids set. Actually, those might be better, now that I think of it. I thought the Bella Bomba blush was a little powdery. This stuff makes it look like NARS in comparison. I read some reviews that were like, "Oh I love it, it's so subtle!" Yeah? It's subtle because you can barely get any to stick to your face! For a $32 price tag, you should be getting a finely-milled, highly pigmented powder that you only need a little bit of to get the effect you want. This? This is just ridiculous. I have $3 crappy eyeshadow that works better as a highlighter than this stuff. As for reviews where people liked it, I can only think that they have little-to-no experience with real highlighting products, which is a pity, because a good highlighter should be one of the most versatile products in your makeup arsenal.

Verdict? Save your money and buy something better. I regret even paying $12 for the travel size and will probably return it, just because the highlighter makes me angsty and I don't want to own something that crappy.

Grade: B for the bronzer half, F for the highlighter. So... D+?

Price: $32, regular. $12 travel-size.

Where to buy: Ulta, Nordstrom, Beauty.com



Friday, March 29, 2013

Review: Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eye Liner


Product: Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eye Liner

Review: I have an obsession with eyeliner. I won't go a day without it, because I love how it looks on me. For a long time, I only used liquid. Then, I switched to pencils because it's easier to apply in the morning. Swipe, smudge and go, yo. Mistakes? Smudge it out and make your eye more smokey. Then add more to get a more defined line. So fast, so easy. Especially now that I live with my man and his bathroom doesn't have a nice place where I can rest my elbow and see into a mirror at the same time. It's amazing how much easier it is to get identical cat eye application when you have a place to rest your elbow, I swear. 

Anyways, you'd think that I would have tried out more gel liners by now, but this is only my second. I guess, in my head, they were just a lot more fussy than they are in reality. Because in reality, I think they're even faster to apply than pencil. I just use a stiff, angled liner brush, get some liner on there, and make a soft cat eye. DONE. Love love love. 

What I like about this particular liner is that the color is rich, highly pigmented, not shiny but not 100% matte. It's a great in-between liner. More intense than pencil, but less of a crisp line than liquid. No waiting for it to dry, either. The consistency is nice, and it's easy to apply with an angled brush without tugging or great amounts of effort. You do have to apply it fast before it sets, though, because if you putz, it won't blend and will start flaking as you fuss with it. Apply it fast, and then leave it alone. I would suggest not using a stereotypical liner brush unless the bristles are very stiff, because you might find the formula too thick or waxy. With a good angled brush, it's great. I use this one from MAC. 

Another thing I like is that it really is long-wearing. Looks great the next morning after a night of marathoning Bones on Netflix. Yes, that happened. Because I am awesome like that. 

As for the things I don't like: sometimes, when I'm applying it, it flakes off my brush a little bit. Also, there is a little fall-out through the work day, of which I am not a fan. I want to have what I have with liquids and never have to worry about having the "raccoon" effect, you know? And I also don't like that it's not compatible with my normal liner brushes. They're just too weak to handle this stuff and give me a precise line. But none of these things are enough to keep me from using it all the time, so it works. Not sure I'd buy it again, because there are so many other ones to try that I think could perform a bit better. 

Grade: B-

Price: $22

Where to buy: Sephora


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Review: Ojon Volume Advance Thickening Spray

The Product: Ojon Volume Advance Thickening Spray

The Review: I like to have awesome bombshell hair. The whole stick-straight hair thing is not at all flattering for my roundish face, nor is it as fun as having  wavy, volumized sex hair of awesome. To illustrate:

Noooooo, I no likey. Also, at first glance, I thought this was Mila Kunis. 
This is Mila Kunis, who also loves her some flat irons. 
This is more my flavor:

Anyway, I got this product because most reviews of it were all like, "OMG! My super fine hair is so volumized now!" Sorry to say, with my hair, this was not the case. I usually use a volumizing mousse and blowdry my hair upside down to get my hair looking awesome, so I was really bummed out when this product couldn't even match up to my cheap-ass TRESsemme. What the hell, Ojon? Not only did it give me almost no volume, but by the end of the day my hair was flatter than when I blowdry it without product, and it looked like I had never showered in the first place. Greasy roots are gross. I guess I should have expected this from the weird, tacky texture of the spray, but I was hoping that it would be different when my hair was actually dry. Basically, this is what I get when I'm all like, "Eff you drugstore deals, I'ma try this fancy hair stuff instead!"

Um.... to say something positive... it doesn't smell gross and the packaging is visually appealing. And it didn't seem to damage my hair at all.

Long story short, save your money. There are PLENTY of cheaper products that will give you a ton of volume and not piss you off. You could actually buy like 3-5 of them for the same price.

Grade: C-
Price: $24
Where to buy: Birchbox

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Perfume Rant



Prepare for an extensive rant on perfumes. 

Perfume has recently become my new obsession. It might actually be eclipsing my makeup obsession at the moment, I kid you not. The reason for this is that I'm on the hunt for a new "signature" fragrance that I can wear daily as I feel my other ones no longer fit me. I want something that my boyfriend likes as well and that doesn't make my scent allergies act up. Easier said than done, my friends!

My boy is very... uncaring when it comes to perfume. He just doesn't like anything. Everything is "Eh, it's ok" to him. When I try something new, I have learned to ask, "Does it repel you?" because anything else gets a "meh." All I really, really want to find something that the boy smells on me and says, "Damn honey, you smell good!" The only goddamn perfume that has ever, ever happened with was Taylor Swift's Wonderstruck. I was testing out a sample I got, and he sniffed me when I got home and said, "You smell nice." Only time he's ever complimented me on how I smell! Ever! UGH!! NO. I already have the shame of living with a liking for Britney Spears' Curious. I refuse to be stuck with another celebriscent, so help me. So, the seemingly neverending quest to find a new perfume continues... 

My criteria thus far: 
-The perfume needs to have gourmand notes, because those tend to keep the scent-related migraines at bay for whatever reason. Fruit, vanilla, chocolate, cupcakes... all are fine by me. 
-The manfriend must smell me and say "you smell nice." He's done it once, he can do it again! 
-I need to like the perfume enough to enjoy smelling it on myself all day long. 

Side note: Be amazed that I didn't link almost everything to Sephora like I usually do when I'm lazy (which is all the time). Perfume is way cheaper on Amazon, so when the price difference was significant, I linked to those instead. Savin you monies. You are welcome. 

I currently own: Burberry Classic (impulse buy I never wear, but like spraying it in the air sometimes), Marc Jacobs Lola (I like it), Stella McCartney Stella (it's like sexy roses, and I love me some roses), Victoria's Secret Sexy Little Things Noir (used to wear this scent all the time. Now it reminds me of my pre-committed-relationship phase where I partied all the time and spent most of it hungover) and Escada Moon Sparkle (dumbest scent name ever, but it smells like passionfruit to me and I LOVE passionfruit. It just doesn't work as nicely with my body chemistry as I'd like it to. It's also discontinued.), Britney Spears Curious (I hate myself for owning this, but it smells good on me) and Fresh Brown Sugar (sugary lemony goodness). 

I have recently tried and liked/loved: 
-Chloe Chloe. Fruity delicious roses. I love this perfume soooo much, but my friend and former roommate owns it, so I don't want us to smell like twinsies. I think it's so fresh and pretty and elegant. And the boyfriend smelled me and went "meh." 
-D&G L'Imperatrice. Fresh, orangey, happiness. God, I want this perfume the most. It's so light and perfect for summer or winter when I'm wishing it was summer. It reminds me of mimosas. Again, no boyfriend response. But I don't care and might buy it anyway for myself. He can learn to like it. 
-Taylor Swift's Wonderstruck. I did think it smelled nice, but almost too sweet. Kinda like flowery cookies. Since it's the only smell the boy has positively responded to, I might get a rollerball. Hell no on that tacky perfume bottle. 
-Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy La Fleur. I just adored this one, because it wasn't as heavy Viva La Juicy. Sadly, the staying power is lacking and it got the boyfriend "meh" response. 
-Lavanila Pure Vanilla. Just got a sample of this yesterday and am currently wearing it at work. Doesn't actually smell like real vanilla, more like creme brulee, but it's warm and I think I like it. Boyfriend approval pending. 
-Tokyomilk Tainted Love. This is like a sexier, more refined version of Sexy Little Things Noir. I think it's my favorite "darker" scent so far. Vanilla bean, tonka bean, white tea, citrus... all things I love. I have the hand lotion on right now.  Boyfriend approval also pending on this one. I'm going to wear it to work tomorrow, so we shall see! I hope he likes it, cause it's cheap. $36!

And then there have been some that I hated: 
-Stella McCartney L.I.L.Y. Probably the most old-ladyish scent I've tried so far. I couldn't even wear it. The boyfriend was like, "Gross, grandma." 
-Tocca Beauty Cleopatra. The lady in the store swore up and down that I would love this one. And for the first 10 minutes or so, I liked it. But after an hour, the patchouli stuck out waaaay too much on me. I don't want to smell like an old hippie commune, thanks. Especially at work. 
-Especially Escada. I love rose scents, but this one smells a little too chemical and like stale roses to me. Blergh.
-Paco Rabanne Lady Million. This one dried down and started to smell like grape koolaid on me. Not a good thing. 
-Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issey. I swear, everyone and their grandma loves this scent and I might be the only person who hates it. But I hate it. And I can smell it from 10 feet away when a person is wearing it. Something about it just grosses me out!

Amazon buying tips: be careful about buying from 3rd party sellers. I didn't have time to go through and check out the seller reviews, so definitely do that when it comes to perfumes. You don't want a diluted tester.  

And that is the end of my perfume rant. Until next time. Feel free to leave me perfume suggestions in the comments, especially if you are a dude cause we all know my man has no opinion unless it pertains to Taylor Swift (and I will be shocked a guy actually came across this blog). More makeup reviews to come! Probably tomorrow. 





Friday, March 15, 2013

Makeup Review: theBalm® cosmetics Mary-Lou Manizer

Best highlighter


The ProducttheBalm® cosmetics' Mary-Lou Manizer

The Review:  This is another Birchbox find. Yaaaay, sample boxes! Every time I start thinking they're getting disappointing, I wind up getting something really great that keeps me shilling out my $10 every month. TheBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer is one of them.

Basically, this is one of those delightful all-in-ones; it can be used as an all-over luminizing powder, a highlighter, or an eyeshadow. I've tried using it as all three and have liked it every which way. When it comes to my whole face, I tend to go for a more matte finish as opposed to a "luminized" one (don't want to be no sparkle bomb), but as a face powder, it's surprisingly subtle when applied with a light hand. Still, I prefer to use it as an eyeshadow or a highlighter. Loooove it as an eyeshadow, because it's such a pretty color and blends well with all my other shadows. Thus far, I have noticed no creasing! As a highlighter, it's amazing because it's a gorgeous champagne shimmer and is pretty buildable. Subtle highlight or more pronounced, your pick!

On the more technical side, it's a very finely-milled powder with a lot of pigment, which is why it's so versatile. No scent. Plus, the packaging is super cute. Love, love, love. And it's huge! You get so much product, considering you only need the tiniest amount to get a lovely highlight. This is definitely another product where it lives up to its claims and doesn't piss me off. The only thing I can really think of to gripe about is that it's $24, and I am a broke-ass biatch these days. Damn you, economy and damn you, job, with your crappy peon's salary. But honestly, I don't mind spending the money on something like this because it's high-quality, very versatile, and will last me ages thanks to the giant amount you get.

Rated Beauty Grade: A

Price: $24

Where to buy: Nordstrom, Beauty.comBirchbox 


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Julep Freedom Polymer Top Coat


The Product: Julep Freedom Polymer Top Coat

The Review: I got this product in my Julep Maven box last month (I think it was last month), and it is hands-down the BEST topcoat I have ever tried. I can honestly say that I have no snark to throw at it because it does the one thing I thought impossible: it smudgeproofs my nails and blows my mind.

Basically, it's like an easily-removed gel polish top coat that cures under natural light in 5 minutes or less, leaving your nails super glossy and smudgeproof. Even if the polish underneath is still kinda soft (I am way too impatient for this manicure stuff). I think it's just miraculous, because until now, I have always wound up with some smudges no matter how careful I am. I swear my nails smudge themselves just to spite me for years of biting them. And now they can't! HAHAHA! Take that, nails!

I guess the only mild complaint I have is that my nails aren't 100% chip-proof, but then again, I'm not good about sealing my nail edges and never reapply this topcoat every 3 days like they suggest. I'm probably mostly to blame for that, and OMG my nails are so shiny and smudge-free!

Be warned though that you can still dent your nails for an hour or so after using this topcoat if you're like me and are too impatient to let your polish harden all the way. Oh, and definitely don't be like me and take a hot shower an hour after painting your nails, because you will wreck the pretty self-manicure you just spent half an hour on and have to spend another half hour redoing it. But smudging? Nope. Hands down the most awesome top coat I have ever used, and I will never, ever go back to OPI and whatever else I have in my topcoat collection. I might actually throw them or give them all away, now that I think about it... So in love with this topcoat am I. Sigh...

At $18 for a non-Maven, it's a little spendy, but it's sooooo worth it if you are addicted to polishing your nails. I seriously don't know if I can ever get this excited about a nail product again. It might be impossible. Unless Julep comes out with a bunch of Freedom Polymer Polishes... EEEE! This needs to happen.

Grade: A+
Price: $18, $14.40 if you're a Maven.
Where to Buy: julep.com

Friday, March 8, 2013

Raw Green Organics Rawjuvenate Cleanse System



The Product: Raw Green Organics' Rawjuvenate Cleanse System

The Review: I don't normally do reviews of this kind of thing, because I wanted this to be a blog about my obsession with makeup and hair products. However, I am going to make an exception for this cleanse, because I'm having a hard time finding real honest reviews from people who have definitely tried this product and not just celebrity endorsements and sites doing giveaways.

I normally don't do cleanses, but I love having breakfast shakes. They're easy and it's a great way for me to force myself to get something with nutritional value into my system in the morning (I am neither a morning nor a breakfast person). I tend to get bored with flavors, though, so I keep on trying different ones. I saw this cleanse system on Daily Candy and decided to try it out because I always try to find shakes with spirulina, greenery and protein, and I am always game to try out new supplements. I saw this and was like, "I like organic greens, protein, and the combo of fiber, aloe, and probiotics is pretty good. $80 for a month's supply of all that stuff really isn't too bad compared to overpriced juice cleanses, so sure I'll try it."

I've been using this cleanse system for almost 2 weeks, so it's not like I tried it for a day or 2 and was like, I'm going to review it without giving it a shot. Basically, this system is sneaky. The shake is actually really tasty when mixed with stuff. I use milk or vanilla almond milk. It fills me up til lunch, and I never dread drinking it, so I'm sold on that. What I don't like are the supplements. Fiber is great on its own, aloe is great on its own in moderation, and everyone loves a nice probiotic. I figured everything would be all nice and mild since you're supposed to be taking them every day, but just to be safe, I started out with just 1 capsule of each instead of the recommended 3 capsules of the fiber and aloe. Good thing I did, because I wound up getting horrible stomach upset.

At first, I thought it was the aloe and stopped taking that, since it was marketed as a gentle laxative. I thought that was weird, since I've had aloe and aloe juice before and never had a problem. Normally, my stomach is cast iron and nothing bothers it. I figured they'd formulated it to be way too strong. However, my problems continued, so I did a little research and found The Detox Diva had had a similar problem. Turns out, there is senna  AND cascara sagrada in the fiber supplement (I was not familiar with those herbs and had no idea what they did. I figured it was some other type of fiber source), both of which are laxatives and stronger ones at that. You are definitely not supposed to be taking those every day, just as you are not supposed to be taking any kind of laxative every day, because it fucks with your electrolyte levels and can cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies as well as screwing up your digestive process. You are way, waaaay better off just drinking a tasty aloe drink and mixing psyllium husk powder into some juice. Fiber has no need for laxatives, people.

I've worked with enough natural health and new-agey people to know that there are people out there who will insist that I didn't follow directions, that I'm "detoxing" and that I need a good colon-cleansing if I want to live to be 100. However, the fact of the matter is, regardless of whether it's my body acting up or my not following directions, taking laxatives every day --even natural ones-- is not healthy. I don't care if you think feeling like you have a mild case of food poisoning for 2 weeks is good for you, because it's not.

Oh, and no, even with the intestinal misery caused by the senna and cascara sagrada, I didn't lose any weight. Not that that was my goal in the slightest, but some payment for being miserable for that long would have been nice.  But now I know! Laxatives. Not worth it.

I would totally buy the greens and protein powder on their own if they were priced reasonably, because it is one of the best shakes I've tried. Too bad they're all insanely overpriced.

Bottom line: You can do better. Save your money and find something else. Or buy it when it's almost 65% off, like I did, and be super careful with the laxatives.

Update: Wow, I'm so glad this review has been helpful to people! Thank you all for your lovely comments and opinions. And I also feel I should clarify that I don't believe this cleanse will do any lasting harm if you decide to try it and stick with the laxative trifecta, but don't say I didn't warn you if you wind up feeling pretty sick and spending an ungodly amount of time in the bathroom. It's just my opinion that there are safer, less unpleasant ways of cleaning out your innards. Also, if you ever find a great deal for the greens and protein combo, I totally recommend it, because after I finished the whole month of shakes, my hair was growing like crazy and my skin looked amazing. Yay!