Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I learned about the Secret (L'oreal face primer)

I just bought L'oreal Studion Secrets face primer (one pink primer in a glass jar).  I must say it has been working very well.  I have been wearing it for about a week and a half, and so far no breakouts and no problems.  I don't have to blot my face at all throughout the day.  No caking, pooling, or creasing around the nose.  I am wearing MAC Studio Fix Fluid in NC37 and NC40 (I mix equal parts), with MAC mineralized skinfinish natural in medium deep on top.  I get flawless finish that lasts all day.

The primer is one the dry side, and scooping it out of the jar can be a little troublesome, but the effects are great.  A little has gone a long way for me.  It dries to an invisible powdery finish, and truly mattifies the face.  If you have dry skin, this primer might dry you out more.  However, this is great for oily to combo skin.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Escapes should be more exciting (BE Ready eyeshadow)

Some time in November 2011, I went to my first beauty trend show thanks to a lovely friend who doesn't judge my love for makeup inviting me.  The Queen and I woke up very early and headed over to the mall around 7 am to meet up with my friend.  This dedication demonstrates the unconditional love my mother has for me, and my love for makeup.  When we got to the trend show, women were already there enjoying the complimentary breakfast.

The Queen and I were amazed that they had such a lovely spread, full-size bottles of water, and we got free shiny tote bags to hold our booty.  After getting acclimated to the surroundings, we found great seats right up front!

The show started, the musics was pumping, and it was just 8 am.  The women who attended the show were yelling and screaming as if the Clarisonic brush and the new Bobbi Brown collection were rock stars.  It was so much fun.  In my mind it finally registered that this was female bonding time on steroids.  My brain and body clicked.  Here is the thing, when my brain and body click into party mode, my introverted persona takes a back seat to letting loose.  Once this happens, my hips start to pop from side to side, by head starts to sway, and my shoulders start to bounce.  I get an unstoppable urge to do the running man, which is immediately followed by (be very afraid) the sprinkler.  That is right.  I whip out the classic moves.  If I feel really crazy, I will try the worm, and I fail miserably.

Anyway, after my brain clicked that the beauty trend show was mega girl time, there was a transition between the presentation of brands, and the DJ was going crazy with some awesome dance music.  I immediately put my new tote bag of the floor, got up, and showed the surrounding ladies my mad moves.  I got up to dance several times.  It was exhilarating (I need to get out more, definitely).  The trend show host noticed my stellar rendition of a sprinkler and gave me a gift of full-size Bare Minerals (or Bare Escentuals) products.  I received a Buxom lip gloss (I gave to a friend before trying it), a charcoal eyeliner, a moisturizer (I gave away), and one of the new pressed shadow duos.  I was most psyched about the eyeshadow duo.  The duo is called "The Escape," and it has two very neutral, everyday shades: a matte nude beige (Daydream) and a subtle shimmery neutral brown with very soft gold flecks (Wanderlust).

Honestly, I was surprised with the colors since I consider an escape to be a departure from the current state of normalcy, and these colors are very normal.  If you are lacking a quick-pickup duo for everyday looks, then this is for you.  However, I am pretty sure the majority of makeup owners have these colors or a variation of these colors.

Now, for the wear.  They are very pigmented.  These shades glide on without a problem, and they feel very soft and light on the eye.  Daydream is great for a natural wash over the eye just to cancel out any discoloration on light to medium skin tones.  It can serve as a matte highlighter for darker skin tones.  Wanderlust is versatile.  You can use it as a liner, a contour color, a one shade smokey shadow.  It is very safe. Very easy to dupe.

As always, to ensure longevity, I wear Urban Decay Primer Potion as a shadow primer.  Then, I apply this shadow.  To be honest, I think I need to find a new primer because UDPP doesn't seem to be cutting it anymore.  However, I will say that compared to my other less expensive shadows, with UDPP as a primer, this Bare Minerals shadows really didn't hold up longer.  With my usual mark., Wet 'n Wild, or generic shadows, I get at least six to seven hours of wear before the beginning of creasing or fading.  Unfortunately, I noticed that "The Escape" was escaping my eyelids (sorry, I had to) after about four hours.  I tried applying the shadow with different techniques (applying primer, then regular powder, then the shadow; sandwiching the shadow) and the shadows just would not last long on my lids.  So...that's that.

Overall, the shadow feels nice, but I was underwhelmed.  I don't regret dancing for the shadow because the shadow was just a perk to exercising and letting loose.  However, I think I would have regretted paying for this.

Anyone have experiences with the other shades?  The longevity obviously could be just on my eyes, and it could also be exclusive to this duo.

Here are the deets and pics
What: Bare Minerals Ready pressed shadow in The Escape (Daydream is the light shadow, Wanderlust is the darker shadow)
Price: $20
Where: Sephora, bareescentuals.com, and other fine stores

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Book That Changed the Game

I cut my hair.  I cry.  I let it grow out.  I cry.  I cut my hair.  I cry. 

I have evaluated this cycle, and looked at pictures where I have short and long hair, and I have FINALLY come to terms that long hair suits my face better.  In addition, longer hair is easier when it is curly.  My hair is very curly.  I used to relax it, but I haven't done so in nearly one year.  I didn't do a big chop.  I still have enough curl/wave to transitions into not retouching my roots.  However, transitioning from chemically processed hair to natural hair is awkward and takes some problem-solving skills. 

In a quest to find some solutions, I pored over natural hair blogs and took some tips and hints.  I tried many products, but I still wasn't satisfied.  Then, I came across a source of information that I was looking for but couldn't explain: www.tightlycurly.com.  This website was created by Teri LaFlesh, and I could identify with parts of her hair journey especially because our textures are very similar.  I admired how candid and open she was with sharing pictures showing how she went through the years to figure out exactly what to do and how to do her hair.  After many years of experimentation, research, and trial and error, she found a solution, and she was generous enough to share it with the curly-haired population.  She stopped processing her hair, recognized the delicate nature of curly hair, and hydrated her hair endlessly.  In addition, she learned that curls last best when clumped nicely and smoothly.

I can honestly say that I have benefited greatly from her recommendations.  I don't follow every tip that she offers, however, I have adopted her method of doing hair and I have purchased the products she uses.  In addition, I ordered her book Curly Like Me (2010).  After reading various chapters in the book, repeatedly watching her tutorial videos, and trying out her method until I felt comfortable, I can tell you that I have not looked back at other methods or products. 

After perfecting the method she recommends, I can enjoy second-, third-, fourth-, and even fifth-day hair.  In addition, my hair feels so healthy.  I don't encounter breakage, and it looks the prettiest it has ever.  I haven't even been tempted to relax my hair since I started this method (I relax out of frustration with manageability). 

Beautiful second-day hair!! It looks better than the first day!
She has a list of products that work for her, however, she highly recommends Aussie's Moist conditioner (I reviewed that sometime ago.  I love this conditioner!  I have liters and liters of it.  I buy many whenever I get coupons.)  I also use the Denman brush, which she and others recommend.  For days that are going to be incredibly humid, I apply some light gel on the top layers. 
The Denman Classic Styling brush.  You can find it at Sally's Beauty.

The Curly Like Me methods calls for coating the hair with an extremely generous amount of conditioner, working with forming the curls sections by section, and using the Denman brush to gently smooth out the hair so that the curls can clump nicely.  Sure, it takes some time (my shoulder length hair following this method takes about an hour); however, my curls lasts for up to five days.  At night, instead of braiding my hair (it isn't long enough yet), I clip it up like a pineapple, and then the next morning I refresh the curls with a conditioner and water mix. 

So, if you have curly hair that is in the very curly natural or mild transitioning state, then you should definitely visit Teri LaFlesh's website, and check out her book.

It has helped me immensely, and I don't think I will cut my hair again out of frustration in an incredibly long time.  

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Blogger Guiltville

My, what a break I have taken?! I have taken a long trip to blogger Guiltville. Blogger Guiltville is the place where bloggers with great intentions go when their lives are too busy, and they start to feel guilt for not tending to their blog. Then, because of the guilt, they avoid sitting down in front of the computer to write. Instead, they procrastinate. Blogger Guiltville was like quicksand to me, and I just found a way to emerge. My shopping habits have changed, but my urge to write my opinions hasn't. I plan on easing back into writing, even if I am the only person reading the entries.

Whew, but I will come back later, I have to find out how to get to a three-year old's birthday party.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

L'oreal Lash Serum

The benefit from taking some time off is that amount of time I give myself to try something. For instance, I have been using the L'oreal Lash Boosting Serum for two months, and I feel comfortable writing this review now. In a nutshell, I love this stuff. My friends and I have noticed a significant different in the length and plenitude of my lashes and brow hairs.

I decided to pick this serum up because I had noticed that my lashes were shedding more than usual, and I got a little freaked out (I attribute it to stress because I have been taking my mascara off gently before going to bed and so forth). However, before rushing to buy something crazy expensive, I decided to see what as at the drugstore price range. So, I checked online for reviews, and I found out that the L'oreal Lash Serum was quite popular. When I bought it, I didn't expect anything major. I just expected something that would help fortify my lashes and curb some falling out. Well, my lashes are holding strong, and I have noticed a little lengthening as well. The length is especially noticeable with my bottom lashes. So much so, that I have started to wear mascara on the lower lashes to mark the added length. I am thrilled.

In addition to applying the serum to my lashes, I applied the serum to my brows to see if it could fill any gaps. Today was the first day I felt confident walking out of the house without filling my brows. It is a fantastic time saver. I have noticed that my brows have looked fuller over time. It is especially noticeable near the beginning of my brow where it was really sparse.

I apply the serum every night; it is a part of my night time routine. I don't apply it during the day because it does not play well with my mascara. I just apply the serum like mascara, and spread a little along the lash line as directed. The serum doesn't irritate my eye, but if I apply too much, my lashes feel a bit heavy and gooey, and I do wake up with dried excess on my lashes. The wand is different, since it isn't a regular lash or brow brush. Instead, it is a curved smooth wand, and you just smooth the wand along your lashes.

I have finished my first tube, and I have moved onto my second. This usually retails for $10-$13, but L'oreal consistently has coupons in the Sunday paper, and drugstores always have sales.

The Left photo is about two weeks before the right photo, so progress was already starting, but when compared to previous photos, you can see that the beginning of my brows were quite sparse. Neither photo has any brow powder, just clear mascara to keep in place. In the right photo my lashes have two coats of mascara on the top, and one coat on the bottom. Again, not ground breaking, but definitely a helpful serum. You can see before brows here (from two years ago, but my brows haven't changed until I started using the serum.)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Moist Noodlehead

Hi! How are you doing? All is well here. Lots has been going on. I got a job, moved twice, got another job. Plus, I have been focusing on my mark. business, and I hit a wall with happy face, happy wallet, but I am feeling the urge to come back to happy face. Plus, a really good friend of mine is going to join happy face, happy wallet to share her product reviews, and so that gave me some motivation to start writing.

During my time away, I explored several products, and I will review those in time. Right now, I feel inspired to share some hair products for curly hair that I am thoroughly enjoying.

A while ago, when I was bored at work, I decided to surf some curly hair blog. I came across the tightly curly website that is loaded with great information on how to treat and style tightly curly hair. The author of the website, and book which I later bought, recommended Aussie Moist conditioner to use as a styling conditioner.

Photo from aussie.com

If you have read my previous hair entries on this blog, you know that I LOVE Aussie 3-minute miracle DEEEEP. However, the product only contains 8 ounces, and I get tired of having to buy three at a time because I need to use a lot of conditioner for my hair (I leave it in). So, when I read that Aussie Moist was like 3 minute miracle DEEEP, but a little less thick, I got really excited because it comes in a bigger container and went out and bought it. I found the 1 liter bottle at Walmart for about $7 to $8.

Well, I finally ran out of the liter, and I bought another one. I love this conditioner as a styling conditioner. In the shower, I section out my hair, then put gobs of this stuff and rake it through the sections of hair. The conditioner's weight helps clump the curls together and prevents frizz. Best part, the conditioner does not feel crispy, filmy, or leave a residue when it dries.

To further encourage the curls, I scrunch my hair, after I squeeze out the excess moisture a little with a t-shirt, with Beyond the Zone Noodle Head Curl Mousse from Sally's ($7, $6 with Sally's card). I bought this a long time ago on a whim, and I wasn't convinced. However, one day when I ran out of my favorite hair gel, mark. curl goddess, I decided to go ahead and use up this mousse and then buy the mark gel. I have now given the gel a break (I still love it), and I am hanging onto my Noodle Head Curl Mousse. The mousse doesn't flake. It combines well with the Moist conditioner I leave in my hair, and after I scrunch my hair after it has dried, the curl stays and doesn't frizz. I love it. I have back ups.

Photo from sallybeauty.com

After applying the products and smoothing out some curly. I diffuse my hair using warm heat and a high setting. As I diffuse my hair, I do not scrunch or touch my hair. I just dry sections of my hair until partially dry. Then I give my hair a final shot of cool air throughout my hair. The diffuser helps set the curl and it helps prevent frizzies. I am really enjoying the end result of this process, and I really cherish the fact that my hair lasts up to three days with just a little touch up with Pantene spray leave-in conditioner.

Here is a picture of my curls on the SECOND day. That is right, SECOND day. I did not wrap, braid, or pineapple my hair before gong to sleep. I just went to sleep. Pretty cool, huh.

Note: My hair is chemically process. I do get the roots relaxed, but it is not combed through so that I can keep my curl. I also color it at times.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Tube of Disappointment

If it sounds perfect, then *insert cliche here.* Yup, pretty much. It it sounds perfect, then expect to be disappointed because perfection, it is not. And so I present to you, Rimmel's Glam' Eyes Day 2 Night mascara (Volume and Length).

Several months ago, Rimmel released this mascara that claims to give you the option of length or volume, all in one tube. AH! PERFECT! One tube of mascara that offers two different looks?! That is crazy-talk. I immediately jumped on board. Unfortunately, I experienced lackluster results with this mascara, and I gave myself time fall in love with it, but my heart and lashes were cold.

Yes, the mascara provided length if you looked really close with a 100x magnifying glass. Sure, it also provided volume, but it also brought on clumps, which the packaging claims it doesn't do. Before I get into the details of the mascara, let me get into the gimmick behind this tube of mascara.

The tube contains one formula and one brush. However, there are two different wand handles. The handle for "length" (pink) is really the core brush. The wand isn't sturdy, and the handle is small, and it is difficult to get a good grip on it. The distinction between this and the "volume" brush is that the "length" brush goes through two stoppers to take off the excess mascara. Viola, there is your length. The first stopper is the regular stopper in the tube, and the second stopper is the hollow wand that is attached to the "volume" wand (I took pictures because it is difficult to describe).

The "volume" wand (the black handle) is just the "length" wand inside the "volume" wand, which means that the brush one goes through one stopper. Well, guess what. The stopper does a really crap job at removing the excess mascara. Here is the other catch, the formula is very thick. So, in order to use the "volume" wand, I have to remove the excess mascara with a tissue, which is what I call high maintenance.

I used this mascara for one month, and I just got more frustrated with it. I finally quit using it, and I have found a mascara that I really like, which happens to also be Rimmel (Max Volume Flash mascara. Great stuff. Review will come soon.). I got really frustrated with this mascara because neither of the claims worked. The "length" option really didn't come true. When I applied the mascara for length, it looked like I just swiped one coat of a regular, cheap mascara. I would have to swipe one a lot of coats to get noticeable length.

And Volume, I don't even want to talk about it. It was just clumpy, and the whole brush coming out with a ton of mascara was a turn off.

Let me be eloquent in describing this mascara: boo hiss. Save your money, and don't buy this mascara. Your wallet will be very happy.

0 out of 1 Happy Wallets
Price: $7 to $8
Where: Drugstores, Walmart, Target

See the two handles. the pink one is "length," and the black one is "volume."

Regular spiral brush. Kind of reminds me of the drab Great Lash brush.

See, the "length" wand is the core wand, and the "volume" wand is hollow and serves as a stopper for the length.

And the "volume" brush. Blah, blah, blah