Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Beauty Favorites

Well another year has come and gone.  Is it me or did 2011, just fly by?  I can vividly remember last New Year's Eve as if it were just a few months ago.

Well, this year, I decided to start a beauty blog.  After many years of being a makeup addict, I thought I would put some of my finds on the web and share with anyone who happened to stop by for a visit.

Here are some items I loved this year...some were newly launched this year, while others were just items I'd been introduced to this year.  I am listing both drugstore and high-end products for each category.  I have normal to dry skin so my sincerest apologies for those of you seeking skincare products for different skin types.

Here are my picks:

  • Face cleanser: Cerave Hydrating Cleanser and L'Oreal Go 360 Clean - Deep Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin; Chanel Lait Confort
  • Facial Toner: Paula's Choice Moisture Boost Hydrating Toner, for Normal to Dry Skin; Chanel Lotion Confort
  • Moisturizer: Cerave AM and PM (no sunscreen); Olay Complete Ageless Skin Renewing UV Lotion SPF 20; Belle Butters Mango Moisture Butter for the face (my favorite...excellent if you have dry skin as it is an ab-fab primer....just use a little bit and give it a bit of time to be absorbed before applying foundation).  I really can't bless a high-end product in this category as I found that so many had heavy fragrance or just didn't work for me.
  • Foundation Primer: Victoria's Secret VS Pro Airbrush FX Face Primer SPF 20; Laura Mercier Hydrating Primer; Cover FX Skin Prep FX Nourishing Foundation Primer and Anti-Aging Serum; Chanel Base Lumiere
  • Eyeshadow Primer: Jesse's Girl Eyeshadow Primer; NARS Pro Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base; Urban Decay Primer Potion in those nifty tubes.
  • Eyeshadow: L'oreal Colour Infallible Eye Shadows; M.A.C. Mega Metal Eye Shadows; Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense; Chanel Illusion D'Ombre
  • Mascara: Maybelline One by One Volum' Express Waterproof Mascara; M.A.C. Haute & Naughty Lash; Chanel Inimitable Waterproof Mascara
  • Blush/Bronzer: Milani Baked Blushes; NYX Blush/Bronzer Combos; M.A.C. Warmth of Coral; Benefit Hervana; Chanel Terre Epice; Chanel Bronze Corail
  • Highlighter: Hard Candy So Baked Bronzer Tiki; Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous; Estee Lauder Powder Gelee Modern Mercury
  • Lips: Revlon Lip Butters; L'Oreal Lip Balms; Jordana Lip Out Loud Shiny Lip Gloss; Dolce & Gabbana Passion Duo Gloss Fusion Lipstick; Chanel Rouge Coco Shine

Well that's my recap.  I wish you all a blessed, happy, healthy and gorgeous 2012!



Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wet 'n' Wild Color Icon Shimmer Singles and Megashield Lip Color

On a recent visit to my local Harmon, I saw some new items from Wet 'n' Wild.  There were several displays, one with eyeshadows, one with lip products, and one with nail polishes.

I picked up all of the Color Icon Shimmer Singles and one Megashield Lip Color.

The Megashield Lip Color is very smooth and a great value considering it was $2.79 and had an instant coupon of $1.00 off attached to it.  The shade I purchased was It's a Girl #371S.  It is very pigmented, contains 3.1g of product and has an SPF of 15.  I will definitely need to go back to get a few other shades.

Here's a swatch of It's a Girl:

The Color Icon Shimmer Singles are a festive collection as each shade has some glitter in it.  Each package was $1.79 and included a Color Icon Eyeliner in Black.  Each shadow has 1.7g of product and the liner 0.94g.  I picked up one of each shade in the collection:

Here's a close-up of each shade:

  • 33787 Platinum

  • 33788 Golddigger

  • 33789 Trashed

  • 33790 Sellout

  • 33791 Stagedive

Here are some swatches:

From Top to bottom: Stagedive, Sellout, Golddigger, Platinum, Trashed; Black eyeliner on the right
Overall, I find these nicely pigmented.  Fair warning, they are soft so be careful opening the case as you can easily slip and damage the shadow as it's very soft.  I recommend using with a primer and applying before foundation as there is some fallout.  These are great shades, especially for the holidays.

My rating:  Booyah!

Have you seen these yet?  What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

NARS I Will Survive Kit

After having purchased and fallen in love with the NARS Danmari Palette (blogpost forthcoming), I decided to try my hand at a few other products.  I found the I Will Survive set through and they included a free deluxe sample (2g) of NARS Soft Touch Eye Shadow Pencil in Aigle Noir.

The set includes three products: (1) Deep Throat Blush (4.8g); (2) Sex Machine Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (2.4g); and (3) Deep Throat Lip Gloss (7g), for a retail price of $55.

Deep Throat is a bit deeper than NARS' best-selling blush in Orgasm.  It has just the slightest hint of shimmer and is a nice coral shade.

Sex Machine Velvet Matte Lip Pencil is mauve/pink neutral shade.  I love the texture of the pencil.  Kind of wish that the set included a sharpener.

Deep Throat Lip Gloss has a nice smooth finish and brightens up the lip pencil with a nice peach/gold tone.

Here are some swatches:

Top to Bottom: Deep Throat Blush, Sex Machine Lip Pencil, Deep Throat Lip Gloss

The Soft Touch Shadow Pencil has a nice soft texture and I describe the shade as a nice black velvet shade with a hint of gold shimmer to it.  I think it's a great shade for smokey eyes and the gold shimmer makes it ideal for holiday looks.  A nice little freebie, I'd say.

Here's a swatch of the pencil:

My overall rating: Booyah! 

Have you tried any of these products?  What are your thoughts on these or other shades?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Belle Butters

Last weekend, I was catching up with my Tweeps and was introduced to Belle Butters, a two-year-old homegrown company owned and operated by Tasha Burton.  One of my tweeps had posted a message regarding a weekend sale (15% off), so I figured I would try a few products (Thanks, Kim Porter!).  

With Winter upon us, I quickly placed an order for 4 different items based on the handy product guide that Tasha sent me.  I have always struggled with dry skin no matter how many vitamins I take, water I drink, or fish I eat.  I was also more than eager to support Tasha's business.  (Wishing you continued success, girlfriend!)

My order consisted of 4 products:  Unyevu Butter (Hair/Body) 4 oz. $12; Orange Dream Cream (Hair/Body) - 8 oz. $12.50, Mango Moisture for the Face; 4 oz. $11 and Whipped Shea Butter - 8 oz. $14.

Top Left to Bottom Right: Orange Dream Cream, Unyevu Butter, Mango Moisture for Face, Whipped Shea Butter

For each of these products, Belle Butters says:

Belle Butters Mango Moisture Butter for Face
This butter is the ultimate in skin protection against the harsh winds of the winter and the sun during the summer. This moisturizing butter lasts all day without needing a "touch up." This butter was conceived when dealing with my own issues of extremely dry skin (scaly dry skin around the mouth and eyebrows) and my problems with rosacea. I could no longer tolerate a steroid topical cream for my face. I used mango butter because it is light, absorbs quickly and has lasting power. It doesn't interfere with makeup application. If you need an alternate or something heavier for your face, this leads us into the next product. Edit: I've been told that this may work for eczema patches to help relieve itching. It may not clear it up, but it definitely keeps the itches away. Another edit: I've been told this works great as a primer for makeup or to have a subtle dewy look! Available in 2oz and 4oz sizes.

Belle Butters Orange Dream Cream Butter
This, hands down, is my favorite smelling butter. I primarily use this as a body butter. After your shower or bath, apply this butter to your skin so that while your pores are still open, the butter can be readily absorbed. If you plan on using this butter for your hair, please keep in mind that the main base for this butter is shea, with orange butter added to it. It can weigh down finer hair types, so please, use again for a pomade or to seal your ends. I've heard that the best results from this butter are when donning a twist-out on natural hair. The orange seed oil captures the light perfectly for an amazing shine. Available in 2oz and 8oz sizes. Alternate sizes can be custom ordered.

Belle Butters Unyevu (Oon-Yay-Vu) Butter
The Unyevu (Beauty in Swahili) Butter is a very nice treat if you are looking for a body butter that has a long-lasting scent. I named this butter Unyevu because I was inspired by it's scent that was nutty, spicy and floral. In addition to this being one of the stronger scented butters that I offer, again it is very moisturizing for the hair and body. It is a little heavy but it absorbs readily. If you are trying to thicken your hair or battle dandruff, the ingredients in this butter are above par and ready to work! Battle your dry scalp issues with this butter and smell awesome doing so! Available in 4oz size and 16oz sizes.

Belle Butters Whipped Shea Butter
This was the product I started out with when I first began Belle Butters. For thicker, coarser hair types, this is the choice you would want to make. I chose the ingredients with this hair type mostly in mind. It will help condition, strengthen and soften the hair. Finer hair types can use it as well, but I recommend it for sealing/pomade use only as the heaviness of this butter can weigh finer hair types down.
For the skin, this is especially curtailed for those who suffer from eczema and psoriasis. The calendula and jojoba oils in the butter help out with these skin conditions tremendously. Available in 2, 8 and 16oz sizes.

I got my package two days ago and I have tried all of them.  For all of these products, a little goes a long way so they are well worth the price.

I used the Premium Whipped Shea Butter by emulsifying a bit in the warmth of my hands and rubbing into my feet, elbows, knees, and feet; whatever was left went into the ends of my hair and a bit into my hairline, where I sometimes get dry.  The Mango Moisture for the face, I used at night in place of my night cream.  A little went a long way.

The next day, I could not believe how nice my skin looked.  I washed my face and decided I would try the Mango Moisture again in place of my daily moisturizer, especially since I have a separate sunscreen for my face.  Out of curiosity, I decided to apply my foundation without a primer.  I was so pleasantly surprised I immediately posted that I had found my holy grail moisturizer!  Based on the little bit that I used and the quantity that came in the jar, this is going to last me a while.  If you have any dryness on your face and need moisture, you have got to try this.

As I mentioned, I have some dryness around my hairline so I put some of the Unyevu Butter there and a bit on my ends.  It had a pleasant scent and gave my hair a nice sheen.  The Orange Dream Cream smells so good I had to keep it far away from my nephew, who I was sure would want to eat it!  I wore this after my morning shower as I find that there's nothing like the smell of citrus to energize me.

If you're looking for a nice gift for someone, look no further.  These items are as natural as they come and are fantastic!

If you'd like to place an order, you may do so at  For more information, visit, or follow on Twitter @bellebutters.

My rating on these: Booyah!



All products were purchased with my own money.  I only offer my honest review and opinion. It's the only way I can sleep at night. :)

L'oreal Infallible Eyeshadow Collection

It is my pleasure to be able to bring you the complete collection of L'oreal's Infallible Eyeshadow Collection.  This collection launched across the pond in Europe earlier this year and these have arrived just in time for Holiday and New Year's Eve Looks!

12-shade collection (label-side up)

There are 12 shades in this collection.  They don't appear to be the same shades as the ones that launched in Europe, but they are lovely nonetheless.  The texture is similar to Chanel's Illusion D'Ombre or Giorgio Armani's Eyes to Kill Intense shadows.

12-shade collection (color side up)

Each shadow is like a pressed pigment and has a little insert to keep the product intact (ideal to compress the product after each use).

Close-up of "Press Insert"

The shades in numerical order are: 222-Infinite Sky, 333-Golden Sage, 555-Perpetual Purple, 888-Iced Latte, 889-Midnight Blue, 890-Bronzed Taupe, 891-Continuous Cocoa, 892-Amber Rush, 899-Endless Pearl, 997-Eternal Sunshine, 998-Sultry Smoke, and 999-Eternal Black.  I am hoping that the gaps in numbers indicate that there are more shades to come.

Here are close-ups of the product in groups of 3, followed by swatches:

Group 1: 222-Infinite Sky, 998-Sultry Smoke (matte), 889-Midnight Blue

Group 2: 333-Golden Sage, 555-Perpetual Pearl, 999-Eternal Black

Group 3: 888-Iced Latte, 899-Endless Pearl (matte), 997-Eternal Sunshine

Group 4: 890-Bronzed Taupe, 891-Continuous Cocoa (matte), 892-Amber Rush

Overall, these are each nicely pigmented.  All my swatches are dry so I can imagine how intense the color payoff would be if they were swatched wet.  There is a bit of fallout so I recommend applying before foundation.  Research indicates that they are varying in price between $7.99 and $9.49.  I found mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $8.79 each.  Considering Chanel's version costs $36 (includes a brush) and Giorgio Armani's version costs $32 (includes a "press insert"), these are a nice way to try your hand at these types of shadows, without the pricey investment of a high-end brand.

My rating: Booyah!

Have you found these near you yet?  Same shades?  I'd love to know.



Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tarte Puttin' On The Glitz Limited-Edition Color Collection and Purse

If you're looking for the perfect gift for someone who loves makeup and loves to multi-task, look no further.  The Puttin' On the Glitz Limited-Edition Color Collection and Purse from Tarte has it all.  There are three palettes, each containing 6 shades and a face product, 1 neutral pink lipgloss, a guide for how to rock these shades, and a nice silver purse, which contains a mirror, credit card slots and a loop for the lip gloss.

The three palettes offer a nice variety of shades and each can easily be snapped in/out of the purse for on-the-go touchups!

  • Walk In The Park offers cool and warm natural shades and Amazonian Clay 12-hour blush in Darling, a soft, shimmering coral pink which works on a variety of skin tones
Walk In The Park Palette
Swatches from Top to Bottom - Eyeshadows 1-6 and Blush
  • Girls' Night Out offers a mix of matte and shimmery shades and Amazonian Clay Shimmering Powder in Champagne, the perfect highlight color

Girls' Night Out Palette

Swatches from Top to Bottom - Eyeshadows 7-12 and Shimmering Powder
  • Nine-To-Five offers some neutrals and rich shades and Amazonian Clay Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess, a great bronzer
Nine-To-Five Palette
Swatches from Top to Bottom - Eyeshadows 13-18 and Bronzer

tarte says:

This holiday season, shine like a screen siren with tarte's puttin' on the glitz limited-edition color collection & clutch.
Inspired by the iconic glamour of Old Hollywood and this season's most sought-after accessory, this style-struck silver carry-all is truly something to marvel at. Featuring a slim row of gold-tone links and stunning asymmetrical metallic python leather (faux, of course), this clutch is bound to turn heads this season and sure to inspire a chain reaction of ooohs and ahhs.  Even better: this perfectly portable gift collection has three interchangeable palettes and a universally flattering, maracuja-infused luscious lipgloss inside so it can easily transition throughout the day making it the ideal versatile option for your accessory wardrobe.  No matter what your scene is, these three palettes are sure to give you some serious star power. For a pretty, earthy look a walk in the park features a mix of cool and warm easy-to-wear natural shades including Amazonian clay 12-hour blush in darling (a soft shimmering coral pink). For a smoky, sultry look girls’ night out is a mix of vivid mattes and silverspun shimmers complete with Amazonian clay shimmering powder in champagne. For a soft sophisticated take on the "of-the-moment" look, nine-to-five  features not-so-quiet rich colors paired with traditional neutrals and tarte's best-selling park ave princess Amazonian clay bronzer inside for a fresh faced healthy glow.  Follow the easy "get-the-look" card inside to achieve the three unique looks or channel your inner starlet to create unlimited looks on your own. Dual compartments keep you organized as well as a large interior zip pocket; 4 credit card slots and a removable mirror complete with an interchangeable makeup wardrobe. Options are a girl's best friend and the fun, flirty and fabulous looks are endless with this luxurious collection, making it the perfect gift to give and receive. 
Each set includes:
  • 3 interchangeable palettes for a total of 18 eyeshadows, 1 Amazonian clay 12-hour blush, 1 provocateur Amazonian clay shimmering powder and 1 park ave princess Amazonian clay bronzer
  • maracuja-infused lipgloss
  • reusable purse
  • detailed "get-the-look" instruction card .
skinvigorating™ benefits:       
  • Amazonian clay: this nutrient-rich, multitasking and total-skin-balancing clay reduces dryness and flakiness, improves skin clarity, elasticity, firmness, and texture while removing oil from the skin's surface for smooth application and wear 
  • maracuja oil: puro milagre (the pure miracle) a name given to the pure maracuja oil for its reinvigorating and regenerative properties
  • mineral pigments: colors derived from natural minerals have been known to soothe and soften the skin
  • vitamins A & E: natural preservatives that also act as anti-inflammatory emollients and protect against free radical damage
Formulated without:
  • Parabens
  • Synthetic fragrance   
  • Phthalates   
  • Animal testing
The set retails for $48 but you can get it for less if you take advantage of the Tarte Cosmetics Friends & Family Sale through 12/12/2011, 30% off using code FFDEC at



Tarte smolderEYES Limited-Edition Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner Collection

Here's another installment from my Cyber Monday 20% offer, the tarte smolderEYES Limited-Edition Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner Collection.  This set includes 6 full-sized (1.6g) smolderEYES pencils in: Golden Beige, Moss, Violet, Smoke, Espresso, and Silver Black as well as a sharpener to keep them ready-to-go.

I love these pencils as they are easy to apply if you're looking for a smoky look.  The product glides on smoothly and, if you work quickly, can be smudged nicely with the built-in smudger tip.  These liners are budge-proof and, in my opinion, can only be improved by offering a twist-up feature, like the Lip Surgence pencils and a more narrow point, for those of us that prefer a more precise application.  These pencils typically retail for $25 so this set was a major bargain at $39 for 6 shades and sharpener, plus 20% off.

tarte says:

Get eyes ready for opening night with this limited-edition smolderEYES Amazonian clay waterproof liner collection.
The captivating set includes 6 naturally pigmented smolderEYES liners to create a variety of versatile eye looks inspired by the starlets of yesteryear. With a wide array of jewel-toned colors, including golden beige, moss, violet, espresso, smoke and golden black, the all-so-enchanting eye looks are endless. Go-lightly with the rich espresso shade by softly smudging liner along the lash line to recreate the mod cat eye made famous by cinema's most famous dripped-in-diamonds socialite or blend the silver black liner out with precision and line the inner corner with golden beige for a sleek bright cat eye. No matter how you choose to wear this versatile liner, Amazonian clay works to nourish lids, reduce surface oil, and improve overall texture for easy application and better, truer, longer wear. The rich, pure pigments are boosted by Amazonian clay for bolder beautiful color with no chance of running, bleeding or budging with each completely waterproof application. Take a trip down the red carpet this Holiday season and transform from simple to sultry in an instant as you channel the sexy smoldering style of Old Hollywood's most glamorous girls!
Each set includes:
  • golden beige
  • moss
  • violet
  • espresso
  • smoke
  • silver black
skinvigorating™ benefits:       
  • Amazonian clay: this nutrient-rich, multitasking and total-skin-balancing clay works to nourish lids, reduce surface oil, and improve overall texture for easy application and better, truer, longer wear
  • mineral pigments: colors derived from natural minerals have been known to soothe and soften the skin
  • vitamins A & E: natural preservatives that also act as anti-inflammatory emollients and protect against free radical damage
Formulated without:
  • Parabens
  • Synthetic fragrance   
  • Phthalates   
  • Animal testing
Here are photos of each pencil as well as a collective of swatches:

Golden Beige





Silver Black

From top to bottom: Golden Beige, Moss, Violet, Smoke, Espresso, Silver Black

Have you tried this liner?  What do you think?  Please leave a comment.



Tarte Lip Service - Limited-Edition LipSurgence Collection

With my Cyber Monday 20% off offer, I ordered a few goodies, including the tarte Lip Service Limited-Edition LipSurgence Collection.  The collection includes 5 full-sized (3g) LipSurgence pencils in: Glitzy, Perky, Swank, Flashy, and Dazzled.

Typically these pencils retail for $24 each so this set was a bargain at $29 and 20% off.  These shades go on nicely with a nice sheer color and shine.  I love the twist-up feature as it means I don't have to lug a sharpener around for these.  The 5 shades are great, even for a dark-lip-averse girl like me.

tarte says:

When it comes to perfecting the classic Hollywood kiss, leading ladies know a bold lip is sure to steam up the silver screen and this limited-edition LipSurgence™ collection pays tribute to some of the most iconic shades seen on Tinseltown’s most adoring smiles.
Whether for your mother, sister or friend (or for yourself!), you're sure to be the star this gift-giving season thanks to the superb variety of shades in this pout-perfecting set. Inside the sparkling silver giftable box are two LipSurgence™ natural lip tints (for a natural flush that will stay all day) in perky (a soft carnation pink tint) and swank (a satin light cherry tint) and three LipSurgence™ natural lip lusters (for a high dose of glossy color and shine) in flashy (a bright iridescent fuchsia), dazzled (a pearly coral pink) and glitzy (a luminous antique pink). Like all tarte LipSurgence™ lip tints, each emotive shade smoothly glides on lips for natural color that lasts all day and delivers a surge of moisture on a cellular level for a naturally plumped-up appearance while natural peppermint adds a refreshing burst of flavor with each application. A look back to the golden age is the best look this Holiday, so feel like a starlet and blow a kiss as you travel back in time to an era where glamour was paramount, the kisses were in the rain and the pouts were perfect.
Each set includes:
  • perky (soft carnation pink tint)
  • swank (light cherry tint)
  • flashy (bright iridescent fuchsia luster)
  • dazzled (pearly coral pink luster)
  • glitzy (antique pink luster)
skinvigorating™ benefits:   
  • vitamin C: antioxidant free radical fighter that prevents premature signs of aging, while brightening skin
  • vitamin E: anti-inflammatory emollient and protects against free radical damage 
  • peppermint oil: natural fragrance cools and soothes inflamed or irritated skin
  • jojoba seed oil: natural soothing extract that leaves skin soft, supple and smooth
  • LipSurgence™ technology: clinically proven proprietary blend naturally increases lips’ moisture content by 6000% on a cellular level after 28 days
Formulated without:
  • Parabens
  • Synthetic fragrance   
  • Phthalates   
  • Animal testing

That said, here are photos of each as well as a collective of swatches:






From top to bottom: Glitzy, Perky, Swank, Flashy, Dazzled

What do you think of these?  Please leave a comment and let me know.