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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mally Perfect Prep Under Eye Brightener - Holy Grail Product Alert!

One of my biggest complaints are under eye circles.  I have tried a whole host of under eye brighteners and believe I have found exactly what I have been looking for in Mally's Perfect Prep Under Eye Brightener (qvc.com, 11.4g/0.4 oz, $35; product not listed as of publication time on mallybeauty.com).




Description on the QVC website reads,


What is it: Improving the look of dark circles under the eyes is one of the most demanded beauty secrets. With skin that's delicate, you need a gentle product that's shaded perfectly to correct the blue tones that so many women complain about. With a soft yellow shade, this under-eye brightener counteracts blue and leaves a brightened surface. This gel-like formula is virtually invisible to the naked eye, yet creates the illusion of flawless skin. It's lightweight, oil-free, and hydrating.

Who is it for: Any woman who wants a brightened surface under her eyes.

Why is it different: With a soft yellow shade, this under-eye brightener counteracts blue and leaves a brightened surface under the eye that is virtually invisible to the naked eye.

How to use it: Take a small amount of product on your ring finger, pat your fingers together, and apply underneath your eyes and in the inner and outer corners. Instead of rubbing, which can be too harsh, gently pat the product into your skin.





The product comes in two shades, lighter and deeper.  As I have medium skin tone and tan easily, I purchased the Deeper shade.  I followed the instructions in the instructional pamphlet which were the same as indicated on the QVC website.




Overall rating: Booyah! A little goes a very long way.  I recommend using very little product and building up if needed.  As the product has a hydrating formula, the finish is not cakey which I often find in under eye products.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mally Light Wand Eye Brightener

I love to play up my eyes and to make my brown eyes sparkle, I generally put an eye primer followed by a light-colored, shimmery eyeshadow in the inner corner (near the tear duct) of my eyes.  Doing so takes a little finesse as I have to use a small eyeshadow brush and lightly blend the eyeshadow.  Enter Mally's Light Wand Eye Brightener (Pencil: .2g/01 oz; Powder: .5g/.02 oz; Retail $25 - mallybeauty.com; $45 for 2 - qvc.com).






Mally says, "Eight hours of sleep in a wand! Freshen up your look any time of day with The Light Wand Eye Brightener Powder Pencil."


The light wand is a dual-ended product with a soft pencil tip on one end (twist to retract or lengthen the pencil tip) and a soft shimmer powder applicator on the other (powder is in the cap; twist to unscrew the cap).  You can tell which end is which as the powder end has a color indicator on the tip.  Here are pictures of each end of the wand:


Soft Pencil Tip

Soft Shimmer Powder Tip

Cap on the Soft Shimmer Powder end
The light wand, as with all Mally products, comes with a booklet with instructions on how to maximize your Mallynista look!




Here are swatches:


Top to bottom: Soft pencil, Soft Powder, Both products together and blended.
Overall rating: Booyah! for its great packaging; 1 product is easier to carry in my purse.


Mally also offers a Mattewand and a Shaping Secret Eyelift Wand for the same price.  I haven't tried those; have you?  Have you tried any of Mally's products?  Would love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Charlotte Ronson 3x A Charm - Shoshanna

I just love palettes as opposed to single-product compacts as they are less bulky in my handbag.  One such product is the 3x A Charm Palette from Charlotte Ronson in Shoshanna which contains Luminizer, Blush and Bronzer in one mirrored compact, reminiscent of the Sleek Blush By 3 products (3 x 8.3g/0.29 oz; Retail $28; available at sephora.com).  At the time of purchase, there was only one palette available but the fact that the one I have is named "Shoshanna" leads me to believe that there may be other palettes added to the range; perhaps one with a warmer or deeper-toned bronzer (hint! hint!).





Sephora says, 


What it is:
A three-in-one blush, bronzer, and luminizer.

What it does:
It's a whole new wardrobe for your cheeks: mix and match this trio of colors to create a range of looks. Each features LFT™ (Light Filter Technology) to automatically adjust its pigments based on your lighting. The result is the perfect glow under any light, day or night. Made with long-lasting, jet-milled talc, these three silky powders glide on evenly to create a natural, healthy-looking glow. Moisturizers and vitamins calm and soothe thirsty skin.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
- Parabens

What else you need to know:
Charlotte's friends inspired each product. "As a designer and a busy mother, Shoshanna Gruss is always on the go. Somehow she always manages to look beautiful, stylish, and relaxed. This Trio compliments Shoshanna's fresh glow—and offers multiple ways to transition your own look." —Charlotte Ronson



Here are close-ups of each shade:







Here are swatches of each shade:




Here are blended swatches of each shade:




Overall rating: Booyah! considering that the blush is similar to Nars blushes retail for the same price for .16 oz of product.  In fact, the Nars Laguna, Orgasm and Albatross trio compact retails for $55 and the contents are .25 oz, .17 oz, and .09 oz, respectively.  I find the shades quite similar to the Nars shades with the exception of the bronzer as I find Laguna to be somewhat deeper and warmer in tone.


Have you tried any Charlotte Ronson products?  I'm mulling over some of the eyeshadow palettes.

Victoria's Secret Beauty Pro Products

Victoria's Secret Beauty offers various items from fragrance to cosmetics.  I recently purchased several items from their Pro line and wanted to share my thoughts on them.


The first product is the VS Pro Airbrush FX Perfecting Primer with SPF 20 (21g/.75 oz; Retail $18).  VS says, "Before our pros apply any makeup, they use primer to perfect the skin for even the tightest close-up.  This weightless formula creates that same exceptionally smooth, velvety surface.  Ensures a flawless foundation that lasts."

My take:  The formula lives up to VS claims.  It is quite smooth and works under every type of foundation I have used, though when using mineral powder foundation, I wait a bit after applying the primer before buffing on my base.  I love that it contains sunscreen and find it to be a bargain considering that it works as well as my Smashbox primer and for about half the price (Smashbox 1 oz retails for $36).  The pressure pump distributes the right amount of product.  Note that when I first received it, it took quite a few pumps before the product started to flow.  There is an Anti-Red Correcting Primer and a Bronzing Primer available as well (same price).

Overall rating:  Booyah!

The second product is the VS Pro Radiant FX Face Illuminator (24ml/.8 fl oz; Retail $15).  VS says, "Our pros created this highlighter to replicate the perfecting glow of a soft-focus flash.  The sheer, liquid-pearl formula blends effortlessly to diffuse the look of imperfections and give skin a warm glow. Highlight cheek and brow bones, or mix with foundation for a hint of all-over radiance."

My take:  I found this illuminator to be a little thinner in consistency to others I have but it blends easily into the skin and leaves a nice, subtle glow.  I have applied it as a highlight as well as mixed it with foundation or tinted moisturizer and have been pleased with the results.

Overall rating: Booyah!

The final product is the VS Pro Light FX HD Eye Brightening Pen (3.8g/.13 oz; Retail $14).  VS says, "This amazing highlighter -- indispensible to all of our pros -- is like beauty sleep in a pen.  Advanced optical diffusers pair with luminous Diamond Powder to lighten and brighten the look of dark shadows while reducing the appearance of fine lines.  Instant gorgeous for any close up."



My take:  Like most highlighting pens, this product flows through the brush end of the tube once you twist the other end to release the product into the dispenser.  I liked the highlighting effect but found that I needed to use more of it when highlighting dark shadows.  Other brighteners have somewhat thicker and more pigmented formulas so a little goes a long way.

Overall rating: Boo-boo!  I can use the VS Pro Light FX HD Eye Brightening Pen it to highlight my browbone, bridge of my nose, cupid's bow, etc., or under my eyes when I am well-rested.  However, I prefer my Revlon PhotoReady Eye Primer and Brightener (2.4ml/.08 fl oz; Retail $9.99) when Barnabas Collins takes up residence under my eyes, as it does a better job of concealing dark shadows (pardon the pun).

Here are some close-ups of dispensed product:

Primer, Illuminator, Eye Brightener
In general, I am impressed with the VS Pro line and hope to bring you more reviews of other products in the future.  Have you tried any of their other products?  As always, I welcome your comments.

Maybelline Porcelains by Color Sensational Collection Lipsticks

On a recent trip to the drugstore, I noticed a new limited edition collection from Maybelline Color Sensational entitled the Porcelains by Color Sensational.  The collection consists of 4 quads and 6 lipsticks.




I purchased two of the lipsticks: Smooth Taupe (860) and Nude Nuances (865), both have a cream formulation (4.2g/.15oz each; Retail $6.99 at my local drugstore).  I was lucky to catch a BOGO 50% off sale on these. 


Left to Right: Smooth Taupe (860) and Nude Nuances (865)
Here are close-ups and swatches of each shade: 


Smooth Taupe (860)
Nude Nuances (865)
Top to Bottom: Smooth Taupe (860), Nude Nuances (865)
Here are the shades applied to my lips:


Smooth Taupe (860)
Nude Nuances (865)
Overall rating:  Booyah!  The shades are well pigmented and creamy.  Typically, I need to nude out my lips when wearing shades this light but this was not the case with these.


Have you tried any of the other shades or shadows from this collection?  I'd love to hear your thoughts on them.


Victoria's Secret Beauty - The Nakeds Palette

Calling all neutral eyeshadow lovers!  There's another nude palette on the market and this one comes to us from Victoria's Secret Beauty.


The mirrored palette contains 10 shades (1.75g each; 18.28g total), a double-ended eyeshadow brush as well as an eyeliner in Extreme Black (.78g) for a retail price of $28 (comparable value indicated on the palette is $92).  I am not sure if the palette is available at retail stores but it is available online.


Here is a picture of the palette closed (cover reminds me a bit of Urban Decay's Naked 2):




Here is a picture of the palette open:




Here are close-ups of the dual-ended eyeshadow brush (both sides appear to be similar; one is slightly smaller):





Here is a picture of the eyeliner pencil:




Here are swatches of the top row:




Here are swatches of the bottom row and the eyeliner:



Here are some more photos of each of the shades in natural sunlight (hope these are better):

Top Row: Shades 1-5 (Left to Right); Bottom Row: Shades 6-10 (Left to Right)
Top Row: Shades 1, 2; Bottom Row: Shades 6, 7
Top Row: Shades 3, 4; Bottom Row: 8, 9
Top Row: Shades 4, 5; Bottom Row: Shades 9, 10
Overall rating:  Booyah! as the shadows are smooth and nicely pigmented for the price.  I would have preferred if the brush had an angled, dense side and a shader side as opposed to two shader brush ends, but kudos to Victoria's Secret Beauty for not including those dreadful sponge applicators.


These are the first Victoria's Secret shadows I have swatched and I am pleasantly surprised.  Have you tried any of their other products?  Would love to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Sneakpeeq.com Brings SteamCream to the USA!

I recently joined sneakpeeq.com, an e-mail service that offers a variety of products at discounted prices.  The product sales change daily.  For my first order, I decided to order SteamCream, a product to which I was introduced by my U.K. partner in beauty and blogging, Grace (allthatslap.com).  She had been kind enough to purchase a Carmine box (a beauty box subscription service) for me, and it was one of the items in that particular shipment.


For those of you not familiar with SteamCream, it is a steam-infused skincare product that come in these really cute, unique, collectable, limited edition tins.  This Beauty Insiders' Choice award-winning product features tins that are designed in Japan and contain a lightweight, vegan moisturizer made in England that contains nourishing oils that can be used on the body and face (75g, £12.95 or about $20 USD).  Sneakpeeq's price was $5.00!!! Can't beat that.


SteamCream tops off their formula with a fragrance described to be "from a natural blend of pure essential oils selected for their toning, soothing and healing qualities."  SteamCream claims to use only the freshest, traceable, natural vegan ingredients including:

  • Oatmeal infusion - a proven anti-inflammatory that helps soothe and moisturize the skin
  • Orange flower water - helps to improve elasticity
  • Almond oil - contains high levels of vitamin E which condition the skin and keep it plump
  • Lavender oil - from Provence contains antiseptic components which can help heal and reduce inflamed and sore skin
  • Organic jojoba oil - helps produce and easily-absorbed cream and is an excellent moisturizer and skin softener
  • Cocoa butter - seals in the essential oils and soften's the skin's surface

As the Sneakpeeq offer was around Memorial Day, being the patriot that I am, I had to order the Liberty Tin:




Overall rating: Booyah! for it's cute tin, great formula and versatility, though I would prefer a formula that was paraben-free.  The fragrance of the lavender oil really comes through in this product, but that doesn't bother me.


Have you tried SteamCream?  What are your thoughts on this product?




Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sugarpill Heart Breaker Quad Wraps Up "Heart Series"

I am a sucker for pigmented shadows and just love Sugarpill!  When I learned that Sugarpill was wrapping up its "Heart Series" with their Heart Breaker quad, I purchased it on launch day!






The quad, from the Addicted to Pretty collection contains 4 vibrant shades in a mirrored compact (Retail: $34, 4g/.14 oz x 4): Acidberry (lime green; matte with slightly pearl sheen; vegan), Velocity (royal blue; matte; vegan), 2am (purple; matte with slightly pearl sheen), and Mochi (mint seafoam; matte with slightly pearl sheen; vegan).  Typically, an individual potted shade costs $12 so you're saving $14 by purchasing the palette.


Here is a close-up of each shade:






Flash washed out the color, sorry!
Here are light swatches, no base:






For those of you that have not yet seen their other quads (Sweet Heart and Burning Heart), here's a picture of all 3 "Heart Series" palettes:


From Left to Right: Sweet Heart, Burning Heart, Heart Breaker


Overall rating:  Booyah!!!!!


I just love everything that Amy cooks up and always look forward to incorporating her products in my collection.  If you've been living under a rock and haven't tried Sugarpill, visit www.sugarpillshop.com and start perking up your makeup collection!


If you'd like to see swatches of the other two quads, please leave a comment and I'll be happy to post them.