Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 Beauty Resolutions

Let's set the record straight right now. I will continue to be a foundation connoisseur and sample every possible new foundation I can get my hands on. Thank you to Sephora and Nordstrom for providing generous samples upon request. It is an invaluable service to me and all foundation addicts. I have to be a bit more judicious with drug store brands since samples and testers are not available.

I will not buy any more matte lipstick. It looks horrible on my lips. I've always had deeply lined lips and with age, it's only getting worse. I have tried and tried and they always look awful on me. Do I need someone to hit me over the head with a pot? Regardless of trend or color or sale or coupons, I will not buy matte lipstick.

I am re-committing to using Rogaine twice daily. Bald is not beautiful.

I will color my roots every three weeks. A ring of gray around my face does not make me look angelic. I tend to use my Holy Grail "Gray Away" color spray to hide the gray but I believe it is also clogging the pores on my scalp. Clogged pores will be counter-productive to the Rogaine.

I will do everything that is humanly possible to resist cutting bangs.

I will depot all my single eye shadows and organize them into Z-palettes. I detest depotting. This is a tough resolution but slow and stead will be my motto on this one. By next December, I should be done.

I will not buy any eye liners. I rarely, more like never, wear eye liner with these hooded lids of mine. That real estate on my lids is mighty scarce and I use light shadows to make the lids look larger. No way I can waste any lid space on liner. Instead, I tightline which is an excellent look.  I have a dozen great black liner pencils. Black is black. It's not like pink or coral that have endless range of color which is why I need to own every pink lipstick Maybelline makes. I digress. To me, black liner for tightlining all looks the same.

Lip liner. Either I'm committing to not buying more or I'm committing to using the ones I have. I suppose I could do both. But if I start using them and find that I like them, well, that means I'll have to (ahem) buy more.

I will train myself to gently pat my face dry instead of rubbing the heck out of it with the towel.

I will not buy anymore vintage perfume from ebay no matter how spectacular the ebay feedback is or how sterling the seller's reputation is on the secondary market. The original Diorealla and Arpege are forever gone. I must reconcile myself to this fact. A moment of silence, please.

No more buying body wash until I'm down to three or four or five bottles. Six, ok, six. This will probably be sometime in 2018.

I will continue my personal campaign to encourage all women everywhere to wear lipstick all the time.

Happy New Year!
Do you have any beauty resolutions for 2015?


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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Weekly Beauty Edit 12.28.2014

Happy New Year!

The Weekly Beauty Edit is a snapshot of my week with beauty products. What's new in my collection, being returned, rising stars, edits and deletes, empties and whatever else comes to mind.

Edits and Deletes
Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua foundation, Shade 30 - A moment of silence. Let me begin by saying this is a lovely foundation for those who like light coverage and will only need to look fresh and natural for less than 3 or 4 hours. Grocery shopping? Volunteer work? Dinner out? If you apply a second layer, this foundation can be built to light medium coverage. The other option, which is what I would do, is to use a powder foundation as my setting powder.  This is also scented, like all Chanel makeup, but the scent does linger about an hour. If you like the scent, great. If not, like me, it is annoying. This is not the typical Chanel cosmetic scent. It is less floral or rose and more plastic, maybe.

Revlon Lip Butters in Raspberry Pie, Juicy Papaya and Strawberry Shortcake - Painful to deletes these. Baby steps, baby steps. I think I have every Revlon Lip Butter color. I never, ever wear them. Granted, based on the size of my lipstick collection, there's lots of lipstick choices. However, when shopping my stash for my weekly makeup basket, I never select any Lip Butters. That says a lot considering I own 20 of them, maybe more. The Lip Butter deletes are starting with the lightest colors and the darkest colors. I'm in the minority here as these did not hydrate my lips, they made them feel tight. Must be some ingredient that my lips disagree with.

Alterna Caviar Replenishing Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner. Loved both of these, especially the scent. They were herbal, very spa-like. My hair was left feeling healthy and was not weighed down at all. I'm not one to spend a lot on hair care, it's just not my thing, mostly a drug store hair product kind of girl. I snagged these deluxe sample sizes in a kit for $10 on Sephora's Black Friday deals. Also came with the Caviar CC leave-in hair styling cream which I really love and would spend the money on. The full size shampoo is $32 for 8.5 oz. Ouch. Over 300 reviews on the Sephora site with a 4.5 star rating. It's good stuff!

Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Intensive Eye Contour Cream. That's a long name. This has been my "go to" night time under eye cream for the last 4 or 5 years. They reformulated and renamed last year, or maybe year before. My under eye area is very, very dry. A five minute walk across the parking lot on a Chicago January morning and they are flaking and tight within an hour. I'm also super sensitive to many anti-aging ingredients as well as ingredients for dark circles or puffiness. I have neither but lots of eye creams have these ingredients. Thankfully, Benefiance has a relatively simple but very hydrating ingredient deck. It's too heavy for daytime, my concealer would slide off. I am loving the Kiehl's Rosa Arctica Eye Balm I bought last week for daytime.

Chanel Rouge Allure Intense Pirate Lipstick - I think I've mentioned this in every post since I bought it which is only a couple of weeks ago. Wore this on Christmas Eve. I love red lipstick all year long. Pirate is now my Holy Grail red. I have very few Holy Grail anything in makeup, I love variety and change. But this is it. Pirate has my heart. It is the perfect shade and intensity of red for my coloring and skin tone.

Obagi NuDerm skin care system. My skin care AM and PM routines are simple but effective. I try to stay on top of new products, technology, ingredients and make an informed decision on the ingredient deck, percentage of actives, and other products on the market. I like to experiment with brands but not the steps. For example, I use a 20% Vitamin C serum every morning but I have a few different brands. It seems to me there is nothing like Obaji NuDerm system on the market. It's been around for years and continually is praised for the actual, visible, seeing is believing results for reversing hyperpigmentation. I've been religious about daily SPF and staying out of the sun. But time is time and my number one issue that drives me crazy with my skin is age spots.  Why am I hesitating? The price and the first few weeks of peeling like a lizard. I work in a highly visible, corporate setting. Makeup and technique can cover a  lot but it can't cover sheets of peeling skin. I have used Retin A for years and use glycolic acid products twice a week. Perhaps my skin won't peel as badly as someone who is new to these ingredients. If you have an opinion about Obaji NuDerm, I'd love to hear it. Please comment!


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Friday, December 26, 2014

Favorite "New to Me" Products of 2014

This was a great year for shopping! I thought it would be fun to put together a list of my favorite purchases in 2014. I liked most of what I bought and when I didn't, I returned it. I'm not shy about returning things. I think I might put together a list of returns for 2014. That would be interesting. I wonder if I would see a common mistake on my part. Hmmm.

Unscientifically, I would say 20% of my purchases were luxury brands, 40% were mid market brands and 40% were mass merchandise/drug store brands.

Quite by accident, I began keeping a running list of all my beauty purchases this year. A beauty product forum I belong to would have a weekly "what did you buy this week" thread. I would forget about things or double post and confuse previous weeks with the current week. the solution was to start a log. My iPhone camera also became a living journal since I posted some purchases on Instagram.

Looking over my list of 2014 purchases, rather like reading War and Peace but much more exciting, it was clear which items stood out as great discoveries and additions to my collection. Again, these were all new to me - they may have been around before 2014 but they were new purchases for me in 2014. Please feel free to ask questions in the comment section!

Those with asterisks (*) were the best of the best!

Happy to have these hair products!
Best of January
LORAC Pro to Go Face Palette
Stila Smudgestick Eyeliner in Sepia
Julep Freedom Top Coat*
Too Faced La Creme lipsticks - entire line*
Suave Root Boost*
MAC Prolongwear Concealer*
MAC Copperplate eye shadow

Best of February
Dermablend Cover Creme*
Target brand of Turbie Twist - duo pack
Estee Lauder Mochaccino cream shadow
Favorite 2014 Foundation Purchases
Maybelline Fit Me concealer*

Best of March
MAC Speed Dial lipstick
Anastasia Brow Powder duo
The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit - entire line

Best of April
Marc Jacobs Face II brush*
Clinique Bottom Lash mascara
Estee Lauder Gardenia Tuberose Private Collection edp
Becca Ever Matte Poreless Priming Perfector*

Best of May
Chanetecaille Wild Horses shadow palette*

Maybelline Whisper lipstick - entire line
Guerlain Terra Tropica Bronzer*
Dr. Brandt Pores No More Refiner
Chantecaille LE Wild Horses
Guerlain LE Terra Tropica bronzer
Sephora Rio Bronzer
Kevin Aucoin Candlelight highlighter
Dior Monofusion cream shadow in Millenium
MAC Red Balloon lipstick
Guerlain Lingerie de Peau foundation*

Best of June
Maybelline Fit Me foundation
Philosophy Apricot and Cream body lotion
IT Lip Liner in Pretty in Pink
Paula's Choice Resist Super Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30*

Best of July
Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick - entire line*
Napolean Perdis Contour Brush
Buxom 5 in 1 cream shadow - entire line
Sephora #19 Pro Tapered Crease brush*

Like cutting open a fresh, juicy pink grapefruit!
Best of August
Urban Decay Perversion mascara
Maybelline Dream Powder
Diorskin Star foundation*

Best of September
Philosophy Glazed Donut 3 in 1 Body Wash
The Body Shop bronzer
Diorskin Pore Minimizer Refining Primer*
Agave Hair Oil*

Best of October
Too Faced Melted liquid lipsticks - entire line
Tarte Pin Up Girl blush palette
Bite Beauty lipstick - entire line*
LORAC Mega Pro shadow palette
Laura Mercier Caviar Stick eye shadows - entire line*

Chanel Pirate lipstick and Jersey Blush
Best of November
Sephora Formula X nail polish in Wunderkind
YSL Fusion Ink foundation*
Armani Eyes to Kill mascara
Dior Iconic Curl mascara*
Aphogee Restructuring protein hair treatment

Best of December
Chanel Pirate lipstick* and lip gloss
Deborah Lipmann Dark Side of the Moon nail polish
Chanel blush in Jersey*
Rouge Bunny Rouge Time Defying foundation
Style Sexy Hair 450 Blow Out Heat Defense spray*
Marc Jacobs Midnight in Paris nail polish


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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Weekly Beauty Edit 12.21.2014

Merry Christmas!

Quick recap. The Weekly Beauty Edit is a snapshot of my week with beauty products. What's new in my collection, being returned, rising stars, edits and deletes, empties and whatever else comes to mind.

Dolce & Gabbana Perfect Matte Liquid Foundation.  This might be in next week's Edits and Deletes section. This is really matte. So matte that it is flat. I like matte foundations that are a satin matte. I find that flat mattes look very aging and magnify pores in areas I don't have a pore issue! My color was 120 Natural Beige. At first I thought it was a bit too yellow but turned out to be a perfect match. After the first test run which make it look like casket foundation, I tried a luminous primer under it on day two plus used a Beauty Blender. Still too matte. I took a drop of jojoba oil in my palms, rubbed them together and pressed my palms to my face. Huge improvement!

Set of Six Glosssticks by Skinn. Do you watch ShopHQ? Dmitri James is the founder of Skinn. Dmitri has been in the beauty industry for decades and owns his own labs and manufacturing facility. He sells via

 his own site but mostly on ShopHQ. His claim to fame is his skincare line. The skincare is miles better than his cosmetics but I do love his Glossticks.

Ipsy Subscription Box.  I think this is a great $10 spent each month. Even if I don't like a thing, it's always fun to open your mail box and find a beautiful hot pink foil bubble envelope filled with beauty goodies. Usually contains 5 to 6 items in deluxe sample or full size plus a cosmetic bag.

Trish McEvoy Eye Openers Set. A real deal from HSN. A six piece set for the price of two pieces. This is my first dance with Trish McEvoy. I love her fragrance, No. 9, a blackberry and musk scent, but I have not used her color cosmetics. Shadow primer, under eye brightener for her famous "triangle of light" effect, mascara, gel pencil liner, felt tip liquid liner, and shadow stick are all in this set.

Kiehl's Rosa Artica Eye Balm.  I bought a deluxe sample size from an ebay seller. I'm on a mad hunt for a winter under eye cream. I need super emollient. My under eye area is always Sahara dry and super sensitive. In the winter, it's even drier and actually hurts. Let's not even discuss how much older a dry, crepy under eye area make me look. My go to for years has been Shiseido Benefiance eye cream. Shiseido improved the formula with more anti-aging benefits and my under eye area is not happy about the change. It stings now. I've used the Kiehl's for three nights now and like it but the Chicago weather has been mild for December.  It absorbs beautifully and have also used it during the day. Makes a great partner for concealer.
I juggled three foundations this week, Rouge Bunny Rouge Time Defying, Dolce & Gabbana Perfect Matte and Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse. I swooned over the Maybelline! Swirled a flat top synthetic kabuki, dabbed color  on my face and buffed. Gorgeous. I set my face with Neutrogena Oil Control pressed powder concentrating on my t-zone. I skipped primer. Wore all day, smoothed over my pores, lovely satin finish. Medium to full coverage depending on how much you apply or how much you blend it out. My color is 240 but I think it's a tad too dark or maybe too yellow. I'm probably the only that would notice!

Edits and Deletes
Too many shampoos and conditioners to list but I cleaned out my stash. If I'm not loving a shampoo or conditioner after a quarter bottle, it's history. My measuring stick is how soft and silky my hair feels afterward. Too silky and then my hair is flat, not silky enough and I find it's dull. If it's soft but super frizzy, that's another delete. I have very frizzy hair and thinning on top. I could write a book about the woes of thinning hair for a brunette although no doubt it is not fun for any woman, regardless of hair color. I kept holding on to these bottles thinking I would give them away but enough already, I wanted them gone. I think I threw out 12 bottles. The worst of the "bunch" was the Banana shampoo and conditioner from The Body Shop. Hair felt like straw.


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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Weekly Beauty Edit 12.14.2014

Quick recap. The Weekly Beauty Edit is a snapshot of my week with beauty products. What's new in my collection, being returned, rising stars, edits and deletes, empties and whatever else comes to mind.

Last week I was able to point out it was Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This week, however, is simply a typical week of shopping.

Chanel Rouge Allure in Pirate. How have I lived without Pirate???? It's a classic. I think even more so than Rouge Dior in 999 yet somehow Pirate has never made it into my collection. I was out shopping for dress boots today (success) and suddenly I looked up and there was the Chanel counter. I have been wanting to swatch the blush in Jersey since my current ove affair with City Color Be Matte blush in Coconut, a brownish apricot. I love it but it's very dusty in the pan. Makes me crazy. Jersey seemed to me to be that same color family but with a satin finish. Went to swatch it, fell in love and then the light bulb went off. I finally remembered to ask about Pirate. I have lots of reds and enjoy most of them. But I can now say I have found the perfect red on me. Ladies, don't give up that search!

Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss in Pirate. The lipstick has a satin finish. With my small, very lined lips I like a glossy finish particularly with darker colors. Gloss makes my lips look a bit fuller and camouflages the lines. I casually asked about the gloss. First of all, can we just talk about the packaging? Exact same as the lipstick. The Beauty Associate must have seen my eyes tear up and heard my head spinning from the beauty of it. She asked me if I need to sit down. Then....the swatch. Holy Mother of Lips. Pirate gloss is a tad brighter than the lipstick and has a little less blue in it. Very opaque, feels beautiful on the lips. Not sticky, not slippery, stays in place. I will wear a lip clear lip liner with it, I don't want anything to change the perfect color when combined with Pirate lipstick.

Chanel Pirate gloss on top, lipstick on the bottom

Chanel Joues Contraste, powder blush, in Jersey. At least I bought what I intended to buy! Is it possible for anyone to open a Chanel blush and resist that oh so magnificent scent? Not sure which I love more, the scent of Guerlain Meteorites or Chanel blush.  This color comes alive on the cheeks. Subtle,
everyday shade, perfect for the office or the grocery store. Pair it with a bright lip and it gives the cheeks just enough lift and spirit to compliment the lip but yet not be a wallflower.  In direct sun, which I avoid at all costs, it might have a sparkle. The vast majority of time it has a satin sheen.

Isomers Retiniacin Serum. This is a potent serum combining niacin and retinol (10% combined) with an aim at lightening age spots. This is my second bottle. Isomers is out of Canada but sell via ShopHQ with extraordinary pricing. I do a lot to combat age spots, mostly broad spectrum SPF daily and avoiding the sun, but at my age,  the spots are still there. Does it work? I believe it helps. I don't have much variation in my skin care. What I do works. I added this about 6 months ago and a few lighter spots are gone, other larger and darker spots are lighter. I would not say my spots are bad, simply annoying.

Rouge Bunny Rouge Time Defying foundation in Wheat. Full review coming in a few days. Beautiful foundation once I found the right application method and primer.

L'oreal polish in Masked Affair. A micro shimmer, halographic pale pale dusty grey that pulls lavender. Applied like a dream. Color was a little lighter than in the bottle. Part of the "Dark Side of Grey" collection. I love all 8 colors in this collection. I have $20 in Walgreens Jingle Cash to use this week and I know what I'm
spending it on!

Garnier Nutrisse hair color in Medium Natural Brown. What more can I say? Time to banish the grey roots, again. I buy whatever is on sale but given equal pricing, I will buy Garnier.

Kiss 02 False Lashes. For a year now (ok, maybe 10 years), I have been practicing the application of false lashes. For a year now, I have had epic fails. If you know the Lucy episode where Lucy and Ethel are working on the candy line, that would be me trying to apply lashes. The harder I try, the worse it gets. Somehow these Kiss 02s looked like they might work on my small eyes. I actually gone one on! It was straight, it stuck on and I didn't blind myself. I didn't put the second one on as I wanted to savor in the success.  I have great lengthy because I use Latisse but the volume is dismal. I don't like most volumizing mascara because they are too much. Simple false lashes would solve my problem of natural volume.

Joico K-Pak Intense Hydrator, 8.5 oz . Deal of the month! This was on clearance at Walgreens from  $19.99 to $4.30. It had to be a mistake. None of the other K-Pak items were on sale. This is a very deeply hydrating and repairing conditioner typically used following a protein reconstructing treatment.

Edits and Deletes
Laura Geller Spackle primer in Ethereal. In general, I'm not a fan of Laura Geller primers. They do help foundation last longer but I need more than that from a primer. I need a primer to blur my pores and to help control oil. Laura Geller primers make me oilier, faster. In testing my new Rouge Bunny Rouge foundation, it did not work well with my mattifying primers, the look was too flat. Worked ok with my Hourglass Veil but I thought maybe it needed a luminizing primer. Worked beautifully with L'oreal Magic Lumi so I thought I'd try the Laura Geller Ethereal. No. Oil slick by 10:00. I love Laura Geller and feel like a traitor ranting on the product that made her famous. But Spackle and my oily skin are not meant to be.

Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation Serum. Not to be confused with the No Foundation Foundation. Got it? I have not tried the No Foundation Foundation but have been loving the new technology behind the serum foundations. My top favorites are YSL Fusion Ink and Maybelline Dream Wonder Fluid. Perricone MD is good but when worn side by side with YSL, the YSL simply looks better on me and lasts longer.  I definitely like the Perricone better than the Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless and Lancome Nude Miracle, both serum style foundations. I have to start cutting the cord on some of my liquid foundations. They take up a lot of room!


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