Friday, July 30, 2010

So, There Is Heart in the Beauty Industry....

Most of us who are regular followers of the beauty industry and their non-stop cycle of collections are well aware of the outrage surrounding MAC's Rodarte collection. When Temptalia first released the names and information about the Fall 2010 collection, I was immediately surprised and upset to see that both MAC and Rodarte (as they were collaborating) showed so little concern for the women of Juarez in the distasteful naming of their collection. Many other beauty bloggers and followers felt the same way and these two blogs do a great job exploring the issues at hand: Married to the Mirror and Pink Sith.

However, I come here to post in happiness that MAC and Rodarte have decided to donate 100% of their profit from this collection to a new Women and Girls of Juarez Initiative. Originally, the company announced that they'd donate $100,000 from sales and rename the products. I'm equally impressed by the heartfelt and seemingly sincere apologies by both companies.

Although I clearly love beauty, fashion and that whole sphere, I do feel it's always important to be a concerned global citizen. Say what you will but I would never feel right by from a collection that capitalized on the suffering of others (especially other women) and I'm glad that MAC and Rodarte saw the error of their ways. What do you think? Will you purchase from this collection since it benefits charity? Do you think consumers overreacted or were you in the same boat as me?

To read more about the decision and the upcoming collection, check out Temptalia's post.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Orly Needs Better Writers

When it comes to upcoming beauty collections, companies need either great pictures to share and promote or an out of this world description to really grab the consumer's attention. So, Orly, I'm looking at you. What on earth were you talking about when you released this description of your Fall 2010 Plastix collection?

"ORLY, the company that continually pioneers the Nail Lacquer arena with the most cutting edge colors, technology and textures, introduces the Plastix Collection. Complementing the Fall 2010 runway looks that featured bright neon colors amid shiny black plastic, latex, and rubber reinventions of vintage must-haves, Plastix evokes the vintage classic trend with four new lacquers and a unique new formula that coats the nails with a smooth glossy matte “plastic” finish. The exclusive finish and texture is a first in the nail category, delivering a monochromatic, shiny and rubbery look that takes experimentation to an entirely new level, with the focus being on both the distinctive nail surface, as well as the latest in color trends. The unique look can not be achieved with color alone as the finish is a must for recreating the true “plastic” statement."

Let's take a peak in the Webster dictionary shall we?

Matte: : lacking or deprived of luster or gloss: as a: having a usually smooth even surface free from shine or highlights (matte metals) (a matte finish) b : having a rough or granular surface

Glossy: 1 : having a surface luster or brightness (rich glossy leather)

Through these definitions, we can determine that matte, while capable of being either rough or smooth, is the opposite of glossy. Matte: without shine. Glossy: with shine/brightness.

Orly's contradictory description of their Plastix collection is intriguing but leaves me utterly bewildered. How will this polish be both glossy and matte? What "vintage class trend" does Plastix evoke? I'm not sure anyone ever seriously donned plastic on their nails. The idea of plastic or rubber being a fall fashion trend sounds a bit terrifying but I guess only time will tell. Finally, since when is Orly the pioneer of "cutting edge colors, technology, and textures?" Don't get me wrong, I do think Orly makes quality polishes but this bit of self flattery is hilarious. Note the description of the two of the colors: Retro Red is a "traditional red" and Old School Orange is "classic orange."* This whole write up is a complete mess and isn't helping the company's reputation as a sort of runner up in salon nail brands. Come on, Orly, get it together!

Perhaps, the "Plastix" finish will be similar to frosted glass. Now, that's something I could go for. Hopefully Orly will send out a follow up description or swatches soon to clear up the confusion. Never a dull day in the nail world!

*The other two colors are a little more unique with Viridian Vinyl, a "glossy blue green," and Purple Pleather, the "shiny purple" of the bunch.

Thank you to for the write up, descriptions, and photograph. See the link for yourself:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bad Benefit Mascara: BADgal Plum Mascara

Benefit is most easily recognized by their fun, retro inspired packaging and quirky product names. Though the line might seem a bit gimmicky at times, I have a few favorites including the Creaseless Cream Eyeshadows/Liners, Coralista blush, and Silky Finish lipsticks. Since I've had good luck with Benefit so far, I figured I'd like their Bad Gal mascara as well. I decided to be adventurous and test the "Plum" shade.

The Bad Gal Plum Mascara features a big, thick brush coated in a deep plum shade. Benefit's website describes the mascara on their website, saying, "Our rich, luxurious plum mascara intensifies your natural eye color while lushifying your lashes." Lushifying?

The color may look a little scary to some but I thought it would be flattering for my hazel eyes. Typically colored mascaras do not look as intense when applied as they do in the tube and Bad Gal Plum is no exception. In fact, it doesn't look plum or purple at all. It just looks like a cheap black mascara! Very disappointing. I didn't find that the mascara brought out the colors of my eyes or had any flattering effects.

I also have a bone to pick with the wand and formula of Bad Gal Plum Mascara. The wand is big, which is usually better for creating volume than length. I prefer small wands as length is my issue but that's a personal preference. However, it's just too big to really coat your lashes. Little volume is added and I found the formula way too drying. Not "lushifying" at all! Overall, I was disappointed in this mascara. It's a decent price for a higher end mascara ($19) and seems like a fun addition to any makeup collection. Yet the product doesn't do what Benefit promises and hardly measures up to even cheap drugstore mascaras. My hunt for the perfect mascara continues! This one's going in the trash.

Overall Rating
: 1 out of 5 stars
Pros: Nice packaging, Doesn't flake
Cons: Drying, Doesn't create much volume, Doesn't live up to claims
Price: $19
Size: 8.5 g, Net wt-.30 oz

ETA: After wearing this mascara all day, I found that it left little violet smudges and rings all around my eyes. I looked like a raccoon on its way to a rave and that's just what I'm going for these days.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Marine Life: A Glorified Glitzy Seahorse

It seems like at least once (if not twice) a year, MAC comes out with a collection or particular item that sends makeup lovers into a frenzy. This collection (see the 2009 Hello Kitty) or item has an unexplainable ability to create numerous "lemmings," (or intense desire for a product beyond rational), break banks, and inspire eBay scalpers. Ladies and gentleman, I present to you this season's MAC "must have" at $26.

I'll guess if you're reading my blog, you already know about Marine Life from the To the Beach collection and hype surrounding it. Marine Life was featured in Elle and Allure, selling out online within hours. I was initially interested in this beauty powder (to be used as a highlighter and/or blush) for the following reasons:
-Beauty Powders work well for me and my skin tone/type.
-I'm still on the search for a decent coral blush.
-It's, um, a seahorse.
-It's pretty.
These reasons, though superficial (it's makeup), seemed enough to warrant a purchase so I asked about the product at my local MAC counter a few days before the collection's release date. They hadn't received any Marine Life at the time and still haven't to this date. The other two MAC counters had sold out within two hours. I was told I could continue to check back at my usual MAC counter but I think I'll pass.

Sure, it's a really pretty product and unusual in its packaging. However, in my mind (and this is coming from a certified makeup addict), no product is worth this much effort. In fact when I actually saw the Marine Life tester in person, I was a little disappointed. Once the gold overspray fades, you're left with a raised seahorse in clown orange and baby pink powder. I know my opinion is not a popular one ( is blowing up with positive reviews and messages) but I think I'll save my money for the Venomous Villains collection. There's always another collection, another must have, and more hype waiting for MAC addicts.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

London, Liberty, and Loveliness

Target released their Liberty of London collection on March 14, generating a ton of buzz about Liberty of London's trademark gorgeous prints and florals. This is the first Target designer collection I've been really excited about. The prints are available in women's clothing, accessories (scarves, wallets, totes), bedding, housewares, swimwear, sleepwear, dining, decor, children's clothes, and even bikes! I was expecting for there to be so much Liberty of London wear to choose from and I love the variety!

I tried on several of the clothes even thought the selection was slightly picked through by the time I went to my local Target. The stand out pieces of Liberty London are the dresses! There are several to choose from and I selected this one:

I was not expecting to love this one shoulder dress as much as I do! It's a stunning fabric with solid construction (completely lined) and a flattering shape. I most like that the one shoulder style looks unusual but is quite wearable and highlights the face and shoulders (often one of the leaner parts of a woman's body). Also the tied waist perfectly defines your middle without cinching too much.

The dress retails for $34.99, a great price for this beautiful dress, and is made of 100% polyester. Usually, I hate polyester but I will say it works for this dress. The polyester looks more expensive than a cotton fabric would and will wear better (often Target's cotton dresses fall apart or pill quickly). I'm so happy I found a maxi dress that flatters me and that it just happens to be part of the Liberty of London collection.

I'll most likely style this dress with a tousled, casual updo, thin, gold hoops, and perhaps gold sandals. Any suggestions are welcome!

There are so many cute dresses with this line and I've provided some links to my other favorite pieces. I wish I could buy almost all from this line!

Smocked Top Maxi Dress in Pink Mark Large Scale Print
Smocked Top Tiered Ruffle Dress- Black Isis PrintBoho Drop Waist Drop Ruffle Top- Black Isis Print

I'm definitely going back to purchase one of the Liberty of London mugs and a few gifts for friends. I'm a big tea and coffee drinker and I know I'll look forward to using one of these pretty mugs!

The stationary and storage pieces would be great for day to day use or even a home office.

I hope you enjoyed my little review. Overall, I'd give the line a B+. These cheery prints should attract many customers although I know some will shy away from the brightness and prefer simplicity. The variety of choices is great, especially for a big box store like Target, the clothes fit generally true to size (perhaps even running a bit large), and are made well.

Check out this link from Liberty of London: to find the pattern that matches you best. My match was the peacock!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

TRESemme Conditioner: Oh La La!

Back to review a product that is definitely in my "holy grail" status!

I've used several different conditioners in the past few years, including conditioners by Herbal Essences, Redken, and Garnier. However, I haven't found any that I like better than TRESemme's B12 & Gelatin Anti-breakage conditioner for the results and price.

I have used TRESemme's B12 & Gelatin Anti-breakage conditioner as well as their Vitamin E Moisture Rich conditioner. I would highly recommend either but for my breakage prone hair, I prefer the B12 & gelatin conditioner.

The conditioner runs for about $5 at Target for a huge size (32 oz). I love the price which can't be beat and it definitely is "salon quality." I don't think you have to pay a pretty penny for hair products (or make up for that matter) that work well.

As a conditioner, B12 & Gelatin is thick and creamy and non-sticky. It doesn't weigh the hair down at all and my hair is quite fine. I recommend those with fine or thinning hair use a small amount of conditioner with enough to coat the ends.

Now onto the hair has grown at least three inches in the past three months since using this conditioner regularly. My hair does not grow quickly. I'm lucky if it grows half an inch per month and frequently have to cut off length due to split ends. My hair stylist was raving over how much my hair had grown when I went to see her this week and only took off a little in a trim. My hair has benefited so much for this conditioner!

I later found out that Dr. Gott recommends TRESemme conditioners for thinning hair/hair growth. You can read his article here (Be sure to scroll down to the middle of the page).

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Pros: Inexpensive, Effective, Creamy, Strengthening
Cons: None
Price: roughly $5
Size: 32 fl oz.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Benefit Coralista, Peachy Please!

Benefit Cosmetics features fun, retro packaging and great products. The story behind the line is as cute and whimiscal as their image. Benefit Cosmetics was started by the Ford twins of San Francisco, California, with the simple idea, "Who says makeup has to be serious to be good?" And with that the playful, sassy and sweet cosmetics line was born.

Today I'm going to review one of my favorite Benefit products: CORALista blush. Coralista is one of Benefit's top sellers and with good reason. I have been looking for a peachy blush but since I'm fair skinned and cool toned, the search hasn't been easy. I happened upon this product at the Benefit counter in Memphis and then received it for my birthday a few months ago.

The wild, tropical themed packaging is the first thing to catch your eye. Coralista comes in a square shaped box, with a pink leopard print design. Even if the packaging is too loud for your taste (personally, I think it's fun!), keep in mind the blush is worth your money and it will be easier to spot in your makeup bag.

Now onto the color- Benefit describes Coralista as "a warm coral-pink cheek powder." The color is one the warm side but the pink tones in Coralista make it wearable for just about any skin tone. Coralista will most definitely flatter warm tones and will offer a believable peachy flush for cool tones. (Check out the color below)

One of my favorite things about this blush is the brush! Usually brushes included with makeup aren't keepers and typically don't perform as well as brushes bought seperately. I tried the blush with my usual makeup brush first but I found the application looked a bit heavy. So, I reached for the Coralista blush brush and what a world of difference. The brush comes with a wooden handel and squared off bristles which are great for emphasizing cheekbones. The blush also lasts a long time, needing no reapplications throughout the day, and offers very subtle shimmer.

I recommend this blush to anyone!

Overal Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Pros: Universally Flattering, Cute Packaging, Easy to Apply & Wear
Cons: Expensive
Price: $28.00
Size: 12.0 g

I'll be reviewing some more Benefit products soon but be sure to check out their Creaseless Cream Eye Shadows/Liners and the One Hot Minute face powder.

*Disclaimer: I have not been paid for any of my reviews. I chose products on my own, through my own interests, and provide honest reports to my readers!*

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Base Coat Bonanza!

Blog time!

Today I'm reviewing two base coats, one's a definite win and the other is a huge fail. Read on to learn more.

First, I'm going to let you in on my new favorite base coat: The Nail Life Revitalizer Treatment in the Original Formula. Yes, treatment. The great thing about this product is that it can be used in several different ways. First, it serves as an excellent base coat, to be used before applying your polish. It make your nails smooth like glass and shiny. Your polish will apply easily, adhering to the base coat without being so "sticky," that the polish loses its smoothness. Next, it can be used as a weekly or daily treatment for weak, sensitive, or damaged nails. You can apply it alone to protect your nails or as a pre-treatment and then use your favorite base coat. Finally, I have read that it can used as a top coat. I can tell that Nail Life would add shine but personally, I'd stick with my favorite quick dry top coat.

Keep in mind, the Nail Life Revitalizer Treatment is on the thicker side since it protects your nails from damage. You can find this product at Sally Beauty Supply for $7.99. It comes in a large bottle (1.19 oz) and can be found on sale from time to time. Nail Life also offers a Formaldehyde-Free version of this product as well as a Gripper Base Coat, Ridge Filler, Cuticle Treatment, and more.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Versatile, Performs Well, Quantity & Quality!
Cons: Slightly Expensive
Size: 1.19 oz

And here's my not-so-favorite base coat of late: Sally Hansen Insta-Grip Fast Dry Base Coat. I bought this product at Walgreens when I was looking for a new base coat. I've had good luck with most of Sally Hansen's nail products this one was a disappointment. It may be a bit unfair to pit this product against Nail Life since it is not a treatment. Therefore, it's not as versatile or protective. However, as a plain ol' base coat, it's no good either. It took a long time to dry and was incredibly sticky. My polish did not go on smoothly at all. In fact, it was bumpy and streaky with bubbles. I waited plenty of time for it dry. Maybe others will have a better experience with Insta-Grip but I was disappointed. The only good thing I can say is that the product is inexpensive and shiny. The Sally Hansen Insta-Grip Fast Dry Base Coat is priced at $5 to $6 and can be found at drugstores.

Overall Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars
Pros: Inexpensive, Readily Available, Shiny, Inexpensive
Cons: Performs Poorly, Dries Slowly (for a Quick Dry!), Ineffective.
Size: .45 fl oz

There you have it! Do you have a favorite base coat? Do you use a base coat regularly? Let me know!