Saturday, December 31, 2011

Jessica Cosmetics Peacock Queen Swatches & Chanel Fall 2011 Comparisons

When I initially saw the promo picture for the Jessica Cosmetics Peacock Queen Collection, I'm sure I wasn't alone in thinking that the shades looks extremely similar to Chanel's Fall Illusions d’Ombres de Chanel Collection. The good news is that if you held off on the Chanel collection, you can purchase the Jessica collection in its entirety for less than you would pay for just one of the Chanel shades. The Jessica collection is indeed identical to the Chanel collection, for all intents and purposes.

Color-wise, there really is not a noticeable difference, as you can see on the nail wheel above. Formula-wise, both brands have a nice formula that allow for an easy application. The Jessica polishes have a bit more opacity after one coat, and the sparkle and micro glitter is somewhat more intense in Jessica's Smoky Feather than in Chanel's Graphite. When I study these colors very closely, I see that all 3 of the Jessica shades are ever so slightly darker than the Chanel shades, but I honestly don't think the average person would notice this difference at all. The Jessica polishes retail for $7.50 each, while the Chanel polishes retail for $25.00 each. Below are swatches of the Jessica collection using 2 coats.

Bronze Tailed is a beige/taupe neutral shade with multi colored shimmer. This is my least favorite of the three, just as Chanel Quartz was my least favorite of their collection. The shimmer is primarily silver, but it tends to take on a slight silvery/aqua shade in lower lighting.

Smoky Feather, a medium silver grey pewter hue, is filled with multi colored micro glitter that sparkles and glistens beautifully against the base color. The gold glitter seems to be the most prominent, and like Chanel Graphite, this shade can flash a bit of olive green in lower lighting.

Iridescent Eye is a gold to olive duo chrome that also exhibits shades of a brighter green, antique gold, copper, and bronze, depending on the lighting. Like Peridot, this shade seems to show more gold than green.

If you love the shades in the Chanel collection but didn't want to pay the price, this collection is an excellent alternative, albeit certainly not an original collection. Chanel is Chanel, and personally, I do like to splurge on some Chanel cosmetics because I do love them and I can't afford their clothing and accessories! Some may say they're not worth the price, but I say they're worth what they're worth to you, not to someone else. I am also very fond of Jessica's formula, and even though it's not a brand that seems to get a lot of attention for some reason, they have an excellent formula that I highly recommend.

The Jessica Cosmetics Peacock Queen Collection is available on their web site.

Monday, December 26, 2011

SpaRitual Spring 2012: Water Collection

Shimmering corals, deep watercolors and dense pastels rise to the surface. The effect is fluid, weightless and glistening. See a shimmer of coral in Hidden Reef. An iridescent reflection of moonlight in Deep. Sink into the creamy, dusty mauves of Ripple Effect and lilac blue Lucid. Feel the pull of the ocean floor in Undercurrent, or just float along in the aqua of Ebb & Flow.

Our collection is inspired by the beauty and life-giving energy of one of our most precious resources, water. To help raise awareness and protect our resources for generations to come, SpaRitual will be donating 20% of sales to Surge. Bringing water to those in need, Surge is a U.S. based 501 (c)3 non-profit organization that improves access to clean safe water for life. Surge increases public awareness of the global water crisis through education and investment in sustainable solutions.

Hidden Reef - Shimmering Coral
Deep - Iridescent reflection of moonlight
Ripple Effect - creamy dusty mauve
Lucid - lilac blue hue
Undercurrent - dark blue like the ocean floor
Ebb & Flow - light aqua

Available February 1, 2012

Friday, December 23, 2011

Orly Spring 2012 - Cool Romance Collection

You’re Blushing - Muted Lilac Crème
Prelude to a Kiss - Pastel Pink Crème
Jealous, Much? - Pastel Mint
Faint of Heart - Soft Grey Crème
Steel Your Heart - Charcoal Shimmer
Artificial Sweetener - Dusty Rose Shimmer

Coming January 2012

Express Your Beauty With Express Beauty Products!

Express recently launched some of their very first beauty products, and they're available now online and in-stores. Express will continue to roll out additional beauty pieces each season and below are the latest pieces available online and in-stores for the holiday season!

Express expands their brand into the beauty realm with fabulous products to polish off your look. Gloss it up with the Love & Cheers lip gloss trio ($16.90) including shades Iced Sugar, Currant Tonic, and Peppermint Mist each with shine and a light shimmer to pump up your lips and a flavor as tasty as its name!

Top to bottom: Peppermint Mist (bright sparkly red), Iced Sugar (light shimmery gold), Currant Tonic (gorgeous iridescent pink sparkle in a lightly tinted base). These glosses are of medium consistency--not too thick--and they wear well and give more pigmentation than I expected. They feel very nice with no stickiness, and they have a mild scent and taste that reflects their name. They're beautiful shades on their own, layered with each other, or layered over a lip stick.

The above swatch was taken using my light box, and when I turned out the lights I was amazed at the sparkle and glow these glosses had even in lower lighting, below.

One more photo of Currant Tonic, because it's so pretty!

Glam it up when you use the Limited Edition Shimmer Body Powder ($29.90). Perfect for your shoulders, legs, arms, hair and décolleté, the built in brush sweeps on a light shimmer giving you the perfect glow to your skin. This two in one product is also scented Love Express, their first ever fragrance for women, with notes of Lily of the Valley, Vanilla Musk, and Tiare Blossom. Look irresistible. Smell irresistible. Go get Love & Cheers and Shimmer Body Powder today!

This shimmer body powder is a bit pricey at $29.90, and I'm not crazy about the packaging. It measures almost 7" in overall length, and about 1" in diameter on the tube that contains the product. The wide silver ring at the base of the brush can be twisted to an open or closed position. The brush itself is very large and fairly soft and fluffy. The product comes out in the center, and it doesn't dispense too much at a time, so you can blend and click more out if you need to. I'll talk more about the dispensing and the brush below.

I couldn't get a decent photo of this, but it gives a touch of shimmery pale gold to your skin without looking like a glitter bomb dropped on you! It has a very nice scent that I can't quite put my finger on, but it reminds me a bit of Dior J'adore.

The lip glosses get a big thumbs up from me, but I'm not entirely sold on the body powder. The powder itself is smooth and finely milled, but the packaging seems sort of big and clunky. I don't wear a lot of body highlighting powders, but in the summer when I have a tan, I sometimes put a bit on my shoulders or lightly down the center front of my legs. The brush on this is so big that it's a bit difficult to get the powder placed exactly where I want it to be.

Even though it's a subtle color, I want to be able to place it more strategically than this type of packaging allows for. As I mentioned above, the powder comes through a fairly small area in the center of the brush, but when you blend it using a brush that large, the entire brush head picks up some of the powder as you blend. So rather than applying it just to your shin bone or collar bone for example, it's going to spread far beyond that specific area.

That being said, I would like this product more if it were in a loose form with a smaller brush. I have an OPI body shimmer that I apply with a brush, and it gives me the ability to apply it exactly where I want it. Because it's loose, I can also use it as an eye shadow and a shimmery bronzer/highlighter on my face. I also use Michael Kors Leg Shine with the same purpose, except that it's a push up stick (like a deoderant, for lack of a better way to describe it) that allows me to direct exactly where it will be placed.

*Products featured were furnished by the manufacturer or PR firm for consideration.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Addiction-NV Naughty, But Nice Candy Cane Lip Balm

It may be a little late to get the Addiction-NV Candy Cane Lip Balm in time for the holidays, unless you happen to live near a location that carries it (available here). But if you like unique packaging designs and a peppermint lip balm, it's not too late to order one for yourself. "The swirled holiday red and white lip color hues blend to a flush of pink that's perfect for every skin tone and complexion," explains Noel Sweeny, West Coast Makeup Artist and founder of Addiction NV Cosmetics.

It looks like a candy cane, tastes like a candy cane, and is made with real candy cane flavoring and spearmint essential oils. Naughty but Nice is mouth watering, moisturizing treat that winterizes and protects lips as it softens and hydrates them! Our lip balm is jammed packed with vitamin E, aloe vera, shea butter, spearmint, apricot and sweet almond oils to hydrate as it calms and soothes. The unique red and white swirl lip balm gives you a flush of pink shade perfect for every skin tone and complexion. 'Tis the Season to be Naughty!!!

This is such a fun little product with it's quick-click design. You simply push the end of the tube, and the inner tube pops out. The design is genius, and I love the graphics on the outer tube.

This lip balm is a tasty treat for your lips, and it's very moisturizing and soothing. It adds a nice flush of glossy pink color, and even after the shine has worn off, my lips still have a hint of color. This tastes minty and smells of peppermint, and I have become quite addicted to it!

Addication-NV products are:

-Ingredient conscious with natural extracts
-Never animal tested

Price: $18.00

*Product featured was furnished by the manufacturer or PR firm for consideration.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Hostess Gift Idea: Kiss My Face Peace Soaps

Kiss My Face offers a festive set of hand soaps, which would make a great last minute hostess gift. The Peace Soaps are packaged in a cardboard carrier, and they come in two nice scents, Pomegranate Acai and Grassy Mint. These are castile foaming soaps, and they're 8 fl. oz. each.

Adorned in words and symbols of peace, the red and green colors are perfect for the holiday season. The soaps are all natural, and contain only 6 ingredients: Aqua, Saponified Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Saponified Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil, Saponified Canabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil, Cellulose Gum, Natural Fragrance Blend.

10% of the profits support the Seeds of Peace Organization, which brings teens from regions of conflict around the world, like Israel and Palestine, to a camp in Maine to develop a better understanding of each other, build leadership skills, and learn how to build a new generation of peace.

Kiss My Face products are available at Whole Foods, natural supermarkets,, and wherever natural body care products are sold.

*Products featured were furnished by the manufacturer or PR firm for review.

Holiday Gift Idea: Dermelect Resilient Stem Cell Regenerating System

For the skin care fanatic on your gift list, Dermelect offers several holiday gift sets that address a wide range of skin care needs. Their Skin Regenerating System set is priced at $159.00 ($208.00 value), and contains 3 products that utilize stem cell science. I've had the pleasure of using 2 of these 3 products, and while they're at the higher end of skin care pricing, they are very effective and luxurious. You can read my review on the Resurface Stem Cell Restructuring Serum here, and below I'll tell you about the moisturizer, Resilient Stem Cell Regenerating Treatment. The third product in this set is the Resurgent Stem Cell Firming Activator, which is the final step in the application of these products if you're following the entire regime. Personally, I use the 2 products I have along with other product brands and still have positive results, although I imagine optimum results would be achieved by using all of these products in order, together.

The Resilient Stem Cell Regenerating Treatment comes packaged in a box, and is priced individually at $79.00 for a 1.0 fl. oz. jar.

This product has a very delicate rose scent, and a medium cream consistency. It absorbs quickly with no greasy residue, and a little product goes a long way. It leaves my skin feeling soft and supple, and when used with the serum underneath, my skin looks as good as it ever has.

Below is a list of the ingredients, followed by a breakdown of each product in the Skin Regenerating System set.

o Dermelect Resurface Stem Cell Reconstructing Serum protects and helps regenerate skin stem cell vitality while improving the skin barrier function and preventing and reducing the formation of wrinkles and fine lines.

o Dermelect Resilient Stem Cell Regenerating Treatment boosts epidermal regeneration while reversing damage by free radial agents. The treatment leaves skin looking rested and supple.

o Dermelect Resurgent Stem Cell Firming Activator acts as a finishing application to reinforce stem cell protection and resurgence of youthful looking skin tissue while further preventing free radical damage.

Dermelect products are available at C.O. Bigelow, Henri Bendel NYC,, and many online etailers.

*Product featured was furnished by the manufacturer or PR firm for consideration.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Gift Idea: Amika Mini Leopard Styler

The Amika Mini Leopard Styler makes a great gift, and it's very reasonably priced at $25.00. There's nothing wrong with gifting one to yourself, either!

This product comes with a sturdy leopard print nylon zipper storage pouch that measures 4.5"x7.5".
The pouch contains the mini flat iron, a detailed product instruction guide, and a 0.1 fl. oz. packet of Amika's Obliphica with Argan Oil Treatment for frizz free and nourished hair. This treatment can be used on damp or dry hair. The iron has a 6' cord, 1/2" 100% ceramic floating plates with Far Infared Heat Technology, dual voltage for travel, and it maintains an even temperature of 400 degrees.

The iron itself measures just over 6". With its petite size and leopard print pattern, it's cute as can be! Not only is it cute, this little powerhouse is so much nicer than my previous mini flat iron. The plates glide through my hair easily without pulling, and it does a fantastic job of straightening. My hair is cut in a short choppy bob right now, so it's perfect for that style. Even if you have longer hair, this would work well to straighten the ends and keep those baby hairs around the hair line in check. I also have a stubborn little cowlick, and this iron allows me to get much closer to my scalp than my other mini, so that pesky annoyance is a thing of the past now.

The on-off is a simple switch with an red LED light that lets you know that it's on. This has a set temperature of 400 degrees, and I haven't noticed any damage to my hair after using it daily for more than 2 weeks. My previous mini had a high/low setting, and always used the high, although to be honest, I don't know what that temperature was. When my hair is longer, I use a Solia flat iron and set it at 350-375 degrees. This iron heats up in just 10 seconds. For reference, my hair is extremely fine. The handle of the iron has a textured grip heat resistant area, making it easier to hold on to.

I am completely satistied with this little flat iron. It's made very well, and in addition to having 100% ceramic plates, this styler also has ceramic heating elements behind the plates. Most conventional irons that claim to be ceramic, actually use metal heating elements behind the plates. The great thing about ceramic plates is that they radiate far infared heat, which preserves moisture in the hair shaft and protects the hair cuticle from damage. The portability of this product makes it perfect for the gym, travel, or even carrying in your bag for touch ups later in the day.

The Amika Mini Leopard Styler is available at Sephora for $25.00. If you want this by December 23, Sephora has an offer that runs through midnight tonight that will give you free 2-day shipping. Use code UPS2DAY at checkout.

*Product featured was furnished by the manufacturer or PR firm for consideration.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tarte Puttin' on the Glitz Color Collection On Sale Today Only!

I just received this cute Tarte Puttin' on the Glitz set over the weekend, and I received an eMail from Tarte that it's on sale today only for $33.00 (regular $48.00). They're also offering free expedited shipping (use code GLITZ) on this product, so if you're looking for a last-minute Holiday gift for someone or for yourself, this is a nice selection.

I haven't had time to play and swatch mine yet, but I wanted to show you some of the detail and give you my initial thoughts in case you're thinking about picking one up. The product comes packaged as a boxed set that includes 3 palettes, a lip gloss, an instruction card for various looks using the product, and a silver faux python leather bag. In more detail:

•3 interchangeable palettes for a total of 18 eyeshadows, 1 Amazonian clay 12-hour blush, 1 Amazonian clay shimmering powder and 1 park ave princess Amazonian clay bronzer

•maracuja-infused lipgloss

•reusable purse that features 4 credit card slots and a removable mirror

•detailed "get-the-look" instruction card

Below is the carrying bag, the 3 palettes, and the gloss. The bag measures about 6"x5", and the chain is a gold link-style that's plenty long enough to use as a crossover. It zips all the way around 3 sides, so it's secure when closed. Each palette is 3"x5", and they flip open like a book.

The inside of the bag is a deep plum fabric, and it has slots for credit cards, cash, and i.d. cards. There's also a removable mirror, and an elastic loop holder for the gloss. The zipper has the Tarte logo stamped on the pull.

Each palette has a set of snaps on the edge, so you can quickly and easily snap on into the bag. There's enough room in the bag that you could fit a brush in there for the eye shadow, and a small blush brush would possibly fit in as well.

These palettes have a magnetic closure, but I would use caution with them because the magnet hold is fairly weak. My only concern is that they could get nicked or scratched if you're not careful. I'll talk more about the packaging after the photos.

Here's a quick look at each palette. These are very generous in size--the shadows are 1" square, and the blush, bronzer, and shimmering powder each measure about 1"x2.25".

I am a fan of Tarte products, so if you are too, or you're intersted in exploring this brand, this is a great value. I apologize that I didn't have time to swatch these, but I wanted to get this up while it was still on sale in case you want to order one for the Holidays.

The assortment of shades is plentiful in the eye shadows, and there are both matte and shimmer shades. If you haven't tried Tarte's Amazonian Clay products, they are extremely nice. They're smooth and pigmented, and they wear very well for me. The shadows can be used both dry and wet for additional pigmentation, although they are plenty pigmented when used dry. The matte dark brown shades look like they would work very nicely as an eye liner or tight liner when applied with a dampened brush.

The blush is Amazonian Clay Darling, which is a soft shimmering coral pink. The Amazonian Clay shimmering powder shade is called Champagne, and this would work well not only as a highlighter, but it could also be used as an eye shadow. The Amazonian Clay bronzer is Park Ave. Princess, Tarte's best-selling bronzer.

The PureOptic lip gloss is a medium pink shade that is sheer, but definitely puts out some nice subtle color. It also has a soft minty scent.

The only thing I'm not crazy about is the overall packaging concept. I love that each palette is portable, which is great for traveling and they don't take up a lot of room in my make up drawers at home. I'm not one to touch up my eye shadow and blush on a regular basis, so I doubt I'd carry these for a night out. Beacuse the magnetic closure isn't all that strong, I'd be fearful if I did carry one in the little bag, that I might damage the products, say if I had a brush in there and it somehow nudged its way into the palette.

Even though I may not use it the way it's marketed for, you can be sure these palettes and the pretty gloss will get plenty of use from me. There are endless looks you can make with the variety of shades and products that are included in this set, from neutral looks, to smokey eyes, and so much more. If you've priced some of these products individually, you know this is a great deal. The bag will get some use from me as well, because I can fit a few products in there that I do use for touch up (the Tarte gloss, a powder compact, and an eye pencil). Sometimes, I don't want to carry a larger bag to an event, so this will hold the essentials. It's not made out of top quality material, but it's well made and it is glitzy!

*Products featured were furnished by the manufacturer or PR firm for consideration.

New China Glaze Collection?

I haven't seen or heard anything about this China Glaze collection, but while I was google searching for pictures of the old China Glaze shade Out on Safari, this lovely array of shades popped up in my search. One of the sites that featured this collection called On Safari, is a Dutch site, and you can view more here. That site mentions a June 2012 date. The other site I saw it on can be found here. I have no idea if we will actually see this collection, but I hope that we do!