Monday, December 31, 2012

12 Favorites from 2012

Another year gone, but 2012 has introduced me to many new beauty products. Some good, some not so good, and some that have won me over above all others. I've narrowed down my 12 Favorites from 2012, and I think I probably could have done a list of at least 50 products that fall into my Favorites! But these 12 made the cut. There are 10 actual products, and 2 obsessions, for lack of a better description. Some are new to me this year, some are things I'd used before this year but I didn't realize their full potential at the time, and all of them are now front and center in my daily and weekly beauty routines. I have many of you to thank for some of these products, because you recommended them on various message boards, you blogged about them, and you convinced me that I needed them in my life. Others are products I've received from companies to review, and I fell in love with them. The entire blogging community is amazing, and I thank you all for making it so enjoyable.

Let's take a closer look at these products and why I love them!


1. Soap & Glory Super-Colour Sexy Mother Pucker Lip Plumping Gloss - $15.00

This gloss is late to the party, because I just started using it this month. I love the way it feels and wears, but I mainly love the ability it has to plump out and smooth lines in my lips. It's the perfect base particularly under matte shades, because of how much smoother it makes my lips look.

2. Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush - $30.00 & Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman Expert Face Brush - $8.99

I'm cheating a little including 2 brushes, but these are both new to me this year and have become 2 of my favorites. I use them primarily to apply powder foundation, and in rare cases when I wear liquid foundation. I've been trying to replace most of my brushes over this past year, and even though they are quite different in price, I couldn't choose just one for a favorite! The right brush really does make a huge difference in make up application for me, so I'm happy to have discovered these.

3. Lip colors that are vampy or red in a variety of finishes, and matte lip colors.

This has become an obsession for me, no doubt about it. I have no idea how many new lip shades I've picked up this year, but certainly more than I need. True blue-based red shades, dark vampy hues, gloss, matte, stick...it makes no matter, I am loving them all. Higher end brands from Becca, YSL, Shiseido, Lancome, and Armani have joined my collection, but that's not to say drug store brands have been left out. Wet 'n' Wild's Mega Last Matte shades, Rimmel's Kate Moss Matte shades, and Revlon's Super Lustrous shades have also made 2012 the Year of the Lip for me!

4. La Bedouine Berberian Rouge Lip Stain in Handmade Thuya Wood Compact Limited Edition - $36.00

This product should also win my Coolest Packaging/Looks Gorgeous on my Vanity/Best Use of a Natural Product award! A proper review of this will be coming up in January, but here is a brief description from their web site: A stunning boudoir piece, this lusciously sensual lip color is composed of pomegranate bark and Coquelicots, the poppy-red flowers immortalized by Monet. The botanicals are crushed by mortar and pestle, water is added to make a paste, then the mix is sunbaked in small terra cotta pots. The mirrored compact is carved of native Thuya wood in Essaouira exclusively for La Bedouine. This is a beautiful all natural botanical lip stain, and I'm also experimenting with it as a blush.

5. Living Proof Restore Targeted Repair Cream - $28.99 & Prime Style Extender - $20.00

I received a sample from Sephora of the Prime Style Extender and liked it so much that I picked up a full-sized bottle. What I love about this product is that it holds my style in high humidity. My fine hair can be ruined the minute I step outside on a himid or rainy day, but this holds the style effortlessly with zero stickiness or stiffness. I thought I would try their Restore Targeted Repair Cream on the ends of my hair to diminish the look of split ends between trims, and it does a great job. I'm looking forward to trying a few more items from this line in 2013.

6. Skinn Undereye Decrinkler - $22.00

This was reviewed earlier in December here, and I ordered another one recently. It works wonders reducing lines around my eyes, and while the effect doesn't last forever unfortunately, it does work very well to give instant results lasting at least 6-8 hours with each application.

7. Yves Saint Laurent La Laque Couture Top Coat Premiere Neige - $25.00

Such a pretty top coat! This adds a beautiful twinkly look over any base color, and the darker the base, the more noticeable this top coat is. The high shine gloss is very impressive too. I need to put this away for a while, becuase I find myself using it over every color I wear!

8. Hyaluronic Acid as a serum and also in other beauty products.

Reviva Labs Hyaluronic Acid impressed me so much, that I began searching out other cosmetics items with that ingredient. HA is an all natural product that boosts and retains moisture in your skin, plumping out fine line and smoothing out imperfections. I still used the Reviva product as a serum on my face and sometimes on my lips, and I've picked up several other products that contain HA because I think it just might be helping in the never ending battle of aging! Some of the items I've added to the arsenal: Signature Club Lip Line Peel, Signature Club Hyaluronic Plumping Primer, Lorac Pro Powder Cheek Stain, and Wet 'n' Wild Mega Last Matte Shades.

9. Lancome Dual Finish Versatile Powder Makeup - $36.60

I picked this up on my recommendation, and this is another product that I just re-oredered. I prefer a powder foundation most of the time, and the shade Matte Amande III is a near-perfect match for me this time of the year. It has very good coverage, and it can be used dry for a more natural look, or applied with a damp sponge for fuller coverage.

10. Make Up Forever HD Microfinish Powder - $32.00

I have had this product for at least a year and for whatever reason, I seldon reached for it. I began using it almost daily several months back, and now I wonder why I didn't use it more often. It blurs imperfections and controls oil, and it also does a good job of minimizing dark circles under my eyes. I apply this just before my powder foundation, and I can really tell a difference on days when I don't use it.

11. Tarte 4-pc Holiday Amazonian Clay Blush Collection - $35.00

The Amazonian Clay products from Tarte won me over a long time ago, so I had to have this little set. I already had some of their Amazonian CLay blushes, but these were shades I didn't have, and the smaller size is nice to carry in my bag. I wasn't sure I'd use all of the shades, but I reach for these frequently. The lightest shade is a nice highlighter, and the other three shades are great for everyday use.

12. Reviva Labs Rosewater Facial Spray - $9.00

You can see this product included above in my #8 Hyaluronic Acid photo, but it deserves a mention all by itself. This is another product that I'd previously used off and on, but after using it daily now on my face right after cleansing for the better part of this year, I can't imagine ever not using this. You can read more about this product in a review I did last year here. It's one of those products that can be used for much more than just one purpose, and the price is very reasonable.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Selections from the 2012 TotalBeauty.com Awards

Total Beauty recently announced the winners of their 2012 Beauty Awards! The award categories include Hair, Makeup, and Face & Body, and you're sure to have some of the winning products in your arsenal of beauty supplies. I always enjoy reading "Best Of" lists to see what I already have, and of course I often see products listed that are "new to me" and I add them to my ever-growing list of things to buy.

TotalBeauty.com Award Winners 2012

We rounded up more than 500 beauty products. And while our editors were testing products to choose the "Rising Star Editors' Picks" (selected from new products), we invited you guys -- the readers -- to name the "Readers' Choice" winners in March. Now it's (finally!) time to present the winners ... you can check them all out here.


I received a selection of five products that made it into the Winner's Circle, and three of the five are products that I've not used before. Here's a quick review of each item:

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser - $19.50/5.0 fl. oz. tube

Years ago--I should say decades ago at this point, when I began taking a real interest in general skin care, I started exploring products beyond the drugstore shelves. In the 1980's, Kiehl's was among a select few at the time that offered more upscale natural skin care products. Their Creme de Corps body moisturizer was my first Kiehl's experience oh so many years ago, and I still use it in my rotation today. The Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser offers gentle, yet thorough cleansing, and leaves my skin feeling very soft and hydrated. It controls my somewhat oily T-zone, is fragrance-free, and lathers up nicely. The tube is quite large and the "little goes a long way" saying is true, so this should last for quite some time.

Soap & Glory Super-Colour Sexy Mother Pucker Baby Doll Lip Plumping Gloss - $15.00/0.23 fl. oz.

Can you believe I've never tried anything from this line? It's a line I've read rave reviews about, so I was happy to see this product included. The shade I have is called Baby Doll, which is a light translucent pink. It doesn't add a lot of color, just enough to give my lips a slight natural flush look. The tingling that starts just after the application feels like little vibrations on my lips--bonus points for that fun factor! I've tried some lip plumpers that actually sting, but this one is rather enjoyable. It does seem to plump my lips up somewhat, and it definitely smooths them out. While this doesn't have a big color payoff, it's great for a more casual look. I find myself using it under matte lip sticks quite frequently, because it does such a good job of smoothing out my lips, since some matte shades seem to enhance every little line and flaw. It has a mild chocolate/raspberry flavor and scent, and it's somewhat sticky, but not unpleasant to me in the slightest. I'd love to hear any recommendations you have for other products from Soap & Glory, because I love this lip gloss.

Q-tips Precision Tips - $3.00/170 ct. box

Who hasn't used Q-tips in their beauty routine? I've used Q-tips for as long as I can remember to clean up nail polish around my cuticles, lip stick that went beyond my lips, eye shadow, mascara, eye liner...lots of great uses for Q-tips, no doubt about it. Their Precision Tips are something I started using a year or so ago, and they make clean up much easier with their precise tiny tips. I had been using another brand (Studio M) that my local Meijer store carries, but switched over to these when they started carrying them. They're less expensive than my previous brand, and they are of much better quality.

Wella Velvet Amplifier - $13.00/1.88 oz. bottle

Primer for your eyes, primer for your face, primer for your hair? Of course, why not. I actually picked some of this up last year from my hair salon, so this isn't a new product for me. This serum acts as a primer by smoothing out the hair's cuticle, and amplifies the effect of additional styling products you use. The result is easier manageability, smoother hair, less flyaways, added volume, and no stiff or sticky feeling. The formula is very similar to a silicone based face primer--silky and gel-like, only it has a lavender tint. Just a pump before blow drying is all you need. I made the mistake when I first bought this of using too much...I thought it worked so well, a little more would work even better, right? Wrong. That mistake made my hair look greasy, so stick with the recommended amount and you'll be fine.

Maybelline Volum'Express The Falsies Flared Mascara - $5.99/.31 fl. oz.

This mascara has potential, and the more I use it, the more it seems to give me a look I'm satisfied with. I'll admit the first time I used it, I wasn't impressed too much, but after working with it and getting used to the brush and the formula, it's definitely workable. It does have some good points, but there are also some things about this product that I'm not crazy about. Let's start with what I don't like about it. The scent is very strong, somewhat like roses, but I don't really care for it. While it does give me volume and it is buildable, it doesn't do a whole lot for my length. It sometimes requires the use of a lash comb after I'm all done using it, because the ends of some of my lashes clump together with this formula. Now for the better points. Blackest Black is the color I received, and it is very dark and pigmented, which is what I want for my lashes. I haven't noticed any flaking or smudging. For the record, I have the washable version, and there is also a waterproof version available. The brush is curved (Maybelline calls this a spoon curler brush) on one side and flat on the other side. You are instructed to use the spoon/curved side first, and then use the flat side to flare them outward. I am easily able to get all of my lashes coated with this brush, even the tinier ones in the inner corner of my eyes. The formula is what I would consider to be on the thinner side, and it doesn't leave my lashes too stiff. I don't really notice any flared effect, but I do like how my lashes look in the end. It's not my perfect mascara, but it's something I will reach for, I'm sure. I really wanted to see a flared look to my lashes though!

*Products featured were furnished for consideration.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 Days of Holiday Cheer Giveaway Day 10: Lancome Festive Soirée Gift in Classic


Holiday Cheer Giveaway Fail! I was so busy yesterday I just realized that Day 9 of the Giveaway didn't publish! Let me get back to that one and I'll try it again after I get Day 10 up so I don't get myself too confused.

Winner Announcement for Days 7 and 8: The winner (via Random.org) of Day 7 is JenD! The Question of the Day was Do you enjoy the wrapping phase of the whole gift-giving experience? Jen responded  I am not crazy about the wrapping, i am TERRIBLE at it! She will receive the Nicole by OPI Merry Minis set. The winner of Day 8 is Rachel. She answered the Question of the Day, which was Tell us a favorite or an eventful Christmas/Holiday memory--something that stands out from other years past, with  When I was six years old, I really, really wanted a Felicity doll (American Girl dolls). I prayed and prayed for one. My parents couldn't afford it, but an aunt randomly decided to buy us a gift that year. Christmas morning, God answered my prayers and she was under the tree! Her prize will be the the celebrity fragrance gift sets from Coty.

Day 10 of our 12 Days of Holiday Cheer Giveaway features something that I just love, and the minute I saw it, I knew I had to have one. I actually picked up both of the colors they had available, Classic, and a purple-themed one called Sulty. I thought it would make a great prize, so I picked up a third one for the giveaway! This is the Lancome Festive Soirée Gift, which is currently available at my Lancome counter. I saw it in the Carson's sale paper this week, but I don't see it on their site, nor do I see it available anywhere else. I'm not sure if it's exclusive to Carson's, but it's $34.50 with any Lancome purchase. I've recently rediscovered Lancome, and I'm loving some of their skin care and color cosmetics, so I had no problem deciding on some items to meet their "with any Lancome purchase" criteria! Here's a reminder of the rules: Just answer the day's question (below) and leave your eMail in the comments (or check back to see if you've won if you don't feel comfortable leaving your address. You can then eMail me at mej0620@hotmail.com). U.S. residents only, Followers only (includes Google Friend Connect, subscribers, social media followers).

Happy Holidays, from me, to you!


The photo above is the cover of the box, but I wanted to take another photo of the actual products, mainly to show you the bag. My photo below comes nowhere near capturing how pretty it is. I've been looking for a small sparkly bag for a couple of Holiday parties I have coming up, so this is perfect. It's a dark charcoal grey that boasts some major sparkle! It looks black or grey, depending on the light. There's a lot of room in it for a little clutch, so I love the bag as much as the products.


The products in the Classic color selection include a mini bottle of their new La vie est belle Eau de Parfum (0.14 fl. oz), which I love the smell of, Vernis in Love nail lacquer in Madame Tulipe (0.21 fl. oz.), Color Design Sensational Effects Lipcolor in Red Stiletto (full sized), Color Design 5 Shadow & Liner Palette in Taupe Craze (these are smaller than their standard Color Design palettes), and Hypnose Drama Mascara in Excessive Black (0.135 fl. oz.).

Here's a closer look at the Color Design 5 Shadow & Liner Palette...sparkly taupes, golds and browns. My collection of these in the full-sized version is growing because they keep introducing such pretty shades, and I like how nicely they apply and wear. I haven't swatched the lip stick yet, but it looks very glamorous and vibrant--a blue-based red, my favorite! The nail color is described as a dark bordeaux red, and it looks like it could have a jelly finish.


12 Days of Holiday Cheer Question Day 10: Holiday parties...love 'em, or not so much?

My Answer: Well, I would say I mostly enjoy them. There's one we go to every year that is always a class act and very enjoyable. It's always at a different restaurant, and the host goes all out with every aspect of it. It's work-related for my husband, but it's a very fun group of people. There are some other parties that usually make for good stories later and embarassing pictures show up on social media sites to confirm those stories...none of myself that I've ever seen though! Let's just say we've gotten more selective about which ones we attend. So yes, some parties are fun and I look forward to them, while some of the other gatherings I could probably skip and not feel like I missed too much.

(note: I personally celebrate the Christmas Holiday, but I hope my questions are able to be interpreted for whatever Holiday you celebrate, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.).

Each day's giveaway will be open for 48 hours. I know some of you subscribe via eMail and don't receive posts until a day or two later. Winners will be announced approximately 48 hours after each giveaway is posted.


Monday, December 10, 2012

12 Days of Holiday Cheer Giveaway Day 8: Coty Celebrity Gift Sets featuring Halle Berry, Katy Perry & Beyoncé


Day 6 Winner Announcement: First, let me announce our winner (via Random.org) of this giveaway series from Day 6. Congratulations to Christina K! She will receive a $25.00 HSN Gift Card. There were lots of great answers to the Question of the Day for this giveaway item! The question was Let's pretend...I do a lot of pretending about these kinds of scenarios! You've won a $500.00 gift card from the office Holiday party, but you can only use it to purchase products from one brand of higher end cosmetics (just not drug store cosmetics, but anything that you consider higher end). What brand do you choose? Our winner Christina said I'd spend it all at Cle de Peau! She has exquisite taste. They definitely make some beautiful products.


Day 8 of our 12 Days of Holiday Cheer Giveaway features 3 celebrity gift sets from Coty. One winner will receive all three items pictured above. You can click on each product's link for additional information about the fragrance notes.

Closer by Halle Berry An intriguing scent that is a rare blend of the traditional masculine fougere accord with a luscious feminine blend of violet flowers and mimosa, one of Halle’s favorite flowers.

Purr by Katy Perry (who recently signed on with Coty) This scent begins with the aroma of peach nectar and forbidden apple, evolves with a distinct floral bouquet of jasmine blossom, Bulgarian rose and vanilla orchid, and slowly reveals accents of creamy sandalwood and musk. Like the singer herself, Purr is playful yet sophisticated.

Midnight Heat by Beyoncé  The fruity floral gourmand opens with juicy top notes of Dragonfruit, Starfruit and Armenian Plum. The heart is a vivid floral bouquet built upon the Purple Mokara Orchid, Queen of the Night Black Tulip and Purple Peony. Finally, the base seduces the senses with Warm Amber, Patchouli and Sandalwood.

Here's a reminder of the rules: Just answer the day's question (below) and leave your eMail in the comments (or check back to see if you've won if you don't feel comfortable leaving your address. You can then eMail me at mej0620@hotmail.com). U.S. residents only, Followers only (includes Google Friend Connect, subscribers, social media followers).

Happy Holidays, from me, to you!

12 Days of Holiday Cheer Question Day 8: Tell us a favorite or an eventful Christmas/Holiday memory--something that stands out from other years past.

My Answer: One of the things that I always recall is my little brother's arrival, because he was born on Christmas Day. It's one of the first things I really remember from my early childhood--probably because he took my rightful place as the baby of the family and diverted attention away from me! I really didn't comprehend at that age that my mom was pregnant, but I recall my dad coming home on Christmas and telling my sisters and I that we were getting a little brother for Christmas. My oldest sister said something to the effect that we didn't ask for that! The hospital had him bundled up in an oversized stocking, and I realized this little newby already had a stocking bigger than mine. I was 4 and in pre-school at the time, and it didn't take me long to convince myself that if I returned to school after the break, this little baby was going to have my precious mother all to himself while I was at school. So in my infinite wisdom at 4 years of age, I absolutely refused to return to school. And that is why I am a  pre-school drop-out. True story! I guess I eventually got over the idea that he was a threat to me, because I entered Kindergarten in the Fall and continued the rest of my education without having to drop out again :)

(note: I personally celebrate the Christmas Holiday, but I hope my questions are able to be interpreted for whatever Holiday you celebrate, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.).

Each day's giveaway will be open for 48 hours. I know some of you subscribe via eMail and don't receive posts until a day or two later. Winners will be announced approximately 48 hours after each giveaway is posted.

*Prize package furnished  and fulfilled by the manufacturer or PR firm.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

12 Days of Holiday Cheer Giveaway Day 7: Nicole by OPI Merry Must Have Minis


Day 5 Winner Announcement: The winner (via Random.org) of this giveaway series for Day 5 is Octopus818! Congratulations to her, and she will receive the American Apparel Lip Gloss Trio. I so enjoyed reading all of your answers to the Question of the Day, which was Let's go back to our childhoods...what is the first Christmas/Holiday gift you remember receiving? Our winner answered The first Christmas gift I remember getting was a plastic frog toy with butterfly wings, probably a character from some cartoon I can't remember. What I think makes me remember the toy so well is because it got lost/buried in the gift-unwrapping process, so I got to open one last gift after I thought we were all done opening presents for that year.

Day 7 of our 12 Days of Holiday Cheer Giveaway features the Nicole by OPI 4-piece mini set called Merry Must Have Minis. Here's a reminder of the rules: Just answer the day's question (below) and leave your eMail in the comments (or check back to see if you've won if you don't feel comfortable leaving your address. You can then eMail me at mej0620@hotmail.com). U.S. residents only, Followers only (includes Google Friend Connect, subscribers, social media followers).

Happy Holidays, from me, to you!


12 Days of Holiday Cheer Question Day 5: Do you enjoy the wrapping phase of the whole gift-giving experience?

My Answer: No, no, a thousand times, no! I hate wrapping so much because I always have so many presents to wrap every year. Don't get me wrong, I love the giving part, and I start my shopping in plenty of time so I don't get too stressed out and disorganized about that part. Every year I tell myself that I'm going to start wrapping early or promise myself to wrap x-amount of presents each week, and I never follow through. I put it off and then end up wrapping for hours on end starting about December 22!

(note: I personally celebrate the Christmas Holiday, but I hope my questions are able to be interpreted for whatever Holiday you celebrate, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.).

Each day's giveaway will be open for 48 hours. I know some of you subscribe via eMail and don't receive posts until a day or two later. Winners will be announced approximately 48 hours after each giveaway is posted.


Skinn Pure Pore Cleanser & Under-Eye Decrinkler


Skinn by Dimitri James is a "new to me" line, and although I have heard of the brand, I really knew nothing about the line or the man behind it. Mr. James is a professional makeup artist who launched Skinn in 2002, after becoming disillusioned by the way larger cosmetics houses created and marketed products. Skinn carries a growing range of skin care treatments and color cosmetics, and they are manufactured in the U.S.A. (California). You can read more about Dimitri James in his bio here.

I'm a little bit of a skin care freak, so I was excited to try out some of their products. The first two items I began using, which I'll be reviewing today, impressed me so much, that I placed a large order for more of their skin care products and some of their color cosmetics using a 10% off code that Skinn posted on Twitter. You can also find current offers and specials on their Facebook page. I'm still working my way through lots of products, so there will be more reviews to come.

Skin care products are more time consuming to review, and their results are often relative to specific characteristics of the person reviewing them. By that, I mean their age, skin type, and genetics. These all play a big part in the type of skin we have, so if a product works for one person and does nothing for another, it's not necessarily that the product itself doesn't work. Of course, I have used plenty of products that just don't seem to do much of anything for anyone, no matter what their overall skin picture is! I always have to chuckle to myself when I read reviews from ladies in their early 20's that give a wrinkle treatment a low rating because it didn't seem to do much for them, and I always wonder how bad can their wrinkles be at that age? Then there are the reviews I read that disqualify a product's effectiveness because they used it for a day or two and didn't notice a difference.

For the sake of talking about these products as they relate to my particular skin situation, I have combination skin, pores that are noticeable on my nose area and just slightly beyond, and because I'm 53, the typical signs of aging have definitely arrived. I would say that my top skin concerns at this point in my life are pores that I would like to dimish the size of, wrinkles, loss of elasticity, dark circles around my eye area, and the sun spots that are starting to appear. Lots of skin concerns, I know.

As I mentioned, many skin care products can take a while before their full results are revealed, but these two particular products from Skinn gave me instant results. As time goes by, those results continue to improve the areas of my skin that they focus on.

Pure Pore Hydro-Enzymatic Deep Pore Cleanser $18.00/2.0 oz.

I apply this to my nose and inner cheek area after cleansing. I leave it on for about a minute, and then add some warm water to it and massage the targeted area, and rinse. The first time I used this, I noticed small white flake-like particles on my nose when I got out of the shower. I wasn't sure exactly what they were, but upon closer examination, I realized it was sebaceous filaments/plugs of subum...that sounds so disgusting, doesn't it?!! But that made me realize how well this product was working right away. I've been using this a couple of times a week now for several months, and my pores look clearer and significantly smaller. I don't need to use a lot of product, probably less than a pea-sized portion with each use. This comes in a little plastic flip-top style bottle, and the formula is a fairly thick liquid.

Description: An anhydrous formula loaded with enzymes, minerals, prebiotics and salicylic acid to gently rid the skin of dirt, debris and dead skin cells, while cleansing deep inside the pores without irritating the skin. As an added feature, this cleanser warms up upon application with the addition of water for a deeper pore cleansing experience.

Directions: Apply to wet skin after cleansing as needed on congested areas. Apply with plenty of warm water to maximize effectiveness. Best if used with SkinnSonic in extraction mode, or use your fingers and massage as desired. Rinse off with warm water.

Ingredients: glycerin, propylene glycol, disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate, sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate, lauramidopropyl betaine, zeolite, protein enzymes, salicylic acid, alpha-glucan oligosaccharide, hydroxypropyl guar, xanthum gum, phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol, chlorphenesin, titanium dioxide.

Under-Eye Decrinkler $22.00/0.12 oz.

I am always looking for something to use on my eye area that will smooth them out, and this product is perfect for that. My eye area isn't particularly dry, but there are wrinkles and creases that most eye creams haven't done as much as I would like them to for this problem. I use this sometimes before, or sometimes after my eye cream, and also as a touch up right over my make up later in the day. Again, this product gives me instant results. The lines under my eyes are reduced by I would say 50% or better, and the "crinkling" that is developing on my upper eye lid is also reduced, although this area seems to be more stubborn and I'm not seeing quite as much of a reduction in the wrinkles here as I am under the eye area. It comes in a wand much like a lip gloss, and it has a doe-foot applicator. Just a dab of product is all that I need, and then I gently tap and spread it out over the area as needed. It's a thin formula, so it applies easily and doesn't disturb my make up if I'm applying it later in the day.

Description: The skin around the eyes is dry and thin and when make-up, concealors and powders are applied the under-eye area can look even drier and "crinkled". This amazing little wand contains the solution. Our special decrinkling complex smoothes out the look of dry lines and firms the skin for a super smooth look all day.

Directions: Apply daily in a patting motion to the eyelid and under eye area until desired brightness and coverage is achieved.

Ingredients: chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, avena sativa (oat) kernel extract, hydrolyzed manihot esculenta tuber extract, glycerin, citrulline, pyrus mallus fruit extract, lens esculenta (lentil) fruit extract, sodium PCA, sodium lactate, hyaluronic acid filling spheres, soybean glycerides, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, ceteareth-6 olivate, cetyl palmitate, sorbitan palmitate, sorbitan olivate, ethylhexyl olivate, microcrystalline cellulose, cellulose gum, phenoxyethanol, ethylhexyl glycerin, disodium EDTA

Skinn products are available on their web site here, and also at Shop NBC, The Shopping Channel, and TVSN. You can view the schedule for those programs here. I ordered directly from their web site and the shipping was very fast. They also offer free shipping over $50.00 and are currently offering 12% off on all orders using the code WINTER12. They carry a wide variety of skin care products, color cosmetics, make up brushes and more.

*Products featured were furnished for consideration.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

12 Days of Holiday Cheer Giveaway Day 6: HSN Gift Card


Day 4 Winner Announcement: First, let me announce our winner (via Random.org) of this giveaway series from Day 4. Congratulations to Angie D! She will receive the Pixi Ultimate Beauty Kit. I'm still enjoying reading all of your answers to the Question of the Day, and I thank you for playing along! Our Day 4 Question was What’s the best thing that’s happened to you since last Christmas/Holiday Season? Our winner answered I became an Auntie...again!


Day 6 of our 12 Days of Holiday Cheer Giveaway features a $25.00 HSN Gift Card, which will be electronically eMailed to the winner. HSN offers a wide variety of products, but I shop there most often for beauty products. Deborah Lippmann, Lorac, Lancome, Shiseido, and Paula Dorf are some of my favorite brands I shop for at HSN. I always play their Spin to Win game (see the "arcade" icon in the upper right corner of their home page) and it's an easy way to end up with free shipping or 15% off your order. Here's a reminder of the rules: Just answer the day's question (below) and leave your eMail in the comments (or check back to see if you've won if you don't feel comfortable leaving your address. You can then eMail me at mej0620@hotmail.com). U.S. residents only, Followers only (includes Google Friend Connect, subscribers, social media followers).

Happy Holidays, from me, to you!

12 Days of Holiday Cheer Question Day 6: Let's pretend...I do a lot of pretending about these kinds of scenarios! You've won a $500.00 gift card from the office Holiday party, but you can only use it to purchase products from one brand of higher end cosmetics (just not drug store cosmetics, but anything that you consider higher end). What brand do you choose?

My Answer: I would probably say Tom Ford. I do buy some higher end make up like Chanel and Guerlain, but I try to be selective for financial purposes. I don't have anything from Tom Ford, and I do like what I see from that line. I just haven't been able to justify $48.00 for one lip stick! But then again, I could step it down a notch and buy a lot more pieces for $500.00 from Hourglass or Becca than I could Tom Ford. Nope, I'm going to indulge myself and stick with my original answer. Tom Ford it is!

(note: I personally celebrate the Christmas Holiday, but I hope my questions are able to be interpreted for whatever Holiday you celebrate, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.).

Each day's giveaway will be open for 48 hours. I know some of you subscribe via eMail and don't receive posts until a day or two later. Winners will be announced approximately 48 hours after each giveaway is posted.


Friday, December 7, 2012

12 Days of Holiday Cheer Giveaway Day 5: American Apparel Lip Gloss Trio


Day 3 Winner Announcement: First, let me announce our winner (via Random.org) of this giveaway series from Day 3. Congratulations to DontheApron! She will receive the Misa High Society Winter Collection. Thank you so much for sharing a little bit of yourselves with your answers to the Question of the Day. Our Day 3 Question was Lets talk Holiday food! Tell me what food(s) you look forward to eating during all of the Holiday festivities! Our winner answered Ooh - christmas cookies. I saw a recipe for one with cranberries and white chocolate chips that looked divine!

Day 5 of our 12 Days of Holiday Cheer Giveaway features three lip glosses from American Apparel. The shades (shown below l-r) are En Pointe, Micromesh, and Cafe Creme. Here's a reminder of the rules: Just answer the day's question (below) and leave your eMail in the comments (or check back to see if you've won if you don't feel comfortable leaving your address. You can then eMail me at mej0620@hotmail.com). U.S. residents only, Followers only (includes Google Friend Connect, subscribers, social media followers).

Happy Holidays, from me, to you!


12 Days of Holiday Cheer Question Day 5: Let's go back to our childhoods...what is the first Christmas/Holiday gift you remember receiving?

My Answer: I have no idea how old I was--I'm guessing about 3 or 4, but I got a toy pull along Scottie Dog with red wheels and a red string leash. It had a hard plastic fur covered body, and his sides had little buttons that made him bark. I loved that little dog! I don't know what ever happened to him, but I remember naming him Scottie. My originality and creativity in picking out a name were astounding :)

(note: I personally celebrate the Christmas Holiday, but I hope my questions are able to be interpreted for whatever Holiday you celebrate, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.).

Each day's giveaway will be open for 48 hours. I know some of you subscribe via eMail and don't receive posts until a day or two later. Winners will be announced approximately 48 hours after each giveaway is posted.

*Prize furnished by American Apparel


Thursday, December 6, 2012

12 Days of Holiday Cheer Giveaway Day 4: Pixi Ultimate Beauty Kit


Day 2 Winner Announcement: First, let me announce our winner (via Random.org) of this giveaway series from Day 2. Congratulations to Olive Dani! She will receive the Smashbox Cosmetics Wish For The Perfect Pout Set. I'm still enjoying reading all of your answers to the Question of the Day. Our Day 2 Question was Tell us something that's on your Christmas/Holiday list this year! Our winner answered My list is basically just the Ciate mini set I've been seeing everyone post about.

Day 4 of our 12 Days of Holiday Cheer Giveaway features the Ultimate Beauty Kit from Pixi Here's a reminder of the rules: Just answer the day's question (below) and leave your eMail in the comments (or check back to see if you've won if you don't feel comfortable leaving your address. You can then eMail me at mej0620@hotmail.com). U.S. residents only, Followers only (includes Google Friend Connect, subscribers, social media followers).

Happy Holidays, from me, to you!


12 Days of Holiday Cheer Question Day 4: What’s the best thing that’s happened to you since last Christmas/Holiday Season?

My Answer: I lead a pretty boring life at his point, which looking back over the years is actually not a bad life to lead...no drama, no horror stories, very little sadness...I'm content, I'm happy, and fingers crossed that there's nothing lurking in my body (yep, I'm one of those people who gets on WebMD and self-diagnoses every ache and pain...not a good idea!), so I'm healthy. I don't really have an event to call "the best", but I'm thankful with where I am in life and that my family and I have made it through 2012 safe and sound. Of course the Mayans may have different plans for me later this month :)

(note: I personally celebrate the Christmas Holiday, but I hope my questions are able to be interpreted for whatever Holiday you celebrate, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.).

Each day's giveaway will be open for 48 hours. I know some of you subscribe via eMail and don't receive posts until a day or two later. Winners will be announced approximately 48 hours after each giveaway is posted.


Pantone Announces The 2013 Color of the Year

Pantone has announced their 2013 Color of the Year, and I'm loving it! The SEPHORA + PANTONE UNIVERSE™ beauty collection featuring the Color of the Year will debut at Sephora in March 2013. I picked up a lot of pieces from this line which debuted in 2012, so I'm excited to see what palettes, polishes, and other beauty products they introduce in 2013. New this year is a home collection available at JC Penney, which will feature a number of products in Emerald--bath towels, accessories, bedding, and more.

What do you think of the 2013 Color of the Year? Below is the full press release from Pantone:


Pantone Reveals Color of the Year for 2013:

PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald
Radiant, jewel-toned Emerald promotes balance and harmony

CARLSTADT, N.J., Dec. 6, 2012 – Pantone LLC, an X-Rite company and the global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for the design industries, today announced PANTONE® 17-5641 Emerald, a lively, radiant, lush green, as the Color of the Year for 2013.

The 2012 Color of the Year, PANTONE 17-1463 Tangerine Tango, a spirited, reddish orange, provided the energy boost we needed to recharge and move forward. Emerald, a vivid, verdant green, enhances our sense of well-being further by inspiring insight, as well as promoting balance and harmony.

Most often associated with brilliant, precious gemstones, the perception of Emerald is sophisticated and luxurious. Since antiquity, this luminous, magnificent hue has been the color of beauty and new life in many cultures and religions. It’s also the color of growth, renewal and prosperity – no other color conveys regeneration more than green. For centuries, many countries have chosen green to represent healing and unity.

“Green is the most abundant hue in nature – the human eye sees more green than any other color in the spectrum,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “As it has throughout history, multifaceted Emerald continues to sparkle and fascinate. Symbolically, Emerald brings a sense of clarity, renewal and rejuvenation, which is so important in today’s complex world. This powerful and universally appealing tone translates easily to both fashion and home interiors.”

Emerald for Fashion
The prevalence of green has been steadily rising for several seasons, especially in the fashion and couture markets, and even on the red carpet. Appropriate for every occasion, Emerald’s classic elegance makes for striking and irresistible women’s formal and everyday wear as well as accessories. Emerald also makes a strong statement in men’s sportswear, knitwear and ties. Fashion designers featured in the PANTONE Fashion Color Report Spring 2013, including Tracy Reese, Nanette Lepore, Barbara Tfank, NAHM and Marimekko, are incorporating Emerald into their spring collections. Balanced yet sophisticated, Emerald enlivens all colors in the spectrum and will continue to make a statement beyond spring and summer into fall and winter.

Emerald for Beauty
Equally harmonious on the cosmetic color wheel, Emerald dramatizes all eye colors as it beautifully enhances green eyes, is compatible to blue eyes, emphasizes the green undertone in hazel eyes and intensifies brown eyes to make them appear deeper. Emerald is also a perfect complement to peaches, pinks, roses, ruby reds and aubergines – offering a variety of lipstick and blush options. For those who want to sparkle and stand out, Emerald is the perfect punctuation point in nail color because of its complementary nature.

Sephora and Pantone proudly announce the SEPHORA + PANTONE UNIVERSE™ 2013 Color of the Year beauty collection featuring PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald, which will be available exclusively at Sephora in March 2013. Sharing a strong passion for how color can transform a face, mood or even an attitude, Sephora and Pantone continue to change how consumers wear, feel and think about color through the second annual radiant and modern Color of the Year beauty collection.

“At Sephora, we pride ourselves on giving our clients first access to what’s on trend – whether that’s a color, a formula or an ingredient story. With the 2013 Color of the Year collection, we achieve all of the above and we couldn’t have a better partner than Pantone,” said Margarita Arriagada, senior vice president of merchandising for Sephora.

The limited edition 2013 Color of the Year beauty collection features a variety of products in Emerald, including eye shadow, nail polish and accessories, and will be available at Sephora stores across the U.S., Sephora inside JCP and Sephora.com.

Emerald for Interiors
Enhance your sense of well-being at home by rejuvenating the interior with Emerald paint, accents and accessories. This jewel-like hue will create a luxurious feel in an entryway, powder room, dining room or study, and bring life to a living room as an accent wall. Add a splash of color to the kitchen and dining room areas with Emerald dinnerware, stemware and appliances.

Enliven your home with Pantone bedding, pillows, bath towels and accessories in Emerald available exclusively at jcpenney stores and on jcp.com beginning Feb. 1, 2013.

“As we re-energize our home department next spring, we are excited to partner with the leading authority on color to introduce the first-ever line of Pantone bedding and bath products,” said Paul Rutenis, jcpenney general merchandise manager for home. “The cheerful array of on-trend pieces will make it easy for customers to infuse the perfect color into any home décor.”

Cross-Referencing to Other PANTONE Libraries
PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald can also be cross-referenced to all other PANTONE Libraries including PANTONE PLUS for graphic design. For cross-referencing information, see www.pantone.com/COY2013.

About the PANTONE Color of the Year
The Color of the Year selection is a very thoughtful process. To arrive at the selection, Pantone quite literally combs the world looking for color influences. This can include the entertainment industry and films that are in production, traveling art collections, hot new artists, popular travel destinations and other socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from technology, availability of new textures and effects that impact color, and even upcoming sports events that capture worldwide attention.

For more than a decade, Pantone’s Color of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design. Past colors include:
PANTONE 17-1463 Tangerine Tango (2012)
PANTONE 18-2120 Honeysuckle (2011)
PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise (2010)
PANTONE 14-0848 Mimosa (2009)
PANTONE 18-3943 Blue Iris (2008)
PANTONE 19-1557 Chili Pepper (2007)
PANTONE 13-1106 Sand Dollar (2006)
PANTONE 15-5217 Blue Turquoise (2005)
PANTONE 17-1456 Tigerlily (2004)
PANTONE 14-4811 Aqua Sky (2003)
PANTONE 19-1664 True Red (2002)
PANTONE 17-2031 Fuchsia Rose (2001)
PANTONE 15-4020 Cerulean (2000)

About Pantone
Pantone LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of X-Rite, Incorporated, has been the world's color authority for nearly 50 years, providing design professionals with products and services for the colorful exploration and expression of creativity. Always a source for color inspiration, Pantone also offers paint and designer-inspired products and services for consumers. More information is available at www.pantone.com. For the latest news, trends, information and conversations, connect with Pantone on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Source: Pantone


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

12 Days of Holiday Cheer Giveaway Day 3: Misa Winter 2012 High Society Collection


Day 1 Winner Announcement: First, let me announce our first winner (via Random.org) of this giveaway series from Day 1. Congratulations to Styleezta! She will receive the bareMinerals palette called The Playlist. I'm really enjoying reading all of your answers to the Question of the Day...here's hoping I can come up with nine more interesting ones! Our Day 1 Question was Do you prefer a white or green Christmas/Holiday, and why? Our winner answered Green all the way :) California girl!!

Day 3 of our 12 Days of Holiday Cheer Giveaway features the newest collection from Misa. The High Society Winter 2012 Collection contains six beautiful shades, including three shimmers and three cremes. Here's a reminder of the rules: Just answer the day's question (below) and leave your eMail in the comments (or check back to see if you've won if you don't feel comfortable leaving your address. You can then eMail me at mej0620@hotmail.com). U.S. residents only, Followers only (includes Google Friend Connect, subscribers, social media followers).

Happy Holidays, from me, to you!



12 Days of Holiday Cheer Question Day 3: Lets talk Holiday food! Tell me what food(s) you look forward to eating during all of the Holiday festivities!

My Answer: I love nibbling on all of the finger foods like cheese and sausage/relish tray items, meatballs, water chestnuts wrapped in bacon, and of course, all of the sweets...Christmas cookies, fudge, homemade salted caramels...yum! I could eat that type of food all year long, except I would gain 100 lbs., and it would probably lose its allure to me if I did!

(note: I personally celebrate the Christmas Holiday, but I hope my questions are able to be interpreted for whatever Holiday you celebrate, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.).

Each day's giveaway will be open for 48 hours. I know some of you subscribe via eMail and don't receive posts until a day or two later. Winners will be announced approximately 48 hours after each giveaway is posted.

*Polishes featured furnished by Misa Cosmetics.

Mary Kay Ltd. Ed. NouriShine Plus Lip Glosses to Benefit The Mary Kay Foundation

Mary Kay will donate $1.00 from the sale of each Beauty That Counts Mary Kay NouriShine Plus Limited Edition Lip Gloss to the Mary Kay Foundation in an effort to end domestic violence, through December 15, 2012. The Mary Kay Foundation has donated millions of dollars from the worldwide sales of Beauty That Counts to causes that change the lives of women and children everywhere who are affected by domestic violence.


There are two shades available in this Limited Edition offering, and they retail for $14.00 each for a 0.15 fl. oz. tube. Inspiring is a milky white pearlescent shimmer that can be used alone or over another gloss shade, and Possibilities is a soft pink color. These glosses provide a high-shine finish and contain moisturizing, smoothing and soothing benefits. The gloss cap and carton are graphically appealing with special "thank you" messages in five different languages.


The applicators are an angled plush doe-foot style.


Both of the gloss shades have some shimmer, but I don't notice it "on the lips" with the pink shade Possibilities as much as I do with Inspiring. It's a pretty shimmer in Inspiring though, without being too glittery. I would decribe it more as subtle iridescent light-reflecting micro particles.


The swatches show you a better representation of the actual shades. I enjoy wearing the pink Possibilities as my base color, and then dabbing a bit of Inspiring at the center of my lips to give an illusion of fuller lips. Possibilities is a pretty antique rose shade--sort of a "my lips but better" shade for me, and Inspiring can be worn alone to give lips a nice shine and a hint of sparkle, or it can be added to another shade for subtle highlight and dimension.


The formula on the NouriShine glosses is a nice mixture of being just sticky enough without a thick or annoying feeling. They're not as thick as say MAC Lip Glass, and they glide on very nicely and are comfortable to wear. They feel smooth and moisturizing, and seem to leave my lips feeling soft and hydrated long after the color has worn off. They will need to be reapplied periodically throughout the day to maintain color, and I would categorize their wear time as just above average.

You can purchase these products at Mary Kay's web site here, and the site will help you locate an independent representative to purchase them from.

*All limited-edition products are available while supplies last. Products featured were furnished for review. 


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Reviva Labs Hawaiian Seaweed Cleansing Milk

I just finished up another Reviva Labs product, and wanted to share my thoughts with you about it. This review is for their Hawaiian Seaweed Cleansing Milk, which is a gentle yet effective facial wash that receives high marks for adding moisture to my skin without a heavy, greasy feeling.


The first time I used this face wash, I wasn't convinced that it was thoroughly cleansing my face. It feels like a lotion, and doesn't lather or foam up at all. Cleansing Milks typically work this way, but I guess I'm more inclined to think they need to lather and foam up, which really isn't the case at all. It's very gentle and nourishing for the skin, has a light scent, and I use just a small amount each time I wash my face. When I apply a toner with a cotton ball after cleansing, it's absolutely clean, so this cleanser does do a thorough job.

From Reviva Labs: a mineral-rich, milky seaweed cleanser that helps to eliminate toxins as it cleanses. Hawaiian Seaweed's valuable minerals help energize skin as the milky cleanser easily lifts out dirt, makeup and environmental debris. Hawaiian Seaweed's magnesium helps soften skin, too! With an exact amount of proper viscosity vegetable oil, this formula is an effective day/night cleanser for any skin type.

This comes in a 4 oz. flip-top bottle and retails for $8.00. I removed the lid to show you the consistency of the product. It's of medium thickness, and the color shouldn't really matter, but I think it's such a pretty shade of pale aqua/green!


Here's a look at the ingredients, and Reviva Labs is all natural and cruelty-free:


In addition to doing a good job of cleansing my face, this product ranks right near the top of facial cleansers I've used that deliver plenty of lasting moisture without leaving that feeling of residue or greasiness. Softness is all that I'm left with! My face doesn't even feel like it needs a moisturizer after using this. If you're looking for a reasonably priced natural cleanser, this is a good one to check out if you want your skin to stay soft and hydrated through the upcoming Winter months. This product would work for all skin types, as I have combination skin that is a bit oily in the T-zone, and it doesn't add to that issue at all. On nights when I'm feeling lazy (who, me?!!) and don't want to go through the entire wash, night serum, night moisturizer routine, I just use this cleanser and my face feels moisturized enough to erase my guilt of skipping the other products!

*Product featured was furnished for consideration.

12 Days of Holiday Cheer Giveaway Day 2: Smashbox Lip Gloss Set


Day 2 of our 12 Days of Holiday Cheer Giveaway features the 6-piece lip gloss set, Wish For The Perfect Pout by Smashbox Cosmetics. Here's a reminder of the rules: Just answer the day's question (below) and leave your eMail in the comments (or check back to see if you've won if you don't feel comfortable leaving your address. You can then eMail me at mej0620@hotmail.com). U.S. residents only, Followers only (includes Google Friend Connect, subscribers, social media followers).

Happy Holidays, from me, to you!




12 Days of Holiday Cheer Day 2 Question: Tell us something that's on your Christmas/Holiday list this year!

My answer: Hmm, I had the Guerlain Liu Eye & Lip Calligraphy Palette on my list, but I ordered that during Sephora's F & F when it became available on the last day of that sale. I wanted to take advantage of the discount, so that was my present to myself! Honestly, there's really nothing I want or need, so I'll let my husband surprise me. He usually does a good job, so I'm not too worried :)

(note: I personally celebrate the Christmas Holiday, but I hope my questions are able to be interpreted for whatever Holiday you celebrate, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.).

Each day's giveaway will be open for 48 hours. I know some of you subscribe via eMail and don't receive posts until a day or two later. Winners will be announced approximately 48 hours after each giveaway is posted.


Monday, December 3, 2012

November's Use It Up Roundup


Here's a quick roundup of the products that I used up during November, and my thoughts on their performance. I was pretty satisfied with everything this month, so nothing ended up being given away because it didn't work for me and might be better suited for someone else, and nothing went straight to the trash before it was empty due to inferior conduct!

Lancome Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover: This is my standard eye makeup removal product, and yes, I would definitely buy it again, so to speak. I always get these with their GWP offers, so I have never actually purchased it directly. I have a stash of these smaller sized bottles on hand at all times! This has been a staple of mine forever. It's gentle, very effective, non-greasy, and just everything I want in an eye makeup remover. Retail: $27.00/4.2 oz.

Reviva Labs Hawaiian Seaweed Cleansing Milk: I have a review for this coming up later in the week, so I'll talk more about this product at that time. I liked this, it did a good job cleansing, and a great job moisturizing my face without feeling heavy or greasy. It feels like I'm washing my face with a lotion, because it doesn't lather up. I was concerned that it wasn't cleansing my face all that well, but there was never any dirt or resideue on a toner soaked cotton ball after using it, so I would say that it did do a good job. Would I replace it? I would say that I might, simply because I have so many face washes, I don't have a need to at the moment. But yes, I definitely liked it well enough to use it in the future. Retail: $8.00/4 oz.

Reviva Labs Hyaluronic Acid Serum: Yes I love it, yes I've already replaced the empty bottle. Again! For the third or fourth time. Plumps up fine lines, plumps up my lips, evens out my skin tone, does the dishes, takes out the trash...okay, I'm getting carried away now, but this is a must-have for me. Reviva's product was my first HA product, and I now seek out skin care and cosmetics that contain this ingredient. Retail: $22.00/1 oz.

Rusk Multi 12-in-1 Miracle Treatment: This is a leave-in hair treatment that's designed to be sprayed on damp hair before heat styling. I reviewed this just today, and I have already begun using my second bottle. This product delivers super shine and body, and I am sure this will be something that I'll use for quite some time. Love it! I received my first bottle for review, and then bought my current bottle on Amazon, so prices will vary depending on where you buy it. Retail: $10.50/6 oz.

True Blue Spa Look Ma, New Hands: I found a couple of tubes of this product in one of my stash drawers, so I've been using it over the last several weeks. This has always been a favorite of mine, although I don't even see it on the Bath & Body Works web site currently, other than a newly designed tube in a mini size. So I'm not sure if this still comes in the size I have, but I'm glad to see they still carry it. This is a great hand cream--rich and thick, fast absorbing, and it really feels like it's not just softening and healing dry hands, but that it's also protecting them. I also love the scent. Since I have another tube left, I won't replace it at this time, but yes, in the future I would definitely pick up more of this product. The price I'm listing in what's on my tube, so if they still make it in this size, it's probably a little more now. Retail: $12.00/2.5 oz.

Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplement 1200 mg: It's not just what you put on the outside to look and feel better, right? I read in a magazine that fish oil capsules benefit skin, boost hydration, ward off wrinkles...all of that good stuff...so I ran right out and bought some, and have taken them twice daily ever since. I had just turned 25 when I read that, and at the time I was having one of those "Oh wow, I can't believe I'm 25, that's so old" moments. Well, that was 28 years ago, so you do the math! I also take Flax Seed Oil capsules for basically the same purpose, and even though I am not wrinkle-free, I am very happy with my skin for my age. So yes, I will buy these again and again. Retail: $8.99/100 count.

Maybelline Define-A-Brow (light brown): I'm still on the hunt for my perfect eye brow pencil, and this one actually worked pretty well for me. It's only been a year or two at most that I've been using such a product, so I don't have a lot of experience with them. I'm not so sure it's the fault of the pencil that I haven't found something I'm completely satisfied with, because I think I need to learn how to apply them more flawlessly. I don't feel like I've achieved that talent yet, but in the meantime, I probably will pick up another one of these later this week until I decide on what to try next. Retail: $5.69.

So it was a pretty good month for the Use It Up products, because I found some new items that are definitely worth picking up again.

*Some of the products featured were furnished for consideration.


12 Days of Holiday Cheer Giveaway Day 1: bareMinerals the playlist palette


The Holiday Season is upon us! To celebrate, I'll be having a giveaway series featuring some of my favorite products for you to win. Each day for the next twelve days, I'll feature a giveaway item that one random winner will receive. The rules are simple...just answer the day's question and leave your eMail in the comments (or check back to see if you've won if you don't feel comfortable leaving your address. You can then eMail me at mej0620@hotmail.com). U.S. residents only, Followers only (includes Google Friend Connect, subscribers, social media followers).

Happy Holidays, from me, to you!


Today's prize is the bareMinerals eye shadow palette The Playlist. This palette was my gateway into the addicting world of bareMinerals, so it has a special meaning to me. Yes, I'm sentimental about my cosmetics! Yours will be new of course, and it's packaged in a beautiful shiny gold palette and boxed. It's a lovely range of shades, and if you're familiar with bareMinerals, you already know how soft, buttery, and blendable their eye shadows are.

12 Days of Holiday Cheer Day 1 Question: Do you prefer a white or green Christmas/Holiday, and why?

My answer: White, all the way! We usually have a white Christmas, and it just seems more festive and beautiful that way. Besides, it makes it easier for the reindeer to land on the roof! I'll confess though, that the snow can all disappear after December 31, although that never seems to happen where I live!

(note: I personally celebrate the Christmas Holiday, but I hope my questions are able to be interpreted for whatever Holiday you celebrate, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.).

Each day's giveaway will be open for 48 hours. I know some of you subscribe via eMail and don't receive posts until a day or two later. Winners will be announced approximately 48 hours after each giveaway is posted.


Rusk Hair Products: W8less Plus Hairspray & Multi 12-in-1 Treatment


Rusk is a hair care brand that I've certainly heard of, but I had never tried any of their products. There's no real reason for that, other than that I've never seen their products locally and I really haven't heard a lot about this line. PeopleStyle Watch sent me a couple of their products to try out, and I'm glad they did!

My favorite of the two items is the Rusk Multi 12-in-1 Treatment. I've already picked up another bottle of this (on Amazon), and I think it will be a permanent staple in my daily hair care routine. I like that it's a heat protectant and that it moisturizes hair, because my hair is very fine and suffers through far too much heat styling. What I love the most is the shine and fullness that it delivers, and how well it tames flyaways. I'm constantly trying new hair products and always hoping to find "the one", and I think it's safe to say that this is definitely something that falls in to that description. This gives immediate results, and I really notice a difference on the days that I forget to use it.

The hairspray is interesting in that it's more than just a product that offers hold. It can also be sprayed on damp hair before styling, and the heat activates additional control. It states that the heat helps to activate the shine as well, but I didn't find this to be the case. My style does hold better after using this as a styling aid, but when I compare my hair without using this product, it does have more shine. As far as a hairspray, it is very light--maybe too light for me, and I prefer my Sebastian Shaper to the Rusk for this purpose. My hair also looks a bit dryer, duller and less nourished when using this product for any purpose.

So in the end, I love one of these products, and am kind of indifferent on the other one! Below you can find additional information and the ingredients for both items.

RUSK Designer Collection W8less Plus Hairspray
W8less Plus Extra Strong Hold Shaping and Control Hairspray is a versatile design tool that provides texture, natural shine and long-lasting, touchable support. Contains Thermplex™, a unique combination of ingredients that activates with the heat of a blow-dryer to provide shine, control and condition from the inside out. Price: $12.00-$15.00 for a 10 oz. can, available at various online sites.

WHAT IS IT? Extra-strong hold shaping and control hairspray.
WHO IS IT FOR? For all hair types requiring extra hold.
WHAT DOES IT DO? Provides texture, natural shine, and long-lasting, touchable support.

HOW DO YOU USE IT? Mist on wet hair during thermal styling for added hold and support. Use a brush or your fingers with the heat of a blow dryer to infuse the hair with texture and body. To finish, mist evenly for extra hold.

INGREDIENTS AND FUNCTIONS:
SD Alcohol 40-B is a special denatured alcohol that acts as a solvent for the primary ingredients.
Hydrofluorocarbon 152A is a propellant.
Octylacrylamide/Acrylates/Butylaminoethyl Methacrylate Copolymer Resin, for long-lasting hold.
Aminomethyl Propanol Neutralizer for resin.
Phenyl Trimethicone imparts shine and a soft feel.
Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5); provides hair with body and shine.
Benzophenone-4 Is a sunscreen that helps protect hair from the damaging rays of the sun.
Dimethicone PEG-8 Meadowfoamate Is a conditioning agent that penetrates the hair shaft and improves the condition of the cuticle, as well as the outer shaft.
This process is enhanced by the heat of a blow-dryer. Improves combability and shine without surface buildup.

RUSK W8less Multi 12-in-1 Leave In Treatment
A versatile product that addresses all your hair needs: adds shine, smoothes and detangles, control frizz, seals and protects haircolor, prevents split ends, stops hair from breakage, thermal protectant, is lightweight and does not weigh hair down. Ideal cutting lotion. Price: $10.00-$12.00 for a 6 oz. bottle, available at various online sites.

WHAT IS IT? A multi 12 in 1 miracle leave-in treatment.
WHO IS IT FOR? All hair types.
WHAT DOES IT DO? 1. Acts as a superior cutting lotion. 2. Repairs dry, damaged
hair. 3. Adds manageability and silky condition. 4. Strengthens. 5. Gives weightless
body. 6. Smoothes and detangles. 7. Tames and controls frizz. 8. Conditions and
moisturizes. 9. Delivers incredible shine. 10. Provides thermal defense. 11. Equalizes
porosity; seals and protects. 12. Extends the life of hair color, straightening and other chemical services.
HOW DO YOU USE IT? Apply thoroughly through clean, towel-dried hair; comb gently. Do not rinse out. Style as usual.

INGREDIENTS AND FUNCTIONS:
Glycerin is a moisturizing agent that imparts incredible shine to the hair.
Panthenol is a hair moisturizer that keeps hair from having a dry, frizzy look.
Hydrolyzed Keratin is a naturally derived ingredient that binds to the hair to give it full body and a thicker appearance.
Quaternium-80 is a conditioner that provides hair with static control and shine.
Cyclopentasiloxane is a silicone fluid that makes the hair easier to brush without breakage.
Butylene Glycol is a moisturizer and a hair conditioning agent that helps increase hair shine.
Cetearyl Alcohol/Behentrimonium Chloride is a substantive long chain quarternary conditioner known for its mildness.
It also helps provide a soft, flexible feel to the hair.

*Products featured were furnished by People StyleWatch for consideration.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Gold Sakura Natural Japanese Beauty Products: Facial Foam & Beauty Bar Soap

The cooler Winter months often cause my facial skin to experience a bit of uneven texture in the form of small dry patches, and I'm experiencing a nice balance of soft even skin using a couple of products from Gold Sakura. Japanese skin care products are their specialty, and they use only pure and natural products manufactured to the highest Japanese standard.

Both the Beauty Bar Soap from their Hinoki Kurocha line and the Facial Cleansing Foam from their Hinoki Deitanseki line give me similar results. They both contain wood charcoal to absorb excess sebum and mildly exfoliate, and Hinoki Oil which is derived from Hinoki Cypress trees. This oil is very gentle on the skin, and is known for its healing properties.


The Facial Cleansing Foam comes packaged in a 4.2 oz. tube with a flip-top cap. This product retails for $16.50. The scent is light and smells like fresh cut cedar, or a slight woodsy/pine aroma.


The formula is very thick, and I do believe this is the first facial wash I've used that looks like this! It's silver in color, and you can see tiny black particles, which is the wood charcoal. I squeeze a small amount (less than 1/2" in length) into my palm, rub my hands together to create a creamy lather, and then simply work it into my facial skin using a massaging motion. It's feels very soft and smooth, and rinses clean. I've also been using a small amount as a mask a couple of times a week on my nose and the surrounding area to shrink blackheads with good results. I know they'll never disappear completely, but this product does seem to help deep clean and diminish them. After cleansing, I'll apply a tiny smount to the area I'm focusing on, leave it on for the duration of my shower, then rinse.


Here's a look at the ingredients on the the packaging:


The Beauty Bar Soap is formulated to deep clean pores, even out skin tone, and provide moisture to increase elasticity. It comes boxed and is 2.8 oz. This round bar measures 3" in diameter, and comes packaged with a mesh bag to increase the foamy suds. The scent is very similar to the Foaming Face Wash, a light evergreen smell. The retail price is $27.00.


The soap foams up very well on its own, but using the mesh bag with it will increase the foam tremendously. I am amazed by just how much lather in generated using this little bag. It's a very bubbly, thick lather, and the Gold Sakura web site describes it as a marshmallow froth. The Beauty Bar is very dense, and it seems to shrink at a rate far less than most standard bar soaps. This is going to last a lot longer for me than I thought it would. In addition to the charcoal and Hinoki Oil for cleansing and healing skin, the soap also contains six moisturizing ingredients, as well as green tea and sea mud. Lots of beneficial ingredients for healthy skin!


Here's a closer look at all of the ingredients:


Japanese cosmetics and skin care almost always seem superior to Western and even many European brands, but living in the U.S. makes those items a little harder to come by. Gold Sakura products are manufactured in Japan, but they are readily available on their U.S. web site. Both of the products I'm using are excellent, and they have that added fun factor bonus...bright shiny silver face wash and massive amounts of foam from the beauty bar soap! Fun factor aside, they deliver superior cleansing and toning without dryness, and they provide ample moisture without a greasy or heavy effect. Only a small amount is needed from these products to perform well, so they will last for quite some time.

Gold Sakura is cruelty-free, each product has an ingredients tab on their site, and International shipping is also available. They carry a nice range of facial skin care products, bath and body products, and hair care. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with their latest product news and specials. They're offering some great stocking stuffers for the holidays, along with free Furoshiki, which is Japanese style gift wrap.

*Products featured were furnished by Gold Sakura for consideration.