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Monday, October 14, 2013

Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm Review



This lip balm by the French brand Nuxe has been hyped up a lot. It contains Shea butter, honey, and Vitamin E and is described as "ultra-nourishing". I've been impressed by other Nuxe products, so I thought I would give this is try. 

I'm always on the hunt for a good moisturizing lip balm, especially as we move into the cooler months. A lot of lip balms simply form a barrier on top of your skin, which can help lock in moisture and protect your lips from cold drying air, but doesn't actually provide hydration if your lips are already dry or already chapped. Though this lip balm does have a beeswax base it contains shea butter, honey (a natural humectant), and various plant oils that really help restore moisture to dry lips. 

The consistency of this lip balm is very unique. It's completely matte, and it doesn't leave your lips sticky like you might get from Vaseline, or even slick like you get from- any lip product ever...It's definitely a little strange at first, but not bad. It leaves your lips soft and nourished.

This isn't a Bonne Bell Lip Smacker; it does nothing aesthetically and has no flavor and only a light citrus scent. It's probably not going to be something you keep in your pocket and reapply mindlessly. If you are using it throughout the day, you want to make sure you're getting a thin, even application. The balm does have a little bit of graininess to it, and since it doesn't melt right into the skin, you can get some unevenness and clumps, which are particularly unflattering since the product itself is a matte pale yellow. I find that I use this mostly at night, so I don't see that as much of a problem. 

Overall, I would definitely recommend this to people who struggle with chapped, peeling lips. There are other lip balms out there with nourishing ingredients, but this just seems to work the best for me when my lips are in bad condition. 

You can find this birchbox.com, beauty.com, dermstore.com, and various other online retailers for $19.

And here is the full ingredients list- 


Ingredients

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Kiehl's Aromatic Blends Orange Flower and Lychee Gift Set


I've tried quite a few Kiehl's products, but this is my first time delving into their fragrances. I don't typically go for fragrance sets, but with Kiehl's, you can count on getting quality body products, so I thought it was a good option. 

This scent is a really soft fruity floral. Along with orange flower and lychee, it has notes of honey and Moroccan rose. If you aren't familiar with Lychee fruits, the best description I've heard of the taste/smell is a cross between a grape and a pear. They have a very subtle sweetness. Unlike Fresh's Sugar Lychee, which has citrus notes making it very bright, this lays really close to the skin and is very subdued. It's very natural smelling, not traditionally perfume-y. The smell actually reminds me of the syrup from canned fruit cocktail, but in a really great sophisticated way.

As I suspected, the body products were a great addition to the set. The lotion and shower gel were both deemed "skin-softening", and I feel like they lived up to that claim. The lotion absorbed quickly but was extremely hydrating. It contains vitamin E and squalane, which is a natural moisturizer produced by skin cells that is known for being light weight. I hate the feeling of lotion on my skin, so this was perfect for me. The shower gel was really luxurious and never made my skin feel dehydrated. It also contains vitamin E and blend of botanical oils. Along with being genuinely great products, the fragrance translates really well to both. 

Kiehl's doesn't have a lot to offer when it comes to variety in their fragrances, but I do think this a very universal scent. I think it'd be particularly good for someone looking for a fragrance for work or to give as a gift, because it is beautiful and unique, but completely inoffensive. Even though it is on the fruity side, it doesn't jump out to me as being a strictly spring/summer fragrance. I think this is a great year-round daytime scent.

This set retails for $70 at kiehls.com. I got a great deal on it at birchbox.com; however, it appears to currently be out of stock. The lotion is available for individual sale for $26 and the shower gel for $24. You can also purchase the perfume separately for $40 for 1 oz and $75 for 3.4 oz. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Liebster Blog Award

 
Jen at The Tickled Glitter kindly tagged me in her Liebster Award nominations, which is very exciting since my blog is still really new. I didn't know much about the Liebster Award, but it seems like it's all about sharing and finding new blogs, which I think is a great.

The rules:
1. You must link the blogger who nominated you
2. You must answer 10 questions given to you by your nominee
3. You must choose 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award (I've seen some people only tag blogs with less that 20 followers and some do less than 200, so I'll just say new or "under recognized")
4. You must then come up with 10 questions you would like your nominees to answer.
5. Once you have done this, you must go to their blogs and let them know you have nominated them

Here are my answers to Miss Jen's 10 questions...

1. What is your favorite thing about yourself? 
I'm going to answer this as a physical trait, because that's how Jen answered it (and this is a beauty blog). So, I would probably say my hair. Growing up, it was very thick, and I never knew what to do with it- it was always all over the place, but I've since learned to manage it.
2. Mani or Pedi? 
Pedi, I can't wear nail polish at my new job, and I'm very much in mourning :( 
3. What is your ultimate favorite nail polish brand? (i.e. OPI, Essie, etc.)
Can I say China Glaze for neons and OPI for neutrals? I'm also always pleasantly surprised by Colour Club's formula, but I rarely seek it out. (brb..weeping over my trough of nail polish)
4. What is your favorite accessory piece right now?
I have an ombre sequin cardholder from Banana Republic that I use daily.
5. Heels or Wedges?
*whispers under breath* flats, but I wish I could say heels. Maybe one day!
6. Lipstick or Lipgloss?
Lipstick, I spent a large part of my youth trying to make lipgloss work for me, and it just doesn't look good. I also hate the way it feels.
7. What made you decide to start blogging?
I'm always looking for reviews on products before I buy them, so I thought I'd put my two cents out there for others. Also, Skincare, makeup, etc. are things that I genuinely enjoy rambling about, so I thought this would be a good outlet for that.
8. What is your favorite shampoo/conditioner?
I switch up my shampoo a lot, right now I'm loving Living Proof's Full Shampoo. I use Macadamia Deep Repair Masque as my conditioner- it's amazing.
9. Chocolate or Vanilla or Strawberry?
Vanilla!
10. What is your favorite lip conditioner or lip balm to use?
I really love Nuxe's Reve de Miel lip balm, I think I'm going to do a review of it soon. It's a little on the pricey side but worth it for me, because a lot of products make my lips peel (gross, I know).

Thanks again to Jen for nominated me! You check out the questions she answered here

Now, here are the bloggers that I would like to recognize for the Liebster Award:

- Anna at Miss Manzanna
- Jenna at Northern Beauty 85
- Brandy at basicallybrandy
- Rosie at Miss Rosie Apple
- MeMaxie at Lipstick Therapy
- Zara at So Darling Zara
- Lynsey at Lynsey's Pink Blush
- Kate at Taking Kate

These are the questions that I would like to ask the bloggers I've tagged (I'm also recycling a few):

1.) Why did you start your blog?
2.) What is your favorite thing about yourself?
3.) What is your current favorite fragrance?
4.) What is your favorite blush?
5.) Who is your style icon?
6.) Where is your favorite place to shop?
7.) What's your go-to mascara?
8.) What's one piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
9.) What's one of your must-have skincare products?
10.) What decade/era's fashion inspires you most?  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Armani Eyes to Kill Excess Mascara



Armani Eyes to Kill is such a coveted mascara, the idea of there being an Armani Eyes to Kill Excess seemed like too good to be true, so of course I had to give it a try. Aramani claims it to be more volumizing and blacker than the original formula. They also refer to it as the "ultimate weapon in eye seduction", so there's that...

Armani Eyes to Kill Excess has a standard bristle wand that's a little bit curvier than the original. The bristles on the wand aren't as uniform and more dense than the original, which might contribute to the volumizing claims. The formula is very wet, almost mousse-y. It applies smoothly and gives the lashes a feathery appearance, adding a lot of thickness at the base. As they claim, it's an intensely black formula, making it seem like an amped up version of the original; however, I do have a little bit of a bone to pick. I never seem to get the length that I want out of this mascara, and my natural response is always to put more on. Since the formula is so light and wet, it makes it really hard to build up. On top of that, the wand doesn't do a great job of separating the lashes, so it's a good idea to have a lash comb or extra spoolie on hand.


Overall, I do feel like Armani was a little in over their heads deeming this mascara Eyes to Kill Excess. I think it's good mascara, just not better than the original. I actually think this formula with the original wand might be a better combination. If you tend to go for lengthening mascaras (like myself) this might not be for you, but it does give a dramatic look none-the-less. 

This mascara retails for $30 at nordstrom.com, bloomingdales.com, and giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com




Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Elizabeth Arden Hydrating Mask


Aside from infamous Eight Hour Cream, I haven't heard a lot about Elizabeth Arden skincare. TJMaxx always seems to have this mask in stock, so on a particularly bad skin week, I decided to give it a try. 


I find that most hydrating masks are formulated to be like very rich moisturizers. This mask is different in that it has absorbent properties that make it similar to a clay mask. Using heavy cream masks all time can alleviate dryness but also contribute to congested skin. With this mask, I feel like I get the best of both worlds. When you first put it on, it's extremely soothing. It will begin to set, like clay mask, but it never reaches the point where it's drying; it's just enough to be detoxifying. When you take it off, your skin feels hydrated, smooth, and clean. 

In general, I think this is a great mask; however, I wouldn't necessarily seek it out to treat dryness. Even though it's a "hydrating" mask and does contain ingredients like Shea butter, it doesn't provide enough moisture to target dry patches. I use this as more of a pick-me-up if my skin is looking a dull or if I feel like pampering myself. This isn't going to replace your super detoxifying clay masks or your rich hydrating treatments, but it's a great middle of the road product for when your skin just needs a little something. I love it for my normal-to-dry skin, but I think it would even be great for dehydrated/oily skin, since it doesn't leave a lot of buildup.

One of the best things about this mask is you can get it relatively cheaply. Like I said, I found mine at TJMaxx for around $7, but you can find similar pricing on Amazon.com and other online retailers. Overall, I would recommend this to just about anyone.

And props to Elizabeth Arden for listing their ingredients on the packaging...



Friday, June 28, 2013

Maybelline Master Duo Liquid Liner vs. L'oreal Voluminous Eyeliner


After continuously repurchasing overpriced department store liners, I recently set out to find a drugstore alternative. The two I picked up were Maybelline Master Duo Liquid Liner and L'oreal Voluminous Eyeliner.

As you can see the below, the Maybelline Master Duo liner has a unique foam tip applicator. The flattened ball on the end allows you to vary the width of your liner by rotating. The L'oreal Voluminous liner, on the other hand, is a marker liner, with a more geometric tip that allows for the same line variation. Honestly, I wasn't pulled in by the applicators. I think they're kind of gimmicky. They might be selling points for liquid liner beginners, but I don't think most people have difficulties varying their line thickness. I was mostly interested in their formulas.


The Maybelline Master Duo has a really black formula which is great; however, it's a little bit too glossy for me. I think liquid liners that reflect a lot of light can make your eye appear droopy at certain angles by causing a break in your lash line. Day-to-day, it's tolerable, but I wouldn't recommend it for flash photography. I will say though- the formula has amazing staying power. I have an oily eyelid (yes, just one), and it never smudges or transfers. I've heard some people say it's difficult to remove, and I understand what they're getting at... When you go to remove it, it peels off rather than dissolves away. In the shower, I typically just run my fingernail over the edge of it to get it going, then it comes off rather easily. If you aren't comfortable with that, I'd say choose a washcloth over a cotton ball or your fingertips to provide enough friction to peel it up.  

The L'oreal Voluminous liner was a big fail for me. I found the marker to be extremely dry even after extensive shaking. You can see in the picture below (right side), I even had difficulties swatching it. Mine might have been a dud; but beyond that, the formula was very watery. Since it was such a thin consistency, it would go on sheer and appear more grey.


Left: Maybelline (thick, thin) Right: L'oreal (thick, thin)

Overall, if you don't mind a glossy formula or the removal, the Maybelline Master Duo Liner would be a good buy. I wouldn't recommend the L'oreal Voluminous to anyone- bad formula, bad application. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dr. Jart+ Water-Max Sleeping Mask


Dr. Jart's Water-Max Sleeping Mask is a product intended to be used as the last step in your nighttime skincare routine. It claims to strengthen the skin barrier and provide continuous moisture while you sleep. I have normal-to dry skin and have had luck with other Dr. Jart products, so I was excited to give this a try.

The ingredient contributing most here is hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid carries up to 1000 times its weight in water, making it great for dehydrated skin. In using this, I think one important thing to keep in mind is that you still need to use your nighttime moisturizer. This will help a lot with moisture retention, but it isn't necessarily moisturizing by itself. Other active ingredients include cranberry and olive leaf extract which are supposed to improve elasticity and help strengthen the epidermis, keeping moisture and nutrients in and bad stuff out. 

As you can see in the pictures, this mask has a gel-cream formula. It's not sticky at all, which I think is especially important since it's intended for nighttime. When I use this, I wake up with a healthy glow and my skin plumped; however, I don't feel like I have residual product on my skin. I even use this in the daytime sometimes when I'm not wearing makeup. Because this is so light and can be used with your choice of moisturizer, I think it would work with a variety of different skin types. It works for my normal to dry skin, but I also think it would be a nice product for with oily, dehydrated skin. It also has some antibacterial properties that might lend well to problem skin.

Overall, I really like this product, but it's definitely an extra. If you're looking for something to help with dehydrated skin- it's great, but again, it doesn't replace your moisturizer. It wont add any heaviness to your nighttime routine, so don't let that discourage you. It comes in a 3.4 oz tube, which is relatively generous, but you need around three pumps for your face. 
Honestly, I would say the price tag is the only real downfall.

This product retails for $48 and can be found at sephora.com, beautybar.com, and the birchbox shop.