Sunday, November 30, 2008

Product review: Urban Decay shadow potion

There's a reason a cult has formed around this stuff. The sheer tint slicked on before the application of shadows does the lasting job like nothing else. For years I used regular face primers and just extended to eyes, thinking I REFUSE to get something separate, that is actually in all reality the same. My shadow would last, usually about 5 or 6 hours, good, but I wanted all day. No matter what.I finally caved and tried this stuff and all I can say, it's my junk. Also, I find it's much easier to blend shadows over it (even with fingers) and I figured out that extending it over my brows too kept them from straying all day, and helped keep my brow pencil on (not something easy with oil slick me).

The breakdown....
Isododecane - flexible polymer/lasting
Talc - mattifier
Cyclopentasiloxane - silicone
Disteardimonium Hectorite - thickener, tint
Trihydroxystearin - thickener, barrier agent
Triethylhexanoin - moisturizer
Isopropyl Lanolate - emulsifier, lubricant
Sorbitan Sesquioleate - surfactant?
VP/Eicosene Copolymer - polymer
Dimethicone - silicone
PEG-40 Stearate - cleanser??
Propylene Carbonate - solvent
Phenoxyethanol, Cera Alba (Beeswax) - thickener and emulsifier
Trimethylsiloxysilicate - film former
Propylparaben - preservative
Methylparaben - preservative
Ethylparaben - preservative
Butylparaben - preservative
Methicone - silicone polymer
Isobutylparaben - preservative

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Beauty books that changed my life

Though beauty blogs, websites and your local cosmetic girl are very informative, there's nothing quite like a lovely hefty tome of knowledge. I am a beauty book hoarder and have read HUNDREDS, all the way from those old 80's tomes that help you figure out which colour "season" you are to the latest research. There is a lot to learn from everyone, but I most certainly have a few favorites. The ones I've read several times are listed here.

Oh Dr. Murad, how do I worship thee. Those who know me, know how much I respect this man. It was reading this book that changed my whole outlook on my body, and the potential to heal cellulite. The one book I recomend to each and every woman I know.

This one a FABULOUS for decoding all of those mystifying ingredient labels. And after comparing it to every product I've bought over the years, I consider myself a bonafide cosmetic expert. Fabulous reference.

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The best possible introduction to the often intimidating and scary world that is Sephora. Even seasoned beauty shoppers have been mighty mystified when first walking into a store. This book immediately makes it clear, which products are all time favorite best selling and beloved. Plus, there's a whole lot of tricks compiled from faithful clients and the regular every day Sephora workers.

Oh Paula Begoun. The only way a person could ever be more critical of the cosmetic industry would be if they were entirely against creams in every way. You've got to love her for calling bullshit on a whoooole lot of cosmetic companies claims, but yes she does take it too far. Of her thousands of reviews, she's only actually put a few on her own skin. The rest, she dissects the ingredient list and deduces from there. In my experience, the ingredient list is a great way to get an understanding of why a product does or doesn't do the job for myself and others, but can never replace actually putting the product on. The way that ingredients work synergistically, along with how they feel on the skin and off course, the ever present placebo effect, also have a huge hand in how a certain cosmetic works.

Here is her overall dissection and dissertation. Not so much about reviewing products, as it is her overall opinion on all the anti-aging trends, all the consumer fears about things like parabens and etc etc.

Nadine is the original beauty blogger and the girl with the infamous backstory (her blog, in a way was her demise in the beauty editor world but she singlehandedly created our way of being involved in the industry). This adorable book is part memoir, part dissertation of her favorite products and best knowledge. Plus the way she writes is just plain funny and real, as she puts it herself, no preaching no lies. Yes she says picking pimples is bad, but she cops to doing it too (sigh, me too).

There are too few people who appreciate the beautiful features of all the different races there are (the satiny hair of Asian women, the full lips of black women, the amazing eyes of Middle Eastern women, the perfect bodies of Latina women, and the ridiculously beautiful mixes that happen when multi-racial women are born). I read this book first when I was about 15 or 16 and went out there looking at everyday beauties I'd never before appreciated. Though I am most definitely white and was born with the traditional blonde hair and blue eyes (I'm darker now) I've felt an amazing sense of jealousy whenever meeting women with the amazing features common to their ethnic origin. SOMEONE needed to celebrate these differences.

Bobbi is the queen of natural makeup. I personally would never and will never have the confidence to do my whole face the way she does (though I do take lot of her tips and mix it for what works for me). For those looking for a book which teaches them makeup techniques that are quick, simple, look natural and flatter their unique features, Bobbi's philophy is perfect. She does come off preachy, but follow her sermon and you will wind up with a you but better face: natural, healthy, glowing and simple. This is not about trends, looking like a photoshoot or being perfect to start off with. This is about making the best of what you have.

Living beauty is Bobbi's ode to women, not teenagers. Though I, at 20 years old am FAR from her target audience in this book, I found so much inspiration in the way she thinks of aging. Wrinkles, gray hair and sagging are not the end of the world. In fact they increase positivity. I say, by the time someone hits 40, it's much more flattering and positiveto embrace what's going on and make the bets of it, than it is to constantly try to look 20 years younger. Though a fancy cream, a push up bra and some highlights can make anyone feel better about themselves the only way to ever achieve peace with oneself, is to embrace their flaws (this does not apply to me, I am 20 and I look worse naked then my mom at almost 40 does, that is not acceptable).

Rona Berg is one incredibly intelligent woman. If you are the reader who completely fears cosmetics in every way, yet wants to absorb as much knowledge as humanly possible from one book, this hefty tome is the way to go.

Oh Kevyn. Now HIS makeup philosophy suits me. No rules, no preaching, all inclusive. Kevyn WORSHIPPED women, all women. From the world's most glamorous (Linda!) to those who had never met a lipstick or a perfume before. He saw the beauty in all of us, and worked tirelessly to help us uncover it too. His contour work is ridiculous and beautiful and he created an entire generation's philosophy on makeup. The way he talks about his early experiences making up his sisters and worshipping Barbra Streisand always, without fail brings me to tears.

This is Kevyn's portfolio of work brought to all of us. Though his other books were either focused on his best tips, or the cult of his personality, this is pure, inspirational eye-candy.

Kevyn's second instructional book focused on bringing more of the amazing makeovers he does plus giving us his best interpretations of the past's defining looks and his ideas of what is to come.

Kevyn's original book. I first read this at the tender age of 12 and it inspired my whole obsession with the power of makeup that to this day continues to absorb so much of my attention. This is a book that should be gifted to any young girl starting off in those pesky teenage years that has an interest in cosmetics.

Linda Wells knows her stuff, after all, being the editor of Allure, you DO pick up a few things. Her tone and philosophy on the whole subject strikes the perfect balance between adoring cosmetics and being a hoarder, and being realistic about the claims that companies make.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Products that changed my life Pt. 4

Ahh, makeup. Completely the #1 most important category of beauty, and the only one that can cover such a wide prism of flaws. I love makeup.

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Mac studio pot
I am a fan of concealer. I have more flaws than anyone else I know. And they are stubborn. It takes a truly high coverage item to cover it all with me.

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Mac studio fix
A girl with a myriad of ridiculous flaws, looking for medium matte coverage and a skin finish. I know, SO hard to accomodate, but it was until I met this. One foundation fueled an insane MAC addiction (let me say, I redeemed for a lot of lipsticks) and kept me off at least makeup wise, which is saying something. I cannot believe they provide that sponge with it when a nice powder brush provides a much better, sheerer and more realistic finish.

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Mac prep and prime
And then I got introduced to primer with this illuminating priming cream. I learned that foundation DOESNT have to emphasize pores, that it doesn't have to be cakey and it doesn't have to fade or oxidise within hours. I also learned the time-saving power of multitaskers. This stuff was my moisturizer, primer, and illuminator. LOVE IT! It got me so addicted to primer that I have since tried DOZENS in order to try to find something that does all that this does + the most important thing, forms a thicker film for my brand new fine lines, acne scars and even worse pores.


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Talika Lipocils
If there is one product on this earth that I will never allow myself to be out of, it is this. I used to wear fake lashes every day, and I would use semi-permanent lash glue. The day I realized it was ripping off half the lashes I did have, I was almost prepared to lock myself in a basement and never leave my house again. Until I remembered I had a sample of this lying around. Within 2 weeks I started noticing a difference. And now, 2 years later my lashes are longer than they've ever been and continue to grow. Thank the lord for Talika.

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Shu Uemura eyelash curler
There was once a girl whose curl would never stay. It would curl so well, and then suddenly wilt away. She then met a curler whom so many others had raved about, and within an hour of pumping, was ready to shout. The curl STAYS ALL DAY!!!

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Diorshow Iconic mascara
My brand new favorite mascara (yes it's replaced Inimitable). This stuff lengthens like the dickens and volumises about as half as the original diorshow (exactly what I wanted). The separation is perfect, fo flakes no smudges....could a mascara possibly get better?

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Nars Orgasm Blush
Ah, the very best. One and only. Orgasm. The blush that suits me whether I'm as white as my sheets or tan as my couch, one bit looks like a sheer tint, it builds to a true orgasmic finish. There are very few products out there that have inspired a cult. Here is the original.

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Nars Laguna bronzer
The very best, most natural looking bronzer on earth. Buildable colour, true bronze tint. I don't even know why I would bother with others.

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Cargo powder eyeshadows
When I was just a fledgling beauty addict, I thought the eyeshadows at the drugstore were equal in quality to what you could get at Sephora. I told myself I will never spend 20 dollars on a pot of plain colour. Until, one lonely day I was at the mall, dipping my fingers into various pots (I had not yet learned the virtues of sanitizing). Spreading some of this gorgous powder across my eyes, was almost like an entirely otherworldly experience. I blends like a dream, feels creamy, loaded with pigment and shimmer, and lasts ages. Sadly these days, for some reason they sell only one colour through Sephora. I guess there aren't that many gals like me who appreciate the underappreciated.

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Dior skinflash
There is one cult beauty product I have yet to dry, Touche Eclat. I have tried dozens of it's imitators though and this is the hands down winner. Adds such light and luminosity, that after pulling 2 all nighters in a row, a few swipes of this and it was like I was back from a vacation.

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Clinique superbalm
The world's bets, most quenching, longest lasting and shiniest lip balm. Enough said.

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Clinique Almost Makeup
The only sheer makeup/tinted moisturizer my coverage loving face has liked. Has a bit more coverage than a traditional tinted moisturizer, and a true satin finish. Lasts WAY longer than most. Great stuff.

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Bare escentuals bare minerals
Ah the introduction to my mineral makeup addiction. This has more shine, slip and oxidization ability than I would like, but it's still the second best mineral makeup I've ever tried, and the only truly natural. And you can't argue, with hentle, non irritating, non sticky SPF.

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Clinique black honey almost lipstick
Less than even a year ago I had a deathly fear of dark lipstick. Another Sephora sample very very wisely chosen. This sheer, moisturizing, long lasting and truly universally flattering lipstick has led me to trying more daring lip looks ever since. And I haven't looked back.

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Duwop Payoff
Now I'd been using water to "transform" my shadows for years, but would do it only rarely due to the fact that it destroys the entire pot if I spread it around enough. Once I tried this, I became a believer. I can experiment to my heart's content, and maintain the original texture of my favorite colors. GREAT stuff.

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Urban Decay Shadow potion
Now, regular primer does work pretty darn well over the eyes. If a quality shadow, concealer and setting powder are used, it won't budge on my crazy oily lids. But using this stuff, I can truly put anything and everything over my eyes, and it will last like crazy (actually, I want to see if it will work with vaseline/glossy eyes, if it does, it will become irreplaceable in my makeup bag).

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Laura Mercier Cashmere touch finishing powder:
I am a setting powder maniac. There is only one, that makes skin feel like silk, looks completely sheer, airbrushes the skin and provides ultra long lasting mattification and staying power. It is this.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Products that changed my life Pt. 3

Hair product edition. A girl born with ultra frizzy, coarse, curly, violently thick, plentiful and long hair that winds up damaging it to the point of no return with coloring and heating, yes, winds up trying a lot of hair products. Here are my super stars.

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Ah, my beautiful beloved GHD. I have waxed poetic about it many many times now, but let me say it once more. I LOVE this thing.

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I am the undisputed frizz queen. There are very very few who outfrizz me. So when I FINALLY after years of lust, dropped the sum on this, I found it to be even more than I expected. I did expect it to dry my hair quickly, which it does, to minimize damage, which it does and to cut down on frizz to some degree. Not only did it cut down, it cut down entirely. I can now go on a humid day, all day, just blowdryed (even without the assistance of GHD) and not have to carry serum with me. This thing is THAT amazing.


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A small detail that should never be overlook in the fight against split ends, is what we use ti tie our hair back. Now if you're like me, the vast majority of time, work, casual, whatever, you've got a ponytail in. In fact my hair is so violently thick, I can't use bobby pins when doing updos, etc, so I sub with these. These little buggers stretch to three times their size, without breaking, slide straight out of hair as if in a Pantene commercial and I have not noticed a single split end from them (I have become so sensitive to breakage I can actually feel and count when I get new split ends. It chills me to the bone).

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Frederic Fekkai glossing cream: Probably the ultimate styling multitasker. Leave-in when hair is airdrying. Check. Styling cream when heating. Check. Detangler for emergency 100 brush stroke sessions. Check. Post styling finishing cream. Check. Emergency de-frizzer. Check. One of modern beauty's greatest products, adds shine and softness without weighing hair down. MIRACLE!

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Aveda Damage remedy intensive reconstructor: This stuff made me a believer in protein. When I started blonding my hair (I would go from a level 2 to a level 9 ladies) my stylist would leave me under the bonnet with this for an hour each time afterward to help regain some health to the hair after such abuse. I would walk in with softer, bouncier more manageable locks than before, even if I had bleached and toned. And let's just say, that when I stopped using it, the split end count multiplied exponentially. If you chemically process your hair, protein is a must. I also love Kerastase's Ciment Theramique and Frederic Fekkai's proteinRX lines.

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Well, I am a sulfate free believer. When hair is not subjected to the ultra foamy shampoos of days of yore, it comes out feeling so much healthier, with much less frizz and it's so much easier to brush (in fact, I of the ultra damaged curly hair, can brush wet when I use this, hat is saying something). As the company says, it also makes a fabulous leave in. And yes, it REALLY does clean (but you must rinse like a maniac!).

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The shampoo of those in a hurry, those who love foaming shampoos but know it's bad so they have to cut down, the styling trick of the fine haired or ooily scalped, Pronto dry shampoo. A few spritzes of this and even the lankest locks spring back to life, bounch, movement volume all that good stuff. And nothing even approacing a powdery finish or dulled locks. This stuff is amazing. I use it even on clean hair when blowdrying in order to get amazing lift at the roots.

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All Kerastase products: It's too hard to pick a favorite from this ultra pricy ultra effective line. Masquintense, changed my life. It healed my hair from a bleach from black situation. MIRACLE! Same goes for Ciment Theramique, it's like a fake it for split ends. Plus there's nothing I love more than being bale to heat style my hair and calling it a treatment. Voile nuit cream is my hands down favorite deep moisture treatment and makes an AMAZING detangler. Nutri sculpt serum gave me hope when I had none. It had been years since my hair had felt elastic, bouncy and truly healthy upon heat styling (plus, BLINDING shine) until my stylist had used that stuff. It seems like every Kerastase product I try, I LOVE. If the pocketbook allows and you have truly hard to deal with hair, bolt for this line.

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Frederic fekkai shea butter hair mask: When hair just plain needs MOISTURE, not silicones, not proteins, not hot oil treatments, MOISTURE this is the stuff to go for. Many many products say they use shea butter but usually it's like a 5% concentration which is nothing. It is one of the first imgredients on the label in this potion, and the hair can tell. The softness and luxuriousness that happens afterward is immeasurable.

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Biolage detangling solution: This is my hands down, never has been beat favorite when air dyring my hair and letting it go curly. This lovely smelling blue gel says it's just to detangle hair without weighing it down, but it provides almost as much conditioning power as many masks, yet really does let curls go into Shirley Temple formation and BOUNCE. My hair feels incredibly soft when I use this.

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Biolage hydrating shampoo: The old standby in my books when just NEEDING the suds, but still wanting gentleness. This was one of the first shampoos I used where I could actually run my fingers through my hair when wet. It was my first salon shampoo too, so I think that may be a contributing factor in my ongoing love for it. One of my favorite products ever, for just plain straightforward gentle moisturizing washing.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Products that changed my life Pt. 2

The body edition. One of the thoughts I despise most is that of getting naked. My gym will is not exactly stellar, and I have been cursed with the kind of genetics that lead a 20 year old girl to have more sag, pooch, cellulite and stretch marks than her own mother. I can't WAIT for varicose veins. When it comes down to it, and it's a big night with a new boyfriend, these are all the stops I pull out.

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Lorac tantalizer: Never in my life did I ever expect to find a body bronzer that looks realistic, slims, provides some foundation like coverage and LASTS! A friend introduced me to this as we were about to go to a bar one night, and I was more than pleasantly surprised to find it still looked perfect at the end of a sweaty, humid night. Not a touch on my clothes, not a single streak. As if I were born with those legs. I've been a devotee ever since.


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Biotherm Cellulichoc: Though I've tried dozens of instant firming potions, nothing does the job quite like this lovely chocolatey smelling gel. If I were to go into percentages, after about an hour's wear, I notice my dimples looking about 60% less noticeable. Alas, the effects are only temporary. I'm sad that they've now discontinued it for their Cellulilaser line, but am curious to try that. Will report back ladies.

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Prescription retinoids: I consider myself the pioneer of using this on the body (pat on back). My doctor thought I was insane when I said I wanted to see what it would do for my cellulite and stretch marks (it all comes back to collagen, and what is better at rebuilding it than tretinoin...NOTHING! though I do want to try Prevage's body serum...). A few months later, I am proven right. Just check out my before and afters (combined with a supplement regimen too).

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Neutrogena Body clear scrub: Nothing does the job quite as efficiently when it comes to my backne. I take a synthetic dry brush, scrub myself down with this in the shower, and come out with half of what I had going in. Continued use has at times ALMOST gotten me entirely clear. In a pinch it's even worked on my face, though I don't recomend this to everyone, I am a lizard, I can handle anything.

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Lush buffy the backside slayer: Though this does a fairly decent job on the area that it's designed to (bottom) the real magic is in it's effects on KP. After one use my arms get almost smooth. Big caveat, one big bar of this lasts me like two weeks, and at 25 bucks a pop, it ain't cheap. However, I have never been one to put a price on beauty. Those of you who do, check out online merchants of cosmetic ingredients, get some aduki beans and cocoa butter. Make it at home. On the cheap.