Yves Saint Laurent Singulier Nuit Blanche waterproof mascara in #3 Vibrant plum

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(photo from sephora.com)

It seems lately all my reviews have been pretty negative, and unfortunately this review is no different. There are actually more products I like than dislike, it just seems like several of my latest purchases have been a miss. Fear not readers I have some exciting posts coming up about some products I love, and I will be having a friend contribute to reviewing items and sharing her views right here on my blog. But in the mean time let me get one more disappointment off my chest.

I purchased this product because last year in the summer I loved my YSL waterproof mascara that I had purchased. But unfortunately that mascara was discontinued, and I was left with a choice between this one and the effet faux cils in waterproof. I knew I should have gone with the latter choice, but I was tempted by the rich plum color that the Singulier came in. (Plum color on the eyes really enhances blue eyes, where as violet will bring out gold color in eyes, and blues and greens will make brown eyes sparkle)

This wasn’t a horrible mascara, it just didn’t do my lashes much justice. The pros of this mascara were that it holds a curl beautifully even though it goes on wet. Whatever shape of curl I achieved with an eyelash curler is the sharp it would stay all day with this mascara. Another good thing is that it was truly waterproof. It could stay on through anything and did not smudge on my oily skin. In fact when applying it was a pain to clean up any smudges. Also the color was beautiful. As far as the cons and reason I returned this mascara, because of the highly waterproof formula, even with using oil to remove the mascara it seemed near impossible to remove. I don’t recall having this problem with my other waterproof mascara from YSL. Also one of the reasons I loved my old YSL waterproof mascara was the soft feel my lashes had when using it instead of a brittle feel that waterproof mascara usually gives. But this mascara was more stiff on my lashes. Also the brush I felt gave an inconsistent application. Sometimes I would apply this and think “not bad” and other times my lashes would end up all clumped together. I think this is because the space between the bristles holds too much product. I also noticed some lash fall out and breakage, however I must also state I have been playing around with some different eyelash curlers so it may not be the fault of the mascara, I will keep you updated on that. But I only noticed it since I have been testing this mascara which is why I mention it.

The brush is made of plastic comb like bristles in a spiral pattern. The brush seems really cool, but it takes too much work to get to look decent, and applies inconsistently. For a high end mascara I don’t want to have to work so hard for great lashes.

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Dior New Look Mascara Review

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When ordering my latest batch of products from sephora, I cashed in 100 sephora beauty points to get a Deluxe sample of Dior New Look mascara in black. I wanted to try it for a week before reviewing it for you but it was so disappointing I barely got passed 2 days.

First of all, if you are a sephora Beauty Insider please don’t waste your 100 points on this. This is a cheap tiny snap on/off cap mascara sample that you can get for free at your closest Dior counter. If you want to try this mascara and don’t live near a department store or sephora then Maybe this may be worth the 100 points, but really Sephora should have given this as a free Sample because there is nothing Deluxe about this sample size.

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Second the mascara itself made my lashes long but clumped together after 1 coat. The formula is wet and thick and weighed my lashes down. Also at the end of the day the mascara was smudged all over my eyelid. This product did get many positive reviews on Sephora.com and maybe it may work for some people, but it seems like a hit or miss. I personally thought it was one of the worst high end mascaras I have ever tried.

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Karuna brightening mask from my April beauty army box

Here is the information for the product I reviewed from my Beauty Army Box. I got this information from the Beauty Army web site.
It’s $28 for a pack of 4 which is supposed to be a months supply. That means $7 a mask.

Mission: Revealing & Enlightening

Solution: Grapefruit Seed Extract deflects environmental toxins from the skin, while rare Asian plant extracts help to create a fresher-looking, smoother-feeling complexion.

Karuna eye masks contain a custom-blended beauty boost. Plant extracts, peptides, and anti-oxidants bring care and compassion to all skin types with a feeling of hydration, nourishment and renewal.

Delivery: All-natural fiber cloth retains 50% more moisture than synthetics, helping pores to fully absorb the paraben-free beneficial ingredients. Made from bio-degradable wood pulp, our cloth is truly a green and luxurious alternative.

Product Size: 4 individually wrapped masks, or 1 month’s supply

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Sodium Hyaluronate, Glycerin, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Saxifraga Sarmentosa Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Morus Bombycis Root Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Niacinamide, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Salicylic Acid, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4, Glycosyl Trehalose, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate 20, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum)

For my video about the beauty army box and what came in it click here

After about 20min the product dried/absorbed into my skin to a nice smooth soft finish. I did not rinse the product off my face before I went to sleep and woke up to soft yet slightly flaky skin. I don’t think I will purchase this product, but may look into other masks from this brand. Maybe the flakiness was just because this wasn’t right for my skin type, but I will say its worth trying for yourself. The quality of this product is very good and it’s very therapeutic while the mask is on the skin.

Update Note: the company was kind enough to respond and let me know that the flakiness was just the dried gel based serum, which makes sense because my skin felt soft and fresh, not dry.

Guerlain by Pucci kohl kajal liner

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If you didn’t already know I have a thing for middle eastern and far eastern inspired products (think Morocco to India, Pre biblical times to now) and Kajal and powder kohl liners are a perfect example of that. Different variations have been used dating back from Mesopotamia and Egypt, and are still used in the middle east, India, Pakistan, and many other regions. It gives eyes that sultry cat like look, and is said to protect eyes from ailments. In India they use it as early as on infants to protect the infant and it’s eyes.

Lining the waterline has been a pretty popular makeup technique in the western world in the last 10 years and has been used by makeup artists to intensify the eyes for even longer. However very few company’s make liners for the waterline that mimic the ancient traditions of these culture that have been doing this for centuries. Guerlain is on of the few brands that has both loose and stick form kohls and kajals that mimic the ancient form and application of of these liners. The formulas are different, but that is not a bad thing as many of the traditional kajals contained lead.

I am in love with Guerlain’s loose kohl powders that come with a wand applicator and look like something straight from ancient Persia. I have also been meaning to get their kohl kajal stick in Black as it is suck a creamy intense black formula andy love the cone stick design which is what you would see if you were to buy some kajal from the other side of the world. However for summer, back is too intense so I ordered the blue limited edition Pucci one from Sephora’s website. (pictured above) which actually turned out to be a Violet blue much like the Clarins one I reviewed a week ago.

Also like the Clarins kohl kajal I was highly disappointed with this product. This product also wouldn’t apply to the waterline at all. It wasn’t as creamy as the black, and was only good for lining the lash line. However, even for lining the lash line it would smudge to easy, and a nice pencil or powder liner would be better for that task. So unfortunately this too will go back to Sephora.

Oh, and one last note: I mentioned that the clarins kohl kajal had castor oil in it which is good for lash growth. This guerlain formula does not contain castor oil. Just thought I would mention that.

Beauty Army, April/may subscription

Some of you may have heard of the monthly beauty sample subscription services where you pay a monthly fee and receive deluxe and full size beauty samples to try every month in the mail. They are a great way to try new products without spending a lot of money. The video below describes my samples from the beauty army subscription service. This is my first shipment from them and the delivery date varies for everyone. I will be picking my products at the end of the month and they will come at the beginning of the next month. So my April picks came in may. Enjoy.

To get your own subscription use this link to sign up.
Beauty Army

Click here to see my review for the Karuna mask

Clarins kohl kajal liner in violet

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I have been wanting this product since I first saw promos for Clarins summer 2012 collection. I finally went to my local Nordstrom and picked up this eyeliner based on ancient middle Eastern and far eastern makeup traditions. I bought the violet color, and was highly disappointed. I bought it to give my waterline a smoldering yet colorful look and the product failed to apply to the waterline smoothly and was all smudged in the wrong places within an hour. I do not recommend this. Product for the waterline, however if you are looking for a smudgable product for the lash line for a smokey look you may like this. In addition it contains castor oil which is said to help grow lashes. I give it a 5-6 out of 10.

Mineral Oil

I promises that I do not just want to scare people away from their beloved products. I use all kinds of products that contain all kinds of ingredients but I just wanted to share why I avoid products that contain mineral oil, especially those that get “absorbed” into the skin such as foundation, concealer, and, cream blush or bronzers. I do sometimes use lipsticks or glosses with this ingredient as my main concern is this stuff getting in my pores. Although Wikipedia is not always the most reliable source for facts I feel this article contains the info you need to know about mineral oil….

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mineral_oil

Warm, Cool, or neutral skin tone.

Hi everyone, I just quickly wanted to share something with all of you on skin tones. I have searched for a good explanation on how to determine your skin tone. The problem is, there are not just 2 categories that you can be. It’s more like a spectrum, and you can fall anywhere on that spectrum. So my friend and I could both be cools but not look good in all the same colors. Anyway, I was particularly frustrated because both gold and silver look good on me, and when my skin is a bit darker in the summer my veins look more blue green butin the winter more blue. I guess that would make me a cool, but I still have many things that fall into the warm category. I discovered I was a neutral with a slight lean more to the cool side of the spectrum. This charhelpedme decide that I look better in the cool colors than the warm, even though I look great in browns and golds.

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If the colors on the top chart look best on you, you lean more cool on the spectrum. If the colors on the bottom chart look best on you, you lean more warm on the spectrum.

Oil Cleansing Method

I wanted to share with everyone the skin care technique I use called Oil Cleansing method.  Because there are already great detailed instructions on this method on-line, you can google this method or click here for the detailed instructions. 

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(photo is courtesy of C’est moi! and can be found here)

Basically the OCM is the use of a moisturizing base oil such as Extra Virgin Olive Oil and the cleansing oil, Castor Oil.  The Castor oil will cleanse deep into the pores and the other oil will keep your skin moisturized.  I say “Other oil” because you can use Coconut oil, Jojoba Oil, grape-seed oil, etc. in the place of the extra virgin olive oil.  If you are just starting out with this method I recommend the EVOO until you are comfortable with the method and results, then you may want to experiment with oils to best suit your skin and preference.  I personally keep one bottle of 50% Castor oil and 50% EVOO for my cleanser and a bottle of 1 part jojoba oil 1 part Coconut oil and about 2 droppers full of Argan oil for those days when i don’t need so much cleaning but more nourishing and to remove surface dirt.  I use both bottles for my moisturizer depending on what i feel my skin need, or use a few drops from each bottle. I don’t use the oil to moisturize my skin at night and I only use it on days when I feel my skin needs a bit of oil control or is feeling a bit tight. 

Our skin produces a natural layer of sebum or oil to protect and nourish our skin, this is not dirty or bad.  Our bodies are programed to self clean and self heal.  This combined with the purity of water should be enough.  Honestly if i didn’t put some kind of makeup on my skin, i would just wash my face with a washcloth and water every day (may put some people off, but I take my skin cleanliness very seriously and my breakout and blackhead prone skin is now always smooth and clean. no more breakouts and almost no blackheads)  But what causes breakouts can be many things from diet to health to what we are putting on our skin, but oil is NOT the cause.  dead skin, mixed with oil, and mixed with other junk we put on our faces gets clogged in these pores (hello blackheads) and if bacteria enters the mix then we are left with breakouts.  Remember that diet is equally important and skincare to prevent breakout, also sweating is a natural way for our body to clean out our pores, so exercising regularly is a must. (a little side note; exercising doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym, it just means being active.  Try to turn as many daily activities into a physically active activity.  Park at the back of the parking lot, avoid drive through, walk to that store 2 blocks away, get up and walk around more at work, etc.)

unfortunately through the millions of dollars spent in advertising and a notion passed on to us from society we have come to believe that skin isn’t clean until we have stripped it of all its oil.  And therefore we experience countless skin conditions. everyone thinks their skin is either dry or oily and we kick our skin way out of balance so it needs us to use all these products to make it feel normal.  in the mean time we are loading our skin with chemicals that are not good for us in the long run.  Okay enough with the lecturing here are a few things that you need to keep in mind:

a) oil dissolves and balances oil

b) surfactants in traditional facial cleansers strip our skin of the natural oils which will leave your skin dry and vulnerable and causes your skin to produce excess oil to try to balance out the dryness (which is what causes us to think we have oily skin)

c) ingredients like Castor oil and coconut oil not only moisturize the skin but also help eyelashes and eyebrows grow longer and thicker (added bonus, yay!) 

d) many acne cleansers attack the symptoms and not the problem itself

anyway, my point is that this method, in my opinion, is more effective than commercial skin care routines, it balances out your skin, it saves you money, and it saves you the headache of wondering if what you are putting on your skin is bad for you.

experiment with different oils and proportions until you find something that works for you.  also don’t risk striping your skin of its natural oil layer it needs by using too hot of water or using the washcloth too many  times on your face.  you want to remove all signs of makeup and dirt but you don’t want your skin to feel tight.  if you touch your face after completing the oil cleansing method it should feel soft and moist but not oily.

this method takes a little while to see results and get used to but it cleared out my pores, it helps balance my skin and i know I am not putting a ton of chemicals on my skin or stripping away my natural sebum layer.