Monday, December 30, 2013

Coastal Scents Silica Powder Spheres and the Great Debate

Clearly states "approved for use on eyes, lips, face, and nails"
Originally, this was supposed to be a post praising the magic that is silica powder and explaining where you can purchase it for a fraction of the cost of that big named brand's version. Now it may turn out to be a warning on why you shouldn't use it. Ugh-I hate when that happens. Apparently, this has been written about extensively for years now so I am quite late to this debate, however in case any of my readers are unaware, I wanted to write about it. 

First let me explain what silica powder is. Silica Powder (also called silicon) is a nonmetallic element occurring extensively in the earth's crust. It is found in sand and quartz and is used to make glass. 

You may know silica from the gel packets that you find in your shoe box or in a new hand bag. It is put there to absorb moisture, which is one of the reasons it works so well in cosmetics, it is highly absorbent and controls oil and shine. Also, it creates a beautiful airbrushed matte finish to the skin, hiding flaws and masking imperfections. It does not settle into fine lines. 

There is one drawback to using silica based powders. One of the reasons silica powder gives such a flawless finish, is because of the way light reflects off of it. It is great for everyday powdering or if you have oily skin. Also if you need to set your make for a long period of time or especially if you are going to be filmed in HD. It is not so great if you are a celebrity that has to face a galaxy of flashbulbs. A crazy thing happens when a flash of light hits those reflective spheres. It creates something called flashback, which means you will see the powder sitting on your skin in a photograph. So this powder is not good for anyone who is going to be flash photographed (celebs, brides). Have you ever seen the photos of Eva Longoria or Nicole Kidman looking like they were face planted in a pile of cocaine? Google it and you will see what I mean. Their makeup artist, I am certain, used Makeup Forever's HD Powder. (I couldn't find where to purchase the photos and I didn't want any copyright issues so you'll have to Google them).

Anyhoodles, back to my initial post. I like to give everyone a heads up when I find a less expensive version of a popular product. I wanted to share the alternative to Makeup Forever HD Powder and introduce to you Coastal Scents HD Powder Spheres. On their website, Coastal Scents describes their powder as:

Silica Powder Spheres are a fine-grained, translucent white powder that offers a smooth, silky finish. This filler powder is highly absorbent and is used for oil control in many formulations. Silica Powder Spheres also improve slip in cosmetics and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

I was not sure if they were marketing this product as a use alone powder or if it was to be added to other products so I asked them. I was told this can be used on it's own. 

When I started doing my research for this post about the origins of silica powder, I came across this link:

Which basically says that you will die if you use this product. Well, maybe not death but irritation, allergic reaction and Silicosis, which according to this article " (also known as Grinder's disease and Potter's rot) is a form of occupational lung disease caused by inhalation of crystalline silica dust, and is marked by inflammation and scarring in forms of nodular lesions in the upper lobes of the lungs." I am not sure how much truth there is to this article but it does not sound good. I wrote a post a few years back disputing an episode of Dr. Oz where he made a big deal of inhaling cosmetic powders. I may have to eat my words, powders are so finely milled these days. I can clearly see it being an issue (same way I feel about airbrush makeup). Any foreign object in your lungs cannot be good for your health. 

Then the debate gets a little nutty from there, with the founder of Coastal Scents calling a YouTuber ignorant for making a video about this and casting Coastal Scents in a bad light. 

Part of Coastal Scents response was:

1. No, you will not contract silicosis by using cosmetic grade, fda approved silica powder by itself or mixed with other products.
2. Yes, the silica we sell, and the silica others sell, including companies selling it as a finished product are the same product.
3. Yes, all cosmetic silica has gone through special processing, just as the silica used by finished makeup companies, the same exact process.
4. No, Coastal scents silica is not any different than any other silica being sold on the market, we are not special nor should we be singled out.

So to wrap this up, obviously do not snort this stuff (which I accidentally have btw, my nose is still burning thinking about it). Cosmetic grade spheres are safe to use on their own but use your own judgement if it would be better to mix it with another powder product. You would have to be exposed to this product everyday for decades or snort piles of it to see a negative effect, so don't do either. And lastly, DO YOUR RESEARCH! 

Coastal Scents Silica Powder Spheres cost $2.97 for 1 ounce
Makeup Forever HD Powder cost $34 for .3 ounces

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Until next time!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

L'Oreal Voluminous Smoldering Eyeliner Review

Sorry for the poor quality photo. :-(
I am on a drugstore tear lately. 
I am not usually a fan of drugstore makeup, however I find myself drawn to the makeup section of Rite Aid like an addict. I'm not sure if the cosmetics companies are upping their drugstore game or maybe I'm just a girl on a budget but either way, I've been getting some inexpensive, quality products during my recent trips. 

So today, I am all about the eyeliner. I am always about the eyeliner. I know most ladies say their can't live without makeup product would be mascara but I think mine would be eyeliner. 

L'Oreal Voluminous Smoldering Eyeliner is a very black, blend-able, chubby eyeliner that goes on smooth and does not smudge. 

Have I mentioned that this pencil is very black?

 That is usually a problem for me with black eyeliners. The color looks very black on the pencil but on the skin they sometimes fade to a light black or even a greyish, blue color. Not this pencil, it goes on black and stays that way. Even when you blend it, it will soften up while still retaining its blackness. 

This will pretty much stay put until you take it off, however if you apply this to your lower lash line, I would set it with a powder because if its gonna move, this is where it will decide to move. 
Also, if you are a contact lens wearer and line your waterline with this, it might (I'm not 100% sure) transfer to your contacts. The first time I wore it, midway through my night I started to see blurry out of both eyes. Now it could've been the drinkin, however I am almost certain it was the eyeliner. I have worn this since then on my waterline and have not had this issue, so who knows. Also, there are plenty of reviews online about how it doesn't budge on the waterline. This just might be a problem for contact lens wearers.

Oh and the other thing that I love about this is, this eyeliner comes sharpened to the pointiest point possible which enables you to get ultra close to the lashline. It comes with a sharpener so you can keep it sharp and pointy. I have had this for over a month and I have yet to sharpen it. It's not as sharp as when I received it but I'm still getting a a nice, close application. 
So this was money well spent! Around $9 for .087 oz.

What is your favorite eyeliner?

Until next time!

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

December BirchBox

With apologies, I am so behind on my postings!
This is usually a spoiler alert, however I am sure whoever receives Birchbox has already received it. 
I'm just posting it for whoever likes seeing these.
This box was about a 6-7. 
I received a non aerosol hair spray from N4, an Honest Co Healing Balm, Supergoop CC cream, a chocolate covered pretzel and a skincare system from Eslor. I pretty much liked everything, didn't love anything enough to purchase. I good box, I'm sure I'll use everything up. 
I'll let you know if I fall in love with anything. 

Until next time!

Dinair Beauty Basic Airbrush System Review

Oh my gosh, the holidays get the the way of everything! I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday and got everything they wanted! (and not what they deserved, wink wink)

I wanted to tell you all about my Dinair Beauty Basic Airbrush System that I bought. I wanted to use it for a while to make sure I got a good feel for it before I gave my review. 

First let me say that I did not intend to purchase a Dinair system. I was very interested in trying airbrush makeup and a makeup artist friend who's opinion I respect suggested I try a company who is very well known for their airbrush makeup in a can. I decided to try them first before investing in anything else. After a few days of the product I wanted to try being out of stock, I emailed them to inquire how long it would be before the product was restocked. I received no response so I called them and left a voice message again asking when they would be restocked. They responded by leaving me a voice message with a bit of attitude, explaining that I should email them as they have no idea what product I am asking about. I guess the initial detailed email and the phone message were not enough. So I re-emailed them as well as leaving another detailed voice message asking about the products. Still no response. 
So guess what I did? 
I ditched them and purchased the Dinair system. 
Moral of the story? 
Customer service is very important, especially when you are not the only trick in town. 

Ok, so on with it! There are many pros and cons to this product. First, it is relatively inexpensive for an airbrush system. It cost $99 which is a steal compared to the $299 for their pro system. You do receive a lot more in the pro system but for a starter kit, it is a great price (Temptu's basic system is $149 in comparison).

For $99, you will receive the air compressor, the airbrush gun, an air hose, a power pack, 3 bottles of airbrush foundation, 3 bottles of color makeup, 1 bottle of moisturizing mist, 1 bottle of airbrush cleaner, a travel case for the gun, travel caps and a rubber band to hold the needle back. 

There are many pros and cons to this system and airbrush makeup in general. 

First, the biggest pro of all: The finish is unlike anything you will ever achieve with a traditional foundation.
 It looks very smooth and natural. It honestly looks like your skin, just better. There is no heavy foundation look and it is very sanitary as there are no sponges or brushes to worry about cleaning. Also, you can perfectly match your skin by mixing multiple shades together. The foundations cost around $12 to purchase separately. Dinair's formulation is water resistant, silicone free, paraben free, and not tested on animals.

Now some cons. It does take a little getting used to and you do have to retrain yourself on how to apply this foundation. This is not a huge con but will take some getting used to. Instead of placing the makeup on your skin and blending, you are spraying and the formulation is so thin, all you are going to see is your skin change. You are not going to see makeup so you do have to train your eye a bit. 

There are 2 big cons for me: first, I sometimes feel like I am not getting enough coverage. I really like the finish but sometimes, I cannot get it to cover redness I occasionally have. I am afraid of going too heavy and ruining that beautiful airbrushed look but if I can't get full coverage, what's the point? Maybe I have it on the wrong setting, like I said there is a learning curve so I'm not sure. 

Second and more importantly, I have noticed that lately I have been feeling a bit asthmatic. I have felt like an asthma attack is on the verge of happening but then doesn't. The last time I felt this way, I realized I had applied my airbrush makeup earlier that night. I may be breathing it in and it is irritating me. This is a big concern for me. It is probably best to apply it in a well ventilated area or next to an open window. I am not sure if it is the makeup or the cleaner. Honeybuns (who has been airbrushing for the past 25 years) thinks it's both and he always wears a mask when he is airbrushing his paintings.  

Also, the whole process can be a bit of a pain in the butt. Although you no longer have to worry about cleaning a makeup brush, you do have to clean this machine. Every. Single. Time.  or you will ruin it. So after every use you have to make sure you spray all of the makeup out, you then have to run some cleaner through it (which they recommend you do not spray in the air, this may be the cause of my irritation even though I am spraying it into a tissue), you have to take the needle cover off, wipe down the needle and the inside of the cover (as well as the foundation well). Then I fill the makeup well with water, cover with the travel caps and hold the needle back with the rubber band. 

 I would like to keep at it but I am not sure this will be my main foundation choice. I am not sure the purrty finish is worth feeling like I am asphyxiating myself. 
I would suggest this to anyone who has a little money to invest and  would like to try something new. Just make sure you do not do it in an enclosed space.
Any airbrush ladies (or gentlemen) out there who have any tips for me or any of their own experiences, I do appreciate hearing from you!
Until next time!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Festive Holiday Makeup Look-Not Your Momma's Eyebrows

I wanted to do a festive look for the holidays.
 A few years back a did a New Years Eve look inspired by Lady Gaga. It was a classic neutral toned look with a red lip but my eyebrows were encrusted with crystals. Some people loved it, some people hated it. One person thought I should remove the photo of my unflattering crystal eyebrows from my Facebook page.
 Well what I say is, not everything is wrapped up with a nice neat bow. Not every single thing has to be perfectly beautiful. Sometimes, the normal beauty looks are just that. Normal. Who wants to be normal?
 How boring.
The holiday season is the perfect time of year to get out of your comfort zone. It is such a colorful, festive, sparkly time of year. Do something different and fun! 
I love dressing up eyebrows. I would color my brows in with a dark purple color every day if I could get away with it. I also think silver could be an especially flattering brow color in the right circumstance. 
Today, I felt like gold eyebrows. 
Who could argue with a gold eyebrow during Christmastime? Not I!
So go crazy, have fun, try something new and different, don't be like everyone else and let your creative juices flow! 

Until next time!
Crazy Crystal Eyebrows

Sunday, December 8, 2013

L'Oreal Magic Nude Liquid Powder Foundation Review

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am always on the hunt for a new foundation (I still have to post about my Dinair Airbrush Foundation).
So when two of my favorite makeup artist suggested L'Oreal Magic Nude Liquid Powder Foundation as a must have, well of course I must have it!
I have heard so much positive feedback about the amazing finish and how this was unlike any other foundation, I went right to the drugstore and purchased a bottle. 
An amazing drugstore brand? I'm in!
This was not so amazing for me. I love L'Oreal foundations, I think they have some pretty decent products considering they are a drugstore brand. I use their True Match foundation all the time. This unfortunately, did not do it for me.
This foundation is packaged in a frosty glass bottle and cost around $12. It is much thinner than most foundations. It has the consistency of water and a slight alcohol scent to it. It felt kind of oily going on but dried to a nice, matte finish. This does not provide a lot of coverage, this is for someone with very little to cover. So if you have any imperfections such as redness or blemishes, you may want to go in a different direction. 
I also picked the wrong shade, which didn't help matters. I don't recall what shade I picked but it was too light.
The reason I decided to return this is, this product will cling to every single little bit of dryness on your skin. 
I know a lot of people have really good things to say about this foundation. It did not work for me, maybe it will work for you. I would suggest this product for someone with relatively clear, slightly oily skin.

Until next time~

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Spoiler Alert November BirchBox!

Oh yay! Guess what today is? Birch Box day!
So this month's box is a good one!
I give this box a 9.5
First up we have a Chella Ivory Lace Highlighter Pencil-they know I like me a good highlighter! So this is a pencil and reminds me of Benefit's Eye Bright but less pink more peach and a little creamier. This is a non shimmery pencil that can be used all over the face to give that beautiful middle of the face highlight. 

Next we have Color Club Dark n Stormy nail polish which is a stormy grey color. I will be using it on my toes shortly. 

I also received It's a 10 Miracle Leave-in Product which I am very excited to try! You can use it on wet or dry hair and it is a "10-in-one treatment that addresses the spectrum of hair damage, from brittleness to frizz."

Tiossan Body Cream which is loaded with antioxidants and I love antioxidants. 

They also threw in a Chuao Chocolatier Pop Corn Pop. A mini chocolate bar with popcorn in it! Brilliant! 
Free of: 
Hydrogenated fats, artificial preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, artificial sweeteners.

So there you have it, all my goodies!

**October Box Update**
I still LOVE the Benefit highlighter and will probably purchase the full sized product when I am done. I am still waiting to use the shampoo/conditioner during my upcoming NOLA trip. The Karuna face mask had so much fragrance in it, it was absolutely unbearable and the Chapstick is unused and going in my kit. 

So that's if for now Kitty Kats! 
Until next time! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Face Primer Alternative

Hi there kitty cats!
Part of my job as an informative blogger is to let you know all about my sneaky Pete tricks!
Today's tips and tricks have to do with primers. 
I have written about primers before but for anyone who doesn't know what a primer is, they do exactly what their name suggest-they prime the skin for makeup application. They also help your makeup to stay on longer, as well as hide pores and smooth out any fine lines. 

There are tons of primers on the market for every skin type. You can find primers for oily skin, for dry skin, with sun protection, with antioxidants, etc. Every brand has a primer in their lineup. You can buy a primer for your face, lips or eyes. Quite honestly, I very rarely use a primer. Sometimes I will use it around my eyes if I'm feeling like I need a little extra something, however most days I go without. 

So what is a Kitten to do when she wants to try a primer but doesn't want to break the bank? 
She wanders over to the feminine hygiene section of her drugstore and picks up a tube of Monistat Chafing Relief Powder-Gel. 
Yes, you read that right!
Most primers are made up of a bunch of silicone's (an emollient slip agent used in cosmetics) and that is exactly what Monistat Chafing Relief Gel is. One of the most popular (and one of the first in the primer trend) is Smashbox Photo Finish Primer. 1 oz will cost you $36. 
1.5 oz of Monistat will cost you around $7 and if you compare the ingredients (minus the fancy extracts that SmashBox includes), they are very similar. 
So if you are new to using a primer and would like to try one first without hurting your wallet or if you use tons of primer (such as a makeup artist), or you just don't want to spend a lot of money on a cosmetic product, this would be a good try for you. 

Until next time!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dr. Dennis Gross Age Erase Moisture with Mega 10 Plus

Oh hi
there kitties!

My skin in the winter is quite dry. Visibly dry with peeling, flaking and redness, usually around my chin. Now with the Retin-A, there is dryness everywhere. My skin needs a giant drink of moisture and that is exactly what it gets with Dr. Dennis Gross Age Erase Moisture with Mega 10 Plus.

According to the website:
  • Active Vitamin D provides supple, glowing, younger looking skin
  • Vitamins, antioxidants & peptides target free radicals for cellular defense
  • Time-released Hyaluronic Acid helps soften & smooth fine lines & wrinkles 
Mega 10 Plus, is a complex developed by Dr. Gross which contains 10 essential nutrients for optimal skin health. 

This is not a "wet" moisturizer, meaning it does not just sit greasy on the skin. It sinks in nicely and works well under my sunblock and makeup. I know this has "age erase" in the name, however this is a very good moisturizer that will not erase your age. It is very replenishing and my skin loves it. You can use it AM and PM. 
I have had absolutely no irritation or breakouts from this product. 
It is fragrance free (YAY!), cruelty free (YAY!), Vegan (If that's important to you) and paraban free(YAY!). Pretty much everything I look for in a product. 

Key Ingredients
  • Vitamins A, C, E: Potent antioxidants that prevent collagen breakdown
  • Vitamin B: Adds essential moisture & provides a plumping effect
  • Vitamin D: Boosts the benefits of other active ingredients
  • Ubiquinone (CoQ10): Potent antioxidant that defends against free radicals & builds collagen
  • Phospholipids: Natural substance that draws moisture from the air & seals it into the skin
  • Green Tea Extract: Natural antioxidant; Protects against free radicals & environmental toxins
  • Yucca Root Extract: Natural plant extract with high antioxidant content & anti-inflammatory properties
  • Soybean Extract: Kick-starts collagen production
  • Biodynes TRF: Yeast Extract that has cell-renewing, soothing, anti-inflammatory & anti-irritant properties
  • Squalane: Naturally derived emollient that works to prevent dryness
  • Ceramides: A complex lipid that helps strengthen & repair skin's barrier 
Excellent key ingredients, however "key ingredients" mean there are other ingredients that they have not listed on the website. C'mon people, just list ALL of the ingredients so it doesn't look like you're hiding something. Thank you!

A little bit about Dr. Gross:

Dr. Dennis Gross, NYC dermatologist, has devoted his life to the science of skincare. Skin, the largest organ of the body, is the first to show signs of both external and internal health. The quality and scope of his education and research inspired a passion within to fight the deadly epidemic of skin cancer. During his early years as a dermatologist in NYC, Dr. Gross would spend hours “in the field” conducting free skin cancer screenings in and around NYC, educating the public about this life-threatening disease.  

So I really like and recommend this product.
This is a quality product that will not break the bank. 
$48 for 1.7 ounces  

Until next time!

PS-Please don't forget to subscribe!

**My own product purchased with my own $$. No affiliate links.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

DermOrganics Calming Facial Toner and Soapless Facial Cleanser Review

In my quest to improve my skin, I have been trying out new skin care products and I will be sharing my favorites with you.

In my opinion, the best cleansers for your skin are gentle, non-foaming and soapless. I also try to stay away from fragrance and parabans.

With all that being said, I bought me mum a DermOrganic sampler from TJMaxx. It was around $6 and came with a cleanser, moisturizer and hand and body lotion. When I went for a weekend visit to momma's house, I forgot my facial cleanser so she let me borrow her DermOrganic cleanser and from the very first use, I was hooked.
Luxurious, creamy texture. Feels really good on the skin, plus it takes everything off including eye makeup and mascara.
According to the website, DermOrganic's Soapless Facial Cleanser:
  • Purifies, Clarifies and Moisturizes
      -Soap-free, non-abrasive formula
      -Strong enough to remove makeup
      -yet gentle enough for delicate eye area
      -Imparts a fresh tight feel without dryness
      -Plant-based lipids moisturize and balance while cleansing
      -Made withArgan extract of Morocco
      -Rich in Omega-6 andVitamins C&E
      -With Yuzu fruit extract and BotaniCollagenTM
      - Oil-free and fragrance-free

      FRAGRANCE-FREE - But with a clean fresh scent OIL-FREE - While preserving all the benefits of the Moroccan Argan fruit. YUZU EXTRACT - Rich in flavinoids, Vitamin C to help support delicate skin layers PLANT-BASED LIPIDS - Provide natural moisture skin needs OMEGA-6 and ANTIOXIDANTS - Protect from environmental degradation BOTANICOLLAGEN - Plant-derived extract supports skin layers to minimize the appearance of fine lines 
      Along with the Face Cleanser, I decided to try their Calming Facial Toner. I have wanted to incorporate a toner into my routine and I thought this would be a great place to start. According to the packaging, DermOrganic's Calming Facial Toner:
      Balances, Tightens and Refreshes
      Is Vegan
      No Animal Testing 
      Oil and Fragrance Free
      Paraben -Free with No Artificial Preservatives
      Sulfate-Free and Gluten-Free I don't know what gluten free has to do with skin care but I guess everyone loves a trend. 
      No Sodium Chloride, Salt, MEA, DEA or Dyes
      pH Balanced 4.5-5.5
      Mild astringent for all skin types
      After cleansing purifier
      Gently soothes, tighten and freshens
      Leaves an elegant after-feel
      Balances and retains skin pH
      Organic aloe leaf juice rich in Glycoprotein for increased oxygen at cellular level
      Even though both of these products contain ingredients that are skin irritants such as lavender and orange (funny since these are supposed to be calming products), I have experienced no irritation or breakouts. I would definitely re-purchase the cleanser but am on the fence about the toner. The toner does contain some nice ingredients and it does work well with my other products to make my skin look nice and adds another layer of moisture to my routine, however I am not in love and will still be on the search for a toner. 
      There may have been a buy one get one deal going on because I received both of these products for $20 total. 
      To learn more about DermOrganics, read their ingredients list or to purchase, click HERE
      Ok Kitty Cats!
       I have just received my Dinair airbrush machine and will be playing around with it and there will be a review coming just around the corner!
      Until next time!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Happy Halloween- Open Wound Zombie Bite

Oh hi kitty cats!
Halloween is this week so here is a little picture tutorial for anyone who may need to create an open wound (can also be a bite mark) and you don't have time to run to the costume store. Everything you will need can be purchased in a supermarket or drugstore. 

Here is what you will need:  

  • A palette~you can use a disposable plate.
  • Ripped up toilet or tissue paper. Pull the paper apart to make it single ply and make sure the ripped pieces have jagged edges. 
  • Duo Glue~this is the glue you use to apply fake eyelashes.
  • Sponges
  • Fake blood~If you don't have any on hand, you can make some. Click here to learn how to make fake blood.
  • Foundation
  • Powder
  • Black eyeshadow~not shown
  • Q tips~not shown
Step 1: Using a sponge, stipple a layer of Duo Glue on the area you wish to make your wound. 

My sexy gams. Everyone calm down!

Step 2: Take ripped tissue paper and apply over the Duo Glue. 

  Step 3: With your sponge, stipple some more Duo Glue over the tissue paper until it is glued down to your skin.

Step 4: After the glue has dried, apply a thin layer of foundation to camouflage the white paper. If you are using white or grey body paint (because you're a zombie), then go over the paper with whatever color your skin will be. Powder over the foundation to dry it a little more.

Step 5: Take another sponge and stipple fake blood all over the wound. You can apply a thicker layer of blood over the areas you would like to make look like puncture wounds or deeper cuts.

Step 6: Take a Q-tip and apply black eyeshadow to the area's that you would like to look deeper or like dried blood. You can then stipple a little more blood over the shadow just to blend it a little more.

Voila'! Open wound/bite:

You can clean up the edges if you want to, I chose to leave it as is because I thought it looked like scratches. You can also drip some fake blood under the wound. If you don't have black eyeshadow, deep purple will work as well. 

Remember, if you can't fly with the big girls, stay off the broom!

Happy Halloween Kittens!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Kiss Ever EZ Lashes

Have I mentioned that I hate fake eyelashes? 
No? Well let me tell you about it. 
I can't stand applying fake eyelashes to myself or anyone else.
I find it tedious. I don't like sizing the strips, waiting for the glue to get tacky and taking a deep breath while I try to get these sticky spider legs attached to my lid without f-ing up my eye makeup.
Also, it is quite the sexy look when you have that stray strip that won't stay down and you end up looking like my drunk Aunt Matilda.
What I do love is the way lashes, applied properly, make your eyes look. 
They instantly make your eyes sexy, your lashes young and flirty and your makeup look pulled together.
I was never one of those girls who can apply fake lashes in the blink of an eye, without even thinking about it. It was always a chore for me. 
So imagine my happiness when I stumbled upon these little cutie pies while in CVS. 
Instead of a full strip or those little annoying single lashes that you find at the end of the night on your cheek, this is like a mini strip of three lash clusters. 
I cannot stress how quick and easy these are to apply! Even a beginner should have absolutely no problem applying these, they are that user friendly!
AND they look natural not like Nellie the cow, moo-moo lashes. 
So I like to apply two longer sets towards the outer edge and one shorter set towards the middle so it all blends in together but you can mix it up and do whatever looks best on you. 
These are so easy, I may never leave my house without them!
They take about 5 minutes to apply, you should still let the glue get tacky like you would with regular strip lashes. I apply a little dab to my palette or even the back of my hand (although sometimes I then find it in my hair-duh), do a little dip/drag through the glue and let it get tacky. 
Then apply.
These were about $6 in CVS.
 They do not come with glue so make sure you pick up a tube if you need it.

Until next time flirty eyes~

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Retin-A is NOT an Exfoliant! Who Knew?

So I was schooled by the Paula's Choice people. I can admit when I am wrong. If I am passing on information to you, I want to make sure I am passing the correct information. 

So in my prior post about Retin-A I said Retin-A is an exfoliant. I was always under the impression that Retin-A was a prescription strength exfoliant.  Well lo and behold, it is not.

I wanted to get a definitive answer on whether or not I could use my Paula's Choice BHA 9 in addition to my Retin-A because I was still experiencing minor breakouts. Not as bad as I had been but they were still there and I want them to be gone. My doc said to hold off but I had heard so many different opinions and answers, I decided to take my question to the Paula's Choice peeps. 

First, let me say Paula's Choice customer service are absolutely awesome. They have a live chat box and basically informed me that Retin-A is a treatment and not an exfoliant, therefore it can be used with my BHA9.
According to Paula's website:

A common misconception is that tretinoin (active ingredient in Retin-A) exfoliates skin like an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) or BHA (beta hydroxy acid) product. However, tretinoin is not an exfoliant. Tretinoin improves living cells so they can shed normally whereas AHA and BHA exfoliants dissolve dead skin cells in skin’s uppermost layers. Tretinoin improves how skin cells shed naturally, helping them do so in the manner they did before being damaged by sun exposure. But this action is not the same as exfoliation. It gets confusing because tretinoin does affect how skin cells form and shed deeper in the skin, beyond where AHAs and BHA ingredients reach. But technically what’s going in terms of how skin cells shed isn’t the same action as exfoliating skin’s surface to improve its appearance.

So with that said, now that I have added the BHA-holy moly what a difference it has made in my skin. Breakouts are pretty much non existent and old marks are fading away! Yay! I am at the 4 month mark with Retin-A and for the first time, I woke up this morning with flaking skin. I'm not sure if it was the Retin-A or the addition of the BHA but moisturizer chased it right away.  

So now you know!
Until next time, 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Spoiler Alert-October Birchbox

Oh hiiii!!

My favorite time of the month is here! 
It's Birchbox time!

So in this month's box, I received a liquid pearl illuminator from Benefit, shampoo and conditioner from Bain de Terre, a face mask from Karuna and a new product from Chapstick.

Ok first, Girl Meets Pearl by Benefit in Golden Pink. I freakin LOVE this product! I have only been using this a few days but I am already madly in love with this. This is a gorgeous highlighter that creates the perfect glow, plus we all know that I think pink and gold are a marriage made in makeup heaven.

Next, Bain de Terre Macadamia Oil Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner. I have not yet tried these but I am looking forward to it. I have used Bain de Terre products before and have liked them a lot so I have high hopes for these. I do have to travel in about a month so I may wait and take these with me to use. I will let you know how in my update post if I waited and if I loved them. 

Next up, a Clarifying Treatment Mask from Karuna. 

According to the package:

Shiso, a Japanese Green Leaf, plus Ginger work to keep your skin clear and healthy, while Honey soothes and provides oil-free hydration. 

All Karuna 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. 

I will be using this tomorrow night. Honey has made my skin break out in the past so I am a little nervous, however this contains Salicylic Acid so hopefully it will counteract any clogging. This has lots of good stuff in it but then the very last ingredient is fragrance. Ugh. Boooooo. 

Lastly, a new product from Chapstick.

According to the packaging:

ChapStick Hydrarion Lock provides advanced moisturization to revitalize and visibly improve the appearance of your lips. It provides 8 hour moisture, contains antioxidant CoQ10, contains hyaluronic filling spheres, gives lips a fuller and smoother appearance, has a light, silky texture for instant smoothness and enhanced lip feel.

This product does contain petroleum and parabans so it may be a pass for me. 

I give this box a solid 7 (I subtracted a point for the chapstick). 
These are all new products for me and I am excited to try all of them (except the ChapStick), 
plus I'm already in love with the Benefit product!

Until next time kitty cats! 

Monday, September 30, 2013

September Birchbox Update

Ok time for a quick update of my September Birchbox goodies. 

See you never know what you're going to like. I didn't think I was going to like Davines Sea Salt Spray. I don't know what I thought it was going to do but I seriously thought it was going to make my hair too textured to the point of it looking rough and dry. I was also half expecting to be shaking salt out of my hair for days. What was I thinking?! 
Thankfully, I was wrong. This spray does provide texture without sacrificing shine. It does the job without being heavy. My hair is bouncy and shiny and the best part? No excess sand! I like it. I am no longer afraid of sea salt sprays.
Now for the Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Lip Gloss in Precious Petal, eehhhh. I wore it twice and never looked at it again. It wasn't bad, it was just the same as every other lip gloss. Nothing special. 
I never got around to using the teeth wipes but I'll let you know if I do. 

Until next time

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Stila Eyeshadow Review

Oh hi kitty cats!
I am a little late to the party with this one but I wanted to get it out there so here ya go. 
I love Stila eye shadows. I like a lot of their products but they do have some great eyeshadow colors. 
Funny enough, Kitten is one of my all time favorite eye shadows ever and not just because of the name. 
I purchased these four palettes at the makeup show months ago. They were running a pretty good special, they usually retail for $39.00 each and all four of them were being offered for $80.00. 
So they all have cute little names: In the Know (Blue Palette), In the Garden (Green Palette), In the Moment (Purple Palette), In the Light (Brown Palette and contains Kitten). All of them contain mostly shimmery colors with one or two matte shades, except for In the Know which contains all matte colors. These shadows have a really nice amount of shimmer to them and they blend well. They can be worn subtly, like a wash of color or more dramatic for a night time look and can be applied wet or dry. They all have quotes from celebrity makeup artist Sarah Lucero, Stila's current Global Director of Education, imprinted on the inside. Some have mirrors, some do not. They all contain a Smudge Stick. I am not a huge fan of the Smudge Sticks. They apply really well to your hand, not so much to your eye. 

These are good if you are in the market for a palette with mostly neutral, wearable shades. I get the most use out of In the Moment and In the Light and think those are the most user friendly colors.

Click HERE if you want to learn more about Stila products.

Until next time

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Art of Double Cleansing

So this is how washing my face usually went. 
Five minutes before bed I would use 2 pumps of my Aquanil cleanser, massage it around my face for 10 seconds fully expecting it to completely remove the 3 pounds of makeup that has been sitting on my skin all day, only to have a smeared imprint of my face transferred to my previously clean towel. 
Forget about my morning routine--pathetic. I would rinse my face off in the shower, maybe a splash of water in the sink-why use cleanser in the morning? Ummm sweat and oil maybe? 
*hangs head in embarrassment*

Thankfully that has all changed.  My half assed attempt at washing my face was definitely contributing to my acne problems. Duh. 

Double cleansing is basically washing your face twice, first with an oil based balm to remove dirt and oil. Remember "like likes like", meaning oil and water don't mix but oil will be attracted to oil and lift it (and any makeup including mascara) right off of your face. Who should do this? Anyone who wears makeup or sun protection. If you have oily skin, do not be afraid. Plant based oils will not clog your pores and are perfectly safe to use. However, I would stay far away from mineral oil. That will clog your pores. 
The second cleanse can be a gentle, non-foaming cleanser (such as Aquanil, Cetaphil, CeraVe etc.) and is done to remove anything that had not been removed with the first cleanse. You can almost consider it an insurance cleanse. 

So here is how it goes now. Since my skin still reacts to products it does not like, I have not found a balm that I love (although I hear Clinique has a fantastic one that I may give a looky loo to), so I use coconut oil for my first cleanse. I used to use olive oil but coconut  works better for me. Take the coconut oil (or whatever you are using) and rub it all over your face, all over your eyes to lift the eye makeup, all over your cheeks, neck, everywhere. Then take a warm, damp washcloth and wipe off all the oil, dirt and makeup. If you don't have a wash cloth (you should go buy some, they are cheap), you can use those little cotton rounds. Next I take a few pumps of my Aquanil, massage it into my skin and again using my wash cloth, wipe everything from my face. There should not be a trace of makeup or anything left on your skin. You should be left with truly clean skin. Slather on some moisturizer and call it a night! I have even started properly washing my face in the morning with cleanser and a wash cloth. If you are going away on vacation and do not want to pack an oil or balm along with your cleanser, that's fine-just cleanse your skin 2 times using the same cleanser. 
As long as you stick to gentle products, you will not over cleanse your skin-we want properly clean, not squeaky clean. 

Everyone should try this! 
Your face will thank you for it
and then you can thank me!
So you're welcome in advance.

Happy Weekend Kittens!


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Jessica's New Skin Routine

Ok! So finally-this is the new routine!

I have always had a pretty simple skin care routine. In the morning I would rinse my face in the shower, dry it off and apply sun block. At night, I would wash my face before bed (religiously) and then apply either an AHA or BHA and be done with it. I was never one for pricey products or special serums because I was skeptical of the ingredients and felt they did nothing but break me out, so why spend the money. 

After being exhausted with my acne prone skin, I decided to visit the dermatologist (which you can read about here). The same week as my derm appointment, I stumbled upon a YouTube video featuring Caroline Hirons, a beauty and skin care expert from the UK. I started reading her blog, and my skin and my way of thinking about my skin have been changed forever! According to Mrs. Hirons website, she is a globally qualified advanced facialist trained in over 100 brands and has trained teams internationally for top brands in the UK, USA and Far East. She now works as a Consultant to brands and retailers in the Beauty Industry. Caroline's immense knowledge, her no nonsense delivery and her incredible wit, make her blog a pleasure to read.

The first thing I changed, was my way of cleansing my skin. This has to be the single most important thing I did for my skin, and for that reason, it will receive it's own detailed post. Hopefully tomorrow.
So basically, I started double cleaning my skin at night which is washing your face twice, first with a balm to remove dirt and oil and then using a gentle cleaner to clean everything off. I will never wash my face any other way ever again and if you wear sun protection or makeup, you need to be doing this as well. 

The second thing I changed was how I moisturized my skin. I always thought it was ok to use a moisturizer with sun block in it. I was wrong. In order for sun protection to be effective, there has to be a substantial amount of protecting ingredients, which leaves little room in the formulation for moisturizing ingredients. So I have started using a separate moisturizer and Sun Protection. You should use moisturizers that contain emollients and humectants such as Hyaluronic Acid. Humectants take moisture from the air and hold it in your skin. This is what will give your skin that plump and youthful look. Also, look for moisturizers that contain vitamins and antioxidants as all of these ingredients work together to keep skin healthy and prevent it from aging. 

Lastly, I have started taking supplements. I have always taken vitamin D, now I have added Omega Fish Oils because they are amazing for your skin. I hope they help with my memory because I sometimes forget to take them.

This routine is still a work in progress. I am on the hunt for a good toner with skin repairing ingredients to hydrate and replenish. These are not the toners of our teen years (hello sea breeze!). I am also shopping for a nice anti-aging serum and I am working on reducing my sugar intake.

This may not seem like a huge amount of change but I have seen big differences in my skin these past few months. I don't know if it's the Retin-A or a combination of everything together but it's working. I know the double cleansing has had a huge impact on my skin. I have stopped using the Skineteca that I had reviewed, as well as the topical antibiotic that my derm  had prescribed.

So a BIG FAT THANK YOU to Caroline Hirons for all of the amazing information that she provides. Please take a look at her cheat sheets, they are incredibly informative. If anyone wants to read a well written, witty blog about skin care (besides this well written, witty blog), I suggest you give her a try.

Cheers Kitty Cats!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Armour Beauty Lip Gloss Review

Autumn is here and just like the birds flying South for the winter, this girl is starting her cool weather beauty transformation. 
The hair is going darker, richer/darker colors for the nails as well, and as it happens every single year without fail, we start seeing all the delicious reds, berries and plums for the lips!
Now I am usually a nude lip girl all year round. I stick to my flesh tones and my soft shimmery pinks and corals but I can't help but be intrigued by the gorgeous colors of the beauty landscape that appear this time of year and how classy and beautiful they can make a lip look. I feel that as full and fleshy a nude color can make your lips, if not done properly, it can make them disappear as well. You won't have that problem with bolder colors, quite the opposite-your lips will get all the attention so be prepared!
Armour Beauty is known for their lip glosses. 
They tout themselves as the "Rock n Roll Lip Gloss" and I can see why. They have gorgeous colors from the most subtle nudes and pinks to the most daring oranges and reds. They even have a black lipgloss! Now that is Punk Rock!
Armour Beauty was created by Theo Kogan, the singer for the Lunachicks, an all female, NYC based band from the late 80's-90's. Armour names it's glosses after their favorite rock and roll songs, artist and night clubs and here's the funny part:
They have a scrumptious pink gloss named Cat Club after the legendary NYC metal/rock club that me and my friends practically  lived in during the late 80's-early 90's!
Now I love this brand even more!
I have been wearing Grace, a drop dead gorgeous magenta pink with blue shimmer. You can even see hints of purple in it. This gloss is hugely saturated with color and shine. I have worn it with and without liner. You really don't need it, there is so much pigment. I have worn it bold and glamorous, as well as subtle by dotting it on my lips with my finger to create that bee stung pinky look. It has great lasting power and leaves behind a pink stain in its wake. These glosses are slick, never sticky, paraben free and never tested on animals. 
I highly recommend these and will definitely be purchasing more colors.
If you want to learn more about Armour Beauty,

This gloss was a gift from my Rock and Roll momma so it is my own product. No affiliate links.