eyeliner on a cat

eyeliner on a cat
beauty, scent & style scrutinized for pleasure

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays from eyeliner on a cat and H.P. Lovecraft

I seemed to be looking down from an immense height upon a twilit grotto, knee-deep with filth, where a white-bearded daemon swineherd drove about with his staff a flock of fungous, flabby beasts whose appearance filled me with unutterable loathing. Then, as the swineherd paused and nodded over his task, a mighty swarm of rats rained down on the stinking abyss and fell to devouring beasts and man alike. 

--From H.P. Lovecraft's The Rats In The Walls

In his nightmare lives an unorthodox, hellish vision of Santa and his reindeer (without being named as such). A warning: don't leave cookies and milk out for this bunch.


Friday, November 14, 2014

The Beauty Spotlight Team Round-Up: Weekend of 11/14/14

The new Kérastase Paris Discipline haircare line is a fabulous secret weapon to tame frizzy hair, and Lola's Secret Beauty Blog thinks it is an absolute must-have collection for anyone who fights frizz and fly-aways.

Cleansing is the hottest topic in skin care right now, and Carrie from eyeliner on a cat is totally into it. She wants you to Dish on Your Favorite Cleansing Products and Methods!.

Phyrra shares her picks for the Best Cruelty Free Blushes! See what shades will give you that lit-from-within glow we all want.

You'd think Sunny from Mostly Sunny has seen it all and isn't quite easily impressed, but she did nearly need to breathe into a paper bag when she saw Guerlain Un Soir à l'Opéra ! Feast your eyes on 9 out of the 10 pieces, and get carried away by Guerlain's holiday magic! Win It!!!

Pammy Blogs Beauty has found a new everyday perfume favorite! Be sure to check out her review of Georgia by Robin McGraw and Enter to Win!!!

Jessika from polish insomniac shows us there is a red for everyone in the Gwen Stefani for OPI Holiday 2014 collection... and some awesome glitters too!

If you like the idea of winning cosmetics, gift certificates, fashion and more then follow Beauty Info Zone and their Sunday Scoop each week. Giveaways galore for your entering pleasure. 

Blog-adventuring is serious business - you need to make sure you have an amazing party at your side! Who would The Painted Rogue rope into her adventuring team? Come check out some of her very favourite bloggers - you might find a new favourite beauty adventurer too!

The Guerlain Météorites Perles D’Étoile may just be the prettiest balls you've ever seen. Perilously Pale shows us why these Holiday 2014 Meteorites are her latest obsession.

There are so many holiday collections out that it's hard to narrow down which ones have the best steals and deals. One of Prime Beauty's favorite brands Too Faced has some beauties that you might find hard to resist.

Looking for a new foundation? 14 bloggers joined 15 Minute Beauty with their foundations of choice. See if there's a new one that calls your name.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Beauty Spotlight Team Shines a Light on Perilously Pale's Khaki Eyeshadow Collection!

Christa from Perilously Pale is a bit of an eyeshadow addict. She loves the variety of shades and finishes available and the endless creativity you can express through eye makeup. She finds herself wanting every variation of her favorite shades and is excited to share with us her Khaki Eyeshadow Collection complete with swatches of all the shades.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Cleansing the Soul: Dish On Your Favorite Cleansing Products and Methods

Paula's Choice as a brand has afforded me the luxury of being able to pick out things about my skin that really bother me-- some major and some minor-- and then obliterate them systematically. It's really quite exciting for me, because I've never encountered a line of products that work so well for me personally and can be relied upon time after time to be effective. Each morning when I get up and look in the mirror, I see positive progress, so of course I look for every chance I can to share the love.

Paula's Choice Hydralight One-Step Cleanser (8 oz- $17, 16 oz- $25)

That brings me to the Hydralight Cleanser, which is my great white whale of cleansers-- a crystal-clear, hydrating, non-stripping gel cleanser that really doesn't foam up at all (though it does say on the label that it's lightly foaming, I haven't seen any). It's the perfect simple gel that is gentle on my skin but really good at removing impurities, dirt and makeup. No stinging, no suds, and no unnecessary ingredients. Once or twice a day, I massage the gel into my damp skin until it turns a dingy milky color. 

But what makes the Hydralight Cleanser doubly effective is if you use it with a really good cleansing cloth. I favor the organic cotton muslin cloths from Ginger Chi (pictured below) with this cleanser. I like the precise size (a large rectangular shape as opposed to the usual medium sized squares of many other kinds), the medium weight of the cotton and the not-too-finely-woven texture of them. I find that once dampened with warm water, they pick up the cleanser and dirt on my face with just two rinses and passes. Light circular massage feels invigorating-- but not at all rough. With some experimentation, I've found that the right cleanser with the right cloth gets you The Perfect Cleanse. If anything deserves capitalization, it's The Perfect Cleanse. Not gonna go all-caps on you, but imagine it with reverberation. Ah, that's good.

Ginger Chi Organic Muslin Face Cloth Set ($14 for 2)

With all of the cleansing lotions, oils, liquids, grains, powders, creams and balms out there reaching a critical mass, cleansing has more than its share of the buzz in the skin care world. New and exciting cleansing methods and products from every corner of the world are being popularized and adopted every day. I must admit, I'm pretty fascinated by all of it. What I'd like to know is, what do you do for cleansing? Do you have special products or cleansing methods you like to use?

[...soon, I'll probably post my entire skin care regimen just so you can all see my level of skin-obsession. It's something I hope I can get all the beauty bloggers I know to do too. Who doesn't want to peek into the product cabinets of other like-minded women?]

*All products featured in this post were purchased by me for my own personal use. If you'd like to give Paula's Choice a try, click through to their site via THIS LINK in order to receive $10 off your first order, and I get a $10 credit too, for referring you!*

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Beauty Spotlight Team: Phyrra's Eyeshadow Hoard Takes the Stage!

Some people are goo hoarders, but Courtney is an eyeshadow lover. Check out her eyeshadow hoard at Phyrra.net!

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Beauty Spotlight Team Round-Up! Week-End of 10/17/14

Prime Beauty checks out a few Holiday Collections and finds The Marc Jacobs Beauty Sky-Liner 7 Pc. Petite Highliner Collection--the perfect gift for the beauty enthusiast but she won't give it up! 

With all of the gorgeous and luxurious beauty oils on the market, Lola's Secret Beauty Blog has found four more to love from : African Botanics, Sisley, Aesop and evanhealy!!

The holidays can be a stressful time, but you still want your nails to look good! Nail polish strips (like Sally Hansen Salon Effects) are a great way to get a fabulous mani in minutes. Check out Jessika's Tips & Tricks for Applying Nail Polish Strips (and Making Them Last!) over on polish insomniac!

1. Smell good. 2. Get gorgeous lips. 3. Support Breast Cancer Awareness. How can you do all three? Check out Beauty Info Zone's review of Coach, Origins, and Smashbox BCA limited edition goodies!

15 Minute Beauty is in the mood for pink! Is it October, is it the baby girl she's expecting any day, or maybe just a really pretty pink lippie? She created an easy every day look tutorial, inspired by the pink lip crayon.

Check out Carrie from eyeliner on a cat's review of aroma M Camellia Perfume and an interview with its creator, Maria McElroy. This is one GORGEOUS floral fragrance you'll not want to miss!

Contour and highlight might not be the most "exciting" part about makeup, but it adds so much to the face without seeming obvious! Sunny from Mostly Sunny gave Burberry Trench Sheer Eye Shadow and Earthy Blush Light Glow a go to see if they are the perfect candidates for the job!

Phyrra shares one of the prettiest palettes for Fall, the Anastasia Tamanna Palette. See her review, comparison and tutorial!

The Painted Rogue NEEDS YOU! :-D She's trying to put together the best ever Ultimate Pocket Guide to Pink Lipsticks and, while she has a lot of lipsticks, it's your suggestions that will make this guide as complete as possible. Come on over and share your favourite MLBB lipstick!

Perilously Pale shares a review of her favourite pieces from the NARS Laced With Edge Holiday 2014 Collection. The Lip Glosses!

How about some fun and spooky bath treats for your tub? Pammy Blogs Beauty scopes out LUSH's Halloween bath collection! Cute stuff!

Friday, October 10, 2014

The WINNER of the aroma M Camellia Beauty and Perfume Sample Bundle!

We have a winner for the aroma M Camellia Beauty and Perfume sample bundle:

Congratulations, Carole!

Please contact me via email with your mailing address at the following address:
eyeliner on a cat at gmail dot com.

Thanks again to Maria McElroy and to all who entered!

List Randomizer

There were 8 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
  1. Carole
  2. Lindaloo
  3. Jen
  4. monster
  5. Hazel
  6. rachlovespenguins
  7. shabra99
  8. burntsienna
Timestamp: 2014-10-11 00:04:23 UTC

Monday, October 6, 2014

Aroma M Beauty Camellia Perfume Review + Interview + Fabulous Giveaway!

Edit: The draw is now closed. Thanks to all the entrants! (7:05pm, 10/10/14)

As the weather here in Chicago begins to chill its natives to the bone, a beautiful new pure floral perfume has graciously moved in with me to warm my soul and to offer just a whiff of tradition. Maria McElroy, the creator and founder of Aroma M Perfumes and my friend, has launched Camellia Perfume in a concentrated oil and eau de parfum. It joins her Camellia Beauty collection of ridiculously luxe oils for hair and skin, and bears an intensified, refined version of the fragrance so elegantly employed for those very beauty oils.

camellia flower

The fragrance's focus is of course the camellia bloom, or tsubaki in Japanese. The camellia's leaves are made into many varieties of the tea that the world voraciously consumes. In Camellia Perfume's case, it is joined with jasmine, gardenia, neroli, geranium and rose, rounded out with a bit of brightly intoxicating frankincense. Many of you know that I'm not a huge rose lover, but it's precisely the judicious use of it in this perfume that allows me to appreciate it so much for how it can transform the mood of a fragrance blend. It provides a touch of warmth to this largely cool yet seasonless blend, and that's what really does it for me.

I just need a few deep breaths and I'm enveloped by smooth, peaceful waves of warmth.  The natural freshness of this fragrance graces me with true, unfettered happiness, wholeness and wistfulness for something that I haven't yet remembered. Camellia Perfume is the olfactory equivalent of a drop of red sealing wax on pure white paper. The past, present and future all collide here, with a nod to traditional Japanese Geisha culture, modern fashion and thoughts of what kind of legacy we will leave for future generations of girls and women. I'm not ashamed by my frequent cravings for this beautiful poppy in the field-- my life is simply less colorful without it.

I was so happy to do an interview with Maria recently, which you'll find below. After you read her inspiring words, leave a comment answering the question at the end of this post, BECAUSE...

...up for grabs is a complete set of Aroma M Camellia Beauty Oils and a set of Camellia perfume samples. You can get the full Camellia experience with a total of 5 samples to indulge yourself with, compliments of Aroma M! Trust me, this is one contest you need to enter.

Camellia Perfume Oil (7.5 ml $150)

CM: What was your main inspiration to create Camellia Perfume on the heels of your coveted Camellia Beauty trio (bath & body oil, face oil and hair oil)?

MM: Aroma M got its start as an artisanal perfume house, so of course I wanted to add a perfume to the aroma M Beauty collection. The inspirations are the natural heady floral notes that the Camellia Beauty Oils are known for. I was very inspired to create a natural perfume that included Camellia essential oil. I knew when I finally sourced this rare, delicate, and almost fruity fragrance, that it would be the namesake of the perfume.

CM: Historically, how does fragrance play into the daily rituals of geishas? Why is the camellia flower in particular so important?

MM: The Camellia flower is sometimes used as a symbol of the Geishas, but Camellia essential oil is quite rare. I had not seen it until I went on my yearlong search for the essential oil, after creating the aroma M Beauty Oils.

camellia flower

CM: The vibe of Camellia Perfume (both versions) is intense but fresh—a memorable and beautiful contrast. I see it as a modern-day Joy—a classic, but with a more faithful and almost affectionate rendering of the floral notes. Was one of your goals to create the type of fragrance that multiple generations of women could wear?

MM: I love that you see it as a modern-day Joy! I did give a lot of attention to the floral notes which are classic in combination. But as with all the aroma M perfumes I feel that it has a firm footing in the present and is modern, specifically with the subtle Japanese incense note. I created the Camellia Perfume with the intention for it to be worn by a young ingénue or a Grande dame.

CM: Including your last big fragrance launch, Geisha Amber Rouge, I feel that your aesthetic is becoming a bit more refined, lush and extravagant. Did you will the pendulum to swing this way?

MM: I feel that my style with the Camellia perfume is more refined also, and more opulent. In creating the aroma M Beauty Oils I worked with a lot of heady, voluptuous floral notes. They have influenced my aesthetic and inspired me to add even more gorgeous natural florals, like the addition of the Gardenia note. I swooned over it when I first smelled it!

Camellia EDP (30ml, $110)

CM: I love the timing of Camellia Perfume’s launch. I happen to think a rich floral for cooler seasons is super-chic—especially if it contains whispers of incense, as Camellia does. In terms of fashion, what would pair nicely with Camellia? Do you have any new and fabulous things stirring in your closet this Fall?

MM: The whisper of incense as you beautifully put it, gives the Camellia Perfume its aroma M signature I think. I love wearing a rich floral in cooler seasons also, they go wonderfully with flowing scarves and cashmere sweaters. I have been wearing a lot of vintage DVF dresses with chunky sweaters as the temperature cools; the Camellia Perfume pairs glamorously with these pieces.

CM: The experience of wearing this perfume has the same fluidity as music—no individual notes stand out as obvious, but there is a sweetness of character that emerges as soon as it hits skin. Highs and lows exist, but no one point is better than another—just different. I know that among other things, you studied music in Japan. Do you believe that art of all disciplines, including the design and creation of fragrance, springs from the same well?

MM: What a lovely way to describe the Camellia Perfume's fluidity like music. I created this perfume so that it would flow evenly over you as you wear it, each note merging into each other much like music, with the Camellia at the heart. I do think that all art, including perfume come from the same place of inspiration.

CM: Camellia might be the ultimate Aroma M perfume because of how tightly it’s connected to the heart of what your brand is. What do you hope that your new fragrance says to the world about the old world Japanese tradition of the geisha?

MM: I feel that the Camellia Perfume is very symbolic of the 20-year history of aroma M; our anniversary will be Feb 14! It is part of the new aroma M Beauty collection that embraces all natural ingredients, and it still has the ever-present influence of Japan and the geisha running firmly through it.

Maria McElroy-- Photo by Axel Oberg

CM: I mentioned the word “classic” before, which for me, speaks to the element of time in perfumery and its fleeting nature. It seems to me that the signature of Aroma M has always given a nod to the past while allowing us to languish in the moment for as long as possible. What does the near future hold for Aroma M?

MM: I especially love the poetic quality of fleeting beauty that perfume has. The images of cherry blossom petals fluttering down like pink snow, and the moon covered with a wisp of clouds. These are the essences that I try to translate in my perfumes. I create aroma M perfumes to help us linger in the moment for a bit longer. As for the future, I have a new aroma M Beauty Camellia Oil product that will launch next year that I am very excited about, and another aroma M Beauty perfume is in the works!



Leave a comment on this post to have the chance to win a full Aroma M Beauty Camellia sample set: that's one of each formulation of Camellia Perfume, and one each of Camellia Face, Hair and Bath and Body oil (a total of 5 samples). Just tell us how (if at all) beauty oils have made their way into your daily beauty regimen. Or, if you prefer, which Aroma M perfumes or skin care products appeal to you the most and why?

The winner will be chosen at random via random.org. The giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only. The winner will be announced in a separate post on this blog on Friday, October 10th at 7pm Central. At that point, the winner will be responsible for contacting me via email with their mailing information at: eyeliner on a cat at gmail dot com. If the winner does not come forward within 5 days, a new winner will be announced in the same manner.

Good Luck, everyone!

[sample provided by Aroma M for my editorial consideration]

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Beauty Spotlight Team Round-Up: Weekend of 9/26/14

Phyrra shares Great Makeup Tips for Hooded Eyes!

Helen from Lola's Secret Beauty Blog learned the secrets of Tom Ford Beauty when she attended a Master Class with Todd Davidson at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills, and it was a true game changer! Now you can learn Tom Ford's secrets too!

You gotta love a gloriously rich reddened berry lipstick and a metallic nail polish for autumn! Sunny from Mostly Sunny found her favorite lipstick and nail polish of the season with Givenchy Poupre Inouï Le Rouge and Bronze Insensé Le Vernis. Maybe they'll steal your heart, too!

15 Minute Beauty shares some of her favorite Merlot Nail Polishes for Fall. What color are you wearing obsessively on your tips this fall?

Stop being so sensitive and check out the Crest giveaway at Beauty Info Zone. Enter to win an awesome gift pack plus a $75 Walgreens Gift Card!

Does your daily skin care regimen need a quick fix? Carrie from eyeliner on a cat wants to help! Check out her list of 6 products which are Most Likely To Succeed.

Who doesn't love a palette that offers not only multiple eye looks but also blush, bronzer and highlighter? Christa from Perilously Pale reviews the amazing Tarte Rainforest After Dark Cheek and Eye Palette.

What are your Top 5 Handbag Essentials for Fall? Pammy Blogs Beauty shares hers as well a Freebie/coupon link for U by Kotex!

Have you brought back any new Holy Grail loot from your recent quests? If you're still searching, The Painted Rogue has a lead that's worth chasing up with her new HG friends, Laura Mercier's African Violet shadow and Amethyst Caviar Stick!

Most Likely To Succeed: 6 Ways to Update Your Skin Care Regimen

We all know how hard it is to get your skin regimen just right. Once you find your balance and get into the groove of it, something happens to disrupt it. Maybe the change in the weather is the culprit, stress hormones, exposure to pollution, or any number of possibilities. There's no need to start over by rearranging your entire regimen-- sometimes you just need to add one thing or switch one product out for different one. Here are 6 products that I've had great success with by adding them as an a la carte product as needed. These are my favorite fixers.

ATOPALM Moisturizing Skin Revitalizing Complex (1.0 oz, $35)
Note: get 30% off sitewide now with code: FALL30
If your biggest skin complaints include: Dry areas, redness, sensitivity, scaly or red patches, eczema or psoriasis flare-ups.

The benefits you can expect are: Consistent daily use will erase fine lines and wrinkles, fortify the skin barrier, smooth out the complexion and deeply hydrate. This impressive formulation supports the skin's ability to heal itself. This is a highly reliable moisturizer that provides a much-needed cushion between your skin and the world. I've been using it on and off for years with pretty amazing results. Atopalm has an entire range of products developed specifically for dry and sensitive skin on the face and body, and if you fall into this category, I'd urge you to try their other products as well. Other favorites: Moisturizing Facial Cleansing Foam, Moisturizing Cleansing Wipes, Intensive Moisturizing Cream.

Key ingredients: Peptides, vitamin C, niacinamide, camellia seed oil and leaf extract (green tea), squalane, licorice root, hyaluronic acid, panthenol, grapeseed oil

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant (4.0 oz, $26)
Note: Get 15% off sitewide right now, no code needed (plus get $10 off if you're a new customer and you click on my REFERRAL LINK-- I get $10 too. I'm not affiliated at all with the brand, I just love 'em to death!)

If your biggest skin complaints include: dullness, breakouts (hormonal, cystic, whatever ya got), wrinkles, dehydration, sun damage, sensitivity

The benefits you can expect are: This product works so well and so fast (even on sensitive skin)-- that you'll likely be shocked. I was. It clears out pores and actually reshapes the pore lining, literally improving skin from the inside out. Cell turnover rate is increased and the surface of the skin looks more and more beautiful each day as it starts to function like a well-oiled (and well-behaved) machine. Paula's BHA and AHA exfoliants give you the biggest bang for your buck when your skin needs a serious attitude adjustment without the expense and pain of in-office derm procedures. This particular version is their strongest, yet is very kind to my sensitive skin. I've never gotten more than a slight tingle from it. When was the last time you were told to expect a tingle and in reality, all there was was a tingle? I've been lied to for so long that I feel like I've hit the lottery. There are 6 basic exfoliant formulations and another several treatment formulations for specific conditions like acne or if you're looking for a weekly treatment.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that twice daily use for a couple of months has changed my skin completely. It is now whole, firm, clear and happy. I like to use it underneath my nightly retinol serum.

Key ingredients: salicylic acid, camellia leaf extract (green tea)

Raw Gaia MSM Beauty Spray (50 ml, $54)

If your biggest skin complaints include: Oil imbalance, dehydration and/or dryness from the elements and indoor heating, you need an extra layer of hydration before bed to seal in your serums, treatments or other moisturizers, you want a refreshing, anti-aging toner that delivers lasting moisture or if you don't want to use a heavy cream.

The benefits you can expect are: the revelation of a hydrosol and a face oil in one product. I like to spray 3 pumps into my hands and massage over  my face while the frankincense hydrosol and argan and rosehip oils merge. It simultaneously delivers the instant penetrating quenching of the hydrosol and then seals it in with healing, soothing organic oils. Frankincense and MSM (a form of sulphur, nicknamed The Beauty Mineral) are both effective, natural anti-inflammatory and anti-aging elements. Next to the sun, inflammation is your skin's worst enemy, and Raw Gaia's luxe, lightly fragrant facial spray is like sending out the cavalry to do battle. Those who need a bit of a product overhaul might just find that the MSM Beauty Spray is the answer to simplifying your regimen and making sure that your skin gets the royal treatment every day and night. One caveat: you do need to remember to shake it up well before you use it, because it naturally separates.

Complete ingredients: MSM crystals, cold-pressed, wildcrafted argan oil, wildcrafted frankincense essential oil and hydrosol, cold-pressed, organic rosehip oil

Koh Gen Do Spa Cleansing Water (300 ml, $39, 480 ml, $52)

If your biggest skin complaint is: You have sensitive skin, and you inadvertently rub your skin raw trying to completely remove your makeup (including waterproof mascara), your eyes are super-sensitive.

The benefits you can expect are: Quick and easy makeup removal-- no matter what kind or how much you've got piled on. I already loved Koh Gen Doh's All In One Spa Gel, so I figured that their micellar-type cleansing water would be a hit too. Best used with a good-sized, smooth-surfaced cotton pad (Koh Gen Do makes an excellent one). The product's effectiveness keeps the number of swipes required to get the job done to a minimum, and the inflammation-inhibiting extracts it contains really caters to those who have skin and eyes that are easily irritated by most cleansers. Never again will I use icky bi-phase eye makeup removers-- the Spa Cleansing Water quickly and kindly makes my skin clean, soft and ready for the next step in my regimen.

Key ingredients: Onsen-sui hot springs water, lactic acid, rosemary, lavender and sage extracts, ginger root extract, glycerin, birch, Perilla leaf (shiso mint), Japanese mugwort leaf extract

Trilogy Active Enzyme Cleansing Cream (5.0 oz, $42)

If your biggest skin complaint is: Your cleanser is drying you out, but you still need something that will exfoliate. You want a creamy, hydrating cleanser without the strain that physical exfoliation can exert on your skin.

The benefits you can expect are: Thank goodness for natural enzymes! This amazing cleanser has papaya and pineapple enzymes which gently exfoliate as you massage it in. It's got a texture that acts like whipped, slippery mousse (real mousse, not like whipped cream out of a can). It's luxurious-feeling and very kind to skin. I like to take my time massaging it over my face and neck, then leave it on for a minute or two for the enzymes to do their job. I easily remove most of it with an organic bamboo flannel in circular motions, then rinse away any extra with water. It provides a truly refreshing deep clean with the soothing effects of a moisturizing cleanser. This stuff is a good one to have in your corner for ongoing use to combat skin aging and it's brilliant when used with a Clarisonic or similar device. Definitely one of my favorite cleansers of all time. Ever.

Key ingredients: coconut-based cleansing agents, papaya and pineapple enzymes, licorice root extract, rosehip oil, chamomile, glycerin

Wildrose Magnolia Face Mask (3.4 oz, $20)

If your biggest skin complaints include: clogged pores, blemishes, dullness, unbalanced oil production (either dry or oily)

The benefits you can expect are: Smooth complexion, deep detoxification, reduction in frequency and duration of blemishes, balanced oil production, very clean feeling and appearance to skin without stripping and drying. I adore this powdered wonder. You can mix it with water, honey, organic extra-virgin coconut oil or yogurt, depending on your skin's needs at the moment. This jar contains all the power of millenia of holistic Ayurvedic wisdom, and Wildrose Magnolia serves it up in a no-nonsense formulation and a pretty jar to boot for only $20. It's enough to last at least 6 months with weekly use, Your face will be sooty for about 30 minutes, and then it washes away surprisingly easily with just water and a warm, wet face flannel. You can also use it as an exfoliating cleanser by mixing some into your regular cleanser or just with extra water. I like to use my little rubber mixing bowl and a spatula to mix it up and then a taklon fan brush to apply it. I beseech you to give up the semi-violent and potentially irritating and damaging effects of those nose pore strips, and clean out your pores with this beauty of this spa-at-home treatment. You'll be as obsessed as I am, I promise! More reviews of Canadian indie brand Wildrose Magnolia products to come very soon, including their delicious shampoo and conditioner and highly pigmented lip gloss.

Complete ingredients: fuller's earth (multani mitti), Morrocan lava clay (rhassoul), activated bamboo charcoal, raw cacao, ground sandalwood, green tea extract, seabuckthorn extract, raw Himalayan salt

[samples sent by Trilogy and Wildrose Magnolia. All other products were purchased by me]

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Beauty Spotlight Team Round-Up: Weekend of 9/19/14

Phyrra has the Best Mascaras You Seriously Need to Try Now! Don't buy another mascara until you read this!

Find out the Top 10 Nails Color for Fall over on polish insomniac!

Carrie from eyeliner on a cat has been spoiled by a mini of a devastatingly beautiful luxury face cream from Tatcha. Find out exactly why her skin was living the charmed life while it lasted.

Beauty Info Zone is giving away $940 of Onsen Secret Skin Care. Enter now and you could be one of two lucky winners!

If you seek a magical balm, with amazing ingredients, that is good for all that ails you--then Lola's Secret Beauty Blog recommends the truly amazing Heaven + URTH Beelieve Hydration Balm!

Prime Beauty shares 6 Beauty Problem Solvers that will curl your lashes, remove deodorant stains, untangle your tresses and get every last drop of product out of the tube!

Sunny from Mostly Sunny is officially a Dior Diorskin Star convert! Find out more about the foundation, concealer, and Backstage Blender. Maybe you'll find your new holy grail, too!

15 Minute Beauty shares her favorite cuticle products to keep her hands looking perfect, no trips to the salon required! Looking for a polished adventure?

The Painted Rogue has the scoop on a neon pink and shimmering orange quest through the heart of a volcano with Sephora Formula X and Nailstation Paris loot!

Get ready to pucker up for the new, reformulated for Fall 2014, Guerlain KissKiss Lipsticks. Christa from Perilously Pale shows us the beautiful Baby Rose and Sexy Coral.

The cream I didn't know I needed: Tatcha Ageless Enriching Renewal Cream

One thing I didn't really think I needed right now is a night cream. That was, of course, before I received a deluxe mini of Tatcha's Ageless Enriching Renewal Cream as a prize from Charleston Girl's giveaway on her blog, Best Things In Beauty. Tatcha had something like 300 to give away, so I know there were lots of happy entrants.

This velvety, rich cream features some very nice ingredients that fit very well into my current regimen: camellia japonica seed oil, rice extract, camellia sinensis leaf extract, peony root extract, gardenia jasminoides fruit extract, artemisia princeps leaf extract, mallow flower extract and other well-loved and proven skin-plumping ingredients like olive oil-derived squalane, glycerin and hyaluronic acid. You need very little product to cover the entire face and neck, which is very nice, since the full sized jar is a splurge-- $185 for 1.7 oz. You can also try a small 10ml jar for $39.

Tatcha describes that the core purpose of this cream is to promote microcirculation which helps to reduce and reverse signs of skin aging, including dark spots. I've discovered that this is a product you can apply in the evening with hope in your heart, and know that you will wake up looking refreshed and still hydrated. It can also function as a rich day cream and will certainly go a long way towards protecting your skin from harsh winter elements. It makes my skin look incredibly dewy, not greasy, and makeup glides over it and blends like a dream. It's a cream that soothes my dry and sensitive skin, doesn't clog my pores or contribute to the occasional breakouts I experience. Best of all, it legitimately fortifies the skin barrier.

I did not expect to fall so hard for Tatcha's intense moisturizer, but boy, did I. If I have felt and seen such overwhelmingly positive results with a little trial-sized jar, I would absolutely love to see where my skin would be with months of use instead of weeks. Sadly, my little jar is empty, but I'll hold a place in my heart for Ageless Enriching Renewal Cream.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Beauty Spotlight Team Round-Up: Weekend of 9/12/14

While Helen from Lola's Secret Beauty Blog loves many luxury face oils there are four that she reached for more than anything else in the month of August! Can you guess which one's made the list?

15 Minute Beauty is a hoarder of eyeliners, but she's always looking for more! She asked pro makeup artists for their favorite eye liners, and they really gave her a great list!

Lisa from Beauty Info Zone goes all Amazonian snakeskin with a review and swatches of the new tartecosmetics Fall 2014 collection!

Prime Beauty's latest Splurge vs Steal: WEN Cleansing Conditioner vs L'Oreal EverPure Sulfate Free Color Care Shampoo. Who's the winner? Find out!

You demanded it! Phyrra has the all new Urban Decay Vice 3 Palette to show you!

Carrie from eyeliner on a cat still has lavender on the brain. This time, she wants to tell you about Heaven + Urth Beelieve Hydration Balm, which satisfies her grouchy skin AND her sensory greediness for the beauty of natural lavender.

Have you seen NYC New York Color's Crystal Couture Topcoats? Find out why Jessika is going ga-ga over these $1.99 glitters over on polish insomniac!

Sunny from Mostly Sunny is a Dior girl at heart, but is she embracing the new Dior Rouge Dior Baume? Read about her experience here!

Christa from Perilously Pale reviews a few shades of the new MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Liner. Does this new eyeliner offering from MUFE live up to her expectations from this high quality artistry brand?

Have you seen the gorgeous new assortment of MUA product at CVS? Pammy Blogs Beauty tries out some lippies and brushes from this fabulous new-to-CVS line!

Wondering what to wear on your next dungeon raid? The Painted Rogue has you covered with eyeshadow looks from the Sleek Arabian Nights and Storm Palettes that vary from everyday adventuring chic to Magical Flamboyant Peacock Butterfly Thing!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Heaven + Urth Beelieve Hydration Balm

Heaven + Urth Beelieve Hydration Balm came into my life at exactly the right time. I'm constantly having to deal with the ups and downs of hormonal breakouts coupled with juggling a few vital products with active ingredients like retinol and beta hydroxy acid. It's a tricky dance that I must do twice a day, and every day I must find my comfort, somehow. Now, without exception, I need a product that heals and reinforces the skin barrier while sealing in serums and treatment products. It also needs to be natural and organic and let my skin breathe all day and night. Beelieve Balm has filled each one of my requirements and is such an important part of my regimen now. 

I've had to give up almost all balms I've loved, as they tend to clog my pores and one of my main goals right now is to keep them clear. Beelieve Balm is different in its formulation than other products in the same vein I had been using. It targets dehydration, lines and wrinkles and all degrees of dryness without just sitting on top of the skin. It's deeply penetrating and healing. Every one of the ingredients are helpful for troubled skin (except for those few who are averse to essential oils), and they all work in tandem to make my complexion absolutely glow. 

Ingredients: olive oil, beeswax, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, calendula oil, vitamin E, lavender essential oil, sweet orange essential oil

I always make sure to cleanse and exfoliate first, because it doesn't matter what you put on dull, old skin cells-- your skin just won't work as well. I use just a tiny pea-sized dot of balm warmed between my hands. That's all I need for my face and neck, and I still have a teeny bit left over to use on my cuticles and hands. I also use the balm on the ends of my hair and to tame flyaways, I use it on my dry elbows and heels, as a lip balm, makeup remover, overnight moisture treatment for skin and hair and under-eye line smoother. It's got the most beautiful, high quality lavender and sweet orange essential oils, which are universally uplifting and soothing.

Crystal + Tanya

The product is priced well and lovingly crafted by people who know a thing or two about the struggles of creating and maintaining healthy skin: they are aestheticians, skin care experts and best friends Crystal Surmanian and Tanya Robertson.

The effects of Beelieve on the skin are rapid and simply beautiful, and the longer I use it, the better my skin looks, feels and acts. My skin appears smooth, plump, glowing and hydrated. I wake up in the morning and dryness and dehydration are but a distant memory. Or was it a nightmare? Either way, supple, healthy skin is mine, and I'm not giving it back.

[Heaven + Urth Beelieve Hydration Balm is available in a 2 oz size jar (pictured above) for $39 and a 4 oz size for $73. Shipping is free, and the adorable little wooden spoon and a jute pouch are included with your jar. Product sent to me for my consideration.]

Friday, September 5, 2014

Beauty Spotlight Team Special Post: My Top 5 Favorite Lavender Fragrances

Lavender has been used in soaps, cleaning products and laundry detergents for so long that it's gotten a bit of a bad rap for fine fragrance. It's unfortunate, but I hope that with my list below, your curiosity might be piqued by these scents and you'll give lavender the chance it deserves to delight you. These are some of the tiny slivers that make up the whole of my joy and obsession with lavender over the years. Below, find a quickie guide to what I think are the best lavender fragrances; giving equal billing to the widely available as well as the super-exclusives. In short, this is how I get my lavender fix.

Guerlain Jicky
Lavender, vanilla and civet: a trio of notes that have caused many perfume lovers to swoon uncontrollably. First launched in 1889, Jicky has been subject to some inevitable changes, but it still smells good. It's one of the most perfect unisex fragrances in the world. Vintage Jicky is definitely worth seeking out, if even just a small vial. It contains little twists and turns that make for a memorable ride.

Penhaligon's Lavandula
The traditional flourish of Penhaligon's fragrances is something I find rather irresistible. Lavandula is an extremely friendly example of how the British fragrance house create timeless scents that are crowd-pleasers and inspire fierce brand loyalty. Lavandula is multi-layered with spices and aromatic herbs with a gorgeous amber-vanilla drydown. There's never an inappropriate time to wear it.

Caron Pour Un Homme
Caron's classic fougere has been a favorite of mine for years, and I often find myself craving its powdery cocoon. A huge bottle can be had for a song (search the discount sites), so I always have at least one on hand. When you're looking for a light, every day lavender-based scent, Pour Un Homme is your man.

Serge Lutens Encens et Lavande
Encens et Lavande is one of the many fragrances by Christopher Sheldrake for the house of Serge Lutens, and it's one of my favorites. It's an exclusive perfume available in the US at Barneys NY store on Madison Ave. and online via the Serge Lutens website. It has notes of Lavender, Rosemary and incense so enchanting and unusual, it gives itself away as a Sheldrake creation immediately. There is something brutish about it which contrasts beautifully with the classical aromatic elements, creating an impression so memorable that I often lament its exclusivity.

Vero Profumo Kiki
Now for something completely different. Vero Kern's joyous Kiki is voluptuously fruity, bright and tirelessly optimistic. It sends lavender to a faraway island where politics and religious dogma don't exist, and clothing is optional. I love that she releases two versions of her fragrances; an eau de parfum and an extrait-- it's fascinating and decadent for a collector to compare them. In Kiki's case, I only slightly prefer the eau de parfum, where the lavender, passion fruit and caramel do a sultry, symmetrical Balinese dance that you wish would never end.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Beauty Spotlight Team Round-Up: Weekend of August 30th, 2014

It's no secret that Helen from Lola's Secret Beauty Blog has a penchant for luxury face oils, but TATCHA'S GOLD Camellia Beauty Oil takes luxury to a whole new level. You will see why it truly is the GOLD standard!

Famous for some of the best eyeshadows this industry has ever seen, Rouge Bunny Rouge recently launched their first eyeshadow palette! Sunny shares a sneak peek and comparisons on Mostly Sunny. This beauty is limited edition, so don't let it slip through your butter shadow-loving fingers!

Christa at Perilously Pale reviews the new Lancôme Grandiôse Mascara. Finally a mascara that's truly different... and amazing!

Carrie from eyeliner on a cat is head over heels in love with Sage Lifestyle's gorgeous and eminently wearable perfume oil blends. Click through to find out why...

It's a rare day when Jessika from polish insomniac feels like she can pull off red lips. Check out what products gave her glowing skin and even confidence to pull them off!

The Painted Rogue knows what she likes, and what she likes is phenomenal sapphire blue eyeshadow treasure! In the case of the Sleek Arabian Nights Palette, that treasure comes with a host of other lovely colours to boot. Did she mention there's sparkle? And a price that's friendly on the gold purse? Come take a look! Win It!!!

Reverse signs of aging naturally with TruAge Skin AGE Therapy Gel! Enter to win on Pammy Blogs Beauty!

As with most things, makeup is only as good as the tools you use. Read Prime Beauty's Top 10 Picks for Makeup Brushes! 

15 Minute Beauty rounded up her Best MAC Cosmetics Products! Which products are your must haves? Did they make her list?

Beauty Info Zone has found blush nirvana at Makeup Geek. Check out the swatches and find total blush bliss!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Beauty Spotlight Team: A Concealer Collection from Christine of 15 Minute Beauty

Christine from 15 Minute Beauty is a busy lady. She works full time, has a blog and a family. She gets phone calls all night long for work, not to mention restless nights of sleep because of pregnancy issues! It should come as no surprise that she has more concealer than a Sephora store.

[Ed: I'm sort of obsessed with concealers too-- this is a great list!]

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cat Meets Broccoli

Computer Blue loves food. She has an adventurous palate and sees no reason why she shouldn't eat whatever I'm eating, right along with me. Sometimes I will indulge her, and it also affords me the opportunity to test her mettle. Here are the photographic results of a meeting between cat and vegetable.

In the end, the broccoli was tasted but not eaten. It was better off just toyed with.

Sage Lifestyle Perfume Oil Blends: Modern Gems

The theme of this post is simple: these perfume oils make me happy, and if you don't yet know about Sage Lifestyle either for their fragrances or their gorgeous jewelry and scarves (and more recently, other accessories), I'd love to be the one to point you in their direction.

These roll-on perfume blends comfort me, help me shake off chills, cool me down when I'm too warm and they feel so natural to wear. They are the unfailing panacea for my species (The Fragrance-Devoted/Obsessed). I used to wear perfume oils a lot in the more nomadic days of my youth, and that beautiful feeling always comes rushing back when I wear Sage's (albeit more sophisticated) fragrances. I only wish these lovely little roll-on bottles (1/4 oz) came in larger sizes, because I seem to go through them pretty quickly. The oils last quite a long time on my skin and are perfect for using on the hair and clothes, where they will last even longer. The oil base allows longer adherence to the skin and it's moisturizing for hair. There are two blends I've yet to try: Garnet & Amethyst and Sage & Citrine, but it won't be long until they're mine, too.

There are so few things in my life that have a universally mood-boosting effect on me, and there's something incredibly special and soulful about Sage Machado's fragrance design aesthetic. It makes me certain that she's someone I ought to have tea and a chat with someday.

Onyx & Peridot $45
notes: vanilla nectar, dark coconut, lime, fig, soft musk

Jade & Topaz $45
notes: tuberose, Egyptian jasmine, mango, papaya, rosewood, sandalwood, vanlla

Amber & Carnelian $45
notes: rich musk, Tunisian amber, blood orange, tangerine, papaya

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Beauty Spotlight Team Round-Up: The Weekend of 8/16/14

Lola's Secret Beauty Blog had a swatchfest with the Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Solo Eyeshadows because they are utterly delectable!

Carrie from eyeliner on a cat shares what she's Currently Loving from two of her favorite brands, Atopalm and Korres.

Mostly Sunny is a junkie for gel liner in pencil form. She has tried one that she likes, she has tried another that she hates. The new Hourglass 1.5MM Mechanical Gel Eye Liner however, is pure love!

Prime Beauty has fallen HARD for the new LORAC PRO Palette 2, take a look at her swatches and you will fall too! Splurge or Steal?

The Pink Sith has a brief list of beauty items where you can save tons of cash and still look amazing!

Back to school time has got Jessika from polish insomniac in the mood to get Back To Basics with her eye makeup! Check out her favorite purchases in this week's Friday Favorites!

Sometimes, catacombs are full of the risen dead. Sometimes, they're full of shiny lipstick loot! The Painted Rogue has been loving some luxury with three Guerlain Rouge Automatiques! But then, who doesn't love a lipstick that leaves your lips feeling soft and hydrated?

When you just gotta shop there's always the drugstore. See what Beauty Info Zone likes to spend money on when that urge comes on.

Christa at Perilously Pale has been busy reviewing all five looks in the extensive Dior Fall 2014 Colour Collection. Check out one of her favourites for everyday, Bar Grey.

Japonesque launches a gorgeous new collection of primers! Pammy Blogs Beauty tries them out and realizes that she is a primer-girl after all!

Need help choosing a neutral companion? Phyrra compares Urban Decay Pulp Fiction vs. Naked Basics vs. Naked 2 Basics so you can choose the best palette for your skintone!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Currently Loving: Atopalm BB Cream and Korres Quercetin and Oak Face Serum

Atopalm BB Cream in Light (2.4 oz, $25)
Available at Atopalm.com and other retailers

BB Creams usually make me nervous, and that's mostly because I'm so fair-skinned (a typical English Rose complexion). I have a natural distrust for things that are very limited in available shades (this one has two-- light and medium). The super-cool folks at Atopalm urged me to give it a try. I wanted so bad to love it, and I was prepared to mix it with this and that to get the shade perfect if I had to. 

And all that for naught, because shockingly, the shade was already practically perfect. Perhaps a tad yellow, but my Besame Violet loose powder took care of that. I was thinking that it was originally developed for the Asian market, so maybe it just needs to be tweaked a bit more for Westerners. Perhaps add a couple more shades... I can see the line expanding, because it's a product that out-performs every BB Cream I've tried. 

It's a fairly thick, densely pigmented formula. It's got broad spectrum spf 20, and I use a generous amount, which makes taking a few extra minutes for blending a must. It's worth it, because the feel on the skin is light as a feather, hydrating and ever so comfy. If you've got a BeautyBlender sponge, it's perfect for this purpose, especially around the nasal folds. Once it sets on the skin fully-- maybe 20 minutes or so after application, then decide if you want to use other products like powder, concealer, etc. I just find that I don't need anything else but blush and mascara most of the time. If you want to cut the density of the product, you can make it lighter in weight by adding a dab of Atopalm MLE Cream. This is how I prefer to wear the BB Cream when I'm using additional SPF or won't be going out in the sun. The benefit of this type of application is that it behaves more like a tinted moisturizer than a BB cream. Any way you slice it, it's a fabulous product, well-priced and just one of MANY of my must-haves from Atopalm.

Notable ingredients: Atopalm's patented MLE complex (Multi Lamellar Emulsion), Antioxidants, Arbutin (brightens and lightens), Vitamin E, Broad spectrum SPF 20 (titanium dioxide and octinoxate), licorice root extract (soothes sensitivity, brightens skin tone), portulaca oleracea (high in omega 3 fatty acids), phellinus linteus (medicinal mushroom used in Asia that grows on mulberry trees in the wild. Studies have shown it to be a very effective anti-inflammatory agent)

Korres Quercetin & Oak Antiageing & Antiwrinkle Face Serum (1 oz, $62)
Available at Sephora and other retailers

I'm starting to have ambivalent feelings about the term "anti-aging". As someone who eats, breathes and dreams beauty, that's an interesting spot to be in. To me, it doesn't really mean much on its own. I want to know what a product is going to do once I let it set up camp on my skin.

I've been a fan of Korres for many years, but still didn't quite have this serum pegged correctly until I used it. First of all, it smells wonderful. Like a mix of natural resins, lavender and other aromatic herbs. It's water-based, so it won't ever feel greasy. Once you start applying it, you don't have too long to get every drop in place before it dries-- maybe 20 seconds. When it's dry, you just need to wait a few minutes to see its effect-- instant firming and toning, but not uncomfortably or too dramatically. The skin feels immediately hydrated and the texture is much smoother. It's actually quite amazing-- it's a supercharged drink for the skin.

I've been experimenting with layering it with other treatments, serums and moisturizers, and I haven't found one that doesn't play well with Korres Q&O Face Serum. I will say that it works best layered with other water-based products, such as essences, AHA swipes, mineral water sprays, alcohol-free toners, etc.

After several days of using it twice daily along with the rest of my regimen, my skin is quite a bit softer than usual and was helpful in aiding the disappearance of some pesky little bumps I had as a result of dryness and clogged pores. Even the areas under my eyes aren't puffy and discolored anymore-- so yes, use it under your eyes. It's definitely safe (and highly beneficial) to do so. I'll also give the green light to acne sufferers, oily skins, dry, dehydrated, sensitive and mature skin. Instead of being packed with lots of irritating actives that could potentially compete with or cancel out the actives in other products you're using, this baby will instead enhance their performance. This serum is all about plumping and smoothing, and it does those things exceedingly well. I can officially say that I've been bitten by the Korres bug again. A huge thumbs-up for their Quercetin & Oak Face Serum, and I'm really looking forward to discovering what the longer-term benefits are to using it. In the meantime, I can't wait to give their new Black Pine range a try.

Notable ingredients: Quercetin and Oak (used as a type of natural retinol substitute), Vitamin C (the standard for effective skin brightening, wrinkle smoothing and more), probiotic lactobacillus ferment (soothing to sensitive and acneic skin plus more), honeysuckle flower extract (skin soothing, excellent cellular regenerative properties), hyaluronic acid (hydration superstar), myrtle and several interesting botanical ingredients I've not seen used in skin care products before.

If any of you have experiences with these products that you'd like to share, I'd love to hear your comments!

[samples provided for my consideration]

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Beauty Spotlight Team: What's in Pammy's Mommy Bag?

Ever wondered, "What are the on-the-go essentials are for a busy Mommy Beauty Blogger?" Pammy Blogs Beauty opens up her "Mommy Bag" to share her basic, beauty, and baby/toddler go-to items! Not to mention, you have to check out her chic version of a baby bag. Hey, now that Pammy is over 40, a mother of 2, and lives in the burbs, it doesn't mean that she has lost her cool, lol (never, gasp)!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Beauty Spotlight Team: Sylirael of The Painted Rogue and Her Rowdy Bunch of Eyeliners

Living in a land where even the simplest of drugstore cosmetics lean toward 20 gold apiece, Sylirael the (Painted) Rogue has rather a modest hoard of glittering makeup loot. Trying to decide what constituted an actual 'collection' to show you all proved tricky, until she realised that there was one assemblage to rule them all... Her preciousssssss....eyeliners!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Beauty Spotlight Team Round-Up: Weekend of July 26th

Channing Tatum anyone? Perilously Pale shares a preview of the Pur Mineral Jupiter Ascending Collection. Maybe there will be a bit of Channing around too.

Phyrra is giving away the Pur Minerals Jupiter Ascending Collection. Now that you've seen it, you'll want to enter.

Prime Beauty is part of an EPIC blogger giveaway! Enter to win an amazing 30-pan MAC Eye Shadow Palette filled with each blogger's favorite shade!!

Helen from Lola's Secret Beauty Blog loves delectable rose-infused skincare products, and here are her top picks!

It's the perfect time for neon polish and polish insomniac has some beauties from Salon Perfect.

Mostly Sunny leaves her comfort zone with Dior Rosy Glow. See why this was a great move.

Don't forget to give your hands a little loving like Pammy Blogs Beauty does with Perlier Shea Butter White Lily Hand Cream.

Summer hair getting you down? Or rather up with all that frizz? Find out what 15 Minute Beauty can teach you about Frizz Fighters.

Shower or bath? Whichever it is Beauty Info Zone says follow up with A Girl's Gotta Spa! Energizing Citrus Body Lotion. The fragrance is divine.

Pink Sith wants to know what it would take for you to buy a $50 nail polish.

Next to cosmetic shopping what do you like best? Carrie from eyeliner on a cat thinks shoes make a great choice.

The Painted Rogue has some favorite You Tube Channels. Are any of these on your list?