eyeliner on a cat

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

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.