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Escada Born in Paradise

→ I got samples ←

Escada Born in Paradise

ESCADA BORN IN PARADISE ($59)

I had a weakness for Escada perfumes loooong time ago, when Sexy Graffity (the original) hit the stores. After that, with each and every release of their new scent, my feeling of novel experience was starting to fade. I was consistently getting more resistant to any candied exuberance that came my way in a form of Escada’s perfume bottle. I love the carefree feeling of tropical escapes, and I also love fruit. On the other hand, just the thought of smelling like a succulent fruit plate makes me cringe.

According to the press release, “inspired by the famous Pina Colada cocktail, the ESCADA Born in Paradise perfume delivers an enchanting blend of pineapple and coconut milk, shaken with the aqueous and acidulous notes of watermelon, green apple and guava and enhanced with woody, musky and creamlike undertones.”

Born in Paradise’s notes are easily recognizable with the first spritz:

Top: Green Apple, Guava, Watermelon
Middle: Pineapple, Coconut Milk, Jasmine Tea
Base: Sandalwood, Cedar, Musk

The mellow fruitiness of these notes evokes memories of the breakfast buffet on the remote island in the Maldives, where life seemed to be infused with coconut and pineapple flavors all year round. It was a real delight to the senses, and I loved it. Born in Paradise, though, doesn’t hold up to its name, it seems. All fruity ingredients stick together for dear life and don’t let go of each other up until the dry down. The scent doesn’t appear to have any layers or stages of development, but a straightforward, love-it-or-leave-it fruity demeanor. It also lacks any character and stamina to get you beyond the calorie-infused fruit cocktail first impression, mainly because it doesn’t last long enough. It didn’t transport me to paradise as it claimed it would, and it didn’t move my senses enough to awaken my curiosity and push me to give this scent another chance. It simply wasn’t meant to be.

Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer

→ I got samples ←

Kate Somerville Oil-Free Moisturizer

KATE SOMERVILLE OIL FREE MOISTURIZER ($65)

Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer was developed to fit the needs of oily, acne prone and sensitive skin types. The idea behind the product is that people with oily skin try to skimp on moisturizers in fear of them exacerbating the excessive oil production. Oil Free Moisturizer promises to keep oil production in check, retain skin’s hydration, and smooth out wrinkles and lines at the same time. It was formulated  without parabens, oils or fragrances, which makes it safe to use on sensitive and acne prone skin.

 Claimed benefits:

◊  Essential Amino Acid Derivatives are designed to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
◊  Red Marine Algae improves the look of firmness and elasticity.
◊  Algae-Based Tighteners are formulated to tone and tighten.
◊  Oil-Absorbing Spheres balance oily skin for a shine-free look.

Despite being a complete opposite of what my dry skin demands in winter, Oil Free Moisturizer impressed me with 2 of its qualities: weightless texture and lightning speed of absorption. It sinks into skin upon application, immediately producing the mattifying effect – great if that’s what you are looking for. In my case though, it felt like it sucked the last drops of moisture out of my skin, which is exactly what oily skin types would appreciate. I’m not sure how it handles the fight with wrinkles just because I wasn’t strong enough to last through a longer testing period to find out. After all, we are experiencing an Arctic cold wave here, which, together with indoor heating, dry out my skin into a rather uncomfortable condition. So I need moisture, and lots of it.

Have You Tried Micellar Water Yet?

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Micellar Water

MICELLAR WATER

Micellar water is a type of face cleanser/makeup remover that is applied with a cotton pad and doesn’t require any rinsing. It’s essential to use a cotton pad with it, as it helps activate tiny micelles (molecules, made of fatty acid esters). Micelles trap and dissolve oil, dirt and dust, leaving the skin feeling clean and refreshed. In other words, micellar water does the job of a cleanser, makeup remover and toner without disturbing your skin’s pH balance. Plus, its (mostly) fragrance-free and anti-inflammatory qualities are ideal even for sensitive skin types. Oily skin, though, may not necessarily benefit from using micellar waters, as they may feel not concentrated enough to get the cleansing job done.

Micellar waters are getting all the hype because of their soap-free, no-rinse cleansing capabilities that make them perfect as a one-step lazy girl cleansing routine. They are also safe to use as eye makeup removers, except for waterproof mascaras and eyeliners. They are great for traveling, because they eliminate the need to pack any other products with you. Mild enough to be left on skin without irritating it, micellar waters are quite helpful during winter time, when the skin often feels dry and itchy after washing your face with a regular cleanser and water.

Rumor has it that less expensive versions of micellar waters will soon be making their way to the drug store near you. I think they are worth the wait.

Merry Christmas Everybody & Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas!

merry xmas

Murad Rapid Collagen Infusion: No Wrinkles in 2 Hours?

→ I got samples ←

Murad Rapid Collagen Infusion

MURAD RAPID COLLAGEN INFUSION ($78)

What can be greater than getting rid of wrinkles 2 hours after using a topical lotion that “immediately restores… youthful appearance”? Aside from world peace, there isn’t much else that comes to mind. The claims behind Murad Rapid Collagen Infusion are, indeed, grand – from skin plumping to lifting and firming to restoring skin’s collagen levels:

  Collagen Support Complex boosts skin’s resilience and plumps dehydrated skin to reduce wrinkle depth appearance
  Winged Kelp smooths skin by fostering natural collagen and elastin
 Cellular Hydro-Lock® plumps skin and helps smooth fine lines and wrinkles

With consistency of a light serum, Rapid Collagen Infusion is recommended for use on clean skin, followed by your usual skincare routine. Then wait for 2 hours and… OK, let’s get straight to pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Light, non-greasy, fast-absorbing formula
  • Hydrating
  • Contains good for your skin antioxidants
  • Smooths skin to some extend

Cons:

  • Skin smoothing only lasts while you use the product
  • Works slower than it claims
  • May irritate skin and cause allergic reaction

At first, this treatment appeared to be a good match for my winter-dry skin: with just a dollop slathered on my face and neck, it provided an immediate hydration and relief from dryness. It also seemed to agree with my serum and moisturizer that I was applying a few minutes later. Then I forced myself to be patient and try to go about with my life for 2 hours without checking the mirror for results. By the end of two hours I spread my wings of hope and flew back to the bathroom to assess how many years the treatment have slashed off of my face. But – talk about major life disappointments – not only there were no noticeable changes in my fine lines, but there was also a bumpy rash on my forehead.

Needless to say, I stopped the testing right away and got on my computer to do some research on the product, which means that I wasn’t able to determine if Collagen Infusion is capable of magically reversing the clock. Turned out that my skin irritation was most likely caused by Lavandula Angustifolia Oil, or lavender oil, included in the formula. And looks like lavender oil has a bad reputation as a skincare ingredient, because not only it can serve as skin irritant, but its topical application may cause skin-cell death. Some studies suggest that linanool, one of the components of lavender oil, can be cytotoxic (poisonous) to human cells. Although scientists are still debating about lavender oil’s potential harmful effects, we need to be wary about this issue and proceed with caution.

Hand Saver of the Season – Clarins Hand & Nail Cream

→ I bought it myself ←

Clarins Hand Cream

CLARINS HAND & NAIL TREATMENT CREAM ($30)

I can’t explain why it took me such a long time to review Clarins Hand & Nail Treatment Cream, after all I’ve been using it for the 2nd year in a row. But I finally got myself together, and now ready to rave about it: this is the product that saves and transforms my dry hands and brittle nails.

What it does:

“Professional, emollient-rich treatment — with soothing Sesame Oil and fortifying Japanese Mulberry — forms an invisible protective “glove” that shields hands from the elements, minimizing signs of aging. Softens and comforts dry, chapped, irritated skin. Helps strengthen nails and condition cuticles for youthful-looking hands, naturally.”

Main Ingredients:

  • Big black root stimulates, revitalizes and softens.
  • Shea protects, moisturizes and softens, and is an anti-free radical.
  • Myrrh strengthens, moisturizes, revitalizes and soothes.

What it doesn’t have:

  • Sulfates
  • Synthetic Dyes
  • Petrochemicals
  • Phthalates
  • GMOs

I’m absolutely in love with this hand cream. I’m obsessed with washing my hands frequently, which dehydrates the skin immensely in winter. And the cream’s rich formula effectively softens, soothes and gives instant dryness relief to my hands. It absorbs very fast, without leaving any greasy residue behind. Hands feel instantly hydrated and silky-smooth. It also strengthens nails with prolonged use, making them look healthy and shiny. I reached the point where I cannot imagine not having this cream in my arsenal come winter. Hope Clarins never discontinues this product.

The hand cream has a light powdery scent that disappears quickly after application. Some people hate it, some love it, I happen to fall right in the middle with my indifference to it. At the end of the day, the benefits of this hand treatment and the results you get easily overshadow the little nuisances like smell, and even the price.

Ready to Party? Don’t Forget Your Makeup

→ No disclosures ←

Kate Moss once said  that “makeup is a really powerful way of expressing who you are. You can change your personality with makeup.” Creating various makeup looks can also be fun, especially during festive Christmas time. Whether you decide to master and stick with one particular look that you like the most or experiment with different makeup ideas, ’tis the perfect season for that.

Versace

VERSACE

Everybody looks good with dramatic, bold, fanned-out lashes a la Versace. You can either glue some falsies on or pile a few generous coats of black mascara on both upper and lower lashes. To build even more intensity draw a thick black eyeliner across upper and lower lash lines, extending it just past the outer edges of the eyes. Add a few strokes of shimmery or metallic eyeshadow to make eyes sparkle for the whole night. Finish off with a touch of highlighter on cheekbones, brow bones and inner corners of the eyes to make them pop even more. A bit of sheer neutral color on the lips and – boom – gorgeous!

Emma Stone

EMMA STONE

This year instead of classic red lip, try an unadulterated bright pink color. Worn with thin black eyeliner and a swipe of rosy blush, pink lips freshen up your complexion, making it look really healthy. Just make sure the lipstick you are using is soft and creamy (matte will go flat with eating and drinking), maybe even with a hint of shimmer to reflect the light and create dimension.

Jinnifer Goodwin

JINNIFER GOODWIN

Vibrant electric eyeshadow is, truly, for the brave. But if you are planning to have some fun with your makeup, now is the perfect time for it. Get your eyeshadow brush out, swoosh the bristles over the pan and apply a few strokes all around your eyes. Repeat if you want to build more color. Add multiple coats of black mascara to create depth. Downplay the rest of your face with neutral blush and lip balm.

Suki Waterhouse

SUKI WATERHOUSE

For those who prefer light makeup, the combination of an eye-opening wing with pale eyeshadow is a great solution. You can draw the wing first, moving in small strokes along upper lash lines, extending it past the outer corners of the eyes. Then sweep on a soft wash of pastel eyeshadow (pale lavender, pale pink, light grey or white look very pretty) across the upper lids and up to the crease. You can’t get away without mascara here, so add a coat or two. Natural lips and cheeks help keep focus on your beautiful eyes.

Dear Santa, here’s my beauty wish list…

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Dear Santa,

First of all, thanks for last year’s gift delivery. All your gifts were very thoughtful and, as always, right on the money.

I’ve been good this year. And nice too. Well, most of the time. OK, maybe a little naughty on occasion. But you know, once one reaches adulthood, being naughty once in a while is not necessarily considered to be a bad thing. So I’d like for you to count it as a plus. Anyway, I prepared a new list for your consideration this year. Please pay special attention to my tips and how-tos, they are there for the purpose of making your shopping experience as easy and breezy as it is humanly possible.

Guerlan Ecrin 4 Couleurs

GUERLAN ECRIN 4 COULEURS EYESHADOW IN 08 LES PERLES ($60)

I’d love to get an alluring Guerlan Ecrin 4 color eyeshadow palette in beautiful purple hues of Les Perles, please. You are probably curious why exactly would I want another eyeshadow palette. Why indeed… Oh, because this one works so well with my green eyes, making them stand out with just a slight sweep of the brush. The shadows create a beautiful satin finish that looks fantastic in any light. Hope this makes sense to you as much as it does to me.

Tom Ford Lip Color

TOM FORD LIP COLOR IN VIOLET FATALE ($49)

I’d also like for you to show up with Tom Ford Lip Color in Violet Fatale. Don’t get confused by the pictured color, it seems goth here, but trust me, in reality it’s a beautiful shade of bright grown-up pink. I would’ve made a swatch for you if I had the lipstick. Oh well, but that’s what Christmas is for, right?

Ridiculous price tag is supposedly due to exotic and rare ingredients that make the lipstick smooth and extra-creamy: soja seed extract, Brazilian murumuru butter and chamomilla flower oil. The lipstick belongs to the list of those extra-special things that are only reasonable to get for Christmas, because: 1) it’s a splurge and I’m in no particular need of another lipstick, but it’s so pretty I can’t stand it; and 2) I already have a toaster.

Bobby Brown Nude Glow

BOBBY BROWN NUDE GLOW SHIMMER BRICK ($45)

Ooh, the glow and the fake-but-believable luminescence of the skin… You do want my skin to look like it’s lit-from-within during the holidays, don’t you? Then getting this Shimmer Brick compact seems perfectly logical to me. I’ll tell you what makes it so special: soft and satiny texture with pearlescent shades of flattering nudes can be used as a highlighter and an eyeshadow. It illuminates the skin, creating the illusion of radiance and lush, velvety complexion that is hard to achieve naturally during the exhausting party season.
This one is a must-have, Santa.

Chanel Coromandel

CHANEL COROMANDEL PERFUME ($160)

Now, once you spot Chanel Coromandel at the beauty counter, I want you to carefully follow these instructions:

  Resist spraying it on your wrist and sniffing it right away – that way the scent is hard to understand and easy to dislike.

  Spray once in the air in front of you, wait couple of seconds, close your eyes and take your time to inhale. Exhale and repeat. See? It works.

  Spritz once more in the air and walk through. Then wait for it to develop all the way to the dry down, because that’s when you get hypnotized by its magical powers. Close your eyes again and enjoy its spicy smokiness.

  Slowly open your eyes and take a look at the price tag. Totally worth it, no?

Would you like to know what just enveloped you, gently picked you up and sent you float on cloud nine? That would be a heavenly balsamic blend of bitter orange, neroli, jasmine, rose, patchouli, orris, incense, olibanum, benzoin, wood, musk, vanilla and white chocolate.

And that, my friend, is what they call  an ultimate perfume experience. You are welcome.

XOXO

Olga


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