L’Oreal Sublime Sun Advanced Sunscreen SPF 50+ ($10-$11)
This sunblock is so new, it’s hard to find in stores at the moment. But I was lucky to score a bottle to try. The verdict: it’s a pretty good sunscreen, suitable for use under makeup, very similar to Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Sunblock. It has the same texture and milky color as Neutrogena, and the list of active ingredients is practically the same too:
L’Oreal: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 15%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 5%, Oxybenzone 6%
Neutrogena: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 10%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 7.5%, Oxybenzone 5%
Both liquids are light, sheer and waterproof. They are also oil-free and don’t clog pores. They sink into skin in seconds without leaving any residue. But L’Oreal Sublime Sun also includes anti-oxidants – Vitamin E and White Grapeseed – in the formula for extra protection. It adds softness to skin, and layers invisibly under primer, foundation, and concealer. It comes in a 1.7 oz bottle, a perfect purse-friendly size. It has SPF 50+, which is my personal required minimum.
L’Oreal Sublime Sun Advanced Sunscreen can be found on the shelves of beauty supplies stores and drug stores.
Hermes Un Jardin sur le Nil Eau de toilette ($90-$125)
Created by the legendary Jean Claude Ellena for Hermes, Un Jardin Sur Le Nil is a very strange and controversial type of fragrance. It falls into what I call it “cilantro syndrome” category, meaning that you either hate its guts or love it more than anything. Hermes described their perfume as a scent of a garden on the banks of Nile river. My take – if I had a zen garden in the beautiful hills overlooking the Malibu Pier, that’s what it would smell like in the morning. I’m head over heels for this fragrance.
Notes: lotus, green mango, grapefruit, calamus, sycamore, incense.
Here’s what you get by throwing together the above mentioned notes: unusual, quirky, crispy, straightforward grassy-green floral, a distinct standout in the sea of numerous warm weather scents. It hits your nose with a splash of grapefruit and green mango, then sycamore and lotus join in, and it closes up with an incense. The interesting thing is that none of those notes fade by the dry down phase, they all stay with you throughout the day. And after a few hours of wearing the scent, I can swear I even feel notes of pine tree and lime joining the party, even though they were not used in the concoction. The perfume seems crunchy, fresh, and outdoorsy, appropriate for spring/summer seasons. The heady lotus gives it a good doze of modernity.
It’s long-lasting and never boring, and I just can’t get enough of it. The shape of the bottle is very Hermes – simple and understated, with clean, classic lines. I love everything about it.
Sephora Prisma Chrome Eye Shadow ($15)
I’ve always loved eye shadow singles – you get your choice of color in a bigger package, with no nonsense add-ons that you may never use. So when Sephora came out with their new eye shadows collection, needless to say I was interested. Prisma Chrome eye shadows, according to the company, “deliver prismatic shine, lush texture, and lavish color payoff”. The new texture is a combination of baked, powder, and cream eye shadows. Sounds new and exciting, but is it? When I tried those shadows, they immediately reminded me of something else, like Estee Lauder Color Gelee singles. It’s practically the same product, but less expensive. There’s nothing wrong with the fact that different companies offer similar products in different packages and price ranges, it’s been that way forever. In these situations beauty junkies only win, because we have options.
Back to my review. I liked Prisma Chrome shadows a lot. They are soft, super blendable, crease-free, and can be applied both wet or dry. Wet application gives a more vibrant, brighter color, in which case you need to watch the amount of shadow you use not to overdo it. The shadows go on smooth and have a shimmery, silky, beautiful finish. And you get 10 colors to choose from:
My favorites are Shimmery Sand (light golden), Burgundy Gem (dark plum), and Moon Glow (silver gray). Light colors can be used as an every day shadow or a highlighter, darker ones are perfect as eyeliners or for creating smokey eyes. Overall, these shadows are a good bang for your buck – the combination of good quality, average price, and decent amount of product. Good enough for me.
It’s light, and soft, and smooth, and moisturizing, and I fell in love with it immediately. Exuviance Age Reverse Eye Contour cream ($72) is a real deal. I’m on my 3rd week of using it twice a day, and I don’t want this to end.
Ingredients: peptides for skin firming; Maltobionic Acid/PHA (Polyhydroxy Acids) for wrinkle fighting; caffeine for deflating puffiness; chamomile and ginseng for soothing and refreshing skin; hyaluronic acid for softness and hydration; optical diffusers for brightening and illuminating skin.
The combination of all these goodnesses makes Eye Contour a standout product. The cream glides on and gets absorbed very quickly, so concealer can go on top of it right away without any problems. I apply it all the way around my eyes, up to the brows, and in 3 weeks noticed some tightening in my skin. I don’t have puffiness problem, but I do suffer from allergies every now and then, which sometimes result in weird pink circles under my eyes. Age Reverse gets rid of them for good. It also helps with tired eyes look when I don’t get enough sleep, by refreshing the skin and making me look rested. The hydration lasts all day long, which is especially helpful when the weather turns dry and windy. I like how this cream makes me look better by giving my eyes gleaming, wide awake appearance.
I also appreciate the convenience of pump dispenser the eye cream comes in. You get the perfect amount of product out without worries about germs. The cream has no smell to it, which makes it unlikely to cause any allergies.
Now that Christmas is behind us, we still have at least one more major party to crash – New Year’s. And of course, we don’t want to look the same as we did on Christmas day. Here’s a simple, but very pretty idea for the best party of the year: golden eye makeup. Thanks to celebrities and their hard-working teams of makeup artists, we don’t have to think hard about how to be creative while we all are very busy eating and drinking. I suggest we all relax, and on December 31st take out our makeup brushes and cheerfully copy one of these:
To achieve Charlize Theron’s look line your upper lids with black eyeliner first, but don’t extend it too far out. Then add loads of golden eye shadow of any texture on both top and bottom eyelids. Pile on a few coats of black mascara. Add a swipe of pink blush and a nude lipstick. Boom. You won’t be able to take your eyes off of your mirror reflection.
If you feel more adventurous and would like to intensify your makeup a notch, here’s another option for you, courtesy of Aishwarya Rai’s makeup artist:
Shimmery bright blue (green or purple look good too) goes in generous amounts on the upper lids, but not over the crease. Gold, on the other hand, is swiped only on the lower lids. Lots of mascara. Understated lips and cheeks help the eyes shine like there’s no tomorrow.
Happy 2012 everybody!
It’s sales time people! I find it a little unfair for retailers to lure us into buying stuff right after Christmas gifts time, but a good deal is a good deal is a good deal no matter when, right? Here are couple of things for you that worth the money at the moment (only if you normally use these products):
Lancome cleansing kit or Radiance Dual Pack ($44.50). The kit includes cleansing mousse and toner for normal/combination skin, and my favorite Bi-Facil eye makeup remover. Those who know Lancome products well would agree that with these trio you get a very good value for the price.
Lancome also offers a kit for dry skin sufferers, Lancome Comfort Dual Pack ($44.50), with Galatee Confort milky cream cleanser, hydrating toner, and Bi-Facil eye makeup remover. To me this one is a real winter skin saver.
Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Kit ($39.50) is a bargain, plus every product does exactly what it’s supposed to. 7-Day Scrub is a gentle, creamy exfoliator that delivers results without irritating skin. Pore Refining Solutions Correcting Serum is a light, oil-free product that helps to clear up pores and makes them look smaller. Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfector should be in a skincare hall of fame. It works as an invisible primer that hides all your pores, and lasts all day long in any climate.
All products are sold at Bloomingdale’s right now.
Escada Rockin Rio
I can’t remember anybody who didn’t heart at least one of Escada’s numerous fragrances. In the early 2000s the company’s fruity florals were booming, which made us dream of island hopping every time we spritzed them on. Sexy Graffiti was my personal preference then, so I was curious to test it on my skin when I learned that they were back on the shelves again. I found them at Ulta, together with Rockin Rio and Island Kiss. First impression – the bottles are different, but to me all that matters is the perfume itself.
I tried them all and, while they revived some of my memories, all three of the fragrances appeared somewhat different from their older versions. Although it’s hard to detect what exactly was changed, they seemed a little off to me. Not bad, but not quite the same either. Maybe I’m the one to blame, because my perfume tastes and preferences changed a lot in a past decade. But it feels like the company edited a note or two for these new versions.
Rockin Rio new: coconut, pineapple, tangerine, papaya, sugar cane, peach, sandalwood, musks.
Rockin Rio old: pineapple, mandarin, papaya, sugar cane, coconut, sandalwood, musks.
Sexy Graffiti new: wild strawberry and raspberry, grapefruit, mint, Lilly-of-the-Valley, Red Peony, Violet, cashmere, vanilla, musks.
Sexy Graffiti old: wild strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, Violet, Lilly-of-the-Valley, Red Peony, cashmere, vanilla, musks.
Island Kiss new: orange, Passion Flower, mango, orange, Magnolia, peach, sandalwood, musks.
Island Kiss old: white flowers, Magnolia, Passion Flower, mango, orange, passion fruit, raspberry, peach, hibiscus, sandalwood, musks.
In any case, for nostalgic personalities those three are worth revisiting. They still contain Escada’s signature sweet-musky-fruity-floral accents that scream ‘vacation’. I personally moved on, but I still enjoyed trying them all again after so many years.
Yves Saint Laurent ‘Golden Gloss’ Holiday Trio ($59)
I have a question for you ladies: What sparkles with gold, smells like mango, and hurts your wallet at the same time? It’s an YSL holiday gloss collection. The glosses have a high doze of shine and shimmer, thanks to 24-karat gold flecks swimming inside the tubes, and also contain nourishing oils for a total softness and hydration. Is it necessary to have real gold flecks in your gloss? It’s not. It just looks too darn pretty on the lips to pass it by.
The colors may seem strange and non-wearable in the tubes, but I was surprised how flattering they turned out on the lips. They do equally well on their own, on top of a lip pencil, and over a lipstick of any color. YSL glosses stay put longer than any other glosses I’ve tried before, and they don’t leave your lips dry after they wear off. The applicators are comfortable and easy to spread the product with, which makes the glosses perfect to carry around for a quick touch-ups. So I would say it’s a nice and fun product to own or get as a Christmas gift.