Thursday, April 30, 2009

Clarisonic Plus Skincare System $225 Review

The Clarisonic is a facial cleansing system that uses sonic technology to loosen dirt and oil for clearer pores. It's from the same makers of the SoniCare toothbrush.

I got this a little over a month ago during an online Sephora promotion. Before the promotion came along I had recently visited Sephora and the SA showed me both the Clarisonic original and Plus mode. She had the original model herself and insisted that I get the Plus model. I wasn't sure I really wanted to fork over the add'l $30 but I caved.

The regular models can be bought a a number of stores: Sephora, Nordstrom, Saks and Ulta. It even has a pink model! The PLUS model is only being sold at Sephora for now and only comes in white - Boooo! Of course you can also get both models at their website and get free engraving.

The Plus model has a body brush attachment and a second button to vary the intensity of the sonic vibrations (low, medium and high).

To use, you divide your face into 4 zones: Forehead, Nose & Chin, Left Cheek and Right Cheek and move the Clarisonic over your face in this order.

There's 3 different timer settings you can choose from and the Clarisonic will turn off automatically after the time is up. The default timer is 1 minute and it beeps at 20-20-10-10 second intervals to let you know to when to move on to the next zone. There's also a 2 minute timer for 40-40-20-20 second intervals and a 2 minute timer that just goes contiually with no beeps. There is also a timer for the Spot Therapy brush that's a continuous 3 minutes, but I don't get how to set it. I think when it senses that you have the Spot Therapy brush on, it will default to this setting.

A shot of the box with the top flap opened. It lists all the Benefits of Clarisonic which is also on their website.

This is my cat Nemo and he is THE nicest cat in the whole world! Seriously. He comes when he's called and he talks back when he's talked to :) O and he is super nosy. As soon as I set this down he zoomed in to give it the once over. He's just finished his official inspection in this pic.

Here's what came in this kit. The Clarisonic Plus appliance itself which is cordless. The charger which is supposed to have a universal plug, but I would never travel with this. It's pretty hefty and takes up a good amount of space. I would carry my Dove SkinVitalizer (Clarisonic wannabe) for travel.

The brushes it came with were 1 sensitive brush head and 1 spot therapy brush for the body. It is recommended that you replace the brush head every 3-4 months following daily use. You'll be able to tell if you need a new brush because the bristles start to splay out like the bristles on a toothbrush. They sell replacement Delicate (light blue), Sensitive (white) and Normal (grey) brush heads for the face. There is only 1 Spot Therapy brush head and I've not seen the replacement for those yet. It also included sample sizes of 3 facial cleansers and 1 skin polish.

Some shots of the manuals and registration card that it came along with.

The Verdict: A+
I was so worried that my skin would go through a purging period, but that did not happen at all! I only use this once a day because it gives me a super scrubdown but it's still very gentle. I've notice my pores getting clearer day by day. Also if I do develop acne it's not deep rooted like before. The acne clears away in about 3-5 days and it used to take it a good 7-10 days. I'm hopeful my cystic acne will be gone with continued use.

I love that the creators made a brush cover to protect the bristles. It's such a small detail but it's such an important one! It protects the bristles when it's stored so that they don't fray as quickly.
Cap on brush.

Cap alone.

This is the appliance itself without the brush attached. The brush is kind of screwed on and it gives a "snap" when it's in place.

Here's a pic of the Sensitive brush head up-close. You can see on the left how the black bristles are already starting to fray. Also the only bristles that vibrate are the black bristles and the white bristles inside the black ones. The outer ring of bristles do not vibrate. Since they are stationary they actually keep the foam and water from flying all over the place when you're using this. Again - the creators paid attention to details!

I really have NO complaints about this wonderful tool (well maybe if I could have chosen a different color, I just think the white will yellow over time). It leaves my face so supple and I can feel the moisturizer I follow-up with soaking in fully.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bobbi Brown Face Touch Up Stick $22

I picked this up during the recent Saks F&F. I've been wanting to give this a try for so long and after seeing Jen's post about it at I was good to go! It was also awarded as the "Best Undercover Agent" in O Magazine's Spring Makeup O-wards.

This was a weird beauty purchase experience. I walked up to the counter and the SA asked me what color of the Face Touch Up Stick I wanted. I replied "I'm not sure what color matches me" and she was mortified I didn't know. Well, excuuuse me for not signing my soul over to Bobbi Brown and using her products exclusively! So long story short - my color is the #4 Natural.

**Update** I've since switched 1/2 a shade down to #3.5 Warm Beige. #4 was just a tad too yellow on me.

The Verdict: A
I love the creamy-ness of this and I've been using it exclusively as a concealer. It glides effortlessly on top of my primer, but if I forego the primer it still glides on smoothly and covers very well. What I really love is that it applies and blends equally well on my T-zone as well as my cheeks. Even though it is creamy and gives full coverage, it's so light weight that I don't feel it sitting on top of my skin. It also is not greasy and I did not break out at all.

I tried this under my eyes (check!), acne scars (check!) and dark corners near my nose (check!) and mouth (check!). Ok, so it's not recommended for use under the eye but I had to see if it would work and it did! Since the skin around the eye does not have oil glands, it's important to use something more hydrating.

It lasts for hours and does not melt off. I did not have to reapply at all during a 9 hour day but if I had to, this is extremely portable as it's no bigger than a tube of lipgloss. I still adore my Cle de Peau Beaute Concealer but its so pricey and this is great alternative!

Korres Love Your Lips Collection $29

I don't know why but I just couldn't resist this gift set when I saw it at Sephora! I'm such a sucker for gift sets! I'm also a known Ziploc packer - that's right. I pack any and everything using Ziploc baggies. You have no idea how excited I was when they came out with Ziploc Big Bags! Korres seems to always put their gift sets in ziplock packaging and it always catches my attention - I have a problem, I know.

Korres beauty products are dermatologist-tested and all-natural. They're made without parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. The lip products are also silicone, mineral oil, propylene glycol and ethanolamine-free.

The set comes with all full-sized products: 1 Pomegranate Lip Butter and 3 Cherry Full Color Lip Glosses. If you were to purchase all 4 items separately it would cost $57 ($9 for the lip butter and $16 each for the lipgloss), so I think this is a fairly good bargain.

The Verdict - Pomegranate Lip Butter: A
This lip butter contains shea butter and rice wax (whaaa?) to hydrate lips and make them softer. The color of this lip butter is a sheer coral but I think it really gives my lips a nice POP! It's so rich and goes on very creamy. There is no cool feeling and no sticky feeling. The butter really does melt into lips and give them a very nice tint. My lips are pretty pigmented and even this showed up. It's not very shiny but it gives a very natural sheen which I really like. I don't like that I have to dip into the pot but other than that I have no complaints. This can be worn alone or under the glosses too!

Came with a sturdy plastic seal.

The Verdict - Korres Cherry Full Color Glosses: A-
These glosses smell fantastic! They have that good cherry smell as opposed to cough syrup cherry smell. The glosses really do smell like a basket of fresh cherries and are rich in cherry oil for moisturization.

I love the colors of the glosses! They are neutral shades that range from light to dark.

#11 Light Pink is a milky pink that is sheer when applied and blended but I was pleasantly surprised because it actually lightened my lip color rather than disappearing completely.
#32 Beige Pink is a glittery pink champagne. When I say glittery, I mean Glittery! When applied the gold shimmer in this really comes out and it's pretty dramatic on me. I've layered this on top of the other glosses for a more subtle effect. I only dab a little bit in the middle of my bottom lip.
#33 Nude is a maroon beige. It looks dark but after applying and blending it becomes a bit sheer and has a rich color to it.

The best part about these glosses is that they are absolutely NON-sticky! I'm not a fan of sticky glosses (think MAC dazzleglasses) but I can live with them, no problem. I do however appreciate when I find a gloss that is non-sticky.

The gloss looks fine when its capped but when the cap is removed, I find that the bottle of gloss itself is really small. I think the handle of the cap could be made smaller, as it's pretty chunky making the wand fairly short. Also the applicator of the gloss is more slanted than I'm used to. I have to be careful when I applying to make sure I'm only putting the gloss on my lips and not around my lips too. Aside from these 2 quirks, I'm really happy with this purchase. It's so hard for lip colors to show on me and the fact that these are natural and actually retain their color when applied makes me a HUGE fan!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sephora Power Perk Haul

Here's my final Sephora haul after buying and exchanging a couple of items. I'm just too indecisive. I will review the Dior Addict Lip Maximer, Kinerase C8 Peptide Intensive Treatment and Korres Love Your Lips Collection in separate posts because I'm waiting to see the results for two of these and the other would have been too long to include in this post.

WARNING: I'm really lazy today so I plagarized all the product descriptions from the Sephora website. Muahahaha!

Bliss Peeling Groovy Facial Serum $65

This is a dermatologist-developed, age-fighting, exfoliating serum. It gently sloughs away dead skin cells and debris, lightens dark spots, and minimizes the appearance of pores and fine lines - providing myriad benefits without drying or irritating. This oil-free formula is infused with amino acid antioxidants and is safe to use on sensitive skin. Formerly known as sleeping peel serum, this "liquid version of a microdermabrasion kit" provides the same results as a multi-step regimen - in one simple application.

It is not recommended for dark skin tones because it has an ingredient that lightens pigmentation and unwanted discoloration may occur.

The Verdict: Bliss Peeling Groovy Facial Serum
I was convinced to purchase this after receiving some samples. The sample packets (3 total) each lasted me for about 2 weeks. I had noticed the fine lines on my forehead did not smooth themselves as fast as they used to and when this popped up as a Beauty Insider sample, I thought "why not?"

I am really amazed by this product! I use it 2x a day (morning/night) under my moisturizer and it's been giving me amazing results! It really does deliver on everything it claims to do. When it's first applied, there is a slight tingling feeling but it goes away after about 5-10 seconds. The serum is very runny and watery in consistency. There is no smell to it and it's easily absorbed. I noticed that my skin was more radiant day after day and that's what convinced me to keep using it.

At first I did not notice it lightening my dark acne scars, but after about 3 weeks of use I noticed that my scars were fading a lot quicker than usual. I've been using this for a month (I still have 1 sample pack left!) and my skintone is super even and my pores are really super clear so they do indeed appear smaller. As far as claims of the microderm effect - I'm a believer! After the first 2 weeks, my skin became thinner and it has developed a healthy glow. I dunno if it makes sense when I say "thinner" maybe a better word would be "youthful".

I still have the fine lines on my forehead so I'm hoping the Kinerase C8 Peptide Intensive Treatment will take care of that but this serum as helped with minimizing those and with all the other great results, this has become a staple in my skincare regimen!

Too Faced Retractable Kabuki Brush $28.50

A perfectly portable retractable Kabuki brush. This one-stop shop of a brush is a serious multi-tasker! It's the ideal tool to apply bronzers, blushers, powders and shimmers flawlessy. Created with Too Faced world-famous "Teddy Bear Hair" bristles that grad and blend coloer without any of the cruelty or hygiene problems associated with animal-hair bristles.

The Verdict: Too Faced Retractable Kabuki Brush
I was looking for sorta an all-purpose brush that I could carry with me and after searching around this one was the winner. The bristles are really soft and they are just the right density. I was worried that the second I put this against my skin, it would just fan out. But no worries! the bristles are soft and deliver blush/powder right where I want it to go. I thought the "retractable" function of this was neat because it's not actually the brush that retracts. You don't rotate the base to cover the brush, instead you pull up on the pink cylinder and shield the bristles. I'm happy with this purchase as it's a light and compact brush and exactly what I need.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Bath&Body Works Coupon

Click ----->

To print a coupon to receive a FREE Lip Item with any Bath&Body Works In-Store purchase (no minimum). Valid 04/24 - 04/26 only!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Double Duty Chocolates

Call me crazy but I think this just might work. I've always got my eye out for things that are good for storage and organizing.

I saw this Godiva Mother's Day Keepsake Box $68 and got to thinking it could be a great organizer for makeup! I saw this in person and the picture makes it look small but I'd say it's about 10"x5"x7".

I love how it's compartmentallized and that it's got a mirror under the lid. The mirror is of decent quality too - it doesn't give a funhouse reflection. The box is made from heavy cardboard and it's pretty sturdy. Also the entire box is lined with cloth. I didn't get to lift out the chocolates so I'm not sure how the compartments are made. I think this box would be great for mascara and lipglosses - things that are tubular and tend to roll around.

Best part is you can get your chocolate fix too! It comes with 30 pieces of yummy truffles!

Phyto 50% Off at Bath&Body Works

I was first introduced to Phyto by my college roommate and I gotta say I was kind of annoyed by it. Looking back I was young and naive and stubbornly believed all shampoos had to have that gel-like texture. If only I knew then what I know now! Since then I've come a long way and I've come to accept and find comfort in the watery consistency of their shampoos.

Phyto was founded by famed Parisian celebrity hairstylist Patrick Al├Ęs in the 50's. All their products are plant based and botanically extracted. The brand's name "phyto" literally means "derived from plants" in Greek! The products are all-natural and are not tested on animals. Phyto is an eco-friendly brand and is environmentally conscious in their product packaging. Their shampoos used to come in glass bottles which they've recently switched to aluminum - the eco-friendly containers are tri-functional: The material is recyclable, non-reactive to the contents, and preserve the ingredients without artifical additives.

If you like aromothera-shampoos - stop reading this post. This line of shampoos is not going to deliver on clouds of scents that float you to a fairy dream world. Nope. These shampoos and conditioners were developed to address specific hair problems and they do their job well.

PhytoPanama $24
This is one of the old glass containers I mentioned. I really like the vintage look of it - it's so apothecary (if that's even the right word to use). This shampoo is specifically for oily hair that requires frequent washes. I used to have oily hair and this was the initial product that I tried. Occasionally, I feel my hair is overly oily and I keep this on hand to give it a good clean.

It's got a tar smell to it, but no worries it's not a lingering smell. Once you rinse and condition the tar smell is gone. It's very effective to hold the grease at bay, and it's gentle enough that it can be used on a daily basis. If you have oily hair definitely give this a try. I know, I've been there - you cannnot go for more than 24 hours without washing you hair or else you risk that unflattering stringy look.

PhytoSylic $24
Here's an example of the new aluminum containers. The aluminum feels like kind used for the Sigg bottles which is supposed to be one of the best quality aluminums out there. I'm thankful for the switch to aluminum because it's so much lighter than the glass bottle. That sucker was heavy! One more time for emphasis - Heavy!

This shampoo addresses dandruff (yea I'm a hair mess) and helps to exfoliate the scalp. When I use this I try to focus the product on my scalp. The trick to pouring out these runny shampoos is to pour a little bit into your palm, dunk that on your head, pour out a little bit more and dunk again. This one's got that tar smell too and I think almost any product that addresses dandruff/ excess oil uses the ingredient that has that smell. Again the smell will not linger and will dissipate after rinsing and conditioning. I like this shampoo because it doesn't sting your scalp or have deliver a cooling affect, but you will feel the results. My scalp feels clean and simply normal when I wash with this. A good product to try if you've got dandruff.

I wanted to show the plastic guard that is built into the new aluminum bottles. I really like that they incorporated this into their design. Since the shampoo is so runny, the smaller opening helps to slow down and control the flow of shampoo as it's poured out. Nice touch Phyto!

PhytoVolume $24
I don't have a pic of this one (there's one group shot of it with my initial Bath&Body Haul) but it looks exactly like the Phytosylic bottle above just with different words printed on it. This shampoo's job is to volumize and it's got a slight citrus scent to it that is quite refereshing. I've got thick asian hair so this did not give me that oompfh I was looking for. It's actually supposed to address fine thin hair but I thought I'd give it a shot anyways. Not a bad shampoo at all but just not for me.

PhytoBaume $22
Just like the shampoos, the conditioners also address specific hair issues. This one's just a plain ol' all-around use conditioner. I've not found a conditioner to address oily hair/scalp so I just use this one. It's consistency is gel-like, it's not as creamy as typical conditioners and it's got a light minty smell.

After applying, I just comb it through with my fingers. I also try to concentrate on applying this to the ends of my hair. I find that if I leave this on for a few minutes and rinse out with cold water, my hair gets super soft (you can use this same trick with any conditioner). You can probably use any shampoo you want but I'm supersticious about shampoo/conditioner pairings and try to use the same ones from the same lines.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

SK-II Air Touch Foundation $165

Tada! I finally got it! After all the months of wondering it will work, second guessing the product and just plain not knowing if it would be for me - I took the plunge and it was well worth it! I don't know why I didn't just go to the SK-II counter and have the SA apply it on me. As soon as the SA sprayed this on me and I saw myself in the mirror, I needn't need any more convincing cause I was already handing over the cash. Thankgoodness for the Saks F&F or else I'd be nursing my wallet wounds. O also you can now buy SK-II products online through their website!

The SK-II Airtouch Foundation is basically a portable airbrush foundation compact. As with all SK-II products, this foundation contains Pitera (I think it's exclusively patented by SK-II) which hydrates the skin and leaves it smooth and radiant. It was discovered when a scientist noticed the hands of sake brewers were unusually soft and smooth compared to the skin of their face. So after much research and hundreds of experiments with fermented yeast, scientists were able to extract Pitera!!

What's in the Package?

I know the Airtouch used to come with an instructional CD and when I opened the outter red box there was a gap that looked suspiciously CD-shaped. Unfortunately nomore CD anymore. The Airtouch comes with it's own user's manual (very informational and lots of pictures!), a Panasonic CR2 3V Lithuim battery, a refill packet and the Airtouch compact itself.

Shot of where the Lithium battery goes. The SA said the battery should last 1.5 - 2 years with daily use and that the battery can be bought at any electronic store. I've not seen or looked for this type of battery before so I don't know if it's easily found or what the price would be. Online I found it for around $3-5 depending on what site you get it from.

Close-up of the compact's button and the 3 different settings:
On - Used to apply the foundation.
Off - Turns off the appliance (I thought this was weird but then again - it is electronically powered)
Droplet - Used to "decompress" the foundation packet (gets rid of the air in the packet). The instruction manual suggests using this everytime before applying the foundation so that you get an even application, but the SA said to just use this about once a week. You hold the unit with the nozzle pointing down and hold down the silver button until a small droplet of the foundation appears. Once you see the droplet, release the button, wipe the foundation off the nozzle and turn to the "On" setting for application.

Product Assembly

This is the back of the unit where the foundation refill packet slides in. Below are some pics of how all the parts of the compact unit are assembled together.

All taken apart. From top to bottom: The Compact Cover, the Refill Cover, the Refill Packet and the Compact itself.

The Refill Packet inserted into the Compact.

The Refill Cover placed on the Compact. This is how the compact will normally look.

And the Compact Cover to complete the Unit!

The Verdict: A+
I LOVE this foundation!! I was matched with the BP-4 color for Rosy Toned Medium skin. It's totally my HG (and I hate using that reference). The foundation goes on super even and natural. It does not look like I'm wearing any makeup - just makes me look better. My pores are minimized and my skin looks evened out. It's not strong enough to cover acne scars, so I've got to use a concealer underneath. It lasts all day and does not melt off. Even my boyfriend thought I had no makeup on and he commented that my skin looked dewy but not greasy. It's easily layered and you can have anywhere from sheer to medium-full coverage.

Another cool factor about this foundation is that it is only attracted to moisture. It has something to do with positive and negative ions mumbo-jumbo. So basically, it will only adhere to your skin and not your hair or clothing. The SA placed a tissue over her hand, spread out her fingers and sprayed the foundation across her hand. When she lifted the tissue, the foundation was on the tissue in the shape of her hand (remember making turkeys with your hand in kindergarten?).

On the first day I used this, my face got itchy after about an hour after application. It wasn't overbearingly itchy but I was concerned for about 5 min while it lasted. I did not remove the foundation and the itchy feeling went away. The 2nd day I used this, I never felt any itchy-ness so maybe it was a combination of other things causing it.

Also I thought I would find it to be much bulkier, but it's really not that huge. I wouldn't want to have to carry it around with me, but if I had to it's not gona weigh me down. Since it lasts all day, there really isn't a need to take it along.

The Stripper Lavender Nail Lacquer Remover $16

This nail polish is from the Lippmann Collection and it contains aloe vera to soothe nails and cuticles and is lavendar scented. I thought both were a nice touch since most nail polish removers have a piercing and invasice scent. This is also an award-winning product! It was given an Allure Editor's Choice Award in 2003.

The Verdict
This is a great nail polish remover! First soak a cotton pad with the polish remover and then place it on your nail for at least 5 seconds. Then put some finger grease into it, push down and wipe the cotton pad and polish off your nail. I find the most polish is removed almost completely on the first and second nail. After that the acetone starts to evaporate and become less effective. I've got to rub the cotton pad back and forth on some of the remaining polish but it's still comes off easily. The aloe in this stuff really works because it doesn't leave my nails looking scratched up at all. I don't feel like there is any lavendar smell to this probably because the acetone smell is just too strong to overcome - not going to blame Sara for not being able to deliver on this.

I also love the packaging of this polish! It comes with a removable twist-lock cap. To dispense the remover, twist the top of the cap counter-clockwise to unlock it and then you can pump up the remover by pushing down on the top. When you're done, just turn it clockwise to lock the top in place. The best part is the whole top can be unscrewed so it's refillable too!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Jouer Cosmetics Yummy Eye Candy

This cosmetic line is relatively new and was started in 2004 by Christina Zilber. I have no idea who she is but the Jouer website touts her fabulous lifestyle jetsetting between Paris, New York and Beverly Hills.

I first saw some of their products in a magazine a few months ago. The "gimmick" for this line is that all the products snap together - kinda like beauty Legos. At first I didn't think much of it, but as you know exposure is what gets the consumer familiar/comfortable with the product. After that first sighting, I've been seeing the same brand pop up in other magazines and on websites so I thought I'd take a peek at the website. I have to say I'm quite intrigued. I love that you can virtually try out the products online and see how the colors will look on 4 different models with different skin shades. I think all the product colors are really beautiful. It's just too bad Jouer is not yet widely available. They're only carried at the Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue in NYC and online.

The picture above is the 2009 Eye Candy Collection $45. How cute is it that they show these in paper liners just like chocolate truffles? Click on the pic to see the yummy colors in more detail.

Look How it Dances in the Light!

I've been drooling over this watch ever since I spotted it on display at the Michael Kors boutique back in March. It's the Michael Kors Acrylic Strap Watch in White $225. While there I didn't ask to see it but days and weeks later I could still see the alluring sparkle of the acrylic and crystals in my mind. How thrilled was I when Saks F&F came around and would have this for 20% off? Thrilled. How thrilled was I when found this at Nordstrom for a whopping 40% off?!? Super duper thrilled!!

The Verdict
I love everything about this watch! I know there are a lot of acrylic strapped watches out there but this one is special. The mother-of-pearl dial is such a nice paring with the acrylic. For some reason it makes the acrylic appear whiter. I also love the stainless-steel bezel of Swarovski crystals surrounding the face!