Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Shu Uemura Parcel

I'm so excited to finally get this! I've used Shu's Face Architect Foundatation in the past but I could never get my hands on the UV Underbase. Whenever I get to the Shu counter to purchase it, it's always out of stock! What's up with that? I'm really looking forward to using these 2 together cause I always have this belief that products from the same brand are supposed to work in sync.

I also received a few samples from Shu and they're so cute! I have to say I love Shu's samples - they're so pristine and packaged beautifully!

Shipping Experience: B-
I'm usually very happy with Shu's shipping. They always cushion the items with a lot of packing peanuts and everything is secure for shipment. Who knew too many packing peanuts would be too much of a good thing?

This time they must've run out of boxes or something. They decided they would pack everything in a box that's too small and would also stuff it to the brim with peanuts. Literally. As if the massive amount of peanuts would make up for the teeny box. There were so many peanuts the box wouldn't close fully and they shipped it just like that.

The items were all squished inside and the box for the Underbase got crushed in the process. I "smoothed" out the box as best I could in the pic. None of the items were damaged but the poor choice in packaging and the crushed product box was disappointing.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara $28 Review

I can't remember where I got ahold of a sample of this stuff...I think it was a freebie from some other beauty purchase but regardless I loved it so much I had to get the full-sized mascara too!

The website description from Armani - "Dress the eye with powerful, plush, voluminous lashes. Fine, fluid Microfil technology creates intensely captivating lash texture. Micro-waxes combined with a fineness agent allow for smooth and easy application, revealing weightless volume and length."

There are several colors to choose from but I purchased the basic black. They named it #1 Steel Black. Which I thought was fitting because the mascara case feels like cool steel too. I think it's probably made from some type of heavy grade aluminum.

Here's a shot of the brush. The bristles on the brush are arranged in a spiral pattern and they're equal length all the way through except at the tip.

Look! It's a mommy and baby! Here's a shot of the sample and full-size mascaras side by side and a comparison of the brushes. I was impressed that the sample-size brush is the same size and quality as the full-size brush. The only noticeable difference besides the size was that the case of the sample is plastic while the case of the full-size is aluminum.

The Verdict: A-
My eyes are very sensitive and they get irritated or dried out very easily. I feel absolutely no discomfort with this mascara! It's weightless, doesn't flake or clump and defines my lashes all the way to the tip! What I really love is the fact that it dries very quickly. When I blink, I don't get that "gummy" feeling of my top lashes sticking to my bottom lashes.

If only this mascara would give my lashes some curl, I could die a happy woman. But unfortunately this mascara kinda undos my curl and my lashes are super duper straight naturally. It doesn't bother me much as I just go crazy with the eyelash curler to counter the mascara's straightening effect.

Despite that, I still really love this mascara because it's so comfortable I really don't even notice it's on - and this girl's all about comfort!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Giorgio Armani Lip Wax $26 Review & Swatches

Forget everything you know about lipstick, lipgloss, lip balm, and lip conditioners. I've never tried anything like this before. The Giorgio Armani Lip Wax $26 is simply AMAZING! I got it in shade #4 Raspberry.

On the Armani website it has the description: The incredibly smooth and silky texture of lip wax glides over lips leaving rich, tailor-made color. A modern vision of lip color, lip wax compact lipstick is a blush of color for lips. The ultra-fine and soft Micro-fil veil ensures a smooth and seemingly weightless result. To obtain a more precise distribution of color, apply with the Giorgio Armani lip brush. For a sparkling shine, add a layer of armani lip shimmer.

It's hard for me to describe but I'm gonna give it my best shot. Upon visual inspection, it appears to be any typical lip lacquer in a pot but the feel of this is very different. The lip wax barely softens upon contact and it imparts a deep color. I just use my fingers to apply this and it wears very much like stain minus the watery application. There's no smell to it and it doesn't hydrate nor dry out lips. Once it's applied, it's absolutely weightless and I actually forgot about it until I saw myself in a mirror. It's true stain because all it does is transfers color to lips. It's almost like staining your lips from drinking red wine.


This is my natural lip color.

I applied the lip wax lightly by dabbing it on with my finger.

More dabbing.

Fully applied using a lip brush. The color's actually a lot more intense in person. I couldn't capture it fully with my camera.

The Verdict: A+

From my previous post you know that I'm dying to buy more of these babies. I'm hooked on this stuff!

The stain looks so natural and just sinks into the skin. You can build layers of color with this and go for a subtle or full-on look. The end result is a matte lip look. Also the color lasts forever. Literally. I had lunch with this stuff on and it was still on afterwards.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Giorgio Armani Beauty Parcel

Wahoo! Guess what came in the mail today? My order from Armani Beauty!

Can't wait to try everything out - I already swiped on some of the Lip Wax and OMG. It is unbelievable. I will buy more. I will buy them all.

I also purchased a full-size Eyes to Kill Mascara after loving the sample I received awhile back and I'll be trying out samples of the Fluid Master Primer and the Luminous Silk Foundation.

Shipping Experience: A
I was very pleased with the packaging from Armani. The items were well-cushioned and there was no empty space in the box for the items to be thrown around. It passed my "Shake for Sounds" test :) Also when I opened the box, none of the products were crushed or damaged.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ebates for Beauty Buys!

Ok if you don't have an Ebates account yet, you MUST get one!

Ebates gives you cash back on every online purchase you make with their ginormous list of participating merchants. The cashback you get can range anywhere from 1-10% of the total purchase price depending on the merchant. If you regularly make online purchases, you must sign up! Actually if you make any online purchases, you must sign up because it's free and you get some of your hard earned moola back.

I used to adore Sephora because they had a whopping 8% cashback but starting in September they dropped it to 4% cashback. I'm so pissed - Grrr! But I digress...

As long as the you have at least $5.01 cashback, Ebates will send you your cashback quarterly or every 3 months. If you have less than $5.01, the cashback just rolls over and is added to the next quarter's check. You also have several options on how to cashout. You can have a check mailed directly to you, you can have the $$ credited to your PayPal account, and they're always coming up with new ways to let you cashout (it's all explained here).

Ok this is muy importante so listen up! You must remember to


and go to the store you plan to make purchases at via the links on Ebates. This is the only way they can track your purchase and give you cashback. If you go directly to the store's webpage and make your purchase, Ebates won't know about it and you won't get the cashback. This sounds simple enough but I can't tell you how many times I completely forgot to sign in to Ebates first and totally missed the cashback.

If you refer a friend to join Ebates, you and friend get $5 added to your account. If you consider me a friend, I'd really love it if you'd use this link to sign up for your Ebates account.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Shu Uemura Face Architect Smoothing Fluid Foundation Color Chart (kinda sorta)

I've been intrigued about Shu Uemura's Face Architect Smoothing Fluid Foundation for a super l-o-n-g time. I've even gone to get my shade matched at the Shu counter but that's a story for another post. Lately I've been staring at the foundation shades offered online (again) but I've never been able to make any sense of it. I'm sure there are also Asia-only shades not shown online which annoys me to no end.

With all that said - Please don't be alarmed by what you are about to see next. I just had to do it to ease my troubled mind and to finally make some sense of those cryptic shade numbers! You can click on the pics to expand the diagrams and get a closer look.

Color Chart from Shu's USA website. Mine got flipped(sorry) - as the rows go from top to bottom they simultaneously progress from

Color Chart modifed by yours truly. I ignored the number assigned to the shades, kept all the colors in their respective row but moved them around by the color I perceived.

Here's what I could sort out of the 3-digit numbers XYZ from the color charts:

Left digit X indicates how warm/pink or cool/yellow the shade is.
1 = warmest shade (most pink)
9 = coolest shade (most yellow)

Middle digit Y indicates how light or dark the shade is.
0 = darkest shade
8 = lightest shade

Right digit Z - I can't figure out. If you figure it out please let me know! There's only 4 or 5 and that's the extent of the range. Shade #164 and #165 are the only two shades that have the same XY digits and only the Z digit differs. They do appear to be different but I can't describe the distinction.

***** Update ***** Thanks to Anonymous for this extra confirmation! *****

"I have been to Shu counter,
It is correct that left digit X indicates how warm or cool the shade is. But the higher the number the warmer it will be. So no.9 is the warmest, most yellow of all. I have not seen no.1-3 but no. 5 is pinkish (in my opinion). No. 7 is equivalent to NC range in MAC. No. 9 is very yellow. 754 is a bit darker than NC35(I tried in the shop's light)."

***** 2nd Update *****

A fellow reader that is MAC NC20 was matched to shade #564 by an SA at the Shu Counter.

Friday, September 11, 2009

**Update** Clarisonic Plus Malfunction

Ok so I ended up taking my Clarisonic Plus back to Sephora with my receipt despite the fact that it'd been way past the 60-day limit. They were so great and let me do an exchange and said they'd send the wonky Clarisonic PLUS back to the manufacturers themselves.

I waited to post an update just to be SURE everything was ok. So 1+ month into testing my new machine and all is well! It's gone strong on the 2 minute setting has been able to hold the charges with no issues :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Kinerase Clear Skin Treatment Serum $79 Review

This elegant, lightweight therapeutic serum contains a proprietary blend of plant based extracts to reduce blemishes and control oil while visibly calming and smoothing the skin. A professional-strength dose of kinetin also treats and prevents signs of aging.

Regular use can help prevent blemishes without the redness, irritation and peeling commonly associated with acne treatment regimens.
-per Kinerase website

The Verdict: D
I wanted this serum to work - I really did especially since the Kinerase Clear Skin Regulating Mask worked so well. The thing is the serum did work. It has a runny consistency, is fast-absorbing and is non-oily but I did feel some slight stinging on areas of broken skin. Saw a pimple trying to set up camp on my cheek. I dabbed some of this serum right on the spot and the next morning - gone. Not even a trace of a blemish and my skin wasn't dry or peely.

Unfortunately, I just couldn't get over the funky cheesy foot smell. It's just horrible. My nostrils felt violated. If you value fresh oxygen and object to obtrusive malicious odors (cue siren and red light alarm) stay away! For the love of God stay away!

Another issue I had was the how the serum is dispensed. The best way to do it is to pump the product into the palm of your hand. I tried to pump a small drop onto the tip of my index and middle finger - big mistake! Stinky smelling goop squirted in all directions.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Frederic Fekkai + Saks Shampoo Swap

Who wants sexy hair? I do! I do! If you haven't heard yet this offer was in the Elle Magazine September Issue with Jennifer Aniston on the cover.

Celebrating the launch of the new Fekkai Advanced Collection, visit a participating Saks Fifth Avenue store on Thursday, September 17,2009 and exchange any full-size shampoo you currently use for one full-size complimentary Fekkai Advanced shampoo(a $23 value). One per customer, while supplies last.

There are 3 types of shampoo in this new line - Brilliant Glossing(Green), Technician Color Care(Pink), and Full Blown Volume(Orange) I'm not sure if you get to choose what you prefer but I'm eyeing the bottle of Full Blown Volume.