Sunday, October 25, 2009

Caudalie Pulpe Vitaminee 1st Wrinkle Serum $59 Review

This Sephora only exclusive was recommended to me by an SA. Since I was on a mission to stop the fine lines forming on my forehead I decided to give it a try. I like this much better than the Kinerase C8 Peptide Intensive Treatment.

"The serum is highly concentrated in anti-oxidants to immediately correct the first signs of ageing and tired skin. Wrinkles appear smoothed and skin looks more supple and incredibly luminous. To use apply morning and night on face and neck avoiding the area around the eyes." ~from product packaging.

The Verdict: A

I've worked this into my daily regimen and I apply this under moisturizer. It's non-greasy, lightweight and has a fairly runny consistency which makes fast absorbing. There's a very light smell to it that is pleasant and not at all obtrusive. I mainly use this on my forehead and temples. I've got deeper lines on my neck that I'm still hunting for the right product to use.

The best part is that I am definitely seeing the results of this. I can crinkle my forehead without fear because as soon as I'm done "expressing" my skin bounces right back. I even stopped using this for about 2 weeks and the results didn't disappear from discontinued use.

Product Packaging

I love Caudalie's use of the inside of the outter packaging! They usually place helpful tips and illustrations showing how to apply the product on the inside.

The actual product packaging itself is aiite. I'm thankful for the pump dispenser but the plastic container doesn't let me see how much is left.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

MAC Dazzleglass Creme $18 Review & Swatches

I dunno why but I just couldn't resist these when I dropped by the MAC boutique to pick up MAC's Volcanic Ash Exfoliator. I ended up purchasing only 3 out of the 9 shades available.

"M∙A∙C cult favourite Dazzleglass with a creamier, smoother, but no less shiny or dazzling effect. For those who are drawn to the luxe of cream lips, but still want the dazzling allure of its inspiration, this is it." ~from MAC's website These are Limited Edition so if you like them - do stock up!

Product Packaging

The outter packaging is standard issue MAC black.

These babies are in clear glass tubes and I like the weighty feel of them. The glass is unadorned and lets the shimma of the Dazzleglass Creme show through beautifully. Plus it's lets me gauge if this stuff is running low


Aren't they sparkly? O and unlike traditional MAC Dazzleglasses these are NOT sticky at all! I really don't mind the sticky thing but it does get annoying when my hair get stuck to my lips repeatedly.

Ok this pic is not a swatch - it's my natural lip color and is for color reference purposes only. The real lip swatches are below!

The Verdict - Amourous: A

I wasn't into this color online, but when I got to the store the SA was like "You ARE going to try Amorous aren't you?" You're not supposed to second guess advice from MAC gays so I obediently gave it a try. Turns out he was right - I loved it! Even though the glitter is very fine, of the 3 Dazzleglass Cremes I feel the glitter of this one the most when I blot my lips. It's not uncomfortable but I thought I should mention it.

This picture doesn't do it justice because in person the color is really amazing!

The Verdict - Do It Up: A+

This is my favorite of the trio! In the tube it looks sorta orangey-pink but on me it's more of a hot pink. I guess I'm just naturally orangey and I the orange-ness gets camouflaged on me.

The Verdict - My Favorite Pink: A

Pinks never show up well on me because of my skin color and my pigmented lips but what can I say? I'm always pining away for the perfect pink to come along and sweep me off my feet!

I have to say I was really impressed this showed up on me at all. I've nothing on except the Dazzleglass Creme itself.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator $19.50 Review

I totally missed out the when Volcanic Ash Exfoliator first debuted so I had to see what all the hype was about this time around. I didn't want to miss out again on this Limited Edition item.

"A highly effective, dual-purpose foaming, cleansing and exfoliating scrub blending natural Volcanic Ash with fine sugar crystals. Refines and unclogs the skin, adds instant moisture: leaves skin feeling soft and comfortably clean. Mineral-rich. May be used effectively on any part of face or body. Rinses off with warm water." ~from MAC's website.

The directions say to smooth this over the skin and then rinse off with warm water 1-3x a week. I tried it that way and I didn't like it because the second this stuff touches water, it's GONE. Instead I spread it all over my skin and then with moisten hands I "scrubbed" it around. See the next set of pictures below to see how it transforms.


Here's some of the exfoliator right out of the tube. It's jet black with large flaky grains.

When the water is added, it gets a bit foamy and a bit thinner. See the grains? It looks a lot like kosher salt but I'm not brave enough to find out. If I were to keel over I would just hate to go like that.

Working it in a bit more... you can see it's starting to turn grey as it dissolves.

Ok at this point the "salt" grains have completely dissolved and this is when I finally rinse it all off with warm water. I use this for my face about 1-2x a week and on patchy dry areas of my body whenever.

Product Packaging

I love when MAC takes a departure from their usual black boxes. The outer packaging of the Volcanic Ash Exfoliator is a white box with a raised MAC monogram all over.

I've no issues with the packaging of the actual product. They improved it this time and put it in a plastic squeezy tube. It makes it easy and mess-free to get the product out.

The Verdict: A+
This stuff really rocks! It leaves skin so clean and soft. What really sets it apart from other exfoliators is the foaming action. Even though it only foams a little bit, I think foaming makes the exfoliating process feel bubbly. It's a really nice unique feeling. Most other exfoliators just feel like I'm sandpapering my skin.

There is a strong smoky smell to this and it seems it's either a love it or hate it type of scent. I personally do not mind the smell, but I'm really super sensitive to smoke - I blame my weak nasal passages. When I use this on my face I have to work fast or else I get a tickle in my throat and feel like coughing.

Shipping Experience - Macy's: A+
I bought just 1 bottle of Volvanic Ash at MAC's boutique because I wanted to be sure I really liked this exfoliator before stocking up. Since I ended up loving it, I turned to Macy's to stock up. They were the only store I could find that would allow me to purchase 6 items of these at once.

So here's the stash of my precious Volcanic Ash until MAC re-releases it or better yet makes it part of their permanent collection!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Caudalie Vinopure Purifying Concentrate $39 Review

This concentrate comes highly recommended by my local SA. She swore that her boyfriend had been using it and it worked wonders. So I decided to give it a go.

I've been playing around with a lot of Caudalie products lately. Some have been a miss but the ones that are a hit have become some of my most favorite skincare products.

"This quick-penetrating, 100% plant-derived concentrate acts deep down to balance combination skin: excess oil is reduced and complexion is purified and cleansed.

Caudalie concentrates are inspired by professional Vinotherapie Spa treaments. Created to reveal unmatched radiance in one treatment, they are highly concentrated in plant ingredients and grape-seed oil for exceptional effectiveness.

Use in th evening, alone or under your moisturizer. Warm 3-4 drops in the palm of your hand, then massage onto face and neck." ~From the product package.

Product Packaging
I expected to find extra instructions on the inside of the packaging as is typical of Caudalie product boxes. But the inside of this box was suprisingly blank.

The container holding this concentrate is an opaque glass so it's hard to tell how much product in the vial. Boooo. However I do like the dropper applicator for this concentrate. The dropper is made of glass too and I feel like an alchemist when I'm using it - teehee! I think it was a smart to incorporate the dropper since the concentrate is really runny and it gives a lot more control when dispensing the product.

The Verdict: A
I've been using this product for a couple of weeks and my skin has become so radiant. I dunno what's in it, but it definitely reduces discoloration from acne scarring. The concentrate is applied easily over all the face and just a couple of drops is enough for me. It oily but at the same time it doesn't feel like grease is sitting on my skin. At first I thought this would make my face an oil slick in the morning, but when morning did come my skin was normal. I think the concentrate gets absorbed into the skin overnight.

There is a strong smell to this product. I can't really describe it but it basically smells like a lighter version of Asian white flower oil (yeah that's a direct translation).

I'm pretty accustomed to this smell because white flower oil is for Taiwanese people what Windex was to the dad from My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Got a headache? Dab some white flower oil on your temples. Stuffy nose? Dab some white flower oil right above your lip. Bug bite? Dab some white flower oil on it. I personally don't mind the smell, but everytime I put this concentrate on my bf always asks "What's that smell?"

I know $39 is pretty steep for this tiny vial but the results really are amazing. And since only a few drops are needed, I can see this lasting a couple of months.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Shu Uemura Gloss Unlimited WNE 283s $22 Review & Swatches

I got this as a sample a little while back and just wanted to put up a quickie review.

"Easy-to-wear vivid shades in vibrant color. Each shade delivers intense color fidelity and brightness, 3 dimensional shine effect in a non-sticky formula that keeps lips hydrated and soft. Sheer Coverage." ~From the Shu Uemura website.

The sample is a wine color gloss in shade wne 283s. There's a wide range of colors and shades to choose from though!


Here's a swatch of the gloss. See how teeny tiny the glitter is?

My natural lip color.

With the gloss lightly applied.

Sample Product Packaging
Even though this is just a sample of the gloss, the tube and cap are of very good quality and I was really impressed.

This lip gloss has my preferred applicator - the fuzzy applicator! I find this kind of applicator gives me the best control around the edges of my lips. With some other applicators I end up pushing all the gloss from the center of my lips out to the edges.

The Verdict: A
I love the color of this for the fall! I also love how the gloss is non-sticky and the glitter is so finely milled, you can't even feel it. The gloss goes on sheer and it looks great by itself or layered upon lipsticks.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bath and Body Works Anti-Bacterial Hand Foam $4 Review

Who's scared of the swine flu outbreak? Ok me - and apparently the best prevention is to wash your hands while singing Happy Birthday to yourself. But alas, water and soap aren't always available and sometimes the hypochrondriac in me is desperate to have clean hands. I've never really been a fan of hand sanitizer but I'd accepted it as my only option.

Then came this wondrous product from Bath and Body Works that made me see the light again! I grabbed one in Coconut Lime Verbena but there's 5 different scents of Anti-Bacterial Hand Foam to choose from and at only $4 a pop it's easy on the wallet too!

Product Packaging
The size of the Anti-Bacterial Hand Foam is just about 4 inches tall which is perfect to tuck into a purse for on-the-go use. I also love clear plastic container which is lightweight and let's me easily gauge how much product is left.

I tried to take a pic of the foam but it liquified really quickly and I ended up with this foam puddle instead :(

The Verdict: A
I'm really loving this and I've been carrying it with me everywhere. The foam absorbs very quickly and it doesn't leave a filmy residue behind - only cleanly scented palms!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mary Kay Clarifying Mask 3 $14 Review

For some reason I always go back to this particular clarifying mask. I first tried this in high school and it was something my mom wanted me to try (mostly because her boss was a Mary Kay representative at the time and she had to suck up and buy something from her - LOL).

This mask is part of the Mary Kay classic skincare regimen for blemish-prone skin.

"Clarifying Mask, a velvety clay-based formula, gentle exfoliates and clears excess surface oils, leaving skin with a soft matte finish. Refines skin's texture and deep cleans to help control surface sebum. Recommended for blemish prone skin because Clarifying Mask does not contain scrubbing grains which can irritate blemishes. Avoid use in eye and mouth areas." ~from the project package.

I usually apply the mask after cleansing, focusing mainly on my T-zone. The official directions say to leave it on for 10 minutes but I leave it on for as long as it takes the mask to dry (probably closer to 15 minutes). As it dries, the mask will start to harden so be careful not to make any facial expressions less you covet a face full of wrinkles. After is dries, it rinses off easily with warm water and then I follow with a toner and moisturizer.

Product Packaging
The mask is housed your average plastic tube which is perfect for squeezing out every last bit of product. It also stands on it's head so there's the advantage of gravity pulling all the product to the opening of the tube.

Here's a blob of the mask. The consistency is pretty thick and it's got a light lavender tinge.

The Verdict: A
The result from the mask are wonderful. My skin is soft, matte and feels clean. But what I really love is that I can see the mask working. As the mask dries, it pulls out sebum from pores. I can actually see little oily spots on top of the mask where it's extracted all the excess sebum and this visual confirmation gives me a sense of victory over my acne issues.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Shu Uemura Face Architect Smoothing Fluid Foundation $42 Review & Swatch

"Shu Uemura's Face Architect Smoothing Fluid Foundation refines skin texture to ultimate smoothness with a watery fresh application.

This foundation spreads with a watery sensation wearing comfortably on the skin. Imperfections such as uneven skin texture and skin tone are smoothed out with each application for a beautifully unified look. With adjustable coverage, the skin looks flowaless yet natural, resulting in a transparent complextion soft and smooth to the touch.

High concentrations of Depsea water allow for an exceptionally fluid application leaving skin with a fresh watery texture." ~from the pamphlet included with the foundation.


The foundation appears more yellow in this pic than it does in person. I got this in shade #764 which matches MAC NC25. If you're trying to determine your shade, check out my previous post here.

Product Packaging
The product is housed in a glass container with a plastic lid and pump. I really like the heavy feel of the glass in my hand. I dunno why.

And of course I love the pump dispenser as it's both sanitary and easy to dispense just the right amount. I do not understand why this isn't an industry standard. If you don't use the pump, it's always easier to unscrew it than to find a pump that actually fits the container.

The Verdict: A-
I've put this foundation on a variety of ways and there's just NO WAY to mess it up. I've used only my fingers to dab & smooth it on when I'm in a rush, I've used a sponge applicator to smooth it on, I've stippled it on with the MAC 187, and I've even used the Shu Natural 18 Foundation brush to apply it. However you choose to apply this, it goes on beautifully. It gives medium to medium-full coverage and has a bit of a powdery finish.

What I love is that this foundation never cakes and it lasts through an 8 hour day. I don't recall ever needing to touch-up my face with this foundation. I've seem some forums where people say this foundation has oxidized on them and turned orangey. I tested it out and I didn't have a problem with oxidization but I also disagreed with the original shade the SAs picked out for me. They chose #754 for me but it was a bit off - so I self-corrected afterwards.

The only real complaint I have is I can "feel" the foundation sitting on my skin as it's drying. Even though it dries fairly quickly, every now and then during the day I get that feeling of The Foundation is ON again.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Shu Uemura UV Underbase Mousse SPF10 $32 Review

I've always been a believer in primers. They are afterall the foundation to foundations. They create a smooth base for foundation so it's applied smoothly and evenly over the skin. A primer is a must for me to counter acne scarring, enlarged pores and some dry patches. Without it, foundation lodges itself into crevices I didn't even know were on my face and it slips off areas where I expect it to stay put.

I've always wanted to try out Shu Uemura's unconventional UV Underbase Mousse SPF10. The look of the packaging is so unique that I've been drawn to this product for the longest time. Another plus is that this primer has SPF10 in it. It's not much but some SPF is better than none, right?

Here some of the mousse straight outta the can. See how billowy and foamy? Although the mousse blends sheer, it has a beige tint to it. In fact the box says it's official shade is Beige 01.

The Verdict: A
I wasn't sure what to expect this foamy primer but I was pleasantly suprised. Since this has the consistency of mousse, when it's applied it doesn't just glide over the skin. I could feel it being absorbed into my skin just a little bit which also provided some moisturization. It does takes some work to get this blended in and absorbed into the skin. It leaves skin a litte moist and takes a minute to dry completely. Once dried my skin felt soft and supple. My pores were minimized and foundation went on like a dream without budging.

It is non-greasy, very light weight and the best part - it mattifies. I barely broke a shine in the 6th hour. That's right shine free for 6 hours! Another thing I noticed was that this primer actually keeps foundation and blushes right where it's applied. I'm totally in love with this stuff!