Friday, May 30, 2008

Could Life Possibly Be Any Crazier?!

Hi Ladies! Sorry we haven't updated in a little while...when it rains it pours! I've been traveling for weddings, was slammed with work last week and have been working crazy hours since and on top of it all, I'm moving places this weekend! We'll start regular posts again as soon as possible - hopefully this weekend!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tightening the Beauty Belt: Days 11 to 20

Day 11: Dove Exfoliating Daily Facial Cleansing Pillows
Chic Mommy loves these cleansing pads because they are chemical-free and do an excellent job of scrubbing away dry, dead skin off the face. The pads work well in with with acne medications as well.

Day 12: L'Oreal Original Voluminous Mascara

Both Chic Mommy and I love this mascara. For me, this was my drugstore go to before I discovered Cover Girl Lash Blast. I love voluminizing mascaras for their ability to fatten up my sparse lashes. The brush is very similar to YSL Faux Cils Mascara's brush -- chubby and filled with bristles.

Chic Mommy says that this is the best value in the drugstore. She thinks it lengthens and thickens as well as Chanel for only 25% of the cost.

Day 13: Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

This is the only lotion that Chic Mommy uses on her face at night and on the days she does not leave the house (for its lack of sunscreen). She says it is so gentle, she even uses it on her little ones!! The bottle costs $10, but it lasts more than 3 months with both her and the kids using it.

Day 14: Olay Complete Defense Daily UV Moisturizer SPF 30

Chic Mommy has used Olay brand for almost 10 years now and just doesn't see a reason to pay more for department store brands when this moisturizer works so well. An added plus is the great sun protection it offers!

Day 15: Booth's Ginger Sugar Scrub
Remember how I told you I love gourmand scented lotions and body creams? Well, that love extends to body scrubs as well. Unfortunately, some department store brand scrubs cost around 50 bucks!! Its a little too expensive for me for something that will be washed down the drain. Luckily, I found this sugar scrub which smells amazing yet does a wonderful job of exfoliating my skin. Further, the ginger scent is unique (not the typical vanilla or chocolate) yet not overpowering.

Day 16: L'Oreal Colour Juice in Peek-A-Boo Clear

I have been looking for a cheap clear gloss to slick on in lieu of chapstick during the summer months and this one by L'Oreal is one of the best out there. The gloss goes on smoothly, is non-tacky and has a nice scent to it as well. As an added bonus, this product would look great dabbed on eyelids for a glossy eye look.

Day 17: Booth's Buttercream Body Souffle
Like the Tree Hut Brazilian Nut Body Cream reviewed previously this month, this body souffle is amazingly moisturizing and scented. Whereas the Tree Hut cream is ultra thick and perfect for fall and winter, this souffle is somewhat lighter and I plan to use this all summer long.
Day 18: Aquaphor Healing Ointment

I had heard about Aquaphor on other beauty blogs as a sort of miracle product for dry, flaky skin. Yet this product is not just a lotion you smear on...its a multi-purpose project that can be used as a moisturizer, healing ointment, and even chapstick! I put this on my lips at night and when I wake up 7 hours later, my lips are still extremely moisturized. I plan on keeping a tube of this at my office desk as the constant temperature changes leave my lips and hands dry.
Day 19: L'Oreal Le Kohl Pencil in Cafe

If there was one product I was obsessed with back in high school (yes, you heard right, that was about 10+ years ago!), it was this eyeliner. I loved the smudgy kohl look and still do, and this drugstore eyeliner easily achieves this look. The liner goes on smoothly and smudgy, and does not drag or skip on the eyelids at all.

Day 20: Crest Whitestrips Dental Whitening SysteCrest Whitestrips were one of the original teeth whiteners on the market when they became so popular a few years back. This product remains popular despite multiple imitations by other brands for a reason - it works! My teeth were noticeably whiter after I used them for 14 days and I immediately got a lot of compliments on my teeth. I actually started using them when I complained to my dentist that my teeth were yellowing. His response was that I could either pay $500 or so for professional whitening or go get a box of Crest Whitestrips...I was sold!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner


Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner with Ultra Fine Brush, ($41)

A while ago, one of our readers asked if there was a way to get that Indian kohl-lined look without having the liner run all over the place after a few hours of wear. I think I may have finally discovered a product that does the job, it's called Bobbi Brown Gel Eyliner. It's very much like MAC's Fluidline product, but for some reason, I'm finding this to be of higher quality and easier to use.

It's a light, waterproof formula that glides on easily on the lashline, and it's safe enough to also be used on the "waterline" to line your inner rims. It takes a minute set, so if you want to get a smokey kohl look that will last all night, you've got enough time to smudge it before it sets.

Although you don't have to, I suggest you buy the brush that is designed specifically for this product. I tried to swing it with an eyeliner brush I bought from Bobbi Brown several years ago, but it didn't work well, and only got success when I went back to the mall to buy the Ultra Fine Eyeliner Brush.

What I love best about this product is how smudge-resistant is. Once it sets, it's stuck until you remove it with eye makeup remover. It's ideal for contact lense wearers and those of us who live in hot, humid weather. I can also see this product becoming a favorite for brides as well, especially those getting married in the summer.

If you don't live near a mall that sells Bobbi Brown, don't worry. QVC is having a deal on this product right now where you get both the liner and the brush for $41 + shipping. As for colors, don't just limit yourself to Black. The Espresso (Dark Brown) is great for a natural-looking, daytime smokey eye and the Cobalt (a bluish black-gray), wow, this one is fabulous if you're wearing a bright shirt like yellow, hot pink, or tangerine and spending the day outdoors in the sun.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Steal the Look: Aishwarya Rai's Makeup at Cannes Film Festival 2008

Earlier today at the Cannes Film Festival, Aishwarya Rai walked down the red carpet with Eva Longoria. We haven't seen much of Aish lately but she made an entrance and her makeup looks wonderful....its nothing crazy or new, but she always look great with a smoky eye and nude lip. Here's her makeup breakdown:

Eyes: Aish has on shimmery taupe and gold shadows surrounded by tons of black liner and black mascara. Apply MAC Cream Colour Base in Fawntastic all over the lid to make the powder shadow adhere. Apply a shimmery light gold-beige shadow such as MAC Shadow in Retrospeck from the inner corners of the eyelid to the middle of the eyelid and apply a slightly darker shimmery gold shadow such as MAC Shadow in Soba from the middle of the eyelid to the outercorners. Apply a muted taupe brown shadow such as MAC Shadow in Charcoal Brown to the crease of the eyelid. Blend shadows together well. Apply an ivory shadow such as MAC Shadow in Dazzlelight to the brow bones as a highlight.

Finish the eyes by using a thick black liner such as Benefit BadGal Eyeliner all around the eyes. Smoke the eyes into the shadow using an eyeshadow brush or a shadow smudger. Top the first line with another layer of black liner. Finish with thick volumizing black mascara such as Cover Girl LashBlast Mascara.

Cheeks: Aish has on a peachy-nude colored blush that blends into her skin. Apply a similar color such as MAC Blush in Tenderling to apples of the cheeks. Apply a highlighting powder such as Chanel Joues Contraste Blush in Luna to the cheekbones.

Lips: Aish has on a nude pink gloss but her lips are still accentuated. To draw out the shape, line lips first with a nude lipliner such as MAC Cremestick Liner in Honey B. Finish with a nude pink gloss such as MAC Plushglass in Big Baby.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tightening the Beauty Belt: Days 6 to 10

May 6: Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Glossy Rose

If there were a blind test between drugstore bought Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss and a department store gloss, I would seriously not be able to tell the difference between the products. The quality of the Revlon lip gloss is smooth and non-tacky, meaning your hair won't stick to your lips on those windy days. Further, the shine is so beautiful that I regularly get compliments on it

Glossy Rose is one of my favorite color choices in the range as it is a rose pink that looks great on a multitude of skin tones.

May 7: Veet Bladeless Razor Hair Removal Gel

If you are as scared of wax strips and hot wax as I am, but tend to grow a forest on your limbs as I do, you need to try this hair removal gel. This gel is not the hair removal creams and gels of the 1980s with a nasty chemical smell. The gel goes on like shaving gel, is left on for only 3 to 5 minutes and the hair comes very easily -- no post-removal shaving to remove little hairy tidbits. I like using the Veet gel on my legs, arms and even bikini line.

May 8: Tree Hut Brazilian Nut Body Butter

Given my love for gourmand fragrances, I used to have a penchant for buying very expensive body creams in vanilla, honey, almond, chocolate, you-name-the-dessert scents. I often felt really guilty for dropping anywhere from $25 to $50 on these creams and as a result, I was thrilled to find the Tree Hut body butter.

This body butter smells amazing (gourmand, of course), is as thick and creamy as the expensive brands, moisturizes extremely well and retails for only $7. Plus, it comes in a big tub and since the thickness of the cream means you don't need to use much, this $7 will go along way.

May 9: Neutrogena Deep Clean Cleansing Cream

I'm deeply loyal to my Shiseido cleansing cream but when I ran out a few weeks ago, a friend introduced me to this Neutrogena cleansing cream. Unlike a lot of creams, this one actually feels like it is cleansing and rinses completely without any residue. In addition, it doesn't have any of the foaming sulfates that strip your face of its natural oils and cause more breakouts.

May 10: Ardell Duralash Individual False Eyelashes

MAC, Laura Mercier and Shu Uemura all make great false eyelashes but are by no means cheap. I'm personally not willing to drop a ton of cash on something I wear only once in a while to a fancy event to glam up my look. Ardell's false lashes are budget friendly and are very easy to use. I love the individual lashes that you can cut down and attached to the outer lash line.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Amy Winehouse: One Crazy Mess


Trick or Treat! It's Amy Winehouse, who decided to scare passengers stuck in a traffic jam recently. It never ceases to amaze me how someone so perpetually high can still remember to wear eyeliner and tease their hair like that before they walk out the door. I wonder if she sees what we see when she looks in a mirror.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Battle of the Eye Creams: Kinerase vs. N.V. Perricone

Now that I'm well into my 30's, I've become increasingly interested in anti-wrinkle and anti-aging products, especially ones that combat wrinkles around the eyes (since that's where I've noticed them the most on me).

The ladies at Sephora were super nice and gave me free samples of the two best-selling eye creams known to combat not only wrinkles, but also the dark circles under the eyes. I didn't know there was a cream to combat undereye circles, I always thought that was a problem that only responded to concealors and extra water in your diet, but apparently there's a cream to cure anything and everything out there these days.

The two creams I sampled were Kinerase Under Eye Rescue and N.V. Perricone's Advanced Eye Area Therapy, both of which are considered the best you can buy without a prescription in this class. Both products claim that you have to use them for up to three months to see results, but I don't have patience or the money to wait three months. In my book, I have to see at least a slight improvement in a week otherwise, I'm not buying it.


This cream is comprised of a combination of vitamins (K and C) and other anti-oxidants that are supposed to combat fine wrinkles and the blue in under eye circles. I really wanted to like this eye cream, but it stung like mad upon application, and after three days, I didn't want to put this instrument of torture on me anymore, no matter what it promised. Perhaps I was allergic to this eye cream, but even if I wasn't I didn't like the texture of this cream. The sample I got didn't spread easily and was slightly grainy as well, who wants to put something with little grains in it around the eyes? Not to mention, even in a mere three days, I didn't see it working one bit, and my undereye area looked more healthy after I stopped using it. I gave this one a thumbs down for both stinging me and for being outrageously priced.


Now this, my friends, is the superstar, and very worth the money since just a little dab is enough to cover both eyes, and the tube will last you at least a month or two before you need to purchase again. This didn't sting me at all, and it glided on smoothly, instantly moisturizing the area under my eyes. The secret ingredient in this cream is Kinetin, an anti-oxidant that is derived naturally from an anemone flower in Holland. Kinetin has been known to keep the anemone flower's petals hydrated and wrinkle free, and scientists have discovered that it does the same for the human skin as well. It's a huge hit among celebs in Hollywood, and Courtney Cox is the spokesperson for the product.

And I have to say the product does live up to the hype. I used this for only seven days and noticed a significant improvement in the appearance of wrinkles under my eyes. One morning I woke up, sleep deprived as usual, but when I looked in the mirror, I looked like I had a good night's sleep, it was that effective. As far as the circles went, they didn't disappear entirely, but they did start to look less noticeable, which I thought was amazing considering I had only been using this product for seven days. They make just an anti-wrinkle cream called Intensive Eye Cream ($59) as well, if all you want to target is the wrinkles and not the under eye circles. It costs less too. I didn't try it, but judging from how well the Under Eye Rescue worked, it's probably just as effective. I give Kinerase Under Eye Rescue an A+ and I think it makes an excellent addition to my skincare routine.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Laura Mercier Gold Digger Makeup Collection

For her Gold Digger Collection, Laura Mercier keeps the makeup collection small in size yet fabulous. As the name hints, the collection consists of various shades of golds that look great on all skin tones, from fair to dusky to ebony.

The collection consists of:
1. Eye Colour Pot in White Gold, Solid Gold and Bronzed Gold -- the double decker pots hold both loose powder and satin cream color in three colors.

2. Lip Glace in Platinum (shimmery white), Gold (shimmery gold) and Bronze (shimmery bronze) -- high shine lip gloss that is long lasting and plumping.
3. Bronzing Duo in Coral Bronze (peachy coral and dusty tan) and Pink Bronze (bright pink and dark bronze)-- a silky two-toned bronzer that leaves a soft, golden sheen and adds a healthy radiance.

4. Nail Lacquer in Sterling (light silver) and 24 Karat (dark gold) -- high shine nail color.

Collection recommendations: The Eye Colour Pots in all the available colors are just beautiful. I especially love the cream eye color which goes on very silkily and provides a great summer look. I also love the Lip Glace in Bronze and the Bronzing Duo in Coral Bronze which provides a peachy glow, rather than dirty tan.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Tightening The Beauty Belt - Days 1 to 5

Recession - you've heard the scary term over and over again for months now. It means tightening our budgets to ride the recession wave, including our beauty budgets! Yet all is not hopeless for beauty fanatics. There are some great, cheap picks out there. Below, Days 1 to 5:

I bought the one inch Conair curling iron from Walgreens a few months back in a hair emergency. I didn't expect much from this low-end branch but I have definitely gotten more out of my $20 than I thought! Just a 5 to 10 second twirl of my hair around the iron produces very shiny curls. Plus, its nice to know that my hair is being somewhat protected from the heat from the ceramic structure. The iron retails on the Conair website for $28.99 but I only paid $20 and a quick search on the internet shows that you can get for as cheap as $15!!

I started using this brow pencil and gel about three years ago and I still remain loyal to it. The pencil's texture is not like a regular eye is more waxy and goes on quite lightly - no crazy Joan Crawford brows here. The gel is suberb as it acts like a holding gel to keep stray hairs in place once I have filled in sparse areas with the pencil. It retails for about $7 at stores like Walgreens and CVS and one pencil lasts me about five months or so.

By now, you all know my quest for shiny, frizzless hair. I love this conditioner for the way it helps tame my hair and adds a little gloss. Its by far the best drugstore conditioner I have ever used...Beware that it may NOT be for all hair types. It contains certain silicones that help create the shine so if your hair is fine or thin, it may make it more limp. I do recommend it for hair like mine which is curly, coarse in texture and very thick. It retails for 5 buck on

*Please note that I don't recommend the Ice Shine Shampoo.

**This conditioner also won best drugstore conditioner by Glamour last year.

I have owned three Sonia Kashuk eye makeup brushes for the past two years or so, and I have yet to see a stray hair from these brushes fall out. Impressive for such a cheap brand!! The brushes are very soft against my skin, pick up color well and are wonderful at blending shadows. I am so glad I found these because I just can't justify spending tons of cash on makeup brushes. I haven't yet tried the face brushes but I imagine they are of the same quality. Check them out at Target, where they retail for between $6 to $20.
May 5: Cover Girl Lash Blast Mascara

If you're an avid beauty blog reader, you've heard the rave reviews already. This mascara needs no introduction....the fact that it was used by makeup artist extraordinaire Pat McGrath at several Fall 2008 shows says it all! I love this product because a) its cheap and b) it gives amazing volume AND length. Some people don't like the bulky brush but I think it just requires a little practice. I posted a picture of myself above wearing the Last Blast mascara.