Archive | July 2009

Sephora Specials

As if we needed a reason to visit Sephora…instead of the usual 3 free samples with every order, until August 4th, you can choose 5 samples with each order. Your 5 samples will be packaged in an airplane-approved Sephora bag while supplies last.

Some other specials Sephora is currently offering:

* 50% off Urban Decay Trifecta (mini sized eye shadow primer, eye pencil, and mascara)

* Free Guy Supply: Enter HANDSOME at checkout and receive a bag filled with 14 skincare and scent samples for men

* Free Duwop Prime Lip Venom with coupon code DUWOP

* Free Amore Pacific Enzyme Face Peel with coupon code AMORE

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NYC In a New York Color Minute Quick Dry Nail Polish

Overall, I am a fan of the NYC cosmetics line, since the quality is surprisinly good for such a low price. I’ve already reviewed their Color Wheel Mosaic Eye Powder and Ultra Moist Lipwear (both thumbs up).

I like non-traditional nail polish colors, so when I saw NYC’s In a New York Color Minute Quick Dry Nail Polish in 206B: East Village (below), I decided to try it out.

With the very first coat, I started to have doubts. The color is great in the bottle, but applied to the nails, it is very faint, transparent, and weak. With 2 coats, the color was still uneven and nowhere near as vibrant as in the bottle. Personally I don’t care to apply 4 coats of nail polish to get the color it is supposed to be, so this was a major strike against this product.

I painted my nails 2 days ago and applied a clear coat, but the color has already chipped on 4 fingers and started peeling off. To me, $1.99 is still too much to pay for a nail color that applies unevenly, that isn’t the same color as in the bottle, and doesn’t last anyway.

I’m disappointed to give this product 0 stars out of 5. Except for a low price, there is really no redeeming quality of this nail polish. I’ve tried this color twice and had miserable results both times, so it’s going in the trash now.

Pink Cross

A few months ago, my boyfriend Gary and I spent the day wandering antique shops, walking around together, and just taking a whole day for ourselves, leaving everything behind but him and me. While we were in one store, I noticed a silver necklace with a cross with pink and iridescent stones, and I fell in love! I convinced myself, though, that I don’t need it, and I wandered off to look at other things.

While Gary was at the register paying for something else, he noticed me admiring the cross, and he picked it up and said it was cool. He bought it for me, and I put it on before we even left the store.

The picture doesn’t do it justice, especially since it was taken with a camera phone while I was wearing the necklace! But this is definitely my favorite piece of jewelry, for so many reasons. That day together was so much fun and holds so many beautiful memories, and every time I wear this cross, I feel close to Gary. I don’t think I’ve ever worn it and not had someone, somewhere, stop me to compliment the cross and ask where I found it.

So today’s post is not about lipstick, mascara, shampoo, or any beauty product you can buy in a bottle or jar. I feel beautiful when I wear this cross because of what it means to me, and what the person who got it for me means to me. And knowing what I mean to him.

Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick

You’ve probably seen the advertisements with Jennifer Connelly sporting impossibly bright, Bozo-the-Clown red lips, hawking Revlon’s ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick. This product makes some lofty claims, like:

*Food-proof lipcolor with a built-in, ultra-conditioning topcoat

*One-step application- No topcoat required for comfortable wear

*Stays comfortable and wears beautifully for up to 12 hours

*Does not feather or fade; no touch-ups required, even after meals

Well now! I’m not a fan of long-wearing lip color because it feels like liquid chalk with an oily top coat and leaves me with the itchy desire to just wipe the crap off my mouth already. But when I spotted this item half price (about $4.50) at Target, packaged with some promotional items on clearance, I decided to give it a whirl.

The liquid lipstick applies like a lip gloss with a wand applicator. I brushed on a coat of Miracle Mauve and instantly started to have doubts. As the lip color dries, it has that same chalky feel that I know and don’t love, so I used some lip balm on top as a comforting clear coat. So much for “no topcoat required for comfortable wear”.

Okay, onto the next test: “food-proof”. I checked myself out after eating lunch, and once again I was disappointed. Though some color remained, it was only around the edges of my lips, so I just looked like I slapped on crazy lip liner in the dark with a shaky hand. It definitely required a touch-up, and that is when I discovered the next thing I don’t like about this product. Applying another coat on top of a lunch-smeared, already-dried coat left it flaking and uneven, and decidedly unappealing.

It has taken only 2 days of testing this product to lead me to hunting down the receipt and begging Target to take it back. My overall rating: 0 stars out of 5.

This product is overpriced (about $10 regular price), does not come anywhere near to living up to its claims, is uncomfortable when it dries, won’t last through a meal, and definitely requires some sort of topcoat to reach any degree of comfort. But why bother when it fades anyway?

I have never been a fan of Revlon products, and ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick is no exception. This product did nothing but reinforce my dislike of Revlon.

Beauty Emergency Quiz

Realsimple.com offers this Beauty Emergency Quiz, testing your knowledge of what items can be swapped if you run out of your favorite beauty item. Go ahead, see how much you know!

Here’s a cheat sheet before you head over to the quiz: did you know that hair conditioner is a great substitute for shaving gel, that avocado is good for your hair, and that baking soda is sooo much more than a refrigerator deodorizer?

Now…go test yourself!

How Does Hair Conditioner Work?

Ever hear of Ed Pinaud? If you use conditioner on your hair, you can thank him, since he presented a product he called brilliantine at the 1900 Exhibition Universelle in Paris. This product was intended to soften men’s hair, beards, and mustaches, and it has advance to the hair conditioners we know and use today. (No, I didn’t make this up to amuse myself! Check out my source: Wikipedia).

Hair conditioners, according to CopperWiki, “perform as temporary filler which smooth out chinks in the cuticle layer. This keeps strands from tangling around each other as you brush and style your hair. Conditioner also develop a protective seal around hair, which forces the cuticle to lie flat – this flat surface reflects light and makes hair shine.”

So…just how does conditioner work this magic, anyway? Well, some people actually get paid to study hair at the nanometer level, in other words, one billionth of a meter at a time.

Bharat Bhushan, a mechanical engineer professor, concluded that many conditioners do not uniformly coat the hair surface, gathering in pockets at the bottom of the cuticles (source: ivanhoe.com). He concluded that, “You use a conditioner basically to lubricate. You’re looking for a good feel,” and “If it does not chemically attach to hair, does not interact with hair, then it’s not doing much of protection.”

According to salonweb.com, conditioners fall into 6 major categories:

Moisturizers: concentrated with humectants. Humectants are compounds that attract and hold moisture into the hair. They may not necessarily contain botanicals or protein (they often do).

Reconstructors: normally contain protein. Hydrolyzed human hair keratin protein is the best source, because it contains all 19 amino acids found in the hair. Human hair keratin protein has a low molecular weight. This enables the it to penetrate the hair shaft (the cortex). The main purpose of a reconstructor is to strengthen the hair.

Acidifiers: The key word here is “acid”. Yes, is is good to put acid on your hair. When a product carries a pH of 2.5 to 3.5 it is normally termed an acidifier. This pH will close (compact) the cuticle layer of the hair. The result is shiny, bouncy hair. This pH range will adjust the beta bonds to alpha bonds (hydrogen bonds). Acidifiers do not weigh the hair. They do create shine, and add elasticity. This category is great for people with fine textured hair.

Detanglers: Most detanglers are acidifiers (see above). Most have low pH’s 2.5 to 3.5. They close the cuticle of the hair which cause tangles. Some “shield” the hair shaft with polymers (polymers are strings of “like” molecules- a chain). Some detanglers are instant, some take 1-5 minutes to work.

Thermal Protectors: safeguard the hair against heat. Using thermal protectors are one of the best things you can do to your hair if you blow dry, use curling irons, or hot rollers. They normally use heat absorbing polymers that distribute the heat, so your hair does not get heat damage (a major cause of hair damage)

Glossers: For the most part glossers are cosmetic. Most Glossers contain dimethicone or cyclomethicone ( very light oils derived from silicone). Used in small amounts they reflect light. Also, they are one of the best products to control the “frizzies.”

Oils (E.F.A.’s): If you have dry hair (esp. if you have chemicals on your hair color-perm-relaxer), you need to add oil to your hair. The scalp produces a natural oil called sebum. EFA’s are the closest thing to natural sebum (sebum contain EFA’S). EFA’s can take very dry and porous hair and transform it into soft pliable hair.

Now that we know sort of how they work, ezinearticles offers these tips on how to choose and use a conditioner:

1. Look for rich, moisturizing conditioner if hair tends to get extra dry or frizzy.

2. If the hair is limp or fine, use a volumizing conditioner.

3. Healthy and shiny hair needs only a conditioner made for normal hair.

4. Use leave-on conditioners at least once a week. Use it in the shower and rinse immediately if the hair is fine but for drier hair, leave it longer.

5. If a person has baby-fine hair then too much conditioner will weigh it down. Test the hair at night to see what amount of conditioner works best. Fine hair can be nice and shiny, but too much conditioner makes it look oily, damp or weighted down.

6. Be sure to rinse the hair well. It seems that cooler rinse water works better as it does not leave the scalp feeling heavy or irritated and this has been proven from a lot of hair experts too.

Got it? Now go forth and use some of these tidbits to impress your friends with your endless array of knowledge.

Sally Hansen Hard As Nails

I have quite a stash of nail polish, but that didn’t stop me from picking up a bottle of Sally Hansen’s Hard as Nails nail color in Peony. The color was just irresistable.

The product description, from the company website, is: “Nails are sealed with brilliant shine for added protection against chipping, cracking and splitting.”

I applied two coats, along with Sally Hansen No Chip Acrylic Top Coat, for this result:


Hmmm, not sure this photo does the color justice, since the picture is grainy and dulls the pink color of the nail polish. It’s a pretty, girly, happy pink with a bit of frost.

So far, so good, but I just did my nails yesterday! I will update this post with how well this polish wears throughout the week, especially with this topcoat. Application was a bit tricky; I really don’t like the brush or the texture of the polish, not sure which. Time will tell if the hassle of application is worth the results.