Sunday, July 24, 2016

Review: Avene Eau Thermale Mineral Sunscreen Spf50


Hopefully by now everyone knows that sunscreen is an absolute must for the skincare routine. It's not OK to rely on any spf in moisturizers or foundation - you're never going to use enough of those to provide the full protective benefit. But finding a sunscreen to use on your face that doesn't create a white cast, greasiness, or problems with your make-up can be really challenging. I find that chemical sunscreens, in particular, tend to make my skin look dull and oily, so I stay away from them. Mineral sunscreens, though, can act as a really good make-up primer if you can find one that doesn't make you look like Casper. If you are still on the hunt for that magic unicorn, I would suggest giving this Avene sunscreen a try. It is incredibly lightweight and goes on clear. I do not have any issues with my make-up or oiliness when I use it, nor do I get any irritation or break-outs. At SPF50, it provides an excellent shielding benefit and because it is mineral it will last all day if you are careful not to rub your face.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Review: Lancome Hypnose Waterproof Mascara


I've been on a new mascara hunt lately and Lancome's Waterproof Hypnose is my most recent try-out. It purports to be volumizing and, of course, smudge-resistant. I was not impressed by either of those claims. Application is unimpressive. I didn't detect much extra volume at all; in fact, I really had to layer it on for it to be even remotely visible on my lashes. This probably doesn't help the smudge factor because the more product you have on, the more likely it is to flake or rub off. And rub off it did. I am prone to smudging under my eyes and this mascara gave me dark circles that were quite unflattering. No Hypnose for me!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Review: Oribe Curl Control Silkening Creme


I kind of hate that I'm getting drawn into Oribe. In principle, I want to think I could get products just as good for my hair at the drugstore. In practice, I can't deny that I've found some gems for which I cannot find any cheaper versions. This Oribe styling cream is $38.  I know, it's ridiculous. But you know what? I love it. It is absolutely perfect for my curls in the summer. I apply it wet, after a moisturizing serum or oil, shape my curls with my fingers, and air dry. I'm left with bouncy, shiny, tamed curls that have not a hint of stiffness or crunch. It even yields very respectable second-day hair. I really appreciate how well-balanced this product is in terms of moisture and hold. It even smells nice, with that signature Oribe citrus. It is pretty rare to find a curl cream that is not either too greasy, too drying, too weak, or too strong. This one is my Goldilocks - just right.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Review: Juice Beauty Green Apple Age Defy Moisturizer


This moisturizer by Juice Beauty purports to contain a powerful antioxidant and peptide combo that should be an excellent anti-aging cocktail for the skin. Don't be fooled by the marketing claims, though. It's packaged in a clear jar, which is basically the worst possible way to preserve the efficacy of antioxidants. It also contains citrus, which is a known skin irritant. I tested it for a few days anyway, just to see how it performed. Frankly, it is one of the worst moisturizers I've tried in a long time. It feels lightweight when you apply it, but it doesn't absorb well, so my skin was left feeling greasy. It made my foundation crease terribly, as a result. The only good thing I can say about it is that it didn't cause any break-outs (but I'm not prone to those, anyway). For $45 or $0, this is a pass.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Review: YSL Cinema Eau de Parfum


To me, Cinema is a sultry summer nights, bombshell of a perfume. You don't wear this to work. You don't wear this to drop the kids off at school. You wear this along with a sexy dress and high heels to a moonlit garden party. I would classify Cinema as a floral vanilla. The vanilla is ever present but doesn't ever go gourmand because of the strength of the florals. I smell a lot of almond blossom and jasmine, along with a musky floral scent I usually associate with mimosa. ( Just for the record, YSL says that Cinema contains cyclamen, almond blossom, clementine, peony, jasmine, amaryllis, amber, vanilla, and musk.)  It lasts forever; one spritz at night is still going strong the next morning. The jasmine really blooms with wear and the almond blossom in the drydown goes boozy, almost like the rootbeer-almond accord in Acqua di Parma's Mandorlo di Sicilia. Cinema reminds me very much of the sadly discontinued Boucheron Trouble, which is now nearly impossible to find in EDP form. If you're jonesing for some Trouble, I'd try Cinema; it's still readily available at the reputable discounters for reasonable prices.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Review: YSL Vinyl Couture Mascara in Trouble Blue


Normally, I pay no mind to the latest colored mascara. My experiences with colored mascaras have always been poor; while they may seem vibrant and cool upon first application, they just dry down to a dark color on my lashes, not as dark as black but not discernible as anything else, either. But then I received YSL's new Vinyl Couture mascara in this astonishing blue hue as a GWP and it begged to be sampled. Application was a dream. The densely bristled brush is my favorite kind, easily coating every lash and yielding excellent definition with no clumps. The color is amazing; I have dark brown lashes that were thoroughly coated in this azure blue color. And guess what?  It STAYED BLUE. It did get marginally darker but I daringly wore it to work last week and it was perfect. From far away, you don't really notice the blue, but one of my coworkers took a good look at my face while I was standing under a light that afternoon and gasped. "I LOVE your mascara!", she said. That's when I knew this one was a winner. Even better is the fact that I have NO smudging with this mascara and it's very easy to take off.
Just one word of caution: if you have sensitive eyes, you may wish to sample this on a day when you'll be able to take it off easily if it bothers you. I don't often experience irritation with eye make up, but this mascara did make my eyes itch.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Review: Alterna Sea Silk Oil Gel


Curly-haired girls will understand the quest for the holy grail product. That ONE item that will do it all for our hair, leaving us with shiny, bouncy, frizz-free curls with just ONE application. When I spied this Alterna Oil Gel, I thought perhaps it could be THE ONE. Alas, it is not. The concept is a moisturizing leave-in combined with a styling gel. My prior experiences with this type of product tended to be with creamy products that did a pretty good job at providing moisture but left no hold whatsoever. This one clearly errs on the gel side of the spectrum. I did not hate the way my hair looked using this on the first day after a wash. The curls were reasonably contained and looked pretty good. But I only shampoo every other day, and on the second day, it was very clear that whatever hold this provided was gone. Not only that, but the purported moisture?  Well, my frizzies and dry ends tell a different tale. I tried layering it over Alterna Caviar CC Cream, which marginally helped, but really there is something in this Oil Gel that just dries my hair out badly. And I have one more complaint: the packaging is ridiculously frail. After the first few pumps, the cap broke, so now when I pump product out, it gets everywhere. I expect more for $28.