Saturday, March 31, 2012

Anniversary Giveaway Winners!!

Time to announce the winners of my anniversary giveaway.

The winner of the eye set was ...

Katie Lou!

And the winner of the face set was ...


I sent you both emails.  You have 48 hours to send me your mailing information.

THANK YOU so much to everyone who participated in the giveaway.  My next giveaway starts in a day or two!


Friday, March 30, 2012

SBF: Beauty Giveaways and Deals

I'm trying to make this list as comprehensive as I can.  I do update this page throughout the week as new contest start and old contests end.

Giveaways and Deals by ending date
  • Numera at Hommes de Femmes is celebrating 100 followers by giving away a MAC lipstick of the winner's choice.  See blog for full details and entry.  Contest ends April 9, 2012.
  • Richa at Let's Doll Up is celebrating 100 followers by giving away an organic dark chocolate sugar scrub from Ornave.  Entry and full details at her blog.  US residents only.  Contest ends April 10, 2012.
  • Temptalia is giving away a MAC pigment in blue storm, MAC pearl glide eyeliner in petrol blue and MAC pink tinge sun tint.  See blog for full details and entry.  Contest ends April 10, 2012.
  • Lisa Eldridge is giving away a set of all the eye and lip products used in her recent Candy Colours Trend tutorial.  See her giveaway video for full information.  Giveaway ends April 11, 2012.
  • That IT Girl Online is giving away 3 MAC lipsticks.  See blog post for full details and entry.  Contest ends April 11, 2012.
  • Rach at Island Girl Insights is celebrating 250 followers by giving away 1 nail polish to 2 different winners.  See blog for full details and entry.  Contest ends April 12, 2012. 
  • Temptalia is giving away a MAC eyeshadow in Havana, a MAC blush in Modern Mandarin and a MAC highlighter/skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt.  See blog post for full details and entry.  Contest ends April 15, 2012.
  • Beauty Junkies Unite is giving away both the Urban Decay Naked and Naked2 palettes.  See blog post for full details and entry.  Contest ends April 16, 2012.
  • Lady Crow from The Crow and the Powderpuff is giving away sample size jars of the Glamour Doll Eyes Circus Collection and Glamour Doll Eyes Control Freak Primer.  See her web page for full details. Giveaway ends April 20, 2012.
  • Simera at Beauty Makeup Addict is giving away a Loose Button Lux Box to Canadian readers.  See blog post for full details and entry.  Contest ends April 20, 2012. 
  • Lady Crow from The Crow and the Powderpuff is giving away her Spring is Coming pack.  It contains your choice of 1 MAC pigment, 1 MAC lipstick and 1 MAC Paint Pot.  See her web page for entry and full details.  Contest ends April 26, 2012.
  • Wayne at GossMakeUpArtist is giving away a TON of Avon products AND then a bunch of other makeup goodies from Nars, MAC, Dior and more.  See his video for full details.  Contest ends at the end of April.
  • DearNatural62 is giving away goodies from NYC, NYX, Kiss, nail files, LA Girls polish, Wet n' Wild, Broadway Nails and MORE!  See video for full details.  Contest ends April 30, 2012.
  • Olga from Leave Me on the Catwalk is giving away a Stila Dream Palette.  See her blog page for full details.  Contest ends May 16, 2012.

If you're having a giveaway or you  know of another giveaway, leave it in the comments and I will update this post.  Also, if your giveaway is listed here and you need it changed/updated/removed, comment and let me know.

SBF: The Week in (Girlie)Review

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Review: E.L.F. All Over Color Sticks

I did my bronzer series and much in the same vein, I'm going to start a new series on highlighters.  I have tons of different highlighters in all sorts of formulas, brands and price points.  I wanted to start off the series with a brand that's accessible to almost anyone.

E.L.F. All Over Color Sticks
4g of product

I have the following colors:

  • Pink Lemonade
  • Persimmon
  • Golden Peach

As you can see from the photos, they are well loved.  I'm kicking myself for not at least taking pictures of new products before using them over the last year.  

You get what you pay for, so as you can see there are some pretty big variations in packaging.  

Pink Lemonade is by far the most pigmented of the All Over Color sticks I have.  It is fairly iridescent, but it also has a good deal of pigmentation.  It definitely doesn't sheer out as much as the other colors and I use a very light hand with this one.  I don't know that I would ever use it as a straight up highlighter.  A shimmery cream blush, yes, but highlighter, no.

I didn't use a flash on this one and still it's so iridescent that it's hard to get a good feel for the color.  It's sort of a pinky purple beige.  It is incredibly reflective, but it does sheer out fairly well.  This is definitely a highlighter.  I don't think it has enough pigmentation to be a blush.

This is the color I tend to use the most.  It is very sheer, but had just enough color.  It's iridescent, but not overly so.  I use it interchangeably as either a highlighter or a blush.

I prefer the All Over Color Sticks for highlighting with E.L.F. products.  Their "official" highlighters, the Shimmering Facial Whips, do not impress me.  I only have 1, but it is incredibly sticky.  I have no idea why you would ever want to have a sticky face product, but I suspect the one dollar price tag has something to do with it.

I love the All Over Color sticks and at $1 each, they can't be beat.

Overall: 10/10

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review: butter LONDON - Wallis, Blagger

I am getting more into nails, but as the swatches will soon show, my nails are in a terrible state.  They are always nubs and because of that, I have tended to avoid polishes.  But I've decided to love the nubs and I'm getting into the habit of regular manicures.  

Most nail polishes will wear for 2-3 days on me max before they are so chipped that I have to remove the polish.  Butter LONDON, awesome as it is, is no exception.

I have two Butter LONDON shades.  The first is Blagger, a stunning blue color and then Wallis, a metallic golden green.

Blagger is a really bright royal blue.  It contains no shimmer and it is pretty much opaque in one coat though I did apply two coats just to get longer wear out of the manicure.  

I purchased this shade online from and if you look closely you can see that along the top of the bottle is a small chip in the glass.  It's not deep enough to compromise the bottle, but it was still a little disappointing.  I think I'll be purchasing polish in person from now on.

I've had this shade for a couple of weeks now and I am absolutely in love with it.

Natural Outdoor Light

Indoor, Flash

I picked Wallis up this winter at Ulta and I have been obsessed with it.  The color is just phenomenal.  It's a very golden green olive color with a definite metallic finish.  I was so obsessed with this color that I spent a significant amount of time trying to base eye looks off the color combination.  I was never entirely happy with the results.  I just wasn't able to find an eyeshadow that could truly capture the beauty of Wallis.

At first, this one was a bit of a pain to apply.  The formula doesn't move very well.  I apply it to my nail and then it's fairly difficult to brush out.  It's like it's just glued to where I first place the brush.

I've found that applying a base coat and letting it really dry before applying the polish definitely helps with this and the polish will apply fairly evenly and easily.  It's not nearly as opaque in one coat as Blagger, so I generally apply two or three coats.  The swatches below were taken with two coats.

Outside Natural Lighting

Indoor, Flash

Is Butter LONDON really worth $14 a bottle?  Eh.  Maybe.  Like I said before, I have only ever found one polish (Sephora by OPI in Natural Environ-mint) that will last for more than 2 days.  Butter is no exception.  It flakes off me just like the rest of them.

I do think that they have some fairly unique colors.  Is it significantly better than OPI, China Glaze and Zoya?  Not in my opinion.  But it is still cheaper than Nars and a lot of other department store brands.

My favorite thing about Butter LONDON is the packaging.  I absolutely love the rectangular bottles and yes, I am willing to pay a premium for them.  On occasion.

Overall: 7/10

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Daily Skincare Routine

I thought about individually reviewing the skincare products that I use daily and I may still do that, but I decided to just do an overview.  If you're interested in a more in depth review of any of the products, just let me know.

Morning Routine:

Water - I start off with just a water rinse.  If I have extra time (which is rare) I may use the Bliss mask (more on that later), but usually it's just water.
Salicylic Acid - After rinsing my face, I'm using the Alba Natural AcneDote Deep Clean Astringent.  It contains 2% salicylic acid and so far isn't drying out my skin.
Moisturizer - I use a Neutrogena daily moisturizer with SPF 50.  They have a couple of different types and I just bounce back and forth on them.  This is the one I'm using right now.

This is my morning routine regardless of whether I'm going to wear makeup.  Most days I do go ahead and follow up with a liquid foundation or a tinted moisturizer.  All of my foundations and tinted moisturizers contain SPF as well.  Anywhere from SPF15 to SPF30 depending on the product.  I am really worried about sun exposure and I make sure I always wear SPF.

Night Routine:

Cleansing - First thing, I take my makeup off.  A lot of days I'll do this as soon as I get home from work - if I have time.  I use my beloved Boscia MakeUp-BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil.  It takes off every bit of makeup including waterproof eyeliner and mascara without stripping the skin.  I absolutely love it.

Salicylic Acid - I use the Alba Acne Dote Deep Cleaning Astringent again.  I tend to concentrate on my jawline where I tend to get a lot of congestion.

Moisturizer - At night, I really don't ever use anything with SPF.  

In the winter, I will typically use a heavier moisturizer like the Garnier Ultra Lift Intensive moisturizer - which is really similar to the Clinique Repairwear, but at a fraction of the price.  However, it's not winter.  It's spring and a very warm spring at that, so I'm using something lighter.  

Right now I'm trying out the DermaDoctor Litmus Test moisturizer.  

I decided to try this because my skin had been breaking out so much recently.  It has Glycolic acid, Urea (which may be great for parched skin, but that's the stuff in pee and sweat, right?!?), Hyaluronic Acid, Green Tea and Red Algae.  But as you can see from the ingredient list, it also contains parabens.  I didn't realize that when I purchased it and I am very disappointed.  

I have to leave some time between using the salicylic acid and applying this or else it burns.  But if I wait, there's no issue.  It does seem to make my skin softer and I have had less breakouts.  The instructions say to use it morning and night.  I won't use it in the morning because it doesn't contain SPF, but I do like it at night.

I also have to be careful about the amount of this product I apply.  I have to really make sure to rub it into my skin.  If it just sits on top of my skin, it gets sticky, which is super annoying.

Extras - I'm bad about remembering to use masks, but when I do remember, I've been liking the Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask.  When you put it on your skin, it foams.  I enjoy the way it feels.  And it smells really nice.  I don't particularly think it makes my skin look any better, but it is a nice something extra every now and then.  At this price point, I will not be repurchasing.

Here's an accompanying video I did on my routine and products.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Deals: Sephora VIB 15% off 3/29 - 4/6

I wanted to get this up asap for those of you planning a purchase at Sephora.
Use code VIBCHIC at checkout if you're shopping online to get 15% off your purchase.  And don't forget, EBATES has 8% back at Sephora as well as a list of all the Sephora coupons and gifts with purchase.  

This states it's available only for Sephora VIBs.  I have no idea if there is that much logic in their shopping cart system to actually cross reference codes with VIB status.  If you want to use it in store, I believe you to have the little bar coded coupon that came with the flier.

Hope this helps someone!

Review: CoverGirl Cheekers Bronzer in Copper Radiance

Wrapping up my series of bronzer posts, is my review of CoverGirl Cheekers Bronzer in 102 Copper Radiance.

I picked up this product at Wal-Greens as part of a CoverGirl buy 1, get 1 half off sale.  The other item I picked up was a regular CoverGirl Cheekers blush and it was a total dud.  But this Cheekers Bronzer is really nice.  It goes on creamy and it has excellent color payoff.

As you can see from the pictures, it does have a gold sheen, but no glitter chunks.  The finish reminded me a lot of the Tarte Amazonian Clay Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess.  It doesn't go on quite as evenly and is a smidge redder, but it's also a fraction of the price.

Because of the golden sheen, I wouldn't use it as a contour.  But to warm up the face and give a nice glow, it works great.

You get .12 oz or 3g of product.  It retails for around $6, but it's not hard to find sales.

Overall:  9/10

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Review: Milani Illuminating Face Powder

The other day at CVS I picked up a bunch of Milani products and one of them was the Illuminating Face Powder in 01 Amber Nectar.  The powders are designed to be used as highlighters, blushes or bronzers depending on your skintone.

I had seen a couple of review for these online and I was most interested in the pinky one, Beauty's Touch, however my CVS didn't carry that one.  They had the other two, Amber Nectar and then Hermosa Rose, which is the darkest of the illuminating face powders.

On my skintone, Amber Nectar is much more of a blush or bronzer.  Like the Milani Baked Bronzer in Glow, I don't really feel like it's dark enough for me to really consider it a bronzer.  And like the baked bronzer, I really had to pile the product on to get it to show up in the swatches.

With patience and a small brush, you could definitely get just the color (or colors) you want for strategic highlighting application.  I'll admit I'm not patient enough for that and I have plenty of highlighters so it's not worth the effort.  But if you're on a tight budget and you need products to do double duty, this may work great for you.

Swirling a cheek brush in the product you end up with a pinky/peachy/tan color.  It reads fairly tan on me, but it has shimmer that keeps it from looking muddy.  Is it significantly different from the effect I get using my Milani Baked Bronzer in Glow?  Eh, not really.

I do think it's a lovely product.  And the packaging is adorable.  If you don't already have something in your stash that gives you comparable results, it would be a great addition.

This retails for about $8 and contains 10g of product.

Overall:  7/10

I haven't tried the Physician's Formula highlighters, but if you have, how do you think they compared?  In this price point, that's pretty much the only thing I could think of that is being marketed this way that might be a close dupe.

Friday, March 23, 2012

SBF: Beauty Giveaways and Deals

I'm trying to make this list as comprehensive as I can.  I do update this page throughout the week as new contest start and old contests end.

  • In celebration of the 1 year anniversary of this blog, I am giving away a face set and an eye set.  The face set includes: a large Z PaletteReal Techniques Core Collection Brush Set, Real Techniques Stippling Brush, OCC Lip Tar and Brush set, and Nars mini Laguna Bronzer.  The eye set includes: 2 5-pan Inglot eyeshadow palettes, Real Techniques Starter Collection brush set, small Z Palette.  See my blog post for full details and entry.  Contest ends March 31, 2012.

Giveaways and Deals by ending date
  • GossMakeupArtist is giving away 3 Luminess airbrush systems including foundation, compressor and guns.  He's also giving away a bundle of makeup and skincare items including Nars eyeshadow palette, SugarPill eyeshadow palette, a blush and eyeshadow from The Balm, 2 MAC lipsticks, 2 MAC mineral blushes, a mineralized eyeshadow, a Lulu day and night cream set and intense serum.  You just have to comment on his videos to enter.  You can comment daily.  Must be a subscriber to win.  Watch the video for full details.  Giveaway ends at the end of March.
  • Sam and Nic at Pixiwoo are giving away 2 makeup cases train cases, a small one from  MakeUpForEver and a larger one from StarGazer.  You just have to be a subscriber and leave a comment on their video.  Not sure when the contest ends.
  • Vampy Varnish has a whole bunch of Wet n' Wild shadow palettes and lip balms.  See blog post for full details.  Contest ends March 29, 2012.

If you're having a giveaway or you  know of another giveaway, leave it in the comments and I will update this post.  Also, if your giveaway is listed here and you need it changed/updated/removed, comment and let me know.

SBF: The Week in (Girlie)Review

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review: Argan Oil Hair Products - Garnier, Got2B

I have a lot of body in my hair.  It's not really curly, it's mostly just puffy.  And because of it, I have 3 choices for managing my hair.  I can:
  • straight iron my hair
  • use oil based frizz fighter
  • use sticky (gel, hairspray, mouse, etc) frizz fighter
It has been raining here for the last week, so flat ironing is right out.  It would be pointless.  My hair would be curled up again before I made it out of the house.

I also don't wash my hair every day.  I tend to wash it 2-3 times per week.  So while gel or other sticky products will keep it looking nice on the first day, it doesn't tend to wear well.  By the second day, sticky products tend to put this sort of grayish film on my hair.  No one wants that.  

Because flat ironing and using sticky products are both problematic, I've been using styling oils to keep the frizz at bay.  As I said before, my hair has a ton of body.  So I can put on a liberal amount of styling oil without it getting lank or limp or looking greasy.  The styling oil also tends to hold up from day to day much better than gel or any other sticky product.

I got a sample of AG Hair's styling oil from Ulta and it was great.  I really liked it.  But it's on the pricier end of styling oils.

Recently, both Garnier and Got2B came out with their own take on styling oils.

The products are really similar and priced comparably as well.  You can find them both from $5 - $8 at most retailers:  Wal-Mart, Target, CVS etc.  Garnier has more product - 5.1oz, vs Got2B's 4 oz.

Garnier says it contains Argan and Apricot oil.  It does have more fragrance than the Got2B product.

Got2B says it has Argan, White Grape and Marula oil.

I have to say that I'm not a chemist, but looking at the ingredient list on the 2 of them, they are really similar. 



I've also tried the Organix argan oil treatment, but I seem to get a lot more bang for my buck out of these leave-in products.

Overall, I'd give both these products 8/10

Have you guys tried them?  What did you think?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Review: Milani Baked Bronzer in Glow

I haven't really tried a lot of Milani products and I have hardly any baked products at all, and I've heard great things about them.  Locally, the only place I can find that carries Milani is CVS.  The cosmetics section at the CVS next door to my work always looks like a disaster area, so I trekked across town to the other CVS and lo and behold, they had a fantastic cosmetics selection, complete with a fully stocked Milani display.  I was so happy to be able to pick up a couple of items including the Baked Bronzer in 04 "Glow".

It's described on the Milani website as a light golden tan with gold shimmer.  To me it is a decidedly pinky gold, which I think is very pretty and flattering.

I really had to build this up for it to be dark enough to show up on camera.  It is incredibly sheer.  For that reason alone, I don't think I would ever use it as a bronzer.  Even on my MAC NW15 skin tone, it doesn't impart much color at all.  Certainly not enough for me to consider it a bronzer.

I like it as a blush.  It's still very sheer, but it has a good deal of shimmer.  It's a little too pigmented for me to use it as a highlighter, but like I said, I do like it as a blush and I wear it often.

It retails for around $8 for .25oz or 7g, but in my experience it's easy to find sales.

Overall:  7/10

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Review: L'Oreal Infallible Lipglosses

I am going to have to try more products in the L'Oreal Infallible line.  I absolutely LOVE the Infallible Eyeshadows (OMG, have I really not done a blog post on them?  The horror!  I'll get on that stat.)  So when I saw the Infallible glosses, I decided to try them.

L'Oreal has at least 3 different Infallible Lipgloss lines.  There are:
  • 6 hour 
  • 8 hour "Le Gloss"
  • 8 hour plumping
I tried the 6 hour and the 8 hour glosses.

In the 6 hour, I tried #115, "Blush".  This stuff wears incredibly well.  6 hours?  Probably.  It's tacky rather than sticky like some other long wearing glosses I've tried.  The texture reminded me a lot of longwear lipsticks except without the need to put the gloss on top.  Overall, I'd say the formula is much more like a liquid lipstick than a gloss.

In the 8 hour formula, I tried #240, Glistening Berry.  This is a much more vibrant color than the 6 hour formula I tried and I can't say that I got two additional hours of weartime out of it.  I can chalk that up to the color being so much darker and therefore being much more apparent when it did start to fade.  I'd say that I did still get a solid 6 hours of wear out of it.  And like the 6 hour formula, the 8 hour is much more of a liquid lipstick than a gloss.

Gloss is not my favorite thing because it disappears so quickly on me and I feel like I do nothing but re-apply all day long.  But this product certainly solves that issue.

The product has a doe foot applicator.  The tube contains .21oz or 6.3 mL of product.  It retails for around $7 and comes in 20 shades.

This is a solid home run for me.

Overall: 10/10

Have you guys tried it yet?  What did you think?

I must admit, this is one of the most amusing product gimmicks I've seen in a while.  I hope you can read this, but there is a sticker on the top of the lip gloss that read "Mirror underneath".  So if you take off the sticker, supposedly you can use the top of the gloss as a mirror.  LOL!  This could be standard on glosses, I honestly don't buy them enough to know, but it really tickled me.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Review: Tarte Amazonian Clay Bronzer

Next up in the bronzer review, Tarte Amazonian Clay Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess.  I received this product as part of Tarte's One Fine Clay collection (click link for my first look post).  So this is a mini size rather than the full size.

The bronzer has this beautiful golden sheen to it.  It is pretty reflective, so I would not recommend using this to contour.  But for a sunkissed look, it is just beautiful.  It's fragrance free, which really isn't a plus or a minus for me, but I know that's important for some people.

I like this product.  A full size retails for $29.  I tend to like my bronzers to do double duty as contour, so this product isn't a home run for me, but I do like it for those days when I just want a nice warm golden glow.

On my dry/combination skin it wears really well.  It seems to wear at least as well as the 12 hour Amazonian Clay blushes, which isn't necessarily the touted 12 hours, but it's still good enough for government work ;).

Tarte does have a deeper bronzer called Hotel Heiress that has a bronze shimmer.

Overall: 7/10