Monday, April 30, 2012

Review: Deborah Lippmann Mermaid's Dreams

The nail polish Mermaid's Dream by Deborah Lippmann is described as "seafoam splendor" at the official Lippmann website.

The polish was featured in Oprah's O Magazine for April 2012, which I didn't know.  I saw it at Vampy Varnish and knew I had to snag a bottle.  It is gorgeous.  

The polish is a beautiful blue/green super glittery polish.  The glitter is micro-glitter in gold, blue and green.  The polish is sheer and uneven in one coat, like almost all glitter polishes.  However, in two coats, this polish is opaque.  I'm not sure how, given that it's really sheer in 1 coat, but the whole is apparently greater than the sum of the parts. 

This polish wears fantastically well.  In my experience, most glitter polishes will wear better than non-glitter polishes.  But even considering that it is a glitter polish, this wears like a champ.  The only downside to that is that when you want to take it off, be prepared to invest some time.

The bottle contains 15mL of product and retails for $18 wherever Lippmann polishes are sold.  (I got mine at Nordstrom).

When I first saw the swatches at Vampy Varnish and hadn't yet seen the polish in person, I thought Revlon Radiant might be a decent dupe.  It's not.  I submit the photograph below as evidence.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Goodies from Katie!!

I just have to share this!  Katie, who won my Anniversary Giveaway face set, is an absolute doll.  I have giveaways because it's a great way to connect with new people and I love doing it.  I sent my items because I love doing it.  So there was certainly no expectation that anyone send anything back to me, but Katie is just an incredibly sweet person and she sent me some absolutely fantastic goodies!!!

I read a lot of blogs and watch a lot of people on YouTube who are from the UK, so I am very familiar with UK drugstore type cosmetics brands.  But they're pretty much inaccessible in the US.  Sleek you can get, but it takes forever, costs a ton and is available from a very tiny number of retailers.  Bourjois is unavailable as far as I can tell.  I've never been able to find a reputable retailer for Bourjois cosmetics in the US.  MUA is another brand that I see all the time on blogs, but I've never seen in person.

So what did Katie send?  Sleek, Bourjois and MUA.  I am beyond excited about this.  Truly, I am so touched that she sent anything at all, but the makeup nerd in me is ridiculously excited to have access to these specific items.

So first off, here's the package.  What lovely wrapping, such a chic color combination:

And inside:

The first item was the Sleek Bad Girl palette, which I have been coveting online.  Look at it!  The colors are fantastic!

The next item was another from Sleek, the blush in Pomegranate.  Again, I have heard so much about Sleek blushes and this color is just stunning.  I think anybody who follows my blog knows by now that I have a blush problem (I love them so much!) and I cannot wait to wear this.

Next is the MUA lipstick.  This color is fantastic.  I so love these types of colors, but I don't have anything quite like this.  It is a fantastic addition to my collection and again, I can't wait to wear it.

And last, but certainly not least, the Bourjois chocolate bar bronzer.  YAY!!!!!  I cannot tell you how many times I've seen this bronzer in YouTube tutorials and I have been absolutely dying to try it out.  I literally did a happy dance around my living room when I saw this item.  It is the most adorable thing I have ever seen.  And just like everyone has said, it really does smell like chocolate.

You may have noticed that I haven't actually swatched anything yet.  LOL.  I just can't.  Not yet.  I need to just look at it for a while.  But I will swatch it soon and I'll get those posted.

Again, a HUGE thank you to Katie.  She is awesome.  Definitely check out her blog.

April Favorites

GirlieReview Favorites:
April 2012

Jergens Natural Glow + CVS Apricot Scrub

Jergens Natural Glow Revitalizing Daily Moisturizer  in Medium to Tan.  I am very pale, especially my legs, but after watching several review on YouTube, I decided to go with the Medium to Tan rather than the lightest formula.  People said that the lighter formula was very orange and the Medium to Tan was more red based and less orange.

I do like this product.  It does have the funky tanner smell, but I really don't know how you get around that.  It's got a great price point.  You can get it anywhere that Jergens is sold for anywhere from $6 - $8 for 7.5oz.  The one caveat for me with this product is to ALWAYS EXFOLIATE FIRST.  And to exfoliate, I use ..

CVS Apricot Scrub.  The grains in this product are very coarse.  It's marketed to be used as a facial exfoliator.  It has both grains and salicylic acid, so double the exfoliation.  I wouldn't use it on my face, but it works well for my legs.  I've been using this before using the Jergens Natural Glow and it's working well.  It's $2.79 for 6oz of product.  St. Ives is very similar but marginally more expensive.  Most drug stores or supermarkets are going to carry either the St. Ives or a generic store brand variant for $6 or less.

Deborah Lippmann Mermaid's Dream nail polish

Apparently this polish was featured in Oprah's O Magazine for April 2012, which I didn't know.  I saw it at Vampy Varnish and knew I had to snag a bottle.  It is gorgeous.  It is a beautiful blue/green super glittery polish.

The glitter is micro-glitter in gold, blue and green.  The polish base is pretty metallic and  fairly opaque.  The last couple of glittery polishes I've tried have had really streaky not-at-all-opaque bases, so the opacity of Mermaid's Dream's base was a very welcome surprise.  It was completely opaque in 2 coats.

This polish wears fantastically well.  In my experience, most glitter polishes will wear better than non-glitter polishes, but even considering that it is a glitter polish, this wears like a champ.  The only downside to that is that when you want to take it off, be prepared to invest some time.

The bottle contains 15mL of product and retails for $18 wherever Lippmann polishes are sold.  (I got mine at Nordstrom).

NARS Pure Radiance Tinted Moisturizer

I already did a review of this product HERE.

But just to recap, this stuff is magic.  Pricey magic at $42 for 1.9oz of product, wherever NARS is sold.  It comes in 9 shades and as far as I can tell, works great on just about any skin type.

DermaDoctor Litmus Test
pH correcting & renewing glycolic acid facial moisturizer

I included this product in my skincare routine post that I did a while ago, but an actual full review will be forthcoming soon.

DermaDoctor Litmus Test makes a lot of promises.  And it delivers on them.  I am incredibly impressed with this product.  I do think that my skin has dramatically improved since I started using it.

It wasn't the easiest product to find.  Several retailers who carry the DermaDoctor line (Ulta, Sephora), were out of stock on this for weeks, though it looks like it's in stock now.  I ended up getting mine at  You can also get it direct from the DermaDoctor site.  It is pricey at $52 for 1oz of product, but a little does go a long way.

MAC Lipstick in Fanfare

Fanfare is a Cremesheen finish.  MAC describes it as a "mid-tone yellow pink".  I would describe it more as a nudey peach.  The cremesheen formula isn't my favorite.  I do find it a little drying on the lips, but I do love this color more than enough to put up with a mildly annoying finish.

Like all MAC lipsticks, it is vanilla scented.  As far as I know, it's permanent and it retails for $14.50.

MAC Tres Cheek Blushes
Pink Tea, Immortal Flower, Lovecloud (clockwise from upper left)

I already did full reviews on Pink Tea and Immortal Flower .  Lovecloud is coming soon.

So MAC is pretty much known for the sheer volume of their limited edition collections.  Most of them I skip without a second thought, but the Tres Cheek collection was an exception.  For a MAC LE Collection, I found it shockingly wearable and nearly universally flattering.

There did seem to be some issues with certain blushes having texture issues, but overall, I think these blushes are fantastic.  I apologize, but as far as I can tell, the collection is pretty much sold out from most MAC retailers.  You'll need to judge for yourself whether its worth crusing EBAY if you missed them.

Lovecloud, Pink Tea and Immortal Flower

MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt

I've already done a full review on this product HERE.  Like MAC Tres Cheek, this Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt is also a limited edition and sold out at most online retailers. You'd need to check with your local MAC counter to see if they still have any (or, again, EBAY if you feel inclined).

The internet tells me this is pretty much exactly the same formula as the Estee Lauder Powder Gelees but with a much more comfortable price point ($29 for 9g of product).

Whisper of Gilt has a beautiful gold finish and I know that it will be a go-to item for me all through spring and summer.

Sephora + Pantone Universe Blush Duo

I did a review on this blush duo HERE.  To recap, I am very impressed.  You get a TON of product - 22g for $26.  It fits with the "Tangerine Tango" theme, but also manages to be very wearable.  The two blushes are thematically similar, but not at all redundant.

Friday, April 27, 2012

SBF: The Week in (Girlie)Review

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Review: MAC Pink Tea Blush

MAC Pink Tea blush is limited edition. It's from the Tres Cheek collection that launched in early April 2012.    This is actually my favorite blush from the collection, but it seems to be one of the less popular.  This means if you want it, it looks like it's still available at most outlets.

It's a very subtle beige pink color with a satin finish.  I absolutely love it.  Oddly enough, I don't own many pink blushes.  I have tons of coral blushes, but not many pink.  

Pink Tea has a great finish.  It reminds me a lot of the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush in Exposed.  The color isn't really similar, but much like Exposed, it looks super boring in the pan, but on the skin it is very pretty - much less beige and much pinker.

It doesn't have a ton of pigmentation, but it shows up really well on my NW15 skintone.  If you have a darker skintone, I don't know how much payoff you're going to get out of it.

I think this was a great addition to my collection and I'm very happy with it.

The pan contains 6 grams of product and retails for $20.

Overall: 8/10

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

11 Questions Tag!

I was tagged to do this by the lovelies, Azure and Phlox at Eye Graffiti. If you haven't seen their blog, check it out right now.  Those two are sorcerers.  Thar be magic in that blog, I tell you.


1. Each tagged person must answer the 11 questions given to them by their "tagger" and post it on their blog.
2. Then, choose 11 new people to tag and link them in your post.
3. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
4. Go to their page and tell them they've been tagged!
5. Do not tag back the person who has already tagged you.

So here are the questions I have to answer:

1. If you could be a mutant, what mutant power would you have?

Um ... I don't know.  There are the obvious ones like flying or reading minds, but those seem like they'd be more trouble than they're worth.  I guess I'd pick something like Wolverine's healing powers.  If I could avoid ever getting another cold or flu or papercut in my life, that would be awesome.

2. Lipstick on the eyes, or eyeshadow on the lips?

Eyeshadow on the lips definitely.  Lipstick on the eyes seems like it would just be a creasy mess.

3. Which song is the ultimate best song with lyrics, music and artist included?

I love Stand By Me as sung by John Lennon.

4. Do you feel uncomfortable having someone else doing your make up? 

Uncomfortable no.  I think it would be interesting to see what someone else decided to do with my features. If nothing else, I think it would give me ideas that maybe I hadn't thought of or give me the opportunity to try out new products.  And even if it's awful, I can just wash it off.  There is an ick factor wondering about sanitation of products and brushes, but I could get past it.

5. Which celebrity would you like to do a total make over on, and why?

As far as actual celebrity, none are popping to mind.  If we're going to include reality stars and the like, then Courtney Stodden.  I just ... I don't even know where to start with all the interventions that girl needs.

6. Which make up trend is getting no where near your face?

The androgynous/pretty boy look.  Just ... no.  Not on me.

7. What's your magic trick to get the perfect looking complexion? 

Full coverage foundation though I don't think that really counts as a trick.  Sheer it out a little with a damp beauty blender type sponge or damp buffing brush so you can use less product while still getting the necessary coverage.  You want to make sure you cover imperfections without making it look like it's caked on so it takes some experimentation depending on skintype and time of year.

8. Color your hair like the rainbow or shave it all off?

Either?  Neither option terrifies me, but both seem like kind of a pain.  I mean, if I was forced to choose between the two I guess I would probably shave it all off just because rainbow hair would take a ton of maintenance.  I love the way super short hair looks on women, but at the same time I cringe at the thought of what a pain it would be to grow it out again when it's in that awkward in-between stage.  As far as rainbow hair, I've had pretty much every hair color there is and while it's fun, I don't really have the time or energy for that kind of maintenance.

9. Best liquid or gel eyeliner you've ever laid your hands on?

Vincent Longo liquid eyeliner.

I absolutely LOVED that stuff.  It was super pigmented and had incredible staying power without needing paint stripper to get it off at the end of the day.  Sephora used to carry it, but they stopped a year or two ago and it was a sad, sad day for me.  For a while, you could get it directly from the Vincent Longo site, but now it's just gone *sob*.  I feel like I have tried every liquid eyeliner out there and while I have my favorites, none of them measure up to the Vincent Longo eyeliner.

10. What brand do you own most of your make up from and why?

At this point probably MAC though I can't say I feel any particular loyalty to them.  I picked up things one, but it's accumulated quite a bit.  I have a decent amount of Tarte and NARS as well.

11. If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?

I would have a basement in my house.  Boring, right?  I live in Tornado Alley and not having a basement is very worrysome :(

So now, on to my questions!

1.  What is your favorite flower and why?
2.  Is there a particular beauty product that you've been dying to try but haven't yet?  If so, why haven't you tried it?
3.  Do you have a signature color (e.g. purple eyeshadow, pink lips)?
4. What do you do when you feel like you're in a rut with your hair?
5.  What is one TV show, book or movie that you secretly love but are embarrassed to admit?
6.  What makeup trends did you embrace in the past that you now hate so much you've burned every picture of you sporting the look?
7.  What types of perfume scents do you gravitate toward?  Does it change for the seasons?
8.  What is your favorite type of red lip to wear? (anything from strawberry chapstick to full on lacquer finish fire engine red lip)
9.  How do you achieve a summer glow?  Do you like a real tan, fake tan, bronzer, abstain completely and hide in the shade?
10.  What was your last beauty product fail?  Did you return it?  If not, why?
11.  How do you plan on having fun this summer (or winter if you're down under)?

I tag:

Ree at Grow & Create
Simera at Beauty Make Up Addict
Kunoor at Round Cheeks
April at All Things April
Judi at Middleaged Beauty Queen
Audra at her YouTube Chanel
Gemma at Lipgloss Lily
Stacey at Ace Stace Beauty
Cortney at Cosmetics by Cortney
Keri at Beauty Is My Crush
Dawn at MissDawn1012's Beauty Blog

Review: NARS Illuminator in Copacabana

Next up in my highlighters series is the NARS Illuminator in Copacabana.  The NARS website describes it as:

Light the skin from within. A collection of light-reflecting liquids that glide on to refresh and enhance the complexion with shimmering incandescence. Deceptively sheer, decidedly luminous.

This is in the shade Copacabana which is "glistening pearl".   It comes in 3 other shades, Laguna (brown with gold shimmer), Orgasm (peachy pink with gold shimmer) and Super Orgasm (peachy pink with gold glitter).

The picture below is a deluxe sample size, not the full size.  I picked it up a while ago in my NARS VIB pack from Sephora.

The swatches below were taken without a flash.  It's just using my office lighting.  As you can tell, it is INCREDIBLY iridescent.  I thought the MAC Cream Colour Bases were reflective, but they don't hold a candle to the NARS Illuminator.  This stuff is so shiny.  

It does sheer out, but again, it's really iridescent.  I haven't tried any of the colors so I really can't speak to the different results you might get - especially from the one with glitter rather than shimmer.  This product is pretty thin consistency, so I would assume that you could mix a little of it with your foundation for overall illumination or just use it for spot highlighting.

I actually ended up giving my tube of this product away.  It was just so reflective that I knew I was never going to use it.  I know that some people swear by this, but it is just way too frosty/shimmery for my taste.

A full size Illuminator is 1.1oz and retails for $30.

Overall: 5/10

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Review: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer

At the end of February, I picked up a sample of the NARS Pure Radiance Tinted Moisturizer in Finland (the color, not the country) at the NARS counter of my local Nordstrom (before it was in wide release).  I did a first impressions post here.  I loved the product, but $42 for something labeled a tinted moisturizer is pretty steep in my book, so I held off ... for a while.

Mid-March I went ahead and picked up a full size tube, again in Finland, the lightest shade.  Unlike a lot of tinted moisturizer lines which offer a very limited color range, the NARS line has a whopping 9 shades.  

NARS says that Finland is "Lightest with a neutral balance of pink and yellow undertones".  You can judge for yourself from the swatch below.  I don't think it's neutral.  I think it's yellow.  But sheered out, it looks fine on my pinky skin.

I was surprised by the fact that this tinted moisturizer actually moisturizes.  I've tried several that were just runny foundations.  But this formula is very hydrating on my skin.  It contains SPF 30, which I love.  I really try to wear at least SPF 50 on my face though, so I usually go ahead and apply my regular sunscreen under the tinted moisturizer.  It isn't ideal, but it works.

So I know this is called a tinted moisturizer.  I think that name is incredibly misleading, but in a good way.  The amount of coverage that I get from this tinted product far exceeds the coverage I get from some of my foundations.

I still get a little oily in the T-zone with this product, but nothing bad and certainly no worse than I get from my regular foundations sans primer.  I don't wear this every day, probably more like every other day.  According to NARS, this product is supposed to "reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and dark spots for a brighter natural glow."  I will say that I have noticed some of my hyperpigmentation improving.  I can't say for sure that it's because of this product, but it's possible.

I feel like I'm pussyfooting around the issue, so maybe I should just come out and say it.  THIS STUFF IS MAGIC.  Ahem.  I feel better now.  

The only downside is that it has a fairly magical pricetag as well, $42 for 1.9oz.  Compare that to NARS Sheer Glow foundation which is also $42 but for only 1oz of product and I guess it's not so bad.  The Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer is also $42, but for only 1.5oz of product.  Gah, I don't know.  I still feel like $42 for something called a tinted moisturizer is insane.  But at the end of the day, I do love this stuff.  And I do feel like even at this price point, it delivers.

Overall:  9/10

Monday, April 23, 2012

Review: Sephora + Pantone Blush Duo

I've taken quite a few looks at the Sephora + Pantone collection, but I had managed to resist for quite a while.  And then Sephora had their VIB 15% off sale.  And I made the mistake of looking at the collection in person.

The packaging is stunning.  It's a shame in some respects I guess, because what are you going to do with it? It is really heavy duty and the variety of colors and textures is really pretty.  (Scroll down for pictures of the packaging.)  

And then there is the blush duo ...  Again, the packaging is fantastic.  It's a square white palette with two large wells.  The semi-opaque plastic lid is held on like magnets - much like the Inglot square eyeshadow quads, though they aren't identical packaging (I checked.  LOL. Nerd).

I am very amused by the fact that this is the "Blush of the Year" Duo.  And then there's another "Blush of the Year" single.  So yes, 3 "blush of the year" releases.  And as a couple of other bloggers have pointed out (most notably, Elvira at PinkSith who picked up the Tangerine Tango Creme Lipstick), these colors aren't tangerine tango.

For reference, here is the Tangerine Tango swatch from Pantone:

Don't get me wrong.  I love both of these colors.  They are beautiful pinky coral blushes.  But they aren't anywhere close to the actual Pantone Tangerine Tango color.  I'm not upset about that.  I get that the whole Tangerine Tango thing is a gimmick and I am more than happy with the color of these blushes.

The duo retails for $26 dollars and each of the 2 wells contains almost 11g of product.  That's 22g of product total.  Compare that to the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushes which retails for $25 and contain about 5.5g of product.

As far as a blush duo goes, I really feel like they hit it out of the park.  The colors fit with the Tangerine Tango theme, while being considerably more wearable than the true Tangerine Tango swatch.  The two colors are different enough that they don't feel redundant.  

The matte shade, Desert Flower is Pantone #15-1435 (described as "light orange matte") is a pinky peach, more peach than pink, but still pinker than something like MAC's Immortal Flower.  I definitely wouldn't qualify it as "light orange".

Desert Flower - matte

The shimmery shade, Coral is Pantone #15-1439 (described as "color of the year with gold shimmer").  I did swatch it right next to Nars Orgasm for comparison and now of course, I managed to leave the photo on my other computer.  Bah.  It is really similar to Orgasm, but slightly pinker.

Coral - shimmer

The texture on both of the blushes is very workable.  They aren't the most creamy or finely milled product I've ever used, but do blend easily and have very good pigmentation.  

I personally really like both of these colors and I own at least half a dozen blushes in similar colors (the first step is admitting you have a problem).  The amount of product you get for your money is fantastic.  The colors are in keeping with the theme, but they are very different.  I love that one is matte and one is shimmer.

Overall: 9/10

Friday, April 20, 2012

Review: bareMinerals READY Eyeshadow Quad in Truth

I thought I'd review the eyeshadow palette that I've been using daily for the last week.  It's the bareMinerals READY eyeshadow quad in Truth.  I have no idea why they're yelling READY at us.  I would assume that READY is an acryonym for something, but the Bare Escentuals website isn't being much help in this regard.

Here's what I could find out about the READY line from the Bare Escentuals website:

Pure, intense, provocative color that's incredibly long-wearing and blendable with proven anti-aging benefits.  Available in 15 amazing duos and 4 phenomenal quads

I have no idea what the anti-aging benefits are and like I said, the website is not providing a lot of illumination.  The 4 shades in the Truth quad are:

  • Serendipitous  - shimmery off white with micro-glitter.
  • Magnetism - warm light brown with a metallic finish.  Reads very taupe in the pan, but on the eye and in swatches, is much warmer.
  • Fate - warm dark/medium brown with both a metallic finish and micro-glitter.
  • Apropos - dark brown with blue/silver micro-glitter.  The base shadow is matte.

I know that lots of beauty bloggers and YouTube gurus really seem to love the whole line of bareMinerals pressed eyeshadows and the Truth quad in particular has been talked up a lot.  To be blunt, I feel ripped off.  I am incredibly disappointed.

The color payoff is crap.  I will say that the other 2 neutral eyeshadow palettes are my Inglot matte palette and my Smashbox Photo Op Brown Eye palette and both of them have absolutely phenomenal payoff, so that may have skewed my reaction a bit.  But the pigmentation on this palette is incredibly disappointing.  The swatches below are fairly heavy swatches and even with the darkest color, the payoff is still crap.

Also, despite being a neutral palette, there isn't a single matte.  The darkest shadow apropos, does have a matte base, but it also has tons of glitter.

The palette contains a total of 5g of product and it retails for $30.  I used my 20% off at Ulta to purchase it, and I still feel really ripped off.

Overall: 4/10