Thursday, October 28, 2010

Review: Freeman Mint & Lemon Facial Clay Mask

I'm back to review the latest clay mask from Freeman. As you know, I am a Freeman fiend!

When I saw it at Walmart this past summer, I had to get my hands on it.

Ingredients: Water (aqua), Kaolin, Bentonite, Titanium Dioxide, Propylene Glycol, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Citrus Medica Limonum (lemon) Fruit Extract, Mentha Piperita (peppermint) Leaf Extract, Tocopherol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Montmorillonite, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Polyacrylate, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Fragrance (parfum), Yellow 5, Blue 1.
Ingredient ♥ Ingredient :(

Experience: This definitely is a typical Freeman clay mask, in a good way. This is a greenish mask that features lemon and mint extract, though it smells more like Mountain Dew to me. I LOVE Mountain Dew, so I'm so excited to have this in my mask collection. This clay mask sucks up the excess oil from my face without drying it out, and leaves my face baby soft and smooth! This would help reduce the size of red bumps. It is soo gentle, certainly not harsh like some other clay masks I've tried. I fully recommend this. Take a look at my reviews on other Freeman clay masks here and here

Cost-effectiveness: I bought this for $3.27 at Walmart, which is around what you would pay for a Freeman mask (at most $3.99). This is way affordable!

Availability: This is available at Walmart and on the Freeman site.

At Long Last! Pixie Holiday wet N wild Collection Sighted!

After much anticipation, the limited edition holiday collection from wNw has finally arrived in my neck of the woods.

My visual proof/haulage
wNw coloricon palettes with eyeliner in (L-R) Night Elf, Sugar Plum Fairy, Golden Goddess, and Snow Sprite.
It finally arrived at my local Walgreens today. I bought them for $5.29 apiece and I used a $5 off $10 wNw purchase found in November's All You mag. I think they are supposed to retail for around $4.99, but Walgreens always has jacked up prices. For now, I will reserve my judgment on prices until I can compare it to the price at Rite Aid. 

The display was already missing nail polishes when I got to it. There are only two palettes in each shade in the display, so grab them quickly if you're interested! Check out great swatches from Rai here. Let me know if you would like me to do swatches!

Good luck, y'all! :) 

Update: Darn! Gianna just said that there will be a wNw 50% off sale at Walgreens next week. Wait until next week to get your haul on to save some money!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Tale of Two Moisturizers: Reviews for Aveeno Daily Moisturizer Lotion and Tree Hut Shea Body Butter in Original Shea

I'm back to review the two lotions I'm currently using. 

Inactive Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Distearyldimonium Chloride, Petrolatum, Isopropyl Palmitate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Oat Flour (Avena Sativa), Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Chloride
Active Ingredients: Dimethicone (1.3%)
Ingredient ♥ 

Experience: Sometimes, I think my mother is a beauty savant. She could care less about finding HG products or spending a little more money to get something awesome. But she always seems to come across great finds with little effort. When I started college, she packed this moisturizer for me to use. I used it, thinking nothing of it. I was aw-mazed! I have dry-ish skin on the rest of my body, which can even crack if I don't moisturize! The lotion is fast absorbing, non-greasy, and soo moisturizing! I felt my legs under my pants 12 hours after application and it was baby soft. The lotion is fragrance-free, which I prefer, since people can be picky about scents. I cannot love this lotion enough! Definitely HG. This is something I'll buy and buy again.

Cost-effectiveness: This retails from $7-11 dollars depending on size and location. The best deal is found at Costco, which sells a 2-pack of 18oz. each for under $20. 

Availability: Any drugstore, grocery store, or most retailers in America and many online retailers will carry this lotion. It is extremely popular. Costco sells it at a bargain. Take advantage of your membership or a friend's to purchase this!

Ingredients: Water, Cyclomethicone, Glycerin, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Glyceryl Stearate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG 100 Stearate, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, PEG 8 Beeswax, Lanolin Alcohol, Polysorbate 80, Laureth 4, Fragrance, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Diazolidinyl Urea, Disodium EDTA, BHT, Caramel
Ingredient ♥ 

Experience: I was so excited to try this body butter because of the rave Kalmo gave this to this brand. The butter was also fast absorbing, though it doesn't absorb as fast as Aveeno.. Also, it is decent at moisturizing, but not as long-lasting as Aveeno. It has a scent that is reminiscent of almond milk pudding for some reason. If you like that scent, go for it! Overall, a good moisturizer, but not HG material.

Cost-effectiveness: I bought this in a quartet from Costco for $13.99. Each tub has 7 oz. worth of moisturizer. It is also sold in singlets around $5-8 each. Costco is clearly the bargain spot, if you don't care about picking specific fragrances and buying in bulk. 

The quartet has Original Shea, Hawaiian Kukui, Coconut Lime, and Tahitian Grass
Availability: Walmart, Costco, Amazon, and other online retailers.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Review: Ishizawa Lab Urea and Hyaluronic Acid Lotion

I'm going to review a Japanese lotion/toner that I've been using this year. 

After I cleanse my face, I apply witch hazel toner and then a Japanese lotion. A Japanese lotion is in liquid form like a toner. So it may seem like overkill to have both a toner and a Japanese lotion, but in my mind, the two serve different purposes. The toner is an extra step in cleansing (gets what your face wash left behind) while it moisturizes. The Japanese lotion is for hydration and helps your skin absorb things like moisturizer or makes make-up apply more smoothly. 
Ishizawa Lab Urea and Hyaluronic Acid Lotion. The label's pretty worn out, because I've been using the lotion religiously!
Water, glycerin, dipropylene glycol, pentylene glycol, urea, sodium hyaluronate, sodium acetylated hyaluronate, hyaluronic acid, hydroxyethyl urea, St. John’s wort extract, chamomile extract, tilia cordata extract, calendula extract, cornflower extract, roman chamomile extract, peach leaf extract, apple extract, grape water, lactic acid, sodium citrate, dipotassium glycyrrhizate (licorice root) extract, butylene glycol, phenoxyethanol  
Ingredient ♥
*I don't know Japanese, but I used a combination of Google Translate and web resources to make sure I have the correct translation. I don't like to rely on the translated ingredients given by the importers. They're often more incorrect than my own crude translations!

Here is the original. If anyone sees any mistranslation on my part, alert me and I'll change it accordingly!

全成分 : 水・グリセリン・DPG・ペンチレングリコール・尿素・ヒアルロン酸Na・アセチルヒアルロン酸Na・加水分解ヒアルロン酸・ヒドロキシエチルウレア・オ トギリソウエキス・カミツレエキス・フユボダイジュ花エキス・トウキンセンカ花エキス・ヤグルマギクエキス・ローマカミツレ花エキス・モモ葉エキス・リン ゴエキス・ブドウ果実水・乳酸・クエン酸Na・グリチルリチン酸2K・BG・フェノキシエ

Experience: I apply this directly after my toner, though I usually let my toner dry up a little bit. The lotion comes in a heavy glass bottle with a orifice reducer which helps prevent you from wasting to much, so you can sprinkle out a few squirts. I had thought that I was supposed to use a cotton square like I do for my toner, but DON'T! It's super wasteful. You're supposed to use your hands to apply. Jean explains why that is better than I can. I put some in my palm and pat this onto my skin. Like this:

This helps my thick sunscreen glide effortlessly onto my skin. And it makes my skin so hydrated I can't stop touching my cheeks!
This isn't one of those in-your-face, change-your-life miracle products. However, after using it, I can't imagine going without it. It definitely makes its presence felt in its absence.  When I went to Canada, the 3 oz. liquid rule forced me to abandon my lotion at home. And boy, my skin was not looking pretty after four days. While my handy travel cleansing wipes did what they were supposed to, there was nothing actually hydrating my face. My face got soo rough and dull after ten days. It was only when I returned home and started up my skincare regimen again that my skin returned to normal. Whew!

Looking at the ingredients, its obvious competitor is Hada Labo's lotions. However, I prefer it to Hada Labo for the following reasons: 
  1. Though Ishizawa and Hada Labo both have hyaluronic acid (the main hydrating agent), Ishizawa has two additional urea-based moisturizers: urea and hydroxyethyl urea. Of course, the natural response to urea is ewww. Urea is an effective moisturizer! Why do you think babies' bottoms are so smooth?! :P
  2. Ishizawa contains more botanical extracts, whereas Hada Labo is more bare bones. This includes soothing extracts like chamomile and calendula along with dipotassium glycyrrhizate, a whitening agent derived from licorice root. 
  3. Ishizawa contains no parabens! I know many people are wary of using parabens. Hada Labo uses parabens as a preservative in their products. One of the preservatives in Ishizawa is phenoxyethanol. Read more about this preservative here.
I'm so certain of this product's effectiveness that I don't feel the need to try another Japanese hyaluronic lotion. And I'm a certified shopaholic!

Cost-effectiveness: I paid $19.99 for the lotion. It retails in Japan for ¥1500. This is 120 mL of product. Price-wise, it's more expensive than Hada Labo lotions, but worth it for the reasons stated above. I started using this back in early may and I only used up a quarter of the bottle! You just have to be careful to not dispense too much lotion per use. 

Availability: I purchased this at the Mitsuwa supermarket. You can also find this in online retailers for around $20. 
Update (5/22/11): Sasa has started selling the lotion for a pretty good price. See here

Friday, October 15, 2010

Review: Jane Blushing Cheeks in Blossom, Dupe Alert!

I see that the R&R blushes are almost wiped out since the commencement of the sale last night. But Spank has been out of stock for longer. 

For those who did not get to partake, there's an identical dupe for R&R Spank!

I heard of this through theymightbejenny's review of R&R Spank on MUA. She said Jane's Blushing Cheeks in Blossom was virtually the same shade as Spank. This was before I myself got ahold of Spank, so I thought it was a great idea to try Spank on the cheap before I invested big. 

I picked up Blossom at Rite Aid for $4.19. This is 3.4g worth of product.

I really loved it! It's just as the name indicated, it looks like my cheeks are blushing. In the pan, it looks like a flat rosy color. It really transforms itself on the skin. It's a vibrant pink. Just like R&R blushes, it's super-pigmented. The texture is silky, but in a different way than R&R. It has a more plastic-y feel, but not unpleasant. 

When I got Spank, I compared the two side-by-side. 

I was so shocked, they even look similar in the pan!

As you can see, they're pretty much the same color. theymightbejenny says Blossom is more yellow-toned. I think Blossom is more pigmented than Spank. It only took two swipes to get the swatch of Blossom, whereas it took four swipes for Spank.  In addition, Blossom shows up more lively on my cheeks than Spank. In a way, I can understand the hype over Spank. I definitely love the color that Blossom provides. I also found Blossom much more portable. It's tiny compared to the R&R compact, so there's no way it can't fit into a makeup bag. And the cost is sweet on your wallet. You don't even have to wait for a sale to get it. You can buy five Blossom's for the price of a half-off Spank!

I definitely recommend Blossom over Spank. This definitely shows you don't have to pay a lot to get a quality product. I'll be getting a back-up.

Have you tried either? Both? Your thoughts!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My First M.A.C. Haul: Venomous Villains Bite of An Apple Blush

I'm pretty much a virgin to high-end, and a part of me has always been proud of that. But once I started hauling R&R, I fell down the rabbit hole. When Tao (haha, I mention her a lot because she's the one who got me into cosmetics, my guru!) talked about how "gorgeous" Bite of An Apple blush was from the M.A.C. Venomous Villains collection, I couldn't help myself!

Well, I could have, but that wouldn't be any fun, would it? ;)

I hit the local M.A.C. in my town. Being in fancy department stores and cosmetic boutiques still make me really nervous. I somehow feel guilty if I don't buy everything in sight. Do you feel that way too? 

I swatched BoaA and, while it was gorgeous in the pan, looked pretty dull on my skin. It was a reddish tint on my skin and had none of the pretty fluorescent coral it displayed in the pan. After being spoiled by the silkiness and pigmentation of R&R blushes, I found it deficient in that department. But it's relatively pigmented and buildable, which means it's much easier to work with than R&R. 

The beauty powders were a different story. Oh So Fair and Briar Rose were so silky and the colors looked really captivating on my skin. Oh So Fair had a neutral pink color that was flattering on me, while Briar Rose had the lavender pink color reminiscent of R&R's Tease, but more purple-toned. I preferred the beauty powders far more than the blushes in this collection. But at $25 apiece, I couldn't bring myself to buy something even more expensive than R&R. 

I hauled BoaA, despite my unsatisfactory in-store swatch, hoping I'd change my mind when I got home. 
There's a print of the Evil Queen from Snow White. I'm not that into this packaging, though she looks pretty fierce. :P

Unfortunately, the blush remained gorgeous in the pan and blah on my skin. Oh well, at least I got another coral blush. I'm in love with peachy blushes. Gosh, I'm turning into a blush collector. Save me!

Did you get this blush too? Your thoughts! :D

Daamn, R&R Sale Back with a Vengeance / How to Buy 2 R&R Blushes for $18.16 or Less

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in with the infamous sale!

It's back, hide your wallet!
The best part is you can stack a $25 credit on top of the 50% off you'll receive for signing up with R&R after you have been referred by someone else. For people who have been having issues with using the $25 credit, myself included, it seems that the R&R site has fixed that bug and the $25 credit will show up in checkout, where it previously disappeared.

I just completed my last R&R blush haul by buying Shameless and Seduce tonight for $18.16. You can buy them for even less, if you don't live in California since they won't charge you sales tax.

I was referred by Tao and that how I found out about this fabulous offer. I'd be happy to refer you. I would get a $25 credit if you make a purchase. You could also ask Tao, since she should get the credit for informing me of the ingenious savings idea. For some reason, she deleted that post.  

The cosmetic line must be really in trouble, if the sale has been on-and-off. So I guess haul while this still exists, if you're interested. You could also wait for the designer sales sites to restock them, but the $.99 shipping and $25 credit is pretty handy. At this moment, all blushes except Call Me (of course) and Spank are in stock.  Click here to see the blushes.

If you would like a referral, comment on this post with your email. I've set commenting to mandatory moderation, so I will delete your email after I sign you up for a referral and it will not be visible to others.

I think this might be my last post on R&R since it's saturated my blog for a while... unless something crazy happens. Let me know if you would like a review on Shameless and Seduce.

Happy Hauling!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rock & Republic Collective Haul and Review

Sorry for the delay in reviewing! Midterm season is well upon me. :/


My R&R haul actually turned into three hauls. Funny how that can happen. ;)

I got my first four blushes (Immoral, X-Rated, Kinky, and All Nighter). I loved them so much that...

I set about getting more. But they were all sold out online by the time I was ready to order again. I managed to snag the last Bedroom for haul #2 when they restocked a few colors mid-September. 

Finally, I went to Los Angeles on a spontaneous weekend getaway with bf in late September. We decided to stop by the R&R freestanding store on Robertson. To my shock, they had the entire makeup line and they were all 50% off. Unfortunately, the much-coveted Call Me shade was unsurprisingly sold out. But I managed to snag Foreplay, Tease, Spank, and Lust at half price. :D 

 My R&R haulage from LA. The bag is with my LA bestie since she liked it so much, lol.

So, I give you,

The Blushes

Like everyone has said, the packaging is super luxe. Of course, that means bulky. It's in a round cardboard box that is triple the size of the blush. It's actually not that large or heavy. It's definitely larger than your typical blush, but not much larger than a foundation compact. 

 They all come with a plastic sheet cover. I still kept them, because I don't want to throw away anything. These are my first high end cosmetics, lol. I'm such a virgin. :P

This is the coveted R&R blush after Call Me, according to MUA. It's already sold out on the R&R site, even after the sale was over. I definitely had high expectations in buying this. I'm sorry to say that it's just hype for me. This matte baby pink blush was definitely pigmented, but not as much as the other blushes. The lasting powder is not as good. You can definitely find something similar for cheaper.  I've adjusted the lighting in the pics to reflect the true color to the best of my ablities. 

I don't understand why this blush doesn't get much love. A lot of people think it's too dark. But it's perfect for my skin, giving my cheeks a walking-in-the-cold flush! It's a beautiful matte, berry  color.

I think this is comparable to Spank, but I definitely prefer this. It looks like a light lavender, but it goes on more as a cool pink. It has better lasting powder and shows up better on my skin. I like it. 

 I got this just because I can't resist orange blushes. This has more of a hint of red than Immoral. It's gorgeous, and the shimmers are very subtle. I still prefer matte blushes. But I definitely like this. 
A close-up of All Nighter so you can see the shimmers, very finely milled

I got this, because jessicalee422 said it was a matte version of Call Me. It's a gorgeous subtle peachy pink color that is buildable. I LOVE it. 

I got this because Pink said it was an awesome peach matte blush. It's a pretty peachy brown color, but I definitely could have duped it for cheaper. I like it.  

People seem really fascinated with this shocking pink color. It's definitely a sheer, true highlighter pink in the pan. Honestly, it doesn't show up that well on my skin. The color is nothing special once it's on the skin.  

 This is shimmery, rosy brown color. It's a bit dark on my skin, but with a light hand it makes a wonderfully glowy cheek for a nighttime look. I'm sure people with a darker complexion will give it more love than I can.    

I got this because Tao loved it. And I am sooo glad I did! It is a-mah-zing! It is construction-worker orange in the pan, but a strong coral matte on my cheeks. This is definitely the R&R blush I can't live without.


 My Final Thoughts

Leave: Spank, Kinky

Try: Tease, Foreplay, All Nighter, Lust

Haul: Immoral, X-Rated, Bedroom

Despite some meh's, I definitely don't regret my purchases, but it'll be a while before I buy something that expensive again. My wallet's still hemorrhaging blood, lol. 

Let me know what you thought of the blushes! :D

Sunday, October 3, 2010

New Rock & Republic Coupon Code

I got an email from R&R yesterday, but haven't checked my email until now. But there's a Friends and Family sale ending today. You get 30% off of your purchase (not including new arrivals and sale items) if you use the coupon code "FF30". It`s a great way to spend less on cosmetic hauling now that the 50% sale is over. I've gotten my haul (it`s a big one), so be on the lookout for my R&R blush review this week. 

Happy hauling!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mes vacances en Canada/My vacation in Canada

Your ever humble, ever sorry blogger is back!

It's been hectic these few weeks, getting back into the swing of school. I just wanted to do a writeup on my getaway in mid-August before I forget!

I spent two days in Toronto, two in Montreal, and one and a half in Quebec City, a day in St Thomas for a wedding and the rest near Ottawa, where my bf's family lives.
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