Monday, January 31, 2011

Swatches and Comparisons: Physicians Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Blush in Natural

I just need to post this before I forget. I couldn't wait to rip open the box and see how this blush looks!

The puur-ty box before I tore into it
It's a peachy-pink blush with a sweet, floral scent. It's pretty pigmented, but not so much so that you will have a hard time working with it.

From my first swatch, I knew I had other blushes I wanted to compare it to. I have an affinity for peachy blushes and knew I had similar blushes in my collection. Ah, a true sign of a cosmetic addict, accidental back-ups. :P

Here's what I swatched it next to: 

Yes yes, the coloring's so off, but I'll be as detailed as I can. These blushes are very similar shades but not identical. The peachy-est one is certainly Luminous, followed by Rose Gold  The Happy Booster blush seems to be the same pink and peach shade as Coralista! Yay, dupe! 

They all have different finishes though. Rose Gold has the most heavy gold shimmer, followed by Luminous and Coralista. I'm happy to say that the Happy Booster blush has the least shimmer, it really is natural!

Pick up the Happy Booster Blush in Natural if you want a less shimmery version of Benefit's Coralista. It certainly is a far more affordable version, even at full retail ($11.99 vs. $28 for Coralista). But I advise you to wait on a good sale, it's not limited edition! As for me, happy I may be with my purchase, I have got to stop buying more blushes. At least more of the same. ;)

Did this pique your interest? Tried it? Your thoughts!

Review: Cinema Secrets Moisture Spray

Ingredients: deionized water, sodium PCA, sodium hyaluronate, cetrimonium chloride, collagen, panthenol, allantoin, glycerine, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, imidazolidinyl urea.

Experience: I picked this up during Cinema Secrets' Cyber Monday epic 50% sale. The ingredients looked pretty good from the web description. I realized that this spray can double as a Japanese lotion, as in a hydrating toner. Like my beloved Ishizawa lotion, it boasts hyaluronic acid. It even contains collagen! Thinking it over, it's not surprising this moisture spray is so similar to a Japanese lotion. The word for a lotion toner in Japanese is "化粧水", which translates to "cosmetic water". I suppose the Japanese also use it for setting makeup. I've long suspected that save cute packaging, Asian and American cosmetics weren't that different after all. You just have to look!

I used it for a month straight at my parents' house during winter break and I found it was just as hydrating as the Ishizawa one I am using up. My skin is plump with moisture. The best part is that it has a spray top and I just spritz it on my face a few times and blend it in with my fingers. My hands never touch the liquid inside, so zero contamination. Here's to you, germophobes!  

Cost-effectiveness: I picked up the 4 oz. spray bottle and 8 oz. refill bottle during the sale for $4.25 and $6.25 respectively. They regularly retail for double that. Even without the sale, it's a great deal. I paid $19.99 for a 120 mL (around 4 oz.) bottle of Ishizawa Hyaluronic Acid lotion. And a 4 oz. bottle lasts a looong time! If you don't want to pay full price, you can wait around for the next Cyber Monday. :)

Availability: You can buy it on the Cinema Secrets website. And you can email Cinema Secrets for a list of retailers that sell CS products.

Have you tried this? Interested? Your thoughts!

My Haul Under $20

Today I walked into CVS hoping to take advantage of the amazing Physicians Formula deal (Buy $10 worth, get 7 Extra Bucks). 

Little did I know the stars were aligning for me. 

My treasure trove

When I scanned my CVS card, the machine spat out a Physicians Formula $3 off coupon. Sch-weet! I also saw that my local CVS stocked the PF Happy Booster and I picked up the last blush in Natural. That had a $3 off coupon stuck on the package. So I paid $5.99 plus tax for an $11.99 blush! And I still qualified 7 Extra Bucks offer. With the Extra Bucks, I only paid a few cents for the blush overall! 

Then I went back to the cosmetic aisle and hauled like a maniac, because Elle raved about these Sally Hansen eyeshadows which are 75% off for $2.19. I picked up Sally Hansen Instant Definition Eye Palette in Ocean, Mountain, Amethyst, Stone, Earth, Metallic, and Quartz. Then I went back to the checkout and paid for part of the cost with the EB's I just got. The cashier looked at me like I was a god and I was high-fiving people up and down the line.

Ok, that didn't really happen, though the cashier was mildly impressed that I knew the shadows were on sale even though they didn't have stickers on it (lol, it's the secret drugstore club we all belong to b/c of Gianna).

In total, I spent $16.98. I'm more happy about the savings than the products, haha. 

Have you ever had hauls that come about like this? Tried any of these products before? Your thoughts!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New EcoTools Brush: The cheap duo fiber brush of your dreams!

Hi y'all! I've gone back to school and it is hectic hectic hectic! So I'll limit my postings to the weekends.

This post has been a long one in the making, since I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of EcoTools' 2011 release of their new Kabuki Finishing Brush! It all started when I read Gianna's post about upcoming EcoTools' brushes. None of the descriptions really intrigued me, except for one. 
"The bamboo Finishing Kabuki ($6.99), which has varying hair lengths to provide a sheer, delicate finish that is soft on skin"
To be honest, I was mostly interested because I had no idea what they meant! I did some googling to find a picture to give me a better idea.

I came across an old eBay auction and saw this: 

I think my feelings when I found this were comparable to a schoolgirl meeting the Beatles.
I promptly freaked out because I knew that what EcoTools was releasing was a new duo fiber brush and if there's one thing that catches attention fast in the makeup world, it's a cheap dupe of MAC's infamous duo fibre brush.

So I've been waiting impatiently since late last year for this brush to pop up in stores. Flash forward to last night. My bf and I went to dinner in SF and we took a walk after. He let me pop into Walgreens (because he loves and know me well, lol) to check for the wet N wild 8-pan palettes. No luck yet, and we were just about to leave, when I glanced over at the EcoTools rack and saw it

I was giddy and knew I wouldn't leave the store without it. I picked it up for $7.29, which is $.30 more than their listed retail price (yes, I care about that). The local Walgreens in my area always jack up cosmetic prices by about $.30. Boo! But I couldn't resist buying it!

Look at that sexy, sleek handle! The look of the brush seems to be inspired by old fashioned men's shaving brushes. Its design fits comfortably in your hand. It's such a departure from the normal EcoTools brush handle. But I think funky brush handles are EcoTools' sign of an awesome brush, exhibit A: the beloved Bronzer Brush?

This is not the first time that the company has released a duo fiber brush. The first time they did so was the Finishing Brush in the Alicia Silverstone Brush Set. EcoTools is pretty good at giving the consumers what they want. They restocked the previously limited edition Alicia Silverstone brushes due to high demand and now they're giving us another duo fiber brush. And this definitely feels like an improvement from their first brush.

Owning both, I'll compare the old and new one side-by-side. 

To start off, both brushes are typical EcoTools brushes, as in angel soft bristles and minimal shedding. But the duo fiber brushes tend to shed a little more, as in one fiber bristle once every few uses instead of the typical no shedding as found in the other brushes. Still great quality!

(L-R): Finishing Brush from the Alicia Silverstone collection, Kabuki Finishing Brush

The new Kabuki brush is definitely larger, twice the size of the Alicia brush. This means you could apply product to larger areas at a time. The brushes feel about equally dense, so the floppy-ness is about the same in each brush. Maybe the Kabuki brush is slightly stiffer, but not by much.

(L-R): Alicia brush, Kabuki brush

As for fiber length, the Alicia brush has longer fibers, about .5cm longer than the Kabuki Finishing Brush.

(L-R): Alicia brush, Kabuki brush
The two brushes also vary in fiber distribution. The Alicia brush has concentrated clusters of fibers which are more sparsely distributed, whereas the new Kabuki brush don't have the concentrated clusters and the fibers are densely and uniformly distributed throughout. 

(L-R) Alicia brush, Kabuki brush, Bronzer brush
It is a noticeably shorter brush, shorter than the regular length from EcoTools and even shorter than the Bronzer brush. The shorter length allows you more control and ease of use when you have to buff out something.

All in all, I think the new changes make for a good stippling brush for foundation, whereas the older Alicia brush is better suited for applying pigmented blushes. I am not sure how it compares to the MAC brush, since I don't own one. But I'm sure we'll see some comparisons pop up soon! 

Despite my grumbling, the price is also an improvement. Instead of paying at least $15.99 for the Alicia Silverstone set just to own the finishing brush, you could have a improved version for $6.99! 

How do you feel about the new Kabuki Finishing Brush? Own one already? Or interested in picking one up? Your thoughts!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Finding MY HG Dandruff Shampoo

It feels like a hair day, so I'll continue with another hair care post!

Active ingredients: 1% pyrithione zinc

Inactive ingredients: water, sodium laureth sulfate, cocamide MIPA, coco-bentaine, glycol distearate, sodium chloride, fragrance, dimethicone, pyrus malus (apple) fruit extract, sodium benzoate, salicylic acid, carbomer, niacinamide, pyridoxine, HCI, aloe bardadensis leaf juice, citric acid, linalool, limoene, saccharum officinarum (sugar cane) extract, salix nigra (willow) bark extract, guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, methyl cocoate, hexylcinnamal, benzyl alcohol, benzyl salicylate, sodium cocoate, sodium hydroxide, citrus medica limoum (lemon) peel extract, camellia sinensis leaf extract, blue 1. 

Experience: I love puberty. It was too awesome. Acne, body hair, odor, and dandruff? Oh yes! So yehhh, being the self-conscious teen that I was, you can bet I've been a hardcore dandruff shampoo user since middle school.

I was a loyal customer of Head & Shoulders shampoo, because it kept the flakies away. And I didn't notice anything wrong with my hair. However, it wasn't until the Great Perm Fiasco of '08 that I noticed that Head & Shoulders was quite damaging. The shampoo turned my perm-damaged hair into straw (ironically, I was using the one for dry scalp) and made my hair so tangled that I wanted to cut it off than deal with it. That's when I read up on the ingredients in the shampoo. I realized the culprit responsible for my further damage was likely sodium lauryl sulfate (responsible for all those foamy bubbles!), which is present in all Head & Shoulders shampoos.

I really wanted to keep using it, since it was an effective anti-dandruff shampoo. I tried other shampoos, but they didn't work as well on dandruff. So I started using Head & Shoulders conditioner, though it didn't have as much of the active anti-dandruff ingredient, .5% vs. 1% in the shampoo. But the conditioner was not that moisturizing, so I had to apply better conditioner to roots and rub the Head & Shoulders in the scalp. Too many steps!

One day, I was strolling through CVS (you can usually find me there) and I noticed that Garnier Fructis released a new dandruff line. Judging from the active ingredient (same 1% of pyrithione zinc), it was a direct competitor to Head & Shoulders. It had the same blue color and fruity-ish scent. It also boasts claims of botanical extract and vitamins. I wasn't impressed, since the shampoos still contained sodium lauryl sulfate.

But wait, the one for dry scalp didn't! It uses sodium laureth sulfate, which is gentler on the skin and hair. I snatched it right up and haven't looked back. You can tell the effectiveness of shampoos if you don't notice much. I knew how much better the shampoo was by the way it didn't dry out my hair, yet still kept "snow" off my shoulders.

I can only recommend dry scalp shampoo. But that's all I need. As long as Garnier Fructis keeps producing this shampoo, it'll have a lifelong spot in my shower. Please don't reformulate this or discontinue! :)

Cost-effectiveness: I paid around $4 for a 13 oz. bottle, because I had a $2 off coupon. Usually, it retails around $5-6 for a 13 oz. bottle, and a 25.4 oz. bottle for $7-8.

Availability: It's widely available, at drugstores like CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, etc. You can basically find it at any store that carries Garnier Fructis haircare products.

A fellow dandruff sufferer with tips to combat it? Did you try this? Your thoughts! :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Review: Organix Moroccan Argan Oil Renewing Treatment

I owe Kalmo this review, since I promised to work on it after finals. Haha, I'm a bit late. Forgive me? :) On with the review!

Ingredients: water, behentrimonium chloride, cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, dimethicone, cyclomethicone D4, glycerin,  glycol stearate, ceteareth-20, polyquaternium-11, dimethiconol, parfum, lanolin oil, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed extract, argania spinosa (argan) oil, panthenol, DMDM hydantoin, tetrasodium EDTA, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone. red 40, yellow 5
Ingredient ♥

Experience: I picked this up because I had never tried anything with argan oil. I'll always be a drugstore girl, so I often wait for skincare trends to trickle down to a more affordable shelf. So I snatched it right up when I saw an Organix display featuring argan oil.

I have incredibly damaged hair. Ugh, it stems back to a deeply regretted decision in 2008 to give my hair a perm. Prior to this, I had virgin hair. My hair never touched hairspray, irons, dye, heck, even gel. My old hair was medium-thick and stick straight. I often didn't comb my hair and it stayed straight, which was why I felt encouraged to change my hair a bit. Digital waves were all the rage and I went to a salon in Hong Kong to get one. I couldn't articulate what I wanted, but there was a advertisement of Sarah Jessica Parker in a newspaper ad for the Sex and the City movie. I pointed and grunted and I think she understood? Lol, I got hair resembling hers. The takeaway lesson is don't ever ask for that kind of hair when you're in the barber's chair. My hair looked like a poodle's!

And I was left dealing with really damaged hair. Split ends galore (before then, I didn't even know what split ends were. It was a better time). Lesson learned. Now I learn to appreciate my boring straight hair each year I head to the stylist to trim off more of my limp, damaged perm hair.

With this sort of hair, I'm incredibly picky about hair care products. I need it to make a real difference in my hair or I'm chucking it.

As for this product, I sadly don't love it. It is a lushly scented cream treatment that made my hair slightly smoother and softer. But beyond that, I don't see it as a must-have. I don't think the formula was strong enough to penetrate and treat my thick hair. I realize that other people with different types of hair might love this, perhaps people with fine hair or less damage than mine. I might be too picky about hair products for the people with more manageable tresses. So I'm not not recommending it, if that makes sense. I'm just not recommending it for people with my type of hair. Hopefully, this review was helpful for people who wanted to try this out!

Cost-effectiveness: I bought this for $7.99, which is a dollar more than regular Organix hair products. You could probably wait it out for a sale (Ulta currently has a BOGO1/2 off sale), like when drugstores have a BOGOF Organix sale. 

Availability: I bought this at CVS and have also seen this at Ulta in store and online.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sighting at Walgreens: wet N wild 2011 Collection! UPDATED

UPDATE: Gianna has posted reviews on most of these products, so I have included links below each product.

I wanted to shake off the holiday lethargy, so I walked to the Big Three drugstores: CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid. Each store was stocking the new collections. Rite Aid and CVS weren't that exciting since they just stocked the new CoverGirl and L'oreal collections. But Walgreens had something awesome.

I saw this end cap. 

Oh yeeeh
I was shocked since I didn't expect to see the new collection so soon. I had only just heard of it from Gianna.

Here are some close-ups. 

(L-R): Color Icon Eye Pencil, Shimmer Eye Pencil, Glassy Gloss Lip Gel
Color Icon Eye Pencil (L-R): Olive, Green (teal color), Purple, Amethyst. Learn more here.
Shimmer Eye Pencil: Black, Blue (navy color), Copper, Silver. Learn more here.

A whole lotta glass puns
Glassy Gloss Lip Gel (L-R): This Too Shall Glass (pink), Glass is in Session (strawberry pink), Glass Confusion (cool pink), Mow the Glass (peachy pink), Through the Looking Glass (clear), 3, 2, 1, Glass-t off! (Red). Learn more here.

Not too sure what the missing mascaras were
Mascaras (L-R): Megalash Clinical Serum in Clear and Very Black; Megalength mascara in very black (water proof)

Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio
Learn more here. I was most excited by these new additions. This why I took closeups of each shade. :)

Spoiled Brat
Silent Treatment
I Dream of Greenie (Luusting after this!)
I Got Good Jeans
I'm Feeling Retro
I'm Getting Sunburned
Now for the polishes!

Fast Dry Nail Color
Top Row (L-R): Teal of Fortune (shimmer), The Gold and the Beautiful (shimmer), Everybody loves Redmond (cream) x 2, Sage in the City (chrome) x 2, Saved by the Blue (electric blue chrome), Hana Pinktana (purpley shimmer), Teal or No Deal (chrome)

Bottom Row (L-R): How I Met Your Magenta (hot pink cream), Fuschiarama (cream), Silvivor (silver chrome), Sagreena the Teenage Witch (chrome emerald), Ebony Hates Chris (cream black), (shimmer), Blue Wants to Be a Millionaire (shimmer grayish blue), Buffy the Violet Slayer (chrome violet), The Wonder Yellows (chrome) 

Learn more here and here

If you're wondering, yes I did type out all these names on my phone, so I could post it. That's how much I love my readers! :D

Gianna is the wet N wild ambassador, so she gets access to these products first, lucky duck! She says she will post a comprehensive review on the 2011 collection tonight, so watch for her post on Nouveau Cheap. I know I'll be waiting to hear what she says.

I didn't get anything yet from the collection, despite loving the bold new eyeshadow palettes. I'm sitting on a good sale, since it's not limited edition. 

What about y'all? Did anything catch your eye? Tried something already? Your thoughts!

Review: Freeman Superfruits Detoxifying Clay Facial Mask

I was incredibly excited to try the new Freeman's mask that I picked up during Thanksgiving weekend.

As you well know, I am a big fan of Freeman clay masks!

Ingredients: water, panthenol, hydroxyethylcellulose, glycerin, tetrasodium EDTA, propylene glycol, methylparaben, titanium dioxide, kaolin, polysorbate-20, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil, emulsifying wax NF, gyceryl stearate se, propylparaben, persea gatissima (avocado) oil, tocopheryl (vitamin E) acetate, retinyl (vitamin A) palmitate, bentonite, lycium barbarum (goji) fruit extract, euterpe oleracea (acai) fruit extract, punica granatum (pomegrante) extract, mangifera india (mango) fruit extract, garcinia mangostana (mangosteen) peel extract, vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry) fruit extract, morinda citrifolia (noni) fruit extract, vaccinium angustifolium (blueberry) fruit extract, blue 1, phenoxyethanol, fragrance.  
Ingredient ♥ Ingredient :(

Experience: It is a blue mask with a scent that reminds me of Bath & Body Works' Cucumber Melon scent. Lol, it seemed like every girl in middle school wore cucumber melon lotion. It dried quickly for a mask and I felt some light tingling, which was not uncomfortable.

As for the quality...To put it bluntly, I hated it! I was so shocked, since I had thought that Freeman could do no wrong. But this mask was absolutely useless. It did not detoxify as the name suggests. In fact, it doesn't  do much of anything. It did not suck the excess oil off my skin or minimize my pores or shrink my pimples. It didn't even moisturize that well.

From looking at the ingredients, I understood why. How could they call it a clay mask when there's more preservative than clay?! Usually a Freeman mask has kaolin (clay) as its 2nd ingredient, but this one lists kaolin as 9th most ingredient. And there's also more perservatives than the fruit extracts they featured.

Honestly, Freeman skimped on the ingredients on this mask and as a result, the quality suffered greatly. I'm not even sure what to do with the rest of the tube!

Cost-effectiveness: I picked this for $3.99, which is affordable for a clay mask. But for a useless clay mask, it's way too expensive.

Availability: I found mine at Ulta and Freeman's site sells it too.
Honestly, I hope this mask is not an indication of what's more to come from Freeman. I much prefer their other masks. Please, please, please don't cheapen the quality, Freeman!

Have you tried this mask too? Your thoughts!

I Buy Too Much Stuff Part ∞

Thank goodness Christmas is over or else Santa would have given me a lump of coal! ;)

I've only been home two weeks and I've already accumulated so many products!

Ack, just look at my recent CVS haul!

Fear my shopping prowess!
But at least I hauled when CVS is having cra-zazy clearances to clear out the shelves! If you need more info on this, Gianna has the ultimate scoop.
I also took an increased interest in The Body Shop ever since I became obsessed with the unobtainable Sparkler. I picked up two amazing-smelling bottles of Pink Grapefruit shower gel at TJ Maxx and I was hooked! It's no longer just the shop that smells like orange Tic Tacs to me.  I went the actual storefront and took advantage of the post Christmas sales.

Utterly embarrassed about the terrible photo, sorry!

Yes, I needed to compile a spreadsheet of haulage.

Shopaholic that I am, you can bet I'll be back at the CVS for more!

I also got a package on New Year's Eve.

Oh, yes. I was able to ring in the New Year with the Naked Palette in hand! Their shipping is pretty darn fast, considering it was sent from Florida.

Some pics of my haul. It's the second time I've ever bought UD.

Naked Palette, Smoke Out Powder Eye Pencil in Maui Wowie, and Lipstick sample in Sellout
Lol, I don't have the Mini Primer Potion anymore, since my friend wanted to try it and I already have the professional size one.

The photo that has appeared on hundreds of beauty blogs, so nothing ground-breaking here.
It's such a surreal moment unpacking the box, since I've seen it so many times online, that I know exactly what it looks like: velvet-covered palette with magnetic closure. But with it being such an in-demand item, it's the first time I've ever seen one in real life. And it's all mine! Mwuahaha. :P

I bought a Smoke Out pencil, despite reading some pretty craptastic reviews on it on MUA. But a member said it works well wet, so I took the plunge.

Here is a comparison swatch!

Smoke Out Pencil in Maui Wowie: Left is wet swatch, right is dry swatch (lined several times)
As you can see, it is pathetically useless when applied dry. For the wet swatch, I just dipped the tip under running water and it gave a pretty smooth, pigmented line. The line takes some time to dry though. On the other side of the pencil is a sponge tip to smudge the eyeliner. I've never worked with wet eye products before, I'm excited! 

Forgive me for the slow updates, but it's so bothersome for me to take pictures and get ingredients for reviews. But I have some new posts lined up. Stay tuned!

Did you do a post-Christmas haul too? Your thoughts!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...