Archive for the ‘Beauty and relaxation’ Category

My journey through a few makeup brands (comparison study)

September 19, 2017 2 comments

So lately I’ve noticed that my eyeshadows are starting to hit pan due to heavy use, mostly Urban Decay’s Naked 3 palette which is my all time favorite. Not wanting to drop a ton of money to replace it right now, I wanted to see what in drugstore and non-Sephoraland could be use to help the situation. And, since I was already running out of eyelid primer, I tried a new one out too just for the experience. Here are a couple of reviews:


Cover Girl Eye Enhancers Shadows

Review: Lots of fallout. Even with eyelid primer it just didn’t stay on throughout the day, and the pigment had a lot to be desired. Sort of a fail for me.

Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio

Review: I am so impressed with Wet n Wild’s shadows. Very heavily pigmented and little to no fallout. At 3 bucks each, it’s easy to get a few palettes for the Fall and be ready for anything. Available at Wal-mart and other discount retailers.

Juvia’s Place Nubian Palette


Image result for juvia's place nubian palette

Review: If there was ever a palette perfect for Fall… the Nubian is it. Rich golds, bronzes, and reds that fit any skintone. They are heavily pigmented, and I didn’t notice much in the way of fallout throughout the day. 12 full sized shadows in one palette for 20 dollars, it’s a great buy. Available at

Eye Primer

Urban Decay Primer Potion

Why oh why did you change the packaging on me? I don’t like the wand at all. It works great but hardly any product comes out when I use it. That’s all I’m gonna say on this because it bums me out so much.

Hard Candy Eyeshadow Primer

Image result for hard candy eye primer

For $5, it’s a pretty good bargain I’d say. Works great and my eye makeup stays put all day. Available at Wal-mart and other discount retailers.


Almay Liquid Liner

Image result for almay eyeliner

No. Just no. It smeared badly and when it’s time to remove, gets all over everything. I did not care for it at all. Big time fail.

My mother introduced me to Mally Beauty eyeliners and I have to say, I much prefer them than Almay in this case. A little more spendy sure, but the colors are rich and they last all day and into the night. Available at, Sephora, QVC, etc.

Image result for mally beauty eyeliner

How to give yourself a little spa day on the cheap

April 20, 2014 Leave a comment

We’ve all been there. Stress from work, stress from other things; a little spa day would sound like heaven, yes? It can get pretty pricy, and sometimes painful. When I think of the last time I mistakenly agreed to a little microdermabrasion therapy… still have nightmares about it.

So here are a few suggestions on how to do a little spa session that won’t break the bank, and isn’t painful.

Here are a few items I used:

Mask and Foot Soap found for about 5 bucks each; Tea Tree Oil was part of a Body Shop set I bought, but can be found at health food stores for about 5 bucks also. Tea was ordered online but you can use your favorite.

Mask and Foot Soap found for about 5 bucks each; Tea Tree Oil was part of a Body Shop set I bought, but can be found at health food stores for about 5 bucks also. Tea was ordered online but you can use your favorite.


So the first thing I did was make a Facial Steamer. I boiled water on the stove (about 4-6 cups I guess), and added a few drops of my favorite essential oil, Tea Tree. You can use any essential oil you like for this. For Camomille’s astringent properties, I added one tea bag to the boiling water also and let the whole thing steep for 5 minutes (cover with a lid):

1 teabag + a few drops of Tea Tree essential oil, and let boil for a few minutes.

1 teabag + a few drops of Tea Tree essential oil, and let boil for a few minutes.


I then took the pot of water over to the kitchen table, grabbed a towel, and draped it over my head with my face several inches away from the water. The next six minutes was aromatherapy bliss with an added bonus of open, detoxed pores. Follow the treatment up with a mild astringent of your choice and your face will feel clean as a whistle.

Since I had some time, I followed this up with the clay mask. In addition, as I still had the water from the steam treatment, I added it to a package of the Johnson’s foot soap to my foot soak tray, a few ice cubes to cool the water some, and then let my poor feet soak for 10 minutes.

Johnson's Foot Soap + water from the facial steam bath. Bonus: Buy a standard litter box (obviously never used) for foot baths. It's just the right size for this. Price: 4-6 bucks.

Johnson’s Foot Soap + water from the facial steam bath. Bonus: Buy a standard litter box (obviously never used) for foot baths. It’s just the right size for this. Price: 4-6 bucks.

The whole house now smells like a spa, and that’s not such a bad thing.

So there you have it; a whole spa treatment for about 10 bucks, and you can get multiple sessions to enjoy. Doesn’t hurt your wallet or your face, and that’s all to the good.

Product review: Urban Decay’s Naked 3 Palette/ Benefit’s Gimme Brow

December 28, 2013 Leave a comment

Urban Decay's Naked 3 Palette

Naked3A(click pics for higher resolution/detail)

The original Naked (bronze) and Naked 2 (taupe) palettes are beautiful, but I hesitated buying them because I already have eyeshadows in those shades. Naked 3 follows a similar pattern in neutrality (for want of a better term), but the shades are rosier.

The colors are very well pigmented and I haven’t seen signs of flaking. There’s some glittery lighter shades (very pretty) but the matte darker colors are in attendance also, and they work well together and separately. So far I’ve tried Dust over the entire lid, with Buzz over the eye and Mugshot in the crease. So many more combinations to try!

I will admit, this palette is pretty pricy as far as those go. But if you figure that you’re basically getting 12 full sized eyeshadows in one palette that are well pigmented and last for-ev-uh on the lid and just in general, it’s not such a bad deal in the end.

A note: I visited two Sephora shops who were completely sold out in all the Naked palettes. But, Ulta had a few left so I lucked out a few days after Christmas. True I could buy it online, but it’s so much more fun to swatch the colors in person.

Benefit’s Gimme Brow

BenefitGimmeBrowThis stuff works wonders. The gel isn’t overly thick, which is a plus. Not only does the product keep the eyebrow hairs in place, but if you’ve got thin brows and want some volume and color, Gimme Brow will do just that. And, the color stays in place with no worries.

If you have any questions about either product, feel free to leave a comment 🙂

Product recommendation: Lush’s Angels on Bare Skin facial cleanser

November 27, 2013 Leave a comment


I bought some of this stuff a few months ago, and truly, of all the cleansers I’ve tried over the years, this is the best one of the bunch in my humble opinion. Made of all natural ingredients by Lush including ground almonds, Lavender, Chamomile, kaoline clay, etc., this stuff really evens out skin tone and calms any acne-related flare ups. And, it’s great for all skin types and smells divine.

Because this product is made of natural ingredients, it does have an expiration date. Not that it doesn’t work or goes bad if it expires, but it exists.

If I lived near a Lush store, I’d be stopping by more often than I do Sephora. Fortunately for my husband and my bank account, I live pretty far away so ordering online is the only way I can indulge.  If you are fortunate to live near one, any time you accumulate 3 of their pots you can clean them out and bring them to the store, where they’ll give you a free masque. The company is big on environmental causes so it’s their way of rewarding their customers for recycling.

Cosmetics recommendation: Benefit’s Sugarlicious kit

July 31, 2013 Leave a comment

Benefit has partnered with Sephora to release kits containing some of their most popular items like Benetint. For a little under 30 dollars, I present Sugarlicious:

Benefit’s Sugarlicious kit

This package contains a mini Sugarbomb cheek powder, High Beam, Benetint, and a Sugarbomb lip gloss. I’m the type of person that doesn’t really like to go too deep into the bronzer territory, so this combination provides a nice pinkish color to your cheeks. I also like High Beam for its highlighter ability. Plus, it’s all very easy to apply 🙂

This is a great way to experience several products from their line without breaking the bank too badly. There are instructions that are included in the kit to show you how to apply them, which is always helpful. I know there’s a video specifically for this package out there, so if I find it I’ll add it to this post.

Makeup product recommendations (aka my Sephora haul from the weekend)

May 6, 2013 4 comments

Over the weekend I decided to buy a few products to add to the arsenal of cosmetics I’ve acquired over the years.  And yes, these products tend to get pricey. However, this is how I rationalize it in my head:

  • The products last forever. For-Ev-Errr. My last Bare Escentuals haul from the previous year (BE Mineral Veil, some loose eyeshadows and a few brushes) is in no danger of running out even with daily use. An initial investment bites, but it could be a year or so before you have to buy more. Not too shabby.
  • The pigments (especially with shadow) are more dense with BE products, which means it doesn’t break up or smudge during the day. I’ve had that issue with Almay, Neutrogena, and Cover Girl shadows. They’re also great in that some are more matte, and some can be on the glittery side, so you can mix and match to create your look.

But I digress… my review of the first product: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer potion.

I’ve used several types of eyelid primer potion before, with mixed results. The UD primer feels much thicker, yet blends well on the eyelid. When I apply shadow, I can see more color sticking to the lid. And, so far, no creasing or smudging. It’s a pretty good buy at $20 and very little goes a long long way.

Benefit Boi-ing concealer

Again, I’ve tested several products for concealers, from Almay to Neutrogena and a few others. I didn’t like the consistency of the concealers, and the product packaging had a lot to be desired. For example, the Almay Wakeup Makeup Concealer comes in a squeeze tube with a brush at the end. If you tried to squeeze with a light touch no product comes out. Then you put more pressure, and suddenly you got concealer on your sink, on your fingers, and it’s a mess.

Benefit’s Boi-ing concealer (shown above) is packaged like a little compact. No messes here. And, you can either apply it with your fingers or with a brush. It’s not overly cakey, and blends well into the skin. It also comes in many shades, so you can find the one that matches your skin tone the best. My tip: When you’re at the store checking them out, put a little of the tester product on your inside wrist and blend a little. The shades that almost appears invisible on your skin is the perfect shade for you 🙂 It also comes out to about $20.

And last, but not least.. BE’s The Truth eyeshadow quad:

“The Truth” palette. So gorgeous, and versatile.

I’ve heard nothing but good things about the BE Ready line of eyeshadows. I’ve been using the loose BE shadows for a number of years now, and got so used to them I didn’t think an actual solid palette would ever wow me again. Totally wrong. The BE Ready quads are very rich in color/pigment, and blend well with each other to create your daytime and nighttime look. I tend to go for more neutral shadows anyway, but even though The Truth quad is pretty neutral, the colors are amazingly vibrant.

I kind of balked at the price ($30), but if you consider the fact that you’re getting four full sized shadows in that one package, and each loose BE shadow usually runs around $13 bucks, it’s actually a good deal. Almost like buy 2, get 2 free. Not bad. And, they help smooth and de-puff the eyelids with regular use. No need to swipe back and forth for color either… just tap your brush into the color, and you can see the color right away on the brush with just a few taps. Less product going to waste is a good thing.

BE also sells Duos for about $20, so if you don’t want to go for the quads just yet, a Duo is a great option. Still cheaper than the loose shadows after all.

One of the great things about Sephora is when it’s your birthday, you get a coupon for a free gift. I had one recently, and received a trial size of Benefit’s Watt’s Up highlighter. This stuff is awesome. Put a little on the cheekbones, down the nose, and a little on the brow bones, and it really sets off your look. I plan on getting the full sized version when I run out of the mini.

A great highlighter/luminizer

So that’s my review. Hope you enjoyed 🙂

Product review: Proactiv 3 step cleansing system

January 7, 2013 Leave a comment

The Proactiv Deep Cleansing Brush

Over the past year, I’ve started noticing more breakouts on levels that I hadn’t experienced since my teenage years. I’ve concluded that it had a lot to do with the amount of sweat I generate during martial arts workouts. Seriously, most days I get out of there with my shirt soaked. I have the opposite of dry skin anyway, so you can imagine how bad things got. I’ve tried masques, toners, and different acne cleansers bought at drugstores, with varying results.

As a last ditch effort, I decided to finally try the Proactiv 3 step system. However, because I’ve seen and heard pretty bad reports about the customer service (especially when you try to cancel), I decided to buy it at a kiosk at my local mall, along with the Deep Cleansing Brush. Total paid: about 90 bucks, and a Masque plus a sample Tea Tree Moisturizer were included.

So, the review:

I can’t recommend this product completely, and here are some reasons why:

  • benzoyle peroxide, and possible sensitivity to its effects. A couple of days into using all three steps, and my face became red and itched horribly. Evidently, I’m very sensitive to it, so it was a major bummer to me that this happened. The concentration is pretty high in the original formula. However, Proactiv does have a different formula that contains salicylic acid instead for those what are allergic or sensitive to use the original. I may stop by the kiosk again to see if they offer this formula at some point.
  • When you use this product, you have to always use a facial moisturizer with sunscreen after use, because the benzoyle peroxide makes the skin on your face that much more sensitive to the sun’s damaging rays and can cause discoloration. That wasn’t too much of an issue per se since I already use a moisturizer with sunscreen on a daily basis, but it’s something I felt I needed to note for those interested in trying this product. Plus, don’t use dark colored towels to dry your face after cleansing, because the benzoyle peroxide can stain them.

However, it wasn’t a total bust. Even though the Renewing Cleanser and Repairing Treatment are pretty harsh on my face in large amounts, I worked out a system that did work well for my skin, and it really centers on the Deep Cleansing Brush. That item is amazing.

My steps:

  1. Cleansing with a product not containing benzoyle peroxide (Clean and Clear face wash for sensitive skin works for me) using the Deep Cleansing Brush. Really and truly though, I don’t see a difference between it and other cleansing brushes you can find at the store, but I do recommend buying a brush like it. When I wash off makeup using the brush, you can see the makeup on the brush itself, and my face feels  amazingly clean after using it.
  2. Proactiv Toner. It doesn’t contain benzoyle peroxide, and is an amazing toner. A little goes a long way.
  3. Believe it or not, I have found that I can still use the Proactiv Repairing Treatment in very small amounts, mostly for any spots that have made an appearance. I put a little on at night, and by morning, the spot has healed or is on its way to healing. Sometimes it’s a little itchy, but definitely not like the first couple of days using all 3 Proactiv steps.

So there you have it; my experience using Proactiv. It wasn’t all good, but wasn’t all bad either. And, my skin has cleared up quite a bit, almost back to normal after three weeks of use.

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