We don’t normally post photos of animals, but…

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Annabelle SkinTrue: keeping a bronze through the winter months

What it is: Annabelle’s SkinTrue Duo Bronzing Pressed Powder

The basics: before finding Annabelle’s Zebra bronzer, this was definitely the best solution I had found out of the drugstore. It leans more red than it does orange, resulting in a much more natural glow than most drugstore options. The two sides give you the choice of a shimmery bronzer, a matte one, or a mix of the two. I tend to choose something with a bit of shimmer for a tanned application (ie on the high points of your face,) but go with something matte for a contouring application, so I guess this was made just for people like me: that’s exactly why they made it a duo!

matte / blended / shimmer
(Please note that the above have been swatched fairly lightly, and that the product does get even stronger in terms of pigmentation, if desired! The following photo is horrid for colour balance, but shows off the depth of pigment a touch better.)

Good to know: like many Annabelle products, this is unexpectedly pigmented, especially for a drugstore product. Which is great, at least if you ask me, because that means that a) a little goes a long way, and b) it will suit a broader range of skintones! For darker-skinned ladies, just opt for a bronzer or blush brush, and for lighter-skinned gals, try a fan or powder brush for a lighter application.

Depending on your skintone, some ladies may find it too orange — but honestly, you’d have to be applying quite a lot, and you’d need to be even cooler-toned than I. Most of you (like, in the 98% range) would likely find the shade just fine in terms of orange-ness.

The ingredients:

Ascorbyl palmitate, Boron nitride, Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl palmitate, Imidazolidinyl urea, Lauroyl lysine, Methicone, Methylparaben, Mica, Polymethyl methacrylate, Propylparaben, Silica, Squalane, Talc, Tocopheryl acetate, Zinc stearate. May contain: Iron oxides, Titanium dioxide.

Skintrue vs Zebra: I know you’ll ask, so I may as well tell you now! Out of the two, Zebra is my favourite — but they’re honestly so different they practically fall into different product categories. Clearly, this means only one thing: it’s table time. 
The verdict? If you’re looking for a drugstore bronzer (or a bronzer at all, actually,) this is absolutely the one that I’d choose. Now, I don’t personally use it, but that’s because I just don’t care for the bronzed look on myself — crazy, I know, but that’s me! For this reason, Zebra is my favourite, but if you’re looking for something to boost (or just plain-out create) that summery glow, trust me: this is it.

It’s cheap, it’s sleek, and it does its job well. So keep your eyes peeled for…
…that box there.

Rimmel to the rescue: a Gentle Eye Make Up Remover review

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What it is: Rimmel Gentle Eye Make Up Remover

The “Gentle Factor”: Well, okay. The thing about makeup removers is that, like many other things that have to do with our eyes, they’re a very personal product. What works for me may not work for you, and vice-versa.
That said, I was pretty happy with the gentleness of Rimmel’s makeup remover! I found it to be just as easy on my eyes as — if not even slightly more easy than — The Body Shop’s Camomile remover (which, as I’ve mentioned, is often declared to be pretty much as gentle as it gets.) What does that mean, exactly? Well, it stings the skin around my eyes, but doesn’t irritate my eyes themselves any more than, say, water would. 
The “Removal Factor”: Unfortunately, I’m docking points (theoretical points; we’re still resisting the trend to rate products with math-y formulas) for the marketing. From my experience, this does not remove waterproof products, despite Rimmel’s claims! However, for non-waterproof makeup, I’ve found it does a darn good job of removal. The trick (as with any remover, be it makeup or nail polish) is to let it work its magic for a few seconds: soak a cotton pad with remover, give it five seconds on your closed eye, then gently wipe it all away.

The proof: There are a lot of reviews talking about how Rimmel’s makeup remover doesn’t really… remove. So, I wanted to share some photo-evidence with you! I soaked a bit of a tissue to take off Monday’s eye, wiped my eye area a few times (without using more remover or another cotton pad, etc.) In seconds, it went from this…

…to this!

And just to prove that it really did get everything, I took a clean tissue, rubbed baby oil all over my eye area, and swiped again:

The ingredients: (It’s silicone- and paraben-free — however, I’d rather it didn’t have SLS…)

Water (aqua), Poloxamer 184, Sodium PCA, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Tetrasodium EDTA, DMDM Hydrantoin, Panthenol

The verdict? For around $6-8, I think this is a great buy — but it’s not something I’d kill attack a mother bear dash out of a meeting to go pick up. It’s non-greasy, scent free, and it does a great job of (gently!) removing makeup, but won’t work as well on waterproof or smudge-proof products.

Try it if…

  • You want something to remove normal-wear products,
  • You go through a lot of makeup remover (the cost of remover really adds up, especially as a beauty blogger!)
  • You’re looking for something gentle, or
  • You want something that’s easy to find, with well-made packaging and a zero-grease finish.

Availability: Well.ca, Ulta, Walgreens

The Marchesa for Le Metiér de Beauté collection is now online at Nordstrom.com!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Well, some of it is, at least. I’m still on the hunt for the double-ended lip glosses, but will add them as soon as I can find them. Found ’em, nevermind!

The collection contains:

  • Two small palettes by Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig, the former containing a translucent pressed powder, concealer, lip gloss (in La Cerise Noir,) creme blush (in La Peche,) and eyeshadow (in Le Minuit,) and the latter containing bronzer, concealer, lip gloss (in Le Caramel,) creme blush (in La Rougeur,) and an eyeshadow (in Le Fauve.)
  • Two Sheer Illumination Hilighters, in Hilighter or Brightener
  • Four Double Entendre Lipglosses, in La Figue/Le Rasi, L’Embrass/Le Pass, Le Feu/La Glass, and La Rouge/La Rue.

Stock-image product swatches from the Nordstrom site:

(Click on the images to get to the product pages.)

This is pretty much our first peek at the collection (which we mentioned before,) so what do you think — still interested?

The Cup Reviews: instead Softcup

For a bit of background information on menstrual cups, read this post.
Oh, and also:
TMI alert! TMI alert! Alert alert alert!

What it is: instead Softcup disposable menstrual cups

What we love

  • The Softcup is a lot less icky than other menstrual cups! There’s no washing/scrubbing/boiling involved, and removal is quick, painless, and relatively clean. It takes a bit of practice, but I can get it out with just a bit of blood ending up on my fingertips; no messier than a tampon.
  • It’s also a lot easier to get in (and out) than other cups — you pinch the two sides and insert it like a tampon. The pink plastic is very malleable, so they really do pinch right together. It’s no harder to get in than a regular tampon (and way easier than supers and extra supers!)
  • There are a bunch of “side benefits” that come along with using this kind of cup. For starters, there are no strings attached, literally! Nothing… hanging out of you. (Ahem.) And while I can’t vouch for it, they do say you can wear the Softcup during sex while you’re on your period for less, erm, mess.
  • The Softcup can be worn for up to 12 hours, unlike tampons (which run 4-8 if I’m not mistaken.) Of course, I have to change mine more often, but my lighter-flow friends (aka every single !@)#!@$ person I know; it’s just not fair!) should be fine.

What we don’t

  • These cups are one-size-fits-all, and unfortunately… we’re not all the same size down there. I found it to be a touch too long for me; it slips too low every now and again and can be hard to get all the way in. So, make sure to sample them first! If they fit, you’ll know: when they’re in properly, you can’t feel the cup at all.

Tips and tricks
As I’ve mentioned, I find inserting the Softcup to be a breeze. It’s awkward the first time, but the process is just so easy to get the hang of. Anyone who can insert a tampon should be fine! (And to be honest, it’s easier to insert a Softcup than it is to insert an extra super tampon, or anything by OB…)

However, I know not everyone is as utilitarian about their female reproductive system comfortable with their ladybits as I am. So I asked Tracey Croughwell (Evofem’s Marketing VP) if she had any tips of her own! She had a ton of incredibly helpful ones to share, so here are a few of them:

  • To insert the Softcup, sit on a toilet and relax. Compress the Softcup, then push it into the vagina. Push it back, not up. You should feel the Softcup go past your pubic bone, and when it’s in place it will be tucked up behind the pubic bone. Once it’s inserted correctly, you won’t feel it.

  • If you can feel the Softcup, it probably is not in place. Simply remove it and try again. To remove it, insert your finger into your vagina. When you bear down with your muscles (like you’re pushing out a baby), the rim will come down and be easier to hook your finger around. Hook your finger around and gently pull it out.

  • When removing the Softcup, remove it slowly and keep it horizontal (so it’s less messy).

  • Removing the Softcup will be messy at first. You’ll eventually get used to taking it out, and the whole insertion/removal process will become quicker, easier, and less messy… and it’s totally worth the freedom and comfort you experience with the Softcup!

Psst — did you notice the “How-To” tab at the top of the Sofcup site? Definitely worth checking out if you’re not sure how to go about using your cup!

Other things to note

  • The Softcup is just over $10 for 24, but the samples are available for $2.50.
  • Because they’re non-absorbant, the Softcup doesn’t cause irritation or dryness. I mean, don’t get me wrong; I love tampons just as much as the next gal (most days)… but there’s nothing worse than inserting a tampon when the last one wasn’t totally soaked!
  • For the same reason, menstrual cups aren’t associated with TSS. And on a health-related note, they’re also free of things like bleach (used to get your tampons that clean-looking white-white,) and latex.
One last thing: we decided to do this review in point-form, just because there was so much information we wanted to share. (And we didn’t want to force you to read three and half hours of text!) If there’s anything we missed, though, don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comments :)

P.S. Purple packaging? We approve!

EOTD: Graphic floral

Monday, September 27, 2010

Not much to say today other than “blame the readings.” Seriously; there are so many of them! I have the sneaking suspicion that my Sociology prof is A) totally crazy, B) totally brilliant, and/or C) secretly trying to teach the course as if it was a FemLit class, rather than a general Soc one.

So, instead of a tutorial, today you will get a simple statement: Marcelle’s Lux Metallic eyeliners blend and layer like whoa! I love how insanely easy it is to create an ombre effect with them.

Wait! I lied (again.) I actually have two more things to say — it was incredibly difficult to intensify the pinky-violet, and even harder to keep the distinct separation of the blue and pink/violet/whatever the heck you want to call it. I really like the final effect, but I don’t know… Purple Haze isn’t exactly in my “good books” right now.

More photos, a “products used,” and some dupe suggestions behind the cut!

And one more not-so-great photo, to show off that awesome ombre:

Products used:

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk
theBalm timeBalm in Lighter Than Light
MAC Eye Shadow in Blanc Type

MAC Eye Shadow in Gorgeous Gold (LE in Delights)
Annabelle Mono Eye Shadow in B-Ray (disc)
Annabelle Mineral Pigment in Tidal (LE)
Urban Decay Eye Ehadow in Purple Haze
Marcelle Lux Metallic eyeliners in Aqua and Ultraviolet

If you want to shop some of the products used:
(Argh, I can NOT get this spread to centre itself within the box!)

NYX, TheBalm, Urban Decay, M·A·C


And if you’d rather try to dupe it:
I’ve heard that Revlon Vintage Lace (bottom left) is a great replacement for MAC Blanc Type, and Riviera Blue is as close to B-Ray as you’re going to get! Plus, everyone keeps raving about Illamasqua mattes… perhaps they’re more impressive than Urban Decay’s were?

Paul & Joe, Bare Escentuals, LORAC, Revlon

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