May 30, 2011

May 2011 Favorites & Not-So-Favorites

Hello, Beautiful!

It's been awhile since I made a Favorites & Not-So-Favorites post (I don't think I made one in 2011 yet, but I might have, I really can't remember). I need to try and remember to make these posts every month!

I don't have the time right now to post pics of each Favorite & Not-So-Favorite item, but if I already have a pic of it I'll post it. If no, I'm sorry! Next month I'll do better!

Favorites: May 2011
[I'm only picking 5 Favorites for May, even though I have about 50!]

Bumble & Bumble Creme de Coco Shampoo & Conditioner
I've had my eye on this shampoo and conditioner for several months now. It's been at Target, but now Sephora carries the Bumble & Bumble line. I did buy them from Target, but picked up some other Bumble & Bumble products at Sephora.

I've been using this shampoo and conditioner for about two months now and it has quickly become my new favorite! I haven't even touched my bottle of WEN since trying these out! The scent is yummy; a subtle coconut-esque scent with maybe a hint of cocoa. It's a relaxing smell, but I'm sure it's not for everyone. My hair feels clean after I rinse the shampoo out and silky after the conditioner is rinsed out. Once my hair is dry (blow dried) my hair is soft, silky, shiny and extremely manageable. If I let my hair air dry with any shampoo or conditioner it never comes out nice (that's why I loved WEN so much).

I have long, fine, combo dry/oily hair and it's almost impossible for me to get second day hair from any shampoo/conditioner. I usually have to wash my hair before I go out anywhere unless I pull it back in a ponytail, and even then it can look greasy. However, I've been able to get really great second day hair when I used this shampoo and conditioner! I tested it and I was able to get third day hair, although by the third day it was looking rather in need of shampoo.

My only complain is the price tag; $22 for the shampoo and $23 for the conditioner... each bottle is only 8 ounces! They do have a larger, 33.8 ounce bottle for $56... which is a real value (it would cost $92.84 if you bought the 8 oz. bottles of shampoo separately to equal the amount in the 33.8 ounce bottle; you save $36.84 buying the value size bottle). When I need to buy more I will buy the larger sized bottle because it will save me money. I just couldn't buy that size right away without knowing if I liked it. But I don't like it... I LOVE it!

I love this shampoo and conditioner so much that I went back to Sephora's website to purchase the travel sized versions ($7 for the shampoo and $8 for the conditioner on Sephora's website). During the summer I travel to PA to visit family and other amusement parks so having travel sized versions of my favorites are an absolute must for me. They took their first trip just this past weekend to PA when I went to visit my family for my brother's girlfriend's surprise 40th birthday party.

Fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment
This lip balm has officially become my favorite lip balm of all time! I'm actually angry with myself for waiting so many years to try it. I had always passed by the original version of this balm since the price tag turned me off ($22.50 for just one lip balm). However, after taking the plunge I am totally head-over-heels in love with this lip balm/treatment!

First, let me tell you how great it is as a lip treatment. My lips have been really dry lately. I had to switch my medication and as a result I've had the hardest time keeping my lips hydrated. This lip treatment keeps my lips perfectly hydrated, soft and smooth! The formula is soft and non-sticky.

Now let me tell you about the great color! This is the tinted version and I chose the Sugar Rose color, which looks like a deep berry rose in the tube (and really red online), but goes on sheer for a perfect kiss of color. I don't even feel the need to apply gloss most days because I love the color this gives me.

It is the perfect lip product to use on the days I go to the amusement park where I typically shy away from any glosses because they can become sticky in the heat and often don't hydrate enough. I normally just use a plain lip balm but then I still crave color on my lips. This is the perfect compromise of hydration and color.

As a bonus, this balm lasts a long time! I can put this on before bed, wake up and still feel the effects and still see some color. Of course during the day when you're talking, eating, etc. it will wear faster but it still lasts longer than other balms and certainly longer than most lip glosses I own. I do find myself re-applying this balm often, but not because I need to but because I want to. It feels so good on your lips!

The container it comes is in also a nice bonus; the cap twists on to lock it in place so you never have to worry about your lip balm cap coming loose or falling off.

This lip balm is scented like lemons and sugar, which at first I was a little put off by but now I like. I've found that all the great moisturizing lip balms I've had (like Philosophy's Kiss Me in the yellow tube) are lemon scented. Maybe that's part of the magic? I don't know what makes this magical, but I know I can't live without it now that I've tried it.

I even went back and purchased the original too (which is clear) since I would like a color-less option on days I do want to wear a gloss or lipstick overtop. This lip treatment is also available in Sugar Plum (a sheer plum) and the newest Sugar Honey (a sheer nude). I want to try the Sugar Honey version!

You can pick up this rose tinted lip treatment for $22.50 on Sephora's website.

One downside: the balm is really soft and it will melt in high heats! I had it in my car for 3 and a half hours on my trip back from PA to VA and it melted about 2 and a half hours into the trip. Granted my air conditioner broke and I had to drive with the windows partly down, and it was really hot out, but still, first time it melted since I had it. It didn't melt in the tube; it just melted once I went to put it on my lips. It re-hardened back up once I was home and I can use it just fine now, but just be careful on hot days!

Philosophy The Microdelivery Purifying Peel, One-Minute Purifying Enzyme Peel

This peel is A-MAZING! Seriously, this is so worth the $40 price tag. Most of the time a peel or mask will leave my skin feeling smooth and possibly a little brighter, but that's about as far as my results go. However, this peel did more. Not only did it leave my skin feeling smooth, my skin texture felt so much better, my complexion glowed, my pores looked smaller, and my whole face felt firmer..... and all in just 3 MINUTES!

I did a full review on this blog with before, during and after pics. Check that out by clicking here.

Yes, just 3 minutes is all you need - and technically you only need 1 minute. I just leave it on for the maximum time they say (which is 1 to 3 minutes, as tolerated). I didn't have any irritation or reactions to this. It just did it's job! At first I wasn't sure it was even working. It's a clear gel-like formula and you really don't know if you have enough on, but you do. It doesn't look like it's doing anything but then you wash it off and ta-da! Perfection! Out of all the peels I've ever owned, this is by far my favorite for being quick and effective!

Check it out on Sephora's website ($40 per tube).

Illamasqua Matt Primer

I've tried many primers, and you'd think by now I would have found "the perfect primer" and wouldn't need to keep trying primers. But I love makeup and I will always try new stuff, even if I think I've found "the perfect" of anything.

Illamasqua is a brand that isn't new, but is new to me. I've admired their brand for awhile but just recently purchased several of their products, including their Matt Primer.

I have to say, this primer kicks some serious ass in the awesome-because-it-works-for-me department. I know this primer won't work for everyone, but for me, well it's near perfection. It goes on nicely and makes my makeup stay on for a very long time.

I did a full review and swatches on this blog. Check it out by clicking here.

You can check out and purchase this primer on Sephora's website for $30

Pacifica Hawaiian Ruby Guava Take Me There set
I love tropical smelling products, and Pacifica's Hawaiian Ruby Guava is a really delicious tropical smelling scent! In fact, my 6-year old son is in love with this scent! I actually had to go buy him a body wash of it because he likes it so much :)

I had previously purchased their $5 Hawaiian Ruby Guava Body Wash and their $5 Hawaiian Ruby Guava Body Lotion, which I loved! Then when my son loved it so much I went to go buy another one but decided to buy this set instead so I could get an extra body lotion and the roller-ball perfume.

I have the body wash in my travel bag, along with one of the body lotions. The other body lotion I have in my purse and the roller-ball perfume is also in my purse.

One thing I really don't understand is their pricing for the item individually; a 3oz body lotion is $5 but a 8oz body lotion is $18.... if you purchased three 3oz body lotions - which would give you 9oz of product - it would cost just $15... meaning you'd pay $3 less for more product. How does that make any sense? I know, it doesn't!

You can check out the set on Sephora's website ($18 for the Take Me There set), or check out each individual item on Sephora's website ($5 to $22 each item)

Not-So-Favorites: May 2011
[I'm only picking 5 Not-So-Favorites for May]

Dior DiorSkin Forever Compact Flawless & Moist Extreme Wear Makeup SPF 25
Okay, I should start off by saying that Dior is one of my favorite high-end makeup brands, and I love their Forever Extreme Wear Flawless Liquid Foundation. However, there is only one reason I had to return this product to Sephora: the overwhelming grandmom-like perfume smell!!!

If it wouldn't have smelled so badly I would probably be raving about how much I love this product. If you can get past the smell then you will probably love this product. This powder doesn't leave your skin looking dry or cakey; your skin just looks flawless. You also get great coverage from this!

I really, really wish they would take out the fragrance because this would be that perfect "I'm in a hurry and need to look flawless in a flash" foundation. But I'm sorry, the smell is such a turn-off. Even my husband commented on the smell, saying I smelled like an old lady - which isn't something I want to smell like being that I'm only 27 years old!

The shade selection is also a little lacking. A lot of the shades have pink or beige undertones to them, and I need a yellow or olive undertone base. I just couldn't find a shade that matched my skin all that well, and I honestly didn't care to try to find one that did because I knew I wouldn't be able to get past the smell of this product.

You can check this out on Sephora's website ($48 per compact)

Boscia Luminizing Black Mask
I'm an at-home mask/peel junkie. I love them! However, I don't love this mask!

First, you need to use a thick layer because if you use too thin of a layer it will be hell trying to get this off your face. But if you use too thick of a layer it will take forever to dry, and if you're impatient and don't want to wait more than 30 to 45 minutes for it to fully dry then you'll try to take it off and it will be hell to take it off too with some parts dry and other parts half-way dry and other parts not even close to being dry.

It also hurts to peel off. Kind of the feeling you get when you're pulling off a band-aid or if you put tape on your face and pulled it off (although I've never done that, I'd just think it would feel that way). I felt like it was pulling my skin too much. It left my face a little red and irritated, which of course goes away after awhile, but I didn't really see any other difference. The "luminizing" part is all a trick of your eye. The dark black mask will of course make your skin look brighter after you take it off. It does pull out some stuff, but not really a whole lot to really be worth using.

The amount of product you get doesn't last very long considering how much you need to use. I've used this 4 times and it's more than half-empty. If you did this 2x a week (like they want you to) then you'd have to buy a tube of this about every month. I don't think it's worth that, not at $34 per tube. Sure, that's only $4.25 per use if you get 8 uses out of the tube (and that's a big if), but still, not a great value overall.

I've used this more than once to really give it a good shot, but I just don't like it. I'll save it for friends to try but it won't touch my face again. I did take some before, during and after pics for a blog post, which I will eventually get around to posting. I'll go more in-depth with my feelings on this mask at that time.

You can check this out on Sephora's website ($34 per tube)

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in the shade Force
Let me say that I love the brand Illamasqua and I love their nail polish (Nail Varnish), but the shade Force was a disappointment.

I've seen lovely swatch pics of this shade online where it looked like an electric blue. At my local Sephora they don't carry Illamasqua so I had to buy it on Sephora's website - which also looked like an electric blue online (and described as so). When I swatched it I was like "WTF?!!". It wasn't electric at all. It just looked like a deep medium blue creme shade. Nothing electric about it; nothing like I expected.

I would have kept this because I love all nail polish, but I was so disappointed that I returned it to Sephora.

The formula of the polish was wonderful; a one-coater for sure. The color, however, not so wonderful and rather ordinary.

Check it out on Sephora's website ($14 each)

Tokidoki Prisma Lip Gloss in the shade Donutella
I finally decided to try some Tokidoki products out because I heard great things about them, but had always passed by them online and at the store. To me the brand seemed targeted towards tweens and teens, but I kept hearing people saying how it's not just for teens and to give it a try. So i did, but I ended up returning everything I purchased from the brand, including the Prisma Lip Gloss in the shade Donutella.

The shade Donutella is described as a sheer nude and is supposed to be high-shine and such. I didn't even open it, the shade looked that bad in the tube. Since I was already turned off by their Robbery Palette I just basically gave up on the brand. Maybe I shouldn't have, but at that time I just said "okay, not for me".

Check it out on Sephora's website ($15 each)

NARS Pure Sheer SPF Lip Treatment
I can't believe a NARS product would ever be on my Not-So-Favorite's list, because I love everything NARS, but sadly I found one product that I just didn't love. It's their Pure Sheer SPF Lip treatment.

For me, this wasn't hydrating AT ALL. In fact, I felt like it made my lips even more chapped! I was specifically looking for a tinted lip balm type product, and saw all the great reviews, so I picked up two shades: Angelique and Aurore.

I like the colors and the sheerness of this, but for a product that is supposed to be hydrating, I'm sorry, but it's not even close to being hydrating. Maybe I just have some of the worst chapped lips ever, and honestly I do have a hard time finding products to keep my lips hydrated, but now that I go back to the reviews on Sephora and sort them from low to high I can see I'm not alone in my feelings. I guess it works for some and not for others. It's too late for me to return them, and I don't have the boxes anyway, so I think they'll go up for sale in my blog sale after I make some swatch photos.

$25 each on Sephora's website.

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