Archive of ‘Holy Grail’ category

OPI I Have a Herring Problem

OPI I Have a Herring Problem2 OPI I Have a Herring ProblemAfter my gorgeous Dutch ‘Ya Just Love OPI? manicure started looking a little jacked (after weeks of abuse), I decided to follow it up with another polish from OPI’s Holland Collection. It was a difficult choice, as OPI sent me the entire set for review AND every bottle is a beauty. I considered painting every piggy in a different polish, but decided that would look a lil’ cray cray. So after much deliberation, the finalists were I Don’t Give a Rotterdam! and I Have a Herring Problem – two shimmer-laced blues. I decided on the latter because it’s darker and reads a little more gray (gray nails are my everything!) against my skin tone.

Over the years, I’ve amassed quite a collection of nail polishes (I probably own 200+ shades) and I don’t have anything quite like I Have a Herring Problem. In the bottle, it’s kind of a green blue. But worn, it’s looks more gray. And depending on the light, it either reads more blue or more gray. And the subtle, silver micro-shimmer makes it special without venturing into disco ball territory. (more…)

OPI Holland Collection: Dutch ‘Ya Just Love OPI?

opi holland collection nail polish OPI Holland Collection: Dutch Ya Just Love OPI?One of my New Years resolutions is to step up my manicure game. Last year, taking care of nails took a back seat to taking care of Westley. But now that my son is 18 months old and a little more equipped at occupying himself with the tons of toys I lavish upon him (he is truly a spoiled pretty baby), I have more opportunities to stick to the game plan.

Last month, OPI was nice enough to feed my polish addiction by sending me all twelve shades from their new Holland Collection. I was excited by the press release and images OPI sent me in advance of the actual samples, but seeing the colors in person gave me a newfound respect for the genius of Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, OPI Executive VP & Artistic Director. If ever there was a polish collection to purchase in its entirety, it’s this one. STUNNING – every single shade! (more…)

The Pulse Network Segment: Best Beauty Products

the+pulse+network+the+look The Pulse Network Segment: Best Beauty Products

A few weeks ago, I was a guest on The Pulse Network’s beauty and fashion show, The Look. When host Maggie Rulli asked if I’d like to be interviewed and chat about my favorite products, I was all “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.”

So if you’re looking for some great product picks, press play for my round-up of the best in beauty!

Estee Lauder Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator

estee+lauder+idealist++even+skintone+illuminator+2 Estee Lauder Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator

Since adolescence, I’ve suffered with hyperpigmentation. Like many women of color, my blemishes leave dark marks in their wake – which can take weeks, months and even years to fade. For forever, I’ve used foundations and highlighters to hide these dark spots. But I’ve recently come to a point in my life where I’m tired of masking the problem. As a busy mom, I don’t have the time or the energy it takes to put on a full face of makeup on a regular basis. Most days, I leave the house bare faced – save for some mascara and a couple swipes of gloss. Hyperpigmentation has undermined my self esteem for too long, so I decided it was time to heal, rather than conceal.

estee+lauder+idealist++even+skintone+illuminator Estee Lauder Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator

So last month, I added Estee Lauder Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator to my morning routine. And let me tell you…this additional step (which takes just 1 minute) has been life changing. First of all, the pearlescent serum imparts a radiant glow upon application – so even though the product actually takes about two weeks to start doing its thang, there are immediate perks.

And after just 10 days, I started to notice that my skin looked more even toned, luminous and smoother. The formula is lightweight and smells dreamy, so putting it on is a refreshing A.M. experience. And after a month, I am much more confident showing my bare skin to the world because my dark marks are starting to see the light.

I’m not usually the best at being consistent with skin care because, as you know, I test a lot of products. But this one is so simple and yields such amazing results that I actually look forward to putting it on. Because Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator targets the dark marks (as well as redness, acne marks, sun spots and other discolorations), you don’t have to worry about it lightening the other areas of your face. And the oil-free formula is proven gentle and effective for all ethnicities. Just be sure to use an SPF product on your face every day, to prevent the marks from darkening up again.

I can’t recommend Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator enough. It’s become my holy grail – and if you buy it and try it, you’ll understand why. I’m also anxious to try the Idealist Cooling Eye Illuminator.

*A sample was provided by the brand for review.

Gold ‘N Hot 1875 Watt Foldable Handle Travel Dryer

Gold+%2527N+Hot+1875+Watt+Foldable+Handle+Travel+Dryer+1 Gold N Hot 1875 Watt Foldable Handle Travel Dryer

To get my relaxed hair poker straight after shampooing, I rely on a comb/pik attachment when blow drying. I own a “universal” pik attachment that fits perfectly on my beloved Conair Infiniti Pro, which is fine 99% of the time. But a full-sized dryer is a bit bulky to travel with, especially when you’re a chronic overpacker like myself.

Problem is that most travel hair dryers have a wide barrel that isn’t compatible with pik attachments. For what seems like forever, I’ve searched for a travel dryer that comes with a pik attachment – to no avail. After endlessly searching in stores and trolling the Internet, it got to a point that looking for travel dryer with a comb attachment became – to steal a phrase from Cher Horowitz – “as useless as searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie.”

But a few weeks ago, my pik attachment prayers were answered. While browsing around Folica.com, I came across the Gold ‘N Hot 1875 Watt Foldable Handle Travel Dryer. Folica.com sent me a sample to review and take on my trip to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim in Miami this past weekend (more on that later) – and after using it, I can tell you that it is exactly what I’ve been searching for all of this time. In fact, this travel dryer is so fabulous that you could use it as your regular dryer.

Gold+%2527N+Hot+1875+Watt+Foldable+Handle+Travel+Dryer+2 Gold N Hot 1875 Watt Foldable Handle Travel Dryer

Unlike many travel dryers which are just glorified fans blowing hot air on your hair, the Gold ‘N Hot 1875 Watt Foldable Handle Travel Dryer has all the power of a full-size dryer but in a lightweight, foldable model complete with concentrator and comb attachments! Two speed and heat settings along with tourmaline conditioning and worldwide dual voltage ensure that you have perfectly styled hair no matter where you travel. And how cute is the giraffe motif on the sides of the dryer?

Whether or not you use a pik attachment, the Gold ‘N Hot 1875 Watt Foldable Handle Travel Dryer is an excellent buy. And did I mention that Folica.com has it marked down from $50 to just $29.99? Bottom line: this travel dryer blows the competition away.

Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel

dermalogica+special+cleansing+gel Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel

Dermalogica’s Special Gel Cleanser is a concentrated, soap-free, foaming gel designed to thoroughly remove impurities without disturbing the skin’s natural moisture balance. It contains no artificial fragrance or color and is ideal for all skin types. In a word, it’s perfect. If you’ve ever wished for soft skin and a clear complexion, this is your genie in a bottle (no rubbing required).

It’s very gentle on the skin, yet super effective at removing dirt, grime and even makeup. Special Gel Cleanser feels like a dream when you apply it to your skin – like silk, or something equally smooth and luxurious. If I had to compare it so something you might be familiar with, I’d say it’s akin to a high-end Cetaphil. I loved this product from the day I started using it, back in late 2010. But I didn’t realize how much my skin loved this cleanser until I started testing other cleansers last month and my skin straight up rebelled. Breakouts re-appeared and it completely dried out. Since then, my skin has been on a strict Dermalogica diet and I’ve seen improvement every day.

An 8.4 oz bottle of this good stuff costs $33, which sounds like a lot for a face cleanser. But – believe me – it’s worth every penny. Special Cleansing Gel is special, indeed.

Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm

Clinique+Chubby+Stick+Moisturizing+Lip+Colour+Balms Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm 

How obsessed am I with Clinique’s new Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Color Balm? All eight shades have taken up permanent residency in the makeup bag I keep in my purse. These clever crayons (think of them as perfect hybrid of a lipstick and a gloss) moisturize with mango and shea butters while adding a hint of color and subtle sheen. Plus they never need a sharpener because they swivel up from the bottom – like a traditional balm.

Each of the shades is so ultra-flattering that you could buy any one of them – sight unseen – and it would look absolutely perfect on your pucker.

clinique+Chubby+Stick+Moisturizing+Lip+Colour+Balm Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm
From left to right: Graped-Up, Super Strawberry, Woppin’ Watermelon, Chunky Cherry,
Mega Melon, Fuller Fig, Whole Lotta Honey, Richer Raisin

Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Color Balms are available at Sephora, Clinique counters and clinique.com.

*Samples were provided by the brand for review.

NARS Illuminators!

image001 NARS Illuminators!

Every time I apply foundation or tinted moisturizer, I mix in a little NARS Orgasm Illuminator – without fail. It takes my complexion to a whole nuther level…which is why I am positively giddy that NARS just added three new shades to the Illuminator family.

NARS+Copacabana+Illuminator NARS Illuminators!

COPACABANA – Like its namesake Multiple, Copacabana Illuminator will impart a pearlescent sheen and can be applied all over the face, mixed with foundation, and used to highlight the neck, shoulders and décolleté.

NARS+Super+Orgasm+Illuminator NARS Illuminators!

SUPER ORGASM – Infused, like the blush, with golden shimmer and a peachy-gold hue that can be applied all over the face, mixed with foundation, and used to highlight the neck, shoulders and décolleté.

NARS+Laguna+Illuminator NARS Illuminators!

LAGUNA – A golden-bronze hue, just as in Laguna Bronzer, that will give a sun-kissed glow and can be applied to the face or mixed with foundation.

This collection of light-reflecting liquids glides on to refresh the skin, enhance the complexion and create a shimmering incandescence. The Illuminators can be used to highlight bare skin or to light up your makeup as it lights the skin from within.  

Key ingredients include:
• Polar Berries, known for their antioxidant properties 
• Bisabolol, known as an anti-inflammatory (obtained from the Chamomile plant)
• Indian Frankincense, known for its soothing and comforting properties
• Vitamin B5 to, known to condition skin 
• Sodium Hyaluronate, known to hydrate skin

The Illuminators are $29 and are available at the new NARS Boutique in NYC, NARS counters and narscosmetics.com.

Maybelline Volum’ Express the Falsies Washable Mascara

maybelline+falsies+mascara Maybelline Volum Express the Falsies Washable Mascara

I hate mascara ads. Hate them. People get bent out of shape about magazine airbrushing. Well, mascara ads are my pet peeve. The lashes in said ads are always so exaggerated that no matter what amazing results the mascara actually yields, you end up feeling cheated because your fringe still doesn’t look as fantastic as it does in the ads.

maybelline+falsies+mascara+ad Maybelline Volum Express the Falsies Washable Mascara

So, speaking of false advertising…a while back, Maybelline sent me a tube of their Volum’ Express the Falsies Washable Mascara to test and review. At first, I was really disappointed that it didn’t look the model’s. But then I had to stop myself and think rationally. Obviously, the lashes at left have been creatively super-sized and no one in their right mind should expect to look like that, post-application. So I put the advertisement out of my mind, stood in front of the mirror again and took an objective look at my lashes. And you know what? Ad, schmad…Maybelline Falsies Mascara is ab fab – and I’ll tell you why.

First, Falsies has just the right consistency. I’m like Goldilocks when it comes to mascaras. I hate when the consistency is too thick or too watery. This one is just right – coating evenly without clumping. And over time, it doesn’t dry out like so many on the market. Another reason to love Falsies: the curved brush grabs every lash – lengthening and volumizing them to their true potential. For gals with sparse lashes like me who have little to work with, you know that this is a big deal. Finally, I absolutely love that the formula is buildable. So many mascaras claim to be buildable – and then you layer on coats only to wind up with clumped up, tarantula-looking foolishness. The Falsies Mascara builds perfectly. Apply one coat for a natural, “maybe she was born with it” doe eyes. Layer on multiple coats and your peepers will be batting a thousand.

I’m so impressed with Falsies that I’d say it’s a close second to my #1 mascara, Lancome’s Hypnose Drama Instant Full Body Volume Mascara. They’re alike in many ways…well, except for the $16.50 difference in price.

Honestly, Falsies’ mascara is so great that Maybelline didn’t even need to augment their ad. The actual results speak for themselves, and the $8 price tag is just icing on the proverbial cake.

L’Oreal Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Base Is Great For Greasy Gals

Loreal+Studio+Secrets+Primer LOreal Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Base Is Great For Greasy GalsAnd the award for Best New Primer for Greasy Gals goes to L’Oreal Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Base. I received a sample last month, and it was love at first swipe.

Don’t be fooled by its putty-like texture. It applies like a dream, leaving skin so satiny soft that you’ll wonder exactly how you lived your life before this product came into existence. The primer easily disguises pores and wrinkles, and imparts a matte finish. So if the summer heat and humidity turns your mug into an oil slick, you’d be a brainy beauty to invest in a jar of this pink magic.

L’Oreal Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Base is intended to be worn in tandem with your favorite tinted moisturizer or foundation. But if you’re having a low-maintenance kind of day, just apply a little to bare skin and it gives you a you-but-better look.

The formula is 100% oil- and fragrance-free, non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic – so even the most sensitive skins should tolerate this product.

Just proof, once again, that it doesn’t take a million bucks to look like, well, a million bucks. L’Oreal Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Base is this Recessionista’s Fabuless Pick of the Week.

1 2 3 4 5 6 10