Aug 28, 2015

Cover FX Custom Infusion Drops

Cover FX really wants me to live my best life.  First, they came out with Custom Cover Drops (aka, a biracial girl's dream-come-true), and now they've come out with skincare drops that let you customize your moisturizer &/or makeup with nourishing ingredients. 
What they are is concentrated skincare ingredients that you can add to just about anything, according to your skincare needs.  Add them to your foundation or tinted moisturizer (or to your custom cover drops).  Add them to the moisturizer you already use.  Or use them on their own to spot treat your face.  It's brilliant in its simplicity.  If you need moisture in your life, use the F+ Neroli Hydrating formula.  And who doesn't need moisture?  If you have rosacea, breakouts, or any other inflammation, use the E + Chamomile Calming formula.  If a toned, radiant complexion is what you're after, use the C + Lemongrass Radiance formula.  Last, but certainly not least, if you're looking for anti-aging, go with A + Jasmine.  Honestly, there is a place for all 4 in my life.  This morning I used 1 drop of the Anti-Aging on my forehead wrinkles, 1 drop of the Radiance on some dark spots I have from acne scarring, 1 drop of the Calming on a mean, inflamed breakout I have near my nose, and 2 drops of the Hydrating mixed with my moisturizer over my entire face.  Was I being excessive this morning when I did that?  Possibly.  But it's my duty to test the product for you, dear reader!         

 I will say all of the formulas smell great, are super light, and so concentrated that you only need to use a tiny drop.  These are going to be great for people with combination skin, and for transitioning skincare from season to season.  I like them for thinning out foundation as well, so you get a sheer, dewy coverage.  If you're going for the Anti-aging formula, make sure to wear sunscreen because it has Retinol in it, but you should already be using sunscreen every day anyways!
Don't worry oily-skin friends, these are light enough for you to use as well.  Start small with a drop and take it from there.  Also, I have it on good authority that there is more versions coming down the pipeline that will appeal to people who want to mattify their skin.  But I ain't one to gossip...

See, even my dachshund, Stanley, can't resist the allure of Custom Infusion Drops.  Don't be fooled by his sweet face, though, he was relentlessly trying to bite into the boxes just before I snapped this picture.  

Aug 27, 2015

Beauty By Benz Approved: O&M Project Sukuroi Gold Smoothing Balm

WOW.  We have to talk about this, y'all.  This stuff is ridiculously amazing.  A beauty publicist recently told me I need to try Original Mineral Project Surkuroi, but sometimes I take that info with a grain of salt.  A publicist's job is to talk about their client's products, right?  But something in her voice told me this stuff was the truth, and I'm glad I listened.
The brand calls it "The Midas Tub" and it's not just for the outside packaging.  Inside is a sparkly gold hair cream that makes your hair soft, delicious smelling, and gives just a little bit of cool texture.  Like a pomade, but way WAY better.  It's as if a pomade, and an oil, and a cream all had a baby.  It softens hair and adds shine, but is not greasy.  The key ingredients are Gold of Pleasure Oil (aka oil from the Camelina plant, that has similar healthy fatty acid properties to flax seed oil), Macadamia oil, and Keratin.  What it does NOT have is a bunch of parabens, sulfates, and other stuff you don't want on your scalp.  The O&M brand it committed to using botanicals and essential oils to make your hair healthy, and not a bunch of chemical fillers.  Plus, a lot of their ingredients are sourced in their home of Australia (like the macadamia oil in the product), and I love anything Australian, but I digress.       
The name of the product comes from a Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold lacquer, called Kintsukuroi.  The idea is to make a broken pot more beautiful with gold color, rather than trying to disguise the flaws.  O&M took that idea and was inspired to make the hair more beautiful with each use, utilizing nourishing ingredients to make the hair more healthy, rather than cover up the damage with harsh ingredients.  It can be used on damp hair to heat style, and/or on dry hair.  I've been using it every single day this week so I have a feeling I'm going to go through these tubs super fast.  Move over, all other products in my hair arsenal, because this product is replacing most of you.            

Aug 18, 2015

All The Reasons I Love Dr. Jart +'s New Dermask Line

I love a good sheet mask.  I also love Dr. Jart+ products.  Combine the two and you can basically just take all my money directly from my wallet and deposit it at the nearest Sephora.  I digress.
Never fear if you're a fan of Dr. Jart+'s original sheet masks, because they're not going anywhere.  This new mask line is just an expansion on the existing awesomeness.  This new line is comprised of 9 individual masks, which are separated into 4 different "Jet" lines.
Water Jet is the HYDRATING line that is all about the Hyaluronic Acid.  There is a Water Jet Vital Hydra Solution mask to hydrate tired skin, and then a Soothing Hydra Solution that hydrates and soothes the skin.

Micro Jet is the BRIGHTENING line, which is like doing a peel, but, ya know, not having to be traumatized by actually doing a peel.  Micro Jet Brightening Solution brightens dark spots and acne scars without the trauma of having to go to a dermatologist.  The Micro Jet Clearing Solution brightens the skin as well, but also helps to soothe sensitive skin and help with blemish control for future breakouts.

Intra Jet masks are the ANTI-WRINKLE phenoms of the line.  The titles are pretty self-explanatory.  There's one for firming and one for less wrinkles.  Done and done.  

And Spot Jet is the CONTOURING line, which is like doing Botox.  Except not having to do Botox! These masks are specific, targeted hydrogel patches for the areas of your face you'd like to "fill". The Cheek & Eye Lift is the one I probably need, but then there's the Laugh Line Lift, which I'm now wondering if could be good for this random wrinkle I have on my forehead that is bothering me, and finally, there's a Neck & Chin Lift mask.

But can we be honest, guys and gals?  Is the REAL reason I love the masks that the packaging is little pills?  I mean, it's very aesthetically pleasing to me and I'm a packaging junkie all the way.  Or is it the fact that there's actually something nice that you can buy at Sephora for $6-$12?  No matter the reasons, I think it's pretty clear that I'm excited about this launch.      

Aug 17, 2015

Beauty By Benz Approved: EO Ageless Skincare Collection

Dear EO, 
I love you. 
That's all.  Thanks.  Bye. 

I could just leave it there, but it would be pretty selfish of me not to tell everyone of all the delicious goodness that is the EO Ageless Skincare Collection.  Those of you who do a lot of your skincare shopping at places like Whole Foods, like myself, probably already know a little about the brand, but it's usually most recognizable for its "personal care" products like body lotions, shampoos, and deodorants.  I knew they carried a full range of high quality natural products (the EO stands for essential oils!) but the launch of this skincare line is a game-changer for me.  These 5 products, which the founders of the line feel like is all you REALLY need in your routine, came out earlier this spring for the brand's 20th birthday.  That's right, it took 20 years worth of research and development in their field of natural, high performance botanicals, to come up with their all-inclusive and affordable skincare range.  Let's dig in to the details:
Transformative Night Serum ($39.99) 
"Serum" is probably a misleading word here because it feels more like the most amazing face oil of all time.  Think of all the facial oils that you know are nourishing for the skin like avocado, Argan, pumpkin seed, etc, and then mix them with some that you never heard of, like Tsubaki oil.  The entire skincare collection contains this collagen-boosting ingredient, but this night serum is probably the most luxurious product on the line, helping to reverse the signs of aging while you sleep.  Plus it smells great, so you can go to sleep feeling like you're having a spa experience.      
Hydrating Face Moisturizer ($34.99) 
I have been thoroughly enjoying this hydrating, yet lightweight moisturizer in this crazy heat that we've been having.  I definitely feel like my oily skin gals should give this a try because I haven't felt greasy even once since wearing it, just hydrated.  One of the secret ingredients in this formula is Snow Algae, which is known to thrive in extreme weather conditions.  Does summer in NYC count as an extreme weather condition?  Because it's definitely thriving here.   
Coconut Cleansing Milk ($19.99) 
I love cleansing milks.  And I love coconut products.  Need I say more?  Probably not, but I'll divulge a little more info.  I firmly believe in not stripping your skin with harsh cleansers, so this little potion is perfection to me.  It gently cleanses the skin, while it moisturizes and brightens with ingredients like coconut, mango seed butter, hibiscus extracts, rose and ylang-ylang.  Oh, you guessed it.  It smells great too.    
Moroccan Lava Clay Exfoliating Scrub ($21.99) 
Kids, if you're still ripping your skin off with harsh exfoliants then you need to upgrade to an exfoliating scrub like this.  Our parents' and grandparents' scrubs caused micro-tears in the skin with big scrubbing particles, usually derived from nuts or the pits of fruits.  The scrubs of today usually are much finer, allowing you to exfoliate without tearing.  This scrub uses the power of fruit enzymes to slough away dead skin cells without damaging the skin.  Bonus: you can leave it on for a little while and use it as a mask, where the clay will suck all that gross stuff right out of your pores.  
Organic Argan Face Oil ($21.99) 
Ok, ok, we all know that Argan oil is awesome of the face, body, and hair.  But I'll leave you with a few tidbits on why this one is awesome.  First, it's mixed with avocado and Vitamin E, so it's super-duper-extra-moisturizing.  Also, it has some lavender essential oils in there, so it smells great.  Lastly, mix it with your Lava Clay Exfoliating Scrub mentioned above, instead of using water, and you'll have awesome results.  

Jul 29, 2015

It's National Lipstick Day, So Let's Talk About A New Favorite

Was there ever a more perfect excuse to go to Sephora and go on a makeup binge than National Lipstick Day?  As if I actually need an excuse.  I happen to think NARS makes some of the most comfortable-to-wear lip colors in the game, and Urban Decay goes unrivaled, in my humble opinion, in the pigment game.  Illamasqua's lipstick in Box is the most perfect red that I've ever tried.  And when I want to feel luxurious (which is pretty much all the time), I reach for my Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope collection.  Those are my go-to's.  But today I need to tell you about a lip color that is trying to sneak up in the ranks, and trying to stay there permanently.

Temptu's new Color True lipsticks had me the minute I put them on.  The texture is this wonderful matte, but NOT DRY.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I have found a matte lip color that isn't drying.  I would've fallen in love with it for that reason alone, but it just so happened the first day I tried one of the colors I was doing a juice cleanse.  I was near death (and not at all dramatic) from not eating, but my lip color was on point ALL DAY.  I guzzled 6 juices that day and did not have to reapply my lipstick once.  I did not use a straw, people, I drank straight from the bottle.  No flaking, no feathering.  The lipstick performed brilliantly.  At least 8 hours of comfortable wear.  I have 3 of the 8 colors that it comes in, but now I'm thinking I need all the colors.
It comes in the following colors (from left to right in the picture above): Coral Blaze, Imperial Red, Rose Velveteen, Blushed Suede, Violet Storm, Pink Hype, Plush Plum, and Jet Rouge.

From left to right: Imperial Red, Violet Storm, and Plush Plum (on pretty tan skin since I just got back from vacation!)
Here I am, struggling through a juice cleanse, but loving Temptu Color True Lipstick in Imperial Red.  

Jul 17, 2015

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year: Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Friends, Christmas in July is here.  Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is here and that means I will be stocking up on oodles of beauty goodies at amazing prices.  It's hard to decide what I love most.  The exclusive value sets?  The JUMBO size products?  I'm not sure which direction I'm going to go with this, but I know my wallet won't be too happy with me.  Here's just a tiny little snippet of the values you can find during the sale.    
The Clarisonic Smart Profile Pink Face & Body Brush $212 ($265 value).  This is the only place I think you can get a pink one, folks.  Also, this thing is smarter than I am.  

Kate Somerville Age Arrest Anti-Wrinkle Set $110 ($165 value).  I've had a tub of the Age Arrest Eye Cream for about a year now, because it lasts such a long time.  I love it, and feel like this set is the perfect excuse to try to the Anti-Wrinkle Cream as well.  

The Kiehl's sets.  Oy.  I mean, how can you pick just one?  I am really enjoying their Home & Away sets though, with a giant vat of lotion (or hair product, whatever floats your boat) and then a mini nugget to take away with you when you travel.  Or just keep in your desk at work.  This Créme de Corps set is $75 ($107 value).  

 Listen, all you need to know is that this LORAC eye palette is $15.  You're welcome.

 MAC always does some pretty amazing gift sets for this sale, and just when I thought I might be tapped out on palettes, they did this Look In A Box Face Kit for $49.50 ($113 value) that has 6 shadows, 2 blushes, and 2 lipsticks.
 This Mario Badescu Glowing Complexion Kit is making me seriously consider my skincare game.  It's $39 for 2 pretty sizable/heavy skincare necessities.
Ever the sucker for pretty packaging, I feel like I MUST HAVE this Lip Pencil Set for $49 ($82 value).  But it's not just what's on the outside that counts, as we all know.  NARS pretty much makes the best lip pencils around.  

I already own these 2 items in my life, but I couldn't NOT tell you about this, because the value is so good.  T3 is my absolute favorite (and exclusive) hot tools that I use on my hair.  They are expensive but they are worth it, so getting a value deal like this is share-worthy.  The set is $150 ($229 value) and includes a Featherweight Travel Blow Dryer and a travel Single Pass Iron.

I'm having a serious I-need-to-get-this situation here with the Burberry Beauty exclusive that they have for the sale.  It's $78, but a $110 value.  It comes with this cute little Burberry pouch, and has a fragrance sample (My Burberry), a Burberry Kisses Lipstick in Nude Pink, a Bold Lash Mascara in black, and a Fresh Glow Nude Radiance, which is a delicious luminizing face product/primer that I feel like I really must get for my arsenal.


Jul 9, 2015

There Is A "Left Shark" Iphone Case. Life Is Now Complete.

I can hardly contain my excitement.  When I heard this news, I got super monosyllabic.  "Wha? Huh? Guys. Uh."  And I meant all those syllables in the best way possible.  My obsession with sharks is well-documented, so I was jazzed to see Left Shark get its moment of fame during the Super Bowl Halftime Show.  Now Left Shark can live on forever, ON YOUR PHONE.  Katy Perry has been collaborating with Claire's for a while now (did you know that?  If you didn't, you can thank me for this later) and starting in September, the best Iphone case in the history of Iphone cases will be mine.  It comes in Iphone 5 and Iphone 6 sizes, so if you're lame, like me, and haven't upgraded yet, there's no need to worry.  It will retail for $12.50, so basically the best $12.50 I will spend in 2015.    

Jul 6, 2015

Shark Week Cocktails!

That's right, friends.  It's the most wonderful time of the year.  Shark Week.  Not unlike any other day in my life, I find reasons during Shark Week to justify drinking special drinks, buying myself various shark presents, and watching shark shows.  Peep some of these awesome drink recipes I made in honor of the most amazing week of the year.
 Fins Up
·         1 part Skinnygirl® Bare Naked Vodka
·         1 part DeKuyper® Blueberry Schnapps
·         3 parts club soda

Preparation: Shake first two ingredients with ice, pour into a glass and top with club soda.
I should mention here that I bought these shark fin ice cube trays and they were an epic fail.  I really had high hopes for them.  It was probably user error though, and I have all week (aka all year) to try again.    

 Shark Attack
·         1 ½ parts Skinnygirl® Bare Naked Vodka
·         2 parts cranberry juice
·         ½ part fresh lime juice
·         ½ part DeKuyper® Triple Sec
·         Lime wheel for garnish

Preparation: Pour all ingredients over ice and garnish with a lime wheel.
This recipe was the favorite of the group!  Simple, delicious, and refreshing.  

If you look reallyyyyyy closely at this one, you can sort of see the shark fin ice cube poking out of the top.  It was my best attempt!  

Shark Bait
·         1 part Skinnygirl® Tangerine Vodka
·         ½ part grenadine
·         1 part orange juice
·         Splash of pineapple juice
·         Orange slice for garnish

Preparation: Shake all ingredients with ice, pour into a glass and garnish with an orange slice.
For picture purposes, I didn't stir these so that you'd see the cute sunrise effect.  But before drinking you should ABSOLUTELY stir or shake the ingredients together.  Otherwise you'll be sipping on straight alcohol at the top and sugary grenadine at the bottom!  

Jun 26, 2015

Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquer

 Isn't it almost annoying when a fashion designer comes out with a makeup line that is THIS good?  It's like enough already, we get it, you're super chic and a brilliant designer.  Stop making me spend all of my money!  Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquer is for the girls that love gloss.  As the name implies, these are about high shine.  I'd almost use the word dazzling.  And being the gloss lover that I am, I think these are fantastic.  I think there are about 18 shades, but here are swatches of the 3 that I received here:
From left to right; Uproar, Love Drunk, and Moonglow.  Uproar is the sheerest of the 3; a super pretty sheer coral with some sparkle to it.  Definitely a great summer color.  Love Drunk is my FAVORITE of the 3.  It's a super universal mauve shade that has just a touch of bronze in it.  Moonglow is a light pink shade that I feel like the nude-lovers and the Kim Kardashians of the world will love.  I have pale lips already so I usually don't like to add more paleness on top of them, but I'll reserve this for a night when the dramatic makeup is coming out.  They are all super creamy for comfortable wear, and they actually smell faintly of mint.    
The Marc Beauty team came up with some suggested hi-shine pairings (almost like how delicious a wine and cheese pairing is for your mouth, these lip and nail pairings will have you looking sexified in an instant).  
Some Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquers from left to right; Le Charm, Jezebel, and Petra.  They suggest pairing Le Charm (a rose copper with a ton of shimmer) with Uproar.  Jezebel (not just a great name, but a great black cherry color) goes back to Moonglow for an ultimate date-night look.  And, not surprisingly, my favorite of the nail shades, Petra, goes back with my favorite lip shade, Love Drunk.  
Here's a close-up look of Petra, a bronzed-purple with enough shimmer to make it look textural.

Jun 16, 2015

Cool Stuff Happening Over At MAKE UP FOR EVER That You Need To Know About

Where do I even begin?  With the fact that MAKE UP FOR EVER is launching cool and revolutionary products to keep up with the demands of today's technology?  Or with the fact that they are the first beauty brand to have a trans woman as a spokesmodel?  I could almost pass out from this awesomeness, but I must continue on and tell you all about it.   

Let's start with the makeup, shall we?  I do not pretend to be technologically advanced by any means.  I still have an Iphone 5 because I refused to upgrade to a 6 and give up my amazing Stella McCartney shark case.  I will admit that when I heard about 4K technology I had ZERO clue that this was a thing.  Apparently it's the next generation of photography and displays on all our digital devices, that allows people to see amazing clarity compared to the HD technology we're used to now.  (I mean, seriously?  This means I will have to upgrade everything and bye, bye shark case).  Well, with the launch of 4K technology, if you haven't guessed already, that means that our makeup must be on point.  Don't worry, though, MAKE UP FOR EVER has our backs.  They've developed a new ULTRA HD FOUNDATION with a "4K Complex" specifically for this upcoming technology.
Basically, for this new technology, you need something with good coverage, but still looks natural on the skin.  This is the daily struggle, isn't it?  MAKE UP FOR EVER's new formula is made with Amino Acid Coated Pigments, to give you that airbrushed quality without feeling heavy, Hyaluronic Spheres for hydrated, comfortable wear, and Sericite (not that I have ever heard of this before) to give a luminous effect to the skin.  The bottom line?  Good coverage that still looks natural on the skin, and actually doesn't feel like you're wearing a mask.  Oh, and it's available in 40 shades!  That's huge. Where else can you find such an extensive shade range?

And the fun continues, because MAKE UP FOR EVER is launching its first real major brand campaign, that is all about individuality and self-expression.  The campaign features blogger and actress, Jamie Chung, as well as transgender fashion model, Andreja Pejić.  All the makeup in the campaign is done by celebrity makeup artist, Mélanie Inglessis.
The campaign's slogan is “Be Bold. Be Unexpected. Be You.”  It is meant to redefine beauty by celebrating individuality.  The campaign launches July 16th with limited edition eye shadow palettes that were curated by Pejić and Chung.

Oh, just hangin with my girl Lorna (of The Fabulous Report), Andreja Pejic, and Jamie Chung.  No biggie.  Just a regular day in the life.  My bangs were not cooperating with me, clearly.   

MAKE UP FOR EVER wants YOU to participate in the campaign as well.  The #BeMakeUpForEver Challenge on social media encourages fans to create and share three of their most bold, unexpected, and creative makeup looks, inspired by the campaign visuals. They will be selecting weekly winners that can win a personalized eyeshadow palette featuring images of their winning looks, as well as  $500 in MAKE UP FOR EVER products.  That's pretty epic, don't you think?  Many kudos to a brand that is really encouraging people to embrace their individuality.  I can't wait to see the makeup looks you all share.  


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