Monday, October 27, 2008

Clinique Gifts with Purchase

Hey all,
Just wanted to drop a quick note that is also having a cute free gift with purchase of $21.50 and up right now. Choose one bag from three different options to fit your style or needs!

Visit this link:

In addition, Macy's Clinique is still having a free gift with purchase if you visit the store. I noticed the promotion has already ended on their website, but it's still ongoing if you head to your local counter.

Happy shopping! Be back soon with another review!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sephora Lush Flush Wine Lip & Cheek Stain

Blush is one of my makeup staples. If I don't apply it to my apples, I look pale and sick. The other day I went to work without makeup (except a light dusting of mineral powder) and my boss asked me if I was "feeling okay because I looked gaunt." I was so sad!!! Those of you who have natural flushes are truly lucky!

For us less fortunate ladies, finding the right blush is tricky. Earlier this month, Sephora sent me a free shipping coupon in the email. L'Oreal used to make a cute cheek gel stain, but they've since discontinued it. So when I saw this under the Sephora Brand section (usually where I beeline since everything else on the site is pricier and I try not to purchase too much makeup), I decided to get it. At $10.00 a pop, this stain was inexpensive. The drug store brands would've been about the same price; I think my old L'Oreal stain was about $7.00 and the tube was smaller.

Though this tint is formulated for the cheeks AND lips, I primarily wanted it for my cheeks. I'm not really a lip product gal, but I did try this on my lips. The stain was nice, but it only lasted for maybe an hour. You may have to prep with a lip liner if you want the stain to last throughout the day. Otherwise, the result is a cute, just-eaten-raspberries look.

On the other hand, this product showed up much better on the cheeks. From the site, the stain:

"mimics a flushed look on lips and cheeks, but when applied has a cooling sensation on the skin's surface. Easy to apply and long-lasting, the gel-based formula has incredible body and texture allowing perfect blendability that you can layer to the desired intensity. Made from crushed grapes the Red Wine Extract formula is loaded with anti-oxidants to help protect skin from environmental pollutants and free radicals. Optunia Streptacantha Stem Extract is rich in anti-oxidants, polysaccharides, minerals and vitamins to better ensure healthy skin from the inside and out."

(credit: Sephora)

Judge for yourself in these photos:

with flash & without flash
(sorry for any camera sucks!)

Estee Lauder Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher (all over face)
Oil of Olay Complete All Day Moisture Lotion SPF 15 (all over face)
Skin 79 Beblesh Balm SPF 15 (on T-zone, wings of nose, chin, under eyes)
MAC Strobe Cream (on cheeks and brow bone)
Sephora Lush Flush Wine Lip & Cheek Stain (on cheeks)

At MAC, my shade is between a NC25 and NC30. Since I don't have an exact match, I don't use MAC.

When I opened the tube, the first thing I noticed was that it contained an applicator, like the white fuzzy tip applicators inside tubes of lipgloss. This allowed for very precise application on the cheeks or lips. I swiped the applicator clockwise, maybe two or three times, on the apples of my cheeks, and then blended with my fingers. The result? A natural pink flush. I credit the luminosity in the picture with flash to my MAC Strobe Cream. (That's a review for another time.)

The product is fragrance free. It is a gel stain (like my old L'Oreal) rather than a liquid one (like Benefit's Benetint, which is made with rose petals vs. crushed red grapes). You won't need to worry about it dripping off your cheek when you put it on, but like all stains, you will have to blend immediately to avoid those embarassing splotches or streaks of color. If you want a more dramatic look, you can add additional layers, though I recommend starting sparingly, and slowly building (less is more!). You can always add more; you don't want to redo your makeup because you applied too much.

Overall, thumbs up to this product. I recommend it to girls with combination, normal, or dry skin. If you have oily cheeks, perhaps you should stick to powder (I don't have oily cheeks, so I can't vouch for whether it works or not). However, the blush DID stay on my cheeks all day even though I piled on moisturizers underneath, so you should give it a shot.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Protective Recovery Complex

Continuing my obsession with skincare, I purchased this recently, along with my Estee Lauder Idealist, to improve my congested and flakey skin.

As a gal in my 20s, my sleeping schedule is hectic--if I'm not up studying, I'm staying out late anyway. Sadly, if I don't get at least 7-8 hours of sleep, my skin will break out. My mom is always telling me to sleep more since that is when your body repairs/detoxifies itself. However, being young, I don't listen to her nagging! Yet, I'm already worrying about preventing wrinkles. What a predicament, huh?

This product seemed like a solution. It claims to visibly repair and prevent such wear and tear on the skin as you sleep. It also doubles as an "anti-aging serum." Evidently, the results are so amazing, the product has been patented! Straight from the product website, Estee Lauder claims it:

  • Helps skin repair its appearance from daily environmental damage to recover a younger look.
  • Heightens skin's natural repair response-critical for its well-being.
  • Soothes daily irritation and builds a rich reserve of anti-oxidants and lipids.
  • Neutralizes up to 90% of environmentally generated free radicals before they can affect skin's appearance.
  • Studies show it is this environmental damage-not time-that can cause 80% of the visible signs of aging.
  • Delivers high levels of long-proven hyaluronic acid, nature's "moisture magnet."
  • Locks in moisture to create the ideal environment for healthy skin.
(credit: Estee Lauder)

Like Estee Lauder's Idealist which I previously reviewed, the Night Repair Complex also works to improve the skin's overall health, but the Idealist is for daytime wear. I've actually worn Idealist alone to bed, to maximize its efficacy (I don't see how effective skincare products can be when you pile makeup on top, plus pollution, dirt, and oil throughout the day.) The product description at says that this product is actually also designed for application during the daytime and you can wear it under makeup. However, like with the Idealist Skin Refinisher, I would suggest only applying Night Repair Complex at night time before bed unless your skin is extremely damaged (i.e. sunburn, windburn, etc.). This way you maximize the product's use and longevity, and it is quite pricey at $46.50 an ounce.

I started using the Night Repair Complex when my skin was extremely dry and flakey but also breaking out. The bottle has a syringe on the cap so you can carefully place the drops on your skin and choose how much to use at a time. Each drop goes a long way--I needed one drop per cheek, a drop for my forehead, and another for my nose and chin area. The product feels like a typical liquid serum--it's mostly a gel-like liquid, rather than a light lotion. There isn't a "fragrance," but the serum does have some kind of scent/odor, but it isn't unpleasant. After cleansing and toning, I applied this carefully with light pressure. My skin felt a bit sticky after the serum sank in, but all gel-liquid serums tend to leave behind this sensation, so I wasn't bothered by it. You can apply moisturizer on top, but I chose not to since I was worried additional product would diminish its healing properties.

The next morning, I did notice that my skin was more radiant, and probably 50% of my flakiness had disappeared. I continued to use the Night Repair Complex for the rest of the week. By the end of the week, my skin was nearly completely back to normal, and it was absolutely glowing.
This product definitely works and I have added it to my skincare regimen, rotating it with the Idealist Skin Refinisher.

Nordstrom's is having a free gift with purchase right now for any Estee Lauder purchase over $39.50. The deal ends November 2nd. If you're looking for skincare products, I recommend purchasing the Advanced Night Repair Protective Recovery Complex, the Idealist Skin Refinisher, or one of the Repair sets that go for $46.00-47.50 (they contains both products along with a moisturizer and cleanser).

Just to spell out their gift with purchase:

Estee Lauder
call 1-800-7-BEAUTY

there are actually three different types and you need to enter in a promotion code to obtain them. I've copied and pasted below the 3 different gifts you can obtain--simply choose which one works for you! Or if you're greedy like me, make 3 separate purchases and get all 3! (Of course, I'm not going to keep everything I've purchased--I'm not a mindless spendthrift!)

PREVENTION—to help protect against future visible signs of aging.
Use promotional code PREVENT on the last page of Checkout.

DayWear Plus Multi Protection Anti-Oxidant Creme SPF 15
(0.5 oz.)
Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher (0.5 oz.)
Perfectly Clean Splash Away Foaming Cleanser (1 oz.)
Pure Color Long Lasting Lipstick (full size)
Pure Color Crystal Gloss
7 Eyeshadows in an exclusive compact
New: Estée Lauder Sensuous Eau de Parfum Spray Vial
(0.05 oz.)
Chic Tri-Color Cosmetics Bag

Even Skintone

EVEN SKINTONE—to reveal a radiant, more even-toned look.
Use promotional code SKINTONE on the last page of Checkout.

Hydra Bright Skin-Tone Perfecting Moisturizer (0.5 oz.)
Advanced Night Repair Protective Recovery Complex
(0.5 oz.)
Soft Clean Moisture Rich Foaming Cleanser (1 oz.)
Signature Hydra Lustre Lipstick (full-size)
Pure Color Crystal Gloss
7 Eyeshadows in an exclusive compact
New: Estée Lauder Sensuous Eau de Parfum Spray Vial
(0.05 oz.)
Chic Tri-Color Cosmetics Bag


LIFTING/FIRMING—to give skin a more lifted, firmer look.
Use promotional code LIFTING on the last page of Checkout.

Resilience Lift Extreme Ultra Firming Creme SPF 15
(0.5 oz.)
New: Perfectionist [CP+] Wrinkle Lifting Serum (0.5 oz.)
Soft Clean Moisture Rich Foaming Cleanser (1 oz.)
Signature Hydra Lustre Lipstick (full-size)
Pure Color Crystal Gloss
7 Eyeshadows in an exclusive compact
New: Estée Lauder Sensuous Eau de Parfum Spray Vial
(0.05 oz.)
Chic Tri-Color Cosmetics Bag

Hurry before the deal runs out!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Clinique Liquid Facial Soap - Mild

I never really understood why anyone would ever purchase expensive facial cleansers...or why choosing "the right" cleanser mattered. I mean, why buy the department store brand when the drugstore brand both get the job done? Now, after using the Clinique Liquid Facial Soap in Mild, I cannot stress how misinformed I was!

The cleanser is the most basic step in taking care of your skin. First, a cleanser needs to remove all the dirt, grime, makeup, and oil from your face at the end of the day. Most cleansers should do this. (Emphasis on should, because only in a perfect world would all cleansers have the same cleansing power.) Second, the same cleanser needs to maintain its clarifying strength without stripping the skin of moisture. Everyone's skin type is different; some of us are oilier than others, others are dry. Obviously, this component is essential for drier skins. However, oily skin needs to maintain a moisture balance as well--a cleanser that cleanses too harshly will trigger even more oil and sebum production.

Thus, it is so hard to find a cleanser that removes everything without stripping the skin. But Clinique's Liquid Facial Soap absolutely fits the job.

The Liquid Soap comes in 3 different versions: Oily, Mild, and Very Mild. I have combination skin that tends to get flakey and congested, so I decided to try the Mild formula, which is especially formulated for dry combination skin.

The cleanser, true to its name, has a liquid soap consistency--in my fingers, it feels like dish washing liquid soap. However, there is no fragrance; if anything, it smells a little sterile or medicinal, like the rest of the Clinique products. I wet my face with warm water first, pumped the soap once onto my fingertips (this is plenty for your face!), rubbed my fingertips together briefly for a little bit of lather, and then massaged the soap all over my face--concentrating on the t-zone. I did this for about 60 seconds, then rinsed the cleanser all off. My skin felt refreshed and clean, but not tight or dry after use.

One thing I liked about this cleanser was that it seemed to be a "no tears" formula. While I was cleansing, I kept my eyes open, and though I massaged the product over my eyelids and lashes, my eyes did not sting or burn at all. Of course, I would not recommend you do this, especially if your eyes are sensitive, but I find it interesting that Clinique cleanser doesn't irritate my eyes, yet Johnson's No Tears baby wash does.

To test how effective the Clinique Liquid Facial Soap was at removing makeup, I toned my skin to see what would be leftover on the cotton pad. I wanted to compare the Clinique to my normal drugstore cleansers (L'Oreal Pure Zone Pore Unclogging Scrub Cleanser, Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Oil Free Acne Wash) on separate days, when I had worn a decent amount of makeup for roughly the same amount of time. After washing with Clinique, the cotton toning pad was still white, so there wasn't any leftover dirt or oil after cleansing. However, after cleansing with L'Oreal and Neutrogena, there was a bit of peach/brown color on the cotton, so the cleanser hadn't completely removed all the dirt and makeup. I wonder how many times I might have developed acne because I skipped toning after washing with these cleansers? A frightening prospect! So, I gather that with the Clinique soap, you could probably skip toning altogether, as long as you make sure you rinse the cleanser off completely (it does take a couple more splashes than with other brands).

The Clinique Liquid Facial Soap is actually part of the Clinique 3-step skincare system. They also tout their Clarifying Lotion (in 4 different formulas for 4 skin types), and their Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion/Gel as part of a complete skincare regimen. Since this review is only on the liquid facial soap, I won't discuss the others unless you have any specific questions, for which you may leave comments. A great way to try all 3 is through purchasing their 3-step sets, which come in smaller sizes. Currently, you can purchase a set for $15.00, which is a great deal. If you think about it, you probably spend $15.00 at the drugstore already on a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer.

Normally, the 6.7 fl oz version of the liquid soap retails for $14.50. This will last you a long time. Also, Macy's Clinique is having a Bonus Time right now (I'm such a whore for gifts with purchase!) if you purchase $21.50 or above. Check it out!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Estee Lauder Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher

Being in New England during the Fall can really wreak havoc on your skin.

I have extremely problematic skin. It's combination, so that my t-zone and upper lip area is always breaking out. My nose and the cheek skin winging my nose have HUGE pores. Biore pore strips don't get out all the sebum and blackheads--I have to use one of those metal extractors.

Luckily, my cheeks practically never break out. But they can get extremely dry if I don't moisturize. So having combo skin really sucks because I have to look for two types of products--effective acne/sebum treatments that won't dry me out (painful, flaking skin that also has acne is the worst), and moisturizers that keep me supple without the oiliness.

And well...I think I have found a product that does BOTH!

Enter Estee Lauder's Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher.

The product guarantees: pores will appear 1/3 smaller instantly, there is a 69% reduction in the look of pores in 4 weeks, it repairs the look of uneven skin texture, flakiness, and roughness.

Apparently, the Idealist Skin Refinisher is a revamped version of the former Idealist. The current version includes: 3 times more Glucosamine than original Idealist, has Pore Diminishing Technology significantly shrinks the look of enlarged pores, and contains gentle-acting Chestnut Extract to help free your skin from dry, dulling, flaky skin cells.

(above info taken from website, you can read more there)

When I first pumped out some Idealist, I noticed the product had a very refreshing, light citrus scent...almost like grapefruit. Also, it was extremely silky to the touch and made my face feel instantly softer. I would liken the texture and finish to a waterier, makeup primer. I'm not sure if the product contains silicone, but Idealist could definitely double as a makeup primer. My pores did look instantly smaller and my t-zone was less oily, and my mineral powder went seamlessly over it without any oxidation.

The directions indicate Idealist should be applied every morning to a clean face and throat before your moisturizer. However, I also used Idealist at night before bed. My skin had been very dry, my t-zone was flaking AND breaking out. At night, after cleansing and toning, I would apply this alone, without any moisturizer on top. When I woke up in the morning, my skin looked so radiant and supple I would reapply it before doing my makeup. A week later, all my flakies cleared up, my pores were truly shrinking, and my skin continued to feel more radiant and softer.

I would highly recommend this product to girls with any skin type. It is very versatile and worth every penny. It is somewhat pricey ($46.50 for 1 oz, $73.00 for 1.7 oz, and up) but I suggest you purchase it when Estee Lauder has the bonus gift time. Keep watching Macy's, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, Lord & Taylor, the Estee Lauder website itself, and other stores for the free gifts with purchase. I just purchased from Macy's when they had the bonus gift and I received tons of cool freebies. I know it's a lot to spend on skin care, but since our skin is the most important feature of our face, you should think of it as a well-spent investment :)

I will post another Estee Lauder review soon. Keep watching!