Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tarte EmphasEYES High Definition Eye Pencil

Quick review on the Tarte EmphasEYES High Definition Eye Pencil today. You can purchase this at Sephora,, or It is $18.00 and contains 0.028 g / 0.001 oz of product. It comes in 5 different shades: black, chocolate, green, plum, and charcoal.

I received the Black color as part of the Sephora Natural promotion last month. Believe it or not, this is my first "high end" pencil eyeliner. When I was younger I always used drugstore pencil eyeliners, which tugged at my eyes and had little color payoff, or smudged terribly. Pencil eyeliners and I don't get along--my eyes lubricate themselves a little too well, I think.

The EmphasEYES liner comes in a thin plastic twist pencil. The packaging actually feels quite flimsy. When I opened it for the first time, the product was so hard to twist out, I was scared I might break it before even using it. However, I finally got the cap off and twisted some eyeliner out to see that the point is extremely fine, which I really liked. Sadly, nearly after each use, I have to twist the pencil out to maintain that sharp point. And seeing as how the pencil contains so little product, this eyeliner seems like it'd be finished really quickly, and is completely overpriced. Tarte says that this 100% natural eyeliner also contains a lot of beneficial ingredients, which I find rather gimmicky--aloe vera, mineral pigments, palm oil, and vitamin A & E? Since when do we look for nutrients in our eyeliner? Hmm.

This eyeliner has received a lot of mixed reviews. Some people love it and say it lasts forever on them, and others say it smears off completely. It's possible some people who are disappointed with this liner were probably using it incorrectly. If you read the guidelines carefully, it says:

"This ultra fine liner easily fills gaps in the lashline and glides perfectly on the inner rims of eyes. Our patented silicone system creates a super creamy, long wearing formula specifically designed for the sensitive inner rim so it won't fade or run...and it's dermatologist tested, so it won't irritate the sensitive eye area like traditional wood pencils."

Because of the fine point and meager product content, you're not supposed to actually use it to line your entire eye--it is only meant to provide the finishing touches on your eye after you have already used your regular eyeliner. I actually didn't like using this eyeliner to fill in the spaces between my eyelashes--I prefer to do that via tightlining with cream eyeliner, and the fine point actually made it harder to tightline into the upper lashes. Also, this liner did not work on my upper or lower waterlines--although it glided on very smoothly and nicely, it smeared very quickly and disappeared. The only place this liner semi-worked was on my lower lashline--it provided some definition, but even after using Urban Decay Primer Potion, it still smeared under my eye.

In the end, I don't like this liner and do not recommend it. People who might want to try it regardless are those with drier skin who don't need eyelid primer--the thin point is a great concept, but for the majority of us with oilier lids, Tarte EmphasEYES eyeliner is a huge bust.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

An update - Sephora deals, Life

Sorry for lagging behind in updates! My computer is currently battling a nasty virus that may or may not be the Conficker virus. At any rate, I'll probably have to reformat my computer soon, which is going to suck. I lost the set up files and license keys for a couple things I have installed, so I'm not sure what to do.

At any rate, I've been stealthily hauling the past month. I was in NYC on Monday for a job interview *crosses fingers* and stopped by several Sephora stores. I love how Manhattan seems as if it has a Sephora every 5 blocks, hahaha. If I move to NYC this summer or next year, I swear my entire paycheck will probably go to that store. I will definitely write about my purchases as soon as I've had ample time to review them!

This week, Sephora has some awesome specials for Beauty Insiders. The deals are valid while supplies last.

1. Get a free full sized Korres Body Butter ($21 value) with any Korres Shower Gel purchase ($13) except the Lime and Sage Shower Gel for acne prone skin with code KORRESDUO
(I already took advantage of this and got the Korres Guava Body Butter everyone loves so much! Awesome deal as I'm running out of body lotion.)
2. Get a free mini foaming Philosophy Purity Cleanser with any $25 purchase with code PURITY.
(I really want to try this because of the good reviews, I may make a second purchase just to have it!)
3. Get a 5 piece sample Philosophy skincare kit at checkout with code PHL31. Comes with a 1 oz Purity liquid facial cleanser, 0.25 oz Hope in a Tube Eye and Lip Firming Cream, 0.4 oz Hope in a Jar Original Formula moisturizer, 6 ml The Microdelivery Exfoliating Face Wash, and The Microdelivery Peel (0.30 oz Step I Vitamin C/Peptide Resurfacing Crystals and 0.17 oz Step II Lactic/Salicylic Acid Activating Gel).
(I got this last month already, samples are small but great for travel.)
4. Get a free Smashbox Photofinish Primer with any purchase until 5/11/09 with code PRIMER.
(Not sure how big it is.)

These are the deals with the best value, I think. I missed out on the Benefit Gift with Purchase but that's ok, I don't think I would've liked the products much anyway.

For more deals, go to I never purchase without visiting that store! And you can also sign up at and get some free cash back. Currently will give you 8% cash back for every purchase you make. It's an awesome site and I've saved tons of money through it. If you need a referral, here's the link. Good luck!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sephora 15% Sale

Code: BD2T9CB5
Expires April 21, 2009 at 11:59 pm PST. The offer is only open to Beauty Insiders who registered before April 14, 2009.

I'm technically on a no-buy...but I have some store credit so I might as well stock up on some necessities and new obsessions.

My list:

1. Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 55 PA +++
love this, definitely has made it to my HG list
2. NARS Blush in Sin
so pretty, this has also made it onto my HG list
3. NARS The Multiple in St. Barts
perfect for contouring
4. Tweezerman eyebrow tweezers
5. ???

can't think of anything else I might want at the moment. I want to know what everyone else is buying!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Shiseido Bio-Performance Super Restoring Cream

Just a really quick review today on the Shiseido Bio-Performance Super Restoring Cream. I haven't been using this long, but I probably won't continue using it as we move into summer and my skin gets more oily. 1.7 oz is $98.00 and you can get it at Sephora, Macy's, and other department stores.

This is yet another one of those skincare products with a "patent pending" formula. It is supposed to be ideal for all skin types, and works to nourish and moisturize the skin as it fights wrinkles. Shiseido throws in a lot of words like "contour-recalling technology," "Hydro-Elastinet," "Bio-Enhancing Shield," and "Bio-Restoring complex"--I have no idea what any of those mean, but the basic idea is that this cream helps undo the damage caused by age and time. It is great for people who want to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

However, though anything anti-aging is always a plus, I wanted to use this to help with my dry skin. Recently, the skin around my mouth and laugh lines has become so terribly flakey and dry that I looked like I had white dried crust on my face out in public. (People must have been wondering, did she just brush her teeth and not rinse the toothpaste foam off? Or...did she slobber milk all over herself and not use a napkin?) I know...gross images. The hard part is though, that my skin has also been prone to acne.

This cream provided the moisturization my skin needed without breaking me out. One use of it was enough to get rid of all my flakey patches. The texture is very thick, but not sticky. The cream is very concentrated, so you only need a little for your entire face. I think the application is similar to how you would apply La Mer--warm up the cream between your clean fingers so it's easier to rub into your skin, and then smooth it over the desired area. Don't be overhasty and apply too much, because if you have oilier skin, it might be too rich and break you out. The scent is very light and refreshing, and the cream immediately sinks into my skin and forms a protective barrier without any oiliness or greasiness. My face just feels hydrated, protected, and plump when I have this on.

This cream is really expensive, but the price is the only negative thing as far as I can tell. I really like it and will definitely repurchase after I run out.

Oh, and I don't think I'll be making skin routine posts for March or April because my skin has been very problematic lately...I'm considering birth control to tame it, but I had a horrific experience with Ortho Tricyclen-Lo before so I'm very wary. If you ladies have any advice on brands that helped your acne, please let me know!

Here are the ingredients (courtesy of Sephora):
Water, Glycerin, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Cetyl Alcohol, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Petrolatum, Glyceryl Stearate Se, Microcrystalline Wax, PEG-40 Stearate, Erythritol, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Mortierella Oil, Sodium Polygamma-Glutamate, Thiotaurine, Ectoin, Saccharomyces Ferment Lysate Filtrate, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Behenyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Octyl Methoxycinnamate, Talc, Dimethylacrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Crosspolymer, PEG-30 Soy Sterol, Silica, Alumina, Trisodium EDTA, Sorbitan Tristearate, Acrylates/Steareth-20 Methacrylate Copolymer, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Potassium Hydroxide, Tocopherol, Syzygium Jambos Leaf Extract, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, BHT, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Fragrance, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Clinique Superdefense SPF 25 Age Defense Moisturizer - Dry Combination

Today's review is on the Clinque Superdefense SPF 25 Age Defense Moisturizer for Dry Combination skin types. It comes in a plastic tub as pictured and costs $42.50 for 1.7 oz.

Other than cleansing oil, sunscreen is a basic staple in my skincare routine. I am very paranoid about getting premature wrinkles...I definitely expect myself to be wrinkle free until at least the age of 35! That's a little over a decade away though...yikes! Gotta max out on my youth now...

Anyway, normally I wouldn't bother to review a sunscreen with SPF as low as this one unless it had some positive characteristic(s) that I would never have expected from a sunscreen. BUT, if you notice the labeling, Clinique doesn't call this product a sunscreen--it's a "moisturizer." Thus, this product probably shouldn't be used in place of your normal sunscreen, and I wouldn't consider it effective against UVA/UVB rays at all. However, if used in conjunction with your sunscreen, especially if you have dry to normal-dry skin, this product will help your skin fight pollution, toxins, and stress, since sunscreen normally doesn't have added skincare benefits in it.

My skin has been flakey and dry lately, so I have absolutely fallen in love with this moisturizer. I use it under my Clinique Derma White Super City Block SPF 40 ++ sunscreen, and over any serums I may apply that day. The Derma White Super City Block is matte, so it has a drying effect on my skin and any flakey patches are emphasized. The Superdefense Moisturizer helps to soothe and reduce that, without making my face oily or greasy. I don't like wearing too many layers of product on my face, especially during the day, so I don't know how foundation would stay on top of a Superdefense + Sunscreen combination--unless you have drier skin, you should probably stay away from that. The Superdefense moisturizer has a texture between a lotion and a light cream, and it goes on almost like a moisture-mousse onto the skin. It feels so cooling and refreshing, and if you wait a couple minutes, the sunscreen dries to a semi-matte finish, so your skin feels hydrated, but not like an oil slick. Though I'm going through a dry skin stage right now, I will continue to use this on my cheeks and eyes during the summer simply because it feels so nice and hydrating, yet light.

The only thing I dislike about this product is the smell. Clinique's products are all supposed to be unscented but this smells really funky. I don't quite know how to describe doesn't smell like anything else I've ever encountered.

However, I would definitely give this product a shot if you have drier skin and need help looking for a day moisturizer that is hydrating, yet not oily or greasy. I would not recommend this product to those with oily skin. Also, one word of advice: never mix your sunscreens together. If you use this, always apply your regular sunscreen as a separate layer on top, when the Clinique Superdefense has dried, or you risk lowering the potency of your regular SPF.

So, overall: this product is for you if you have drier skin and desire to layer sunscreen. But I would not use this alone; the SPF protection doesn't seem sufficient.

Active Ingredients: octinoxate 7.40%, avobenzone 3.00%, oxybenzone 2.00%.

Ingredients: water (aqua purificata) purified, dimethicone, butylene, glycol, isononyl isononanoate, silica, glycerin, polyglyceryl-2 triisostearate, polysilicone-11, laminaria saccharina extract, triticum vulgare (wheat bran) extract, olea europaea (olive) fruit extract, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) extract, sea whip extract, adenosine phosphate, trehalose, disodium nadh, creatine, sodium rna, caffeine, nordihydroguaiaretic acid, sodium dna, phytosphingosine, linoleic acid, cholesterol, ferulic acid, ascorbyl tocopheryl maleate, sodium hyaluronate, aminopropyl ascorbyl phosphate, tocopheryl acetate, sucrose,micrococcus lysate, astrocaryum murumuru butter, lauryldimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed soy protein, lecithin, tridecyl trimellitate, hexylene glycol, ethylhexyl stearate, ethylhexyl pamitate, propylene glycol dicaprate, chamomilla recutita (matricaria), zerolite, maltodextrin, c1-8 alkyl tetrahydroxycyclohexanoate, caprylyl glycol, polyethylene, hydroxyethylcellulose, xanthan gum, sodium chloride, pvp, laureth-4, laureth-23, polysorbate 20, ammunium acryloyldimethyltaurate/vp copolymer, tromethamine, disodium edta, chlorphenesin, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm

Today's review is on Clinique's Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm.

I don't go a single evening without using cleansing oil as part of my skincare routine. My pores tend to clog very easily, so if I don't get off all my sunscreen and makeup completely at the end of the day I will definitely suffer for it the next day. I purchased this because I needed a travel friendly cleansing oil at school. The DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, which I love, along with many other cleansing oils, come in pump bottles which tend to spill and get all over the place in your overnight bags or suitcases. So, I've been using this religiously since February every night. If I break out, I know that it's my hormones, and not my cleansing habits, causing the problem.

The clear plastic tub is decently sized and priced--it contains 3.8 oz of balm, and costs $27.00. I bought it around mid to late February, but I've already used over half of the tub, since I get a little too application-happy whenever it's time to wash my face, haha.

The balm is white, and pretty much looks like a tub of hair wax, without all the sticky goopiness. Doesn't have much of a scent. To apply, you slide your fingers across it until they pick up the desired amount of product, and then rub it into your uncleansed face. I like to dot my face with the balm before rubbing it in completely. As you rub in the cleansing balm, the heat and motion from your fingers turns it into an oil which is extremely easy to spread. This means it can also be somewhat unsanitary since you're dipping your fingers into it with every use, but if you wash your hands prior it should be fine. The opening of the tub is wide, so there's no problem getting to every single last bit as you run out.

After you've gently rubbed and massaged your entire face, you rinse off the balm/oil with warm water. It emulsifies and turns white before coming off your entire face. If you have dry skin, you can probably skip a second cleanser, but I always follow up with a generic drugstore cleanser to take off all the residue from the cleansing balm, so when I apply my moisturizer it will penetrate my skin more deeply.

This cleansing balm's ingredients consist of: ethylhexyl palmitate, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, sorbeth-30 tetraoleate, polyethylene, peg-5 glyceryl triisostearate, water, tocopherol, phenoxyethanol

Though this product works just great, I think it's only worth purchasing if you travel and require a convenient cleansing oil. However, if portability is not important, I'd say skip this product and opt for a cheaper Japanese drugstore version. I really want to try Kose Softymo Deep Cleansing Oil, which is recommended by other beauty bloggers. I've tried more expensive cleansing oils like DHC Deep Cleansing Oil before and I think the DHC cleansing oil has more beneficial skincare properties than this Clinique balm, since it left my skin feeling a lot smoother...but that may just be a consequence of the ingredients.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bare Escentuals RareMinerals Purely Nourishing Facial Moisturizer

Today I'm reviewing the Bare Escentuals RareMinerals Purely Nourishing Facial Moisturizer, which you can purchase at Sephora,, Nordstrom, and various other stores. Like all of Bare Escentuals' products, the RareMinerals Nourishing Facial Moisturizer is fragrance, paraben, and sulfate, and preservative free. It comes in a 1.7 oz plastic pump container and costs $32.00. When Bare Escentuals first created the RareMinerals product line, it consisted of the RareMinerals Blemish Therapy and Skin Revival Treatment which I was extremely tempted to try. These products are similar to BB Creams in that they're skincare products which can be used as high quality mineral concealer or foundation, which you can even go to sleep in if you desire. They've since added actual skincare items to the line-- the Renew and Reveal Facial Cleanser, the aforementioned Purely Nourishing Facial Moisturizer, and the Moisture Burst Facial Mist. Everything in the RareMinerals line contains "rare, virgin soil" which in turn contains "active minerals, botanicals, antioxidants and natural emollients" to renew your skin to its most youthful, softest potential.

The RareMinerals moisturizer is supposed to be applied over cleansed and toned skin morning and night. However, I've only used this at night since I use a whitening serum and moisturizer in the mornings. Nevertheless, this moisturizer has definitely improved my skin!

This moisturizer is a lotion so it's fairly light weight, and very easy to spread. It has a bit of an odd smell to it (products with no added fragrance are usually slightly strange smelling). I don't have to use a lot of product to cover my entire face, but you can easily add more product if desired for extra moisture. What I've noticed with this product is that it sinks into the skin nearly immediately, so there's no greasy residue--my skin just drinks it all up. I've only been applying this to my skin during the evening since I use my Clinique Derma White Moisture Milk during the day, but the results are still apparent. My skin has been really sensitive and dry lately, and this really helps to soothe the skin. It makes any stinging from other products disappear.

But what really sold me were the immediate results after application. It really adds a noticeable, luminous glow to my skin, and somehow even my cheeks become naturally rosy, as if I'm wearing tinted gel blush. This lotion does not clog my pores, which are extremely susceptible to sebum, blackheads, and whiteheads.

I'm extremely interested in trying the Skin Revival Treatment, since I need a foundation other than BB cream that won't clog my pores yet provide good coverage. However, I'm imposing a cosmetics and skincare "no buy" on myself until I receive a job offer, hehe. I'm going to be so happy if this company I'm interviewing for hires me! And it'll give me an excuse to spoil myself!

Anyway, here are the ingredients for the RareMinerals Purely Nourishing Facial Moisturizer. Don't be deterred by the word "oil"--this moisturizer is not oily or greasy at all. I have combination dry-oily skin. has been and is still offering this moisturizer as a deluxe sample for Beauty Insiders, if you want to try it out!

Water(Aqua),DicaprylylCarbonate, Cocoglycerides,Jojob Esters,Behenyl Alcohol, SorbitanStearate,CetylAlcohol,Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,Glycerin,Soil Minerals, Propanediol, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Lecithin, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryi Acetate, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Linoleic Acid, Phospholipids, Honey, Panthenol, Sucrose Cocoate, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract,Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Punica Granatum Sterols, Tamarindus Indica Seed Polysaccharide, Trehalose, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Peel Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Acacia Dealbata Flower/Stem Extract, Aspalathus Linearis Leaf Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leal Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matracarla) Flower Extract, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract, SpiraeaUlmarla Extract, Centella Asiatica Leaf Extract, Myrothamnus Flabellilolia Leaf/Stem Extract, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Tocopherol, Benzyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, Carbomer, Dehydroacetic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Xanthan Gum, Cellulose Gum

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Back from NYC for April madness

Just got back from NYC on Monday! My skin broke out like crazy while I was there, but I had tons of fun. School is getting pretty hectic now, and I have to diligently increase my effort on the job front, so I'll probably be updating less. But I will still have reviews, so please follow my blog and keep visiting!

Random things:

- Realized that I know how to navigate the NYC subway more than I thought I did. Managed not to get lost, though I don't own an iPhone or any sort of map!
- Was not happy when a clueless woman dropped a bottle of Sephora by OPI at the Columbus Circle store, shattering it all over my feet and recently purchased black skinny jeans, and then ran away from me without offering to help clean it up. WTF woman?!?!?! I at least deserve a free bottle of polish remover! How do I get nail polish out of fabric?!
- NARS' "universally flattering blush" shade in Orgasm is definitely not that flattering on me. But I tried on Sin and I absolutely LOVE it!!!! It will look amazing on complexions NC25 and below.
- Do not ever overdo the Urban Decay Primer Potion and Make Up Forever HD Powder around the eyes, thinking it will help keep eyeliner/mascara from smearing. You'll look like your eyes were dipped in white paste in photos.
- Was deceived into thinking Kam Man market (on Canal St, between Mott and Mulberry) in Chinatown would be less expensive for Asian snacks than M2M on 3rd Ave and 11th St. Kam Man also smells like fish. Go to M2M.
- TKettle (on St. Marks Street) makes way better jasmine green boba tea than Saint's Alp (3rd Ave and 9th St). It's also cheaper. I am never going back to Saint's Alp again.
- I went to Minca and tried their Pork Shoyu Ramen. Best. Ramen. Ever. It's on 5th St. between Ave. A and B.
- Macchiato cafe on 44th St. and Lexington is ridiculously overpriced and overhyped. They don't make pocket coffees (cost only $1) anymore. WHAT?! There is no bathroom. They slapped my $10 prosciutto sandwich together in two seconds and didn't even heat the ciabatta bread. -_-
- Don't go to Momofuku. The "Asian" food is ridiculously overpriced and way too salty. I wonder if they're secretly using MSG.
- I've gone through three mega sized boxes of Pocky already :-( Must restock!