Friday, July 31, 2015

Advanced Hair Repair System by Arvazallia

Disclaimer:  I received this for testing products in development.
A while back I signed up to become an Arvazallia Insider, which means I occasionally get to try out Arvazallia's haircare products when they are in the development stage.  Arvazallia graciously offers to send the full-sized final products to testers once they are available, which is how I acquired their Advanced Hair Repair System.  I'm about to finish the shampoo, so I thought it was time for a review!
The set arrives nicely packaged in a sturdy box, and is comprised of shampoo, conditioner, and a deep conditioning mask.  All are infused with cosmetic grade Argan and Macadamia oils, are sulfate and paraben free, and are safe for Keratin and color treated hair.
The shampoo is low lathering yet you do get some sudsing action on the second application.  I like that, as my mind still thinks suds = clean, even though I'm quite familiar with sulfate-free shampoos and know that's not necessarily true.  I've got oily hair, which means I do need a shampoo that is gentle enough for color-treated hair yet strong enough to remove oil and product buildup.  The Repair Moisturizing shampoo has performed really well for me, and I would definitely repurchase.  A nickel size works for my super short hair, but I always run of shampoo way before I finish the companion conditioner.

The Repair Daily Conditioner "utilizes a proprietary formulation that fortifies each strand of your hair by sealing the dents and divots found in dry and damaged hair".  It did a good job of detangling (even my super short hair snags a bit without a good conditioner) and did not weigh my hair down. Definitely a good everyday kind of conditioner.  I did have a slight packaging issue with the conditioner, as the push top wanted to come off due to the thickness of the conditioner applying pressure to the top when I squeeze the tube.

The Hydrating Argan Oil Mask is a thicker conditioner that I use after I've colored my hair, which is about every 3 weeks.  If I remember I'll use it once a week or so, but I definitely use it in lieu of the conditioner that comes with my hair color.  All 3 products share the same fragrance, which is pleasant but hard to identify (it's not citrus, floral or vanilla to my nose).
All three products do contain silicones if that's an issue for you (ingredient lists are available on the 3rd picture from the top above).  It would be nice if the ingredients were listed on Arvazallia's site, as I'm one of those that like to look at ingredient lists before I purchase.  The set can be purchased for $49.99 ($110 value), or you can purchase each item separately.  I'm currently testing 2 leave in heat protection sprays that are hitting a sweet spot for me, so I've got to say my experience with Arvazallia has been nothing but positive thus far!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Julep Modern Beauty Maven Box for July

I decided to go with the Modern Beauty Maven selection for May, which featured a body sized Konjac sponge and the new Rethink Your Shower Body Oil.  I'm still on the original $19.99/mo subscription plan, which means customization is limited at best.  I did add on a facial sized Konjac sponge ($12) using my Jules, which is what you see in the box.  The body Konjac is about 3 times the size of the facial Konjac.
I was most excited about the Rethink Your Shower Hydrating Body Cleansing Oil ($38), and I've got to say it's nice.  It's has a mild sudsing action and one pump is plenty to get the job done, including shaving my legs. 
  • Grape seed oil soothes skin and tightens pores
  • Coconut oil prevents dryness
  • Kukui nut seed oil moisturizes and protects
  • Grapefruit peel oil cleanses and evens skin tone
  • Glycerin and urea help skin retain water content and prep skin for exfoliation
  • Paraben- and SLS-free
My skin feels soft and hydrated afterwards, and the "It's Fun to Exfoliate" Konjac body sponge ($16) works well with the shower oil in that I get light sudsing.  I'm a bit skeptical of the "exfoliating" claim that comes with Konjac sponges, cause, they're a sponge, you know?  I guess technically a wash cloth exfoliates dead skin cells though, so there ya go.
Prior to receiving my box, I received an email from Julep letting me know there had been a mix up in my box contents.  Instead of the body size Konjac sponge, the Your Cuticles Look Thirsty cuticle cream ($20) was in my box, but they were sending the Konjac sponge separately.  I had actually wanted the cuticle cream so was okay with this mix-up, especially considering it meant I was getting it gratis. 
This Your Cuticles Look Thirsty formula feels like a whipped cream in consistency.  It's lightweight and absorbs quickly into the skin with leaving a greasy after feel.  The fragrance is slightly citrusy to me, but it's nothing overwhelming and I find it pleasant.  I like that the formula contains salicylic acid, as I'm hoping it will help with exfoliating the dry/dead skin I get on the tips of the fingers near the crease between skin and nail.  That drives me crazy.

The overall value of my July box including the add on Konjac facial sponge and gratis cuticle cream was $88 regular retail and $60.40 with Maven pricing, so definitely not bad for my $19.99 subscription price.  I've been enjoying the new products that Julep has been introducing!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Tiger Eye Pure Color Long Lasting Lipstick by Estee Lauder

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
Tiger Eye, one of the Pure Color lipsticks from Estee Lauder, is a lovely peachy copper with gold flecks.  To me, this is a hot weather color, although I could see it being perfect in the fall as well.
For a color loaded with shimmer, the effect is actually surprisingly subtle and the finish comfortably smooth.  No chunky glitter bits here, and the inclusion of apricot kernel, shea butter and murumuru butter no doubt adds to the comfortable wear.
Pure Color lipsticks are $26, and I was able to sample it as part of the 2013 LE Color Portfolio.  I love collecting the Color Portfolio's, they are a great way to try out a bunch of colors for an uber reasonable price.  While the little pans are not great for taking with you for reapplication, it's easy enough to depot into an empty gloss pot if desired.  I should probably do that.

Friday, July 24, 2015

NOTD: OPI Designer Series Classic

Now if this isn't a beauty, I don't know what is.  I've had DS Classic by OPI for several years now but this is the first time I've worn it, and I'm smitten.  A smitten kitten.
If you are not familiar with OPI's Designer Series, they "combine dazzling diamond dust with pigments so saturated with color . . . they glow."  It looks like a lovely beige/tan scattered holo to me.  These differ from regular OPI polishes in both price ($12.50) and in the color the bottle caps (silver).
Classic is the perfect nude with oomph for me, I just love it.   The formula was a breeze to work with and this is two coats over OPI's base coat with butterLondon's top coat.  I feel happy every time I look down at my hands.
This little guy makes me happy as well.  He's been enjoying hanging out in an abandoned planter, and every day I take pictures in the yard I look for him.  Love turtles.  Now, one last blurry pic of DS Classic to show you it's gorgeous shimmer in the sun....

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Olive Violetear by Rouge Bunny Rouge

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
I have a weakness for olive green eyeshadow, so it was no surprise that Olive Violatear was one of my choices during HauteLook's sale of Rouge Bunny Rouge products. 
Olive Violetear reminds me of a particularly dirty Vodka martini, which I'm partial to as well.  It has the same murky olive gray tint that results from mixing olive brine with vodka, although it can be built up to the darker olive shown in the arm swatch.
My limited experience with Rouge Bunny Rouge eye shadows have shown that different finishes have different levels of pigmentation, with the metallics like Abyssinian Catbird being the most intense.  Both Delicate Hummingbird and Olive Violetear (satin finish) are more sheer yet I like the complexity that comes from the shifts of light on the mica bits.  You can see what I'm talking about by clicking to enlarge the pictures.
Rouge Bunny Rouge shadow single compacts are $25 each and $19 for refills, which makes the HauteLook sales all the more attractive.  I paid $10 for the refills and $11 for the trio shadow case that house the shadows.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Clementine Perfume Oil by Melissa Flag

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
I love perfume oils, they are probably my favorite way to wear fragrance.  Most of the perfume oils that I own are from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, but I decided to branch out and try a new to me fragrance by Melissa Flag.
Clementine ($36) is a white floral inspired by the orange blossom laced air in Palm Springs that creator Melissa Flagg experienced as a teen.  Notes listed are orange blossom, jasmine and honeysuckle.  I love honeysuckle so that was what drew me in initially as I read over the note lists of the various Melissa Flagg perfumes available at Beautyhabit.com.  
My initial impression of Clementine freshly applied on my skin is the orange blossom, but it's got a milky quality that invokes the flower, leaves and stem.  It smells very realistic to me and I do not get a chemical or synthetic vibe.  It quickly morphs to honeysuckle on my skin, which is fine by me.  However, the entire fragrance is so short lived and by the 2 hour mark I can no longer smell anything.  At all.  So disappointing.
Yes, I can carry the rollerball with me and reapply, but in general fragrance oils wear really well on my skin so I'm not sure why Clementine has such a short life span.  I've been layering it with another white floral, Sephora's Monoi Nourishing body butter with Tahitian gardenia flower extract, which I picked up on sale for $7 at sephora.com.  I believe the scent is now discontinued, but it's a quite lovely scent and formula, and between Clementine and the Monoi body butter layering duo, I've got a hot house white floral fragrance that is working for me on these sweltering summer days.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Surratt Lipslique in Ladybug

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
I indulged in a few Surratt Beauty products way back in April of 2014, when they were exclusive to Barneys.  Founded by Troy Surratt, the line is supposed to combine "the elegance of Paris, the innovation of Tokyo, and the experience of a top New York makeup artist" - Troy himself, who began his career working with makeup legend Kevyn Aucoin and also helped launch Tarte Cosmetics.  No slouch there.
I didn't review Ladybug at the time since the products were hard to locate and the dwindling stock wasn't being replenished online, as far as I could tell.  However, now that Sephora is carrying Surratt Beauty, time to remedy that!
Ladybug is described as a warm coral, and does a really good job capturing the color of real ladybugs.  I can remember rock climbing in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina once and getting swarmed by Ladybugs.  Fortunately, that's not an insect swarm that would scare me, and you don't want to freak out when clinging to a rock face.
The Lipsliques have a design feature (some would say a flaw) that's important to be aware of:  they twist up but will not twist down.  Beyond that, they are easy to apply and Ladybug provides a sheer, glossy  medium orange tint to the lips.  The formula features Macadamia Seed Oil and Vitamin E and wears comfortably for about 3 hours on me, which is decent for a relatively non-sticky gloss.
Here's the biggest drawback for me in acquiring more Lipliques:  they are $34 and they are small - about half the size of a Revlon Lip Butter.  Which they kind of remind me of, except Revlon's Lip Butters are about $7-$8.  I'm not sure there's anything distinct enough about the Lipsliques unless you find a unique shade (Ladybug is somewhat unique to my collection), but there are 18 different shades to tempt you. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Sunkissed Beauty Mosaic Powder Compact by Essence

The German brand Essence continues to impress me with their uber affordable yet good quality line of cosmetics.  For example, the Sunkissed Beauty Mosaic Compact Powder is only $4.49 yet provides the fair-skinned with a natural looking, lightly tanned look.
I'm not going to call Sunkissed Beauty a bronzer, because it's more than that.  It can be used as an all over face powder when you blend all the colors together.  Or, it can be used as a highlighter when you use a smaller brush to concentrate on the lighter shades.  Alternatively, you can focus on the dark tan colors for contouring.
But get this:  it also works really well for a neutral eye look that's a step beyond naked.  Quite versatile, no?
Don't let the sparkles scare you off, as they are not of the disco ball variety.  Instead, they keep the color from looking flat yet in no way magnify skin imperfections, of which I've got plenty.
Here I used Sunkissed on both my eyes and face, including as a blush.
If you want to amp it up a bit, add in a bit more color on your cheeks and lips, as well a some inner eye shimmer.  I used Essence's Autumn Peach blush on the apples of my cheeks (review coming soon) and Revlon's Lip Butter in Candy Apple on my lips.  The inner eye shimmer is courtesy of Laura Mercier's Rose Gold Caviar Pencil (such a beauty, see full review here).
Sunkissed Beauty does kick up a lot of powder, but that doesn't translate to chalkiness on the skin. Overall, I'm impressed and will keep my eye out for more bargain beauties from Essence!