Tuesday, September 30, 2008

PIGMENTS!


hello readers! when it comes to addictions, i'm the first one to admit that i have many, but recently i have become addicted not to a substance, not to a product or a brand, but to a place...THE MALL! lately i have been a bonified mall-rat, seeing as how i bought and then returned the Chanel Exceptionnel mascara, then bought MAC's Creemsheen lipstick in Creme D'Nude (more on that later), then bought MAC's Prep + Prime Face Protect SPF 50 along with a bottle of their Mineralize Satinfinish Foundation SPF 15, and then had to return that the next day because the SA had accidentally given me the wrong shade! so that makes for...ahem...four straight days of mall-going for this kitty. but that also makes for many, many posts and product reviews for all of my lovely readers!
colors left to right: Antique Green, Blonde's Gold, Copperbeam, Heritage Rouge, Mauvement, Museum Bronze, Vintage Gold, Mega-Rich.

so what i really wanted to bring to your attention today were the newest MAC pigments from the Overrich Collection. for those of you who aren't familiar, pigments are basically loose-powder eyeshadows in little screw-top pots which are very concentrated color-wise. a lot of brands do mineral versions (Bare Escentuals, Everyday Minerals, Fyrinnae, etc.), but in my opinion, MAC does them best. MAC's pigments are a whole addiction of their own, separate even from an addiction to eyeshadow (which is the most popular use for pigments), because these little pots of gold can be used for various different beautifying purposes. want a brand new, custom-made lipcolor? just take some balm or clear gloss and add some pigments! want to make your own shade of nailpolish? take your favorite pigment(s) and funnel them into a bottle of clear nailpolish, shake well and enjoy! need a highlighter to define your cheekbones? a neutral pigment will work gorgeously (some popular shades for highlighting are Vanilla and Pink Opal). want to stick to the classic use and create a beautiful eyeshadow look using pigments? i find the best brush to use is a firm, flat, synthetic-bristled one (like the 242) to pack the color on, and then a fluffier one (like the 217) to blend out any harsh lines.

although MAC releases pigments periodically with their collections, the ones from Overrich are outstanding in color, texture, and finish. there are 8 colors to choose from, and a ninth color (Royal Flush) available exclusively at Nordstrom's. my favorites are Heritage Rouge, Antique Green and Copperbeam, with Royal Flush clocking in very highly on the list as well. although a jar of pigment will cost you $19.50, it will last FOREVER! literally, i can't imagine using one up even if i wore it everyday for 2 years straight. stop at your nearest MAC counter ASAP to get a look at them before they're all gone!

have you ever tried MAC pigments? if so, what's your favorite color? mine's Blue Brown, and i'd love to know some of the ones you can't live without, so let me know in the comments!

picture of the pigments courtesy of the lovely Supa from MakeUpAlley.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Un-Excepchanel


Hola readers! lately i've been a very busy kitten collecting and testing new products so expect lots of reviews and info-fests in the days to come! today i'm going to be telling you about my experience with Chanel's newest mascara, Exceptionnel de Chanel, $28 (YES, twenty-eight dollars!).

i should first tell you that in this particular case, the marketing got to me 98% and my love of mascara was responsible for the other 2%. i ADORE Chanel-- the clothes, the PURSES! the shoes, the jewelry! the CLOTHES! and the makeup. however, my being a basically champagne-taste on a beer-budget kitten, i don't have the opportunity to own very much Chanel at all. since i'd never owned a Chanel mascara before and heard many good things about them, i decided after seeing the amazing brush that comes with Exceptionnel that i'd jump and go for it once and for all. so after $30 had been liberated from my purse, i blamed it on the lure of the brush, not on my own lack of self control!

so let's get down to this mascara and i'll tell you what it's all about. first off, that wicked brush is a six-sided hybrid of a regular, basic mascara brush and the new silicone-bristled versions popular today. it has short, densely-packed regular bristles (the black ones) that are for amping up lash volume and long, thin silicone bristles (the white ones) that are for separating lashes and encouraging curl. the formula is a thicker, wetter one than i normally like, but that's just personal preference. it comes in four colors (Smoky Noir, Smoky Brun, Smoky Violine and Smoky Marine), and has a special 'rolling' application technique that is recommended. to get a better look at the brush and the how-to on application, go here and check out The Film (for fun), The Design (for a good look at that brush), and The Application Technique (which is self-explanatory).

so my personal experience with the mascara? i'll sum it up in a few words: not worth the money or the time! i hate to spit blaspheme on the name of Chanel but this is just an average volumizing mascara with a very fancy brush (that, btw, doesn't actually DO anything fancy). when i got it home i was so excited to try it out that i immediately washed off the mascara i was wearing and got to work on my application technique. on one eye i applied as i normally do, sweeping straight up, NO WIGGLING, with a light touch, and on the other eye i did the Application de Chanel, which is basically just rolling the wand as you sweep it through so that all sides of the brush come into contact with your lashes. not only did the lashes i did the Chanel application on end up overloaded with product, uncurled (the HORROR!), and clumpy (not in an actual 'clumps of mascara' way but in that other horrible way where several eyelashes fuse together and end up looking spidery and gross), it also was a gigantic pain in the ass to try to do all that rolling and rotating while putting it on. i kept having to pull the brush away from eyes and squint to see what i was hitting my lashes with, long or short? black or white? grrrrr! too much stress for one tube of expensive mascara! i'm going to stick to my beloved Covergirl Volume Exact for days and my Diorshow for nights (a mascara i've had a giant change-of-heart towards lately) and count all my money while laughing maniacally. oops, that's right, Chanel has all of it!

have you tried the new Chanel Exceptionnel mascara? if so, what did you think: heaven for a reasonable price or brush-luring highway robbery? let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Mac Collections!



even though MAC comes out with a new collection every 5 minutes, i don't usually post about them because every other beauty blogger in the world covers them and i try to give my readers something new to digest when they visit my blog. regardless of the fact that i usually don't cover them, this new Cremesheen collection has really caught my attention (and now yours, too)! it consits of 14 new shades of lipstick and one new nail lacquer (shown in above picture). i think my excitement has something to do with the fact that A. i've never been a big lipstick person but B. MAC is the only makeup company that has ever been able to get me really, truly excited about buying lipstick. it's their colors, textures, finishes, and just general 'MAC-appeal' that have hooked me many times before and from looking at the swatches online, unfortunately may hook me again soon!

also exciting on the new MAC front is their upcoming Suite Array collection which consits of 8 new eye shadow duos and 8 new Pearlglide Eyeliners which are creamy, kohl-like liners in pearly, metallic finishes! how perfect will those be for the holiday season when you want something sparkly to glam it up without looking like a trashy disco-ball? i am extremely anxious to get my salivating self to the nearest counter and swatch these eyeliners on my hand to see what they truly look like. since MAC's online color swatches can never be trusted, seeing the colors in person is the only way to really know if you'll be head-over-heels for any of them, but if you want to get an idea what they'll look like, check them out here.

Recipe for Perfection!


just a quick note to mention that i have found THE perfect recipe for smooth, sleek, shiny, blown-out hair! after trying out this styling treatment cocktail, you'll be getting stopped on the street by screams of "MISS ANISTON!" from 'Friends' fanatics who want your autograph and the secret to your famous mane! the ingredients that make up this recipe, Kiehl's Heat Protective Silk Straightening Cream, $16.50 and CHI Silk Infusion, $14.99, are two products that i have raved about many times before, so i'll skip the long, drawn out reviews of them (since they've already been written!) and just let you read about each one of them individually here and here if you're interested.

and now, onto the Pretty Kitty Sleekest Hair Cocktail! the recipe is very simple, just grab your tube of Kiehl's Heat Protective Silk Straightening Cream and shake (why, i don't know, but i do it everytime) before dispensing a blob about the size of a dime (or slightly larger depending on the length and thickness of your hair), then take your CHI Silk Infusion and add about 3 drops. mix together in your palm and distribute through hair before blow-drying and flat ironing. VOILA! gorgeous, soft, healthy hair that will shine like glass and feel like silk. although i absolutely adore each of these products used on their own, when combined they provide results that are truly spectacular! kinda like Jen when she was combined with Brad, if you know what i mean? fireworks!

what are your favorite homemade recipes for perfect hair? do you usually mix products or prefer to use one at a time? let me know in the comments!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Neglected Treasure

have you ever had a brand new product sitting in your bathroom that you never got around to trying? maybe you weren't very interested in it, or it wasn't too thrilling of a product, or you just plain forgot about it, but this product sits sadly untouched for a very long time. then when you finally try it, you end up LOVING it and could just kick yourself for not trying it sooner?


it was about a year ago now that i was at Sephora, shopping around and attempting to use up a $50 giftcard when i found that everything i'd picked out came to about $47 (yay for Oregon's greatest feature-- NO SALES TAX!). i was determined to use every penny on that giftcard but the only thing i could find at the right price was the Sephora FACE Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover To Go, $3. i didn't really need eye makeup remover seeing as how i'd been a longtime user of Clinique's Take the Day Off but i decided to pick it up anyways and keep it in my purse for any desperate makeup-removal-related situations. since that day it's been rumbling around in the pocket of said purse until recently when i did a purse cleaning and decided to take that cute little blue bottle out of hiding and give it a shot. why not atleast try it out once, right?

since the beginning of my waterproof makeup wearing days, i've been pretty consistently faithful to Clinique's Take the Day Off Makeup Remover for Lids, Lashes, and Lips, $16.50. i was always reasonably satisfied with this formula; it took difficult makeup off without a ton of tugging and scrubbing and the greasiness left behind was washed away easily with whatever cleanser i was using at the time. there was one occasion when i tried a drugstore brand of makeup remover (i'm almost sure it was Neutrogena) and it was so horrible and ineffective it sent me running back to Clinique! maybe this is why i wasn't in any hurry to try the Sephora remover, i'm not sure, but i'm certainly glad that i did!


much like Clinique's makeup remover, Sephora FACE Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover is a 'two phase' formula, meaning it has oil and water in it that will separate in the bottle and will need to be shaken up thoroughly before use. i prefer these two-phase makeup removers to the single phase versions (usually labeled 'non-oily') because they seem to work much better and are gentler on the delicate skin around your eyes. the moment of truth for the Sephora FACE Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover came when i needed to remove not only waterproof mascara but also a good deal of MAC's Blacktrack Fluidline gel eyeliner. i squirted a small amount of the remover onto a cotton pad (far superior to a cotton ball for makeup removal, the balls just soak up the product), pressed it onto my eye to give it a moment to loosen things up, and swept away. it was amazing! the Sephora remover completely melted all of the hard-to-remove eye makeup in mere seconds. there was no tugging or scrubbing necessary, and with a few gentle sweeps everything was removed. although i've had a long run with Clinique's Take The Day Off, i'm happy to say it's being replaced by Sephora FACE Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover. Sephora's formula worked better and took less time to get the job done, and the best part? for the exact same amount of makeup remover (4.2 oz), Sephora's regular size version is $10, clocking in at $6.50 cheaper than Clinique's! who doesn't like to save a few precious pennies where they can?


and just a little tip: when buying cotton pads to use for makeup removal, toners or astringents, try to steer clear of the ones that are square-shaped and sectioned ('quilted'). i found these to be utterly useless because as soon as they're moistened, they start to tear apart at the little seams! the round ones, however, have no sections and work wonderfully. i usually buy my cotton pads at Walgreen's, so here is a picture of the type to avoid that are sold there. meow!




Friday, September 05, 2008

Target Beauty High-Ends It!


if you didn't already know readers, your Kitty is a Target fanatic. lately a good 50% of all my new clothes are purchased there and everytime i go, i find more and more i want! i think the reason why i love Target's clothing so much is because it's cute, stylish and affordable (especially this adorable cardigan i picked up the other day for $19.99!). i am somewhat of a fashion obsessive who spends hours pouring over every available fashion mag and although i would love nothing more than to be able to spend $200 on a simple shirt, it's just not a feasible option for me. i need to be able to buy clothes that i love for reasonable prices, and that's where Target comes in. i think one of the greatest marketing ideas ever dreamed up was for Target to do their GO International lines, where different high-end designers create a line of clothing to be sold through Target at affordable prices. so successful was this venture that the next logical step was for Target to take that same high-end approach to their beauty department!

the new additions to Target's beauty world are less expensive makeup lines from Jemma Kidd ("JK"), Napoleon Perdis ("NP Set") and Petra Strand ("Pixi"). when i first saw them i was very impressed, they have testers for all the products and mirrors and q-tips and the whole shabang set up! although i was in a hurry, i did get to check out the different lines and saw promising things from each of them. i have to admit that i was most interested in the line by Jemma Kidd, whose makeup i have read a lot about but never had the opportunity to see in real life. her I-Tech Liquid Liners, $18 each, come in a rainbow of gorgeous colors and seem to be almost exact dupes of MAC's Liquidlast Liquid Liners. the I-Design Eye Color Collection, $18 each, are beautifully rich eyeshadows that have a very soft, velvety, blendable texture. what really caught my eye were her lipsticks, which come in two formulas: Classic Couture Collection, a creamy, high pigment formula for saturated, classic color and Sheer Vanity Gloss & Glaze Collection, a sheer, glossy lipstick that's heavy on moisture and light on color. when i tried on Belle De Jour from the latter group, i was instantly smitten! i am eternally on the hunt for the perfect nude lipcolor and this has become my new favorite. it has a similar texture to a very glossy lipbalm but significantly lightens your lip color, turning my naturally rosy lips into the pale, baby pink color i'm always chasing after. only problem is, much like MAC's Lustre lipsticks, Belle De Jour is the kind of lipstick that only looks good on lips that are perfectly smooth and flake-free. my solution for flaky lips? sleep with a thick layer of Carmex lip balm on and exfoliate with a warm, wet washcloth in the morning. your lips will be in the perfect condition for your trickiest lipsticks!


as for NP Set and Pixi, i can't share much information since i didn't get to try them out but i'll definitely be checking into them further the next time i'm at Target and will share my conclusions. although i'm very excited about these new additions to Target, i must say that their prices aren't so low-end. as a matter of fact, if you compare products from the artists regular lines to the Target-made lines, there is sometimes only a few dollars difference! if we just apply our regular high-end attitudes to these lines, only buying what we absolutely can't live without, then they will be a worthwhile addition to the Target beauty department, but don't get too caught up in the fact that these lines are supposedly 'inexpensive' and break your budget. happy Target shopping kittens!


have you tried any of the beauty products from the new Target line-up? if so, let's hear what they were and how you liked them!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Guess who's back...




hello readers! are any of you still out there? i hope i haven't been deleted from your favorites list yet! your Pretty Kitty is back in action, all computer problems are fixed and i am ready to do a whole lotta bloggin' about all the things i've tried in my absence!


today i'm going to talk about cleansers, since i've been very interested in them lately. i have always been the type of girl who just washes my face in the shower with whatever soap i'm using at the time (usually Dove) and was totally loyal to Olay Daily Facial Cleansing Cloths while washing at the sink. after severely irritating the skin on my left cheekbone area with AHAs and retinol, i decided that i needed to start using something a little bit more gentle to soothe my angry skin. thus began my search for the perfect cleanser, and i've found several great ones that you've heard me talk about in past posts such as Clinique Liquid Facial Soap Mild (here) and Garnier Nutritioniste Nutri-Pure Detoxifying Gel Cleanser (and here). since i suffer from the terrible "there's gotta be something better out there!" condition, i'm always trying new things even when i already have products that i love, and that's how i found these gems...

LUSH Coal Face Soap, $10.95 for 3.5 ounces, is something i never would have tried if the wonderful employees at LUSH hadn't offered to make me a goodie bag full of samples of their products upon my first visit. this black, slightly gritty soap wouldn't win any beauty contests, but i'm proud to have it sitting by my sink because of the great job it does at cleansing my skin! made with powdered charcoal to remove impurities and exfoliate, licorice to heal naturally, and sandalwood oil to tone the skin, Coal Face packs a powerful punch to regulate misbehaving skin. although it's recommended for those with combo/oily/troubled skin, it worked wonderfully on my normal/slightly dry skin without stripping it or making it feel tight and uncomfortable. it easily removes my makeup and cuts through the grime that accumulates on my face over the course of a long, hot day, leaving my skin feeling squeaky clean (but in a good way!). i even used it one night in the shower to wash my body with, and i loved it for that, too! the only time i would avoid this soap would be if my skin was being unreasonably dry, because it does give you a deep cleansing that might be a little too deep for say, the middle of the winter. stop by your local LUSH store and ask for a sample of Coal Face so you can see what all the fuss is about for yourself!


this next cleanser on my list is a true bargain for those times when you don't have the money to splurge but still want something that gets the job done. Clean and Clear Deep Action Refreshing Gel Cleanser, $4.99, is another product from this line marketed towards teenagers that my 25 year-old skin loves! (i recently wrote a post about Clean & Clear's Dual-Action Moisturizer) i picked this product up about a month ago when i was away from home for the weekend and forgot to pack my regular cleanser, so i just went for the cheapest thing at the drugstore i could find to use for a few days. the Deep Action Refreshing Gel Cleanser really exceeded my expectations by gently but thoroughly cleansing my skin without overdrying it, removing every trace of my makeup and leaving my skin with a refreshing tingle. i love anything minty/tingly and this one does not disappoint! because this cleanser is so inexpensive, i even use it as a bodywash after a hot, sticky day because it leaves my skin feeling so clean, smooth and refreshed. it now lives in my shower and gets used on a regular basis, and all this for the fabulous price of $4.99!


what are your favorite cleansers? do you have any suggestions for a face wash that really stands out from the rest of the pack? let me know in the comments!


Monday, August 11, 2008

It's the PITS!


does everyone see the picture of the innocent-looking deodorant to their right? take a good long look at it so that you never make the mistake of purchasing this nightmare! it's seldom that i hate a product so much that i want to warn people about it, but this Almay deodorant has left me feeling desperate to prevent anyone from wasting their money on it the way i did! buyers beware!

Almay Clear Gel Fragrance-Free Antiperspirant & Deodorant, $3.09, looked perfect for me when i spotted it at the drugstore a few weeks ago. not only is it fragrance-free (which i prefer), but it's also hypo-allergenic and seemed to be a gentle formula that wouldn't cause any irritation. also a great plus was that the gel is clear as opposed to the white solids that claim to be clear but really leave you with visible white flecks (oh how i hate that! soooo not a good look!). although i'm pretty loyal to my Dove deodorant, i decided to give Almay a chance because it seemed like a great choice for the summer, wearing tank tops, etc.

the next afternoon i was planning to run around town with my friend and so after a shower, i applied the new deodorant. i made sure to carefully twist up only a tiny bit because i hate the wet, sticky feeling gel deodorants can leave you with when you've applied too much. right after i put it on it felt very sticky and slimy but i was in such a rush to get out the door that i figured it would dry eventually and off i went. huge mistake! as we were driving i was becoming more and more uncomfortable because instead of drying and becoming undetectable like it should have, the gel had only sort of halfway dried, leaving it feeling extremely tacky. it got so bad that i felt like i had covered my armpits in Super Glue! everytime i moved or lifted my arm the skin of my armpits actually stuck together! and when i touched the area where i had applied, it left my fingers feeling weirdly powdery but slick. it was unbelievably disgusting and i eventually had to go into a bathroom and wipe it off with a wet paper towel! can you imagine?!

as soon as i got home this monstrosity got tossed in the garbage can, and that's saying a lot because i almost NEVER throw away any kind of beauty products. it is officially the worst product i've had the displeasure of using in 2008. stay far, far away unless you have a thing for Super Glued pits! if you're in the market for a nice deodorant & anti-perspirant, check out Dove's range, several of which i've used and liked. they don't cause irritation, leave your armpits soft and smooth and hardly ever show up in little white flecks (especially if you only apply a small amount). i just got the Dove Go Fresh Cool Essentials Green Tea & Cucumber formula, $4.50, and not only does it smell great but it performs as well.

what are some of the worst products you've ever used? i'd love to hear about them so i can avoid them myself, so let me know in the comments!

Starflashing


hello readers! if you've been wondering where i've been lately i don't blame you-- so have all my other computer acquaintances! the deal is i'm having very annoying computer difficulties and haven't been able to get online for about a week now. very frustrating! i don't want to lose all my loyal readers so i thought i'd pop on here and let you know that things will be up and running again ASAP (prob around the 18th). i'll be back in action and ready to review several new things that i'm dying to talk about! for now i'm going to give you a quick taste of the new MAC eye shadow collection that i'm very excited about...

Starflash consists of 12 new pearly eye shadows, 4 Kohl Power eye pencils, and Plushlash mascara. i really couldn't care less about the eyeliners and mascara, but the eye shadows! they are gorgeous! you really need to motor to your local MAC counter and take a look at them, they range from green to purple to copper to pink and a few more in between. as usual the texture, pigment and blendability are fabulous and the price is do-able at $14.50 a piece (that is unless you want to get them all, like i did!). i settled for Glamour Check!, a beautiful shimmery copper (described on MAC's website as "frosty reddish brown") that i plan to pair with an equally shimmery aqua (either Shimmermoss or Parrot) for a bright, fun summer nighttime eye.

if you're interested in the rest of the eye shadows in the Starflash collection, check them out here, and if you like what you see, hurry to your counter because these babies are limited edition (who would have guessed it?!). meow!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Sashay, Tarjay!

happy August everyone! today marks the beginning of the hottest month of summer, which i hate, but also marks the unofficial last month of summer, which i love! just seeing those big, fat, juicy September issues of all my favorite fashion mags on the newsstands makes my heart pound! i love the Fall and can't wait for cool weather, sweaters, boots and blankets again!

but anyways...since there are still a few months of warm weather before us, i wanted to alert you all to my latest adorable fashion finds from Target. i freaking LOVE Target and think it's the best thing since TiVo! Target has adorable affordable clothes and shoes, a fabulous beauty section, great things for your house and kitchen and food to boot! what more could a bargain-savvy girl ask for?! the only thing that could make me love Target more would be if they had an in-store Sephora or they gave me an unlimited free gift card.

first there's this adorable striped dress for $15 which looks about a thousand times cuter in real life than it does in this picture! i'm not really a dress person per say because i feel that my legs aren't exactly up to supermodel standards but even i can rock this casual dress. it's easy to wear, not too short, looks cute with flats or plain old flip flops and the pockets don't accentuate your hips. i love it so much i got it in this color and green, too!

next is this tiered dress, $15 also, which looks a little 5th grader-ish in the picture but is adorable and not too elementary school in real life. i think this dress is really versatile because you could wear it just the way it is with flip flops or heels when it's warm out and then when it cools down, you could add a cardigan, a cute scarf, tights and/or knee boots and it would still look great! you could keep it super casual or dress it up (somewhat) for a date or a night out with the girls. i also got this one in 2 colors, grey and turquoise (hey, i know it's not super adventurous to get several of the same dresses in different colors but i got a little overexcited that i had finally found dresses i liked myself in!)

next is this really, really cute green tunic-style shirt, $9.99 (which also looks not-so-cute-at-all in the picture; what's up with these pictures?!) that i almost didn't try on because i find a lot of shirts with elastic under the boobs very unflattering even on 90 lb models, but i'm glad i did because it's really nice! it comes in several different colors and is a really easy throw-it-on-in-2 -seconds-and-still- look-decent kind of shirt. love!

last of all there is this simple but interesting tank top, $9.99, that comes in several different colors of which i picked white and grey. it has ruching along the neckline, sleeves and hem that just adds a little something to an otherwise standard wardrobe staple. the white one looks especially adorable with a long gold chain necklace, my super dark skinny jeans cuffed at the ankle and bright red strappy stilettos! classic with a twist, and perfect for a hot summer night when you want to be comfortable but still look your most adorable.

these are just a few of the treasures to be found at Target. it should be your first stop if you're looking for camisoles or spaghetti strap tanks to go under things, flip flops in every color of the rainbow or some cute new pajama pants. what i love most is to see the type of woman who's not so hung up on status and labels that she can mix a ten dollar shirt from Target with a $175 pair of jeans, $2 earrings from Forever 21 and a $300 handbag and end up looking a thousand times more unique and fabulous than the fashion victim in head-to-toe designer clothes! this is my fashion inspiration.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tried and True (Blue)


remember Bath and Body Works? i know you all do, because you went there during high school everytime you hit up the mall to get your Cucumber Melon lotion and your favorite Juniper Breeze body splash! then, like me, you probably outgrew B&BW and moved on to Sephora, Nordstrom's, etc. for your bath and body needs. what we didn't know was that while we were ignoring B&BW all these years since, it was growing up right along with us!

although it's still not my most beloved store, there are definitely some things worth checking out at the old B&BW. what i'm really into right now is their True Blue Spa line, an in-house brand of goodies that is supposed to give you a spa experience in the comfort of your own home. they have tons of products ranging from lotions to hand creams to scrubs and even self tanners (one of which The Beauty Addict is a big fan of!). the product that's getting the most love from me at the moment is their I'm In The Mood For Scrub Foaming Body Buff With Shea Butter Beads, $20 (for 16 fl. oz.). this bright blue scrub works overtime at getting your body smoothed, exfoliated, and softened. i don't know about you but i like a really good buffing from my scrubs, and it seems that a lot of them don't get the job done at all! they're either too creamy with not enough beads, the beads are too gentle or they just plain don't work any better than a washcloth! definitely not the case with I'm In The Mood For Scrub, which really attacks that dry, scaly skin and leaves your body as smooth as glass! it only takes a small amount massaged into wet skin, making sure to really hit all the dry areas like elbows, back of arms, knees and shins, to leave you as soft as a baby's bottom. it's the perfect thing to use before self tanning because although the shea butter beads leave you moisturized, they never leave you greasy or with a film lingering on your skin. this scrub rinses clean and as an added bonus, it smells great! although $20 might seem like a lot compared to the scrub you use now, it's worth it to have a product that really does it job and lasts for a long time. i'm planning to try more things from the True Blue Spa line, and i'll report back on what other gems there are waiting for us at B&BW!

what are your favorite scrubs? any tips or tricks on how to get your bod in tip top soft and smooth shape? let me know in the comments!

WTF?!


can someone PLEASE tell me what in the f**k is going on with Katie Holmes these days?! girlfriend went from an adorable, super stylish and age appropriate young mom to a 75 year old crazy lady circa 1986! i don't care if she's shooting a movie or not, i wouldn't look like this in public (or private!) for 10 million dollars a DAY! how can you go from looking like this (right) to that scary 80's Mary Kay grandma up above? she needs to straighten out that HIDEOUS hairdo, wash off all that theatre makeup and start from scratch. has anyone else been wondering what's up with her lately besides me?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

ISO Summer Moisture

it's officially summer, and i couldn't be less thrilled. YES! i said it. i am not a big fan of the summer anymore! when i was younger and summer meant no school, running around free with no responsibilities and swimming and sunbathing all day, me and summer were very close. now that i'm all grown up and responsibilities never end and i don't get to swim, to me summer is just a hot, annoyingly long stretch of feeling sweaty and extra pale. plus, in the summertime wearing makeup isn't half as much fun because no one wants to feel anything heavy on their faces. because of this, the first thing that has to change about your summer routine is your moisturizer! you've got to go lighter, sheerer, and for most people, less moisturizing.

during the colder months i love to slather all kinds of luxurious, thick, super moisturizing creams on my slightly combo skin but in the summer that would be a recipe for disaster. instead, what i like to look for is a product that is light and easily absorbed but still does it's job making sure my skin doesn't get flaky without also turning it into an oil slick. one of my newly discovered favorites for this job is Clean and Clear's Dual Action Moisturizer, $5.99. now i know what you're thinking; Clean and Clear is for teenagers! and yes, it is a line marketed towards younger people, but this moisturizer is worth venturing into teenybopper territory. it's oil-free formula is perfect for hot, humid summer days when your skin needs hydration minus the extra greasiness and the small amount of salicylic acid included helps to clear pores and fight breakouts without drying out your skin. it's light, absorbs quickly and leaves your skin feeling soft, smooth and ready for makeup. an added bonus? after applying, the Dual Action Moisturizer gives your skin a refreshing cool tingle! it might surprise you at first but it's a very nice pick-me-up on a muggy morning!

if you're looking for a lighter moisturizer but don't need salicylic acid or a tingle, another great, affordable option is Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion, $10.99 (for sixteen ounces, a LOT of product!). i've had my bottle of Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion for almost three years now and still haven't finished it up! i absolutely adore this lotion and it's heavier, cream counterpart for moisturizing my thirsty skin and creating a perfect canvas for makeup (especially when used under the eyes, it really sets the stage for a smooth concealer application). the lotion is a perfect summer choice because it's light, soothes and plumps up the skin without leaving it greasy and absorbs without leaving behind any stickiness. it's important to use only a small amount of this lotion because applying too much could leave you shiny, but when used in moderation it's great! non-comedogenic and perfect for sensitive skin, Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion contains no lanolins, parabens, and is fragrance-free.

if you're looking to treat yourself to something special, then Ojon's Tawaka Ancient Tribal Rejuvenating Cream, $55, is the product for you. this 99% natural cream is chock full of wild-crafted antioxidants including savage cacao, which has the antioxidant equivalent of 204 pounds of blueberries! hypoallergenic, preservative and color-free, Tawaka moisturizes the skin and protects it against damage from free radicals. why do i love this so much? first of all, although it has a hefty price tag, you're getting 6.1 ounces of product in this jar--a humongous amount! most face creams of the same price give you 1.5 ounces if you're lucky, so if you look at it the right way, Tawaka is a bargain! the cream itself is almost the texture of a balm but somehow manages to completely disappear once you've applied it to your skin! now, let me tell you, your face is left unbelievably soft and hydrated, but there is absolutely no trace of any kind of 'product' left behind on your skin. it makes the most amazingly PERFECT base for mineral makeup of anything i've ever tried, acting as a kind of natural primer that holds the minerals and makes everything look smooth and glowy. i've never had it cause any kind of irritation or breakouts, and on the contrary it actually seems to soothe troubled skin. although i reserve this cream for my face, you can use it all over your body and even in your hair! it's a perfect do-it-all product for summer and even better for traveling since it eliminates lugging along a moisturizer, makeup primer, body cream, and hair smoother. i've had my jar for atleast 6 months now and still haven't put much of a dent in it, so it'll last you quite a while if you can make the initial splurge.

using a lighter moisturizer in the summer will help to prevent all kinds of nasty occurrences like clogged pores, mid-day oil slicks, and makeup meltdown. what are your favorite products to use when the temperature rises? let me know in the comments!

Clean and Clear and Cetaphil products can be found at your drugstore and grocery stores and Ojon's line can be purchased from QVC.

Lash Stash

i just happened to come across this on Sephora's website and wanted to share--swoon! SEVEN mini mascaras for the price of one expensive mascara ($28)?! now that's a collection i can get on board with! there is nothing i enjoy more than buying/testing new mascaras so of course this Lash Stash really gets my blood flowing. only problem is, i've found in several cases (such as Too Faced Lash Injection and Benefit BAD Gal Lash) that the mini versions of some mascaras are NOTHING like their full-sized counterparts. i have no idea how this could be, seeing as how i'm sure the formula is the same (how could it not be?) and the brush is also the same design, but i'm telling you it's the truth. there is no comparison between the mini Lash Injection and the regular one! the mini gives no volume whatsoever and you're left with the most average results you can possibly imagine. i've never tried the full-sized BAD Gal Lash, but the mini didn't give me any volume or length, either, and i know that the original is supposed to give you mega-lashes. any ideas on why the smaller packaging changes the final results of the mascara?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

More Chi for Me!

you know how sometimes you're using a product that you're totally thrilled with but after you've been loyal to it for awhile you start to notice your eye wandering over to something else? this is exactly what happened to me recently after using my beloved Kiehl's Heat Protective Straightening Cream,$15, for a little over a year. it works wonderfully, is top tier in my personal Hair Product Hall of Fame, and does everything i need it to do, but...i want to try new things that work even better! and so goes the life of a beauty junkie.

when i was doing research on Folica.com before purchasing my Babyliss Pro NANO Titanium Flat Iron, i read a lot of customer reviews that recommended using CHI (pronounced "chee", i always thought it was pronounced "kai"until my hairstylist embarrassingly corrected me!) haircare products and they really peaked my interest. i had never tried any of CHI's products before except for one of their flat irons, and with all these rave reviews i figured it was high time i give them a spin.

since i like my naturally wavy hair to be as flat, straight, and silky as humanly possible, CHI's Silk Infusion seemed like the product for me. Silk Infusion is a serum that was designed to be used as a leave-in treatment to smooth, soften, and strengthen the hair using ingredients like silk, wheat and soy proteins. it doesn't cause build-up (supposedly, i'll have to report back on that claim after further use), leaves the hair super shiny and protects against heat-styling. now i used serums when they first came out back in the original Frizz Ease days, but for quite a few years since i've moved on to hair creams, so i was very nervous the first time i used Silk Infusion since we all know that if you use even a drop too much of serum it can ruin your whole blowout and leave you with a total grease mop! because of that fear, i didn't use enough and my results were only so-so. the second time i used Silk Infusion (always on damp hair before blowdrying) was last night and i conquered my serum overload fear, used the right amount (i'd say about a dime-sized drop distributed evenly throughout my hair but concentrated more towards the ends), and got the most amazing, exciting, jump-up-and-down results from a hair product that i've gotten in years! my hair was literally as smooth as silk and as shiny as glass! and remember, it was just last week that i got my hair dyed, bleached, and highlighted, so it's not in it's most naturally shiny state. i only had to run my flat iron over each section of hair one time and it fell completely flat and silky, as straight as a poker, just the way i like it! and the smell- the SMELL! it's the most luxuriously expensive salon smell i've ever smelled. total haircare heaven! the only not-so-heavenly part of Silk Infusion is that it can be pretty pricey; i got my 2 oz. bottle at Walgreen's for a wallet-breaking $13.50, and let me tell you that 2 oz. is not a lot of product! the only good things about this are 1. you only need a tiny bit so a 2 oz. bottle should last you a long time and 2. you can definitely buy bigger bottles or find better prices online.

as if one amazing product from CHI isn't enough, i also recently acquired their Shine Infusion Thermal Polishing Spray, $10.99, which is a weightless shine-enhancing finishing spray that leaves your hair soft, de-poufed and perfectly 'done'. it's a miracle fix for your second day hair that is feeling a little dry and fuzzy and needs something to make it look brand new again! now i know that just a few posts ago i went on and on about how my L'oreal Studio Line Shine Seeker Glass Shine Spray is such a great product for such a great (low) price and how i felt no need to use something three times as much just because it was high-end but...well... isn't there room for more than one shine spray in every girl's bathroom?! ok, now i know i'm rationalizing, and if i was ever low on funds my L'oreal shine spray would be just fine, but i think i like the Shine Infusion just a little bit more! i really prefer how Shine Infusion comes in an aerosol can that sprays out an extremely fine mist as opposed to the pump spray of the L'oreal product. and once again, the Shine Infusion has that amazing expensive salon smell that i just can't get enough of! the point is, they're both fabulous products and i will continue to love and use them both.

after trying and adoring these two products from CHI, i'm wondering what other things i'm missing from this incredible brand! what are your favorite CHI products? have you ever tried Shine or Silk Infusion, and if so, what did you think? let me know in the comments!

Egg Crazy!

ok readers, today i have two little words for you: PED EGG! this little contraption has completely won me over and now i am ready to get on top of buildings (or on my webpage, same diff) and sing it's praises! this amazing little tool is my newest must-have and just might be my favorite purchase of 2008 so far!

you know how after a spring and summer of wearing nothing but sandals your feet get all heinous and hoof-like? well, mine do. since i basically start wearing sandals in April and never go back to shoes until after September, my feet start to resemble those of a Cro Magnon. my heels get rock hard and all scratchy, i get a bump on the outside of each big toe, and i am horribly embarrassed to wear cute, strappy sandals when my feet are the texture of concrete. i mean craggy concrete feet don't exactly beg to be put into a pair of Manolos, do they? or, in my case, a pair of really cute sandals from Target! i have a heavy-duty pumice stone that i keep in the shower and even though i go crazy on my feet every few nights, they never get smooth or soft like i want them to be. i've tried those salicylic acid creams, metal exfoliators, sandpaper-like devices, and nothing works well enough. enter the Ped Egg!

the Ped Egg is actually a plastic egg-shaped device that has stainless steel micro-files on one side and a little area to catch the dead skin that you remove when you use it (and a truly wonderful thing-- once you wear out the blades on the file that comes with the Ped Egg, you can purchase three replacement files for only $9.99!). it's quick and easy to use, fits comfortably into your hand, is easy to wash with soap and water, costs only ten dollars and works better than ANY OTHER FOOT SMOOTHING TOOL I HAVE EVER SEEN BEFORE IN MY LIFE! even after a top-notch $40 pedicure my feet have never been half as smooth as they are after using the Ped Egg for under ten minutes. it basically just shaves off the old, hardened, dead skin that accumulates on your feet and is impossible to remove any other way. it gets rid of years of craggy heel build-up and leaves your feet perfectly smooth and soft! and the best part? it doesn't hurt a bit. not even a teensy little bit, and believe me, i would be willing to put up with a little discomfort to get results this amazing, but i don't have to!

since i'm a weirdo person who enjoys things like facial extractions and Biore Pore Strips, my favorite part of the Ped Egg is taking off the lid when you're done and seeing all that dead skin that you've just removed! it's highly gross and super satisfying. i thought since i try to practice full disclosure with my blog and really give you my honest opinion on the products i write about that i'd show you what was in my Ped Egg after the first time i used it. reader beware!

i really hope that if you have any roughness on your feet, you'll give the Ped Egg a chance. you will fall in love with how simple, painless, and easy it is to have baby soft feet again after suffering from hooves for so long! i bought mine (a limited-edition pink version supporting breast cancer) at Walgreen's and you should too because if you end up not liking it, you can return it with no questions asked. now go get Egging!

the Ped Egg and it's replacement files are available at drugstores like Walgreen's and Rite Aid, Target, WalMart, and at their website.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hair Color Upkeep


HOLA readers! i'll just jump right in and tell you that the odd mystery-face picture you're seeing above is The Kitty herself! last Tuesday i had an appointment for a cut and color by the fabulous Katie at Wack Salon here in Portland, OR and after over four hours in her chair, i emerged a brand new woman! well, a brand new looking woman that is. does anyone else seem to find that every time they go for a major cut/color it takes them this long before they're finished? i feel like i'm the only weirdo out there who's hair always takes over four hours to do! anyways, i had my shoulder-length, faded auburnish-brown hair transformed into a mid-neck length A-line cut with some cute bangs in a fresh auburn shade with some bright coppery highlights! and i LOVE it. i would highly recommend going to see Katie if you're ever in the area, because she is amazing!

now that i have my naturally mousy dishwater blonde hair cleverly disguised as a gorgeous deep red, i'd like to prevent it from fading and becoming boring, so i thought today i'd give you my tips on how to keep newly colored hair looking as good as the day you left the salon! if you're interested in maintaining your own freshly dyed hair, read on!

most traditional shampoos contain harsh detergents and Sodium Laurel Sulfates (or SLS) which are the ingredients that give you the lather that you think is responsible for cleaning your hair. problem is, SLS can strip the healthy natural oils from your mane and also destroy your expensive color! i know the thought of using a shampoo that doesn't lather is very weird to most people, as it also was to me, but i swear, you can get your hair clean and soft and full of body without the suds! one of my favorite ways to cleanse my hair without the suds (also posted about here) is by using WEN Cleansing Conditioners, $28. created by L.A.-based hairstylist Chaz Dean, WEN Cleansing Conditioners clean your hair without the harsh chemicals and detergents that most shampoos contain. by using natural astringent and antibacterial qualities, WEN leaves your hair soft, silky, clean and healthy, all the while perfectly maintaining your dye job! there are several different WEN formulas, but my favorite is the Fig Cleansing Conditioner that was created for dry, damaged, or ethnic hair. it leaves your hair super hydrated without weighing it down at all, and it (like all of the Cleansing Conditioners) can also be used as a leave-in treatment! so put away your shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, and styling cream and just get yourself a bottle WEN, stat!

if you just can't part with those beloved suds, another great shampoo and conditioner set you can try is Pureology's Anti-Fade Complex Hydrate Line. these formulas are not only gentle, hydrating, and super concentrated, but they're also sulfate and salt-free, 100% vegan, and are never tested on animals. their Anti-Fade Complex Hydrate Shampoo, $23.95, produces tons of luxurious lather that deeply but gently cleans your hair, leaving your color as rich and beautiful as the day you got it done. it's also extremely concentrated, so although it's pricey, this shampoo will last you many months used a few times a week. and if you're paying good money for quality hair color, isn't it worth it to buy good products that will help to maintain your look? their Anti-Fade Complex Hydrate Conditioner, $23.95, uses jojoba oil, shea butter, and a multiweight protein complex to restore moisture to your hair and leave it soft, smooth and bouncy. an added bonus is the stimulating tingle you get on your scalp from the peppermint oils that this conditioner contains! i LOVE it!

to keep your colored hair in tip-top shape, a deep conditioning treatment used once a week is also essential. right now i'm loving Redken's Smooth Down Butter Treat, $14.25, for extra hydration. it uses an ionic smoothing complex of macadamia oil, candelilla wax, and cationic refiners to restore your hair's lost oils, smooth roughness and unruly texture, and zap your frizzies with a humidity resistant finish. this deep conditioner is thick, smooth, and seems to melt right into your hair, leaving it super soft with just the right amount of slip. for strengthening hair that's lost some of it's muscle due to coloring, i adore Joico KPAK Deep Penetrating Reconstructor, $16.95. this intensive protein treatment has a balance of 19 essential amino acids that adhere to your hair to reconstruct it in the places it's weakened and protect it from further damage. it smells absolutely amazing, like clean, fresh bananas, and there is a noticeable and visible difference in the health of your hair after ONE treatment! after my last hair dying debacle where the stylist messed up my color and had to dye my hair TWICE and tone it THREE times, Joico KPAK DPR was my savior! in one ten minute treatment, my hair went from over-processed straw to the soft, silky texture i'm used to. this is one little tube that i cannot live without!

other tips for keeping your hair color from fading? using a leave-in product with some sunscreen in it, wearing a hat or bandana when you know you'll be out in the sun, and saturating your hair with conditioner before going swimming in either chlorine or saltwater. if you're dedicated to being vigilant about protecting your color, you'll save yourself a lot of money the next time you have a hair appointment and end up only having to get your roots touched up! good luck from The Kitty, and i'll let you know how the products i've recommended here today work at keeping my red bright and fresh! meow!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Electro Flash Mineralize Eye Shadows

well readers, you may want to remain seated before you read this next bit of news, but...it seems that MAC has a new collection out! LOL! how shocking, right?! i'm only joking, i adore all things MAC and i love their many, many collections and never miss a chance to run to the nearest counter to check them out! which brings us to this post, which is on the stunning Mineralize Eye Shadows that are in the Electro Flash collection. check out all nine of these beauties, below...

aren't they gorgeous?! i looked at all of them in person today at the MAC counter and i have to say, although all nine are really amazing, my favorites are Sea & Sky and Odd Couple (which looks much prettier and brighter in real life)! these shadows are incredibly pigmented and look gorgeous used as both shadow and as liner (i even tested some out wet! they were fab!). for $17.50 a piece, you're getting a large amount of shadow, several different colors, and endless eye shadow combinations! not a bad deal.

there are also lipsticks and glosses in the collection, which you can see here, but the eye shadows are the standout product. have you tried or purchased any of these shadows, and if so, how are you liking them?

above photo of the eye shadows was borrowed from ebay.

Iconic Show

so readers, today i got the scoop on a new DiorShow mascara, and i'm not sure but i think i might be the first person to be reporting on this! i just saw it today at Nordstrom's and my eyes almost popped out of my head because it looks VERY PROMISING!

Iconic Show is it's name and it's housed in a very sleek, glam silver tube (it looks a lot like the white tube pictured to the right except it's silver) and it has a silicone brush that has bristles on it in rows at an angle...kind of like rows of little silicone bristles spiraling around the wand! i didn't get a chance to try it on my lashes (because by that time i had already piled on about 15 different mascaras!) but just the appearance of it looks very exciting! the silicone bristles are short, small, and placed very close together, which makes me think that it would be EXCELLENT at lengthening, separating, and fanning out your lashes instead of spiderfying them like the original DiorShow. now i know i might get flamed for that prior statement because many, many people adore the regular DiorShow, but i've tried with three different tubes and several formulations (regular, waterproof, Ultimate, Blackout) and none of them have really wow'ed me the way they're supposed to. i have searched far and wide online and can't find one picture of Iconic Show or any information on it, but i did call a Dior employee and they told me that this new mascara is slated for a Fall release and isn't available for purchase now; it's currently being displayed in the stores to create a buzz and so people can lust after it (i'm guessing). strange because i don't remember the Dior SA i talked to today in Nordstrom's telling me i couldn't buy it...but that's what the Dior person said on the phone. so, very exciting news for those of us who don't yet have a DiorShow mascara to call our own!

if anyone has tested out Iconic Show at their local Nordie's, let me know how you like it! and remember, you heard this fresh-off-the-counter news here, first! ;D