Friday, June 27, 2008


my newest lip obsession of the moment is Chanel's Glossimer in Sirop. it turns out that i'm probably the last person alive in the free world to not have known about the magic of this lip gloss! it is revered for it's ability to flatter anyone's skin color and how versatile it is with different types of looks. it is unlike any other color i've ever come across, and i've gazed upon many, many glosses!

i think the thing that is making me so crazy over this particular lip gloss is the fact that i am very much not a 'pink girl'. i don't like pink lipstick, pink lipgloss, or pink blush. since i'm very fair with pink and yellow undertones, i feel like i look like a creepy babydoll when i try to wear pinks. not so with Sirop, which is like a light coral/pink color that's almost fluorescent but very sheer and juicy looking. that's about the best i can describe it, you'll have to experience it for yourselves. this color just lights up my face and brings some oomph and volume to any makeup look i'm doing (particularly working well with my crazy electric winged liner days of late). i am so excited about it, i'm actually thinking about springing for a full-sized tube, at the OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive price of $27! right now i'm babying the small sample-sized tube i have, and counting my precious pennies.

what's your favorite i-would-spend-$400-on-it-if-i-had-to gloss? have you ever tried Sirop, and if so, do you love it like i do?

Wing It, Again

so one of my last posts was about me being fixated with colorful, dramatic winged eyeliner, and i have to say that since that post, i've discovered and tested out a few things that i wanted to add, so i'm doing a little sequel post here for anyone interested! anyways...

the Too Faced Liquif-Eye, $17.50, a felt-tipped liquid eyeliner-style tool that sits in a well of clear liquid turns any eye shadow you have into a sharp, waterproof, liquid-liner looking masterpiece! a few days after writing about it, i returned to Sephora to pick it up and it turned out to be well worth the money! i got the sharpest, clearest line and it was incredibly easy to use. i think it will pack the most punch when paired with dark, shimmery, metallic-looking shadows that are well pigmented and soft in texture. so far i've used it with the following eye shadows: MAC's Deep Truth, Contrast, Urban Decay's Last Call and Smoke and that was only in a few days! i am addicted to this little product, and if you love a liquid liner look but don't want to buy a bunch of different colors, this will be a great buy for you, too.

for those who don't want to commit to buying an eye shadow-to-eyeliner creating product until they've decided they'll really put it to good use, you can test the waters first with Visine Eye Drops! yes, i tested it out for a few days before buying the Liquif-Eye, and it works very well and much better than your standard water from the sink. i'm sure any other saline type eye drops will also work well, so if you're more of a Clear Eyes girl, no big deal. just dip your eyeliner brush lightly into a bit of the Visine and then stroke the surface of your eye shadow to pick up some color and draw away! for some reason the Visine helps the color to go on smoother, stay fresh longer, and look more vivid and metallic. it's definitely a good choice for experimenting, so try it out!

although i think that liquid liners give the best result for this type of look, you can also use pencils if that's what you're most comfortable with. i've found a really nice, soft yet precise and affordable pencil in Prestige's Soft Blend Kohl Eyeliner in Lagoon, $3 (around there, always under $5). Lagoon is a gorgeous, bright, vibrant teal color that stays put and makes a powerful pop above any eyelashes. Prestige also has amazing colors in their liquid liners (pictured at left); the purple, gold and green are my personal favorites! another good pick if you're looking for pretty colors in a pencil form are any of MAC's eyeliners. they have every color of the rainbow and the quality is phenomenal! i love Fluidlines for doing winged liner, but their pencils also make great, bright lines.

do you have any tips or tricks for doing bright winged liner? if so i'd love to hear them, i am obsessed at the moment!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Cheers & Jeers

hey readers! today i'm going to be giving some opinions on a few things i've tried lately, some good, some very, very bad! a few days ago i went to Mecca (A.K.A. Sephora; to all who may take that offensively, i'm only kidding, promise) and of course, it was a wonderful, manic, exciting experience with me breathlessly running around, eyes as big as saucers, not knowing where to start or what to pick up first! the main reason for my visit was to purchase the Kat Von D for Sephora eye shadow palette in Beethoven, $34-- i was majorly yearning for this palette after looking at the pics of it online and reading all the gushing reviews on MUA, but when i got face-to-face with it, my mature, frugal side caught up with me. although it's gorgeous, i have a dupe of almost every color in it, and i really didn't need to splurge on it at that time. even so, i would definitely recommend buying it if you don't already have similar colors-- it's a phenomenal value for $34 and the shadows are very pigmented and blendable!

next up on the list of things to check out was the Tarte EmphasEYES High Definition Eye Pencil, $18, (posted about recently here). this pencil was made specifically for lining your waterline (or the inner rim of your eyelids) and promises to stay put all day and be very easy to apply thanks to it's slim size. unfortunately, i did buy this one, and wish i had not! while the pencil is a great size and does glide on, that's about where it's attributes end. the color it applies to your waterline is far from the dark, sooty black it should be, and it only stays put for about five minutes before making a getaway to the area beneath your bottom lashes. i was shocked and appalled by this because when i see it demo'd on QVC it looks perfect and seems to stay put! needless to say, this pencil is going straight back to Sephora and i would definitely NOT recommend it if you're wanting it for it's designed use. it may work wonderfully as a regular eyeliner, but that's not what it's marketed for, and not what i wanted it for! BOO!

the next thing i tested and fell madly in love with was Bare Escentuals Multi-Tasking Face (concealer) in Summer Bisque, $18, with the Maximum Coverage Concealer Brush, $20. i have also watched this countless times on QVC but i have never, ever believed that anything in the form of a powder could work on the undereye area without highlighting every tiny, usually invisible line, but... somehow it does! i don't know how, but it works! this concealer went on smoothly and covered up the remaining darkness that my regular concealer had missed, didn't look dry or cakey, didn't accentuate any lines and stayed put for the rest of the (hot) day, all while protecting the delicate undereye area with SPF 20! i am very impressed! kudos to Leslie for a job well done! i would definitely recommend testing this out the next time you're at Sephora or a BE boutique, you may be as surprised as i was!

last and certainly least, today i am thanking the gods of Sephora for the choice i made to take home a sample of Ojon's Hydrating Styling Cream, $10-30, instead of buying the $10-sized tube. this styling cream promises to "dramatically smooth and hydrate dull and damaged hair, adding definition, moisture, and brilliant shine with a blend of 100% pure Ojon palm nut oil. it helps reduce breakage caused by thermal styling, protects hair against UV rays, and prolongs the life of hair color." well, let me be the first to tell you, it doesn't do any of those things (unless it protects against UV rays, i couldn't vouch for that claim). first off, the styling cream has all these tiny orange balls in it, i'm assuming which contain the Ojon palm nut oil, and they have the appearance of those Vitamin E balls that are in some soaps and burst when you touch them. problem is, these do NOT burst, even with vigorous rubbing, and so when you try to smooth the product through your hair, you can still SEE some of the orange balls! yuck! i would be willing to look past that annoying complication if this styling cream left my hair soft, smooth, and hydrated, but it does NONE of those things. instead, after blow-drying and flat-ironing, my hair feels coarse, dry, and straw-like. and my hair isn't even moderately damaged, i would say it's in fairly good shape for being color-treated and heat-styled on a daily basis. so if this styling cream couldn't smooth and moisturize my hair, i can't imagine how horribly off it would leave truly damaged hair! and another thing: i am not super sensitive to smells in products, but many people are, and this weird, cigars-mixed-with-chocolate smell that the Ojon line uses is not pleasing. i know many people who wouldn't use any of the products based solely on the smell alone! this rip-off product gets a big thumb's down from the Kitty, who will never go near it again.

what are your new favorite finds? i'd love to know, so please share!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Oscillation Fascination

ok, so if you haven't already read on a billion other beauty blogs, this is Lancome's new Oscillation Mascara, set to launch in Fall 2008. so what's with all the buzz on this mascara? well, it's because it actually buzzes! yes, this mascara gives no less than 7,000 vibrations per minute to give you 360 degree lash coverage which i guess equals a perfect fringe. what i'd love to know is how adding vibrations to a rubber-bristled mascara brush is going to make my lashes look perfect? wouldn't it just make it harder to get an even application? wouldn't the buzzing cause many mascara mess-ups? i'd love to know what you all think, so...

Wing It

lately i have been very fixated on colorful winged eyeliner, and instead of buying a thousand different colors of liquid or gel liner to get this look, i've been using my eye shadows! i already have a bathroom full of eye shadows, and this way i can wear a different color everyday if i want without spending a ton of money. now, there are a few different ways to do this, the better way being to use a liquid specifically designed for this purpose that helps the shadow to go on smoothly and stay on all day! some good options for this are products like MAC's Mixing Medium, a liquid that you add to shadows or pigments to get a liquid color, but unfortunately you can only buy this from the MAC Pro line, which you need a membership to (if interested, go here to join). for those of us who aren't MAC Pro members, i know of a very simple recipe to make a homemade version of the Mixing Medium that works just as well! check out this post from Pursebuzz for the ingredients needed and directions, and start lining! if you're not interested in making your own version, Too Faced has a product called Liquif-Eye, $17.50, which is a clear liquid housed in a little well with a felt-tipped applicator that turns any shadow into a waterproof eyeliner! and if you're me, you just use tap water for the job, LOL!

once you've secured your mixing liquid, you'll need an area to moisten your shadow and make it into a liner! a little tip i've learned is that the easiest thing to use for this is a clean contact lens case! just think about it, it has two perfect little wells where you can mix whatever you'd like, and is inexpensive and easy to clean. perfect! now choose your shadow; i personally like dark, shimmery colors, my current favorite being MAC's Deep Truth eye shadow, $14, a jewel-toned blue color. eye shadow pigments work perfectly for this job, and whether you use one from MAC or one of Bare Escentuals loose shadows, you'll need a brush to apply. my favorite for the job? MAC's 209 Eyeliner brush, $17. if you aren't using a loose shadow, my recommendation is to only moisten your brush slightly and use one small corner of your eye shadow pan to pull color from, so you aren't adding moisture to your whole pan of shadow. do a few practice strokes on your hand to make sure the color saturation is right, and line away!

i think that a bright pop of winged liner looks so modern and fresh, especially for the summer. my favorite way to wear it? without any other eye shadow to complicate things on a slightly bronzed face with sharp, groomed brows and neutral, glossy lips (might i recommend MAC's Bonus Beat lipglass from the Heatherette Collection?). you'll love this look, so don't be afraid to experiment and try it out! and when you get countless compliments, don't forget to thank the Kitty! ;D

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Monne (That's What I Want!)

a while ago, i mentioned that i had purchased a self tanning product from QVC called Monne Express Self Tanning Liquid, $24.50. i was extremely excited to try this but somehow when it finally arrived at my house, it got shelved in the bathroom and slightly ignored. on a whim the other day i tried it, and mon dieu! i am shocked, stunned, awed, wowed-- you get the drift. this is THE FIRST SELF TANNING PRODUCT I HAVE EVER USED THAT LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE A REAL TAN! i truly cannot believe it! after testing so many gradual tanners and regular self tanners and bronzers and lotions, i have finally found THE ONE!

anyways, the Monne Express Self Tanning Liquid comes in, of course, a liquid form, which is very thin and basically the consistency of water. i was very worried about how i would apply this smoothly seeing as how i knew it would take ten years to do using cotton pads the way they demo'd application on QVC, so after reading some reviews i went out and bought a foam brush (left), which is basically a sponge on a stick, a very common art/craft store tool that cost me a mere 79 cents at Fred Meyer. this turned out to be one of the best investments i have made in years! i would say that the foam brush was crucial in getting a nice, smooth, QUICK application of the product. at first i tried the cotton pad method and basically it was garbage and was taking forever, plus i can barely stand to touch cotton, it makes me cringe! using the foam brush, i squirted a small amount of the product onto the sponge and then dabbed it on my body, blending in circular motions with first the sponge after i had it in the right spots, and then my hand. this worked like a charm! very easy, i would recommend this method to anyone (like myself) who is NOT a self tanning expert. you could also mix a small amount of the liquid with your regular body lotion if you'd prefer to apply that way! it definitely did help to have my boyfriend present to do my back, but i'm sure everyone has a friend who could help them do this, or if you're an expert, you've figured out a way to do this by yourself (how?). after i had applied the product to my whole body, including face, i was very pleased at how it dried immediately and didn't feel the least bit sticky. however, i noticed a few spots that looked a tiny bit streaky, and since you are directed to apply the product to clean, moisturizer-free skin, i also looked somewhat dry. i solved both these issues by applying lotion and rubbing it in very good, which blended together any streaky areas, kept my skin soft, and helped everything turn out very evenly. literally, i have not ONE word of complaint!

after initial application, i looked very nice and naturally tan, but that was because of the guide color of the product (which did not rub off at all on any of the clothes i wore that day or night). when i woke up later that evening after taking a nap, my body was nicely tanned in a subtle but still very noticeable way! when i washed my face however, it looked kind of pale. i was disappointed, and did another quick facial application, and the next morning when i washed my face again, it was golden tan perfection! absolutely NO streaks, no tell-tale orange areas, just a perfect golden-brown tan in my naturally tanned-skin color. i just couldn't (and still can't) believe it! i truly thought i could never find a self tanner that i would be happy with, and i am ecstatic with my Monne!!! several days later, my tan is fading evenly and slowly. i am in LOVE with this stuff! i would do free advertising for them, which i guess this post is, because i beg of you-- TRY THIS PRODUCT! you will ADORE it! i could go on and on, but i'll spare you my insane gushing ;D

so far, the only place i've found Monne available to purchase is QVC, where they carry the liquid version and an Express Self Tanning Spray Duo where you get two 5.29 fl. oz. for $39.84, a fabulous deal in my opinion. visit QVC and order some for yourself, and let me know how much you love it!

For Anonymous's Brow Question...

after a recent post i did entitled Brow Business, i received a comment from a reader, Anonymous. i decided after reading it that i would do some research for her and instead of posting my answer in the comments where she might never see it, i'll post it here, and also repost her question for all to read:
Thank you for the suggestions on brow products. I desperately need them.

My problem has to do with almost all of my eyebrows falling out.
Granted, I do have hyperthyroidism which I take medication to control. also, I am prescribed Adderall which tends to cause hair loss in me.

The real brow loss began, though, in earnest, when I started using the drugstore eyebrow pencils to fill in my sparse brows. By the end of one week of using eyebrow pencils, ALL of my brows had fallen out. It was one depressing site, I can assure you.

Sorry I didn't have a real "tip" to offer - other than to caution women who have a problem with hair falling out easily to avoid drugstore brow pencils and to avoid a heavy hand with the brow pencil since it dislodges the brow hairs.

Do you think there is a toxic ingredient contained in certain drugstore pencils that might be contributing to this problem? I am curious as to what your opinion might be on this topic.
so, i must first say that, of course, i am not a doctor, and these following opinions are just that- opinions. nothing to take concretely, and i would of course consult a doctor or several before trying any of these. now that the disclaimer is out of the way, i have to say that i am so sorry for your troubles! losing your eyebrows would be extremely upsetting, and would make you feel very self conscious. if you have the cause narrowed down (the Adderall and hyperthyroidism medication), then the first part of the battle is over. if those meds are what's causing your hair loss, maybe you could talk to your doctor about trying different versions of the medication to see if the side effects lessen? and also, have you considered that you may be suffering from Alopecia? Alopecia, for those who aren't familiar with the term, is a disease that causes the body to believe that any (or certain) hair follicles are bacteria, therefore causing the autoimmune system to attack the hair follicles in order to protect the body. if Alopecia is the cause of your hair loss, then there is a very good chance the hairs will eventually grow back, since the stem cells in your hair follicles will still be able to grow since your white blood cells don't have any role in the attack against them, and so when new cells form, your hair will start growing again. another issue that could be causing the hair loss is stress or a poor diet, and while i'm sure it's probably not a poor diet, maybe you are under a lot of stress? stress can do many, many upsetting things to a person's body, and so if you think this may even have a tiny part in your hair loss, try to find some time to relax and get some relief from the stressful things in your life (we all have them, and most of us never deal with them properly).

as for the part of your question about the use of drugstore brow products in relation to your hair loss, i would think that maybe if you were in the process of losing your brows any kind of touching, tugging, or brushing of them (all things you would do while applying makeup to them) would only hasten their departure. rather than thinking that there is a toxic ingredient in the products, i would hypothesize that you personally may have a sensitivity to one of the ingredients in one of the particular items you used, or that since your brows were already in a compromised state, maybe something in the products aggravated them further. since all cosmetics companies use a self-policing system (the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Board) that scrutinizes cosmetic ingredients to see if they are safe to be used in various ways and then publishes these results, i doubt that anything toxic could slip by and into your brow product. although unfortunately, the FDA does not require the cosmetics industry to prove their products safe and effective or that the promises they make have any real standing, which i think is terrible. all they are required to do is have their cosmetics be "safe when used as directed in the labeling or under usual customary conditions of use." terrible!

if you aren't able to attain any regrowth on your brows naturally, there is still hope. several companies offer therapeutic serums and gels that help to regrow brows, including Anastasia Brow Enhancing Serum, Peter Thomas Roth Lashes to Die For Nighttime Eyelash Conditioning Treatment (which can be used on brows), and Talika Eyebrow Lipocils. and if these don't work, a surgical procedure called eyebrow restoration is gaining popularity and uses the same technology as other hair restoration implants. from the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery's website:

Similar to hair restoration of the scalp, brow restoration takes single hair grafts and places them at specific angles and directions of growth in order to mimic the natural eyebrow. It must be carefully planned and executed since the brow’s visibility is much more noticeable than the scalp. On average, between 200 to 250 hair grafts are implanted on one female brow, and 400 – 500 grafts on a male brow. The procedure may take between three to four hours. Unlike hair restoration, brow restoration usually is completed in one session; this is a great advantage for the patient. The new eyebrow will look very natural. Patients are reminded that they will have to trim the transplanted hair periodically, as it will continue to grow much as it would have on your scalp.
i have also read several times on MUA that this procedure is not outrageously expensive at all, and even under $1000. so, hopefully this information has helped, atleast somewhat. good luck, and keep us updated on how things are going!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Straight Talk

last night it occurred to me that in almost three months of writing my blog, i haven't mentioned my Holy Grail hair product ONCE! this is preposterous seeing as how this product has completely won me over and knocked out every other hair product from my beauty arsenal. i have naturally wavy hair that's fine in texture but very abundant, and ever since the tender age of 13 i've been struggling to get a perfect, silky, shiny, poker-straight blowout. i am literally obsessed with sleek, straight hair, and my quest for perfect straightness has led me down many different paths and through many different products, but this one product has topped them all! what is this miracle product you ask? it's the fabulous Kiehl's Heat Protective Straightening Cream, $15! this ONE product has replaced the FOUR other products that i used to use to blowout and straighten my hair, and it's considerably cut down the amount of time it takes me in the bathroom! what is so wonderful about this product, in my opinion, is that it does everything you need a product to do when you're straightening your hair. after my hair is about 60% air-dried, i use a dime-sized dab of the cream (the perfect amount for my just-skimming-the-shoulders length hair) and work it through, concentrating the bulk of the product on the lower half of my hair and especially the ends, and then gently brushing throughout my hair to distribute evenly. after that, i blow-dry and then flatiron, and my hair turns out sleek, silky, and straight without a bit of frizz and not at all weighed down. this cream doesn't build up on your hair, doesn't kill volume, and doesn't leave you feeling greasy or dull, either. i used to have to use a straightening cream, split-end mender, and serum before blow-drying and then a shine spray afterwards just to get the beautiful looking hair i now achieve with this one fabulous product. and the price is very reasonable for higher end haircare, the 5 fl. oz. tube lasts for atleast six months when used three times a week! if you have wavy hair that you prefer to straighten, this miracle cream is definitely worth a shot.

what's your favorite, can't-live-without-it hair product? let me know in the comments!


hola amigas! happy monday to all! i have something very special to share with you of the most gorgeous smoky eyes i have ever seen! although i wish i could claim this as my own handiwork, this phenomenally beautiful look was created by my fellow MUA'er, Skylersomething, and she even took the time to give me a step-by-step how-to so we could all recreate this sultry look. the products she used, all by MAC, are as follows:
  • Bare Study Paintpot as a base
  • eye shadows in Rondelle, Gentle Fume, Waft, Carbon, Woodwinked, Amber Lights, and Retrospeck
  • Fluidline in Blacktrack, Powerpoint Pencil in Engraved, Blitzed Glitter Liner
  • mascara in Plushlash
in her own words, here are the steps she took to create this eye:

First I applied Bare Study Paint Pot on my lid up to my brow bone. Next, I put Rondelle e/s (Gentle Fumes Quad) all over my lid up to my brow bone as well. Then, I put Gentle Fume e/s on the inner third of my lid, followed by Waft e/s in the center, and Carbon e/s in the outer 'V' and crease. Afterwards, I went over the Gentle Fume and Waft with Woodwinked e/s and Amber Lights. Then I took Retrospeck e/s and put it on my browbone. I also took my crease brush with some more of Carbon and put it in my crease again to darken it up a bit. I used Blacktrack fluidline on my top lashline and Engraved Powerpoint on my waterline. I also put Blitzed glitter liner over top of Blacktrack to give it some shimmer. Last, I used Plushlash mascara for my lashes.
there you have it! i'm going to try my best to duplicate this look, and if you attempt it, i'd love to see your results! thanks again to Skylersomething for taking the time to explain how she created this beautiful smoky eye.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Gwenny Had a Little L.A.M.B...

i am so NOT a fragrance guru, but lately i am really loving the perfume L, a L.A.M.B., by Gwen Stefani. i couldn't being to tell you exactly how it smells, but if you're interested the notes are listed here at the fragrance's official website (i know, what?! since when does a perfume have it's own website?!). i think Gwen is amazing, i love her unique style and i'm happy for her that she finally got her happy ending, but usually i'm not such a fan of celebrity fragrances, mostly for the fact that the celebrity usually has NOTHING to do with the perfume's creation and just uses their fame to sell a product to the gullible public. then again, if you love the smell, why not wear it? i know i am, and i'm really loving the fresh, girly scent. what do you think of celebrity perfumes?

Almost Perfects

happy weekend readers! today i'm going to start by reviewing Fresh's Supernova Mascara, $25. we all know that i'm a certifiable mascara FIEND, and i'd like to start reviewing each and every mascara that i buy/try so that you can always come to The Pretty Kitty and do a search if you're looking for an opinion on a particular mascara! i like to attempt to try almost every mascara known to man, so keep your eyes peeled for many mascara reviews, and please add your own opinions in the comments section if you've tried the mascara i've posted about, too! now onto the goods...

life is full of things that are almost perfect, but not quite there...the jeans that would be heaven-sent if they were just a half a size bigger, the boots that would be killer if the heel were just a touch higher, the delicious ice cream that you could gorge on if only it were sugar/fat/calorie free...and you use and accept them because their good qualities win out over their bad, right? i call these the Almost Perfects, and there are a lot of makeup products that fit into this category. read on for two prime examples!

if you're looking for a nice, dark black, day-to-night formula, Fresh's Supernova Mascara is almost too good to be true. if you can afford to spend over twenty dollars on a tube of mascara, this is a good way to go. the formula is very sooty matte black and dramatic without being clump-heavy. i find that if applied with a light hand (a must in all mascara application to avoid clumps, spider lashes, and withering curl) this mascara holds a curl fairly well and and keeps lashes defined and feathery without being too thick or spidery. it also lengthens fairly well, and the overall results are beautiful! the formula contains panthenol, protective linden extract, and nourishing meadowfoam oil to condition and strengthen your lashes so they stay as long and thick as possible. the downfall? i find that this mascara tends to flake quite a bit as the day goes on. now, this is something i probably wouldn't mind so much if i didn't take a considerable amount of time to perfectly conceal my dark circles, but since i do, i can't be wiping at my undereye area and disturbing my concealer throughout the day! all mascaras flake a teensy, tiny bit, and i can handle that, but these flakes are a few too many for a mascara that'll cost you $25. because of the flake-age, Supernova gets an 8/10 from me, and is firmly filed under Almost Perfect.

next up is Maybelline's Define-A-Brow Eye Brow Pencil, $6.50 (at Walgreen's website). this slender green pencil caught my eye because it looked a lot like the Prescriptives Groom Stick for Brows, $18.50, that i had been thinking about buying recently, but at a fraction of the price! much like Prescriptives Groom Stick, the Maybelline Define-a-Brow pencil is very, very thin which allows for a more precise application to the brows. the thinner the pencil, the more easily you can apply to just the area you want to fill in, and the more natural the results. the color i chose, Light Blonde, would be perfect for anyone with hair ranging from platinum blonde to light brown to grey to auburn (my current shade). i think the name is a bit misleading because the color of the pencil is definitely not too light, it's the perfect shade of taupe to flatter a variety of brow colors-- not too warm but not too cool either, it seems to be a perfect match! i really like the mechanical aspect of the pencil, because sharpening is a giant pain in the arse and very messy, too. the pencil is easily blended, waterproof, stays on all day, and looks very natural. the downfall? the texture of the pencil is so soft that you have to stop several times while doing each brow to turn the dial and produce more product! not so terrible, but since the pencil is so soft, it will be used up very quickly, probably in less than a month! for $6.50 and only .05 grams, this is actually not such a great deal if you need to buy a new pencil each month. also, the dinky plastic comb on the end of the pencil is virtually useless! it doesn't blend the product into your brows whatsoever, so you have to lug a separate brow brush around in your makeup bag for application. close, but no cigar. the Wet'n'Wild Kohl Brow-Eyeliner Pencil in Taupe 648 that i reviewed here performs just as well for a lot more product at a fraction of the cost, and i would definitely buy it again before i'd repurchase the Define-A-Brow pencil.

are there any products that you consider Almost Perfects? if you find a makeup item that you adore but it has a fault, do you keep using it or continue your search for the perfect one? let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Dark Circles Part 2: CONCEAL

hello readers! after a few days of no posting i am back and ready to tackle the second part of my post on help for concealing dark circles. it's not easy to successfully cover dark circles; either the darkness shows through and you still look tired and like a raccoon or your concealer looks too light or the formula you choose gets cakey and accentuates your lines and-- grrrr! it can be difficult. for all the knowledge, tips and tricks i've gathered over the last ten plus years of working on my circles, read on!

the very first step to concealing those nasty dark circles is making sure your delicate undereye skin is adequately hydrated. if that skin is even the least bit dry, forget about it! your concealer will look terrible and obvious and it will probably make you look even worse! for moisturizing you'll need a rich, hydrating eye cream to wear at night to bed and a lighter one for the daytime that absorbs well and acts as a good base for your concealer. for night, i would highly recommend Prevage Eye Anti-Aging Moisturizing Treatment by Elizabeth Arden, $95, which is the only product i have ever used that successfully lightened my dark circles AND erased my fine lines. $95 is a horribly large amount of money and i hate that i've become dependent on a product so expensive but it just plain works amazingly well and i can't live without it! it's definitely an investment, but a worthwhile one. for daytime, i love Clinique's All About Eyes Rich eye cream, $27.50. for under thirty dollars, this eye cream is a really great buy. it intensely hydrates your skin without being greasy and really plumps up any fine lines you have. over time it claims to help with dark circles and boost your skin's natural collagen production--now i don't know if it lives up to those claims, but it works nicely under concealer and keeps your skin smooth and hydrated. once your undereye area is prepped and ready to go, choosing a concealer is your next step!

picking a concealer can be a very personal thing, and many people search for years before they find the perfect one that seems tailor-made to work for their skin type. i know that i couldn't begin to know everything about concealers and be able to suggest the right one for every person, but after many purchases and testings and disappointments, i feel like i have some worthwhile information to share. i suppose we'll start off with colors: if your dark circles are blue or purplish in color, a concealer with a pink undertone will work very well for you. if your circles are more brownish or grey, a peachy tone is the way to go! for a long time i thought a peach-toned concealer was a one-size-fits-all prescription for dark circles, and one definitely can be used with moderate success for a person with blue/purple darkness, but after a very helpful sales assistant at a Bobbi Brown counter did one of my eyes in a concealer with peach undertones (the Peach shades, Light Peach in my case) and the other in one with pink undertones (the Bisque shades, Light Bisque for me), i was sold. the side with the pink, Light Bisque concealer not only looked a lot more natural but the darkness was better covered using less product. at that time i had been using a peachy concealer but switched immediately!

now that you know what shade you should lean towards, i'll tell you some of my favorite concealers. since we've already mentioned the Bobbi Brown brand, we'll start with her Corrector, $22 (at left). the Correctors are different from a traditional concealer in the fact that they were designed by Bobbi to use under her regular, yellow-toned Creamy Concealers, $22. the idea is that you use the Corrector to counteract the darkness under your eyes and then you use the Creamy Concealer on top to blend the area into your surrounding skin. i've tried this method and feel that the Creamy Concealer on top is unnecessary, i have very dark circles and do fine using just the Corrector, but if it works for you, great! i'm definitely not knocking it. the Corrector is an amazing product because it's creamy without being greasy, doesn't accentuate or settle into fine lines, stays on all day without creasing, and really brightens and neutralizes the darkness around the eyes. i use it on the darkness on my upper eyelid as well as beneath my eyes and it even makes a wonderful eyeshadow primer!

another concealer that gets an honorable mention is Laura Mercier's Secret Concealer, $22. not to be confused with the denser, drier Secret Camouflage, the Secret Concealer is made specifically for the eye area and comes in a little pot. this cult favorite concealer is very moisturizing and does a great job at covering darkness-- it was my one and only for almost 2 years! i've since moved on because i have product ADD, but that doesn't mean this concealer isn't still worthy of top billing. since this concealer is very moist to keep the delicate undereye area hydrated, it does need to be set with a powder, and Mercier's Secret Brightening Powder, $22, is a great product to use with it or any other concealer in your arsenal. it not only sets your concealer, it also helps to brighten the whole eye area!

next up is Benefit's Erase Paste, $26, my current favorite does-it-all concealer! this superstar product covers circles, blemishes and red spots equally well and also brightens any area you use it on. to read more about how much i adore this concealer and how well it works, check out this in-depth post that's entirely devoted to it's greatness!

now it's time for a concealer made to hide the very deepest, darkest circles your eyes can muster! if you've never been able to find a concealer that completely hid your circles without a hint of shadow peaking through, then Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer, $28-40, is the one for you! this concealer is in a tiny tube and when you pick it up you think 'there is no way i'm paying $40 for this little thing!' until you try it on. AMAZING! literally! when i bought my tube they only had the original size, but now they have a travel size for $28 which is a much better buy because the concealer is so concentrated, you literally only need a dot the size of half a grain of rice to do each eye! the first time i applied this concealer i was shocked because it was the first time i saw myself with absolutely NO darkness under my eyes at all, and i was instantly sold. i like to use this concealer on the very darkest parts of my circles that sometimes can't be covered by my Erase Paste or Bobbi Brown corrector, and it always works like a charm. if $28 is still a little too much for your budget, Physician's Formula's Conceal RX Physician's Strength Concealer, $7.95, is a phenomenally effective drugstore version of the Amazing Concealer. same type of very full coverage, only a tiny dot needed, and stays on like a charm, all without looking like heavy, cakey concealer. i own both the PF concealer and the Amazing and i can't even decide which one i love best, so both are fantastic and deserve to be given a shot!

those are my top picks for the kings of concealer, and i hope they have given you some ideas to go on if you're tired of dealing with your circles. my advice is to go to a department store without any of the concealer you're currently using on your dark circles and just test different brands and formulas out until you find the one that suits you the best. for the best application of your concealer when attempting to disguise your circles, first make sure your skin is well moisturized, and then pick up a tiny bit of concealer, either using your finger or a small, pointed brush (i recommend MAC's 194 Concealer Brush, $18.50). if you're using a brush, paint on a thin layer of concealer covering all the darkness on your undereye area, making sure not to forget the inside of the bridge of your nose near your eye's corner, and then take your ring finger and gently tap, tap, tap over the concealer to smooth and blend it. the heat from your finger will warm the product and help it to melt into your skin. repeat as necessary until your circles are concealed, and then set with a very finely milled powder to keep it in place (i would recommend using something like Laura Mercier's Secret Brightening Powder or Bare Escentuals Mineral Veil). try to avoid using heavy mascara and eyeliner on your bottom lashline because it can smear and make the undereye area look even darker. for an extra pop of brightness to wake up especially tired eyes, take a small eye shadow brush and a light colored shimmery eye shadow (i am currently liking Stila's Kitten eye shadow, $18, pictured here, for this purpose) and carefully apply to the inner corner of your eye, around your tear duct area. this helps to open up the eye and brings light into the eye's corner which can be especially dark from the natural shadows of your face.

if these method don't work for you, nothing will! no, i'm only kidding, but i think they should definitely help in the battle against dark circles. what are your favorite tips and tricks? as a circle sufferer myself, i'd love to know, so please share!

Friday, June 06, 2008

MUA Help

not sure exactly what the problem with MUA is, but if you can't use the regular version of MUA then try this:
you can use the Beta version until the regular MUA is fixed, or until whatever the problem is that's making some of us not be able to use MUA is corrected.


"Jeepers Peepers!" seeing as how i am obsessed with all things eyelash-related, i found this (linked above) article from The New York Times very interesting, and you might, too! but before you panic, neither of the eyelash conditioners i have recommended in this blog (Mavala Double Lash & Talika Lipocils Eyelash Gel) contain bimatoprost (a glaucoma drug that sometimes causes eyelash growth as a side effect). there aren't many things i wouldn't do to get long, gorgeous lashes, but endangering my eye site is one of them. so read on, and don't miss the adorable purple illustration with the tweezers and eyelash curlers!

Cheap Thrills: A Series Event!

today i was thinking about a recent post i did entitled "Cheap Thrills" where i wrote about two inexpensive drugstore mascaras that i adore, and decided to make "Cheap Thrills" an ongoing series where i can share the amazing products that i discover at even more amazing prices. i mean, who doesn't love finding something that works great for dirt cheap?! i even know that mega-rich celebs love a bargain because they constantly blab about it any chance they get, probably to make us feel like "Wow, they're people just like us!" in that whole US Magazine-esque way. so if you're a tightwad and you know it, clap your hands (and read on)!

last week when i was wandering around at the grocery store i came upon the Wet'n'Wild display, which seems to be getting more fancy and updated each time i see it. what i will never understand is why in God's name they're introducing all these new products but no longer stocking their very best product ever, All Over Shimmer 832D (the most amazing highlighter i've ever used, check out my feelings on it here). anyways, as i was looking over all the goodies i happened to notice their Kohl Brow-Eyeliner Pencil in Taupe 648, $.99, and what a perfect color it seemed to be to match my own dark blonde brows. the problem with having (nearly invisible) blonde brows of any shade is that to have them look fierce you need to fill them in, but most pencils or powders for blondes are usually too warm and too auburn looking against pale skin. even if the product is amazing, if it's too warm-toned then your brows are left screaming out "Look at me! i'm wearing brow pencil!" and that's never the look i'm going for. even a lot of high-end brow products (e.g. Benefit Brow Zings) are too warm in their lightest shade, so i certainly wasn't expecting Wet'n'Wild to get it so right, especially for the price of $.99! this pencil is a steal for under a dollar, and the color is so perfect i can't help but wonder why the high-end cosmetic companies can't take notice and get it right?!? the texture of the pencil is very soft, so it takes a light touch to get a natural look, but filling in my brows with it couldn't have been easier. i just penciled in my thin sections and then brushed through my brows with a browbrush to blend, and voila! perfectly defined yet still natural looking brows. and it's lasted all day, as well! now i'm not certain that this pencil would last through hot, humid, grueling long days but at this price, having to touch up is not a problem. this pencil would suit any girls from the lightest blonde end of the spectrum to medium brown, grey, and auburn (my current color). pick one up and try it out today, what have you got to lose except the spare change jingling around at the bottom of your purse?


good afternoon all...are any of you having trouble getting onto Make Up Alley today? i keep getting this:
The error has been logged and the MUA administrators have been notified.
strange, right? just wondering if it's happening to everyone, or just me. if you're having trouble too or happen to know what's going on, let me know in the comments.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Dark Circles Part 1: CONQUER

dark undereye circles...they are probably the most common skin problem that women suffer from next to acne. you would think by now there would be a concrete solution for this annoying, persistent problem, right? wrong. sure, there are things you can do to try and help them--lasers, allergy medicine, diet changes, getting more sleep, different cosmetic products--but there is no actual cure for them. in the battle to extinguish or even reduce your dark circles, you need to first identify which kind you have, and then proceed accordingly.

first off, there are many different types of dark circles that people suffer from. the easiest dark circles to remedy are those caused by lifestyle: staying out late, partying, not getting enough sleep, etc. if these are the type of circles that plague you, thank your lucky stars! you can easily rid yourself of these by getting more sleep and taking better care of yourself in general. another type of dark circles are those caused by hyperpigmentation, an excess of melanin in the skin that causes the area to darken, most often found in people with darker skintones (Latin, African American, or East Indian people are likely to suffer from this type of dark circles). finally, there are those of us with the type of dark circles that don't respond to extra sleep or allergy medicine, and for us the diagnosis is not so good. many people (myself included) have genetic, inherited dark circles that take up a permanent residence on their face. these can be exacerbated by allergies, anemia, certain medications that cause blood vessels to dilate, and how pale/transparent your skin is (another inherited characteristic). this type of dark circle problem tends to be the most chronic and troublesome with the added benefit of being the most difficult to treat. so what to do if you suffer from dark circles? read on.

when Hylexin first burst onto the market a few years ago, i was literally almost dying to try it. this was the first time an eye cream had been created for the type of chronic, seriously dark circles that i suffered from! it promised to 1. strengthen and thicken the skin, making the circles less visible 2. stop the blood from oxidizing under the skin and prevent the dark blue/purple color from showing and 3. to keep the problem from reoccurring again. i read a few positive reviews in several beauty magazines and that was all the further push i needed to run out and get myself some! thank GOD for Sephora and the fact that the generous employee there gave me two small sample-size pots of Hylexin to try before i forked over the $95 for a tiny tube myself, because it didn't do one damn thing to my circles after two+ months of use. i consider myself pretty level-headed regarding fantastical claims made by cosmetic companies and always expect realistic results, but they really did a number on me with this one because i was expecting considerable improvement in my circles and i saw NOTHING. and it wasn't just a fluke with me, either, check out these reviews on MUA for evidence that Hylexin didn't do jack for almost anyone else who made the mistake of buying it. the only thing Hylexin did do to my undereye area was attract a small amount of light there courtesy of the mica particles that are in the cream, a total smoke-and-mirrors trick to fool a person into thinking the area looks a bit brighter. i can easily do that with some shimmery white eyeshadow and save the $95, thanksverymuch. not only did it not help my circles at all, but Hylexin wasn't the least bit moisturizing, and actually even slightly dried out the delicate skin under my eyes. so i would NOT recommend Hylexin and would encourage you to pass it right up if you ever see it, but your mileage may very, as usual.

now onto brighter pastures...after the Hylexin debacle, i had completely given up on the idea that any cream would ever make a difference in my dark circles. i continued to use the Clinique Repairwear Intensive eye cream i had, just for moisture (which is the only thing this very overpriced eye cream is good for), until i decided to test out a sample packet i had of Elizabeth Arden Prevage Eye Cream, $95, just for fun. i loved it immediately upon first application because of it's rich, smooth, hydrating texture and the fact that it instantly plumped up my undereye area, making it look amazing. i never thought that it would actually make a remarkable difference in the darkness under my eyes, and wouldn't have believed it until i saw it myself. eureka! this very expensive eye cream actually made a very noticeable positive difference in the permanent darkness under my eyes! now, don't get me wrong, i am far from free and clear of dark circles, but they have been reduced by at least 50% over the course of 6 months! i've been using the cream for almost a year now and the results seem to have plateaued, but i continue using it to keep the darkness away and because it's remarkable as a moisturizing, anti-aging product. another thrilling result of usage? before i started using Prevage, i was noticing that when i set my concealer with pressed powder it was highlighting all these formerly invisible, tiny hair-line wrinkles right underneath my lower lashline! i was NOT pleased by this, being only 24 at the time, and cringed every time i attempted to set my concealer without highlighting the lines (an impossible feat). a while into treatment with the Prevage i noticed that i was being more and more careless about where i powdered my undereyes and the reason was that the little lines were no longer visible, AT ALL! completely gone! how amazing is that?! it must be the magic ingredients that Prevage contains, I-Seryl Complex and Idebenone, which is actually clinically proven to fight aging. whatever it is, it works for me!

so far, this is the only product i've found that actually works to decrease the prominence of dark circles. for those with circles caused by hyperpigmentation, lasers have been shown to be somewhat effective, although costly and requiring much research and some downtime. other than that, all you can do is get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet, and sleep with your head elevated above a few pillows to try and prevent water retention in the undereye area.

next up after conquering your circles? CONCEALING them! stay tuned for part two of Dark Circles where i'll cover various concealers and techniques to hide those nasty circles.

do you know of any products that help with dark circles? ever tried lasers or fat injections? i'd love to hear any information you might have, so don't be afraid to share!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Curler Crazy

with a blog as obsessively devoted to perfecting your lashes as mine is, i figured it was high time i did a post on the best eyelash curlers. in my opinion, (and i'm chock full of them) having a great eyelash curler is just as important as having a great mascara in the quest for your best possible lashes. and who needs to be using an eyelash curler? EVERYONE!!! but not everyone should go blindly running out to purchase the Shu Uemura curler that all the magazines recommend; getting a great curl doesn't have to be expensive, and eyelash curlers are not one-size-fits-all.

in my own testing, i've tried dozens of eyelash curlers from expensive to super cheap, but these three stick out in my mind as the best possible buys for each price range. starting off at the lower end, the N.Y.C. (or New York Color) Eyelash Curler, $2.99, is a great buy. found at lots of drugstores and any Target, this eyelash curler gets the job done with no pinching and no damage to your lashes. the one i'm recommending is metal with purple accents-- make sure to pick up that one because the plastic one that N.Y.C. also makes is utter crap. and while we're on the topic, i just have to say that i think all plastic eyelash curlers are crap and should stop being manufactured. they just plain don't work well at all! you may have had different experiences and if you're happy using a plastic eyelash curler then by all means keep it up, but that's my story and i'm stickin' to it. also worthy of a mention for those on a fixed budget is E.L.F.'s Mechanical Eyelash Curler, $1 (pictured at right). this smash hit of a curler has a 4.5 out of 5 star rating on Make Up Alley's review boards, a rating so high it's almost unheard of! check out the amazing reviews here and read for yourself how many reviewers would pay fifteen TIMES as much for this eyelash curler.

next up on the list is the very first eyelash curler i ever purchased, Maybelline's Expert Tools Eyelash Curler, $5.79 (at Walgreen's). for those who can spend a little bit more but still aren't ready to pony up almost twenty dollars, Maybelline's curler is sturdy, dependable, and long lasting. as a matter of fact, i used mine for years before the rubber pad finally gave out and cracked! (note: never, ever use a curler with a cracked pad, it can break or pull out your lashes and those cracks are breeding grounds for all kinds of nasty bacteria that can cause eye infections!) another great reason to use and love the Maybelline curler? it's easily found at any drugstore and you can also purchase replacement pads for it when yours wear out!

now onto the high-end eyelash curlers for those who want to splurge, and the first thing i want to address is the misconception that the Shu Uemura curler is the be-all, end-all king of curlers and the only one you should have in your arsenal. i know you've read countless magazine articles singing the Shu's praise but don't be fooled into thinking you have to buy it just because everyone says it's the best. after using many fabulous eyelash curlers for years i still felt like i was always missing out on something because i didn't have the Shu, and when i finally did spring for it, guess what? it didn't even fit my eye shape! yes my loyal readers, i got better results with my $1 E.L.F. curler than i did with the Shu. now this isn't to say that you won't fall madly in love with it, i know many people swear by it, but make sure you test it out at the department store and see that it fits your eye shape before you hit the checkout. and one more negative thing about the Shu? after you've paid $18.50 for it, you can't even purchase a replacement pad once your original pad is out of commission! yes, that's right, they don't sell replacement pads. so i'm left to guess that if you're a faithful user of the Shu and your pad wears out you a whole new curler? i don't think so. moving on...if you're going to splurge on a high-end curler, my recommendation would be the Shiseido Eyelash Curler, $17.50 (at left). after my extreme disappointment with the Shu, this sleek little silver curler saved the day! the reason that this takes the #1 top spot of Best Eyelash Curler ever is because it's the first and only one i've found that gets every single eyelash curled in one quick press of the handles! usually i have to curl the inner half of my eyelashes and then reposition and curl the outer half to get everything even, but not with the Shiseido! it manages to get everything from the tiny, inner lashes to the very last impossible-to-grab lash on the outer corner of my eye. not only that, but when you're using the Shi you only have to press very gently to get a perfect, sharp curl! with most lash curlers i've found that you have to press down really hard to get a nice, even clamp on your lashes but not this one, it grabs all your lashes so easily there's no pressure needed. and two replacement pads are only $5, so if you take care of your Shi the way you should, you can keep it in tip top shape for years to come. for an honorable mention, i also really love the Japonesque Power Curl Eyelash Curler, $16.50. i used this curler for atleast 6 months until i bought my Shi and it works almost as well! it does everything correctly, from giving you a great, even curl to keeping it's shape and never pinching the delicate skin around your eyes.

some tips for getting the best possible curl?
  • always curl your lashes before you apply your mascara and never after you've put it on; the mascara can make your lashes stick to the metal of the curler and rip them out or break them off!
  • before you curl, turn on your blowdryer and aim it at your eyelash curler to heat it up slightly. before you put it up to your eye, make sure to test it out on your arm first so you don't burn yourself! this turns your eyelash curler into an eyelash curling iron and really helps to lock in your curl so it stays all day.
  • when curling your lashes, position your curler near your lashes roots and press once, holding it for a few moments. repeat if you'd like, but don't move the position of your curler. i find that if you only curl your lashes in one spot, it helps the curl to stay longer.
  • keep your eyelash curler in a safe place so it doesn't get bent; if it loses it's shape, it can pinch your skin and break off your lashes.
  • always keep your eyelash curler clean and replace the pads as needed.

i hope you've enjoyed this eyelash curling manifesto, and haven't fallen asleep halfway through! if you have any tips or tricks for curling lashes or getting a great looking fringe, i'd love to hear them! meow!

Love Me Tender

while visiting the MAC counter the other day, i came upon their new summer release of Tendertones Lip Balms. these little glass pots contain a product that combines the thick, smooth feel of a balm with the color and slip of a gloss while having the added benefit of SPF 12. never having tried one until that day, i was really surprised by how addicting the feeling of that balm was! they almost felt like a thicker version of Vaseline on your lips, but in a really good way-- not the super greasy, slippery Vaseline-feel but much nicer and somehow...soothing. i only tried on a few of the lighter colored Tendertones which had basically no color payoff, so i can't speak for the deeper colors, but $14.50 seems pretty steep to me for a pretty much clear lipbalm. i'll stick to Aquaphor for my slick lip needs! and there's always the ick-factor of the lip product in a pot: they may look cute, but most likely you'll be using your finger to apply and then you're stuck with sticky-finger-with-nowhere-to-go syndrome. not good! the only lip product that i've found that is worth having sticky-finger syndrome is NARS Chelsea Girls Lip Lacquer, a gloss that needs to have a full-length post devoted to it (it's THAT good my friends!). if you have money to burn, and don't mind running around with your finger held up in the air until you can find a tissue, then purchase away! i wouldn't mind having one of these to toss in my purse, but i can think of other things i need first.

Tendertones are available in nine (soon to be ten, according to the website) colors and retail for $14.50.

Magic Mushrooms, Magic Prices!

ciao bellas! i'll begin today by telling you how absolutely ecstatic i am about the purchase i made this afternoon. if you've been reading here recently, you saw my post on the Origin's Dr. Weil Plantidote Mega-Mushroom Face Serum that i've been using lately to reduce redness and promote general skin fabulosity. since i've been liking the serum so much, i wanted to try out the face cream as well, but wasn't feeling so great about spending $65 on it. today i was at the mall checking out the Origins goodies when the very sweet saleswoman showed me a gift set they were selling that contained not only a 1 oz. size of the Plantidote Mega-Mushroom Face Cream (regular size is 1.7 oz.) but also a 1 oz. of the serum and a 1.7 oz. sized Plantidote Cleanser for...wait for it...$60! can you believe it?! that is a ridiculously great deal, being that just a new serum and face cream would cost you $130. so naturally i had to buy it, who could resist such a catch? i'm very excited to try out the face cream due to the rave reviews it gets on MUA, so i'll definitely be updating when i've given it a good trial run.

interested in this great deal on the Plantidote products? i got mine at Macy's but can't seem to find the set i purchased anywhere on their website, so you should definitely stop by your local branch and ask if they're carrying the Skin Care Starter Set.

do you think your skin will benefit more if you use a cleanser, serum, and moisturizer from the same brand's line? or is mix-and-match skincare just as effective? let me know your opinion in the comments.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Pop Tarte

i think everyone who reads my blog knows i'm helplessly addicted to QVC, right? i mean i TiVo every single show that has anything beauty-related on and watch them numerous times! (more on my QVC obsession here) well Maureen Kelly, creater of Tarte Cosmetics, is a regular fixture on the Q and i always enjoy watching her presentations because A. she's gorgeous and always has the most perfect dark manicures and fabulous long red hair and B. she's sweet and very 'every woman' and C. i always want to buy her products! the only times i've dabbled in Tarte makeup were when i bought their Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara (which i felt was very mediocre) and a single eyeshadow pan (color: Luuucy I'm Home, a very beautiful shimmery grey which i would highly rec!), but lately i've been getting lulled into wanting to try out one of their famous cheek stains, $28.

the cheek stains are what Tarte is best known for, and they've won several Allure Best Of Beauty awards and many other awards from other beauty mags, too. what's different about them is that they're a water-based gel cheek color, and they're oil-free and alcohol-free, and contain super fruits which are very beneficial for your skin. since they're not a dry dusty powder or a greasy cream, they are undetectable on your skin and you actually look like your glow is coming from within. they were the first of their kind, and people went craaaazy for them, but i've never tried one, so i'm wondering if you all could tell me what you think about them if you've tried them before. they're available in nine shades at Sephora and i think i'm leaning towards Sunkissed and Tipsy...

anyways, the other Tarte product that i'm craving is their EmphasEYES High Definition Eye Pencil, $18. lately i've been rocking the black-liner-on-the-inner-rims look, and this is exactly what EmphasEYES (it's so annoying to write it that way each time!) was created for, being that it's super thin with no sharp wood surrounding it's tip and it's formula
includes palm oil for a smooth glide and silicon for long-wear that your eye's natural moisture won't wash away. i think it's a little bit gimmicky but as of right now i don't own a pencil that will stay put on my waterline and using my MAC Blacktrack Fluidline is too much fuss; a pencil is just so much more convenient (and i'm lazy). it comes in four colors, black, brown, green, and plum, and only QVC has it in navy.

so what's the verdict, readers? have you tried either one of these products? if so, please let me know what you think of them! and also, if you have a favorite black eyeliner that stays put on the waterline, i'd love to hear about it!