Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Acne: My Relapse

After that allergic reaction I had earlier in the month, I noticed my skin is not returning back to the state pre-reaction. It's quite upsetting because I thought I had already dealt with pretty bad acne (in high school), and struggled to maintain somewhat low key of a status with it. I am probably going to have to see my dermatologist in the coming weeks to see what we can do.

I'm not gonna lie: my skin was never at any point in time perfect, but this is getting too far from being where I want it to be.

Here's some pictures where you can really see my skin erupting:


I have never seen my forehead this bad in years...no joke


That big one is actually quite normal right be fore my time of the month, but lately they have been springing up regularly.


These small bumps all over are also quite not normal.

Well...I have been trying to use some new products like Mario Badescu Drying Cream, St. Ive's Green Tea Scrub, Biore Detoxifying Cleanser, and a cream by Clearasil. I am trying to find that balance of products but results can't come any slower if you ask me.

If you have a favorite acne treatment/product, share!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Beware: Gel Nails VS Gel Polish

I going through my email and found a deal from Living Social for a $35 gel polish manicure from the Waikiki Edition Hotel. I didn't realize that it was a gel polish service, and not a gel nail application until I was reading the fine print because I saw that the original price was $75. After I realized what it was, I decided that I should inform you all about the bad pricing tactics that some nail places use to make more money and cheating their clientele.

I will admit, I'm no nail tech, but I am a nail product enthusiast. That and the knowledge from Kali, the owner of the former Kali's Nail Supply, I feel I have the authority to give this information to people, especially susceptible people. Please take this with a grain of salt, and ask questions, if it's not to me, to someone you know and trust that does nails.

Gel Nails

Gel nails are an artificial nail enhancement designed usually to strengthen or elongate your nails, an alternative to the traditional liquid + powder acrylics. These enhancements are only in one phase, a gel-like substance (hence the name), sculpted onto the nail surface (and tip or form if your natural nail is too short) and is cured under a UV lamp. They're often refered to as a soak-off gel, which takes away a little more of the confusion.

Lots of people are familiar with the brand Calgel, which is supposed to be a natural type of gel. I've tried this one before, and I liked it. My nails were actually a bit damaged from my love-hate relationship with traditional acrylic, and after one application, my nails felt a lot stronger, and it was pretty easy to remove since the application calls for a lot less product (unlike the traditional acrylics with the curve that has to be "built" to ensure lift-prevention). For those who don't have much time to change nail polish often (on your natural nail), gel nails would be pretty good. I believe you can go weeks between fills, and polish adheres nicely to the gel.

Common brands: Calgel*, OPI Axium, CND Brisa

Gel Polish

Gel polish is simply what it sounds like, a gel nail polish. You can't sculpt it onto your natural nail, nor can you extend your nail. Unlike regular nail polish, you cure this product under a UV lamp, and unlike a gel nail, it doesn't make your nail stronger. In fact, I believe it actually damages your nail, and dries it out. All you do is paint it on like nail polish and cure under a UV lamp.

Common brands: CND Shellac, Gellac, Calgel*


Where there is some mis-communication on the part of salon owners and their clientele is that salon owners are charging an arm and a leg to their customers for a gel "manicure," when in fact all they are doing is a gel polish manicure. There is a lot less skill and other resources involved to do a gel polish manicure than a gel nail service. Therefore, salons should be pricing their gel polish services not that much more than a regular manicure, or even just offering a gel polish upgrade for any natural nail service. The way lots of places are pricing, it makes it seem like it's a nail enhancement because the price is so similar to other enhancement services.

So, my conclusion is this: know what you are paying for. If you are in doubt and think you may be getting ripped off, ask questions. If you don't get the right answers, then leave...they don't deserve your money if they are gonna rip you off!!

*The way you can tell the soak-off gel from the polish is the container it comes in. If it looks like a nail polish bottle with a bush attached to the lid, it's a gel polish, if it's gooey and comes from a jar, without a brush attached to the lid, it's a soak off gel.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bright Eyeliners: Which One to Choose?

So I noticed recently, there have been a few companies coming out with new liquid eyeliners in really bright, and sometimes sparkly colors. For a while the only time where you see colored eyeliners (besides black, brown, navy, and a darker purple) were usually pencil, kohl, and gel/cream formulas.

I like the idea, but I'm not completely sold that these will have to make it into my collection. I'm thinking of purchasing one, probably a sparkly purple, but some of them are so expensive that I don't know if it's too worth it.

Here's the ones that have been catching my eye (no pun intended).
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner, $18
  • MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Liner (not to be confused with Aqua Eyes, their pencil liner), $23
  • Stila Sparkle Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner, $22
  • SEPHORA COLLECTION Long-Lasting Eye Liner, $10
Here's a picture of my swatching adventure at Sephora the other day:


I can't remember for sure what each color is, but I think it's something like this:
left column (top to bottom): MAKE UP FOR EVER (MUFE for short) 4, MUFE 6, MUFE 5
right column (top to bottom): MUFE 9, stila Royal, MUFE 8, MUFE 7

Of course it looks like the Sephora one would be the deal, but if I'm not mistaken, it's the smallest of the four. I can't tell you for sure unless I go in store because it doesn't list the amount on the website. The Urban Decay one to me looks like the deal, if any exists because it's a bit cheaper and seems like there's more product. I want to try it but the purple shade, Retrograde doesn't look as vibrant as Stila's Royal or MUFE's 8 and it wasn't available for me to swatch when I went to Sephora.

I have some contemplating to do, but once I pick one up, if any, I will let you know!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sampling Etiquette

I get afraid to try on beauty products, especially lip and eye products at Sephora or even at other department store beauty counters because I see so many people misusing the tester products...quite gross. I think some people really don't grasp the concept of germs, and it's quite scary if you ask me.

A few rules of thumb when you want to test out products:
  • Use the disposable wands/applicators: it keeps your germs to yourself. Also remember that these tools are one use only items, that means DO NOT DOUBLE DIP!!
  • Wipe down the products: just in case the person who tested before you. Take either a cotton pad or a tissue and get some alcohol and wipe.
  • To be nice to the next user, you should also wipe/sanitize after you use as well, so that if the next person isn't as hygienic, you won't be spreading germs to them.
  • I don't like swatching/sampling on my own face. Most products you swatch/sample you're looking for color, or finish, so you can get a good feel out of the product from putting some on the back of your hand.
For the most part, I don't test mascaras at all. I get really grossed out because most of the customers at the counters or in the stores grab the tube and put it directly on their lashes without sanitizing and with the brush that's in the tube--NOT hygienic! For other products, I will swatch on the back of my hand. This includes eyeliner, eyeshadow, blush, and most skincare products. For foundation, most containers are clean people friendly, so I don't mind swatching on my jawline.

The one thing you should take from reading this is that you want to be very careful when testing products that you apply near any mucous membranes (eyes & lips) because these are very prone to germs. Just be careful!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New Product Curiosity: Cover Girl Intense Shadowblast

Just saw an ad in a magazine about this new cream eyeshadow from Cover Girl that is supposed to be have instense color but also a built in primer so it lasts. It's called Intense Shadowblast. It comes in 6 colors: Beige Blaze, Platinum Pop, Forever Pink, Brown Bling, Extreme Green, and Blue Bomb.

The colors look interesting. I would be interested in either Forever Pink, Brown Bling, or Beige Blast. I think the next time Cover Girl goes on sale at CVS, I'll pick up a tube :) Seeing others' posts, looks like it's going to be about $8, a little steep if you ask me, but it seems as of late, drugstore products have been getting a bit more expensive, faster than the higher end stuff.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My First Beauty Product Allergic Reaction

For as long as I've known my skin...I mean really known my skin (maybe the past 8-10 years), my face is pretty durable, whatever I put on will either work or not work...never cause any horrible madness.

So, I bought MAC Prep + Prime Face Protect SPF 50 last week, and after putting some on the back of my hand, I thought it would be good for me because it was a high SPF, and it applied pretty dry. I used it and I kinda liked what it did. It was a sunscreen that didn't feel too much like a sunscreen, in that it didn't have a super greasiness to it, but it does have a slight greasiness, not too much to grumble. I've been experimenting with a couple of other sunscreens, like the Neutrogena Liquid Moisturizer SPF 50 and a CVS one too, but they were too greasy that my face oiled up within an hour or two.

After my somewhat pleasure in this product, I started to notice that I was getting weird, small "pimples" around my mouth and my forehead was starting to look really bumpy, like it did when I was in high school. I didn't really think too much about it, but that I was weird because it isn't near my "time" of the month, and on top of that, mine was a couple of weeks ago, and that's when I really break out. Another weird thing was that the pimples by my mouth were really small, and like whiteheads, which I only get in larger pimples. I also had some right next to my lips that were more like clogged pores, which were really hard to extract (yes...I gouge them).

So after all these "weirdnesses" to my skin, I came across an article in beautylish (if you don't know about beautylish, here's my description) about some sunscreens causing allergic reactions. It also talked about how it's usually chemical sunscreens (that absorb UV rays) that will cause a reaction rather than physical ones (that reflect UV rays). However, this primer is actually part chemical (Octinoxate), and part physical (Zinc oxide). Anyway, it's probably too much of the Octinoxate, so I have since stopped using it and am using the Shiseido one that protects against environmental damage (the one I got as a sample in my last haul). My skin hasn't broken out since, so I am going to assume that it is either the amount of Octinoxate is too much for me, or there's something else in the product that I am allergic to, since there is Octinoxate in the Shiseido product I am using today.

My hunt for a high SPF primer/moisturizer (that doesn't leave my face a greaseball after an hour or two) continues!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ebates Haul & First Impressions



I bought a bunch of stuff on ebates a few weeks ago. You can read more about it in my earlier post. So I was ready to do this like last week with all the stuff I got from Sephora, but I decided to wait for my Lancome stuff to come in :) Above is the stuff from Sephora and Lancome respectively. I will give some of my first impressions of these products. I haven't had a chance to really use all these yet (and I just got the Lancome stuff yesterday), so these aren't full reviews, just what I see for now.

Here's the Sephora stuff:

Shiseido Skincare 1 2 3 Pureness Oil Control Set


I've mentioned before that I've tried the moisturizer from this set, and to be honest with you, this whole set altogether is not really impressing me right now, but skincare always takes a while to get used to you, so I'm going to give this a few more weeks to set in.

Bumble and Bumble Seaweed Shampoo


This shampoo is nice. There's nothing horrible special about it, and I've never found a shampoo that completely blows me over, except for when I used Garnier Fructis shampoo for the very first time (made my hair feel like silk).

Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner in Stingray


I heard that this is a great eyeliner for the waterline. However, I've been using this pretty regularly, and I have found that it's a good color and consistency, but it doesn't stay very well on my waterline :( It ends up smearing underneath my lashes, like most eyeliners. The search continues.

Dior Best in Show Mini Mascara Duo



I was looking forward to trying these two out because I've heard so many good things about them. I find the mascara to be a little wet, probably because it wasn't the waterproof formula. I don't find it especially great at anything, not worth the $24 (for the full size product). The primer is also nothing special. the brush is pretty neat though (see below).


The brush on the Diorshow mascara is really big, comparable to MAC Opulash, and Benefit Badgal Lash. I also find the formula quite similar, wet.


The brush on the primer was interesting, something like the rubber/silicone brushes you see on the Buxom Lash mascara, Maybelline One By One, and Covergirl Lashblast Volume. However, what makes it different is that the rows of bristles are slanted a little, which I think makes it weird to use, but it probably takes more getting used to.

MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Microfinish Powder


Couldn't get the greatest picture of this stuff (still gotta learn how to take these pictures). The product is kinda cool. It's lightweight, and colorless which makes it a good setting powder. It's also good for touch ups, I've noticed. It's not spectacular at oil control, but that's like most setting/finishing products that I've used in the past.

Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm Duo


Left: Black Tea & Blackberry, right: Grapefruit & Ginger
I like these lip balms, they're pretty good. I find that every once in a while they do get dry if I don't reapply, but they're one of the best lip balms I've used in a while.



Of course, you can't forget the samples. Sephora gives three samples per order, their beauty insider program gives a deluxe sample for every 100 points you accumulate (sometimes an super deluxe sample for 500 points), and there are coupon codes you can use for deluxe samples as well. The regular samples (that are automatic with the orders), I usually don't end up using, I just get them because they're free. I always save my beauty insider points for the good deluxe samples and the 500 point perks.

I haven't used these yet, but here's what I got: Lancome La Base Pro, Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Face Polish (I actually don't really know what it's supposed to do), Shiseido Urban Environment UV Protection Cream for face/body. The two deluxe samples I got was the Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Packet Trio, and Urban Decay Afterglow Glide-On Cream Blush in Quickie. Also, because I got the Bumble and Bumble shampoo, I got that card at the top for a free service (styling) at a Bumble and Bumble salon, although I don't know if there are any here in Hawaii :/

Here's my stuff I ordered from Lancome:

Definicils Waterproof Mascara



I've used this mascara only once (today), and I have to say that I actually kinda like it so far. It doesn't clump, and I've had it on for maybe 5-6 hours and it hasn't smudged. The lengthening powers isn't all that grand, but I shall continue to try this one out and I'll see if it really is worth $25.

Here's the samples I got (I feel like I really scored with this one coupon code I used):

Color Design Lipstick in Wannabe


Juicy Tubes in Touched By Light


Juicy Tubes in Moulin Rose


Here's some swatches of those lip product samples:


Top to bottom: Juicy Tubes in Moulin Rose, Juicy Tubes in Touched by Light, Color Design Lipstick in Wannabe

I like the two Juicy Tubes lip glosses. The lipstick looks a bit intense for me, but we'll see what I can do with it

Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate


Bright Expert Dark Spot Corrector


All in all I am still trying to get a feel out of these products. Hopefully I'll be able to do more full, in-depth reviews in a week or two.

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