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TAG: Not Worth the Hype

14 May

Hi ladies! I thought before I debut my super nail polish swatch-a-thon post that I would do a little write up of some products I have tried and just didn’t like or they just didn’t work for me. Most of these products have been endlessly hyped up on blogs and YT everywhere, which is what led me to them in first place.  Please PLEASE understand that the items that made my list didn’t work *for me*, which is not to say that they are necessarily not able to work for others.  Keep in mind that we all have different skin tones and types and that our tastes may be completely different.

Alrighty, then, with that out of the way, I present the products I regret buying, or that were  “not worth the hype” for me.

  1. Benefit Sugarbomb “blush”

Benefit Sugarbomb- Image from Sephora.com

I bought this in April sometime after seeing video after video of how this was someone’s “go to” blush and was their all time favorite and so on and so forth. I just don’t get it. My skintone doesn’t seem too far from those making that claim so why it *barely* showed up on my cheeks, I won’t know. There was absolutely, positively nothing special about this blush for me. So uneventful in fact that I didn’t even manage to take a photo of it and swatches before I took it back to Sephora. I have $3 blushes from ELF that are better than this. I honestly and seriously cannot see how someone of my skintone could ever wear this as a blush. Someone with VERY fair skin could probably do it, and well perhaps. I wouldn’t be so hard on this blush if it weren’t for 2 things: the hype and the price. I would be ok paying may $5-$10 for this blush. But certainly not $28, which is more than MAC, NARS, Tarte, or Sonia Kashuk which make far superior blushes to this one.

Alternative: Benefit Bella Bamba which is my favorite Benefit blush.You can see my review here.

2.  Dior Amber Diamond

Dior Amber Diamond

Ok, I get it. It’s Dior, it’s pretty, it’s soft, the packaging is cute. But this did not give me that “natural” glow that so many people have talked about this giving. It gave me a more subdued  frosty shimmer. It certainly wasn’t ugly on my cheeks, but it wasn’t any better or any different than my Physician’s Formula Shimmer Strips, which are around $9 compared to Dior’s $44 price tag. In my opinion, this is worth no more than $15-$20 at best, and the rest is paying for the Dior name. Maybe it’s because I had heard so much about it that when I eventually tried it my expectations were so high that it could never possibly live up to it. Kind of like when I finally watched the movie ‘The Ring’ years ago. Climatic build, huge let down. Whatever the reason, I tried it for two weeks and returned it to Sephora. I am not opposed to some day trying out a different shade if they ever choose to make more. But $44 is an awful lot to spend on a highlighter, so when I do drop that cash it needs to be *Ah-mazing* and this just fell very flat for me.

Alternative: Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow in Rose Gold which is by far the best highlighter I own, period, end of report. It gives me the natural glow I want, with the cream formula I love. Or, if you are looking for a powder, try the Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips–they make several shades and they are a bargain at $9.

3.  MAC Feline Kohl Liner

I had heard that this the THE black eyeliner to have. It was the blackest, and therefore the best. Not true, ladies. I don’t normally have issues with liner staying put for me. I use an eye primer and have several liners that don’t budge all day. I am not kidding you when I say that MAC Feline smudges on me EVERY single time I wear it. I end up looking  like a hot mess in short order with this liner. I don’t know what it is about it that either doesn’t last or doesn’t agree with my skin, but it is quite possibly the worst eyeliner it was ever my misfortune to purchase. Unfortunately I still own it because I didn’t realize how bad it was until several weeks into owning it. Trust me when I say you don’t need to hunt this one down. There are so many others out there that work so much better!

Alternative: Urban Decay 24-7 liner in Perversion is just as black and stays put on me on all day. For a gel liner, try MAC Blacktrack fluidline, which does last on me or Maybelline Eye Studio gel liner which is lovely as well.

4. EOS lip balm spheres

EOS Lip Balm Spheres

At first when I saw these cute little “dumplings” I was oh so excited to try them out. I mean, really, I love the presentation. But unfortunately for me, this were all show, and no substance. They really don’t do anything for moisturizing my lips at all. The red one actually made my lips for more dry than they did prior to using it. I don’t think I will ever purchase another because these two were just so uneventful. Unless they change the formula, these are complete duds.

Alternative: My favorite lip balm/chapstick is my Blistex Medicated lip balm. It soothes, protects, and moisturizes. It’s definitely not as cute as the EOS, but it performs like a star.

5 & 6.  Benefit Benetint and Posietint/ Tarte Cheek Stains

Benetint and Posietint

I am sorry, but these were  just plain bad for me. The Tarte Cheek Stains are equally bad on me. I don’t have them pictured here, but I have quite a few minis that have come in sets and the only one I like is ‘Eco Cheek’.  The Benefit ones have a horrendous taste which immediately rule them out for use on the lips. On the cheeks they don’t blend well and they dry so super fast. The Tarte stains are so sheer that you have to keep swiping and swiping for color. They are sticky and greasy as well. They slip and slide on my skin and never quite feel like they have ‘set’. I actually had to dig through my drawers to find them because they are buried in the abyss–which says something about a product for me when it’s at the bottom and the back of the drawer, ya feel me?

Alternative: I actually enjoy the Stila Crush lip and cheek stains immensely and own a couple of them. I can do a review if you are interested. Not budget friendly, but I enjoy the Beaute Flouron stain as well. The Body Shop made cheek and lip stains last year and I picked up an orange-y one. I am not sure whether they still make that shade or the line at all, but it is very nice.

7. Guerlain Meteorites

Guerlain Meteroites in Beige Chic

Ahh, one of the single most disappointing products ever. When I just entered “make up addict land”  MakeupAlley was the place I found first, because mostly I was looking for plain vanilla swatches. This product was one I saw frequently on there. Girls who had all the shades, loved them etc. So when Sephora (2 years ago?) had a set for sale that included this baby, I snatched it up, full throttle. Actually, this has a bit on sentimental value because I bought it in Vegas 🙂  at the Sephora just outside the Venetian. But upon trying it I could not see what so many others see in this product. The price is outrageously expensive, and again I think this is more “paying for the name” than anything else. I think the price is around $56 for a full size. Are you kidding me? Plus, I really *really* don’t like the smell of them. I would never buy another of these.

Alternative: Physicians Formula Happy Booster Translucent powder gives me the glow I thought I would get with Guerlain. Plus, the smell is 100x better. Better still is the fact that it costs around $11.  🙂

8. Rimmel Fix & Perfect Foundation Primer

Rimmel Fix & Perfect

I don’t know that this can fall into the category of  “Hype” or not, because I don’t know that I have really heard a lot about it. What I can tell you is that this is a truly awful product (my experience) and I would never recommend this to anyone, especially oily/combination skin ladies. It did nothing in the way of smoothing or making my face feel more ready for foundation in the way of other primers, like my beloved Guerlain (review here). It made my face feel worse and like I had this heavy layer of moisturizer that was quite greasy. It was cheap and performed poorly. I really ought to just throw it away. I just have a problem wasting it. Do you ladies get this way too even if you absolutely hate something? Blech.

Alternative: Certainly loads more expensive, but I love my Guerlain primer. For a more budget friendly option, try Laura Geller Spackle ( I really enjoy this) or Smashbox Photo Finish primers.

9. MAC Nail Polishes

MAC Polishes Mean & Green, Bad Fairy

I can’t say whether it’s MAC’s formula or whether it’s me but these are probably the worst polishes for wear time ever. They chip so easily! It doesn’t matter what kind of top coat or base coat I try, they never last. When OPI, China Glaze and Essie are half the price and last 3 times or 4 times as long there really is no comparison. This is one MAC product I have zero interest in. The colors are gorgeous, but I expect (who knew) to be able to at least get through one day without any wear ‘n’ tear on my nails. Never happens when I wear MAC polishes, which is why I haven’t touched them at all in 2011. <—-not kidding 😦

Well, I suppose I will end with that. Mostly, I have had fairly good if not great experiences with makeup and beauty products. The occasional fail does not stop my quest or my love for trying new things! I think it’s important to remember that beauty is subjective and ultimately lies in the eye of the beholder. How about you, what products have you tried that didn’t meet your expectations?


An Epic Highlighter Post!

17 Apr

Greetings fellow beauty lovers! Today I bring a special post, all about highlighters. I was not able to swatch everything in my collection, but I did try to pick the most popular or most readily available items so that you can see what many of them look like compared to one another. For most of them I am including a flash and a natural light photo. The natural light really washes them out on camera I think, so bear that in mind. The flash versions are more accurate representations of what the colors look like, but I did it for posterity’s sake anyway :). This is going to be a picture heavy post!

Liquid/Cream Highlighters

NARS Gold Member

L-R: Sonia Kashuk Sheer Shimmering Highlight, Stila All Over Shimmer #3, Benefit High Beam, Smashbox Artificial Light in Flash

Natural Light L-R: Sonia Kashuk Sheer Shimmering Highlight, Stila All Over Shimmer #3, Benefit High Beam, Smashbox Artificial Light in Flash

L-R: MAC CCB Pearl, MAC CCB Shell, MAC CCB Hush, Sephora Luminous Glow

Natural Light L-R: MAC CCB Pearl, MAC CCB Shell, MAC CCB Hush, Sephora Luminous Glow

L-R: UD Urbanglow Sin, UD Urbanglow Wicked, MUFE Uplight #32, MUFE Uplight #33

Natural Light L-R: UD Urbanglow Sin, UD Urbanglow Wicked, MUFE Uplight #32, MUFE Uplight #33

ELF All Over Color Sticks L-R: Persimmon, Lilac Petal, Golden Peach, Spotlight

L-R: Precriptives Sheen Cream in Beam, NARS Illuminator in Copacabana, Mark Touch & Glow, NARS Illuminator in Orgasm

The above pictures represent my favorite kind of highlight–liquid/cream. I just think it always look so much more luminous and dewy when you use a liquid. I reach for a liquid or cream highlighter daily, while powder highlighters are much less frequently used, maybe a handful of times a month if that. I am still lusting after a few more of the MUFE Uplights (they are $29 each at Sephora.com) but I am waiting for them to arrive in Sephora (mid-May I have been told) so I can swatch. I am also lemming the infamous Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow in Rose Gold., but haven’t indulged yet because, as you can see, I have enough to deal with at the moment in the way of cream highlighters. A few of these items may be difficult to find, and although I tried not to include such items, I did so so that if you do find them that you snatch them up! Prescriptives Sheen Cream has long been discontinued, but has remained for about 3 years a favorite of mine. If they still sold it, I would buy several. Sonia Kashuk’s liquid highlighter is new for spring this year, but has been notoriously difficult to find. I was told by the company you will see more soon, but they had a problem with the manufacturer. Sephora’s luminous glow is also a cherished favorite of mine, but it has also been discontinued! I wanted to include some pictures of the items that are not as popular so that you know what they look like if you find them:

Sephora Luminous Glow

Mark Touch & Glow Cream

The unique thing about the Mark product is that you can use each of the colors separately and you have 9 colors to use. Or you can swirl them together to get the peachy bronze effect I got in the swatch (it appears darker in the swatch than it is in person). Plus this is more like a cream-to-powder product.

Cream/Liquid Wrap up:

  1. Grab a Prescriptives Sheen Cream or Sephora Luminous Glow if you ever find one
  2. The budget buys are the ELF All Over Color Sticks at just $1 and they are very lovely (I would choose the sticks over the liquids they offer as the liquids get quite frosty)
  3. The MUFE Uplights I have are the sparkling version. If you don’t like glitter, you won’t like this version. I plan to try the pearl versions next.
  4. My newest favorite is NARS Copacabana. I ordered it in stick version as well because I like it so much. Smashbox Artificial Light in Flash is equally gorgeous and ranks quite high for me. It was one of my first highlighters.
  5. MAC Cream Colour Bases are very natural looking and an afforable and easily available option. I use these so much!
  6. I love mixing the Sonia Kashuk one with my foundation, and have been doing this almost daily since receiving it.

Powders:

L-R: ELF Golden Bronzer, Too Faced Peach Leopard, Anastasia Brow Highlight (mixed), Benefit Georgia

L-R: Tarina Tarantino Sparklicity Pure, The Body Shop Brush on Radiance Beads, Guerlain Meteorites Beige Chic

Clockwise from Top: Guerlain Meteorites Beige Chic, Tarina Tarantino Sparklicity Pure, The Body Shop Brush on Radiance Beads

L-R: TheBalm Mary-Lou Manizer, Lorac Perfectly Lit in Spotlight, MAC MSF Refined

Natural Light L-R: TheBalm Mary-Lou Manizer, Lorac Perfectly Lit in Spotlight, MAC MSF Refined

The Body Shop Shimmer Waves in Peach

The Body Shop Shimmer Waves in Peach

L-R: Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Vegas Strip & Miami Strip, Bobbi Brown Shimmerbrick Platinum Pink, Dior Amber Diamond

Natural Light L-R: Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Vegas Strip & Miami Strip, Bobbi Brown Shimmerbrick Platinum Pink, Dior Amber Diamond

Powder Wrap up:

  1. Guerlain Meteorites are a waste of money–at least the shade I got. It barely shows up on my skin and has that old lady smell that some Guerlain products have (I don’t enjoy it-the primer smells better than this). I don’t think I would ever buy another one. Mine was a smaller size that came in a set. Thank goodness, because in the 2 years I have owned I have used it MAYBE once. Yeah, I give it a big F-.  Sorry if you like them, it just didn’t highlight AT ALL for me.
  2. The two Body Shop products are great. I love the Peach Shimmer Waves so much. I believe it was LE for last year, but if you can find it..grab it up!
  3. Lorac Perfectly Lit and Mary-Lou Manizer are wonderful highlighters, and are so natural looking for being powders. Lorac just gives me this ethereal glow that I love so much, it is in my top 5 for sure!
  4. Benefit Georgia is nice, but very very subtle on my skintone. On the other hand, Tarina Tarantino is super sparkly. You must use it with a light hand but for special events or nights out it is gorgeous!
  5. In person, Vegas Strip and Dior Amber Diamond are almost dupes. The texture is different, but I am not sold on the hype of Amber Diamond yet. It may be going back to Sephora! For the price, it just isn’t that different or special to me. 😦  I am, however still interested in trying Rose Diamond and the other limited edition shade if I can track it down.
  6. Bobbi Brown Shimmerbrick is also nothing to write home about. Platinum Pink is a LE shade, but I would be interested in trying another. I will probably pick one up the next time I am at my CCO (much cheaper that way). They are worth the CCO price, but I don’t think I would ever pay full price for one.

Well, that is probably my biggest and longest post ever! I am a total highlighter addict and I am always searching for more! What are your thoughts? Are you a cream/liquid fan or do you prefer powders? What highlighters do you own that are your favorite?

This or That, Volume 1

4 Apr

Hi all! Happy Monday! Based on the feedback I have gotten on past posts, many of you really really like seeing comparisons and possible dupes A LOT. I don’t blame you, I love it when someone finds and compares what they have to something new or different they have gotten. So, with that explanation I welcome This or That to my blog. A series of posts with items showing comparable colors, but not necessarily formula based. I will try to note any differences in formula that I detect along the way, but mostly these posts are going to be all about color! I cannot promise how often these posts will happen, at least once a month is my goal. Reason being it takes a long time to go through my collection, find comparable products, swatch, photograph, and then of course compose the post. I will take requests or suggestions for these, providing I have the products to compare. Without further ado, here come the swatches!

L-R ELF Mint Cream, OPI Gargantuan Green Grape, Milani Dressmake, China Glaze Refresh-mint, China Glaze For Audrey, Orly Mint Mojito

L-R: Orly Mint Mojito, OPI Gargantuan Green Grape, China Glaze Refresh-Mint, ELF Mint Cream (shown above it is China Glaze For Audrey), Milani Dressmaker

They all apply well, apart from one. OPI Gargantuan Green Grape is a pain. Shown above is 4 coats. I love the color of it but don’t see myself reaching for it too often based on the issues! Orly Mint Mojito has a darker green base than Milani Dressmaker, and lacks its dimensional jade sparkle. Both are very nice colors and easy to apply, and are two coats here. China Glaze For Audrey, Refresh-mint and ELF Mint Cream are all quite similar. For Audrey is more blue than the other two. Refresh-mint is lighter than Mint Cream and covers better. ELF’s Mint Cream is two coats here and you can see it doesn’t quite fully cover the nail. Milani Dressmaker would be my favorite if I had to pick just one. The price of these polishes very by where you get them, but range from $1-$8. The ELF one is the bargain of the bunch at just $1, so if you are looking for the pastel minty nail look but don’t want to shell out loads of cash to get it, this might be a good option!

L-R: MAC Crosswires vs Sonia Kashuk Coraline; MAC Ravishing vs. Revlon Colorburst Peach

I totally did not plan on getting all of these shades just to show them on my blog. But when I sat down to start this series I just began pulling products I thought might be similar. Lo and behold I found two drugstore almost dupes for two MAC lipsticks. I love all 4 of these lipsticks and they all go on smoothly. The longest lasting has to be the Revlon Colorburst if you are looking for longevity. Coraline is slightly more orange than Crosswires and Ravishing is slightly brighter than Peach. If you have one shade you definitely don’t need the other! Price wise you will be $14.50 for each of the MAC ones. On sale, I purchased the Revlon lipstick for about $4 and I paid around $8 for Sonia Kashuk at Target.

Clockwise from Left: Benefit Powderflage, Bare Minerals Well Rested, ELF Eye Brightener

L-R: ELF Eye Brightener, Benefit Powderflage, Bare Minerals Well Rested

Oh, how I love under eye brighteners! Three powder versions I have tried are from ELF, Benefit (the popular Powderflage) and Bare Minerals Well Rested. Of the three I can tell you my clear favorite is Well Rested. It is much more brightening than ELF’s version and is more yellow and flesh toned than Powderflage which is more pink in color. Well Rested is the most pigmented of the three as well. All three may work for different people, depending on your skin tone, under eye circles and personal preference. For me, I can use a translucent powder to set concealer so I am not looking for something to just set my concealer with. I want to see noticeably brighter results. Well Rested definitely gives me that. A word of caution if you have dryness under your eyes, Well Rested may emphasize the dryness so moisturizing is key.  Price wise, Powderflage is $28, Well Rested goes for $18 and the ELF version is the cheapest of the three at just $3. I would not recommend the ELF version for anyone of my skin coloring. I consider myself a medium skin tone, and it didn’t brighten for me at all. At first glance $3 makes it seem like a total bargain…but for me it was a wasted $3 as I did not notice any difference under my eyes at all.

Well, that wraps up  This or That Volume 1! Thanks for playing along! Do share suggestions, requests or your thoughts on the products I mentioned below, I’d love to hear what you think!

The Nose Knows

29 Mar

Hellllloooo all. I feel like this week is going by super fast. Tomorrow is already Wednesday! Wow. Anyway, I am sorry for lack of comments on others blogs and slow response to comments here. I have been having a couple of late nights at the office and barely have time to eat and take off my makeup before going to bed, le sigh. But, my schedule should be easing up as the week goes on. Anyhow, the other day I got to thinking about lotions, body sprays and perfumes. I haven’t done a post like this before, but I thought I’d share some of my favorites!

First up, body sprays and my favorite Bath and Body Works Lotion:

L-R: B&BW Rice Flower & Shea Lotion, Calgon In the Rain, B&BW Rice Flower & Shea Spray, B&BW Sweet Pea Spray

For awhile Rice Flower & Shea was not available. But I am happy to report it is back (has been for at least a year if not more). The story behind this scent is pretty simple. This was the first scent ever given to me by a boy and it was from the man I am still with today (highschool sweethearts folks, no lie). These aren’t the originals of course, I used them up long ago. But I have since repurchased and it is one of the few scents that I will always always cherish because it reminds me of the wonderful times we have had and still have together. Funny how a scent does that you! I cannot describe this scent accurately except that if you know what shea butter smells like, you can definitely detect it in here. But there is something simple, classic and romantic about this scent that makes me love it so much.

Calgon’s In the Rain is a scent I like for a similar reason. Although I rarely use body sprays anymore, I enjoy the fresh, after the rain scent this gives. It is also a favorite of the boy ;). I do not know if this is even made anymore!

And of course, one of Bath and Body Works most popular scents, Sweet Pea. You all know this scent. It’s girly, fun, and light. Have repurchased this several times in many forms. Love it.

DKNY Rollerball, DKNY Be Delicious, Benefit Garden of Good & Eva and So Hooked on Carmella

DKNY Be Delicious has to be hands down my favorite perfume of all time (which used to be Clinique Happy). I like the other variations of this too, but Be Delicious is the best. I also bought the rollerball with DKNY Fresh Blossom on one side and Be Delicious on the other. I did that for portability and because my mom told me that she mixes the two sometimes and loves the smell they create together. She was right! It is a fresh, apple-y scent and cannot be replicated by other perfumes. It has been a staple for me for about 3 years now. I always feel so fresh and awake and feminine when I wear it. It isn’t strong or heavy at all, which I hate in a perfume.

Benefit’s Garden of Good & Eva (how adorable is the packaging and name by the way, squeal!!) is similar to DKNY Be Delicious in that it is more natural and fresh scented. Benefit describes it as “a crisp and fresh citrus floral” and I would have to agree. It is fresh. I really really enjoy this scent.

Also from Benefit’s Crescent Row perfume collection is So Hooked on Carmella, which is described as “a floral vanilla that’s exquisitely feminine” and again they are pretty spot on. When I first heard about these perfumes and tested them in Ulta last year, I did not think I would like Carmella. I am not a fan of vanilla-y perfumes or body sprays as they tend to be too heavy and over-powering. Carmella is not that kind of vanilla. When I wear Carmella, I feel sexy and feminine. It’s my preferred date/going out perfume.

L-R: Clinique Happy, Coach Poppy, VS Sweet Daydream, VS Love Spell

Clinique Happy–what can I say here that hasn’t been said anywhere else. Fresh and light and…well, happy! Like sunshine in a bottle, Clinique Happy has been a staple of mine for years and years.

Coach Poppy is a newer scent to my collection. When I first tested it out at the Coach store I knew it was going to one day be mine. And sure enough, I found a home for it in my stash. It is described as “sweetly scented jasmine and gardenia mingle with fresh cucumber and candied rose petals in a pretty, lighthearted fragrance.” Sweet? Floral? Light? Yes please! This is one perfume you ladies all need to smell! I love love love it and it may even knock DKNY Be Delicious out of first place!

The last two I am sharing with you for now are my two favorite Victoria’s Secret scents. Sweet Daydream which smells sugary and sweet like candy and Love Spell is described as “a lavishly lush blend of peach, cherry blossom and white jasmine” I am not good with describing scents so I will go with that. Suffice it to say it smells floraly and fresh, just like many of the others I have already mentioned. It seems like fresh, floral, citrus and jasmine all make up my favorite perfumes and scents.

How about you ladies? Any scents get you SCENT-imental (sorry I couldn’t resist!) ? What are your favorites for everyday?