Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée

3 Feb

Well well well. If it isn’t little miss…. okay let’s just cut to the chase, I don’t have much time.


So pretty! I was sucked in by both the name (Coconut Gelée? YUM!) and the colors. Then I bought some, and found myself unsure of how I was supposed to apply it. It’s blush… but it’s in a pot. Do I use my fingers? A sponge? A brush? I finally googled it and was rewarded with a bunch of how-to Youtube videos. The consensus seemed to be fingers, so I went at it.

Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée
-Fairly easy to apply, if a little confusing at first
-Very sheer
-Super natural looking – really gives that dewy look

-There was a lot of talk about how it was “buildable,” but I found that hard. It goes on SO sheer that I felt like I had to cake it on to get any real color.
-Messy fingers
-Not as intuitive (for me) as powder blush

End result? I switched back to NARS Orgasm, which it appears I have never written a review for, but really, do I need to? I mean if you have read a beauty blog or magazine in the past ten years you have surely heard of THE BEST BLUSH IN THE WORLD OMG IT’S SO GOOD THEY MADE ANOTHER ONE WITH GLITTER AND CALLED IT SUPER ORGASM AND THEN THEY MADE MATCHING LIPGLOSS AND NAIL POLISH TOO OH NARS PLEASE MARRY ME!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Their words, not mine – I do love the blush but frankly find all other NARS products overrated and unimpressive.) Sorry for the digression. Basically the work was not worth the result for me. It’s a nice blush and if you’re into a super sheer blush, a cream blush, or a dewy look, this very well might be the blush for you. I don’t really need/want any of those things, so for me… not so much.

I swear I am going to try to blog again later this week about an eyeshadow that is my new fave. Stay tuned.

PS. I’m pregnant again, so that is part of the reason I am so slow.


6 Dec

My skin is FREAKING out! The weather, the heat, stress, hormones – I have a red rash all around my nose and mouth that makes me look like I spent the night sucking face with Ronald McDonald. And maybe caught something.

I have been being super gentle with my skin – stopped using the Clarisonic, switched to Boscia skincare since a lot of it’s fragrance free, moisturizing like crazy, using Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective Gel, and today went so far as to use Diorskin Nude BB Creme – and I don’t ever use foundation. The closest I come is Chantecaille’s Future Skin, which is lovely and quite helpful when my skin is normally uneven, but can’t even touch what I have going on right now. The Diorskin is an improvement but I really don’t like the one-dimensional look it gives my face. I just really hate foundation is the problem.

So I turn to you, dear readers (what are there, like six of you? Five?) for recommendations. I want a foundation to hide my shame. But I don’t want to look fake. But it needs to have at least medium coverage. But I would still like to look like I have pores. But not like I have a contagious disease. You see my problem.

Recommendations? Advice? Help? I welcome it.

Alterna Kills Animals (or Why I’m Not Buying Any More Alterna Products Indefinitely)

5 Sep

So, first, read this.

Since I posted that, I have not heard another word from Alterna. I tried posing the question to them via Facebook and Twitter. They have chosen not to reply.

I’m not sure what pisses me off most about this situation, but I think I can narrow it to two things. One, the initial robo-response from customer service:

Our products are made ethically and cruelty-free so no animals are ever harmed during the process.

Well, that’s a lie, isn’t it? Because as a general rule, fish are killed to source caviar, and your shampoo and conditioner list caviar in the damned ingredient list. Which brings me to two, the absolute non-response thereafter. I have contacted them THREE different ways and they haven’t seen fit to reply at all regarding HOW THEY SOURCE THEIR CAVIAR. Just say you kill fish to get the caviar. Or buy from a supplier who does. That’s all I want. I am not militant. I am not an animal rights activist. I have used your other lines and just avoided your caviar line in the past, which is what I would continue to do if I didn’t suddenly get the vibe that you’re complete and total hypocrites, preaching one thing and practicing the opposite.

So then I have to ask: What else are you lying about, Alterna? You issued a blanket statement in response to my question about your practices for sourcing caviar without any further information to back it up. I can only assume there are other “truths” you are glossing over or manufacturing to support your healthy, natural, eco-conscious image, when in fact you’re just another corporation preying on consumers who want to live a healthier, kinder lifestyle.

Until I hear otherwise, I will assume Alterna is a deceptive, manipulative company. I am boycotting them henceforth – not because they kill fish (honestly, to each their own – vegetarianism is my own choice, not something I force on others), but because I don’t trust them at all.

Epicuren Kukui Coconut After Bath Moisturizer

31 Aug

epicuren coconut

I have wanted both Epicuren’s Kukui Coconut After Bath Moisturizer and their Tahitian Vanilla After Bath Moisturizer for quite some time, but was (understandably) put off by the price. Fortunately, I usually only see them sold at spas while I’m on vacation, so it wasn’t like I was having to control myself every time I went to, say, Target (which is always a losing battle, by the way – self-control, Target, and I generally don’t appear in the same sentence). When we took Gregory down to Hawaii this spring, however, I finally splurged and got them for myself, reasoning that I have wanted them for a long time and also just produced a tiny human so deserved a treat (don’t judge me).

I have been using Body Shop Body Butters for months now, for four reasons: 1) ease of acquisition; 2) ease of use; 3) quality; and 4) price. About a month ago, however, I suddenly realized I had these fantastic Epicuren lotions waiting to be used, and that I should use the coconut one while the sun is still shining, because smelling like coconut in the Seattle winter seems a little off. Additionally, I love Body Shop Butters for being so hydrating, but it’s been an uncharacteristically humid summer here, so I wanted something a little lighter weight. Epicuren fit the bill.

I think I would typically give this lotion super high marks, except for the price. What I mean is, it is a great summer lotion – light weight, fragrant in a nice, summery way, easy to dispense, and has lasted some time. I just think there are other lotions out there of the same quality for half the price that do the job just as well. This is really a case of paying for the name. On the plus side, I have gotten lots of compliments on the scent.

Long and the short of it – if you have been considering picking up a bottle of Epicuren’s After Bath Moisturizer, I’d say do it. It’s a great product and for use, I give it high marks across the board. But if you’ve never heard of it before and are just looking for a nice daily moisturizer, maybe think twice – you can get other products for less that will please you just as much.

Shea Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner

8 Aug

Shea-Moisture-Organic-Raw-Shea-Butter-Moisture-Retention-Shampoo-Conditioner-1I’m gonna make this brief as I now believe this may have been my error.

I needed shampoo and conditioner at my Mom’s house, and rather than going to Sephora or a salon, I grabbed some at Target. I liked the looks of this stuff because it’s all organic-y seeming and is sulfate free. Inexplicably, the organic/natural stuff and the ethnic hair care products are in the same section. I am pretty sure Shea Moisture shampoo & conditioner MAY be formulated for Black hair, both because if you Google image search it, you get images of Black women and because my sister told me her biracial roommate used to use it.

Anyhow, it was not a good match for my hair, which I have mentioned before is pretty fine. There’s a ton OF it, but the strands themselves are very thin and blonde. I was actually nearly insane after a week of using this, so much so that I went to the grocery store, picked up some Fructis – sulfates and all – washed my hair and talked for about two days about how much better my hair felt. Essentially this stuff weighed my hair down and turned it into a heavy, greasy, oily, awful mess. I tried everything – one day after swimming in the ocean, I just rinsed my hair and used the TINIEST bit of conditioner, but it was still too much. Another day I actually used baby shampoo of my son’s and then a tiny bit of conditioner – still awful. Looking at it now, I bet it’s the Argan Oil, which I have had greasifying issues with in the past.

Anyhow. That’s that. I won’t use it again, but if you have super coarse, dry hair, this might be a win for you!

Alterna Caviar Replenishing Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner

8 Aug

alterna cavia

So, I have been extolling the benefits of Alterna for some time. They make great shampoo and conditioner with just about everything I want/need, and now they even have Katie Holmes as their spokesmodel (and apparently co-owner?) I have loved Katie Holmes ever since Dawson’s Creek, loved her more after The Gift, lost a little love for her when she married whackadoo and depression medication-denier Tom Cruise, but then went back to loving her the most after she left his crazy ass. So she adds value to Alterna’s brand identity for me, and even if you don’t particularly like her, you gotta admit – lady’s got lovely locks.

katie holmes

The one Alterna product line I have steadfastly refused to try is the Caviar line. I know it’s all the rage right now in the hair care circles, but I am vegetarian, so I don’t eat caviar. I DO eat chicken eggs, but it turns out there’s a very large difference between how chicken eggs and fish eggs are harvested: namely, you don’t have to kill the hen to get the egg. And that’s exactly what one has to do to a fish to get caviar.

Recently, I received an email from Elle Inner Circle asking me to take a survey to see if I qualified to sample a new hair care line. I took the survey, qualified, and a couple weeks later, received in the mail Alterna’s Caviar Shampoo & Conditioner. D’OH! When I took the survey, I agreed to try the shampoo & conditioner and report back on my findings, so I dutifully decided that, even though I have moral objections to caviar, since I already had the s&c in hand (i.e., I didn’t buy it and thus didn’t fund the killing of fish), and since I had essentially signed an agreement that I would use it, I would follow through.

Of course the s&c didn’t disappoint – it’s Alterna. It smells great and works great. It’s sulfate- and paraben-free. My hair felt super soft AND super clean, which can be a difficult balance to achieve, plus smelled awesome (like, so good that I went to lunch with my friend Cait yesterday and my hair was still damp and from a couple feet away she said, “You smell AMAZING.”) Still… it’s made with caviar.

I used it as directed and took the survey, in which I extolled its virtues but also indicated that I would NOT buy this s&c, nor would I recommend it to a friend. When asked why, I explained my reasons.

After this, I thought, you know, I should contact Alterna and ask how exactly they harvest their caviar. I should give them a chance. Maybe they harvest it after the fish lays it. I know it’s unlikely, but since it’s not food-grade, maybe. Maybe.

Here is my email:

Good afternoon,

I am a long-time user and fan of Alterna shampoo and conditioner, but as a vegetarian and animal lover have always shied away from using your Caviar line. Recently, however, as a member of Elle Inner Circle, I received a sample of the Caviar Shampoo and Conditioner to try and review. I absolutely loved the way it worked and smelled, but remain concerned about the ingredients and purchasing something that requires animals be killed to produce it.

I am therefore inquiring if your Caviar line harvests caviar in the traditional way – by impregnating fish and then killing them to retrieve the eggs – or if, because the caviar is not food grade, you wait until the fish has laid the eggs and collect them then. I would find the latter acceptable, but cannot reconcile my conscience with the former.

Thanks so much, and I look forward to hearing back.

Kate J

Aaaaand here is their utterly useless response:

Hello Kate,

Thank you for your email!

Alterna does not test products on animals. Our products are made ethically and
cruelty-free so no animals are ever harmed during the process.

If you have any further questions or concerns please contact us again.

Customer Service

I did indeed contact them again – I replied directly to this email and asked how they harvest their caviar:

Thanks for the info – where DO you get the caviar, then? I’d really love to write a blog recommending the shampoo and conditioner, but I need more info on how you acquire the caviar!

Kate J

As of today, I have received no response. I have now posted a request for more information on their Facebook page, as well, but nothing there yet, either.

You’re saying that no animals are ever harmed during the process, but are you REALLY saying you harvest the caviar without hurting the fish? Because I really need you to say those words before I will spend $32 a bottle on a hair care product that may or may not require animals to be killed in order to produce it.

I’ll update this if I ever manage to get an honest, straightforward answer on where the caviar in Alterna’s Caviar line comes from.

UPDATE (but no new information):

Hello Kate,

Thank you for your email! Unfortunately, we do not have that information
available at this time. We will forward this reply to the correct
department for review. We apologize for the inconvenience.

If you have any further questions or concerns please contact us again.

Customer Service

Ooh La, Rue La!

26 Jun

Ah the subscription model of shopping. I am a sucker, and I LOOOOVE getting packages. Plus it’s a great way to try out new products without having to invest in full sizes.

So far, I am a member both of  BeautyBar Sample Society and Birchbox. And then, cause you know, I like to share the wealth, I also signed up for BarkBox. FOR MY DOG.

sample society

If you decide to sign up for BeautyBar Sample Society after seeing this, please consider using my referral code – kate78 – so I can get credit!


Then my friend Cait mentioned Glossybox to me. I have been meaning to look into it but not had a chance yet.


Today, Rue La La is offering a DEAL on Glossybox – $40 for a $100 membership. WHAT! So yeah. I signed up. And maybe, if you’re anything like me, you should too.

rue la la glossybox

If you’re a member of a similar program, please share the details and your referral code below, or tweet it to me @kate78, #lipglosslife!