Tag Archives: Sephora

Serge Normant Meta Silk Shampoo & Meta Velour Conditioner

29 Nov

Recently decided to try Serge Normant Meta Silk Shampoo and Meta Velour Conditioner, after seeing what kind of sulfate-free shampoos Sephora offers that I haven’t yet used. Conclusion? Love it! Love them both! Sold!

From the Sephora website:

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Synthetic Fragrances
– Synthetic Dyes
– Petrochemicals
– Phthalates
– GMOs
– Triclosan

So yeah, already a winner as far as I’m concerned.

I wasn’t crazy about the smell in the bottle, as it’s very traditionally shampoo-y. I tend to prefer gourmand scents, or fruity scents, or flowery scents. Not just “soapy.” But after I used it on my hair, I really, really liked the way my hair smelled. Super clean, just aromatic enough. Plus my hair has never been softer. Additionally, my huzz could use it and not smell like a lady, which is a plus for both of us.

Pretty pricey for what you get, but not outrageous – I have been using it (every other day) for a couple weeks now and haven’t run out.

Totally a fan of this stuff, and would buy it again – for me or my husband!

Too Faced Better Than False Lashes Nylon Lash Extension System

18 Nov

In a word: weird.

I suck at putting on false eyelashes, and for the most part, there’s really no reason for me to do so. I am genetically blessed with lovely, curly natural lashes that only require some darkening and thickening to look almost as good as fake on their own. Nonetheless, there are times when I want that over the top, mascara ad look that can only be accomplished with falsies, and I have absolutely no luck applying them. It takes me hours, I end up with glue everywhere, and about 60% of the time eventually just give up.

So when I saw this “Lash Extension System” from Too Faced (whom I like a lot) at Sephora, of COURSE I thought, “Well why the hell not?” Date night with the huzz Friday was the perfect excuse to try it out.

The positive: my eyelashes looked awesome, no doubt. They did NOT look like fake lashes, nor did they look anything like the lashes on the box. But they looked damned good – better than any just-mascara-alone has ever made them look. Thick, long, and black as night.

The negative: everything else. You have to do about 4 coats all told for the entire process to be complete: base, weird fibrous middle, then 2 top coats. That alone is a deal breaker for me, because I just don’t have the time to do four coats of anything. Another problem is the stuff flakes off under your eyes (just a tiny bit, I have seen worse), and is VERY hard to remove. I was still taking it off the next day – probably another issue related to the whole four coats thing.

But none of those things are the worst thing. The worst thing is the weird, fibrous middle coat. Oh god just thinking of it actually makes me shudder a little.

It is white and like cotton candy. For some reason I thought it would be at least moist, but it’s not. It’s dry as paper. So you use a mascara wand to apply a dry, white, cotton-candy-esque – god I can’t even think of a word to describe it – COAT of stuff to your eyelashes. And it doesn’t stick too well so you’re kind of repeating it again and again wondering if you’re doing it right. It reminds me of the tiny furs on caterpillars. Seriously weird. Anyhow if you make it through this step, which I barely did, you then follow with two coats of the other normal mascara-like stuff on top. And then, as the pièce de résistance, your eyelashes stick together. I don’t mean the top ones stick to each other. I mean the top ones stick to the bottom ones, like a Venus flytrap. And I didn’t even use the caterpillar fur on my lower lashes, for fear of that very thing. It seemed to subside after about an hour – either that or I just stopped noticing – but at first I basically wanted to rip my eyelashes out.

I cannot in good conscience recommend this “system,” no matter how good it makes your lashes look. Maybe if you’re doing a photo shoot or something and can wash it off right away – no, not even then. It gave my eyeballs the creepy crawlies, and that is never okay.

 

Mascara THROWDOWN!

31 Oct

I have been trying different mascaras lately. I don’t know why. Boredom? I just thought, there are so many out there, why not? Largely a disappointing experience, but here are my findings anyhow, in a very short, succinct format.

Chantecaille Faux Cils Mascara
When I bought this, she told me it doesn’t smudge. That is a lie. It does. A lot. It smells like roses and it’s not the worst of the smudgers, but it does end up under my eyes after a long day. Good color, good consistency, easy application, good volume. Too expensive to smudge that way.
3/5 lashes

Eyeko Skinny Brush Mascara
I like the logo for this brand, and I think we all know I’m a sucker for anything pretty or gimmicky. I’m not sure what the thought process was in naming any mascara “skinny” anything, because that seems pretty counterintuitive, but this mascara is actually awesome. I literally just took a nap in it and it looks exactly the same as when I applied it. I have had no smudging issues with it; when it comes off it actually just seems to flake a little, which is way easier to remove than smudging. Color is good, lashes look thick and long. A tiny bit clumpier than I’d prefer but not too bad, and might thicken up with repeated usage. One coat is enough. Only complaint – hard to get off. Really had to scrub it off my eyes.
4.5/5 lashes

Make Up Forever Smoky Lash Mascara in 6 (Purple)
Great mascara. I picked this up at Sephora because I had a hankering for some purple eyelashes. Great application, great staying power, easy to remove, little to no smudging, BUT (isn’t there always something?) doesn’t look very purply on. If you look VERY carefully it’s purple, but it’s not jumping off my face purple. The only reason to wear purple mascara is so that people are like, Hey, look at those wild lashes! This doesn’t accomplish that. I may as well just use the black. So as a mascara, 5/5 lashes. As a purple mascara…
3.5/5 lashes

Mally Beauty Volumizing Mascara
The definite winner of the bunch, and a reader/friend submission at that! Wendy F. recommended I try this brand after one of my other mascara posts, so I did. It’s great! Color is good, application is easy, nice thick lashes with no clumping, one coat does it, easy to remove, minimal smudging, meets pretty much every requirement I have! I am at the end of the tube now, hence my exploration into other types, but if you’re not in the mood to explore and simply want a reliable, standard mascara, I don’t think you can go wrong with this one.
5/5 lashes

On a related note, the first person to tell me what the hell mascara and flagellation have in common wins a prize. EVERY time I write about mascara, WordPress suggests I tag my post with flagellation. I must know why.

Caudalie

17 Oct

Ah the long awaited Caudalie Blog!

I have been promising this for months but failed to deliver. Well HERE I AM!

I started using Caudalie maybe six months ago (maybe a year ago? It’s been awhile) and have noticed a dramatic change in my skin. It’s better hydrated (so much so that the aesthetician I see a couple times a year for facials actually remarked on it), clearer, softer, more refined, and with fewer wrinkles and less noticeable pores. It feels healthy and looks healthy and honestly I think I owe most of the “pregnancy glow” comments I have gotten not to Junior but to Caudalie products.

So what am I using? Well, that’s the tricky part, and part of what has held me up from writing this blog for so, so long. Although I have stuck entirely to Caudalie products, I have drifted between different ones and found them all largely to work the same! Now obviously I don’t mean a cleanser is a serum is a moisturizer (duh), I just mean the cleansers are largely the same, the serums are largely the same, etc. ad nauseum. I have found it’s less about which specific Caudalie products I choose, and more about the regimen I follow. And that regimen is:

AM

  • Wash
  • Eye moisturizer (under eyes and around sides)
  • Serum
  • Moisturizer

PM

  • Wash/Cleanse
  • Lip Balm
  • Serum
  • Moisturizer

If you go to Caudalie’s website, you can customize what regimen you want, but again – I have found most of the products to be pretty comparable, regardless of price. This is important, because some of the products (such as the Premier Cru line) are priced OUTRAGEOUSLY and offer little benefit other than those I find from all their products (that line does smell especially nice). Additionally, part of the reason I have switched products multiple times is that they keep discontinuing the products I am using. I am not sure what’s going on, but it’s pretty annoying. Thankfully, since all the products are similar, it’s not been too much of a hassle.

There are always exceptions to every rule, however. That being said, here are the Caudalie products I STRONGLY endorse:

  • Caudalie Beauty Elixir – Not part of my daily routine, but a lovely, refreshing water you can spritz on your face any time. Especially nice in the hot summer months after spending some time in the sun.
  • Caudalie Instant Foaming Cleanser – LOVE this, my go-to face wash. NO sulfates but nice and sudsy, gets my face uber clean without drying it. Much prefer it over their gentle cleanser, which leaves me feeling greasy. Could not recommend this more highly.
  • Caudalie Vinosource Riche Moisturizer – Pricey but worth it, and lasts forever. Super thick and hydrating, maybe not for those with oilier complexions. For me it is PERFECT. I mix a pea-sized dollop with…
  • Caudalie Divine Complexion Tinted Mineral Cream – Don’t be scared! I do not get a line. I mix a pea-sized drop of this with an equal amount of the Vinosource Riche, rub them between my hands, and smooth them all over my face, jaw, and down onto my neck. The difference is VERY subtle but definitely brightens up my sometimes sallow complexion. THIS is the pregnancy glow, ladies, combined with a dusting of my favorite bronzer.
  • Caudalie Cleansing Water – A little of this on a cotton pad and all my makeup is gone. Soft and gentle.
  • Caudalie Moisturizing Concentrate – My go-to before bed serum. Smells fantastic and gives an extra moisture layer.

So I love Caudalie. I think this is the longest I have EVER stuck to a single product line in my life. I am actually convinced that there is nothing better at a comparable price currently available on the market. If I had to choose just one product to insist you try, it would be the Foaming Cleanser. Two, and it would be that and the Tinted Mineral Cream. Both have changed my life and my perspective on skin care.

Even so – the most important thing about caring for your skin is not the brand you choose but how it works for you. There are some fabulous drug store brands out there, and some fabulous top of the line brands. Be consistent, explore, and find what makes your skin look its best!

 

Carol’s Daughter Chocolät Shampoo & Conditioner

6 Aug

So I just did my standard Google image search to find an image of this stuff to include, and I got a lot of photos of Black women. I know the founder, Lisa Price, is Black, but are Carol’s Daughter’s products really supposed to be, like  formulated exclusively for Black people? Because I have news: I FREAKING LOVE THIS STUFF. And I am as White as they come.

I’m pretty particular when it comes to shampoo and conditioner. I have been burned recently (see Organix and Phyto, ugh), have crazy hair, and require my shampoos to be sulfate free. I want my hair to feel clean, smell good, but also be tamed at least somewhat (no crazy frizz or flyaways, not impossible to get a brush through). This makes me a bit of a tough customer. I still LOOOOVE Alterna‘s line, but I like to switch it up, especially in the hair department. I went on Sephora recently and found that they have helpfully added a sulfate-free search criteria. I chose a few different shampoo/conditioner combos and ordered up.

Carol’s Daughter’s Chocolät line was first up at bat and, oh, can I marry it?!? Smells AWESOME (but NOT like chocolate, be forewarned)*, gets my hair clean and soft and brushable, and is, of course, sulfate-free. Can’t wait to use up the bottles and buy more for the next round! Nicely done, Lisa!

ONLY complaint – the dispensers are a bit awkward. But with a product this good, I can totally overlook it!

*Not sure how to define the smell exactly – not gourmand in any way. More herbal-y/natural, like sandalwood a little? Anyhow my husband can’t stop smelling me either, so it’s an all-around win.

Anastasia Hydrafull Gloss

1 Aug

Meh.

Sephora was giving full-size tubes of this stuff in “Moi” away for free (I dunno if they still are, but you can try – the promo code is MOI). That should have been a clue that maybe I wasn’t going to love it (nothing good comes free in full size, in my experience). But enough parenthetical statements (okay, just one more, for funsies).

The gloss is thick and a little sticky, which is okay. The color is nice, a good neutral on me. And the smell is nice – a kind of pleasant vanilla sugar smell. But the applicator ruins it all! They show it above – see the image in the upper right that looks like it’s going BOI-OI-OI-OING? That’s it. The applicator is a paddle (?) type – flat plastic. I have used this type of applicator in the past with success but there’s something different about this one – perhaps it’s the width of it, or the thickness of the gloss itself. Either way, me no likey. It gives NO precision, which is pretty imperative with a semi-opaque gloss, and I ended up either applying too much or too little and then having to smooth out with my finger, which completely defeats the purpose of the applicator. After two uses, it’s being relegated to my giveaway pile, which is sad, because it has everything else going for it.

Re-release in a foam-tipped applicator wand, Anastasia! Do it!

Got the Blemish Blues?

20 Jun

Got the following message from a friend on fb:

hello Ms. Kate! Congrats on all your great news approaching: baby, business, seems like life is falling together well 🙂 I had a question for the resident beauty product girl 😉 perhaps you can make me a recommendation? haha i hope its not irritating that i ask you!! 🙂

Adult onset skin issues: blackheads and the every now and then red spot….any suggestions on products to diminish these? the daily cleaners leave my skin so horridly dry (i use the purity cleanser)…so do you know of good spot treatments? facial masks? once a week treatments? also, ingrown hairs…i get them something awful from tweezing on my face…i heard witch hazel helps to prevent the chronic issues..have you heard this or experienced anything?

by the way, mederma for scars worked but it takes FOREVER for old scars. once i get medical insurance making a dermatology apt might just need to have lazer treatment…

I actually LOVE that I am now product girl and can offer my insights and do something useful with all the product knowledge I have! Here is my response:

Hi! No it doesn’t bother me at all, and thank you for all the congrats – and congrats to you as well! So proud of you!

I have been blessed with awesome skin for most of my life. That said, pregnancy has be wreaking HAVOC on my face and I have been having terrible breakouts. My recommendations are:

Burt’s Bees Blemish Stick: Best herbal blemish remedy on the market. You can apply it a couple times a day with no ill effects.

Neutrogena On-the-Spot Acne Treatment: For more serious issues, it’s a benzoyl peroxide medication and works great.

Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque: I recommend it on my blog (https://lipglosslife.com/2012/04/01/spa-out-your-bathroom/) and I stand by it. It’s cheap, it’s proven, and it does the job – totally dries out problem zones and cleans the heck out of your skin.

Ingrown hairs: I blessedly don’t get these anywhere but my bikini line, but there, I get them BAD. I have been using witch hazel since I got pregnant but honestly it hasn’t helped much. Before that I used PFB Vanish and Whish Flawless, both of which my esthetician recommended, and both of which worked awesome. Before that I used Nufree Finipil, which works best of all, but can be hard to get ahold of.

My scars fade really fast and pretty much disappear… you almost can’t even see the one from my operation last year (again, just really lucky, I guess), but I did use Vitamin E Cream on it daily for weeks after it had healed, which may have helped.

One last note: Cleansers that dry your skin too much can actually cause more problems than they solve. I am definitely not a cream cleanser proponent – I hate having my face feel oily after washing – but if your skin feels really tight you might want to consider switching cleansers or using cold water to wash your face (if you’re not already). When your skin gets too dried out it actually goes into oil production overdrive (or so I have heard) to try to protect itself. I currently use Caudalie’s Foaming Cleanser (their whole line, actually) and absolutely swear by it.

OH one other thing, but you’re not going to like it. The best exfoliator I have found anywhere is Kate Somerville’s ExfoliKate but it is super expensive. If you want I could put some in a little tester size and send it to you so you could see if it’s worth it to you, or you might be able to get a sample at Sephora. I use it every other day and it is awesome.

Okay, whew! Hope that’s not too much info! I might post this as a blog, with your questions (anonymously) first, if that doesn’t bother you?

Kate

There you have it! Not only did she agree to let me post her questions here, she has also graciously offered to try out my recommendations and get back to me with thoughts, so we can get a second opinion on some of these products. Hope this helps someone!