“Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.” -Gwyneth Paltrow

On the Cheap: Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick in Rockin Fuchsia

I'm always on the hunt for a good bargain lipstick. Considering the amount of lipstick I go through, it stands to reason that if I can find a nice color for $10 instead of my typical $30, it's a deal! Sadly, most of the less expensive lipsticks don't perform to my standards and end up in the trash or with a friend. I've actually sat down and done a cost analysis on a per-day cost between a cheaper, less effective lipstick versus one of my pricey, longer-lasting, more conditioning formulas and have somehow found a way to justify the higher-end lines. I have to apply them much less frequently because the color lasts significantly longer and stays moist throughout wear time, and of course there's the whole "try it on" factor of knowing what I'm getting before I get home. There's little in life more disappointing than spending money on a lipstick only to get it home and find out the color isn't remotely similar to the swatch on the bottom of the tube. At least, in my charmed life there isn't. 

Luscious Lash Review: Diorshow Extase

As you all probably know by now, I'm a Dior addict. I've fallen in love with the Rouge Dior and Dior Addict lip formulas, the DiorSkin Nude foundation, and, of course, the eye shadows...all of them. I also love the DiorShow Iconic mascara. Now I'm enamored with Iconic's volumizing sister, DiorShow Extase, which adds some serious punch to the lashes, both in volume and length, and even manages to hold a curl. 

EOTD with Urban Decay's Naked Palette Virgin and Gunmetal

So, the Naked Palette has been out forever now, and everyone and their sister has it, right? Especially every beauty blogger. Huh. Well, confession time; I never got one. I wanted it, then it was out of stock and I got fed up and went on strike and refused to buy it, then I caved and decided I needed it after all, but by then it was out of stock AGAIN so I couldn't get it, and by the time all that was over, I'd pretty much forgotten about it. So I never got one. UNTIL, that is, a few weeks ago when it called my name over at Sephora and I decided to (belatedly) take the plunge. So now I have the famed Naked Palette, and it's time to play!!

Badass Lipstick Review: Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense #45

Make Up Forever made a big splash last year with the launch of the Rouge Artist Intense line of lipsticks. Formulated with 50% more pigment than traditional lipsticks, Rouge Artist Intense promises long wear and incredible color, with an extensive array of shades. The line truly has something for everyone, including several lovely reds for freaks like me who are in touch with their inner divas. My first foray into the line was with the famed Moulin Rouge, which to this day remains one of my favorite reds. This time around I went with the slightly pinker #45, and I'm showing it the love as well...for a very different reason. 

Eye Shadow Review: Dior 3 Couleurs Smoky Palette #481, Smoky Khaki

Dior's recent release of the 3 Couleurs Smoky eye shadow trios has me positively over the moon. Not only are the choices well-edited and suitable for most eye and skin tones, but the fact hat there are only three colors make them much more user-friendly for the average woman. No more useless colors tossed into a palette, no more trying to figure out how to place a color on the lid just to feel as if you're getting use of the entire palette! Yay, Dior! It's a release a long time in the making, and I'm hoping it goes over well and ends up expanded in the near future. 

Beauty Spotlight Team 9/24/11: Beauty Crazed in Canada's Mystery Makeup Bag!

This week we take a peek into the twisted mind of Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed via her makeup bag. What crazy-ass stuff will we find in there? Click on the link and read on, if you dare...!

Lisamarie's makeup bag! (And how cute is THAT?!!)

On the Cheap: Sephora Beauty Insider Gift

If you shop at Sephora, you know about the Beauty Insider program. With the Beauty Insider card, your purchases are logged throughout the year and you get 1 point per dollar purchased. As points accrue, you qualify for benefits. With 100 points, you qualify for a deluxe sample, and if you save up until you have 500 points, you get a set of some sort, varying monthly. This month's gift was a goodie...a "Little Look Goods" set from Benefit, one of my favorite lines. It includes Bad Gal Lash mascara, Dandelion Blush, and "That Gal" tinted moisturizer. It's a great way to try the products without investing a ton of money.

From Lipstick to Leopard: A Little Eye Candy

If there's one thing I like more than my red lipstick, it's a good shoe sale. I found one yesterday and managed to snag a couple of hot pairs of pumps. I thought I'd share them with you so you, like me, can ponder my bravery in signing on for two pairs of sky-high stilettos and maybe help me decide what to wear with them and where to take them. Enjoy the show, and have a great Wednesday!

Pair two:

I'm loving both of these, and for what are probably obvious reasons, my husband decided it was in his best interest not to even argue about this particular purchase. He just smiled and agreed that we will both get a lot of mileage out of them. First, however, I'm going to take a few practice runs around the house before heading out in public in these babies. And I need to remember to never, ever stop concentrating when I'm wearing them!

Skin Care Review: Kiehl's Abyssine Cream

As I told you in my review of Kiehl's Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate last week, I've become a huge fan of Kiehl's skin care over recent weeks and months. In addition to the concentrate, I also purchased the Abyssine Cream, a fantastic moisturizing cream formulated to combat the early signs of ageing. I've been loving my results. 

Eye Shadow Review: Givenchy Le Prisme Eyeshadow Quad #74, Khaki

I've become quite a fan of Givenchy color in the last few years. My first foray into the line was the Rouge Interdit in #19, Black Plum, and since then I've tried several other lip products (reviews coming soon). What I hadn't tried was the Le Prisme eye color. However, on my last trip to Sephora I was struck by the gorgeous colors in the Khaki quad and I decided it was high time to branch out a bit. 

Beauty Spotlight Team 9/17/11

This week our beautiful beauty bloggers bring you a few insider tricks of the trade, some killer red lipsticks, keep you smelling sweet, give you bat-worthy lashes, explore orange blush and have some goodies to giveaway! Read on for all the dish....

This was week one in the Prime Beauty series "Mascara Madness." Look for a mascara review every Monday for the next few weeks. This Monday I discovered the brand spankin' new IT Cosmetics Hello Lashes! and this mascara really did have me at 'Hello'--see the pics for yourself!

At Lipstick Musings, Shannon may have found the ultimate true red in the new Fall 2011 Rouge d'Armani lipstick #406, Scarlatto. See if you fall in love with her new obsession, too!

Have you been on the hunt for a base and top coat system that dries fast and leaves your tips shiny for days? Makeup Merriment's latest giveaway is for two sets of the fabulous Lumos system. Have you entered yet?

Modesty Brown takes on a challenge to wear seven lipsticks over seven days and muses on the mood altering effects of colour.

Do you have sensitive skin? Well, you are going to want to enter Pammy Blogs Beauty's Lara Beauty giveaway for the entire Lara Beauty line for Sensitive Skin (worth $100)!

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed explores the weird and wonderful world of orange blush - is she a convert? Come check out her swatches and help her decide!

Styrch over at Pretty in Dayton gets in the mood for the Vampire Diaries season premiere by trying Eau de Verveine by Penhaligon's Ltd, an addicting fragrance that leaves her conflicted to say the least.

Are you interested in the tricks of the trade? If so then Beauty Info Zone has an amazing product, Senna Light Tricks, that you need to learn about.

Paula, from Older Girl Beauty, went backstage at Fashion Week and saw that anything can happen when famed hairstylist Ted Gibson gave a model an impromptu haircut before the Carmen Marc Valvo S/S 2012 show.

Perilously Pale thinks Deborah Lippmann's Brick Road from the Fall Collection is the perfect colour to to take us into Autumn.

London Makeup Girl reviews the new Jo Malone Wild Bluebell Cologne. Find out what she thinks of it here : Wild Bluebell Cologne Review.

Once again Guerlain are out to entice with their new ombre éclat 4 shade palettes, Visionary beauty shows us the soft smoky Les Fumes palette.

At Everyday Beauty, Zuzu's Petals tried out Tom Ford Private Blend Lip Color in Smoke Red and fell in love with red again for Fall.

Stay beauty-full!

On the Cheap: Hair One Hair Cleanser and Conditioner

By now, you've probably all seen the Wen Cleansing Conditioner infomercials all over TV. Wen presents a new concept in hair care, that of a conditioner-only hair care program in which the conditioner also cleanses the hair. The thought is that the gentle, moisturizing, sulfate- and detergent-free conditioner is far better for the hair than standard shampoo and conditioner combos. Wen has tons of celebrity endorsements and many lofty claims, such as "makes my hair look and feel like it did when I was 17 years old." 

However, Wen also costs a lot of money ($30+ per month just for the conditioner) and requires a membership in which the product(s) are mailed out to you automatically (and charged automatically) each month. I don't like these types of programs because if I don't like the product, I either forget to cancel the service and end up getting charged several extra times, or I have great difficulty discontinuing the service. 

So when I heard about Hair One from Sally Beauty Supply and read online reviews stating that it was as good as or better than Wen, I was intrigued. I decided to pick up a bottle when it was on sale, snagging it for just under $10 (normally, it runs about $12). How did I like it? Let's see!

Skin Care Review: Kiehl's Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate

I'm a recent convert to Kiehl's. It all began when I went to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and was greeted by the only person in the department who had the time of day for me. She was the SA for Kiehl's, a line I'd heard about but never tried. She spent quite a while talking with me and telling me all about the line and its products, even though I told her I'd already hit my $$$ limit for the day. As we ended our discussion, she gave me several samples to try, and I happily headed back home. I mean, really, who doesn't love samples? 

Lovely Lipstick Review: Dior Addict #991, Perfecto

I have a longstanding love for the Dior Addict lipstick formula. Densely pigmented yet sheer, it feels moisturizing on the lips and wears well for what it is...a sheer lipstick. The color selection is excellent, the shine lasts, and it's overall just a great product. Recently I added the lovely Perfecto to my collection, and it didn't disappoint. 

Lips to Kill: Armani Fall 2011 Collection, Rouge d'Armani #406, Scarlatto

After being somewhat disappointed with Armani's Palette #2 from the Fall 2011 Collection, I was still eager to try the matching lipstick because, well, it's red. Very red. As in, one of the most beautiful, truest reds I've seen, which is saying something since as you know, I have about a million red lipsticks. And the Rouge d'Armani #406, Scarlatto, definitely hit a home run.

Eyes to Kill: Armani Fall 2011 Jacquard Eye Palette #2

When I saw the Armani Fall 2011 Collection Jacquard ad featuring Megan Fox, I was transfixed. After all, what could be more appealing to a girl like me than smokey grey eyes paired with deep red lips all at the same time? Seriously. You all know I had to have this one. So off I headed last week to the mall to pick out my items. Being the drama queen (and dork) that I am, I chose the entire Megan Fox look, which includes the Jacquard Eye Palette #2, Grey Palette.

Now, if you clicked on the above link and saw the ad for this collection as modeled by Megan, you will note that Palette 2 is supposedly a very dramatic, smokey look. I beg to differ. It's very pretty, but very subtle and neutral, and although I really, really tried for a more dramatic look (I even applied the shadows wet), I couldn't get it to look anywhere close to the way they got it to look in the ad photo.

Here are some shots of the palette:
Indirect sunlight. Colors, clockwise from top, are a shimmery silvery white, a very neutral, slightly tan taupe, a matte russet brown, and a cool shimmery silver. 

Taken in bright, direct sunlight. 

As you can see in the above pictures, the colors are not terribly dark (the russet brown is by far the darkest, but even it is fairly sheer on application), nor are they very dramatic. They certainly don't look like a smokey eye palette. 

To back up my claims here, take a look at some swatch photos I took: 
In bright direct sunlight, you can see the shimmer, but the colors are almost completely washed out. 

In indirect natural light, the colors are more visible and darker, but still extremely neutral and daytime-friendly. 

Taken indoors with flash, the subtle variations in the colors are more visible, but still appear as more of a wash than as intense shades. 

Now, don't get me wrong. I like this palette a lot. The russet brown, although it appears very red-based, actually applies as a rich, warm mahogany. The taupe is absolutely lovely, and is everything a taupe should be: a perfectly balanced tan-based, yet cool, shade, suitable for any eye color. It's just deep enough to work as a crease color if paired with a very light wash beneath it. The silver is grey-based and slightly cool, but not blue in the least. It, like the taupe, is perfect as a lid color or a light crease color. Both the taupe and the silver are shimmery, not metallic. Finally, there's the silvery white highlighter, a very shimmery and light color perfect for just beneath the brow or in the inner corner of the eye. 

My issue with this palette is not with the colors in it, as I find them lovely and perfect for a daytime look with a punch. However, I do have an issue with the way they are presented in the ads. I was lucky enough to go directly to an Armani counter to choose mine, so I knew in advance that the colors aren't nearly as intense as they are portrayed. If I had been purchasing online based on the available photos, I'd have been sorely disappointed with what I received. I still wish that they were more intense, although frankly at this point I could use some shades that are appropriate for daytime and work rather than collecting yet another vivid or smokey palette. That being said, I still think the colors should have been better represented in the advertising, especially given that they are very lovely and have a mass appeal that the more dramatic look probably does not. 

To give you one last example of the true payoff of this palette, here's an Eye of the Day I did with Palette #2. As I stated earlier, I applied the colors wet and blended out to try to get as much depth as I could, but it still came out very subtle. Beautiful, but very subtle. Furthermore, I found that the colors, both wet and dry, applied rather unevenly and quite sheerly, requiring me to build and build and build to get the payoff I was looking for. 

For this look, I used silver on the lids with taupe in the crease, the brown in the "V", and highlighted both under the brows and along the inner corners with the silvery white. 

Bottom Line: I like this palette, but I don't love it, and I'm disappointed that the colors are more difficult to work with than they should be. They require a lot of building to even show up, which to me is a waste of time. I do love the finished effect, although it isn't what I expected it to be. I know I'll get a lot of us out of these shadows because they work so well for day (and my current collection of eye colors leans very heavily toward "almost not suitable for work" territory), but I wish it was easier to get where I need to be with these. For my first experience with Armani shadows, I must say I'm a bit underwhelmed. 

Beauty Spotlight Team: Pammy Blogs Beauty's Makeup Bag!!

It's Mystery Makeup Bag time again for The Beauty Spotlight Team. This week Pammy Blogs Beauty is sharing what keeps her going on a daily basis. From the hint we can see a few things but we're sure to find some surprises and delights in her bag too!

Click here to see what she's got inside!

On the Cheap: Maybelline ColorSensational Lip Color #980, Plum Jewel

This week's On the Cheap features a lovely lip color I found at CVS last week. Maybelline's ColorSensational line is a comprehensive, color-rich line of lipsticks that's very high quality for the price. Although it has some drawbacks, I'm overall really happy with this one, especially given that it cost me only about $10. 

Chanel Illusion D'Ombre Eyeshadow #85, Mirifique

Several months ago when Chanel launched its Fall collection, the focus was on the Illusion D'Ombre eyeshadows. It seemed as if nearly everyone suddenly had at least one of the lovely gel shadows in her collection, and the reviews were very positive. However, they were introduced as permanent, not limited edition, items for Chanel, so I decided to hold off and concentrate on other items on my wish list for the time being. I finally broke down last week and purchased Mirifique, a truly stunning black shimmer gel, and I'm so glad I did!!

EOTD with the Laura Mercier Tightline and Define Cake Eyeliner Collection

Over the past few months, I've become a huge fan of Laura Mercier eye shadows. I've been wanting to try some of her other products, but haven't had a chance--and frankly, I didn't know quite where to start. So when I saw the Tighline and Define Cake Eye Liner Collection at Sephora the other day, I couldn't resist.

The kit contains three cake liners: Black Ebony, Violet Asphalt (a deep, smoky blue-based purple) and Mahogany Brown. In addition to the liners, there is a double-ended eyelining brush (flat end for tightlining, pointed end for lining) and a full-size Full Blown Volume Mascara in black. 

Top to bottom: Black Ebony, Violet Asphalt, Mahogany Brown. Taken in direct sunlight.

Taken with flash, which shows the purple and sparkle in the Violet Asphalt. 

Taken in indirect sunlight. 

And here's my EOTD with the products from the Collection: 
I used all LM products for this look. I started with a wash of Guava Sateen Eye Colour, followed by Deep Night Matte Eye Colour in the crease. I lined with the Violet Asphalt cake liner and used LM Full Blown Mascara in Black. 

From another angle: 

I'm really loving this entire kit. The liners are easy to use and last all day with no smudging or fallout. The colors are gorgeous and should work for any color eye. The mascara is fantastic, adding plenty of volume while remaining natural looking. Even the brush is nice. It's shorter than most eye liner brushes, but both ends work quite well, and the quality is very good. 

Bottom Line: This is a great kit if you're a fan of cake liners (or have always wanted to try them) and if you're looking to try out some Laura Mercier products at a good discount. Everything in the kit is very high-quality and performs as advertised. Definitely a must-try!!

Happy Labor Day!!

Today is the day we honor those laborers (us) who toil away to make the world a better and more productive place. 

Take the day off to appreciate yourselves, and have a steak for me!

Beauty Spotlight Team 9/3/11

It's hard to believe that September has arrived. For most of us July crawled by while August just flew away. As we head into the 'back to school' season let's see what the Beauty Spotlight Team has to share.

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed is a living doll thanks to Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Lashes Mascara - go check it out, she promises that's the only part of her that's plastic!

Beauty Info Zone went to Chicago and shopping was in the plans. See what “candy store” they visited.

At Everyday Beauty, Zuzu's Petals stepped out of her red/rose lipstick comfort zone and tried the unusual and complex Laura Mercier Shimmer Lip Colour in Amaretto.

Over at Lipstick Musings, Shannon takes a look at Chanel's Sophisticated Eyes Collection with a review and an EOTD with the Vanites Quad. See how she interprets the look!

London Makeup Girl made a video showing the application and finish of a selection of products from Vapour Organic Beauty. See how she got on with them here: Vapour Organic video.

My Beauty Bunny has just joined the team and starts off with an amazing giveaway. Check out the amazing Leaping Bunny prize and enter.

Over at Makeup Merriment, Jeanie shares her thoughts on Josie Maran's SPF 40 protect moisturizer. Could this SPF be the *one*??

Modesty Brown gave us a first look at the Lost Weekend palette from BECCA's Fall collection. There's also a useful comparison to the popular Enigma palette, released earlier this year.

Paula, from Older Girl Beauty, talks about all of the ways that MAC's "Prep + Prime" line can help prep your skin to be the perfect palette for your makeup.

Madonna's Material Girl line at Macy's Launches Material Girl Cosmetics! Pammy Blogs Beauty tests out this fun and flirty line.

Perilously Pale tempts us with the new Illuminating Powder Gelee from the Estee Lauder Fall 2011 Collection. Come see why this highlighter is almost too gorgeous to touch!

Over at Pretty in Dayton, Styrch falls in love with Page 14 of the latest Sephora catalog and attempts the exaggerated Wing Liner look.

Hair looking dull after all the summer abuse? Prime Beauty has an awesome giveaway for 2 lucky readers! Enter to win a Kelly Van Gogh, hair colorist to the stars Luxury MASTER BLEND hair colour kit (a $49 value)!

Visionary Beauty shares an eye look of Rouge Bunny Rouge shadows, a change from the normal neutral/taupe looks-this has a bit of darkness with a hint of colour.

On the Cheap: NYX Runway Collection Palette

Over the last year or so, I've become a fan of NYX. They make high-quality makeup at an extremely affordable price, have plenty of products and color choices, and they have a TON of great palettes, from trios to the 10-Color palettes. While shopping at Ulta recently, I came across a lovely little palette called The Runway Collection, and I had to try it.

Lovely Lipstick Review: Rouge Dior #766, Star Fuchsia

As you all should know by now, I'm all about the COLOR in lipsticks. Please don't give me something that can be described as "nude", "neutral" or "understated". If it doesn't stand out, I'm just not interested. And frankly, I don't even tone it down much when I do dramatic eyes...I probably end up looking like a Robert Palmer girl, but at least my lips look good!

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