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

Rouge D'Armani Lipstick Review, #601...The Perfect Plum

Amazingly, up until a couple of weeks ago, I'd only tried one Armani lipstick. It was the gorgeous red Rouge D'Armani modeled so well by Megan Fox for the Fall 2011 Collection, #406--Scarlatto. I love, love, love the lipstick, by in typical fashion I've found so many pretties since then that I never stopped at the counter again. Of course, it didn't help that I was less than enthused about the same collection's Jacquard Palette #2 eye shadows. 

Howevah...I'm trying to branch out from my typical redredred lipstick and have been (slowly) moving towards plums, berries and neutrals, so when I saw #601, I decided to give it a shot. It's a lovely color with just enough "oomph" to make my lips pop without the pin-up-girl effect I often go with. 

#601 is an extremely cool plum, leaning almost (but not quite) purple. As a matter of fact, on the Saks Fifth Avenue site, the swatch shown actually is purple, which is misleading. Cool, yes. Outright purple, no. Check out a more representative shot below: 

As you can see above, it's not purple, but rather a very cool rosy plum. It's a truly beautiful color that's very wearable for neutral or cooler skin tones. It may very well pull purple on warmer skins, but on me it stays very true to what's in the tube. 

On my skin, #601 almost becomes a soft pink, but it's such a saturated color and so cool, it just misses that description: 

On my lips, the shade becomes the perfect plum. It's soft and relatively neutral, but is deep enough to really set off my lips without appearing remotely washed-out. On me, it's a great daytime color that can easily hold over to evening wear. It's just subdued enough to wear with dramatic, vivid or smokey eyes while still remaining deep enough to give me a focal point if I choose to go with understated eyes. 

Wear time is quite good at 4-6 hours depending on whether I'm eating or drinking a lot. The finish begins almost glossy, drying down very evenly through satin and finally matte, leaving a subtle stain on the lips with no visible ring. During the day, I often apply first thing in the morning and let it fade naturally, supplementing with a bit of lip balm occasionally until lunch, after which I reapply and repeat the process. I wouldn't call this a terribly moisturizing formula (at least, not after the first hour or so), but it's also not drying, and it's relatively lightweight on the lips. In short, it's a very comfortable and easy lipstick to wear. 

Bottom Line: This one will become one of my true workhorses, suitable for virtually any occasion. 

L'Oreal Infallible Eye Shadow Review: Golden Sage and Amber Rush

I've been checking out cream shadows lately, with limited success. First of all, I'm fairly inept at applying creams. I don't know what my problem is, but it's the same way with cream blush...it just doesn't work all that well for me. Second, I'm not having that much luck with the shadows themselves. As you saw in my review of Maybelline's Color Tattoo shadows, sometimes it's more the shadow than the wearer with the problem. Regardless, I've continued trying, largely due to my success with Tarte's Amazonian Clay Waterproof Cream Eye Shadow

L'Oreal has their own version of cream shadow in the Infallible line. I say "version" because it's really not a cream. Well, it's sort of a cream and sort of a powder. In fact, I couldn't tell which texture it was, so I had to go to the L'Oreal site and look it up, only to discover that even the folks at L'Oreal aren't sure what it is. They call it a "powder-cream" texture. Okay, whatever. Regardless, the texture is lovely. It has the best of both worlds...it feels creamy to the touch, yet it applies as a powder. It's buildable, blendable, soft and pliable, and I love it!

The first color I chose was Golden Sage, a gorgeous almost-army sage green with a gold overlay once it's applied. 

In the pot, it almost appears to be a minty green, so I was a bit skeptical at first, but then I decided to live on the edge and try it anyway. I'm normally not one for greens, but the color was just so pretty (and it was on sale as part of a BOGO 50% off) that I had to take the chance. I'm so glad I did! 

The first shot above, taken without flash, is a pretty good representation of the green itself. The second shot, taken with flash, shows the gold that comes out when the shadow is hit by the light. Gorgeous. 

On the eyes, the color is brilliant. It applies smoothly and evenly with no bare spots (those bare spots have plagued me with creamier shadows). It holds all day long (I didn't try it for the 24 hours it claims to last because I like my sleep and I refuse to sleep in my makeup, even for y'all.) The pictures below were taken after a long day in the kitchen at work, after I was submitted to steam baths and sub-zero temperatures, as well as day-long humidity. 

No creasing, no fading, no smudging, no flaking. Perfect. 

I also tried Amber Rush, a relatively light, warm brown with just a hint of a red undertone. 

Although it was my first choice in color, I ended up liking it less than the Golden Sage. It just isn't deep enough to wear with my brown eyes. However, its performance was similar to that of Golden Sage, so I was very happy with that. 

Bottom Line: I'm in love with this formula. L'Oreal has really outdone themselves with the Infallible shadows, cream or not. The color selection is fantastic and they deliver on their promises. I plan to add more to my collection as soon as I get the chance. 

The Best Black Liquid Eyeliner is awarded to Clio Professional Waterproof Brush Liner Kill Black by Bun Bun Makeup Tips!

Beauty's Bad Habit shows you how to totally reinvent and freshen up hair extensions with a bright, beautiful dye.

Beauty In The Mirror gets creative this week reviewing Violent Lip Tattoos.

Love Sparkle & Shimmer? Check out Kim Porter's review of the LUSH Shimmy Shimmy Sparkle Bar.

Madame B Fatale shows you how to create a REALLY colourful makeup look!

We all enjoyed watching Adele sweep up the Grammy's a couple weeks ago, but the beauty blogosphere was eyeing particularly on Adele's Louboutin-inspired manicure! Aren't they oh-so-glam?

Smashinbeauty shows you a few makeup tricks on how to make your lipstick last longer.

Gouldylox dishes on the five spring trends you should be thinking about now.

Jenn over at Spiced Beauty has the details on the Spring 2012 collection from Sally Hansen, NYC Color and Rimmel London.

polish insomniac shows us a subltle gradient mani using Nars Midnight Express.

My Lips But Better uncovers a drugstore gem in Cover Girl Natureluxe Silk Foundation.

Jellyminx shares a super dramatic Sunday smoky eye.

At Lipstick Musings, Shannon takes a look at the new Roses Ultimes de Chanel Glossimers, with special love going to #169, Jalousie. Come see the swatches and pictures, plus a Lip of the Day!

If you love bath and body products, then Beauty Info Zone has a brand you need to check out.
Make Me Smooth has over 300 scents to choose from in an intensity you pick. Beauty Info Zone invites you to learn about this amazing line.

Love nude lips? Claire has swatched her entire collection over at Eyelining Obsessions.

It's not even spring yet and Anita is already getting excited about Guerlain's summer collection, another collaboration with Emilio Pucci! For more details, click here!

Beauty Spotlight Team 2/24/12--Mystery Makeup Bag!!

It's Mystery Makeup Bag again this week on the Beauty Spotlight Team! This week, we're featuring Lisa's bag (and how cute is it?!) from Beauty Info Zone. 

Check out the "regulars" as well as the "guest stars" in Lisa's bag!

Maybelline Color Tattoo Eye Shadow Review, Pics, Swatches: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

So everyone's been talking about Maybelline's new Color Tattoo cream eye shadows, so of course I have been intrigued. I had no intention of buying them, though. I don't do all that well with cream shadows. However, when I got stranded at Walgreen's waiting for a prescription and they had Maybelline on BOGO 50% off, well, it was like the makeup gods were speaking to me. I caved.

Color Tattoo shadows come in a lovely array of colors. There's a taupe (Tough as Taupe) that I really wanted to try, but of course they were sold out of that one, so I had to improvise. I ended up with Painted Purple and Audacious Asphalt instead.

Painted Purple, as you can see, is a gorgeous, vivid, blue-based violet. It's really, really pretty in the jar, and since I love the way purples look on my brown eyes, I decided to give it a try--even though it's a bit brighter than I normally choose.

Here's a shot of my eyes:

It's definitely vivid, but I still love the look. It will be fantastic for Spring and Summer. The color applied fairly evenly, especially when you consider my inept skills and the fact that I applied it for the first time at 6:00 am...not the best time to deal with new products! But I got the look I was going for using a combination of brush application followed by blending with my fingers, and I went about my day.

Unfortunately, by the end of the day (which for me is about 4:00 in the afternoon since I have to be at work so early), I came home to find the color had creased and gotten a little splotchy. I used a primer, but apparently that wasn't enough:

It wasn't too bad, but I was still disappointed because, after all, they claim the color will hold for 24 hours (which is ridiculous, because you shouldn't be wearing the same eye makeup for 24 hours, and if you are--well, chances are you've had a rough night that isn't conducive to holding makeup in place). Regardless, they made the claim, and the shadow doesn't last nearly as long as it should, much less 24 hours.

I had the same issue with the other color I got, Audacious Asphalt. It's a gorgeous shimmery pewter:

It's also beautiful on the skin:

However, it's a bit difficult to blend and it fails to hold up to a full day, either. Here are my eyes looking all fabulous from head-on at the end of the day:

And....then I look down:

I tried this afternoon to repair the damage by smoothing it out as best I could and then adding a thin layer of shadow on top, but I only had limited success: 

So, my verdict? These colors are beautiful and the finish and texture are great. However, they're somewhat difficult to work with and, more importantly, they don't last on the lids for more than 8 hours, if that. This is a big deal to me because I usually don't have creasing problems and because I was using an eye primer (Urban Decay Primer Potion). I can't imagine what a mess would be made on someone with oily eyelids who didn't use primer. 

Bottom Line: Gorgeous colors and a great idea, but these shadows need some serious tweaking. Not quite ready for prime time yet. 

Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Cream Eye Shadow In Plum Smoke--Review, Swatches, Pictures

Tarte has been touting its Amazonian Clay line for quite some time now. Every few months, a new product is introduced to the line; thus far, they've launched foundation, tinted moisturizer, concealer, eye liner, and now eye shadow. The benefits of the "skintuitive" Amazonian Clay include soothing properties and the ability to adjust to any skin type, be it oily, combination, or dry. In the Waterproof Cream Eye Shadow, the clay supposedly intensifies the color pigments, nourishes the skin of the eyelids, reduces surface oil and improves texture. Pretty lofty claims, yes?  

I decided to try the new Amazonian Waterproof Cream Eye Shadows for pretty much the same reason I try all the makeup I have--it's a beautiful collection. As a matter of fact, I had to really restrain myself to keep from buying the entire exclusive collection at Ulta. However, in light of my recent promise to at least attempt to pare down, I chose the one color I didn't have in some other line or formulation, which was Plum Smoke. 

Plum Smoke is a muted shimmery purple. Only it isn't really purple. It's certainly not as purple as the photo swatches on the Ulta site would lead you to believe. In the pictures, Plum Smoke appears to be more of a fairly bright violet, whereas when I examine my Plum Smoke up close and in person, I'm almost reminded of taupe. It's as if taupe met plum and they married and had millions of baby sparkles. It's a gorgeous color that's suitable for all eye colors, particularly brown and green. 

Here's a shot taken outside in the sun, late in the day, with flash: 

Even from a bit of a distance, you can see the soft shimmer that runs throughout this lovely color. It's subtle enough for day, most certainly. However, it's enough to add plenty of depth and dimension. 

On my arm, you may be able to see where I get the taupey feel with this color: 

Somehow, it feels as if the undertone of this pretty purple/plum is a soft, shimmery, silvery taupe. It doesn't feel like silver outright...it's too soft for that, too understated. However, this is not your everyday plum, and as a result it's quite fun to play with. 

As for performance, it's better than average, but not extraordinary. I found that I had far, far fewer problems blending this cream shadow than I normally do (I'm pretty inept with creams). It applied smoothly and blended easily. However, as you can see in the photo below, after 10 hours I did have some minor creasing. To be fair, I didn't use a true shadow primer because I was testing the longevity of the product. Instead, I applied Plum Smoke over MUFE Aqua Cream #13, which I always use without primer and which has never creased on me. And frankly, given the claims about that clay absorbing oil, I was surprised to have any creasing at all. My lids have never been oily, so I was actually expecting the shadow to dry my lids, not crease. 

The good news is that, with a simple and quick swipe of my eye shadow brush, the creasing blended effortlessly back to the way it looked at the beginning of the day and remained flawless for the next 4 hours. It also stayed color-true all day with no fading. 

Bottom Line: I'm going to continue playing with this one to see if I can eliminate the creasing issue. I'm fairly certain a good primer will solve the problem. If it does, I'm going back for the Slate and the Shimmery Bronze. 

Be aware that different outlets are offering different shades from this line. Plum Smoke is currently an Ulta exclusive. There are different shades available at the Tarte website. 

New from Chanel: Roses Ultimes de Chanel Glossimer #169, Jalousie Review, Pictures, Swatches

It's been a while since I purchased a Glossimer. I've always been more of a lipstick girl and frankly, I haven't seen anything that really got me excited in any of the recent collections, so I've been sticking with Rouge Coco and Rouge Allure Velvet lipsticks instead. The other day I wandered past my favorite Chanel counter, though, and was literally flagged down over the gorgeous new Glossimer Jalousie, a vivid fuchsia full of blue-based fuchsia shimmer. I die!

Jalousie is part of the limited-edition Roses Ultimes de Chanel collection on counters now. It encompasses the full array of pinks, and the entire collection is absolutely lovely. It includes Surprise (palest cool pink), Plaisir (baby pink), Volupte (warm coral-based, mid-toned pink), Amour (soft, subtle, toned-down pink), Desir (deep cotton-candy pink), and Jalousie (brilliant deep fuchsia with blue-toned shimmer). There's a pink for everyone in there, and I intend to go back for more as soon as possible, because I believe these will sell out fast.

If you enlarge the above shot, you'll see a hint of the blue-based shimmer that fills this lovely shade. It adds depth and dimension and makes teeth brighter. The color absolutely pops on the lips, so full of pigment it's nearly opaque. Jalousie is one of the few glosses I can wear alone with my fair skin because it lends so much brightness to my face. And although it's bright, it's also fresh and clean, and not at all overwhelming.

Note the depth of color here. It's not merely a shiny, shimmery top coat, but a color all its own, and a glorious one at that. This will be absolute perfection for Spring and Summer!

Yes, that's Jalousie alone on my lips...no lipstick, no liner, nothing else. The color is truly amazing, and the bluer shimmer adds a wonderful depth and almost holographic quality. Wear time is fantastic...I got 4 full hours out of an application, including occasional drinking (but no eating). The texture is classic Glossimer...slightly heavy and a bit sticky, but not distractingly so.

Bottom Line: I've fallen back in love with Glossimers.

Younger Eyes: Organoderm Younger Eye Gel Review

Dr. Edward Jonas Domanskis began Organoderm after 10 years of research into creating effective products that include naturally bio-active and organic ingredients that put the health of the skin first. A practicing plastic surgeon based in Newport Beach, CA, Domanskis has concentrated not only on creating natural, organic, and efficacious products, but also on reducing the company's carbon footprint. Products are packaged without outer boxes and are made of recyclable components that are part of Organoderm's free Consumer Recycling Program. In this program, if a customer cannot recycle the packaging from home, she can download a small shipping label and drop the container in the mail, where it will be sent back to Organoderm for recycling. Impressive!

Also impressive are the products themselves. I received several items from Organoderm, one of which was the Younger Eye Gel, which is aimed at lines, puffiness and dark circles. It's a yellow transparent gel with a fairly thick consistency. It applies and spreads easily and feels quite cool on the skin. It includes the following beneficial ingredients:

  • Certified Organic Aloe Leaf Extract: African plant of the Lily family known for its skin soothing, healing, and anti-irritating qualities. Lightweight in texture and refreshing on the skin.
  • Certified Organic Chamomile Leaf: Researched herb with anti-irritant, soothing, and anti-oxidant properties.
  • Certified Organic Green Tea Extract: Regenerating anti-oxidant which helps fight free radicals from pollution, sunlight, and carbon monoxide which damage and prematurely age skin.
  • Certified Organic Fagus Sylvatica Bud Extract: Actives harvested from the Beech tree. After a four week clinical test results were: improved skin moisturization by 30%, reduced wrinkles by 10%, improved cell oxygen consumption by 71% which improved cell metabolism and the intracellular energy reserve.
After about a month of use, I can say that this gel works wonders. Typically, I don't get enough hydration from gels and prefer much heavier creams. However, creams sometimes add to my under-eye puffiness in the morning. I decided to give Younger Eye Gel a fair shot and use it morning and evening as directed. I found that after about two weeks, my puffiness was nearly gone. In addition, my dark circles had decreased, and continue to do so as I continue with the product. It's perfect under makeup--I've even applied it on the upper brow bone in the morning before applying shadows and haven't had any problems with application (I do allow the gel to sink in for a few minutes before continuing with my routine). As the gel sinks in it gives the eye area a hydrated, slightly firmed appearance and makes the entire area look very refreshed and awake. Although I do still occasionally use my heavier Shiseido cream at night, I've found the Younger Eye Gel is typically moisturizing enough to do the job, and it's definitely my product of choice for the mornings. It even applies well over makeup at the end of the day when my skin begins to look dehydrated from suffering in heated buildings all day.  Younger Eye Gel has solved virtually all of my eye-area problems in a month!

Bottom Line: This is a wonderful eye product from a conscientious company. It contains many plant extracts that effectively diminish fine lines, puffiness and dark circles. At $24 for a 1-oz pump bottle, it's also quite a bargain. Although I occasionally need to supplement with a heavier cream, this gel does an amazing job of hydrating on its own, and I'm quite certain it will be all I need for the milder (and hotter) Spring, Summer and Fall seasons. 

Full Ingredients List: water (aqua), aloe barbadensis leaf extract , chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower/leaf/stem extract, glycerin, pentylene glycol, fagus sylvatica bud extract, camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract, hesperidin methyl chalcone, steareth-20, palmitoyl oligopeptide, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7, dipeptide-2, chrysin, glyceryl acrylate/acrylic acid copolymer, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, sodium carbomer, tetrasodium edta, phenoxyethanol

**Products were provided by the company for review. 

Beauty Spotlight Team 2/18/12

From beauty blunders to brushes to a cold weather face, The Beauty Spotlight Team has you covered this week!

Prime Beauty channels her glory years--the 70's, with Make For Ever's Spring Collection La Bohème. Remember your inner gypsy?

Styrch has been busy traveling for work, but she managed to review Project Runway alum Althea Harper's Fall/Winter 2012 this week - she's once again in fashion love!

There seems to be universal love for Real Techniques brushes that Pixiwoo created. Lisa from Beauty Info Zone totally agrees with that and shows you just how wonderful they are.

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed checks out the new range of colours in the Clinique Almost Lipstick line to see if they really deserve the "your lips but better"claim!

Visionary beauty shows us her favourite cream shadow stick formula, By Terry Ombre Blackstar

Atlanta has totally skipped winter this year, so Shannon at Lipstick Musings has decided to start focusing on summer! She's starting with her new favorite sunscreen, Elta MD UV Physical SPF 41. Come share the love!

Modesty Brown shares her first foray into OCC Lip Tars and finally gets what all the fuss is about!

Zuzu's Petals came clean about some of her biggest beauty blunders. Come over to Everyday Beauty to see what they were, and share your mistakes!

The last couple of weeks in London have been (below) freezing! London Makeup Girl tells us what products she reaches for when the mercury goes below zero for her Cold Weather Face.

Pammy Blogs Beauty falls in love with L'Oreal's new 24 hour Infallible Eye Shadow. Has she found a new Holy Grail shadow?

Zuzu Luxe Eye Shadow Review, "Odyssey"

Zuzu Luxe Cosmetics is the spa-grade color line from Gabriel Cosmetics, whose lip gloss I reviewed here a couple of weeks ago. Both companies pride themselves on their use of natural, safe ingredients focusing on plant extracts and oils. While I love my Gabriel Color lip gloss, I must say that the Zuzu Luxe line is slightly more sophisticated and luxurious. On a recent trip to Whole Foods, the line caught my eye and I picked up a lipstick and an eye shadow, Odyssey.

Odyssey is a lovely browned plum with subtle shimmer. In the pan, it appears very plummy with a good bit of purple undertone:
Indirect natural light, no flash

Natural light with flash.

However, despite its pan appearance, on the skin it warms up considerably and has more of a brown base, perfect for a neutral eye with a kick. 

The formula is exceptional. This shadow is very finely milled and silky on the skin and it blends incredibly easily. The pigmentation is excellent and allows for easy building. The finish is satiny, not shimmery, which is very flattering for my no-longer-twenty-years-old lids. 

I absolutely LOVE this color!

I'm really quite impressed with these shadows, and plan to get more in the future. They apply easily and last all day over primer with no creasing or fading. Additionally, the ingredients are all natural and safe, which is always a plus.

Bottom Line: Zuzu Luxe eye shadows are a real find. I see Eternity and Vixen in my near future! The quality is excellent, especially the blending capability and rich pigmentation. The shadows can also be used wet for extra depth and color intensity, or as liners. At $15.25 per shadow, they're also reasonably priced. I definitely recommend you give them a try if you can find them.

Zuzu Luxe cosmetics can be found at Whole Foods Market and online on the main Gabriel Cosmetics site.

Ingredients: Mica, Cetyl Palmitate, Silica, Kaolin, Zinc Stearate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Lecithin, Crithmum Maritimum (Sea Fennel) Extract*, Tocopheryl Acetate, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide.   *Organic

Super Sunscreen Review: Elta MD UV Physical SPF 41

I'm a sunscreen addict. I don't go out in the sun often. Pretty much, my exposure is limited to driving in the car and walking through parking lots, plus the occasional miraculous occurrences when I get really ambitious and walk around my neighborhood for what I consider exercise. So I'm not in need of that much sun protection. However, as you all have probably guessed by my collection of 257,312 red lipsticks, I tend to overdo things so I always go for an SPF of over 30.

I've tried probably, I don't know, 40 or 50 sunscreens at this point. You would think something like sunscreen would be easy, but noooooo. Some are too greasy, some are too thick, some make my face sting, and some leave a white cast even on my pale-as-concrete skin. I've tried and tried, but have found very few that really work for me (see my reviews of Chanel and Shiseido, and Clarins makes a great one as well). All of these come in very small bottles and are typically pretty expensive, although the Shiseido is a better deal than the others. So I go through a lot of sunscreen and I'm always on the lookout for something better and less expensive.

I'd heard of Elta MD UV Physical SPF 41 for quite some time. Reviews are great, and it's recommended by dermatologists. So why did it take me so long to try it? Because I'm big on instant gratification, and I couldn't find it anywhere other than online. Since I'm also a procrastinator and like to wait until I've wrung the very last drop of product out of the tube before I head off to buy more, I always ended up hitting Macy's for my next sunscreen fix. Therefore, no Elta MD for me.

However, I recently got a $25 gift certificate to Dermstore, and guess what they sell? Yup. Elta MD. Yippee! It's like the Fates were finally telling me it was my time to try it. That, or my big ol' wanter decided to go into hyperdrive and insist that I purchase it. Regardless, I now have this fabulous product in my possession, and I couldn't be happier.

Elta MD UV Physical SPF 41 is a brilliant sunscreen. It's actually a physical sunblock, which means the sun filters are Titanium Dioxide (7%) and Zinc Oxide (9%). This is great for me for a few reasons. First off, I tend to react badly to chemical sunscreens...they cause my skin to itch and burn. Second, chemical sunscreens may be harmful to your skin, causing potential carcinogenic effects and hormone disruption. Third, chemical sunscreens don't last as long as physical blocks. Since I get to work at 6:45 am and leave at 3:00, I need something that will last longer than 4 hours. Finally, I've found that chemical sunscreens tend to go very greasy on even my dry skin, while physical blocks dry down to a satiny matte finish.

The biggest drawback to physical blocks is the whiteface syndrome. They typically leave a distinct white cast on the skin, making them a no-go for many people. However, Elta MD solved this problem by adding a tint to theirs, which makes it the color of foundation. It even gives light coverage...good enough that on my better skin days, I don't follow up with foundation, just a light dusting of powder.

I find that this sunscreen lasts well throughout the day without drying my skin or puddling in pores, and it doesn't leave that telltale greasy finish. It hasn't caused any sensitivity reactions, either. I've worn it out for walks late in the day and noted that I still get NO sun exposure when I'm wearing it, even when my arms get color. I know you should reapply every few hours, but this one does seem to last.

Bottom Line: Elta MD UV Physical SPF 41 is currently, by far, my favorite sunblock. It's lightweight texture and soothing qualities feel good on my skin, the light coverage is great on its own or as a boost to my foundation, and the finish is beautiful. It lasts all day without interfering with my makeup or drying my skin. At Dermstore, it's $27 for 3 oz, which in the world of truly good sunscreens is a real bargain. I can see myself using this one forever.

Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 9.0%, Titanium Dioxide 7.0%. Aluminum Hydroxide, Butylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Dimethicone/Methicone Copolymer, Hydrated Silica, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Isopropyl Palmitate, Lecithin, Linoleic Acid, Octyl Stearate, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Oleth-3 Phosphate, Perfluoronyl Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Polyacrylate 13, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, Purified Water, Quercitin, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Selenite, Soft Tex Yellow Iron Oxide-C337773, Soft Tex Red Iron Oxide-C337775, Soft Tex Russett Iron Oxide-C337721, Soft Tex Black Iron Oxide-C337751, Thioctic Acid, Triethoxycaprylylsilane.

A True Classic: Shiseido Benefiance Concentrated Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream Review

Sometimes, you come across a classic that works wonders for you. And sometimes, you come across this classic when you're too young to really need it, so you move on to other things for 15 years and forget about that wonderful product, until you accidentally run across it again and have the joy of rediscovering it...and then you get to wonder how much better you might look now if you had been more loyal then. That's what happened to me with the fabulous Shiseido Benefiance Concentrated Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream.

My best friend gave me a Shiseido gift set for Christmas that included the Concentrated Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream, and I've fallen in love all over again. A thick, rich cream, it is best used as a night treatment, as it tends to leave a film on the skin. However, it also moisturizes intensely and dramatically decreases the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It's cushioning to the skin and eases all signs of dryness immediately. Since it's so thick and rich I've found it can interfere with concealer, so keep that in mind. However, as a night treatment, few creams can beat it. I wake up to soft, smooth, refreshed eyes with no wrinkles.

They've recently reformulated this cream under the new name WrinkleResist24 Intensive Eye Contour Cream. I checked out the ingredients, and they are very, very similar to those of the original Concentrated Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream, with the most notable exception being the addition of the following: Sapindus Mudurossi Peel Extract, Limonene, Linalool, Citronellol, Geraniol, Uncaria Gambir Extract, Sanuisorba Officinals Root Esxtract, and Chlorella Vulgaris Extract, all of which make the product seem more natural than it is. Of course, those ingredients are listed at the very, very end of the ingredients list. What moved up the list to more prominent roles in the new formula are alcohol, fragrance, and parabens. Huh.

I think I'll enjoy this last jar of the Concentrated Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream and skip on the new WrinkleResist24 version. The WrinkleResist24 version also has all sorts of exciting ad copy on the Shiseido web site claiming that it fights all "5" types of wrinkles (the little inner-corner wrinkles, crepey wrinkles under the outer half of the eye, lid wrinkles, crow's feet, and puff lines...are any of these new? Wouldn't any good eye cream fight them all?) Sadly, given the similar ingredients (and the more concentrated levels of parabens, fragrance and alcohol) in WrinkleResist24, I have a bad feeling that it may not be an improvement. Then again, I could be wrong, and it could be the greatest thing since sliced bread. If you try the WrinkleResist24 version, let me know how you like it!

Anyhow, here is the ingredients list of the original version: 

Water, Hydrogenated C6-14 Olefin Polymers, Mineral Oil, Glycerin, Petrolatum, Butylene Glycol, Paraffin, Polyglyceryl-2 Diisostearate, Glyceryl Oleate, Squalane, Sodium Glutamate, Sodium PCA, Dipropylene Glycol, Beeswax, Polyethylene, Phytostearyl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Tocopheryl Acetate,Potassium Ascorbyl Tocopheryl Phosphate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Arginine HCI, Glucosyl Hesperidin, Ginseng Extract, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Hydroxyproline, Chlorella Vulgaris Extract, Microcrystalline Wax, Trisodium EDTA, Tocopherol, Alcohol, BHT, Methylparaben, Fragrance, Iron Oxides.

Obviously, this eye cream is no where near natural, and certainly not organic. However, it's very effective, and I do plan to use up what I have. I've been extremely pleased with it. If you haven't tried it, the Benefiance Concentrated Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream can still be found in its original form at Sephora since the reformulation is so recent. 

Bottom Line: A classic eye cream that does what it promises, and does it well. And of course, since that's the case, Shiseido has decided to reformulate it and fix something that's not broken. I'm debating whether to try to grab a backup before they're all gone. 

Beauty Spotlight Team 2/11/12--Mystery Makeup Bag!

Cruelty free beauty blogger, Jen, from My Beauty Bunny shares her makeup bag with us. Let’s see what her essentials are!

Beauty Blog Link Love 2/11/12

Chanel La Ravissante Rouge Allure Velvet is the little glimpse of summer we've been waiting for. See it in action on My Funny Valentine.

The Pink Sith asks: Did you know that Nordstrom Rack has Stila makeup palettes? Well now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

At theNotice, Rae solves the Great Beauty Blogger Problem: taking photos after the sun's gone down. Check out her classic smokey eye to see the proof for yourself.

At Love Lust & Fairy Dust, Jude warns us to never underestimate the power of a Tom Ford Lipstick. Check out her cautionary tale with a very happy ending.

Beauty woo me thinks red hair is like Marmite.

Curious about Kevyn Aucoin's makeup line? Check out Krasey Beauty's swatches and review of some key pieces!

Want soft lips? Check out Jenn from Spiced Beauty's L'Oreal Le Balm in Rose Elixir review.

Want to know how to create beautiful side swept curls? Madame B Fatale shows you how!

We all need a little sunshine in a bottle to brighten up dreary winter skin. Miss Beauty Nerd is painting herself with Benefit's new Sun Beam!

Mariella at Musing on Beauty experiments with Makeup Geek Eyeshadows and creates a quad with her favorites.

At Lipstick Musings, Shannon is shocked to find out there actually IS great organic skin care out there! She's starting with Hollybeth's Rose Geranium Facial Moisturizer. Come see what the fuss is about!

Love Chocolate and The Body Shop? Then don't miss out the latest/greatest The Body Shop Chocomania Collection.

Phyrra gets nekkid with the new Let's Get Nekkid collection from Cult Nails.

Prime Beauty is looking to get in shape and what better fitness coaches than Hans and Franz! Her hair needs some work too and UNITE Haircare really PUMPS HER UP!

Jellyminx shares her top MAC eyeshadow picks. Do you share any of her favourites?

Check out Tracy at Beauty Reflections's new bronzer crush, Edward Bess Ultra Luminous Bronzer in Daydream.

Learn how to create the perfect Valentine's Day look with a subtle, shimmery purple Valentine's Day Makeup Tutorial at Handmade Reviews.

Laura Mercier Tightline Cake Eyeliner in Black Ebony

I use a variety of eyeliners, both in shade selection and texture. Typically, I stick with liquid, gel, or cake liners for my top lid and if I use anything below my eye, it's pencil. However, my very favorite liners are cake liners, due to their precise and long-lasting application. They're easy to work with (you can adjust the thickness of the line based on your brush size) and they usually pack a good punch of pigment. Furthermore, they can be more discreet than many other mediums. For some reason, when I use a cake liner I never feel like I went over the top...unlike with the gel and pencil liners I've used. And liquid liners are iffy, depending entirely on the pen you use. I've tried many, many liner pens that are too thick, too thin, too hard or too soft, making them impossible to work with. Not so with cake liner.

Since I'm feeling the love for Laura Mercier today, I'm going to tell you about her most basic cake liner, Black Ebony. It's the perfect black...highly pigmented and deeply opaque, and the perfect shade of matte jet black. It doesn't get dull or dusty on the lid, but stays truly ebony with no shimmer at all. However, it never looks chalky or harsh, and it doesn't have that "lacquer" effect that many pens leave.

Black Ebony is housed in the same compact that her eyeshadows come in and weighs in at 1.4 grams, roughly half the size of an eyeshadow. This means it's big enough to last pretty much forever. I've used mine for several months and it hardly shows any wear at all. The liner pops out of its original compact and can be popped right into one of Mercier's 6-pan palettes, which is what I do. This is great for me since all of the compacts are identical and that can become a huge pain when I'm rooting through my eye drawer for the right color. With a $10 6-pan palette, all of my favorite combinations can be housed in one compact and my hunting woes are over.

As for color and performance, both are amazing. The liner applies in a single, totally opaque line without the need for retracing. The texture of the liner can be controlled by how much water is used...I like to get the brush quite wet, then swirl it in the color until it begins to thicken a bit. This gives me a consistency that's fluid enough to apply precisely, yet heavy enough to get that nice dark line I'm looking for.

Bottom Line: All Laura Mercier Tightline Cake Eyeliners are fantastic, but my favorite is the Black Ebony. It's smooth, dark, opaque, and easy to work with, and it goes with every color combination you can throw at it. These cake liners come in a variety of colors, including Orchid Shimmer, Bleu Marine, Charcoal Grey, Forest Green, Plum Riche, and Mahogany Brown, all of which give dramatic yet natural effects to the eye. Lasting power is fantastic. After collecting several of these, I think I've found my go-to line for eyeliners.

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