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

Foundation Review: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk

So I've been hearing and reading about Armani's Famed Luminous Silk Foundation for a couple of years. At first, it was the price that held me back. Then I became a blogger, and my ideas about what constituted a high price changed dramatically (as did my ability to justify said prices). Still, I held back. It seemed as if everyone had jumped on the bandwagon, yet I didn't join them. This was partly due to the fact that my nearest mall doesn't have an Armani counter. More than that, it's due to the fact that I have the attention span of a flea, and every time I'd read a great review about Luminous Silk and swore to myself it would be my next foundation purchase, I'd forget all about it before my next shopping trip. Then I'd get distracted by some other wonder product, and the rest, as they say, is history. Years passed, and I was still missing out.

Then last month, finally, the stars aligned, the trumpets blared, and I found myself at the Armani counter looking for foundation. I'm not going to name the store because it's a wonderful one where I normally get great service at every counter. Sadly, this was not the case at Armani that day. The SA was new, knew very little about the products she was selling, and was basically completely lost behind the counter. After a frustrating 15 minutes of half-assed color matching, I gave up. But as I said, the stars aligned that day, because when I walked across the cosmetics department to make a separate purchase, one of my favorite SA's heard my tale of woe and marched me right back to the counter, where she accurately matched me as a 3.75. Aaaannnddd...they were sold out. So she made me a couple of large samples and sent me on my way.

I'm going just get right to the point on this. Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation is, hands-down, the best foundation I've ever tried. I have quite a few that I love, but this one blew them out of the water. It's everything you could ask for: lightweight but with medium coverage, silky without being greasy, it sets to a lovely satiny-matte finish that blurs imperfections and holds all day. When I apply it, I literally feel as if I'm not wearing foundation, yet it covers flaws perfectly, evening out my skin tone and concealing my slightly ruddy cheeks with ease.

As you can see, it's a liquid, not a cream. It's extremely lightweight and spreads evenly with minimal streaking. I've tried several application methods, and find that for right now, my fingers are working best. I like to apply my foundations and other creamy products by hand because I feel they adhere to my skin better, plus the warmth of my fingers allows them to spread more easily and blend more readily. Not to mention the fact that foundation applied with the fingers gives better coverage than that applied with a brush. 

The above shot showcases just how lovely this foundation is. It looks completely natural, even close-up and in bright sunlight, yet it covered my freckle and the blue veins at my wrist effortlessly. It disguised the fine web of lines that naturally appear at my inner wrist where it meets the hand. It's as if I'm looking at my skin through a soft-focus lens. 

Bottom Line: If you have normal, normal/combination, or dry skin, you need this. You really, really need this. 

Chanel Review: Soleil de Tan de Chanel Luminous Bronzing Powder #917, Sable Rose

Whoopee! It's time for a Chanel review! It feels as if it's been forever since I last hit the Chanel counter and actually bought anything. I wasn't all that impressed with the Spring Collection, so I (for once in my life) exercised some restraint and abstained. Then I just didn't stop back at the counter for a while, for whatever reason. But I returned yesterday, and was so happy to see this lovely bronzer in the Summer Collection, aptly titled "Summertime de Chanel". 

Let me start by saying I'm a big fan of Chanel bronzers and highlighters. I already own several, and I've enjoyed each and every one of them. They're sheer, they're luminous, and they always warm my skin without making my pale complexion look orange. I've used the Lumière de Sculptèe Highlighter from last year's Holiday Collection, and I still use the Bronze Corail from last summer. Every time a new collection arrives, the first thing I check out isn't the lipsticks or the eye palette, but the compact containing the bronzer or illuminator. I have yet to be disappointed. 

And Sable Rose doesn't disappoint. It's a gorgeous combination of highlighter, blush and bronzer all rolled into one lovely striped compact. It gives a soft rosy tan that's sheer and luminous and very closely matches my natural "tan", which tends to be on the pinker side. 

The enclosed brush is paddle-shaped and works perfectly for application, depositing just the right amount of powder to give a soft glow to the skin. 

As you can see above, the colors are a perfect mix of everything you'll need to get glowing. The stripes are too narrow, in my opinion, to try to use individually, although I'm sure there are those out there who can do it. However, the combination of shades, when swirled lightly onto a brush, gives a perfect finish and just the right amount of color. 

I'm afraid my picture above doesn't quite do it justice because I swatched it pretty heavily on my cheekbones to try to get it to show up on camera and neglected to blend as well as I could have. However, you get the idea...softly luminous color that gives the illusion of a sunny glow. 

Bottom Line: Loving this one! I particularly like that it does include a cool pink in the mix, which makes it appropriate for those of us who are neutral or cool-toned and on the fair side. So many bronzers read orange on me, yet I feel completely at ease with Sable Rose. Highly recommend. 

FOTD with Chanel, Smashbox, Missha and Clinique

I know I've been remiss with my posting lately. With the end of the school year looming, I've had all I could handle dealing with end-of-year paperwork, closing the kitchen, dealing with construction issues, etc. And that doesn't even begin to address the girls' activities, with Lanie's 8th Grade Formal, Field Days, and several awards ceremonies (so proud of my babies!!). However, hopefully with summer I'm going to have time to devote to the blog. I thought I'd get summer started off with a FOTD I did today with several products that will be featured in upcoming reviews. 

For today's look, I used the following: 

Face: Primed with HAVVN DNA System Activator and Day Cream (reviews coming soon), followed with Elta MD tinted sunscreen and Missha Cho Bo Yang BB Cream (reviewing soon). 

Eyes: From the new Smashbox "Shades of Fame" Eye Palette (reviewing soon), I used Praline, Mocha and Bliss shadows and Bronze Cream Eye Liner and Urban Decay liner in "Stash", then finished with Dior Diorshow Iconic mascara. 

Cheeks: Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel Luminous Bronzing Powder #917, Sable Rose (reviewing soon). 

Lips: Clinique Chubby Stick #8, Graped Up (reviewing soon).  

I layered the Elta MD sunscreen under the Cho Bo Yang BB Cream, then dusted the Sable Rose bronzer across my cheeks and up to my temples. 

For my eyes, I used several colors because I was a little ADD this morning and couldn't decide what I wanted to do. 

First, I primed with Urban Decay Primer potion. I then applied several colors from Smashbox's new eye palette, Shades of Fame. I used Praline across the mobile lid, followed by Mocha in the crease and Bliss hear the brow. I lined my upper lids with the Bronze cream eye liner included in the palette, then used Urban Decay's Stash liner on my lower lash line. I finished it all with Dior's Diorshow Iconic mascara. 

For my lips, I took it easy and swiped on the Clinique Chubby Stick in Graped-Up.

For the record, my hair is usually worn down, but it's about a million degrees in Atlanta today, so up it went.

See? Easy-peasy summer look. Let the heat wave roll!

Beauty Spotlight Team 5/25/12

Revlon's new Summer 2012 Escapism Collection catches Pammy Blogs Beauty's eye this week. Check out what she got from the collection in her recent Revlon Drugstore Haul.

Forget matching your shoes with your purse, as Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed has discovered it's now all about matching your lips with your cheeks thanks to Benefit's Ultra Plush Gloss! Check out her swatches and see if they have you feeling all matchy-matchy!

Modesty Brown gets a pleasant surprise swatching Rouge Bunny Rouge Umber Firefinch eyeshadow. If you were put off by the description, this is definitely worth a second look.

The Pink Sith imagines herself in an infomercial when she reviews the Natura Bisse NB Ceuticals Eye Recovery Balm.

A product that promises to provide a moisturiser, foundation, sunscreen, concealer and anti-aging cream all-in-one, Visionary Beauty reviews the Omorovicza Complexion Perfector BB SPF 20 to see if it delivers.

Who doesn't need an outstanding concealer? The ladies of Beauty Info Zone certainly do so they appreciate Tarte's Maracuja Creaseless Waterproof Concealer and think you will too.

Perilously Pale brings us the beautiful limited edition collection of four new Eyes to Kill Intense eye shadows from the Armani Beauty Summer Collection.

Prime Beauty takes to the beach and discovers Hourglass Cosmetics Visionaire Eye Shadow Duo in Dune.

15 Minute Beauty Fanatic learns how to add volume to her braid without teasing her hair!

London MakeUp Girl reviews La Bella Figura Decouverte Eye serum, an all natural oil-based serum that works on fine lines, dark circles and puffiness.

Did you miss the original KardashianKolors collection from Nicole by OPI the first time around? Jessika from polish insomniac shows us how to score the best colors in the new Pretty Petites collections!

At Everyday Beauty, Zuzu*s Petals marveled on the wonders of red lipstick.

Paula, from Older Girl Beauty is excited to announce that she is an Ambassador for RoC Skincare. Find out who else was chose for this year, too.

La Mer The Hydrating Infusion Review

I've always been skeptical of the über-high-priced skin care lines. And when I say high-priced, I'm talking about hundreds and hundreds of dollars per jar. Like La Mer, with their $140 dollar 1-oz, $265 2-oz, and of course the bargain-priced 16.5-oz for a mere $1800 (holy crap, why would you need that much face moisturizer?! If you need to apply that much product, it must not work that well, y'know?)

But as is usual for me, I got sucked in at the counter and decided to give some samples a try. One of them was for the Hydrating Infusion, a thin, almost watery gel tonic meant to be applied to the skin under all other treatments. According to La Mer, the Hydrating Infusion is aimed at balancing drier skin types. It's also rather ludicrously priced at $95 for a 4.2-oz pump bottle. Of what amounts to a glorified toner. Yikes.

The Hydrating Infusion relies on the magic of dark green algae to do its magic. According to La Mer, this algae is a miracle-worker that can clarify, tone, firm, and hydrate the skin. The entire La Mer line relies on algae, actually, so if you have an issue with it, this isn't the line for you. However, if you don't mind rubbing ingredients of the sea on your skin, I can tell you this product does work. I fight a constant battle with flaky skin around my mouth and chin. I haven't been able to figure out the cause, but the result is not pleasant. I've tried everything I can think of to get it to go away...serums, lotions, creams, exfoliation (manual and chemical) and nothing has worked. Until the Hydrating Infusion. Simply apply a couple of pumps to the skin after washing and before adding any other treatment, and you're good to go. The directions advise to use a cotton pad for application, but I pump it directly onto my fingertips and press it into my face. Dousing a cotton pad seems wasteful to me. Besides saving product, my method makes it easier to spread product across the skin, and it feels as if I'm adding something rather than swiping it away.

Within a day of starting the Hydrating Infusion. my flakes disappeared. My skin was also overall less reactive and didn't flush as easily. It stayed comfortable and smooth all day long, without feeling tight and dry by afternoon. It was like magic!!! I fell in love with the results and scraped together the moola to purchase a bottle of my own. Will wonders never cease.

Bottom Line: If you've got dry, flaky skin and an extra $95 sitting around, this may be the product for you. Based on my usage, the bottle should last me at least 4 months, which is really only about $25 per month...not as painful when I think of that way! However, as happy as I am with the Hydrating Infusion's performance, I still intend to sample other products to see if I can knock some more off the price. Fact is, $95 for a glorified toner is hard to justify, no matter how you look at it.

Sephora + Pantone Tangerine Tango Luminous Lip Gloss Review

This season, Sephora introduced a great collection of color cosmetics titled Color of the Year in Tangerine Tango. The collection includes eye shadows, eye liner, blush, lipstick, lip gloss, and nail lacquer. All are in vivid shades of orange (hence, "tangerine"). I don't know if I agree with the bold proclamation that this is the "color of the year," but I do love me some orange during the summer months, so I got the set and have been playing with it ever since. One of my favorite products from the range is the Luminous lip gloss in "Tangerine Tango". 

Tangerine Tango is, as expected, a brilliant orange with just a hint of shimmer. Applied with a doe-foot applicator, the gloss is fairly thick and very creamy. Although it gives great color payoff, it can tend to sit a bit heavily on the lips if you want it to be opaque. It's also a very true orange, with no pink or red undertones to it, so you'd better be prepared for some bold lips. 

You can see above that the color is bright and vibrant and has just a hint of shimmer. On the lips, the shimmer is a little more apparent, but still falls far short of frosty. 

Applied heavily, as in the above shot, you can see how it can look a little gloppy. In order to get this much color saturation, I really had to layer it heavily, and it wasn't very comfortable to wear. I felt as if my lips were sticking together. 

However, blotted down a little, Tangerine Tango still packs some color punch, yet it's much lighter and sheerer. It stays on for a couple of hours, pretty typical for glosses, but it doesn't catch my hair every time there's a slight breeze. It feels creamy and moisturizing when worn lightly, and the shine lasts until the lip gloss wears completely off. 

Bottom Line: This is a fun color and a good formula. It's a little on the heavy side, so I'd recommend going lightly with it...which means you won't get the color payoff hinted at in the tube. However, if you're looking for an up-to-the-minute color, this is definitely it!

Beauty Spotlight Team: What's in Marcia's Cans??

It's time for another "What's In My ???" post. This week, it's Marcia from Beauty Info Zone who's going to tell us why on earth she needs a dozen cans in her beauty routine! Check it out here!

Beauty Blog Link Love 5/19/12

MAKE UP FOR EVER recently launched the Rouge Artist Natural Lipsticks. Treat yourself to a review of three of those at Adorable On Your Vanity!

Phyrra brings you Great Tips for Beauty Bloggers.

Check out The Beauty Spot in a Lord of the Rings Inspired Look.

This May, Rae's been enchanted by a gorgeously packaged pink lipstick. Read all about Pivoine Délicate, the unexpected Spring hit from L'Occitane, at theNotice.

Gouldylox Reviews found a really pretty lip gloss that is actually made of evil at Sephora.

Beauty's Bad Habit Blog joins the dark side with Sleek's 'Ultra Matte V2 - Darks' palette review and swatches.

If Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed was as bright as her Essie Poppy-Razzi nails, the world would be a smarter place - well at least we still have her nails so come check them out!

The Pink Sith thinks that Birchbox might have confused this month's Gossip Girl themed box with The Golden Girls, judging from the geriatric theme of the products she received.

Christina the Glitterholic checks out the new collection by M.A.C, Hey, Sailor! Check out her photos from the event and enter her giveaway to win a M.A.C lipstick from the new collection.

At Eyelining Obsessions things get a little philosophical as Claire contemplates what value for money really means.

At Lipstick Musings, Shannon's fallen hard for the new YSL Rouge Pur Couture Vernìs À Levrès Glossy Stain in Fuchsia Dore . Come see what all the fuss is about!

See why the Smashbox Shades Of Fame Palette has Beauty Reflections dreaming of Margaritaville!


Are you a beauty sample junkie? Enter to win a Total Beauty Collection beauty sample box at Pammy Blogs Beauty!

Yves Saint Laurent Dessin Du Regard Waterproof Eye Liner Review, #9, Azure Blue

Last week, I reviewed YSL's Dessin du Regard Waterproof Eyeliner in #8, Luminescent Gold. I loved it so much I went back for #9, Azure Blue. I'm not a huge fan of pencil eyeliners, so that should tell you just how much I love this formula. 

The Dessin du Regard Waterproof is an amazing liner. First off, it's the silkiest, softest liner I've ever used. I love that because there's no tugging on my lids when I use it and it swipes on almost as easily as my more-preferred gel liners. However, there is one caveat to this soft texture: if you aren't careful, the tip will break off, which is terribly sad when you spend $28 on a liner. I've also noted that the pencils lose their sharp tip very quickly and have to be sharpened with nearly every use. However, Luminescent Gold is such a perfect color for me that I don't mind. I just bought a backup (gasp!!). 

Azure Blue is another lovely from the Dessin du Regard line. It's a deep but very vivid royal blue that applies opaquely with just one swipe of the pencil. Like Luminescent Gold, it's easy to smudge if you move quickly, and once it sets it doesn't budge all day. It also works well for the waterline. 

You can see above what a gorgeous color this is. It's the perfect mix of deep and vivid working together to create a nearly perfect blue. I personally would probably prefer it just a tiny bit darker, but it does make for a beautiful summer bright eye. 

On the skin, the color comes alive, and you can imagine how much it brightens the eye area: 

Bottom Line: Although I have to say I prefer Luminescent Gold over Azure Blue, that's primarily because at the end of the day, even though I love blues in theory, I have to use them very sparingly around my eyes. I'm still playing with this one and will do an EOTD as soon as I find the perfect look. In the meantime, I love to use these pencils, and highly recommend them. There are 9 colors ranging from fairly neutral all the way up to brights like Azure Blue and Ultramarine, so there should be something in the collection to please everyone. I'm hoping they release a silver next...now that would be fun!!

Hair Care Review: Phyto Huile d'alés Pre-Shampoo Intense Hydrating Oil Treatment

I have very stressed hair. It's long, straight, fine, thin and color-treated. I use very gentle deposit-only colors on it to try to protect it, but still, you know the color isn't exactly helping it any. I also try not to dry it with a hair dryer more then twice a week, which is easy since my job requires that my hair be pulled back and secured. I can just wash it, let it air dry while I apply my makeup, then twist the damp hair up and pin it, and I'm done. Dryers and straighteners are left to the weekends. 

All that being said, I still need all the help I can get when it comes to pampering my hair. Because it's so fine, it's easily damaged and gets split ends very quickly. Since it's also thin, I have to do everything in my power to hold on to every strand I can. I've recently fallen in love with Phyto products, which have truly restored what used to be a hot mess on my head. I started with Phyto using the amazing Phytocane Serum, which truly turned my hair around, making it stronger, denser, and shinier. This time around, I decided to go with a conditioning oil in the form of the Huile d'alés Pre-Shampoo Intense Hydrating Oil Treatment. 

Huile d'alés comes packaged with 5 pre-measured glass ampules and a small spray bottle. To use, you simply break off one end of the ampoule, put it in the neck of the spray bottle, break off the other end of the ampoule to allow the oil to pour into the bottle, then spray your dry hair with the oil. I must state here that it's extremely important to transfer the oil from the ampoule into the bottle correctly. Break just ONE end off, put the open end of the ampoule into the bottle, then break the other end and watch it flow! I didn't do this correctly the first time. Instead, I first only broke one end, which resulted in the oil dripping verrrrrry slowly into the bottle. Then it occurred to me to break the other end...only I picked up the ampoule and put my finger over the already-opened end to keep the oil from leaking out of it, and then my finger slipped and I lost half of the oil. This really sucked, because this isn't a cheap product...it runs $28 for the 5 ampoules. 

Anyhow, my point is that it's worth it. After applying this oil to my dry hair and leaving on for a minimum of 30 minutes, I rinse it out, wash, and am left with soft, shiny, healthy-looking hair that stays that way all week. Well worth the money, in my opinion. 

Huile d'alés is comprised of beneficial ingredients such as calendula oficianalis extract, wheat proteins, oat amino acids, and essential oils. It smells clean and refreshing and very natural. Application is very easy due to the spray bottle, which applies product exactly where you need it with no drippy mess. This oil does feel slightly sticky when applied to dry hair, but when rinsed and washed out, it leaves nothing but softness behind. According to the Phyto website, this oil can also be added to hair color to help protect the hair during chemical treatments. I'm planning to try that method soon. 

I will say that this is an amazing oil treatment. However, if you have extremely thick or long hair, you may need more than one ampule per application. It thoroughly coats my hair, but remember that my hair, though long, is also quite thin and fine. Those of you with tons of hair (I don't even want to hear your complaints about how hard that is) may need 1.5 ampoules or even 2 to thoroughly saturate the hair. 

Do you have any favorite hair oils or conditioners? If so, share the wealth and let me know! I'm always up for trying whatever works!

Ingredients: calendula officinalis flower extract . peg-35 castor oil . sodium lauroyl oat amino acids . palmitoyl hydrolyzed wheat proteins . salvia officinalis (sage) oil . citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil . rosmarinus officinalis ( rosemary) leaf oil . juniperus communis fruit (juniper berry) oil . zea mays (corn) oil . vinegar / acetum . limonene . linalool . beta-carotene . water / aqua . tocopherol . phenoxyethanol . sodium bisulfite . methylisothiazolinone. methylchlroisothiazolinone .

Bottom Line: I'm so impressed with this oil. It doesn't weigh my fine hair down at all, yet it gives it shine and moisture and helps it behave. It also helps keep frizz at bay. I plan to continue with it as the condition of my hair continues to (hopefully) improve. 

Lovely Lip Review: YSL Rouge Pur Couture Vernís À Lèvres Glossy Stain #14, Fuchsia Dore

There's been a lotlotlot of buzz lately about the new YSL Glossy Stains. They claim to basically be the ultimate lip product, with the texture and shine of a gloss and the lasting power of a lipstick. At first, I ignored them entirely, assuming it was all lies, lies, lies. I mean, seriously--are we supposed to believe that there's something out there that stays on all day, remains glossy for hours, yet doesn't feel like house paint on our lips? 

But of course, when I finally got a chance to check them out at the counter, my eyes got the best of me and I had to play with them. First, I swatched on my hand. Beautiful! The colors are rich and opaque, with a good range of tones that will flatter any skin tone. My resolve began to waver. Then I tried to remove them from my hand, and they didn't budge. Yes, the gloss came off with some wiping, but a vibrant stain remained, and didn't go anywhere despite my vigorous scrubbing. My resolve began to crumble. Then the SA pulled out a brand-new tester and let me apply some to my lips and told me to wear it around the store for a bit to see how I liked it. And 20 minutes later, I was sold. 

This new product is truly revolutionary. The Glossy Stains truly do feel like gloss. They're moist and cushiony and only slightly sticky (more so than Dior Ultra Gloss, but less than Chanel Glossimers). Let's just say I don't worry too much about my hair getting plastered to my mouth with the next stiff breeze that comes by. The color is completely saturated and opaque. It can be applied as one sheer coat for just a touch of color or two coats for an intense, drop-dead effect. Either way, the color stays true without bleeding at all, and doesn't fade for hours. 

The applicator is a slanted, modified doe-foot that's a little floppy rather than stiff. It has some give to it, so it glides easily and accurately across the lips, leaving a smooth, precise, even coat of product behind. It's one of the best applicators I've come across in terms of depositing color easily and quickly. Love it!!

The color I chose is #14, Fuchsia Dore. It's a blue-based, deep and vivid fuchsia that gives brilliant depth and never looks garish. Currently, this is the best fuchsia I own, and I own plenty. Even with the blue base, it reads quite neutral on me and doesn't pull purple at all. As bright as it is, it stays far away from the neon range as well...which is good, because that's not a good look for me. 

Bottom Line: I'm loving this revolutionary new product. As a matter of fact, I think I like it even more than regular lipstick, since it feels moisturizing but has a lovely sheen that lipsticks seldom do. I've experienced absolutely no feathering, and easily get a good 6 hours of wear unless I eat a full meal, in which case there is some breakdown. Fading is slow and even, giving you plenty of time for touchups without the dreaded "ring" around the lips. Well worth a try!

Yves Saint Laurent Glossy Stain can be found for $32 online on the YSL website or in finer department stores. 

Beauty Spotlight Team 5/11/12-5/12/12

Are you a beauty sample junkie? Enter to win a Total Beauty Collection beauty sample box at Pammy Blogs Beauty!

Pink Sith’s tiny brain convinced her to get ANOTHER bronzer! At least it knew well enough to make it CHANEL!

Afraid of color? Prime Beauty helps ease you from black and white into Technicolor with six new pastel eye shadows shades from Make Up For Ever with tips on how to wear them!

Marcia from Beauty Info Zone is at it again trying to tempt you with her Sunday Riley eyeshadow posts. Will she sway you this time?

Looking for an effortless cool smoky eye look..look no further than the new eye shadows from Rouge Bunny Rouge, Visionary Beauty shows us the shades inTrumpeter Koel and Lilac Reef Curassow

Modesty Brown decides that depotting those neglected single eyeshadows is the way forward. Ever considered depotting your Rouge Bunny Rouge collection? Read this before putting knife to pan!

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed is bitten by the Giorgio Armani Rouge D’Armani Sheers bug - check out her swatch and see if you think it might be contagious!

Perilously Pale finally finds out what all the buzz is about with the Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadows from their Summer 2012 collection when she reviews Madra Perla. Now she can't wait for the rest of her Armani summer goodies to arrive!

At Everyday Beauty, Zuzu*s Petals felt a new wave of frustration over print ads, not because extremely young models were advertising anti-aging products but because over-40 models now look like they are under 30. What do you think about this new trend?

15 Minute Beauty Fanatic takes a closer look at deep cleansing brushes. What are the differences amongst the Clarisonic, Olay, Neutrogena and Proactiv products?

London Makeup Girl is celebrating Spring with a...grey nail polish. Well, it has been raining in London for the last month or so! Have a look at RGB Cosmetics nail polish in Dove.

Shannon at Lipstick Musings has fallen for the glimmer and gleam of YSL's new Dessin du Regard Waterproof Eyeliner in Luminescent Gold . See if you agree that this is one of the loveliest eyeliners ever!

Personalized Skin Care: Audra James Bespoke Facial Elixir

As those of you who read this blog regularly know, I'm a huge fan of facial oils. I have very dry skin, but I don't care much for the heavy creams typically marketed for women like me. I find that oils sink in more quickly, are lightweight, and are generally more effective for dry or dehydrated skin like mine. I've tried many over the years, and have loved most of them. However, when I read about the Audra James on the blog Beauty Huile, my interest was piqued. A facial oil tailored to my specific needs, just for me? Intriguing!

Audra James is a qualified aromatherapist, facialist, and natural skin care expert. She has more than 15 years of experience working in both Europe and Australia, where she is currently based in Brisbane. She offers Bespoke services for facial oils, body oils and sprays, perfume, and essential oil blends. With the Bespoke line, her approach is thorough, professional, and friendly, and her goal is to create a product specifically for your individual needs and concerns. In addition to the Bespoke products, Audra offers a standard line of pre-made skin care that offers face and body oils, aromatherapy items, body sprays, cleansing systems, and the like. 

The first step in creating my Bespoke products (I ordered a Facial Oil, Body Oil, and Perfume) was to contact Audra via email. She responded almost immediately with an explanation of the process of creating the Bespoke products and sent me questionnaires to fill out for each one. She asked questions about my skin concerns, lifestyle, and other factors that might be impacting my skin. Once she received my completed questionnaires, she contacted me to further elaborate on the process and to give me the estimated timeline for how long it would take to create my products. 

Throughout the process, I received regular updates from Audra to let me know if things were still running on schedule or to ask additional questions of me so she could tailor my Bespoke items more precisely to my needs and preferences. I'm incredibly impatient, yet Audra kept me so well-informed during the process that I never felt as if I had waited too long for anything. 

My Bespoke Facial Oil is truly a masterpiece. Taking into account my dry, aging skin and constant state of stress, she included carrier oils such as organic apricot oil, carrot seed infused oil, calendula infused oil, organic rosehip oil and others to condition and moisturize my skin, along with essential oils including Frankincense, Geranium Bourbon, and Bulgarian Rose, amongst others. The result was a delightfully rich yet quick-penetrating elixir that nourishes my skin and calms my senses. I apply this oil, and the world is suddenly a much better place. 

I was also sent a Fact Sheet that included not only the ingredients of the oil, but also various ways in which I could use it. It was recommended that I could use it alone as an overnight treatment or a natural face serum, I could add it to moisturizer to give any cream a boost, or I could use it as a carrier oil for facial massage. There were even step-by-step directions on how to do a proper facial massage. 

My Bespoke Facial Oil got me through the last few months of Winter and into early Spring, using it as a facial serum or overnight treatment depending on my level of dryness. As the weather has warmed, I've cut back to using it 2-3 times a week as an overnight treatment. Every night I use it, I wake to plump, soft, silky, refreshed skin and a more youthful appearance. The natural fragrance of the essential oil blend relaxes and calms me at the end of a long, stressful day. It's a lovely experience. 

Bottom Line: The Audra James Bespoke Facial Oil is a remarkable skin care product that works wonders for my overstressed, dry skin. Working with Audra was an absolute pleasure...so much so that I intend to work with her again in the near future for another facial oil for the warmer months, when my skin is more combination. I'm looking forward to seeing what she comes up with for me next time!

Audra James products can be found online at the Audra James website. 

Yves Saint Laurent Dessin Du Regard Waterproof Eye Liner Review, #8 Luminescent Gold

I'm not normally a huge fan of pencil eyeliners, preferring gel instead. I never can seem to get pencils to go on with a straight, clean line. They always end up crooked or too thick, or I smudge them before they set. But once in awhile, I catch sight of one that's so lovely, even I can't resist it. Such was the case with the new Yves Saint Laurent Dessin Du Regard Waterproof Eye Liner in #8, Luminescent Gold.

Luminescent Gold is an amazing, brilliant gold that's just a shade lighter than antique gold, yet darker than the typical bright metallic we're all used to. I think it was the antiqued quality that got me. It brings things down a notch, making it suitable for those of us who are no longer in our 20's. Ordinarily, I wouldn't wear such a color, but I knew I could make Luminescent Gold work for me.

As you can see above, Luminescent Gold is a breathtaking gold with a metallic finish, yet it stops just short of looking garish on the skin. The texture is truly remarkable. It's so incredibly soft, the slightest bit of pressure results in a full, opaque line of color. As a matter of fact, you need to be careful with this pencil. I pressed too hard the first time I used it and the tip broke off. So sad!! But the flip side of that is that there's absolutely no tugging needed whatsoever. Once applied, you have about 30 seconds to smudge if you desire, but move quickly because that's about all you'll get. Once it sets, it sticks like glue and doesn't budge. I've had none of that nonsense where the liner migrates away from my eyes due to moisture. Even after some rubbing, the line stays intact.

The SA recommended I draw a fine line of black liner on my upper lashes and then trace above that with the gold. Okay, so I didn't do that. First off, my hand isn't steady enough (or, frankly, my eyelids firm enough) to be able to pull that off. Plus, there's the issue of that being a little too much drama for daytime, and I don't go clubbing these days. So what do I do with this amazing color? I line my lower waterline and follow up into the inner corners. This hides any redness I might have on my inner rims, adds brightness, and makes my eyes look larger and more awake.

Bottom Line: This is a lovely gold that is truly unique. The texture and wear time of this pencil are unsurpassed, and when used judiciously, it's far from bling-y, adding a subtle radiance to the eye area. I can't wait to try more application techniques with this one. If you have any ideas on how else I could apply this one, let me know in the comments!!

Yves Saint Laurent Luminescent Gold can be found on the YSL website.

Arcona Review: Magic White Ice Hydrating Gel

Today it's about 90 degrees down here in Atlanta. Given that we literally had no winter, I'm a little worried this is just the beginning of what might turn out to be a truly hellish summer. To exacerbate things, around here we don't just have heat, we have humidity--and a lot of it. Walking outside in July in Atlanta can literally feel like walking into a steam bath. It takes the breath away. 

With all that heat and humidity, you'd think my skin would go all oil-slick on me and my need for intense moisture would disappear, but it doesn't. Instead, I have to search for intensely hydrating products that are extremely lightweight and will soak into my skin without leaving any residue. This is a tricky task, as most gels aren't moisturizing enough, while most lotions and creams leave a coating on the skin that melts off in the heat, leaving me looking like a hot mess. 

Enter Magic White Ice from Arcona. First, let me give you a little background on the company. Arcona was founded back in 1989 by a woman named...you guessed it...Arcona, who was a chemist and pioneer in holistic skin care. She developed a line in Hollywood aimed at celebrities. 

Arcona is unique in the way it processes and combines its cosmeceutical-grade ingredients, such as enzymes and antioxidants. They are processed at very low temperatures to maintain their beneficial properties, which allows them to remain at ultimate effectiveness. Arcona products do not contain petrochemicals, binders or fillers, chemical stabilizers, parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, perfumes, dyes, or any other caustic ingredients. 

I was sent some products by Arcona, and was intrigued by the Magic White Ice (at first, admittedly, it was because of the cool name). Magic White Ice is a hydrating, lightweight gel that moisturizes deep within the skin without clogging pores. It's cool on application, which is perfect for warmer weather. The hydration lasts all day, which is rare for me. The formula moisturizes the skin with white cranberry complex, hyaluronic acid and mucopolysaccharides. Antioxidant protection is provided through the use of beta-carotene as well as vitamins B, C and E. To clarify the skin, anti-microbial totara extract and grapefruit complex. 

Sounds great, but does it work? Well, in a word...yes. This little gem of a gel adds moisture to my skin that lasts all day without ever feeling heavy. It sinks in immediately, leaving my skin silky-smooth and refreshed. It's a great base under makeup. The fragrance is light and fruity, the texture is smooth and silky but doesn't feel  like silicone. WIN!!

Bottom Line: This is a great summertime moisturizer for me. I use it alone during the day but often layer it with something a bit heavier at night, depending on my skin's needs for the day. It packs a powerful list of ingredients, and avoids all of the unnecessary nasties we all try to avoid. In short, it's healthy, effective skin care at its best. 

Arcona products can be found at Arcona.com.

What's On "Older Girl Beauty's" Mother's Vanity?

It's time for another "What's In My...?" post from the Beauty Spotlight Team. This week, in honor of Mother's Day, Older Girl Beauty is taking us on a tour of her mother's vanity. From the look of things, I think we can all guess where OGB got her impeccable taste in makeup and skin care!

So without further ado, let's see what's on Mom's Vanity!

Beauty Blog Link Love 5/5/12

Want to know Shivani's pick for the "it lipstick" for spring? It's Bite Rosé. Come and check out the swatches & review and decide for yourself!

Over at theNotice, Rae has the details on this year's Sephora Favourites Sun Safety Kit. Find out what's in this year's set, with a full product listing & ingredients!

The Pink Sith recommends PB&J sandwiches for a month so you can get both of these amazing Armani Eyes To Kill Intense limited edition eyeshadows!

Is the new Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup the right choice for you? Gouldylox Reviews thinks it may be perfect for summer, providing you have the right kind of skin...

L from Beautifully Addicted To reviews Mii Pure Wonder Concealer in Awake 01.

Beauty's Bad Habit has make-up and nail polish storage sorted with the much loved IKEA Helmer.

Check out a bronze smoky eye and red lip FOTD featuring the Illamasqua Human Fundamentalism collection on My Funny Valentine.

Do you love the look of false eyelashes but hate the fuss? Then you might like Too Faced's new Better Than False Lashes system. Pammy Blogs Beauty tests it out!

Miss Beauty Nerd shares her two cents on Stila's new One Step Correct. Can one pump of this tri-colour serum really brighten and nourish?

Beauty Reflections has Summer in an eyeliner courtesy of DiorShow Waterproof Liner in Turquoise!

Burlesque icon Dita Von Teese launched her first fragrance in London this week! Check out the photos from the event at Hellcandy's blog!

Take off your shades and See and Be Seen with Anastisia of Beverly Hill's new Kit! Prime Beauty has a look at the new kit.

Addicted to Beauty gets high sea fever with the MAC Cosmetics Hey Sailor! collection.

Summer is just round the corner, and that means sunscreen time! Musicalhouses gives you 5 tips about sunscreen you need to know - but usually don't!

Are you looking for a summery eyeshadow palette? Then head over to Pleasureflush to find out if Guerlain's new summer eyeshadow palette is the one for you.

Worried about sun damage? Shannon at Lipstick Musings has found a way to get rid of it--before you head back to the beach--with Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution!

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