Tuesday, December 28

11 New Best Mascaras

See which eye makeup products gave TotalBeauty editors lust worthy lashes.

Mascara, for most, is one of those "desert island"-type of eye makeup products -- meaning many women tout it as the one thing they absolutely can't go without. Whether or not you would pack it for your Gilligan adventure, we're sure you'd agree that it's a makeup bag staple. Why? Because it almost effortlessly makes you look more awake and feminine, of course.

We here at Total Beauty like to think of mascara as a magical invention, capable of creating the illusory effect of a full eight hours of sleep, a low-stress day, or even fabulous genetics. Basically, we take mascara seriously. That's why we think it's important to test a vast array of eye makeup brands from the drugstore to the beauty counter and beyond in order to share which are true winners -- the mascaras capable of great lengths, volume and curling capabilities to boot.

Before checking which mascaras we love in this eye makeup roundup, see these quick application tips courtesy of Chuck Hezekiah, national makeup artist for Maybelline New York. He claims there are some common eye makeup application errors most women make that can easily be avoided with these simple tricks and techniques:

• If you have a traditional brush wand, improve lash separation while applying mascara by moving the wand in a swift, zig-zag fashion from lash root to tip as opposed to one sweeping motion.
• We know you're usually in a rush, but take the time to dab the tip of your mascara on a tissue to get rid of the glob that tends to form there. This will keep you from getting uneven, goopy product distribution -- especially on those shorter lashes.
• If you use a lash primer, particularly a white one, wait 10-30 seconds for the primer to dry, then apply your mascara. This keeps the black color of your mascara from turning gray.
By Anna Jimenez

See the Best Mascaras Now.

Monday, December 27

Sephora Extra 20% Off

Get 20% off sales online items using the code EXTRA at checkout.  
This offer is valid till January 1, 2011, 11:59 PST and while supplies last.  

Thursday, December 23

Sephora Smoothing Primer

Product:  Sephora Smoothing Primer is a mattifying and smoothing primer to even out the skin while reducing shine.

Price: $ $
I recieved a sample of this product free with an order I placed but normally this primer cost $15 at Sephora.

 Packaging:  ♦ ♦
Sephora's Smoothing Primer comes in a 0.05 glass bottle with a black pump.  The primer itself is clear with a gel like consistency (like Smashbox Photo Finish)

Claim:  Improves foundation application while minimizing skin imperfections. Makeup lasts longer and skin is left velvety smooth with a matte finish. What else you need to know: Glide this wonder gel over skin before applying foundation to matify, smooth, perfect, and prep your skin for the a perfect foundation application. It can be mixed with a liquid foundation for a lighter coverage and to create an even skintone. Ideal for combination-oily skin types.

Ingredients:  Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben.

  • Light Weight
  • Smoothing
  • A Little Goes A Long Way
  • Has a Pump
  • Not As Mattifying
Final Verdict: ♥ ♥
This is the first time I've tried Sephora's Smoothing Primer.  When I first tried this I immediately thought of Smashbox PhotoFinish.  It has a similar consistency, as it is a clear gel-like product.  It applied  easily and left my face feeling very smooth and a little bit more even in texture.  I didn't have to use too much in order to do my whole face.  Of all it's claims I didn't think it was as mattifying as I had hoped.  It is more mattifying compred to Photo Finish but not as much as other mattifying primers I've used (L'Oreal Magic Perfecting Base, Dr. Brandt Pores No More).  The packaging is also nice as it comes with a pump so you can control how much you use.  I think this primer would work for any skin type and the price is reasonable.  It's definitely worth a try for anyone looking for a good face primer.

Wednesday, December 22

Purity Made Simple One-Step Cleansing Cloths

Product: Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Cleansing Cloths is an oversized cleansing cloths that take simplicity to a new level.

Price: $ $ $
You can buy this product at Sephora for $20.  At $0.44 per cloth, it's on the more expensive end for cleansing cloths.  I got a couple of samples free with an order I placed with Sephora. 

Packaging:  ♦ ♦
45 soft cleansing clothes that come in a white plastic pack that comes with an opening on top to pull out the cloths.  Each cloth is 8x5 inches long.

Claim:  These convenient, disposable cloths deliver everything you love about the original Purity Made Simple cleanser in a mess-free, travel-friendly format. Quickly swipe away dirt, makeup, and oil for perfectly clean skin—no need to rinse! Now you can take purity with you on the go, in your purse, gym bag, or travel bag.

Ingredients:  Water/Aqua/Eau, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Betaine, Sorbitan Laurate, Polyglyceryl-4 Laurate, Dilauryl Citrate, Gossypium Herbaceum (Cotton) Seed Oil, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Oil, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Rosa Damascena Extract, Piper Nigrum (Pepper) Seed Extract, Geranium Maculatum Oil, Guaiacum (Guaiacum Officinale) Extract, Cinnamomum Cassia Leaf Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Amyris Balsamifera Bark Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Cymbopogon Martini Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Citronellol, Geraniol, Linalool, Methylisothiazolinone.

  • Removes Makeup Easily
  • No Need to Rinse After Use
  • Don't Like the Scent
  • Leaves a Burning Sensation After Use
  • High Price
Final Verdict:  ♥ ♥
This was my first try at a Philosophy product and unfortunately, I was disappointed.  In a pack you get 45 cleansing cloths.  You get more cloths then most other brand of cleansing cloths (drugstore or otherwise).  The price is still high even for the amount you're getting.  There's also a mild scent to the cloths.  It's a mixture of roses and citrus, which I didn't think was a good combination.  It wasn't bothersome but it could have been better.  The cloths themselves work will as far as removing dirt, oil, and makeup.  It took my makeup off easily without any hard rubbing, including my mascara.  The problem is that after using these cloths you start to feel a burning sensation.  Even on the packaging it gives the caution: mild tingling may occur upon initial application.  It wasn't the case at all.  Initial, it felt fine and I was happy with how well it cleaned but then it started to burn.  It was  a slow burn.  It was especially bad around my eyes.  Philosophy claims that it's gentle enough for even the eye area but it sure didn't feel that way.  I will say that I do have slightly sensitive skin on my face.  Maybe for someone else it might only be a slight tingling, but I don't think it should have any side effects what so ever.  It meant well but I don't recommend this product.

Saturday, December 18

Hello Kitty at Sephora

This weekend Sephora is having a private sale for Beauty Insiders for a Hello Kitty Collection. The collection consist of both beauty products and tools.  If you are a lover of Hello Kitty, it's worth checking out.  The collection will be back in Mid -January for sale for everyone.  If your not a Beauty Insider, it's easy to sign up and it's free.  Just visit a Sephora store or Online

Friday, December 17

The 18 Best Facial Cleansers

The 18 Best Facial Cleansers

When it comes to the art of face washing, us ladies take it pretty seriously. We carefully select our skin care products and practically give ourselves a facial in the a.m. and p.m.. We do this ritual in the morning to look and feel refreshed and awake (even when we likely got less than six hours of sleep). And then we wash the day off of our faces in the evening, removing all traces of makeup, as well as any dirt and excess oil. But a cleanser is a cleanser, right? Don't they all do the same job? Hardly. Our readers gave us their two cents about which cleansers made their faces squeaky clean -- without leaving their skin feeling like the Sahara. What product was ranked No. 1 by TotalBeauty.com readers?

See the 18 Best Facial Cleansers now to find out.

Tuesday, December 14

FOTD: Berry Merry Christmas

A Holiday Look using Shades of Gold/Cranberry/Plum using Coastal Scents 88 Shimmer Palette

Palladio Herbal Foundation Primer
Smashbox Photo Op
Benefit Boi-ing Concealer #2
Revlon ColorStay Foundation
Revlon ColorStay Press Powder
ELF Studio Blush in Mellow Mauve
NYC Bronzing Powder in Bronze Gold

MAC Prep + Prime Lip
MAC Viva Glam V

Too Faced Shadow Insurance
 Inner 1/3 of Lid: G1/F2
Lid Color: H9/G8
Crease: G8/H8
Outer V: H11
Highlight: A10
Maybelline Waterproof Liquid E/L in Black
Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara

Monday, December 13

FOTD: Golden Holly

My Holiday Inspired Look using Gold & Green

Palladio Herbal Foundation Primer
Smashbox Photo Op
Benefit Boi-ing Concealer
Revlon ColorStay Foundation
E.L.F Studio Blush in Candid Coral
NYC Bronzing Powder in Bronze Gold

Urban Decay Lip Primer
Cargo Reverse Lip Liner
Victoria Secrets Matte L/S in Pretty
Cargo L/G in Luxor

Urban Decay Primer Potion
UD E/S in Sin on Browbone
UD E/S in Mowie Wowie on Inner 1/3 of Eyes
UD E/S in Mildew on Middle 1/3 of Eyes
UD E/S in  Last Call on Crease
Tarte E/S in Vibrant Forest Grass on Outer 1/3 & Crease
Maybelline Waterproof Liquid E/L on Top Lash Line in Black
Tarte Long-wearing  E/L on Bottom Lash Line in Jade
Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara

Thursday, December 2

19 Best Face Moisturizers

19 Best Face Moisturizers

Find the perfect product for you, whether your skin is oily, dry, sensitive or somewhere in between

Depending on your skin type, moisturizer is either a take-it-or-leave-it product or a can't-live-without-it item. But in reality, nearly all skin types can benefit from some sort of moisturizer.

Dry skin types can certainly attest to this. Without their daily dose of hydration their skin would be flaky, itchy and tight. Luckily, this list of the best face moisturizers includes products that deliver intense hydration that lasts all day without causing breakouts or greasiness.

Oily skin types might use moisturizer less often, but they actually need it just as much. Because people with oily or acne prone skin often put drying products on, their skin may start to produce more oil to balance it out (yikes!). But using a light moisturizer (even one with oil-control properties) can help keep skin in balance and actually cause it to produce less oil over time. Thankfully, this list also has light moisturizers that are perfect for oily skin -- they don't cause breakouts or extra shine but do offer some hydration.

And if you have sensitive skin, you know that a good moisturizer can calm redness or flare ups of skin issues like eczema. Most sensitive skin will benefit from a basic moisturizer without a lot of added chemicals or preservatives, and there are plenty of products that fit that bill perfectly on this list.

So check it out here and we're sure you'll find the right product for your skin.

By Sarah Carrillo


Tuesday, November 30

The 12 Worst Mascaras

The 12 Worst Mascaras

It's official -- we're obsessed with mascara. If this is surprising to you, let us back up that statement by waxing poetic on all of the reasons why: First, it instantly opens up our eyes. Even when we've been burning the candle at both ends, we still manage to look awake thanks to this fabulous eye makeup we call mascara. Second, it makes us look like we actually have eyelashes -- even those of us who were blessed with blonde (aka invisible) lashes or super fine and stubby ones. Third, it creates an instantly feminine, polished makeup look.  Even if it's the only product we take time to apply, it helps us look pulled-together.

So now that we've convinced you that mascara should be the go-to product for all women, it's time to let you in on a few other tidbits. Like, not all mascaras were created equal. How do we know this? Well … let's just say that we've tried enough of them to prove it. What's even better is that our readers have too. Thanks to them we have a list of the mascaras that produce lack-luster lashes (try saying that three times fast). Peruse their feedback to learn which mascaras you should steer clear of -- unless you want flaky raccoon eyes, of course. And hey, if you unknowingly bought one of the eye makeup products on this list already, these mascara tips may help salvage your look:

Tip 1: Improve lash separation by applying your mascara in a swift, zigzag motion from lash root to tip as opposed to one sweeping motion.
Tip 2: Dab the tip of your mascara wand on a tissue to get rid of the glob that tends to form there. It will prevent you from getting uneven, goopy product distribution.
Tip 3: If you use a lash primer, particularly a white one, wait 10 to 30 seconds for the primer to dry before applying your mascara. It will keep the color from looking diluted (i.e. gray instead of black).

See the worst 12 mascaras now.

By Kristen Oldham Giordani, Sarah Carrillo

Sunday, November 21

Palladio Herbal Foundation Primer

Product: Palladio Herbal Foundation Primer primes skin to achieve a smoother, more even application of foundation.

Price: $ $
I bought mine at Sally's for $11.99.  This is about an average price for most drugstore foundation primers.

Packaging:  ♦ ♦
This primer comes in a 20 ml clear plastic squeeze tube that has a silver design and black lettering.  The opening is on the bottom with a twist on cap.  The opening is also sort of big and you have to be careful not to squeeze too much out.  The product itself is clear and gel like.

Claim:  "Palladio Herbal Foundation Primer offers a nourishing blend to visibly improve the appearance of skin. Skin is left perfectly primed and ready for makeup. Fills in fine lines and pores to help foundation go on smoothly and last longer."

Ingredient:  Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimthicone Crosspolymer, Safflower (Carthamus Tinctorius) Seed Oil, Isopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Grape (Vitis Vinifera) Seed Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Chamomilla recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Camellia Oleifera Seed Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract.

  •  Applies Smoothly
  • Makes my Face Feel Soft & Smooth
  • Keeps my Foundation on Longer
  • Affordable Price
  • Opening is Too Big
  • Wish it Was Mattifying
Final Verdict:  ♥ ♥
I was at Sally Beauty Supply Store recently and saw that the sold Palladio Cosmetics.  I decided to try their primer because I was starting to run out with some of mine.  Palladio's primer is a clear gel-like product.  It applies smoothly to they skin and leaves the skin feeling silky smooth.  When I used this primer under my foundation, it help to keep my foundation on longer throughout the say.  Usually, if I don't wear any primer, my makeup will fade off because I have oily/combination skin.
Even with my skin type, this product didn't break me out or make my skin more oily.  I wish it was a mattifying to help control shine but it still works well.  It doesn't matter your skin type, anyone can use this product.  It does claim to help improve skin but I haven't seen any difference yet.
My biggest annoyance with this product is that the opening on the tube is a bit too big.  If you are not careful, you can squeeze out a lot of product.  I've wasted product because of that.  Other than that this product is worth the try.
 On a side note:
When I first saw this product ,I thought, "I wonder if it's like Smashbox Photo Finish?".  When I did try it out, I got my answer.  Palladio & Smashbox primers basically the same.  They both looked, felt, and functioned the same way.  You probably couldn't tell the two apart outside of their packaging.  The biggest different between the two is price.  Palladio's primer cost $12 for 20 ml (0.67 oz) while  Smashbox Photo Finish Primer is $16 for a  0.5 oz tube & $36 for a 1oz tube.  Palladio Foundation Primer is a steal compared to Smashbox.  If you love Smashbox Photo Finish Primer but could do without high price, Palladio Herbal Foundation Primer is your answer.

Friday, November 19

10 Best Long-Wear Eyeliners

10 Best Long-Wear Eyeliners

The editors at Total Beauty put some long-lasting eyeliners to the test. Here are their results:

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner, $18
Tester: Kristen Oldham Giordani, Senior Editor
Rating: 9
What she thought: Confession -- before I tried this "Tattoo" brush tip pen liner I was a bit nervous it might never come off. It is created by tattoo queen Kat Von D after all. But, after doing a few test swipes on my hand, it easily wiped off reassuring me that I wouldn't have to live with my eyes lined in a vibrant navy hue for the rest of my days. Phew. It did make me question whether it would last though. But … it did. Normally any liquid or gel liner I wear transfers onto the creases of my eyes by midday or evening -- I have combo skin and lids that disappear when I open my eyes -- a bad environment for any liner. But to my surprise, this didn't budge and the color lasted all day. The pen-like applicator also makes it easier than most liquid liners to apply -- though it still takes a steady hand and some patience. And the liner did wash off easily, with my go-to cleanser (Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, $24.50) and water.

Almay Liquid Liner, $6.75
Tester: Anna Jimenez, Assistant Editor
Rating: 9.5
What she thought: I don't know why the average woman would need an eyeliner that lasts 16 hours like this one claims and does, but I appreciate the fact that it goes the distance. This eyeliner has been an all time favorite of mine for a while now due to the fact that it is highly pigmented, perfect for creating a dramatic look and never smudges off. It even lasts through a long night of dancing -- many of the others I've tried melt off. It has a felt tip applicator and a pot, which makes it easy to apply and prevents it from running out of product or drying up like many pen style felt-tip eyeliners do. And the price? So affordable.

Tarte emphasEYES, $18
Tester: Molly Roemer, Associate Editor
Rating: 9
What she thought: First off, this automatic pencil liner goes on super smooth like a liquid. Since it yielded a nice, thick line, I went for an Audrey Hepburn-esque, top-liner-only look. And it really did stay put all day -- I put it on around 8am, and when I went to wash my face around 10pm, it was still in tact.

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, $21
Tester: Sharon Yi, Editorial intern
Rating: 9
What she thought: I've heard so many good things about this magical little smudge pot -- and they’re all true! The one annoying thing about it is that you have to buy a separate brush to use it, but once that’s taken care of, all you need is a tiny amount of the product to create any style line you prefer -- thin or thick. And because it’s not liquid, it’s very easy to line the waterline (inner rims) of your eyes without fear of getting black ink drops on your contacts (if you have them, which I do). The gel liner is definitely long lasting, but it does fade a bit after a few hours, so it doesn’t hurt to reapply to keep it looking fresh. Overall though, it's a keeper.

Almay Amazing Lasting 16 Hour Eye Pencil, $6.49
Tester: Jane Kim, Assistant Editor
Rating: 7
What she thought: I love how soft this eyeliner feels -- it glides right on, and is the perfect consistency for smudging, ideal if you're going for a smoky eye look. It did smudge under my eyes after a while, which forced me to clean them up a bit toward the end of the day. But my upper lids were still well-defined after eight hours of wear, and I didn't have to reapply my liner at all, which is good enough for me.

Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long-Lasting Eyeliner, $28
Tester: Susan Yara, Associate Editor
Rating: 8
What she thought:
My absolute all time favorite eyeliner is Chanel Le Crayon Kohl in Noir because it's richly pigmented and glides on nicely ... plus, it gives a bit of a slick look when I apply it the bottom inner rims of my eyes. So I was excited to try this one because my usual tends to fade midday on my bottom lids, and it often settles into the corners of my eyes. This definitely doesn't do that -- it glides on smoothly and stays put. In fact, I had to remove it with eye makeup remover wipes at the end of the day to get the last of it off. And bonus -- this pencil doesn't have to be sharpened.

NYX Super Skinny Eye Marker, $9
Tester: Anna Jimenez, Assistant Editor
Rating: 8.5
What she thought: Anything that claims to be "supermodel skinny" makes me want to immediately hate it out of jealousy, but this liquid eyeliner rocks my world. Its felt-tip pen makes application so easy, and the pigment is super rich and dark. I honestly think anyone can apply this liner (shaky hands and all). What's even better is that I can do a cat eye in the morning before work, go out the same night, return home and the lines are still perfectly in place -- no smudging. It also washes right off with face wash and water, which I appreciate because I hate having to bust out the eye makeup remover. Only problem I've noticed (and why I didn't give it a 10) is that the shelf life is limited due to that fact that it is a pen -- after about a month of everyday use, it's dried up and ready for retirement.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Eye Pencil, $19
Tester: Susan Yara, Associate Editor
Rating: 9
What she thought: I like wearing brown eyeliner during the day [because it's less intense] and this pencil glides on smooth and really does stay put. It never ended up smearing or settling into the corners of my eyes. It definitely lasted all day and was not hard to remove at night -- just used my normal face wash and it slid right off.

tokidoki Perfetto Eyeliner, $16
Tester: Jane Kim, Assistant Editor
Rating: 9
What she thought: This felt-tip liner glides on like a liquid. It is extremely waterproof -- once dry, it was hard to smudge. Depending on how you like to wear your liner, this can be a pro or a con. (It was a con for me, since I prefer a smudged, not-so-precise look.) But it has amazing staying power and doesn't smear -- at all. It definitely lives up to its long-lasting claim, as it didn't budge after eight hours of wear.

Lancome Le Stylo Waterproof Long Lasting Eyeliner, $24.50
Tester: Sarah Carrillo, Senior Associate Editor
Rating: 7
What she thought: This automatic eyeliner was more like a thin crayon than a pencil. It was easy to apply, though it gives you a softer, smoky look rather than a pencil-thin line (which I was fine with, but if you like a more exact line, you may not be). Applying it to my inner rims was a little tricky, since the waxy texture didn't quite want to stick to the area. It finally worked though and I liked the smoldering look I created. By the afternoon, most of the liner had faded from my upper lashline (no creasing though, which is typical with any liner or shadow I wear) and the liner in my waterlines had slipped down to my lower lashlines. But while it didn't last all day, it also never looked bad, it just slowly faded and transferred, but without smudging or flaking. At night, I was able to remove it with eye makeup remover, although there were traces I had to clean up the next morning. Bottom line: I liked this liner and would use it again, I just won't expect it to last perfectly all day, but with my oily eyelids, makeup rarely does.

Thursday, November 18

14 Best Classic Beauty Products


14 Best Classic Beauty Products 

See the tried and true beauty products our readers have been using for years -- and never plan to give up

We call them classic beauty products for a reason. They've been around for ages and have become staples in our makeup bags and bathroom cabinets. You know the beauty products we're talking about -- the ones your mother (or even grandmother) used that eventually (against your strongest will) became your favorites.

See The Classic Beauty Products

By Susan Yara

Tuesday, November 9

Sephora Lash Plumper Mascara

Product: Sephora Lash Plumper.  A volumizing mascara from Sephora's makeup collection.
It's not waterproof and comes in two shades: black & brown.

Price:  $ $
Can be purchased at any Sephora or Sephora.com for $12.

Packaging:  ♦ ♦ ♦
This product comes in a black tube can contains 0.4 oz of product.  The mascara brush is soft and slightly tapered.

Claim:  "Fatten your flutter with this lash-plumping formula. The larger brush, with slightly tapered edges, reaches from root to tip, for truly bat-worthy volume and glamour"

Ingredients:  Aqua (Water), Synthetic Beeswax, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearic Acid , Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Acacia Senegal (Gum), Acrylates Copolymer , C18-36 Acid Triglyceride, Triethanolamine , Butylene Glycol , Kaolin, Phenoxyethanol , Hydroxyethylcellulose, Methylparaben , Propylparaben , Potassium Sorbate, Edta , +/- : Ci 77007 (Ultramarine Blue), Ci 77499 (Iron Oxides), Ci 77491 (Iron Oxides), Ci 77492 (Iron Oxides).

  • Doesn't Clump
  • Doesn't Dry Too Quickly
  • Doesn't Smudge
  • Doesn't Flake
  • Separates Lashes
  • Soft Bristles
  • I'm Not Sure About Volume
  • Doesn't Hold a Curl to Well
  • Wish It Was Waterproof
Final Verdict:  ♥ ♥
Sephora Lash Plumper is a nice mascara at a fairly affordable price.  The mascara formula is almost creamy that doesn't dry too quickly.  I think that what keeps it from clumping.  You can really coat your lashes without worrying about clumps.  I also notice that it didn't smudge or flake through out the day.  The bristles also help to separate my lashes and give them some definition.    However, when I think plumper I would hope to get some volume.  It didn't really give me that.  It doesn't hold a curl to well either.  I have short straight lashes so they're really hard stay curled.  I've had other mascaras do a better job.  But, it's not waterproof and waterproof mascara hold a curl better.  That's the only draw back about this mascara, overall I liked what I got.  I would definitely purchase it again.

Monday, November 8

Best and Worst Lip & Cheek Stains

11 Best and Worst Lip & Cheek Stains

See which makeup finds from Benefit, Tarte, CoverGirl and more have our readers glowing and rosy, and which are big disappointments

There's something so appealing and youthful about flushed cheeks and rosy lips. Unfortunately, not all of us are blessed with a perpetual glow and just-bitten-looking lips. The good news is makeup companies have done their best to give us what nature should have through the ingenious invention of lip and cheek stains. That said, while some of these products have forever earned a place in our reader's makeup bags, others have wound up in their trash bins.

Now, before you go trashing your product, make sure you're using it correctly. We're not gonna lie, these stains can be tricky to use, so here are some tips for getting the best results:

Step 1: Choose the right stain
Pick a shade that complements your skin tone. Keep in mind that cheek stains look darker in the bottle than on your skin. So test it out before you buy it or buy it at a drugstore that will accept returns after use.

Step 2: Prep your skin
Wash your face with an exfoliating cleanser to slough off dead skin, which will help even out your skin tone. Then, apply a light moisturizer all over your face and neck. If you use liquid foundation, blend it into your skin before cheek stain application. If you're more a powder girl, apply it after your cheek color.

Step 3: Apply stain
Use your fingertips or a makeup sponge and smile as you blend the color onto the apples of your cheeks. If you're using a liquid stain, make sure to blend quickly (and wash hands right after unless you're using a sponge). If you end up looking circus-ready, rub a small amount of foundation onto your cheeks to dilute the color. And if you need more color payoff, apply more until you get the hue you desire.

And now check out the list of best and worst lip and cheek stains.
By Molly Roemer

Thursday, November 4

FOTD: Pink Violets

L'Oreal Magic Perfecting Base
Benefit Boi-ing Concealer #2
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Foudation
ELF Studio Blush in Mellow Mauve
ELF Studio Blush Contour
Maybelline Finishing Veil

NYX Lip Pencil in Neutral
Maybelline Color Sensational in Pink Me Up
MAC (Hello Kitty) She Likes Candy

NYX Jumbo E/S Pencil in Strawberry Milk
Tarte E/S in Ecru Hibiscus
Tarte E/S in Pink Peony
Tarte E/S in African Violet
MAC E/S in Shadowy Lady
Maybelline Gel Liner in Eggplant
Sephora Plumper Mascara

Wednesday, November 3

'Tis The Season: 2010 Holiday Collections

Now that Halloween is over, it's time to think about the Holidays.  There's always great gift sets and palettes that come out.  Companies have already come out with their Holiday Collections.  .Here's whats in store for the 2010 season:

Tuesday, November 2

Pink Champagne

L'Oreal Magic Perfecting Base
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Foundation
NARS Blush in Deep Throat
ELF Contour Blush
ELF Blush in Gotta Glow
Maybelline Finishing Veil

ELF Lip Lock Pencil
NYX Round Lipstick in Sky Pink
MAC (Hello Kitty) L/G She Likes Candy

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Strawberry Milk
NYX Champagne & Caviar Palette
MAC E/S in Vanilla
Urban Decay E/L in Bourbon
Sephora Plumper Mascara

Monday, October 25

Bronze Eyed Girl

L'Oreal Magic Perfecting Base
Revlon PhotoReady Foundation
Revlon ColorStay Powder in Medium/Deep
Cargo Blush in Coral Beach

Nivea Moisture Kiss
Revlon Colorblast in Blush
Cargo Lip Gloss in Luxor

Too Faced Shadow Insurance
NYX Jumbo Pencil in French Fries
Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips for Brown Eyes
  1. 1/3 Inner Corner of Eye Lids
  2. Highlight & Inner Corner
  3. 2/3 of the Eye Lids
  4. Crease, Outer V, Lower Lash Line
L'Oreal Linear Intense 
Sephora Lash Plumper Mascara

Thursday, October 21

Halloween Ideas

With Halloween coming up Sephora is making it easy for buyers to get the right makeup look with their beauty in a box.  Six Halloween inspired looks made easy. Check it out here
For a more affordable alternative E.L.F has a similar "beauty in a box" idea.  Check it out here.

Sunday, October 17

Best and Worst Dry Shampoos

Best and Worst Dry Shampoos
See which products will become your dirty-hair lifesaver and which actually makes your hair greasier.

Do you find that you have zero time to wash and dry your hair every day? Or do you just loathe the process and want to minimize your hair care and hairstyling time? If you answered yes to either question, you're probably the perfect candidate for dry shampoo. If you're already a fan, then we hope to expand your dry shampoo horizons a bit or validate your recent purchase. But, if you've never tried it, then you are so missing out because it is -- without a doubt -- a life changing hair care product.

Typically, it comes in a spray or powder form and not only soaks up oil, cleans hair sans water and leaves hair smelling lemon-y or floral-y fresh (i.e. not dirty-smelling), but also gives your hair a boost of volume. Well, that's what it's supposed to do anyway … you see, not all dry shampoos are created equal and our readers can attest to this. In fact, they are quite vocal about the hair care products that have forever simplified their lives, which ones are just OK and which ones make their hair look and feel even dirtier. Let's take a sneak peak of their mixed reviews:

"I still noticed greasiness even after I had just applied it …"
"My boyfriend said it smelled like bug spray …"
"This stuff was a nightmare!"
"I will never stop using this product …"
"It deserves a 10 …"
"Changed my life!"

There's quite a range of feedback on these hair care products, as you can see. So, you'd better check out the products they're referring to so you know which ones you should run (not walk) to the beauty aisle to stock up on and which ones you should avoid.

Check out our roundup of the best and worst dry shampoos according to our readers.
By Molly Roemer

Revlon Photo Ready

Product: Revlon PhotoReady Makeup... Be camera ready with this Photo Ready Makeup SPF 20 by Revlon. Looks great no matter the setting or the lighting!

Price:  $  $
I bought mine at Target for $11.99 but I've seen it as high as $13.99

Packaging:  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Revlon PhotoReady comes in a 1 fl oz bottle with a black pump and black transparent cover.  I found the pump to be very easy to use and has great control.  That's good so you can pump as much or as little as you want.
Comes in 12 different shades.

Claim:  For poreless, airbrushed skin in any light. Photochromatic pigments bend and reflect light to erase every flaw. Complete, yet undetectable coverage. Soft, luminous finish.

Ingredient:  Titanium Dioxide 1.1%, Zinc Oxide 2.0%. Aqua ((Water) Eau), Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Cyclohexasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Boron Nitride, Cetyl Peg/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Peg/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Sodium Chloride, Nylon-12, Hdv Trimethylol Hexyllac Tone Crosspolymer, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Alumina, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Glycerin, Bis-Peg/PPG-14/14 Dimethicone, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Dimethicone/Bis-Isobutyl PPG-20 Crosspolymer, Trisiloxane, Methicone, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Tribehenn, Methylmethacrylate Crosspolymer Cycloheptasiloxane, Silica, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol. May Contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491, 77492, 77499), Zinc Oxide (Ci 77947). 21879.

  • Great Packaging
  • Gives a Soft Focus Look to Pictures
  • Fragrance Free
  • SPF 20 (One of the highest I've seen for a foundation)
  • Long Lasting
  • Ridiculously Glimmery/Shimmery in Sunlight
  • Emphasizes Dry Patches of Skin
Final Verdict:  ♥ ♥ ♥ 
It took me a long time to try Revlon PhotReady just because I had several that I hadn't finish yet.  After hearing some good reviews I couldn't help myself and bought it.
This foundation had some really good qualities about it.  Revlon hit a home run with the packaging.  I think most who wear liquid foundation wish that their foundation came with a pump.  The pump keeps things from getting messy and keeps from wasting product.  It's works smoothly so you have perfect control of how much you want to pump out.
Another great thing about this product is that it's fragrance free and has SPF 20.  If you've tried Revlon ColorStay, you know that it has a terrible smell.  Why? I don't know.  PhotoReady is not that way.  Not that anyone is going to be smelling you're face anytime soon but it's one less thing to think about.  Sometimes fragrances can cause breakouts or irritations on the skin.  The SPF 20 is one of the highest I've seen for foundation.  Sun protection is always good.
So what about the actual product?  I was a toss up for me.  It gives about a medium coverage.  I thought it was pretty long lasting (5-6 hrs) without being heavy or thick.  However, this foundation has shimmery specks mixed in it.  The good thing about it is that if gives you a soft focus/ glow to your face.  The bad thing is, it makes you look very shimmery in sunlight (via vampire from Twilight).  It was ridiculous how shimmery I looked.  Indoor in artificial or natural light it looks fine but once you step outside, you're a walking sparkle.  It's a shame because it does have SPF 20 and I don't want to go outside using this foundation.  It's called PhotoReady, so how does it look in pictures?  In pictures, indoors or out, it give a soft focus and glow effect to your face.  The shimmer isn't as obvious.  You don't look fresh faced or dewy, it's more like Photoshop and you placed the glow effect.  I didn't think that was a bad thing but other people might feel different.  I also notice that with this foundation I notice dry patches on my skin more then I do with my other foundations. 
So would I buy Revlon PhotoReady again? No.  It's not a bad foundation but I wasn't wowed enough to try it again.

For Pictures

Thursday, October 14

Sephora Favorites

Sephora has some great gift sets on their website.  Each "favorite" set has a mixture of different brands.  These are products are some of best items they sell.  The sets are not only makeup but also fragerance and hair products.  These favorite box sets would be a perfect thing to buy and try different products at an affordable prices.  Check it out at Sephora.com 

Monday, October 11

St. Ives Naturally Clearn Green Tea Cleanser

Product: St. Ives Naturally Clear Green Tea Cleanser
Price: $
I bought this product at Walmart for $4.97

Packaging: ♦ ♦ ♦
This cleanser comes in a plastic oblong bottle with a pump on the top. The pump works great and gives you perfect control on how much you want to dispense.  The tip of the pump is short so you need to hold the bottle at an angle to get the product out.  I'm not totally keen on the shape of the bottle.  I think it would have been better if it was a more circular tube for better handling.
The cleanser itself if a green liquid with the same consistency has any liquid soap.  It has a slight citrus-y scent.  I didn't find it bother some, I thought it smelled clean.

Clears breakouts and reduces redness. Salicylic Acid Acne Medication With 100% Natural Green Tea
This cleanser deep cleans to gently remove dirt and make-up and helps maintain skin's moisture balance.

Dermatologist Tested • Hypoallergenic • Non-Comedogenic • Dermatologist Tested • Not Tested on Animals • Does not contain animal ingredients • Formulated without Parabens and Phthalates

Ingredients:  Water (Aqua, Eau), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Propylene Glycol, Salicylic Acid, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Fragrance (Parfum), Sodium Hydroxide, Menthyl Lactate, PEG-150 Distearate, Disodium EDTA, Phenethyl Alcohol, Limonene, PPG-2 Methyl Ether, Linalool, Epilobium Angustifolium Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Ascorphyllum Nodosum Extract, Alteromonas Ferment Extract, Methylisothiazolinone, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Yeast Extract (Faex, Extrait De Levure), Green 5 (Ci 61570), Yellow 5 (Ci 19140), Red 4 (Ci 14700), Red 33 (Ci 17200), Blue 1 (Ci 42090).

  • Smells Nice
  • Irritated my Skin at First
  • Slightly Drying
Final Verdict:  ♥ ♥
For a long time I was using Neutrogena Acne Stress Control Cleanser but I was running out.  I decided to switch things up and try St Ives new Naturally Clean Green Tea Cleanser.  I've used St. Ives before and liked them so I had good expectations for this product.  I found myself disappointed.  The first time I tried it, it felt like my skin was burning.  Not just a tingling sensation but irritating burning.  The product has 2% Salicylic Acid which my previous cleanser also had so I wasn't sure why it was burning.  I think it was because it was new product and my skin was use to my Neutrogena cleanser.  However, after the 2nd day it never irritated my skin again.  I've used this product for over a month now.
Another thing I've noticed about this product is it's drying.  I have combination skin so for someone with dry skin, this might not be something for them to try.  I've combat the dryness with my moisturizer but it's still a let down, especially since it claims to maintain skin's moisture balance.
As far as fighting acne, I've had better.  I don't normally have breakout but since I've used this cleanser I've broke out more then I've been used to.  Going from 1 or no zit a month to getting 4 or 5 is a difference.  Product can work differently for different people, and unfortunately this didn't work for me.  It's not horribly bad, it's just mediocre.  I don't recommend it.
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