lpsm

I gave up on my hair years ago. It’s impossible to manage so, for the most part, I let it do what it wants. I tried tons of anti-frizz products that all claimed to be the best, when all they did was coat my hair in silicone and made it look greasy and heavy. And, if I didn’t shower before bedtime, my silicone treated hair would get my pillow icky and I would break out.

When I received a tube of Living Proof No Frizz Straight Making Treatment, I thought, “Yeah right, like this is going to work.” Color me skeptical but I had serious doubts. I knew not to get my hopes up. I didn’t have anything to loose anyway.

Oh. My. Goodness. How did I ever live without it?

I’ve been using it religiously for a week (I wash my hair almost daily), and while my hair is still kind of out of control, just try to find a frizzy stand, I dare you. It also feels softer and is easier to brush through. You kind of have to try it to know what I mean.

And…it’s silicone-free!

You do need to coat the entire strand of hair, from root to tip, for it to work. I have a lot of hair so I divide mine into sections and apply the product then brush through. It also works better the more you use it and is great with heat appliances.

Don’t worry about the straight vs curl defining decision. If you want a little hold, go with the curl defining. If you don’t, then straight making is for you. Straight can use curly and curly can use straight. I also love that these are for different hair types, although since the product is lightweight, you can go up to the next level if you need more hydration. There is also a diagnostic tool on livingproof.com to help you decide which is right for you.

morocco

If I could only say one word about Sephora’s new Moroccan Sunrise collection it would be beautiful.  From the packaging, to the color choices, to the product textures, everything is indeed beautiful.

I’m generally not a bronzer fanatic and when I occasionally use it, I choose lighter matte shades. That said, I think I just might buy the Moroccan one. More gold then the orange of most bronzers, if brushed on with a light hand, it can be used as a subtle gold shimmer either alone or over blush.

The eyeshadow palette is gorgeous. The pigment is vivid and can be sheered down and the color payoff is high. A number of looks can be done with this palette for both day and night. I did a simple swipe of the orange and pink as liner (blended into each other for a slight sunset effect) then blended it with the neutral beigey-gold to eliminate harsh lines.

The collection also includes lip glosses that pack a punch of color, are smooth without being sticky, and feel hydrating. I’ve been wearing Roseberry and plan to buy Naked Peach. For those of you who like to keep a mirror in your bag at all times to aid with lip gloss or hair touch-ups, there are also Moroccan print embellished mirrors.

Also featured are emery boards, atomizers, a mini brush set, a larger brush set, several gorgeous bags, and a train case that lights up when opened. To check out the entire collection, go to Sephora.com.

smurfy

For those of you who are old enough to remember waiting for the Smurfs to air on TV every weekend (and for those who watch it in reruns), Too Faced has a treat for you. Soon to be launching at a Sephora near you comes a collection of Smurf inspired limited edition goodies. I was so excited when I saw this super cute collection reminiscent of my childhood! It features an eye shadow quad, illuminating powder with the silhouette of Smurfette, two glitter eye liners (“Smurf You” – a lovely shade of royal blue, and “Feelin’ Smurfy” – a pretty and ethereal shade of white that picks up the color of anything underneath), and a lipgloss that is mood activated.

If the lip gloss sounds familiar, that’s because there is a similar version in the regular line. The limited edition Smurf packaging features Smurfette and it comes out of the tube in a shimmery shade of light blue. The gloss reacts with your body chemistry to turn your own personalized shade of pink. If you’re at all familiar with Smashbox O-Glow, the concept is similar.

MAC is soon to be releasing their Hello Kitty collection, but really, who needs Hello Kitty when it’s been done a million different times? I’ve seen the HK MAC stuff and I’m really unimpressed, plus the prices are just ridiculous. Smurf imaging is rarely done so this collection is a special treat that everyone should be snapping up ASAP before supplies are gone.

Saturday I bought a GHD IV styling iron and it’s pretty much dreamy. I wanted the sleek limited edition Dark IV on the right below (that comes with a cute matching heat-resistant bag), however, my Sephora doesn’t carry many special sets . So I got the regular GHD IV. There’s no difference in performance of either.

ghd

Some of my favorite key features of the GHD IV include :

  • Automatic shut-off if you leave the iron unused for 30 minutes. Also, automatic shut-off if it overheats.
  • A smart microchip that senses how much you’re using the iron and heats itself back up to prevent what I call cold-iron syndrome (after you’ve straightened half of your hair, you realize your iron has dropped in temperature and you have to wait for it to reheat until you finish the other half).
  • Heats up quickly. Seemingly faster then the speed of light!
  • Easily creates curls and waves.
  • Is less damaging to hair then other irons.
  • Leaves you with smooth, shiny, silky hair.

I timed myself and it took a total of 8 minutes to straighten my hair. With other irons it can take upwards of  30-45 minutes. I’d say the GHD was an investment well made.

I lied. One more before chaos

November 18, 2008

I love nice, long, hot showers. Bad for the skin, I know, but so relaxing. Last night when I came home from a long day at work I hopped in the shower and used my new Lush Emotibomb in Up the Wooden Hill. It features lavender, chamomile, and neroli, all very calming and soothing. It’s a rather large tab that you lay on your shower floor under the water. Your shower water mixes with the Emotibomb’s essential oils to create fabulous scented steam.

While I can’t justify spending $4 on a one time use product all the time, it’s great for occasional nights when you seriously need to unwind. It’s also great for those who don’t have bathtubs or who don’t have time for a relaxing bath. It’s definitely a must try. I recommend using the entire tab because you probably won’t get the same effect if you break it in half to save for later. If you take long showers like me, save it until you’re almost ready to get out. The tab is by no means cute like Lush’s bath bombs but it gets the job done and made me feel relaxed and ready for bed.

I can’t wait for my shower tonight. I’m going to use my Bath and Body Works Lavender and Chamomile body wash and my beloved Bliss Rosemary and Eucalyptus Hot Salt Scrub. Only eight more hours until shower euphoria.

Lancome Oscillation

November 13, 2008

losc

I just tried Lancome’s new “vibrating” mascara. It oscillates 7000 times per minute and promises length, volume, and curl. The theory behind this innovative mascara is that your lashes are wrapped 360 degrees to give you a va-va-va-voom flutter that resemble faux lashes with little effort. Just slowly pull the brush through your lashes from root to tip and voila! Gorgeous long lashes are yours.

Do give it a try if you’re curious. The Lancome counters and most Sephora stores should have hygienic disposable wands to snap into the battery powered handle so you can try before you buy.

My verdict on this “latest and greatest” mascara? It made my lashes look clumpy and spider-like. I will try it again because I think perhaps I swiped the wand a little too fast or there was too much product on the brush to begin with. If my opinion changes I will definitely keep you up to date.

Fresh

November 6, 2008

Fresh is one of the many brands that I just adore and I always love trying anything and everything from the brand. Started by husband and wife team Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg in the early 90’s, the line embodies technology, quality and luxury. Lev is also a certified nose and took years creating their Cannabis Santal fragrance. Today I will be giving reviews of Sake Bath, Rice Dry Oil, Sugar Lychee Shower gel and Lotion, and the new Strawberry Flowers fragrance. If you are ever in San Francisco, check out the Fresh Boutique on Sutter Street (in the Financial District between Stockton and Kearny). You can also find locations near you on the site under store locator.

sakerice

Sake Bath, 13.5 oz, $80: Sake Bath’s claim to fame is that it features 50% pure sake to detoxify, relax muscles, soften skin and increase circulation. I definitely felt relaxed and warm. You do need to use very hot water and a lot of product (at least a shot glass worth for an average size bathtub) to see any benefits and it’s not meant for use by pregnant women or those with heart conditions. Is it worth $80? Probably not, although I wouldn’t mind receiving it as a gift.

Rice Dry Oil, 3.4 oz, $48: Relaxes mind and body and is quickly absorbed. Smells wonderful, almost reminiscent of the Sake fragrance. Feels luxurious and leaves skin feeling silky without being slippery or sticky. For me it was a bit irritating to use because of the pour spout-I either poured way too much or too little into my hands. While it’s a great product, the price tag is a bit steep for something I would use up so frequently.

sugar

Sugar Lychee Bath and Shower Gel, 10 oz, $28: Some bath and shower gels can leave my skin feeling dry and tight. This one feels and smells heavenly. It features sugar cane extract (sugar is a natural humectant so it draws moisture to the skin), it also has shea butter to further hydrate. I would buy this over and over I love it so much. A little goes a long way so it lasts through shower after shower.

Sugar Lychee Body Lotion, 10 oz, $28: light in scent and texture, this is my post shower bed time body lotion because it soaks into the skin without feeling greasy. The scent is calming and light enough that it doesn’t give me a headache. Definitely a must try in this and other scents.

Strawberry Flowers Fragrance, Sephora exclusive, 1 oz EDP, $38: Features notes of Mandarin, Yuzu, White peach, Mountain Strawberries, Freesia, Orange Blossom, Osmanthus, Orris, Musk, White woods. This fragrance is a soft floral and very pretty. Would make a nice gift for a fragrance aficionado, Fresh lover, or someone who wants a light fragrance suitable for daytime wear. Please note that this doesn’t and isn’t supposed to smell just like strawberries as there are several other notes that balance it out.

We are a mere day and a half away from the start of November and you know what that means: holiday shopping and great deals galore! If you check out almost any beauty retailer this season, you’re bound to find great sets. This year your dollar is worth it’s weight in makeup gold. A few on my must have list for getting and giving include:

Stila Step Out and Shine, Sephora exclusive, $50: this gem of a kit comes with a darling  silver clutch, the new pomegranate lip and cheek stain (possibly one of the prettiest and easiest stains to apply), convertible color for cheeks and lips in orchid, an all over shimmer in a pink-gold hue, eyeshadow quad featuring day to night purples, and a black mascara. Everything in this set can be sheered down for a more natural look or amped up for a holiday party look that will turn heads.

Smashbox Rapture Eye Shadow and Brush Collection, $59: complete with eight duo eye shadows and two full size brushes (including my favorite, the #15, a must have for highlighting the inner corners of the eyes) this is the ultimate gift for any Smashbox or eyeshadow lover.

Tarte The Vanity Palette, Sephora exclusive, $52: sequel to last years We Wish You Wealth palette, this years offering from Tarte is one of the best value sets of the season. Revamped from the Wealth palette, it features 16 brighter eye shadows, 16 smoother glosses, four powder blushes, a mascara, bronzer, luminizer, and brushes. I have the Wealth palette and all I can say is hallelujah to the switching out of cheek stains to powder blushes. While I adore Tarte’s cheek stains, they dried up fairly quickly in the palette because they were exposed to too much air. If you love them too, do check out their Très Cheek Mini Cheek Stain Set. It’s comes with an adorable pouch and I’m loving the limited edition colors, especially Chic, a gorgeous peach tint.

Stay tuned for more favorites. I have a stash of new products to review as well as some old standbys.

It’s no secret that I love Lush. From the bath bombs, soaps, and body butters to the limited edition holiday stuff, I’m hooked. Most lush products are vegan friendly, handmade, and never tested on animals. My absolute can’t live without item is Buffy body butter, formerly known as “Buffy the Backside Slayer.” Oh how I loved to tell people how I get my skin so soft and smooth. Now the name’s no fun anymore. Anyway, Buffy is nothing short of a miracle for anyone who wants soft skin. While still in the shower (after you’ve cleansed your bod) you rub the Buffy bar everywhere you want to be moisturised, especially rough areas (elbows, knees). Buffy has cocoa butter to hydrate and also exfoliates with little rice grains, among other goodies. Rinse, then hop out of the shower and dry off. No extra lotion needed! I do, however, use a dry oil spray or lotion for an extra surge of hydration.

Other Lush indulgences I love:

Honey I Washed the Kids soap– smells like honey, makes your skin feel super soft because honey is a humectant (hello, moisture!), and has a cute little synthetic honey comb attached.

I should Coco soap-is supposed to smell like pina colada’s but my nose only detects a faint orange scent, no coconuts at all. It’s a bit exfoliating and feels divine.

Ne Worry Pas bath bomb get your bath water nice and hot then drop this little milky wonder under into the tub. Smells calming, makes your skin super soft.

Right now Sephora is clearancing out my favorite scent, Morning Waterlily, to make room for new scents (Pomegranate Apple, anyone?). My local store has the full line (dry oil spray, shower gel, bubble bath, scrub, body butter, lotion) for only $3 and $4! There’s not much left online so check your nearest store. It smells like heaven.

For free (or low cost) beauty products for anyone who needs to conserve $$$, I present three of my all time favorites that can usually be found in your kitchen: extra virgin olive oil, sugar, and honey. For a moisturizing exfoliator (ala Buffy) mix a bit of sugar and olive oil in a little bowl and take it into the shower. After sudsing up and rinsing, take little amounts and rub onto your skin until the sugar dissolves then rinse. You can also add sugar into your regular shower gel instead. For a facial mask that will kill acne-loving bacteria and hydrate, drizzle a tiny amount of honey onto your fingertips and spread a super thin layer onto your face. I let my mask sit for five minutes so that the honey won’t have much time to slide off my face. Just rinse with warm water. For any of these at home fixes, make sure you rinse your tub and sink well…otherwise you might end up with ants.

I was at a friends once hanging out while he was getting ready for work and he was applying body lotion to his face. My instant reaction was ‘omg what are you doing, that’s for your body!’  I sometimes forget that most men don’t know the benefits of using skincare specifically made for your facial area and skin type.

So what items should men have in their routines? A good cleanser. Any brand or price range is fine…a $30 cleanser isn’t always better then one that’s $6. You should also have a good moisturizer with SPF, or at least be using an SPF. Every skin type (oily, dry, combination, optimal) can benefit from using a moisturizer. Oily skins CAN be dehydrated. Other items that might be beneficial are an eye cream to help with dark circles, puffiness, fine lines and wrinkles (and to simply keep the aging process at bay). Treatments are also great: something with salicylic acid if you’re acne prone, a night time moisturizer if you are drier, or perhaps a pre-shave oil if you have thicker facial hair.

With that said…let me explain a little bit on the topic of skincare, particularly about sunscreen, the most important thing you can do for your skin daily, besides washing it.

Skin cancer is the leading cause of death among the cancers. What can help prevent skin cancer? Using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 (aka sun protection factor), covering up,  and staying out of the sun during peak hours

How often should you apply sunscreen? The “average” time calculated it takes most people’s melanin to react to the sun after unprotected exposure is 10 minutes. If you apply an SPF of 15 you will get 150 minutes of UV protection. SPF15 x 10 minutes = 150 of UV protection. Every time you REAPPLY sunscreen, you don’t get the same amount of protection. Your protection time is actually cut in half. So lets say you reapply your SPF 15 after 150 minutes…you’ll get 75 minutes of protection. The higher the SPF, the longer amount of protection you have. The FDA did a study in 2004 and concluded that an SPF of 60 isn’t much different then an SPF of 30, so in the next few years you’ll see most sunscreen packaging change to SPF 30+, meaning that it’s 30 or higher. The terms sunblock, waterproof, and all day protection are also being ended as these terms were found to be false.

How much should I use? You should be using two table spoons on your face and one ounce on your body (approx. a shot glass full). LADIES: this also true if your moisturizer or foundation contains SPF. If you can’t imagine putting two table spoons of foundation on, it’s probably best to switch to a separate SPF.

Right now there are several sunscreen options on the market. Formulas are much more advanced then they were a few years ago.

One of my favorite forms of sunscreen is a physical block. It sits on your skin and the sun’s rays bounce off if it. You can go outside right after application and can reapply even in while in the sun. Most “broad spectrum” sunscreens contain both a physical and chemical block. My fave product is Peter Thomas Roth mineral SPF 30…it comes in a brush applicator and is quick to apply. There’s also a Hawaiian Tropic broad spectrum SPF that I like as well.

A chemical block, found in most lotion type sunscreens, don’t actually filter out the sun’s rays. With this kind of sunscreen, the rays still penetrate the epidermis and are then neutralized by synthetic chemicals in the product to prevent sunburn and premature aging. With these you will see instructions to apply 30 minutes before going outside. It is very important to wait 30 minutes (or whatever time the directions specify) so that your skin can fully absorb it.

It is actually more healthy to be pale then to have a “healthy” glow from a tan. A suntan is, essentially, a sunburn that didn’t reach it’s full potential of becoming red. Tanning beds also contain UV rays and you must, must, must protect your skin while laying in one, just as you would if you were in the sun. Even on cloudy days, UV rays can penetrate the ozone layer and clouds and cause damage to your skin.

There are also ways to help reverse environmental aging due to sun damage but that’s a whole other topic. If you have any q’s def. feel free to ask =) I have facts and percentages galore and can recommend products (drug store and high end products alike).

As for Jesse, well, he’s still using body wash on his face and body lotion as moisturizer. Why? He likes as little steps as possible and it’s easier/efficient for him to have products that work double-duty. If you have a guy in your life who happens to have similar beliefs, check out the men’s skin care line Jack Black. They have an all in one hair, face, and body wash. Ojon also features the Tawaka Line where the shampoo can be used on the face and body and their conditioner can be used as a body cream or on the face. Also a lot of brands these days are coming out with skin care for men who like to keep it simple so shop around if you can.