Urban Decay Eye Primer, now I know what the fuss is about

Almost 6 weeks ago, I purchased Urban Decay eye primer and after just a few uses, I’ve never looked back. It was recommended to me by another blogger who said she liked it much more than the NARS eye primer. And she was right!

This is the third eye primer I’ve tried. First, it was the Bare Minerals primer in pearl, which has a nice sheen and even coverage primer that was great, but very hard to get out of the container. Plus, a lot of it ended up going to waste because it was too hard to push to the top of the tube.

Next, I went for easy to apply with NARS. One swipe of the wand brush and you have a nice line of primer than just takes a second to smooth on your eyelid. Nothing special, but it gets the job done. Reviews on Sephora.com said it takes a little too long to dry, which I would tend to agree with.

Finally, I tested the cult classic, Urban Decay eye primer. This primer has a skin tone tint to it so you already get skin-evening coverage before applying any color. Basically, it’s a winner. Dries quickly, lasts indefinitely and is silky smooth. Plus, I absolutely love the tip of the tube for easy application.

If you need a new (or want to try the best) eye primer, click here to get Urban Decay from Sephora!

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Dior Extase Makes the Perfection List

How has it possibly taken me this long to get Dior Extase on the Perfection List? It’s been my go-to, tried-and-true mascara for years now and after testing a few samples of other mascaras, it’s always right back on top.

The latest and greatest Perfection List can be found here, or in the top navigation of this blog!

I tested it in this post against Buxom Amplified Lash mascara and in the past 6 months I’ve tried Bobbi Brown Everything mascara, Urban Delay Super Curl mascara and a few others but Dior always comes back as #1.

Click here to buy it from Sephora! Remember, your purchase provides a small refund to this blog to keep me testing and reviewing!

REN Vita Mineral vs REN Hydra Calm Day Creams

There’s a new day cream in town. You know me, I love REN products but I wasn’t sold on their Vita Mineral Day Cream. It was a great day cream. Easy wear under makeup, just enough moisture and never greasy. But, it wasn’t special. So I went looking!

I had been interested in testing REN’s Hydra Calm Global Protection Day Cream and recently bought a bottle.

From REN, here is the description of Hydra Calm: An antiaging moisturizer for skin that is delicate or affected by everyday stressors like smoke and pollution. An optimal cream for sensitive skin, this moisturizer hydrates and replenishes skin, leaving it protected and looking beautifully healthy. Skin feels calmed and soothed. Antioxidant ingredients protect against free radicals to combat the signs of premature aging. Free of: Fragrance, parabens, petrochemicals, sulfates, synthetic colors, silicones, glycols.

After two weeks, here are my thoughts:

REN Hydra Calm smells better, it has an herbal, clean smell

REN Vita Mineral is thicker, but that doesn’t mean it is more moisturizing

REN Hydra Calm seems to absorb more easily and more quickly

Price difference: Vita Mineral = $45, Hydra Calm = $55

While it’s a little too soon to tell if it actually makes a visible difference on my skin, so far, I’m a big fan of Hydra Calm. If you have sensitive skin, REN has an entire Hydra Calm line of products, from an anti-aging serum to a cleansing milk.

Bobbi Brown Warm Beige Out Nationwide?

After a quick trip to my Nordstrom Bobbi Brown counter to re-up on Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation in Warm Beige, I was dismayed to hear that color of the foundation is becoming hard to find nationwide. Apparently, not enough was made it it’s scarce until the next shipment is available. However, I did discover you can buy it here from Sephora.com. Sephora doesn’t carry Bobbi Brown products in their stores so that’s good info to have.

The Bobbi Brown skincare lady did a foundation match for the next closest shade, Naked.

Naked is slightly more yellow and less peachy, which could potentially work better for my skin in the summer. But after giving it a try for a few days, I’ll be buying my next bottle online if that’s what it takes!

To read more about Bobbi Brown Skin foundation and my switch from Dior foundation, click here!

COLOR UPDATE 7/9: Turns out, “Naked” does match my summer skin! I like the every-so-slightly darker shade and think it brings my face a shade closer to the color of my neck and arms. For the summer, it’s a keeper. But I’ll be going back to Warm Beige this winter.

Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat

In a Sephora purchase about 3 weeks ago, I purchased YSL Touche Eclat, one of the highest rated concealers on Sephora.com. I planned to use it under my eyes to brighten and to cover any look of sleepiness. It works really well, it is absolutely a go-to product and something I’m really happy I have in my makeup drawer. But for the price, $40 for the tube, I expect rainbows and butterflies to fly out of the end of the tube every time I use it.

For my skin, I chose Luminous Vanilla, a bright, light color with beige and peach undertones. It’s the perfect color of concealer and highlighter for under eyes, around nose or anywhere you’d like to brighten and remove any signs of fatigue. It absolutely works, as an undereye concealer, it stays put all day, does not crease or smudge and doesn’t make my mascara bleed or smudge by adding too much moisture to that area.

As you can see, it is lighter and brighter than my skintone and looks great under the eyes.

YSL

Overall, if you want a luxe concealer that works, you will  not be disappointed, but as far as going “above and beyond”, which is what I expect for $40, it comes a little short.

Wonderful summer perfumes

It finally feels like spring here in Denver! The air is warm but still crisp, we are getting rainy afternoons instead of snowy days and my flowers are blooming on our patio. And with the warmer weather, I always like to change it up a bit. I put away many of my more “formal”, structured and wintery perfumes in favor of lighter, sweeter and more floral scents.

When it comes to summer perfumes at an affordable price, no company does it better than Pacifica. I’ve used Pacifica perfumes for years now and because of the great price point (a nice-sized bottle is only $22 with little solid perfumes or roller balls being even less) I can swap them out or try a new one whenever the mood strikes. Plus, they carry them in most Whole Foods stores, so it’s easy to get your hands on a few.

 

The perfumes and colored lip balms (which I have yet to try) are 100% vegan and if you click the banner above, get free shipping on $50 orders from Pacificaperfumes.com.

But which one (or two!) of their wonderful scents should you try?!

A few of my favorites include…

Tahitian Gardenia has always been one of my favorites. It’s fresh but sexy and not too floral or sweet. This is one of Pacifica’s all-time most popular scents.

If you love ultra-floral scents that do not smell like an old lady, French Lilac is for you. It smells like a fresh cut bouquet of flowers. I absolutely love it on warm spring days. Toss the $12 roll on in your purse for a touch up of flowers throughout the day.

Waikiki Pikake literally smells like you are on vacation. Seriously. Maybe a beach vacation in Hawaii with the smell of tropical flowers, fruits and fresh air. It’s wonderful. A perfect summer perfume on the hottest days of the year. The smelling notes from Pacifica call out jasmine and a touch of sandalwood.

There are many others, including Spanish Amber and Orange Blossom that would carry you easily into fall and cooler weather, but the three above won’t steer you wrong as the weather warms. Which one is your favorite? Do you have a go-to summer fragrance? I’d love to know! Leave it on the comments.

Massages with Arnica Gel

Last night, after a very stressful day at work, I treated myself to a massage at Elixir Massage in Denver. This was my third trip to Elixir and my first massage ever with Arnica Gel, a cooling and less medicinal-smelling version of Icy Hot that is spread over an area right after it is massaged. It was amazing! The massage itself was fantastic and the additional of the cooling, tingling gel was a huge plus. I could feel the circulation increasing as it cooled and refreshed my computer-worn muscles.

 

 

I’ve always loved going to Elixir massage in Denver because they really have it figured out. All they do is massage. No facials, nails, haircuts or laser hair. It is 100% massage. They know what they are doing and their therapists are some of the best around. For only another 3 days they are celebrating Spa Week and you can get some of the featured 60 minute services for a bargain price of $50. Amazing!

If you want to give arnica gel a try at home, click the photo above for a great price on a concentrated version. However, the drugstore versions do have some of the “icy hot” smell to them. While it isn’t strong it’s certainly there. Other brands I found that make similar products but with a more refined smell and other added benefits are these:

L’Occitane Revitalizing Leg Cream with cyprus and arnica for $25

 

Elemis Muscle Reviving Gel with camphor, arnica, cyprus and menthol. Spa-grade product available for $55

 

 

And a cellulite vanisher from the Neiman Marcus beauty counters!  Omorovicza gel includes caffeine, arnica and other potent ingredients to really boost circulation and moisturize to completely get rid of “dimples”. $85 for 5 ounces.

 

Shellac Manicure Maintenance

I was sitting with a few of my girlfriends a few weeks ago and we all had shellac manicures. When one of them mentioned her shellac always chips within a day or two, the whole table chimed in and said they always have the same experience. I asked if they use the oil on their shellac and was immediately met with blank but interested stares that said a clear “No idea what you’re talking about.”

Moral of the story: if you get shellac and you don’t use Solar oil daily, you’re missing out.

Solar oil is a fabulous and natural blend of almond oils that smells great and literally absorbs into your cuticles and shellac (shellac is porous, the new OPI gel manicures are NOT, which is why they tend to weaken your nails much more than shellac) and keeps your shellac from cracking, chipping or just plain drying out. As you wear shellac, it shrinks and dries, which is why Solar oil is absolutely necessary to keep it looking perfect for the full 10-14 days.

How do you use it? Everyday, brush it across the base of each nail, rub it in and you’re done! I like using it right before bed so it has all night to absorb and moisturize.

And at $7-$8 per bottle, it’s one of the cheapest beauty investments you can make! Enjoy!

Alterna Hair Products

I love my Alterna shine spray. It adds so much luster with so little weight and never makes hair look greasy. It’s been so dry in Colorado lately that I thought my hair needed an extra boost (since I was using the shine spray more as a leave-in conditioner than a fishing product…) so I turned to the same brand for an additional conditioning product.

I came away with the Alterna Bamboo Anti-Breakage Spray, which protects against heat styling and is a true leave-in conditioner. So far, I really like it. Of course, I’m adjusting since it definitely has more moisture oomph than the Alterna Shine Spray.

After 3 weeks, I don’t have any cons to report! But here is my list of pros:

1. Nice, subtle smell

2. No added grease or weight

3. Seems like it will last a long time since only 2-3 sprays easily covers all of my hair

4. Adds shine and “seals” hair before you heat style

Want to try Alterna Anti-Breakage for yourself? Click here to buy it and support the reviews on this blog! Love you all.

Update: LaVanila lipscreen still isn’t as good as Jack Black Lip Balm

Well the LaVanila I featured in this post for it’s amazing scent, smooth application and fantastic sunscreen content didn’t pass the test. I took it on a ski trip two weeks ago and it just simply doesn’t last more than 30 minutes. You literally have to reapply it all day.

So, while LaVanila has some great pros, Jack Black has yet to be replaced as my favorite lip balm of all time.