Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Olay Professional Exfoliating Renewal Cleanser

Sent to us for review is a new product from Olay - the Olay Professional Pro-X Exfoliating Renewal Cleanser. (See our review of the Olay Professional Pro-X Restorative Cream Cleanser here.) The Pro-X Exfoliating Renewal Cleanser has a lathering microbead formula that gently exfoliates and removes dirt and make-up. It's meant to be used 2-3 times a week for optimal results but is gentle enough to be used every day if your skin needs it. The Olay Professional Pro-X Exfoliating Renewal Cleanser comes in a 177 mL size and costs $28.99.

For the purpose of this review, we each used the Exfoliating Renewal Cleanser for a week.

We will again be using our 5 point scale to rate and review this product.  To read a full description of the scale, please visit this post:  

C's Skin: 
I have combination skin that's oily in the T-zone (forehead, nose and chin). When I tried this cleanser it was winter and moderately cold (approximately -15 C). I wear full make-up most days and like a cleanser to wash off all my make-up including my eye make-up. 

J's Skin:
I have combination skin - an oily t-zone and dry cheeks. My skin is not sensitive but is fairly thin. I live in a very dry climate and so my skin tends to get dehydrated and flaky in the winter. I am not prone to breakouts.

C's Review:

Value: 3
This cleanser is pricier than I would normally spend on a cleanser, especially from a drugstore brand and especially for a cleanser that's best used a few times a week. If I was using this every day, the price would be more reasonable.

Application: 5
Despite the face this is an exfoliating cleanser this is not an abrasive cleanser. It is very slightly gritty but very gentle. The scent is mild and pleasant and the lather is creamy but not uncontrollable. 

Effectiveness: 4
Like Jill, I found this to be more drying than the ProX Restorative Cream Cleanser but not at all overly drying. I could use this cleanser in the summer when my skin is oilier and needs more exfoliation. It is designed to be used in conjunction with the Restorative Cream Cleanser so perhaps it would be slightly less drying not used every day. 

J's Review: 

Value: 3.5
Seems pretty expensive to me for a drugstore cleanser.

Application: 4
Lathers up quite nicely and has a pleasant scent. Rinses off fairly easily and though it leaves my skin a little tight, is not overly drying.

Effectiveness:  4
I am giving this a lower rating than its sister product the ProX Cream Cleanser not because it cleanses less effectively, but beacuse I don't find exfoliating cleansers very effective at exfoliating. In general I believe exfoliating cleansers are not very effective because people do not spend enough time working the product into the skin. That being said, this product cleanses quite thoroughly.

C & J

Please note that the following product up for review was sent to us by a PR firm. All the opinions expressed in this review have been made independently and are not in any way affiliated with the company supplying the products or the PR firm we are in touch with.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

LUSTING: Cake Beauty Milk Made Mani-Cured On the Go

I love Cake Beauty products. LOVE. Their Milk Made Velveteen Hand Creme is one of my very favourite hand creams although I can't quite justify the price. It smells so delicious but not artificial in the slightest and the hand cream itself absorbs very quickly and makes my skin silky, silky, silky smooth!

Cake Beauty has come out with a kit of hand and nail essentials that you can take with you so your hands will stay smooth and moisturized even when you're away from home.

Here are the details from the Cake Beauty website. Have I mentioned that Cake Beauty is a Canadian company?

get moving with your milk made essentials kit that includes 5 single servings of smoothing hand & cuticle buffer, a handy-dandy ‘cake’ keychain nail file and a full size serving of our best selling velveteen hand creme
use all three portable products to shape, smooth, exfoliate and nourish your hands and nails to get the ultimate mani-CURED spa-like result in seconds
velveteen hand creme :   a non greasy, velveteen hand creme blended with whole milk, soothing marshmallow extract, shea butter and mango butter.

smoothing hand & cuticle buffer (5 single serve packs):    hard working granule sugars that will buff the rough away while the unique blend of grapeseed, coconut, avocado and sweet almond oils nourish and moisturize
key chain nail file:   use this small but mighty tool to shape and smooth your nails to perfection,any time, anywhere.
warm vanilla with just a hint of fresh raspberry
carry-on luggage approved!


Monday, March 29, 2010

MAC Colourview S/S 10 Trends Video

I just saw this video posted on Temptalia and it really fired up my enthusiasm to get out the brushes and try some new, edgier looks. It's easy to forget MAC originated as a brand developed for (and by) professional make up artists, but when you watch a video like this it becomes clear that they are still very much sticking to their heritage.

The MAC PRO team are extremely talented, creative and forward thinking. A personal favourite of mine is Luc, who as well as being a great artist, looks like a French version of Gary Oldman!

Olay Professional ProX Restorative Cream Cleanser

We have a bunch of Olay products we were sent for review and this is the second in the series (read the first - the Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-Aging Eye Roller review here). 

Olay has a new product line called Olay Professional ProX, which is touted as a scientifically advanced line of potent, proven and professional products that re-signal skin to perform more like it did when it was younger. 

The Professional ProX Restorative Cream Cleanser is the first of the two cleansers we were sent to try out. Its companian cleanser is the Olay Professional Exfoliating Renewal Cleanser, reviewed here. It's rich lathering formula is pH-balanced and helps restore skin’s purity to its optimal condition. It costs approximately $28.99 for 150 mL.

 We will again be using our 5 point scale to rate and review this product.  To read a full description of the scale, please visit this post: 

We each used the Olay Professional ProX Restorative Cream Cleanser for seven days. Here is a quick description of our skin types to help provide you with an idea of how the product works.

J's Skin: I have combination skin - an oily t-zone and dry cheeks. My skin is not sensitive but is fairly thin. I live in a very dry climate and so my skin tends to get dehydrated and flaky in the winter. I am not prone to breakouts.

C's Skin: I have combination skin that's oily in the T-zone (forehead, nose and chin). When I tried this cleanser it was winter and moderately cold (approximately -15 C). I wear full make-up most days and like a cleanser to wash off all my make-up including my eye make-up. 

J's Review:

Value: 3.5
A bit steep for a drugstore cleanser, but you only need to use a pea sized amount so in that respect a whole tube will last you a long time.

Application: 5
This product has a velvety rich lather that feels nice on the skin. I also appreciate the hygenic pump dispenser which travels well and dosen't leak.

Effectiveness: 4
At first I was confused because given the product name I was expecting a true cream/lotion cleanser and not a foaming cleanser. Once I was over the confusion, I found this product cleansed well and left my skin feeling smooth and fresh. You only need a tiny amount to build a rich lather and I found it to rinse off fairly well. My only complaint is it did leave my skin feeling a bit tight after cleansing.

C's Review:

Value: 4
This cleanser is two or three times more expensive than I'd normally spend on a drugstore cleanser. However I found it to be an effective, very good cleanser so I don't feel it's overpriced.

Application: 5
This is a cream cleanser that lathers once mixed with water. You don't need much of it to get a good cleansing and it rinses off easily. It has a pleasant, inoffensive scent. You can use too much of this, and the few times I was overzealous, it was difficult to lather effectively and to rinse off afterwards.

Effectiveness: 4
I liked this cleanser though I did need to exfoliate more frequently during the week, as I felt like it didn't clean as deeply as I like a cleanser to do. However, it left my skin feeling very smooth and clean and not overly dry. Overall, I would recommend this cleanser. My guess is that it would quite well for most skin types.


Please note that the following product up for review was sent to us by a PR firm. All the opinions expressed in this review have been made independently and are not in any way affiliated with the company supplying the products or the PR firm we are in touch with.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Beautiful Ones: Christina Hendricks

Christina Hendricks stars as sultry office manager Joan Holloway on TMN's award-winning Mad Men and whose breasts have nearly everyone talking. But we're not focusing on her extraordinary, difficult-to-ignore figure here, just her lovely head!

As Joan Holloway, Christina's look is late 1950s-early 1960s office professional - liquid eyeliner, matte eyeshadow tones and rosy lips. The attention to detail in the set design, costumes and styling on Mad Men is amazing and every effort is made to hit the nail on the head using only make-up women would have used in late 1950s and early 1960s.

Playing on her look on Mad Men, she's often styled as a modernized Joan Holloway. In this photo she's got her hair in an updo that looks similar to Joan's but much more sexy and messy and contemporary. Her eyeliner is darker and her skin has a glow to it unlike Joan's matte face.This is a great make-up tip if you're inspired by retro styles - updating it with modern textures and colours will give you that retro look without looking dated.

On the red carpet, Christina likes to play with her make-up but sticks to simple and sophisticated looks like rosy cheeks and lips and lined eyes. Here her lips and cheeks are quite natural and her eyes pop with a bit of smudgy liner and coppery shadow which both make her blue eyes pop and echo her hair colour.

Here, tousled curls a la bedhead with rosy cheeks and lips with vampy, grey smoky eyes that match her dress.

Dressed in one of her favourite shades (red) she rocks natural lips and cheeks and a shimmery smoky eye in coppers and warm browns. Warm tones make her blue eyes pop and smoky eyes make anyone look sexy. Christina gets that she's sexy wearing no make-up so she sticks to sophisticated and sultry as opposed to all out sexy with her make-up.

Here, she's got her hair in a slightly bouffant up-do and her eyes are sleekly smudgy in black and gunmetal. Her cheeks are naturally rosy and her lips are berry-stained.

Wearing a pale peach Christian Siriano gown at the 2010 Golden Globes, her make-up is focused on the lips (WE'RE LOOKING AT THE LIPS HERE, PEOPLE, ON THE LIPS!) with a bold lip tone (some photos it looks red and others it's more rosy) and pretty flushed cheeks.

Wearing an emerald gown at the 2009 Emmy Awards, her make-up look was a more dramatic and contemporary sex kitten look, not unlike her Joan Holloway look but with lots of  cat-eye eyeliner and peachy lips and cheeks.

Christina makes the most of her delicate features and gorgeous creamy skin by not overdoing her make-up. Here are some photos of simple, barely there make-up looks that still make her look polished and gorgeous.

Here she's got almost nothing on her eyes but a bit of neutral shadow.

And here she is with a bolder lip and a touch of silvery-taupe shadow (and darker hair).

And here in a magazine photo with a very pretty, very natural make-up look and nearly blonde hair. Personally I prefer her as a redhead!

Christina Hendricks, you are a goddess, head to toe. Thank you for the inspiration!


Monday, March 22, 2010

MAC Too Fabulous

I have a small haul to share from MAC's Too Fabulous collection. The collection features Cremesheen Lipglasses (which are now permanent items - rejoice!) and Mineralize Blush Duos. I was a bit dissapointed in the Mineralize Blushes - many of the colours seemed very brown or rusty. Here's what I got:

Left to Right: Rhapsody in Two, Two Virtues and Double Dare


Left to right: Double Dare Cremesheen Lipglass, Rhapsody in Two
 and Two Virtues Mineralize Blush Duos.

(Photo taken in low level natural light, NC 35-40 skin.)

Mineralize Blush Duo LE ($27.50 CA/23.00 US)

Rhapsody in Two - a swirl of golden beige and golden pink combine to form a light golden pink shade, which will work as a highlighter on most. The shimmer is very fine, no chunky sparkles.

Two Virtues - a swirl of bright but soft medium pink and violet combine to give a cool medium raspberry pink. Very pretty and as far as I can recall, a fairly unique colour. Again, the shimmer is very fine with no chunky sparkles.

Cremesheen Lipglass ($21.50 CA/18.00 US)

Double Dare - a surprisingly pigmented coral-rose-red. Very pretty and unique. I think this one would look great on most.

General Thoughts

The formulation of the Mineralize Blush Duos is far superior to the last time we saw them (Grand Duos). The texture is super smooth and not a glittery mess. I only picked up two because I found all the other colours too orangey or brown for my liking. However, if you are looking for some bronze based blushes you might take an interest in the other colours.

I am very happy to see MAC making the Cremesheen Lipglasses permanent. I much prefer the gel texture of these glosses over the stickiness of the traditional lipglasses. They are more expensive (and you get less product), but I can put up with that if it means not having my hair stuck to my lips for most of the day. I was dissapointed that they did not bring back the Petite Indulgence shade from their previous release but I see they have a similar colour, Loud and Lovely which I will have to try.

Anyone get anything from this collection?

Friday, March 19, 2010

MAC: Give Me Liberty of London Lipsticks and Lipglasses

A few days ago I posted my favourite items from MAC's Liberty of London collection. Here's the other few items I picked up:

MAC Liberty of London packaging

Left to right: Blue India nail polish, Ever Hip Cremesheen lipstick,
Frankly Fresh, Perennial High Style and English Accents Lipglasses.

Swatches on NC 35-40 skin, low natural light.

Left to right: Ever Hip Cremesheen lipstick, Frankly Fresh,
Perennial High Style and English Accents Lipglasses.

Ever Hip Cremesheen Lipstick ($16.50 CA/14.00 US)

A really beautiful, lusturous pinky coral which has the finish of a lustre, but the pigment content of a satin. This is a great colour for spring or anytime really. I see this working as a peachy nude for darker skintones and a brighter coral for pale girls. Very pretty and a great formula.

Frankly Fresh Lipglass ($16.50 CA/14.00 US)

A peachy nude that is universally flattering. Could be wearble with many different makeup looks. Has a slight frost.

Perennial High Style Lipglass ($16.50 CA/14.00 US)
A corally pink lipgloss that is slightly pinker and brighter than Ever Hip lipstick. A creme gloss with no frost (yea!). Again, very pretty.

English Accents Lipglass ($16.50 CA/14.00 US)

A mauvey pink lipgloss with a slight hint of shimmer. A good way to wear blue based pinks without looking like Lady Gaga. Much more wearable than Blooming Lovely lipstick from the same collection.

General Comments

The lip products from this collection are very pretty and very wearable. I think the glosses in particular are a great way to throw some colour in the mix without going over the deep-end pastel colour wise.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

MAC: Give Me Liberty of London Blue India Nail Polish

I finally got to my local MAC to peruse the new limited edition Give Me Liberty of London collection. I picked up a few things, but I think this one is my favourite of the bunch. Photos taken with flash, NC 35-40 skin.

MAC Nail Polish in Blue India

Typically I don't like MAC's nail polish formula - I find it streaky, thin and impossible to apply nicely. Blue India ($14.50 CA/12.00 US) is an exception to the rule. It is a lovely blue-grey which flows on the nail smoothly and is very pigmented. Two coats will be totally opaque and the colour appears darker in real life.

Anyone else picked this up?


Monday, March 15, 2010

MAC Spring Forecast Collection: Stacked 1! and Stacked 2!

The most exciting part of MAC's Spring Forecast Collection for me was the Stacked! crush metal pigments. Two were introduced with the names Stacked 1! and Stacked 2! which tell you absolutely nothing about the colours or the product, but anyway, no matter. I am a sucker for loose pigment eyeshadows - they're just little pots of sparkle and irresistible to me!

The Stackeds come in two stacked containers with each individual container about the size of a regular MAC eyeshadow.

Stacked 1!

Stacked 2!

The texture of these are creamy, similar to MAC's Solar Bits but without the chunky bits of glitter. They're highly frosted and oh so pretty! Stacked 1! has 2 pinks - a medium-pink with warm sparkle and a soft pink that looks much icier when swatched (see below). Stacked 1! also has 2 purple shades - a deep royal purple with multi-tone sparkle and an icy lavender.

Stacked 2! has two soft gold-tan shades that don't look all that different but one is slightly more peach in tone than the other.  The other two pigments are green-toned golds - one a yellow-gold with a hint of green and the other an soft olive-gold.

I'm in love with these. Stay tuned for a look or two using these. Do you have any suggestions for how to use these?


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Almay Intense I-Colour Trio For Blues

In my continuing quest to find the best drugstore products for enhancing my eye colour, here's the second installment! It was suggested to me by Shayna via Twitter (@shaynaburns).

Almay has three eyeshadow palettes each for blue, hazel, brown and green eyes and I chose this one for blue eyes - Intense I-Colour Trio for Blues with Light Interplay Technology.

The trio features three shades, the largest palette being a shimmery cool pink.

The other two shadows are a deep navy blue-indigo.

And a shimmery taupe.


It occurred to me while swatching that the taupe shade was very similar to MAC's cult fave Smoke & Diamonds so I swatched them next to each other...

Smoke & Diamonds on the left and the Almay Intense I-Colour Taupe shade

They're pretty close, although the Almay shadow is more frosty and silvery than Smoke & Diamonds. Anyway, onto the review and the look!

I chose this palette because the other two eye palettes available for blue eyes are a coppery trio and a blue-heavy trio. I know from experience that coppers are usually a great match for blue eyes and that blue shadows tend to overpower blue eyes so I opted for this trio - a less convincing combination of shades. We shall see how it works though!

Instructions for how best to apply these colours are on the back of the packaging and also on the back of the palette itself.

This is of course, a suggestion and it is a standard, basic eyeshadow application technique that drugstore brands tend to use often. Why not, really? It's classic and it works. The medium shade, in this case, the taupe shade is applied all over the lid, with the darker shade (the dark blue) applied to the crease and the highlighter shade (the pink) applied to the browbone (or over the other shades if you want more shimmer). 

Of course, you may apply these colours alone, or in other combinations or you can add to this basic look (IE. applying the dark shade along your lashline and under your eye or using the dark shade on the outer half of your eyelid and the taupe on the inner half).

Each of these colours are very pretty and can be worn on their own or in combination with other colours but I'll test this the way Almay instructs me to.

OK, I added a bit to the look as I've been using this palette for a few weeks the way I like to wear shadow. I followed the basic lid-crease-browbone instructions, but I added a smudgy top and bottom lashline with the dark blue. 

Of course, the photos minimized the intensity of the look, but I think you get the general idea. 

I liked the colour combination of this palette, but like many of the drugstore brands Almay insists on making their shadows so very very frosty! I'm hardly anti-frost, but when I'm contouring my crease, I'd prefer something with less frost. The idea of using a dark colour as a contour is meant to minimize, deepen, outline so when you add a frost to it, you're doing the opposite by adding light and shine. I will say though that the dark blue in this Almay trio is less frosty than the other two shades, so at least they kinda get the idea.

 If I were to recreate this look using similar shades I would use MAC Contrast as the crease colour. Contrast has a slight sheen to it that allows you to layer it but without overwhelming the look with frosty sheen.

I'll use this palette again, though perhaps not together (frost overkill!). But I did like the colours and the texture impressed me as well.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

LUSTING: 100,000 Years of Beauty by Elizabeth Azoulay

I love big, heavy, near-impossible-to-ever-fully-finish books so I'm lusting after this one!

Commissioned by L'Oreal for it's 100th anniversary, 100,000 Years of Beauty is an exploration of beauty through the ages and across culture - from prehistoric times to the opulence of the French court during Marie Antoinette's time. Did you know that our prehistoric ancestors were just as obsessed by beauty as we are today?

It's more than just pretty pictures though, this is a historical, comprehensive, intellectual journey through the cultural, anthropological and social history of beauty through different cultures through the ages. Here's an interesting article about the book from the London Times:

It's definitely not cheap, but this isn't your average beauty book...



MAC Spring Colour Forecast Lipglasses

Just when you thought MAC's Spring Colour Forecast was a thing of the past...I bring you the last of my haul, a selection of lipglasses. Photo taken indoors with flash, NC 35-40 skin.

MAC Lipglasses: Almondine, Culture Clash, Cha Cha, Hush Hush Rose, Purple Rage

Almondine - a white frost with gold shimmer, a colour that needs to be layered on top of other lipsticks or glosses as a highlight to work.

Culture Clash - a shimmery pale pink. Not incredibly original but pretty with a silver sparkle.

Cha Cha - a peachy pink with subtle gold shimmer, very pretty.

Hush Hush Rose - a medium yellow based rose pink with subtle golden shimmer. Would be a "my lips but better" colour for many.

Purple Rage - a rich wine with gold sparkles, would be great for a night out or killer on top of a red lipstick.

General Thoughts

Spring Colour Forecast offers such a wide range of shades, everyone will find one or two glosses that suit them. My personal picks are Cha Cha and Hush, Hush Rose. What were your choies?


Thursday, March 4, 2010

MAC Spring Colour Forecast Colour 4 Quad

Although two new MAC collections are set to launch today (Liberty of London & Too Fabulous) I'm still picking up the odds and ends from the epic Spring Forecast.

I finally got my hands on the Colour 4 eye shadow quad ($43.00 CA/36.00 US), which is a lovely mix of warm, golden metallic and veluxe pearl shades.

Photo taken indoors, NC 35-40 skin.

MAC Colour 4 Quad: Manila Paper, Flip, Aztec Brick, Creole Beauty

Manila Paper - is a very frosty white gold. Similar to Nylon but much whiter.

Flip - a repromote from Blonde Brunette Redhead. A peachy gold frost which can look peachier or more golden depending on how heavily it's used.

Aztec Brick - a veluxe pearl mid-tone copper, very rich and metallic.

Creole Beauty - a veluxe pearl golden brown, a great rich shade which will work on everyone.

Overall Comments

I think this is a great quad. Of course because this is so warm toned, it will be a little easier to wear by anyone in the NC skintone range. However, I think pink skintones can wear it too, albeit maybe not all 4 shades together. I can imagine a blue eyed person looking smashing with Da Bling on the lid and Flip on the inside corner and Creole Beauty in the crease. I'm also glad to see MAC making more veluxe pearl finish eye shadows, even if they are LE.