February 27, 2017

Herbivore Brighten Pineapple Enzyme + Gemstone Instant Glow Mask

Herbivore Brighten Pineapple Enzyme + Gemstone Instant Glow Mask

A brightening mask featuring pineapple enzyme and gemstone to naturally illuminate, smooth, and exfoliate skin for an instant glow.

This exfoliating mask features micronized Brazilian tourmaline gemstone, pineapple enzyme, rice powder, and rose water to brighten and exfoliate naturally, giving skin a fresh new glow. Continual use provides increased radiance, softness, and a brightened appearance.

It is formulated without Parabens, Sulfates and Phthalates
This product contains absolutely no artificial ingredients, fillers, alcohol, animal ingredients, fragrances, artificial colors, or unnatural preservatives. No tested on animals.

Color: White

Texture and Consistency: Light weight, not too thick or dense, not very sticky, gel cream. There is some powdery substance in it, that tends to settle at the bottom and a good mixing (real good) is necessary. The powder like substance I assume is the Brazilian White Tourmaline Gemstone.

Scent: It smells like Pineapple

Application: I apply a thin layer of this product, on cleansed face using a synthetic brush (foundation brush) avoiding the area around the eyes. The product spreads easily, and can drip if taken in excess. I try to layer it evenly and leave it on for 15-20 minutes (reduce this time to 7-8 minutes for sensitive skin) and then rinse it with water. It takes a lot of time and tons of water to wash of the mask. Using a wash cloth is better, to remove the initial mask, then rinsing later. 

Feel and Effect on Skin: On application, it tingles a little. The tingling sensation is stronger for first few minutes, but later as the product starts to dry, the face just feels warm, but not uncomfortable. I have a dry, not too sensitive, but thin skin. The mask dries off, but does not feels stretchy like clay mask. After washing off the mask, my face appeared very clean but little raw and patchy red at some areas. It did not itch at all. The redness disappeared by next day and the face looked bright and even toned. 

Packaging: It comes in a transparent glass jar.

Herbivore Brighten Pineapple Enzyme + Gemstone Instant Glow Mask

Verdict: This is a chemical exfoliating mask, where the chemicals are all natural. Pineapple and Papaya Enzymes are these natural chemicals. They gently resurface and exfoliate the skin. I find using twice a week works better for me. It is very important to moisturize the skin after any exfoliation process. I go with a hydrating mask like the Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask or a rich facial oil like the Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil or Clarins 'Blue Orchid' Face Treatment Oil. Night time is the best time for any kind of exfoliation treatment, as the skin gets more susceptible to sun damage, if used during day. Regular use of this Brightening mask leads to a more even, bright and glowing skin. For me this is more like a treatment mask. Depending on the skin sensitivity, I would advise to use this product at least 24-30 hours before the big day and not just few hours before. With any exfoliating mask, it is better to give some time for the product to work its magic.

One of my very favorite exfoliating mask is the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask (review)

Few other exfoliating and brightening products for the face

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February 25, 2017

Lorac Alter Ego Lip Liner (swatch)

Lorac Alter Ego Lip Liner
Lorac Alter Ego Lip Liner (swatches)

1. Duchess 2. Socialite 3. Heiress 4. Seductress 5. Goddess 6. Jet Setter 7. CEO 8. Secret Agent
9. Dominatrix 10. Pin Up

These are in-store swatches of Lorac Alter Ego Lip Liner. These were taken in-store using my iphone 6 camera. The lip liners were very soft and creamy as I swatched them. Also, they stayed on my hands for pretty long time. I made sure my hands were completely dry and not moisturized as I swatched these beautiful colors. 
In-store lights may alter the way these colors look. I did not use any filters or changed the contrast or brightness of the swatches. Please use this as reference to get rough idea of the colors. I do not own any single of these.

Few other lip liners that I own

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February 23, 2017

Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum

Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum

A fast-acting dark spot serum with two percent hydroquinone to diminish the appearance of dark spots, age spots, freckles, and hyperpigmentation.

Key Ingredients and their roles
Hydroquinone, the pigment lightener lightens existing dark spots and age spots while addressing the causes of hyperpigmentation. Hexapeptide-2, an advanced skin-brightening peptide, gives skin a more even, radiant tone. Glycolic acid lifts away dull, dead skin cells and allows active ingredients to penetrate more quickly and deeply for faster, better results.

Color: Pale yellow, but tends to turn dark amber color over a period of time.

Texture and Consistency: Dense, thick liquid slightly slippery to touch

Scent: It actually smells weird. Not bad but definitely not a pleasant one.

Application: I take a cotton bud and dab the product exactly on top of dark spots that need to be treated, just like spot treatment. I tried applying it all over my face as recommended by the brand, but it didn't work for me. 

Feel and Effect on skin: It dried my already dry skin like crazy, when I used it all over the face. This one leaded to peeling of skin, leaving on dry patches and made the skin red and itchy. I think it is the whole exfoliation process that was going on. When I started to use it as spot treatment, only on the dark spots, it worked pretty well. It did made them red for few days initially, but later on they never became red and I did start to notice the spots lighten

Packaging: It comes in a glass bottle, with a pump dispenser.

Verdict: I have mixed thoughts about this one. It did work in lightening the dark spots and scars, the one's that were new, left due to odd acne here and there, but I didn't notice much difference on the hyper pigmented patches as whole. Well, I didn't give the product fair chance on huge area, as it dried my skin out really badly. I probably should try it out again with more better and effective moisturizing system later. Maybe some oil.
Hydroquinone is the active ingredient of this product and it is usually prescribed by dermatologists. 

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February 21, 2017

Jurlique Skin Balancing Face Oil (review)

Jurlique Skin Balancing Face Oil

A quick-absorbing, lightweight hydrating treatment that helps to balance all skin types, leaving skin feeling smooth, silky, and luminous. It deeply moisturizes, helps to improve skin’s suppleness and elasticity, and addresses signs of uneven texture.

It is formulated for all skin types, without Parabens, Sulfates, Phthalates and is 99 percent natural and free from silicones, PEGs, colorants, and preservatives.

Color: Light yellow 

Texture and Consistency: Light weight, not too thick or viscous. It is not a very thin oil. I would say somewhere in between Tatcha Gold Camellia Beauty Oil (review) and Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face oil

Scent: The oil is aromatic. It has a floral, perfume smell. Strong initially, but later mellows down and is pleasant. 

Application: I take a few drops on my palms and apply it all over the face and neck, by slightly massaging it in with finger tips. It is advisable to pat the oil in by pressing gently on the face, but I find a little massage therapeutic. I use it on alternate nights and avoid using it during the day time. 

Feel and effect on skin: The oil sinks in pretty quickly. It does not disappears completely like lighter oils, but does not sits on top either. The key is to use only a few drops (3-4) Any excess oil will just stay on the skin, looking greasy without getting absorbed. The oil is part of my night time skincare routine. The skin feels moisturized and super soft the next day. Also, consistent use has improved the texture of my skin. It is even, without any dry patches. The skin looks plump, healthy and nourished. 

Packaging: It comes in an amber colored glass bottle with a dropper. The tip of the dropper controls the amount of oil dispensed. The amber color or cobalt blue color bottles are generally used to store aromatic oil blends because they help to keep out deteriorating sunlight and protect the aromatic and therapeutic properties of oils. 
Verdict: This is a rich, aromatic oil. The blend has Rose Hip seed oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Macadamia Seed Oil along with Shea Butter and Jojoba Oil. This is such a classic blend for dry skin as well as mature skin. I have seen considerable difference with my skin texture. No dry patches and no clogged pores or dull skin. This would not be my first choice of oil if I had oilier skin. Also, I find that if I use it liberally, it gives me those white bumps. The key is moderation. The oil is prefect for skin that is very dry, dehydrated and under nourished. Consistent use results in soft, smooth and supple skin.

Few other oils that I rotate in my skincare regime

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February 19, 2017

Caudalie Lip Conditioner (review)

Caudalie Lip Conditioner

An antioxidant-rich, moisturizing lip conditioner that provides soft lips and lasting comfort.
Concentrated with moisturizing active ingredients plus antioxidant grape polyphenols and repairing apricot oil, this balm leaves lips soft, repaired, and protected.

This product is formulated without Parabens, Sulfates, Phthalates and does not contain animal ingredients nor is not tested on animals.

Color: Creamy white 

Texture and Consistency: Light weight, non sticky, non waxy balm in a stick

Scent: I don't like the scent. It smells rancid. I am not sure, if this is the case with my tube or the product itself smells strange.

Application: I like to use a thin layer of this on my lips directly from the tube. Not the most sanitary way in my opinion. I prefer lip balms in tube. The product itself is light weight and hence a swipe or two is enough to coat the full lips.

Feel and Effect on Lips: This does not feel heavy on the lips. The light weight texture makes it easy to spread the product and the natural oils are well absorbed. The lips feel well hydrated and nourished. It smooths out fine lines and makes the lips soft. It is difficult to apply lipstick on top of it, due to the slip, but it does prepare lips for smoother application of lipstick if applied an hour before.

Packaging: I am not a huge fan of the packaging. The tube is made of very cheap plastic. It is like lipstick where the product comes out on twisting. The design is not the most sanitary one. Also the product is prone to melting in warm weather, making a huge goopy mess!

Caudalie Lip Conditioner (review)

Verdict: I have noticed that many lip balms tend to peel my lips, especially the ones that contain SPF. Also, if the over apply or layer the lip balm multiple times during day, my lips dry. This does not peel my lips nor make them dry in longer run. It keeps them soft and nourished. This is probably the major reason I am OK with design flaw and crappy scent. One last note, this won't work on sore, blistered lips caused by severe weather.

A few other Lip balms that I have tried in the past
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February 17, 2017

Sol de Janeiro Samba 2-Step Foot Fetish Care (review)

Sol de Janeiro Samba 2-Step Foot Fetish Care

A two-step dry foot care system with a Foot Smoothing Board and a fast-absorbing, non-slip Foot Fetish Cream to keep feet looking and feeling incredibly soft. The Foot Fetish Cream contains Cupuaçu butter—the Brazilian super fruit favorite and moisturizes with soluble super nutrients.

Color: White

Texture and Consistency: Soft, smooth, non sticky, non-greasy cream

Scent: It smells clean, fresh and mildly citrus'y' 

Application: It is a foot cream and there are not many ways to apply it. I use it after scrubbing the heels and toes of my feet well with the foot file provided. The foot file is sturdy and grainy enough to exfoliate well. The  The cream spreads easily and sinks in almost instantly.

Feel and Effect on Foot: The cream is completely absorbed by the skin. The heels feel super soft and well moisturized. There is absolute no greasiness or stickiness. The feet feels smooth but not slippery at all, making it easy to wear sandals immediately after applying the cream.

Packaging: It comes in a soft squeeze tube, with flip top cap. The hole dispenses adequate amount of product. There is a foot file that comes in the package too. It is sturdy and exfoliates well. There is a drawstring pouch to securely hold the foot file. 

Verdict: I love this product. My foot is dry, but my heels are not terribly cracked and I don't have calluses, but they do tend to get messy, if I ignore my daily foot care regime. I find this particular product working fantastic as a day foot cream because of its not slippery and fast absorbing nature. I can just slip on my sandals, without having to wait for the product to actually dry. If you suffer from really dry, cracked feet, a more heavy duty foot cream like the Gehwol 'Lipidro' Foot Cream or Exuviance Heel & Elbow Dry skin repair would work better for initial over night treatment. 
I love my Amope Pedi Perfect Electric foot file, but the foot file that comes in this kit is a good one for quick exfoliation. I find that the file works better on dry heels than on wet ones. 

Over all Sol de Janeiro Samba Foot Fetish Care is a wonderful product to have, especially if the feet are in not worst shape and do not need heavy treatments. Also, it smells wonderful!!!

Few other foot creams and foot files that I love

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February 14, 2017

May Coop Raw Sauce (review)

May Coop Raw Sauce

A hydrating, nourishing essence featuring a silky formula that's highly concentrated in maple tree sap to create a stronger skin environment, helping prep the skin to better absorb products to follow and boosting their effectiveness.

The innovative formulation is packed with nourishing botanical complexes, along with ingredients possessing antioxidant properties, which neutralize free radicals and support natural skin cell regeneration. It is enriched with unique, botanical, herbal, and floral complexes to intensely hydrate and promote a radiant complexion. 

This product is cruelty-free.

Color: Clear, Colorless

Texture and Consistency: Silky smooth, not too thick nor too watery thin, non-sticky fluid. It is a cross between gel and liquid (more liquid, less gel)

Scent: It smells clean and fresh

Application: I apply is after washing my face, just in place of toner. It is a toner and essence rolled in one.  More like a hydrating toner. I use my fingers to tap the product in, as I find using cotton pad wastes a lot of product.

Feel and Effect on the skin: On application, it feels little tacky initially for 30 seconds, but is soon completely absorbed by the skin, leaving a soft, silky and smooth finish. The face feels hydrated and helps in better absorption of serums that I apply later on. It does not gives that stretched feel on the skin. There is no tingling sensation at all. It is very soothing and calming. 

Packaging: This comes in a heavy, frosted glass bottle with a hole on top for dispensing. There is no pump or any of that stuff.

Verdict: I love this product. Everything from the refreshing clean scent to the amount of hydration it provides. It contains Acer Maple water and Glycerine as main ingredients. Glycerine is a natural humectant keeping the skin moisture locked in. The maple sap particles are smaller than water and thus helps the formula to easily absorb deep into the skin. The essence intensively hydrates and provides nourishment to skin. The skin looks healthy and glows from within. It helps in preparing the skin to absorb other skincare products, making them more effective. It makes the skin appear more supple and healthy. A good, gentle product for the skin. Big thumbs up!

Few other toner and essence that I enjoy using

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February 11, 2017

boscia Tsubaki Deep Hydration Sleeping Mask (review)

A deeply-hydrating overnight sleeping mask that intensely moisturizes and protects to deliver long-term anti aging benefits and smoother, baby-soft skin. It contains  botanical blend of tsubaki oil (camellia oil), wakame (Japanese sea kelp), and rice bran oil

Formulated without:
- Parabens
- Sulfates
- Phthalates

Color: White

Texture and Consistency: Light weight, not too thick nor too dense. Very smooth and creamy

Scent: It smells like roses and is not over powering at all.

Application: I apply it after washing my face with a face cleanser and after using the regular toner. I skip applying moisturizer or serums, so as to get full results from this product. The mask can be used during the day too as it is not sticky.

Feel and Effect on skin: It is a light weight product and just feels like face lotion. It sinks in the skin completely and is not sticky or tacky. The face feels moisturized, soft and well hydrated. The formula is creamy, so the face does not feels stretchy after an hour of use, like some water based sleeping masks can feel. It didn't break me out nor there were any white heads the next day. 

Packaging: It comes in  a soft squeeze tube. No pump, no fuss.

Verdict: I like the boscia deep hydration sleeping mask. It does what it says. Hydrating. Nothing more, nothing less. It is not the most unique product out there. There are some other products that can give similar results. In fact a good beauty face oil would give very same results. This mask itself contains  botanical blend of tsubaki oil (camellia oil), wakame (Japanese sea kelp), and rice bran oil. It is the ease of use that makes it more appealing.

Few other hydrating, over-night, sleeping masks.

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February 8, 2017

Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream (review)

A rich, moisturizing cream that softens hands and strengthens nails.

Formulated without Sulfates, Phthalates and is dermatologist tested.

Color: White

Texture and Consistency: Soft, smooth and creamy, not too thick yet rich. 

Scent: This one has a floral, perfume kind of scent, slightly strong.

Feel and Effect on Hands and Nails: It is not a very greasy product, yet has a rich formula. It sinks in almost instantly. It moisturizes good, but I don't find it particularly long lasting. It did make my cuticles look well conditioned and over a period of time I have noticed it improved the strength of my nails. My nails have tendency to peel. Also, my hands appear to look more even in texture and not so wrinkly and dry.
Verdict: It is a good hand cream but not the best in my opinion. I need something more moisturizing for my dry hands. For night time treatment, I would prefer a bit more rich and nourishing product. It is good for day time use though, because it is not greasy and disappears almost instantly, not to mention it feels and smells very luxurious. 

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February 7, 2017

Yves Saint Laurent Volupté Tint-in-Oil (review)

Yves Saint Laurent Volupté Tint-in-Oil
Yves Saint Laurent Volupté Tint-in-Oil

A revolutionary lip color with a lip tint suspended in a deep conditioning oil. It is infused with a blend of four essential oils for deep hydration: apricot kernel oil, coriander fruit oil, jojoba seed oil, and passiflora edulis seed oil.

Paraben Free

Color: I have the shade no 5 Cherry my Cherie

Texture and Consistency: It is not a very thin oil. It has some thickness to it yet it is light weight and not heavy.

Scent: It smells like some fruit (to my nose)

Application: The applicator is fantastic. It picks the right amount of product. There is no dripping or leaking. I prefer using it very sparingly and I will mention the reason in just few minutes. 

Feel and Effect on Lips: It literally melts and sinks onto the lips. It is not sticky or goopy. It moisturizes and hydrates beautifully while imparting luminous shine. The lips look glossy, juicy and the product leaves a lovely tint depending on the shade. The one I have imparts pink color, making lips look healthy, but sometimes the pink is just too 'kiddie pink'
There is a catch though. If I apply it in generous quantity, it tends to dry out the lips and make them peel by end of the day. The key for soft lips is to apply a thin coat of very little product. The glossiness and shine disappears after an hour or so, but the tint stays put. Re-application is needed every few hours if glossiness is to be maintained.

Packaging: Beautiful, metal tube with colored band and YSL logo on it. The wand is perfect! The shape is lovely, making the application easy and mess free.

Yves Saint Laurent Volupté Tint-in-Oil

Verdict: I like this Lip Oil. It is nice and as it contains essential oils, I assume it does nourish the lips along with hydrating. I do not use it as a gloss, because re-application is needed frequently. Doing so tends to peel my lips. I just use it over my lipstick (complimenting shade) as an added layer of moisture or on its own on those 'no-makeup' makeup days. As a night time treatment or preparing the lips before applying lipstick, I still prefer using the old tried and tested lip balm.

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February 5, 2017

New in Beauty - Beauty Cravings


A bunch of new products that caught my eye while surfing beauty websites and stores. These are fairly new releases. Maybe late December or January.

I am very curious to try the Sunday Riley Protect + Repair Moisturizer. It has vitamin C and usually such products help with hyper pigmented skin. Also Hourglass sent tons of Bloggers their new  Lip product and the swatches online look pretty promising. The Neo Limelight is a new Kevyn Aucoin product that is most intriguing to me. It is a highlighter trio of iridescent shades and is used to brighten the skin for accentuated highlighting and strobing. Can be used on the face, lips, and lids. The Belif True tincture Mask has chamomile and I am sure it would work amazing on dry skin.

Are there any new products that you are eyeing? Anything new you would love to try from recent launches?

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February 3, 2017

Best in Beauty - Hair - Tools & Brushes 2016

This is part two of few of my favorites from the past year. I don't experiment too much with makeup. Once I find something working good for me, I stick to it. I did pick some amazing stuff last year, but then I stopped for few months and decided to enjoy whatever I had and I did. The satisfaction of hitting pans is awesome! I did not choose products from every category as few of them were just forever favorite kinds. 

Eye Products

Once you have few basic palettes, honestly you don't need anything new. While Too faced Neutral palette was high on my list in 2015, Lorac Pro palette did the job perfectly in 2016. Very portable, easy to blend and has a wonderful selection of warm and neutral shades.

Nars creamy concealer has been an old favorite, but I used this Urban Decay one a lot last year. It is light weight and has a very airy texture. Love it!

I don't wear false lashes, so whatever awesomeness I have to achieve in that department, it has to be with help of eye lash curler and a good mascara. This one is lengthening, volumizing, holds the curl and is not clumpy. It is long-lasting as well. The color is rich black. It meets all the criteria of a good mascara, except the price. It is a good one though.

This one was the most frequently used product in 2016. It is a multi-purpose product for me. I use it on eyelids as slightly shimmery base (didn't crease on me) and as cream highlighter. The tiny and sleek packaging is perfect for smallest of clutch and great for touch ups on the go.

Lip Products

Tinted oil in a luxuriously fancy packing! This was an expensive purchase. The oil is light weight, moisturizes the lips, non messy and easy to apply, all thanks to the fantastic wand and good packaging.

I love this gloss and it is a limited edition color. The formula is thick, not too sticky or gloopy. It makes the lips look plump. The applicator is a tiny, stubby brush. Like it!

I have had this nail polish in the shade Baby Jane for quite sometime now. It is a creamy finish and an opaque neutral shade. I used it a lot. It was my go-to color and I just thought it deserved a mention.

Face Products

This brand has some amazing products and I did my research before picking every single one. Most of them worked perfectly. This powder gives a flawless finish to the makeup and it just ties everything together at the end,

I love the highlighter part so much that I got a backup of it when I had some extra Nordstrom notes. The packing is wonderful and it gives that glow from within look.

This blush from Charlotte Tilbury has a good formula, not a very unique one, but it is the color that I love the most.

I love this product. It is a cross between a tinted moisturizer and a foundation. I like the fact that it is not a full coverage foundation. I use my Beauty Blender to apply this and it goes on beautifully on my dry skin. The best part is the color. My perfect match!! and it is so difficult to find 'the true' match. So happy with this purchase.

Powder foundations are my choice of foundation and it is not the best choice for dry skin. This one from IT cosmetics works perfectly and does not looks cake'y' or fake. It photographs beautifully and does not oxidizes. The color once again is a perfect match.

This particular palette from Hourglass is one of the best purchases I ever made. The palette got bad reputation because of the size of tiny pans, but having all the amazing Hourglass products (my favorite shades) like blush, bronzer, highlighter, powder in one palette made the expensive purchase worth the extra money. I got good use out of this. It went to all my trips last year and I intend to keep carrying it! 

Hair Products

Alterna Haircare Brand has been my absolute favorite from the day I got my hands on their samples.

Their CAVIAR line is amazing. The Anti-Aging® Replenishing Moisture Shampoo and Anti-Aging® Replenishing Moisture Conditioner are two in shower products that can manage my ultra dry and thin hair. (not on picture, as I have huge pump bottles of these)

This leave-in product gives good bounce and shine to my hair while protecting it from heat while using hot tools. (review)

This is a very light weight oil mist that does not weighs my hair down and makes it shiny and manageable. (review)

This oil is light weight as well and works pretty well to tame the frizz. It is not a spray or mist though. Initially I was not bothered by the scent of it. I liked it, but now that it is almost 6 months old, I find the scent too strong for my taste. (review)

Tools and Brushes

Clarisonic Mia Skin Cleansing System
I have had this for a long time and I hated it because it dried my skin and made it super patchy. I could never figure out why! I tried changing cleansers, but that didn't help. Finally when I started using it once weekly, it worked like a charm! Not everyone needs to use Clarisonic daily.

This is a cool device. It smooths the heels like baby's butt! Really! A great way to get soft feet quickly during those flip flop months.

This tiny brush quickly became my favorite for highlighting. It is not the softest brush, but for my small face, it does the job perfectly..

Another tiny brush that is not the softest, but picks right amount of product and is great for sculpting and highlighting. Love it!

The best brush for setting under eye concealer with setting powder. It has been all time favorite. I just wanted to give it a mention.

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