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Lush Rose Jam Shower Gel
Best Of, Body Care - Be the first to comment! - October 14th, 2013

When Lush introduced their Rose Jam Bubbleroon, I was immediately hooked. The scent… it’s SO GOOD. It smells exactly how you’d imagine a rose jam would smell like, which is to say, deadly good. I want to roll in it, it’s so good. When I saw they’d introduced a limited edition shower gel in the same scent, I jumped all over it, budget be damned.

ZOMG. The shower gel is EVEN BETTER than the bubble bar. It’s a serious scent-gasm in the shower every time I use it. I bought the largest size bottle, and will be going back for at least one more before it disappears. It’s a holiday limited edition, so hopefully it’ll stick around through December.

I heard a rumour it might be coming to stores as well, but I kind of want an excuse to order a bottle of Sonic Death Monkey, so I’ll probably get it online.

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5 Things: Eye Creams
5 Things, Best Of, Skin Care - Comments (1) - June 11th, 2013

For as obsessed as I am with eye creams, I realized that I really don’t give them any love on my blog. I guess it’s because people tend to expect miracles from their eye creams, and that just doesn’t happen. I have yet to find The Miracle Dark Circle Treatment That Really, Really Works, for example, and honestly? It’ll never happen. There is no topical product out there that is going to give me skin I just wasn’t born with. HOWEVER. I do have way fewer fine lines around my eyes than people my age who’ve never used eye cream, so I know they’re doing something for my skin. Eye cream can also make a visible difference on that just-woke-up-shouldn’t-have-had-so-much-wine-last-night eye puffiness. So, this is my list of eye creams I tried, that I really liked, that I would (or did) buy again, and that I recommend to friends. As always, your mileage may vary.

1. Origins GinZing Eye Cream is here at the top because it’s my most recent discovery. It claims to brighten and de-puff, and lo, it does! It has a mega-slew of plant-based ingredients in it, and it does indeed brighten up the eye area (thanks optic brighteners!) and de-puff eyes.

2. L’Occitane Divine Eyes. The price of this product just kills me, but I can honestly say it’s amazing. It does help with fine lines, it does help with firming the skin around the eye area, and it helps with puffiness. It didn’t do much for my dark circles, but people with “tired eyes” dark circles (versus my genetic ones) will see a difference. If you want serious anti-aging, this will deliver.

3. Clarins Eye Revive Beauty Flash is pretty great. It’s supposed to hydrate, de-puff, smooth fine lines, yadda yadda (they all say the same thing, right?). Interestingly, the ingredient list has some crossover with the Origins product (ginseng, horse chestnut, optical brighteners) so it makes sense I’d like them both so much. The Clarins product is more expensive, but the tube is a little bigger (and it’s a tube, more hygienic). Don’t bother with Clarins Eye Contour Gel or Eye Contour Balm – they did not excite me. This one is great if you’re travelling, it’s an instant pick-me-up for your eyes.

4. Skyn Iceland Icelandic Relief Eye Cream is lovely. De-puffs, brightens, softens fine lines, blah blah blah, and it feels so very soft and soothing. My first “favorite” eye cream.

5. ShiKai Borage Dry Skin Therapy Eye Cream, the first eye cream I tried that convinced me that eye cream was worth using every day. It’s also what I recommend for anyone with sensitive skin/eyes, as the formula is pretty simple. It’s not an anti-aging miracle, but it will certainly hydrate and I think it’s great as a preventive measure against fine lines. Good eye cream for young people!

There are a few honorable mentions, including the others I’ve reviewed on the blog. These here are the standouts based on bang for your buck, and overall results.

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5 Things That Don’t Suck
5 Things, Best Of, Eyeshadow, Mascara, Skin Care - Comments (4) - May 28th, 2013

Another day and a half (roughly) and I’ll be finished with school. Five business days after that, I’ll be able to drive down to Salem and take the tests to get my esthetician’s license in the State of Oregon AND Washington (by handing over the appropriate sums of money, as well). Amen. Praise the Lord. Anyone who says beauty school is easy is crazy. All I can say is, thank God I didn’t drink alcohol when I was in college, because I probably NEVER would have finished, based on the volume of booze I’ve needed to imbibe to survive four months of beauty school. (I’m only half kidding. LOL.)

ANYWAY. I don’t have a job lined up (yet), so I intend to blog merrily away once school is finished. But I wanted to mention a few products that have been keeping me sane (and looking good) while I’ve been in school. In no particular order, here are five products that don’t suck. (In fact, they pretty much ROCK and I can’t live without them now.)

1. Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes w/ White Tea Extract. Lo and behold, a facial wipe that I can use night after night, and my skin *doesn’t* get all pissy that I’m not really washing it. Seriously, these wipes are THE BOMB.

2. Origins GinZing Eye Cream. Holy catfish, Batman. One of my classmates gave me a deluxe sample size of this, which has lasted ALMOST the entire four months I’ve been in school. It brightens, it de-puffs, it makes you look like you actually got some sleep last night and you’re not miserably hung-over. No, really, it does! I need a full-size of this, like, yesterday!

3. The holy triumverate that is Shiro Cosmetics’ Homunculus, Chimera, and Fullmetal. These have been my go-to colors almost the entire time I’ve been in school for a quick, easy eye look. I just pick one, use it with a beige or taupe color, and VOILA! INSTANT AWESOME. Don’t over-think this, just buy all three. Trust me.

4. Aveda Nourish-Mint Renewing Lip Treatment. I know, it’s sixteen bucks. I KNOW. But it’s basically crack in a tube. My lips don’t want to live without it. I’ve had one in my pocket since like, week 5 of an eighteen week program, and I’m completely hooked. MUST HAVE THIS CRACK.

5. Speaking of expensive and CRACK. Fresh’s Supernova Mascara is my new Holy Grail of Mascara. I busted out my tube early on in the program, and everyone who’s tried it (on me, I’ve donated my face for science many times now to my classmates earning their makeup credits) LOVES IT. It doesn’t smudge, it’s black, it’s soft, it is AMAY-ZING. It’s the shizz, yo.

There you go. The stuff that has rocked my world for the last 18 weeks. I can’t believe it’s almost over.

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J.R. Watkins Lemon Cream Hand Cream Review
Best Of, Body Care, Cheap Thrills, Earth Friendly, Reviews - Comments (2) - February 4th, 2013

It’s really hard finding a good hand cream. My gold-star favorite is L’Occitane’s Shea Butter Hand Cream, but at $25 a tube, I have to admit it’s pricey. (In its defense, a full-size tube lasts for like six months, so it’s not that bad, which is why it’s still my gold-star favorite.) BUT ANYWAY. I’m picky about hand cream. I really, really hate that slippery feeling you get on your hands when a lotion or cream contains a lot of silicones. I don’t mind it on my body, but I hate it on my hands. I picked up a tube of J.R. Watkins Shea Butter Hand Cream to try out because of its IMPRESSIVE ingredient list and more reasonable price.

So, what does it have in it? What doesn’t it have in it? Seriously, this hand cream reads like a who’s who of awesome ingredients – shea butter, jojoba oil, macadamia oil, avocado oil, cocoa butter, babassu oil, apricot kernal oil, aloe, calendula, chamomile… it goes on. It doesn’t contain mineral oil, petrolatum, silicones, or parabens. It’s pretty darn close to an all natural product. The scent is a delightful lemon frosting/cookie smell, very refreshing and very yum. Seriously, I almost wanna lick my hands, it’s that good. It is knock-you-down strong though, so if you don’t like a strong fragrance, steer clear. It’s more dessert-like, as opposed to fresh cut lemon juice.

The texture is quite thick. If you want a light hand cream, this isn’t it. It’s thick, it’s rich, it’s going to leave a feeling on your hands for a while after you apply it. It won’t be a slick, slippery feel though, which is why I like it. It definitely relieves dryness like a champ. A little goes a long way, so this tube is going to last for a while.

Overall, I’m quite pleased to have given this a try. The 3.5 oz tube is on the large side to want to carry in my purse, but it’s fine for the tote bag I drag to school every day. It’s also a perfectly good size to keep on your nightstand or on the bathroom counter. Price will vary depending on where you shop, but it should always come in under ten bucks for a tube. I give it two (no longer dry!) thumbs up!

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2012 Post-Mortem & Best Of Stuff
About Claire, Best Of - Be the first to comment! - January 11th, 2013

I was feeling a little bad about not doing this post BEFORE the end of the year, but then I looked and saw I wrote last year’s Best Of late as well, so I’ll stop feeling bad. 2012 was …interesting for me. I didn’t work this year, so my budget for buying beauty stuff was pretty limited, and not going off to work each day proved to be a deterrant to doing my makeup regularly. I also had a really hard time with depression thanks to a pharmacy making an error with my medication, that I didn’t catch for several months. That really sucked away my motivation to write, too. Which is all to say, if you’re still reading my blog and didn’t quit last year, THANKS. I promise to do better this year! (More on that in a bit.)

Anyway, my best of list is the standout stuff from last year. Here’s the goods.

Best Body Product: St. Ives Naturally Smooth Body Lotion was an awesome find. Clearing up a rash I’ve had for 20 years? YES PLEASE. Runner-up: One Hand Washes The Other’s Buttella. It’s chocolate-y hazelnutty awesomesauce.

Best Facial Scrub: One Hand Washes The Other’s Black Magic Scrub rocks. Runner-up: St. Ives Naturally Clear Green Tea Scrub is a decent substitute if you’re in a hurry and need a scrub now.

Best Indispensible Multi-Tasking Face Product: Murad Skin Perfecting Primer (Acne and Shine Control formula) has become one of my must-have products. This is an awesome multi-tasking product – it has salicylic acid in it, so I can eliminate one of the serums I usually use from my morning regimen. It controls shine and mattifies like a champ. It evens out my skin tone, and is a great makeup primer. Basically? It’s FABULOUS.

Best New Tool I Found This Year: The Real Techniques Expert Face brush quickly became my brush of choice for applying foundation.

Best Lip Balm: This is a tough call, but I think the eos lip balm spheres have to win. I started using the medicated Tangerine one pretty religiously when I was sick in December, because it was TOTAL WIN on my chapped, peeling lips. The vanilla one from the Alice In Wonderland set is still my favorite.

Best Shampoo: I’m still loving Suave shampoo. I bought a bottle of the Rosemary Mint stuff to try, and I like it too. (Review coming!) For a basic shampoo that’s cheap, it’s great.

Best Mascara: Maybelline The Colossal Cat Eyes Washable mascara was the best new mascara I tried this year.

Yup, it’s a pretty short list this year. So, why will this year be better? I am going to school at the end of the month, for a five month program, to get my esthetician’s license. Yup, Claire’s Beauty is going to beauty school!! Much like going to work, I intend to wear makeup every day, because I hate looking schleppy in a professional setting, which means regular EOTD posts again! I’m looking forward to getting back into that routine. You can also expect interesting tidbits about skincare, etc., as I learn them. Happy 2013 everyone!

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Gillette Venus Embrace: Still The Best
Best Of, Body Care - Comments (1) - December 14th, 2012

A couple of years ago, I reviewed the Gillette Venus Embrace razor and declared it my holy grail razor. I was devoted, until earlier this year when Schick introduced their Hydro Silk razor, and due to an excellent coupon, I was induced to switch.

I thought I had convinced myself that I preferred the Hydro Silk. There are two things about it that I like better than the Venus Embrace. The first is the blade refills are cheaper, usually like a buck cheaper for five refills versus a dollar MORE for FOUR Embrace refills. The second thing is the little suction cup thingy to hang your razor on kicks the pants off the stupid pod thinger that the Embrace comes with. I hated that pod thingy, it was really large and mostly just served to collect mildew in my shower.

Then, Influenster included a Venus Embrace razor in the Cosmo VoxBox which I received, and, well… Oh man. In a head to head test, I vastly prefer the Venus Embrace. Yes, it’s more expensive. But the Hydro Silk suction cup thingy works with the Venus Embrace, so that problem is solved. Also, it looks like some of the other Venus razors come with a better hanger, AND you can use ANY Venus refill on any Venus handle, so just buy the version that comes with the best hanger and you’re set.

My preference for the Venus Embrace can be summed up by three things. One, the swivel on the head is better, which means a more comfortable shave over my chubby legs. Two, the blade rinses easier and faster. Three, the blades seem to lie flatter somehow, which also means a more comfortable shave for me. Basically, in a head to head comparison, I fully remember why I loved this razor for three years. Sorry, Hydro Silk.

Moral of this story: stick with your holy grail. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

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EOTD: All Detrivore, All The Time
Best Of, Eyeshadow - Comments (3) - November 22nd, 2012

I wanted to wear purple-y colors today, so I picked out some of my favorite Detrivore Cosmetics colors to use. I have enough Detrivore now that I can do a whole Detrivore face! Speaking of Detrivore, they are having a one-day 50% off sale tomorrow only, so if anything strikes your fancy, you should order it tomorrow!

The lid color is Filth, which is a soft taupe eye shadow with heavy purple shimmer. I didn’t use a sticky base to really make the sparkles pop, but it is quite shimmery. I love how soft and blendable this color is. The crease color is Lividity, a dark pink shimmery eye shadow on a black base. It’s an LE color, but still available and very worth it. It’s so pretty. I used Languid to highlight. Languid is a soft sheer silver satin highlight. I used L’Oreal’s Violet Volt eyeliner pencil, and L’Oreal HiP Kohl eyeliner in black.

I used Lascivious blus, which is a soft shimmery pink blush. It’s currently my favorite blush to wear, as I love how subtle it is.

The lipgloss is Lament, the perfect your lips but better rosy pink color. It’s a must-have for sure.

Happy Thanksgiving! This is actually yesterday’s makeup and today’s makeup will go up tomorrow, lol, so this isn’t my T-Day face. I also need to think of something fancy for Black Friday (which I WON’T be leaving my house for…)

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Etat Libre D’Orange Rien Perfume Not A Review
Best Of, Perfume, Reviews - Comments (1) - October 21st, 2012

Back in August, I impulse bought this perfume, Etat Libre D’Orange’s Rien. Etat Libre D’Orange is small French perfume house. I’ve been aware of the brand for several years, but hadn’t had an opportunity to smell any of the fragrances due to their relative obscurity. On a visit to Blush Beauty Bar, a local boutique, I discovered that they are carrying a small selection of the Etat fragrances. SO EXCITING.

So, a perfume called Rien. In case you are not up on your French, rien means nothing. And boy, did I get the joke when I sprayed this the first time. Here I am, picking up the bottle, and expecting a light, soft, airy type of fragrance. HA! It’s almost like buzzers went off and a man in a suit with a microphone leaped out to point and laugh at my gullibility. I knew already that Etat Libre D’Orange has a reputation for eccentricity and irony with their perfumes. I obviously should have known better then to think that Rien would be anything but big, bold, and voluptuous.

Rien has notes of aldehydes, rose, cumin, black pepper, patchouli, iris, leather, oakmoss, amber, labdanum, incense, and styrax. Other reviewers will tell you that it is a throwback to a different era, when perfumes were big, and bold, and voluptuous. You can also read an interesting interview from the perfumer who created it. It’s interesting, because after reading this interview, I definitely get what he’s saying. Previously, I wasn’t able to pick up on the aldehydes of Chanel No. 5 (another perfume I own) until I smelled this and had my a ha! moment when I could smell that lift that rises up when you first spray both of these perfumes. Now I can also pick up aldehydes in other scents I own.

I smelled all of the Etat Libre D’Orange Perfumes that Blush Beauty Bar had, and first decided to buy samples of three of them – Rien, Like This, and Charogne. I sniffed Rien again, and again, and sprayed a little on my hand, and walked off down the street to get a cup of coffee and a scone. And by the time I had finished my coffee and scone, I knew I had to go back and get the bottle of Rien. Such an impulse buy, but I kept feeling that shock, that blast of OH HEY I’M A BIG, BOLD PERFUME, which was by this time drying down to something warm, and extremely sexy on my skin. I had to have it, because it was so unique and unlike anything else I own.

If Balenciaga Paris is a lady in a sweater set and pearls, Rien is what happens when she takes a lover. It’s pretty much sex in a bottle, in my opinion, but in a super-classy, elegant way. I adore the dry down, which takes on a scent like warm skin, but magnified. It’s got a cozy, cashmere blanket kind of feel to it. This stuff has crazy sillage when sprayed from the bottle. This bottle is going to last me A LONG TIME.

If Rien is Nothing, this is Not a Review. *wink*

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