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!
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!
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!
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…)
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*
EcoTools 6-Piece Brush Set & Tutorial
Best Of, Cheap Thrills, Earth Friendly, Makeup Fun - Comments (3) - October 9th, 2012
Ever since I first discovered EcoTools, I’ve been a huge fan. Almost all the makeup brushes I use now are from them. The 6-Piece Brush Set is a good place to start if you’re starting a brush collection, as it’s got some good foundation pieces, and is an excellent price.
The 6-piece brush set includes a blush brush, an eye shading brush, an angled eyeliner brush, a concealer brush, a lash/brow groomer, and a nice hemp/cotton brush holder/bag combo. The brush handles are all made out of bamboo (a great renewable resource), the bristles are synthetic, and the ferrules (the metal part) are made from recycled aluminum.
I use all of these brushes every time I put makeup on, and actually have multiples of some of them so I don’t have to clean them between uses. For example, I use the angled eyeliner brush both for eyeliner, but also to apply brow powder – so it’s nice to have two brushes so one can be dedicated to brow powder. I really like the case that comes with this set. In addition to the brush holders, it has a zippered bag to hold makeup, and a velcro flap to secure the brush holder side. It’s great for travel!
EcoTools did a nice tutorial for a pretty jewel-toned eye that uses the 6-piece brush set. You can check it out here.
You can beat the prices. EcoTools brushes are so affordable, but not cheaply made at all. I have several brushes that are now a few years old and they are holding up perfectly despite regular use and washing. I *heart* EcoTools!
Paul & Joe Bleu Perfume Review
Best Of, Perfume, Reviews - Be the first to comment! - August 24th, 2012
I’ve been in love with the Paul & Joe brand for several years now. Their makeup is the epitome of luxe, in my opinion, with beautiful textures and colors. I sniffed both of the fragrances offered by Paul & Joe a few years ago, and decided that Bleu was my preferred of the two (there is also Blanc). I suspect it’s being discontinued, because I saw it selling for quite a low price from Amazon.com, so I snatched one up. I’m really happy I did, because it’s as good as I remember it.
If you read the reviews on Basenotes, most reviewers mention the similarity to Guerlain’s Shalimar. I’m a very bad perfumista, and can’t actually remember what Shalimar smells like (although I have smelled it before). Clearly, I’ll try to remedy this soon.
The note that catches my attention the most in Bleu is the cumin. My skin magnifies cumin notes LIKE CRAZY, so it’s a really good thing I LOVE the scent. Some people liken cumin to a sweat smell – perhaps this is so. But I still really like it, and it’s somewhat unusual to encounter it in mainstream perfumery. Bleu also has notes of bergamot, coriander, caraway, cardamom, ylang-ylang, jasmine, rose, sandalwood, oud, myrrh, vanilla, and musk. It’s a very smooth scent, but also very rich and very spicy. It has excellent sillage, and wears for hours. I love the pretty blue glass bottle, with its vintage look.
If you love a slightly unusual, warm oriental type of perfume, try to snag this one at the very discounted price. It’s totally worth it.
St. Ives Naturally Smooth Body Lotion Review
Best Of, Body Care, Cheap Thrills, Reviews - Be the first to comment! - July 25th, 2012
I love it when I find products at the drugstore that not just work, but work REALLY REALLY WELL. St. Ives Body Lotion in the Naturally Smooth formula is the bomb, yo. I was in the market for an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) lotion that didn’t cost the earth, and I’m happy to say I found one.
St. Ives Naturally Smooth Body Lotion contains a fruit AHA complex, that works to gently exfoliate the skin, improve skin cell turnover, and smooth the appearance of rough uneven skin. It really works! I have had a rash on my left shin for 20 years. I am not kidding, 20 years. It’s been a patch of thick, scaly, rough, itchy, red, and irritated skin that I’ve never managed to clear up. I have tried just about every emollient I could think of on it, as well as cortisones. Nada. I noticed a few years ago that it’s often better in the summer, and eventually a light went on in my head. I shave my legs almost every day in the summer, hence the skin gets exfoliated more regularly in summertime. So I tried using physical exfoliators regularly, but that was a no go too. It finally occurred to me to try a daily AHA-type product and see what happened. WHOA. After a month of using this lotion daily (combined with a secret emollient & antioxidant product I can’t tell you about yet!) the rash IS GONE. Cue an image of my jaw on the floor.
This story is, of course, just an anecdote, and I can’t promise that your rashes will be magically cured. (This disclaimer is for the lawyers, lol.)
ANYWAY. The lotion has a very light texture, and sinks in very quickly. It’s not the most moisturizing lotion, hence the secret emollient I use with it on The Rash That Is No More, but St. Ives has other formulas that probably are more moisturizing if that’s your thing. It doesn’t contain mineral oil or parabens, a major plus for a drugstore lotion. The fragrance is also quite light, a sort of citrus and fruit scent that I find pleasant. It doesn’t linger.
What’s quite possibly the best part is how affordable all this amazingness in a bottle is. It’s under six bucks for a 21 fl. oz. bottle! I was looking at another brand of AHA lotion and didn’t feel like spending $13 or so bucks on a little bottle, so I was really pleased to see that St. Ives is a reasonable price.
Overall, I definitely recommend St. Ives Naturally Smooth Body Lotion for anyone looking for smoother, less rough, less dry, and less flaky skin. It gets two thumbs up!