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Best of 2011
Best Of - Comments Off - January 7th, 2012

2011 was an interesting year. I stopped buying a lot of corporate cosmetics and started buying a lot of indie cosmetics, which was really satisfying. I didn’t buy as much perfume as I have in the past, but what I did buy I really love. One the minus side, some of the companies I reviewed have closed, but on the plus side others have thrived. Overall, it was a pretty good year for beauty.

I found a lot of products to love this year, so my list is kind of all over the place. Here are my picks for Best of 2011.

Best New Eyeshadow Color: This one is easy. It’s THEO! The lovely Rosa at Black Rose Minerals created Theo for me, a color inspired by my kitty’s fur and green eyes. It’s like taupe with a bonus.

Best Eyeshadow Collection: By collection, I mean a group of colors meant to go together. This is a tie, between Linnaeus Cosmetics’ Echidna and Ruby Throated Hummingbird collections. The Echidna colors are wonderful neutrals, and the Ruby Throated Hummingbird has bright, VERY sparkly colors. I love them both.

Best New Lip Color: My favorite this year is Morgana Cryptoria’s Hibiscus Lip Balm. Last I heard, the lip balms were probably going away, but I bought this same shade in the Lip Gloss formula. Whatever formula it’s in, I hope the shade remains permanently! It’s the best baby pink I’ve found.

Best Eyeshadow Name: Nutella Whore from RockABetty Beauty. I was there when the name originated, so it’s fun being “in” on the joke. Also? It’s a great sparkly brown.

Best Product I Still Can’t Live Without: Urban Decay Primer Potion. I still haven’t found anything that works as well for me and my crazy-oily eyelids. Without Primer Potion, wearing eyeshadow would be impossible.

Best New Mascara: I love Maybelline’s Volum’Express One By One mascara. It’s the perfect combination of volume and separation in one tube.

Best Face Care Product: Annmarie Gianni Skincare’s Herbal Facial Oil for Oily/Acne Skin is amazing and splurgeworthy. I love how my skin looks when I use this regularly.

Best High End Perfume: I try a whole lot of high end perfume this year, so it’s pretty easy to give this to Balenciaga Paris. I love how sophisticated and interesting it smells.

Best Cheap Thrills Perfume: All of One Hand Washes The Other’s Solid Scents in the Private Stock collection. At a mere $4 each, they’re like Pokemon – gotta catch ‘em all!

Best Body Care Product: Aveda’s Composition oils are probably my favorite body care product I discovered this year. I have the Energizing, Calming, and Men Pure-Formance varieties, and they are all equally wonderful. They are wonderfully versatile: apply to your scalp and leave overnight for a deep treatment, apply to your skin after your shower for a body oil, add a little to your bath water for a lovely aroma… I primarily use them as an after-shower moisturizer and love them.

Overall, 2011 was a pretty good year for beauty shopping! What are your favorite products that you discovered last year?

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Aveda Calming Composition
Body Care - Comments (4) - May 5th, 2011

Mmmmmm was my first thought when I sniffed Aveda’s Calming Composition at the Aveda store. It has a rose aroma with something else (I don’t know what!) and contains jojoba oil and borage oil.

I love these oils because of how versatile they are. You can put them in your hair overnight for a conditioning treatment. You can use a few drops on your face under moisturizer to calm upset skin. You can use it for massage. You can use it for a body moisturizer (which is what I usually do).

The rose scent isn’t strong at all. In fact, I’d say the Calming Composition is probably the lightest scented of the Composition line. It lingers for a little while, but not all day, and doesn’t particularly clash if you wear perfume. I usually only rub it where I need extra moisture (elbows, knees, etc) and then put whatever lotion I’m using on top. Sometimes I’ll use more before bed for extra aromatherapy.

Have you tried Aveda’s Compositions? What’s your favorite?

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Aveda Men Pure-Formance Composition
Body Care - Comments Off - March 19th, 2011

I really love the scent of my Aveda hair stuff, the Pure-Formance Grooming Clay. It’s got this scent that combines citrus with vetiver, lavender, and spearmint. I just love it, so I jumped all over the Pure-Formance Composition, a body oil with the same fragrance.

I like to use body oils in place of lotion once in a while, smoothing them on while I’m still damp from the shower. The extra moisturizing helps with my scaly skin. To use the Aveda oil, just shake some out of the bottle (it has one of those special lids to regulate drops) and apply to the skin. About a dime size amount will take care of my arms, and another dime for my legs. The scent is AMAZING! I don’t find it terribly masculine, personally, but it’s definitely not a feminine scent. This is more of a “dry” oil formula, so it doesn’t stay greasy all day. It soaks in pretty quickly, leaving my skin very soft.

The scent lingers for for a few hours, very lightly, on my skin. I actually prefer this oil to the actual men’s cologne Aveda offers – it’s less astringent somehow.

It’s a little pricey at $25 a bottle (and the bottle isn’t very big) but it’s lasting me a long time. Overall, I give this blend from Aveda two thumbs up!

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Aveda Shaping Wax VS Grooming Clay
Hair Care - Comments (2) - February 5th, 2011

It occurred to me that I’ve never reviewed my favorite styling product for my short hair. Gasp! I decided to kill two birds with one stone and write a comparison post with my favorite versus a new product I decided to try. Thus, the battle begins!

My favorite hair styling product is Aveda Pure-Formance Grooming Clay. Aveda describes it as “strong hold, matte finish for short to medium hair.” It’s part of the men’s line. I love it because it does have a great matte finish (no greasy effect by day’s end, no matter how much you use), it has great hold, and it smells amazing. Even when my hair is ready for a cut and a bit grown out for my taste, it still styles perfectly. I can use it on wet, damp, or dry hair and still get a good result. If my hair goes a little flat near the end of the day (typical, when it needs cut, it’s super-thick and weighs itself down) I can run my fingers through it and the styling product re-activates and gives it lift again. Basically, it’s perfection in a jar for short hair.

But, me being me, I can’t leave well enough alone. Aveda recently introduced the Light Elements Shaping Wax and I had to try it. Prior to discovering the Grooming Clay, I was pretty devoted to the Light Elements Defining Whip. The Whip worked well, but didn’t have as much hold as the Grooming Clay. The Shaping Wax is supposed to have better hold.

The Shaping Wax feels like whipped cream in the jar. You scoop it out and squish it between your fingers to spread it evenly in your hair, and it quickly takes on this weird, creepy sticky-but-not-gooey feeling. You have to work fast if you’re going to get it spread evenly through your hair, it doesn’t like to spread. Then your fingers are left with this ICK feeling that’s like you have glue on your fingers and not even soap gets it off. Wiping my hands on a towel vigorously usually works though, after washing them. It has wicked hold. It also has a sort of rubber glue/crunchy feel in your hair that I’m not super fond of. However, the Grooming Clay has a sort of sticky feel in the hair, so it’s basically a tradeoff. Just don’t use too much Shaping Wax because then your head feels like it’s covered in rubber cement. It seems to work best in damp hair, not dry or wet. Actually, I fear trying it in dry hair, I don’t think it would spread well.

They both smell good. The scent is probably the best thing about the Shaping Wax. It smells like cloves.

Verdict? I don’t hate the Shaping Wax so much that I’m taking it back to the store, but I’m not going to buy it again either. I also don’t recommend it unless you want mega-crazy hold for your style. Try the Grooming Clay. It rocks.

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New ‘Do
Hair Care, Makeup Fun - Comments Off - March 21st, 2009

ClaireI finally made up my mind to cut my hair today. I used to wear it like this, for years, before I decided to grow it long a couple of years ago. Quite honestly, the long hair never felt like me, so I decided to go back to the short style I used to wear.

There’s a lot of reasons I love short hair. The first is that styling is a snap! I just towel it dry, use a little Aveda Light Elements Styling Whip to piece it up, and voila!Instant hairstyle. I was a big Control Paste fan until I discovered the Styling Whip, and I haven’t found anything else I like as much. The original Jonathan Dirt is okay too, but a little greasy sometimes. I also love to mess with my hair color, and having it short means low-commitment. If I’m tired of the color, it’s gone in two or three months, all cut off. I think first up is a cherry-brown color.

The downside is I can’t go more than about 6 weeks without having a cut, and 5 weeks is ideal. It’s not a low-maintenance look where upkeep is concerned, just in my daily routine. This is okay though, because I like going to the salon and being pampered.

In this picture, I’m wearing my new MAC Aquavert eyeshadow, along with an old favorite Too Faced Label Whore. Label Whore reminds me a lot of MAC Club, the color the SA demoed for me yesterday, a brown color with green shimmer. Label Whore has more of a teal shimmer but it’s still pretty greenish to me. I’ll do it again soon and take a closeup picture – they look good together.

Happy Day!

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Tag! What I’m Using (Today)
About Claire, Random Stuff - Comments Off - March 2nd, 2009

Bottles On A ShelfI have a pile of stuff to write about (MAC Hello Kitty, Maybelline Lash Stylist, Cargo PlantLove, Bare Escentuals stuff…) but we did inventory at work today and I’m beat. So I’m taking another break (yesterday’s post was pretty lazy too!) and following the lead of Oh…pretty!, which is a blog I like to read. Because I use and have SO MUCH product, this is going to be what I used today. I tag everyone who reads and wants to do this, like Oh…Pretty! did. If you put a link to your list in the comments, I’ll read yours too!

* Shampoo: Aveda Shampure
* Conditioner: Nature’s Gate Pomegranate Sunflower Hair Defense Conditioner
* Styling products: Living Proof No Frizz for Thick Hair, TRESemme hairspray
* Shower Gel: Suave Exhale Lively Juicy Tangerine Body Wash
* Body moisturizer: L’Occitane 15% Shea Butter Body Lotion
* Deodorant: L’Occitane Purifying Deodorant
* Fake Tan: none
* Cleanser: 40 Carrots Carrot + Creme Cleanser
* Moisturizer: Cosmetic Surgeon In A Jar Firming & Tightening Cream
* Eye makeup remover: none
* Exfoliator: Cosmetic Surgeon In A Jar Ultimate Skin Exfoliator
* Primer: none
* Foundation: Stila Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer
* Foundation brush: none today, but usually EcoTools
* Concealer: Benefit Erase Paste
* Powder: Clarins Lose Powder
* Blusher: The Body Shop Roseflower Blush in Pink
* Bronzer: none today
* Highlighter: Guerlain Meteorites
* Eyeshadow base: Urban Decay Primer Potion
* Eyeshadows: MAC Hello Kitty Lucky Tom
* Eyeliner: MAC Hello Kitty Lucky Tom (purple color used as liner)
* Eyelash curler: Tarte Picture Perfect Lash Curler
* Eyelash base: none
* Mascara: Maybelline Lash Stiletto
* Lipstick: none today
* Lipgloss: L’Occitane Honey & Lemon gloss
* Nail Colour: Citra Formaldehyde Free Healthy Nails
* Perfume: Fresh Patchouli Pure

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Getting Deep With Haircare
Hair Care - Comments Off - August 7th, 2008

Olive PasteWhen I had short hair, I abused it regularly, mostly by coloring it. Heck, two months and it’d all be fresh hair again, so I didn’t worry to much about drying it out etc. Now that it’s long, I’m suddenly paranoid about keeping it healthy and strong. I mean, it has to look good for years instead of months, so I’ve become something of a conditioner/hair protector junkie.

I’ve tried a few deep conditioners and I have a favorite. After trying the usual suspects at Sephora (Phtyo, Fekkai, etc.) I tried the Olive Paste for Hair from L’Occitane.  This one is my favorite because it leaves my hair super-glossy and soft, but not the least bit greasy or weighed down. I have the misfortune to have rather fine hair, but LOTS of it.

I also really like the Brilliant Damage Control from Aveda, which I spray on almost every day, whether or not I blow dry. It smells good and it’s supposed to help with breakage and provide UV protection. I’m also using the Shampure shampoo and conditioner now, because I like to buy in liters.

Jonathan Product has a leave-in styling cream conditioner thingy that I want to try called Green Rootine Silkening Creme. It looks really nice, and I’d probably like it as much as I like the Ojon Hydrating Styling Cream.

I’m trying to be a lot nicer to my hair these days, and it seems to be appreciative. It looks healthy and shiny when I take care of it.

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Earth Day Passed Me By
Earth Friendly - Comments Off - April 23rd, 2008

RecycleAt the beginning of April, I had this brilliant idea that I would do a series of posts about earth-friendly cosmetics and household products – in honor of April 22nd, Earth Day.

But here it is April 23rd, and my series did not materialize. *sigh* Life, it gets in the way sometimes. But not to despair, I am still going to start a new category so I can label posts throughout the year when I write about something earth-friendly.

And on that note, here are a few quick ideas for being more green.

I buy shampoo and conditioner in liter bottles now, and refill smaller bottles to put in the shower. Right now I’m using TIGI Oatmeal & Honey Shampoo and Aveda conditioner. I use less plastic this way, and I save money too, since the bigger bottles are a better value.

I avoid buying cosmetics (and everything else for that matter) that are overly packaged. Does that shower gel really need an outer box? Nope. You can print all the relevant info on the bottle, so the box is redundant. Stuff that’s boxed AND wrapped in plastic really yanks my chain.

When I wore powder foundation, I preferred brands that had refillable compacts – it’s so wasteful throwing away the whole compact every time you run out of foundation. I also like companies that have palette-able products – like mark., Stila, and Aveda.

Something I consider big is cutting down on my use of the hair dryer. I try to plan better so that I can let my hair air-dry mostly dry and then only use the dryer for finishing the style. Otherwise, I wear my hair in a style that doesn’t need the dryer at all (I’m big on octopus clips these days).  It’s better for my hair, my electricity bill, and the environment!

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