Archive | August, 2011

Product Spotlight: Crest 3D White Whitestrips Advanced Vivid

31 Aug

So it’s the middle of the week…how many cups of coffee are you through by this point? I have plans to meet with a coffee-holic friend of mine this afternoon, so I’m sure I’ll hit three or four by the end of the day.

I’m not sure if anyone reading this is obsessed with their teeth like I am. I was fortunate enough to not need braces, which I think made me even more paranoid about something happening to them. (One of my biggest fears is falling down and breaking all my teeth.) I brush at least twice a day – though I’m not the best flosser…sorry, Dr. Giovinazzo! – and have two different toothbrushes, depending on my mood. I’m also really concerned that they’ll get stained due to all the coffee (and, um, red wine) I drink, so I use every stain-preventing product out there. I’ve not paid for professional bleaching – of course I’ve thought about it, but I’ve also thought about what else I could buy with $800 – but I’ve tried the paint-on kind, trays, strips, etc.

Crest 3D White Whitestrips Advanced Vivid

Crest 3D White Whitestrips Advanced Vivid teeth bleaching strips

Crest 3D White Whitestrips Advanced Vivid are the best whitening strips I’ve tried yet. They’re not cheap – about $45 for fourteen uses – but I kind of cheat and do something you’re not supposed to with them in order to get my money’s worth.

I leave them on for twice as long. I seriously don’t recommend this if you have sensitive teeth and/or gums, but by gum, do you see a major difference if you leave them on for an hour instead of 30 minutes. I’d done this with other strips, but they moved around and didn’t give me the whitening that I wanted. These strips are kind of like tooth stickers! You have to fight with these suckers to get them off, even if you leave them on for too long, which means that they won’t slide around during the bleaching process and get whitening gel places that it shouldn’t be.

Crest Advanced Vivid Whitestrips were one of my many beauty secret weapons, but now they’re yours, too! (I’m giving up all my best secrets on this blog!!!) I like to use a few in the days leading up to a major social event. You can find them here at drugstore.com, but I personally like to stalk this prey in a Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s, or whatever you guys have in your part of the country: it’s cheaper that way.

Do you guys whiten your teeth? Have any of you had your teeth bleached professionally? Please tell me about your experiences! I’d love to read about them in the comments.

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OPI Ski Teal We Drop

30 Aug

Hey readers! It’s such a nice afternoon here in New York City – I hope it is wherever you are!

I’ve made my opinion on fall perfectly clear – it needs to get here stat. It feels like the weather is starting to cool off somewhat (or maybe that’s just psychosomatic on my part), so I’ve started to bust out the fall nail shades! The one I’m sharing with you today is one of my favorite nail polishes of all time, so I’ve mentioned it on the blog before in my top ten favorite nail polishes post.

OPI Ski Teal We Drop nail polish

OPI Ski Teal We Drop nail polish

OPI Ski Teal We Drop is a beautiful teal creme that looks wonderful against my pale skin, but I can see it looking fabulous against any skin tones. It pairs as well with the rich fabrics of fall as it does with denim, which makes me curious…could it be a dupe for Les Jeans de Chanel?

Les Jeans de Chanel

Les Jeans de Chanel polishes, picture courtesy of temptalia.com

In the first picture, Ski Teal We Drop takes on such a strong green cast that I didn’t think it was likely. But on the nail, it’s far more blue.

OPI Ski Teal We Drop swatch

OPI Ski Teal We Drop swatch, direct sunlight

There were no swatches of Les Jeans de Chanel available when I wrote this post, but it looks like that Ski Teal We Drop could be a possible dupe for Chanel‘s Blue Rebel. Peter Philips and Chanel have created some awesome, lustworthy nail polish shades in the past (I am still furious at myself for missing out on Jade), and I own a few bottles myself – but I’ve found the quality of the nail polish to be embarrassingly poor. Sure, it’s a great way to get in on the designer action, but I expect no chipping in the first few days of wear for a price tag of $25. I won’t be buying any of Les Jeans de Chanel – not just because of the poor formula quality, but because the colors aren’t terribly innovative this time around.

But Chanel isn’t who is on trial in this post – it’s OPI Ski Teal We Drop!

Pros: I have practically no complaints about this polish. It’s nearly a one-coater, but I did two. Dries beautifully, the color is unique in my collection, and is shiny without a topcoat!

Cons: My only gripe would be that if you leave it on too long (because it doesn’t chip easily), it can stain your nails – I seem to have the most trouble with blues/greens and discoloration. I really wouldn’t recommend leaving it on for more than a week.

OPI Ski Teal We Drop nail polish

OPI Ski Teal We Drop nail polish swatch, indirect sunlight

Though this nail polish came out last year in OPI‘s Swiss Collection, they must have made it permanent as it’s available to “try on” on their website. You can also get it here on drugstore.com (they show the wrong polish in the picture there – don’t worry, it’s frost-free)!

Do you have this one? (If you don’t, I recommend you pick it up!) What do you think – is it a dupe?

Product Spotlight: Lady Cremo Cream

30 Aug

Good morning, friends! Hope your week got off to a good start!

Today’s product spotlight is pretty important because of how often I use it – it’s shaving cream!

Shaving may not be as much of a prickly issue for some of you as it is for me. I’m of primarily Mediterranean heritage (though you’d never guess it by my sunburn), which means that I am constantly shaving my legs. I feel like I’ve tried every product out there at this point to get the closest, longest-lasting shave – with no ingrown hairs, mind you! – and, after being frustrated many a time, let me tell you: this stuff is good.

Lady Cremo Cream

Lady Cremo Cream, courtesy of cremocream.com

Lady Cremo Cream comes in a squeeze bottle and is highly concentrated – I only have to use a drop about the size of the dime to cover my whole leg. Seriously. It lathers really nicely, but not in the way that a shave gel does – you can actually see what you’re doing and investigate how efficient your shaving is (which will be very). It has a very pleasant smell – a light piña colada fragrance – that’s gone once you wash it off. I’ve experienced virtually no ingrown hairs since switching to this product. As an Italian-American, this is a big deal. Just sayin’. Finally, Lady Cremo Cream leaves my legs feeling smooth longer than any other shaving cream I’ve used. Slather on some Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion after you hop out of the shower and you are good. To. Go.

Men, never fear! There’s a version for dudes, too. I haven’t tested it (I like pink packaging!), but if it’s anywhere near as awesome as the original, then you are in for a treat. According to the reviewers on the site, you can shave your head with it. I’m sorry that I’m not willing to do this in the name of my blog, but I can attest to how seriously good Cremo is at removing hair elsewhere on the body. I promise.

I bought mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond (those coupons rock, no?), because mine has a Harmon inside, but you can also check Lady Cremo site’s list of retailers or buy Cremo here on Walgreens’ website.

Product Spotlight: NARS Soft Touch Shadow Pencil in Skorpios

29 Aug

Hey everyone! I hope the hurricane didn’t hit you too hard – I didn’t have any electricity until this afternoon, so I’m glad I set the how-to up to post for this morning! I have a product that I bought a few weeks ago at Sephora in this post, and it’s something that I wouldn’t ordinarily buy.

Nars Soft Touch Shadow Pencil in Skorpios

Nars Soft Touch Shadow Pencil in Skorpios

Cream eyeshadows aren’t really my thing – I find that they’re generally not as pigmented as powder shadows are and that they tend to move around, which is a major pet peeve. But I couldn’t resist NARS Soft Touch Shadow Pencil in Skorpios! I’m a sucker for many NARS products, but this one I tried on a whim. I don’t wear colors like this often on my eyes (Skorpios is a rose gold/bronze shade) and now I’m seeing the error of my ways. This hue is seriously flattering. My eyes are brown, and I’ve found that most people with brown eyes wish that they were any other color, myself included. Skorpios made my brown eyes look greener than usual and brightened up the eye overall.

NARS Skorpios on me

Me wearing NARS Skorpios Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

When I purchased this product at Sephora, I asked the SA if she thought that the shadow would crease (shift and build up in the crease of the eyelid) over time. She insisted it wouldn’t with a primer. Because of how heavily pigmented, blendable and pretty Skorpios was, I decided to believe her and shell out what I thought was way too much money, $24. I’ve tried it with two primers, and unfortunately, it failed my crease test. It moved after just a few hours. I’m hoping that once the weather cools off that the wear time will improve. I’m sure that under a shadow, Skorpios would stick around a little longer, but the whole point is to not cover up the beauty of the shade! Sigh. Here’s a closer look:

NARS Skorpios, closer look

A closer look at NARS Skorpios

Unfortunately, I wouldn’t repurchase this product, but I will certainly use it until I find a better alternative because of how pretty it is. If you’d like to try it anyway (maybe you have really dry skin and live in a dry climate!), you can find it here at Sephora or here on NARS‘ site.

What do you think? Do you have this product and have qualms like I do? Can you recommend any other rose-gold shadows that you believe I’d go crazy over?

How To: Hide a Pimple

29 Aug

After posting about Mario Badescu last week, I realized how difficult it can be to hide a really obnoxious pimple. Among the swelling, the redness, and the fact that the makeup just WON’T hold on, concealing a blemish can be a really traumatizing and stressful experience – and stress is the last thing you need when you have a skin issue. I thought I’d do a little how-to on how to cover a pimple without freaking out.

  1. OMG you have a pimple. You have a party to attend! Everyone will see! What do you do now?! DON’T PICK AT IT. I know, the temptation is completely overwhelming, but 9/10 times you are only going to make the situation worse. Just don’t touch it – you’ll spread bacteria.
  2. Take Tylenol, Advil, or Aleve. If your blemish hurts, then this will help with the pain – and, more importantly, it’ll reduce the swelling in the area.
  3. Clean the area with a cotton ball moistened with hydrogen peroxide. It’ll kill the germs on your skin and help dry out the pimple.
  4. Visine

    Visine - your new partner in crime. (Picture from onlinecouponsavings.com)

    Get some Visine – the redness-reducing kind – and a Q-Tip. (You should always have these products on hand – they are insanely versatile and quite inexpensive.) Moisten an end of the Q-Tip with the Visine and hold it to your blemish for a few minutes; it’ll help cut some of the redness.

  5. Get your primer out! I use Smashbox Photo Finish, but anything with dimethicone listed high in the ingredients will do. (I imagine that you could use Urban Decay Primer Potion on it and that this would be just as effective.) Apply directly to your pimple and blend it out to the surrounding area. You can use a brush here or not, but you’ll definitely need one for the next step.
  6. This is the most important step. Break out your concealer brush – I recommend one with synthetic fibers and a flat, tapered head. This one from Sephora is a nice option. Dip your brush into a cream concealer that matches your skin perfectly (or do what I do: use the thicker product buildup in the cap of your foundation) and, using a patting/dabbing motion, carefully apply directly to your blemish, blending the color out. When you’re done with this step, your spot should be mostly invisible (look, I’m aware that you know it’s there and are hypersensitive to its presence. By this I mean that the average observer shouldn’t be able to see it). Don’t let your makeup get too cakey! It’s better to do multiple thin layers of a lightweight product than to do only a few with a thick product.
  7. Let the makeup on your skin dry – you can work on other aspects of your makeup, like your eyes, while waiting.
  8. Apply a loose powder to set the concealer using a fluffy brush.
  9. Ke$ha Makeup

    I had a pimple when I wore this makeup. Can you tell where it is?

    Depending on where the pimple is, you might want to wear a little bit more blush than usual. If you’re really self-conscious about it, you can always wear more makeup to focus the attention to other areas. For example, if the pimple is on your chin, you could wear a smoky eye. If it’s on your forehead, wear a bright lip.

  10. Go out and have fun! Your pimple doesn’t look that bad, I swear.

That’s all, everyone! Not too difficult and it definitely makes you feel way more at ease with your appearance. Do you have any pimple-hiding tricks? Let me know in the comments.

OPI Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees

26 Aug

Hey everyone! Are you battening down the hatches for the hurricane? I’m kind of skeptical about it, to be honest, but it must be a big deal if NYC’s MTA is shutting down tomorrow…

I have another weather-appropriate manicure for you guys today. The shrinkage on yesterday’s manicure was bugging me, so I changed polishes.

OPI Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees

OPI Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees nail polish

OPI Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees is a very dark slate – almost black – with a subtle shimmer. I love this color – it’s just like a stormy sky!

Pros: It’s almost absurdly flattering on everyone I’ve seen wear it. I’ve never seen another shade like it, and I love unique colors.

Cons: Not sure if my batch was weird, but it applied oddly (dried smoothly though!) – with almost no pigment at first. It was even after three coats, which is my standard number, so no complaints there.

OPI Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees was part of their fall Spain collection from 2009 (a stellar group of shades, in my opinion), but you can still find it here on drugstore.com and at beauty supply stores.

Stay safe this weekend, readers! Do you have to evacuate where you are?

Product Spotlight: Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

26 Aug

Hey readers! It’s Friday! I actually kind of feel like it’s Saturday; I was out late last night with a friend of mine from middle school and we had a great time!

I have middle school on the brain right now – did you guys hate that time as much as I did? – so I thought I’d do a Product Spotlight on an item I used a lot in middle school and high school. It’s a rather well-known skincare product and I’d recommend it to most people with the occasional pimple.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, picture courtesy of mariobadescu.com

Mario Badescu‘s Drying Lotion is pretty cool. The way you see it in the picture above is how you use it – no shaking! Best used before bedtime, you dip a Q-tip into the pink sediment at the bottom of the bottle (which is predominantly made up of calamine), take it out, and apply to any blemishes on your face. (This won’t work for blackheads, just anything red and inflamed.) The product residue dries pimples out, leaving you to wake up with a significantly smaller spot (or even nothing left there at all)! It might take Mario Badescu Drying Lotion more than one night to work on a really persistent blemish, but it’s better for your skin than having you pick at it. I’m a big fan – I went through perhaps three bottles of this stuff over the course of six years, and it’s extremely rare for me to both use something up and repurchase it.

You can find Mario Badescu Drying Lotion from several retailers, including Nordstrom and CVS, or you can just buy it from Mario Badescu‘s website.

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