Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cellulite Creams That Actually Work

TotalBeauty.com
Cellulite Creams that Actually Work

From Chanel to L'Oreal, which creams firmed thighs and which failed


Let's face it: Cellulite is a part of life most of us need to accept. Experts generally agree that while you can't completely get rid of it, you can minimize its appearance with the right products. But what are those? We had a panel test a variety of at-home approaches. Find out which products worked best for them -- and which were a waste of time and money.

See products

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Finger Paints, OPI and Nail Art Polishes Haul, Plus Organizing Ideas

Here are just some of the items I got from this amazing nail supply store that I found in our neighborhood. Take note: it's not a beauty supply store, it is a huge store solely for nail care, nail art and polish supply. It's a nail polish/nail art enthusiast's candy store! Tons of nail polish, rhinestones, nail art decals, stickers, artificial and natural nail art, the works! I believe they are also wholesaler for a lot of nail salons in our area. Good thing they do retail too. Here are some stuff I bought from that store.


I finally found some Designer Series from OPI in our area. I got DS in Opulence and Signature that are really pretty. I also got Fiji Weejee Fawn which would be a great office color. Speaking of the office, I don't really indulge in nail art because I work in a very conservative office environment, but it would be fun to play with nail art on weekends. I decided to get some supplies like the striper nail art polishes in silver and gold.


On my second trip to that nail supply store, I got some more striper polishes (they have extra long and thin brushes that would be great for adding designs to your nails). They are pretty inexpensive for $2 each. I also got a french tip brush that would make it a lot easier to apply french tips to your own nails. You simply apply the white tip using your white nail polish, then dip the brush in 100% pure acetone and clean the bottom of the white tip to make it a neat crescent shape. Then apply the base color over the white tip, apply top coat and you're done!


I also got OPI Significant Other Color polish, and it is such a pretty lavender with lots of white pearl shimmer. It is very pretty.







I usually don't do nail designs for the reasons stated above, but I couldn't resist getting this dotter set for only $7. It has 5 dual-sided dotters that would be perfect for any kind of design you can think for your nails. Now that I have this, I am pressured to do some designs!



This one though is a haul from Sally Beauty Supply. Easel Come, Easel Go was bought for a co-polish enthusiast, while I got the Pretty as a Portrait and Putty in My Hands for my own collection.

Speaking of my nail polish collection, I have been having a hard time looking for a particular polish because they were just housed in those six-pack cartons that 8ty8 or Head-2-Toe online nail stores ship their nail polishes in. I finally asked my husband to make me a nail polish display rack we often see in nail salons, but he made me several nail polish drawers instead. I have a desk that has a significant amount of vacant space, so he decided to put that space to good use. He made several drawers with rollers and compartments that would house my polish and nail care tools and inclements. Here is what he came up with (the polishes were not yet organized when this picture was taken; it was hubby who dumped everything haphazardly):


The "Don't Bite It" anti-nail bite polish is for my 5-year-old. Note for moms: Do your kids get sick most of the time in school or daycare? They probably bite their nails or put their fingers in their mouths a lot. Schools and daycares are germ factories, so I had to prevent my child from putting his hands in his mouth. I paint his fingernails with the anti-nail biting polish regularly. I told him he would get sick if he bites his hands (he thought it was the "poison" on his nails), and the nasty bitter taste prevents nail biting. This anti-nail biting polish single-handedly helped my child become healthier in school and daycare.

Obviously, this wouldn't hold all my polishes so he is making maybe 3 more of these. I love how convenient it is because it is built right in my desk, so I can just pull the drawers from where I am sitting right now and pick which color I want to use. I also love the fact that the polishes are neatly tucked away so our room isn't cluttered with dozens of polishes all over the place.



Remember this ingenious idea, again from my MacGyver husband? This is exactly the position I want my brushes to be in while drying from their weekly washes, especially my synthetic mineral makeup kabuki and flat-top brushes because it takes one whole day for them to dry up. I want all the moisture away from the ferrules and the base of the hairs, so I want them upside down. My husband thought of doing it another way, so he decided to make this for me:



It's a wet foam for fresh flowers that you can buy at Wal-Mart or any other kind of general merchandise store. He skewered it with a pipe thing and attached suction cups on either side and attached it to the wall of the bathroom. I have three more of these so I can replace the wet foam after several uses. You just gotta admire the ingenious ways you can dry your makeup brushes that hubby comes up with!

Best and Worst Highlighters For Your Hair Type

TotalBeauty.com
Best and Worst Highlights for Your Hair Type

Celebrities like Jennifer Aniston should be your hair color inspiration, but Lindsay Lohan, not so much


Considering highlights or wondering what went wrong with yours? Let these celebrities guide you towards the best (and away from the worst) highlights for your hair type.

See hairstyles

Friday, May 29, 2009

Peachy Bronze Look Using MAC Golden Nectar Highlight Powder and Brave New Bronze Lipstick





I finally succumbed and got Brave New Bronze lipstick from the Style Warrior collection. I am so glad I did. I love the bronze undertones in this lipstick and is just perfect for most skintones, I believe. This is going to be one of my favorite lipsticks this season, together with Purple Rite lipstick from the same collection. I like the satin formula of Brave New Bronze. It is more matte than lustre or amplified cream formulas, but I love the solidness of the color and the fact that it lasts a pretty long time on the lips. Topped with lipglass, it's going to be one luscious pair of lips for you.

In this look, I used both Brave New Bronze and MAC's new offering from Naked Honey, the Golden Nectar highlight powder. I am loving this highlight powder. Some of you know that I collect mineralize skinfinishes (MSFs), but Golden Nectar's finish is not at all like the MSFs. It is a little more subdued, but it still gives the oomph that MSF gives. Also, I LOVE the fact that this also acts like a bronzer. It gives this sunkissed color to the skin that prevents it from looking sickly, pale or anemic. This is a very nice surprise for me. I thought that this would just be a gimmick, but it is a very nice skin finisher, especially for the summer when you want that sexy tanned glow. In the look below, I used it over my Lumiere veena (matte) mineral blush in Magnolia to kick it up a notch.

For the eyes, I used MAC pigment in Goldenaire foiled on lid, then shadows in Remotely Grey, Mulch, and Beauty Marked on the crease. I used Almay liquid liner in Black to line, and Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Zero on waterline. For the lips, I used En Pointe lipglass over Brave New Bronze.

Swatches and complete look below the cut.









16 Beauty Myths -- Busted!

TotalBeauty.com
16 Beauty Myths -- Busted!

We dug up the facts on everything from fighting cellulite to getting a "safe" tan


Beauty info gets passed through the generations but is some of it urban legend? See if you can determine what's myth and what's not.

Take the quiz

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dove Heat Defense Therapy Series: Heat Activated Protect & Shine Mist Review



This is Part I of the Dove Heat Defense Therapy Series on this blog. I will be reviewing the Heat Activated Protect & Shine Mist. What a mouthful, eh? It is basically a heat protection spray that gives your hair shine while protecting your tresses from the damaging heat of curling irons, blow dryers and other hair gadgets that strip your hair of its lustre and health. Here are some more information on the product, how heat damages the hair, and how the Dove Heat Defense Therapy System can help:

Heat Defense Therapy System

DAMAGE CONTROL: DOVE HAIR CARE EXPOSES THE TRUTH BEHIND WOMEN’S HAIR DAMAGE
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., May 5, 2009 – In a world where women spend an average of 30 minutes daily on damage causing activities such as brushing, coifing, and styling hair, it is surprising that nearly nine in ten U.S. women still believe their hair has little or no damage . The truth is all women have hair damage but most do not realize it. Whether it is split ends, frizz, breakage or even lack of body, damage is preventing women from achieving the beautiful locks they desire. Instead of struggling with damage or drastically altering their daily habits, women can find simple solutions with Dove Therapy System shampoos and conditioners, which contain unique serums to help repair, protect and moisturize hair resulting in beautifully smooth hair from root to tip.

“Daily hair routines cause the damage that stands between women and beautiful hair,” says celebrity stylist Gretta Monahan. “Achieving better hair days does not have to be a struggle, women can fight damage starting in the shower. Dove Therapy System shampoos and conditioners are made with unique serums that precisely target damage where hair needs it most, leaving hair looking smooth from root to tip.”

All Hair Has Some Degree of Damage …
Women are knowingly and unknowingly inflicting damage on their hair every day. On average, their daily hair routine takes almost 35 minutes, 30 of which are spent on damage causing activities. Whether hair looks healthy, shiny and smooth or suffers from symptoms of damage like frizz and dryness, warding off the damage should start with recognizing the everyday activities that harm hair.

• Hair Brushing: 82 percent of women brush their hair daily or more, which can cause up to 23 percent more damage to hair
• Ponytail Holders: Nearly half of women hold their hair in ponytail holders once a week or more, which can cause up to 20 percent more damage to hair
• Heat Styling: 60 percent of women heat style (includes blow dryers, curling irons and flat irons) their hair once a week or more, which can cause up to 33 percent more damage.

There Is Good News …
Women do not have to change their daily hair routines to reduce damage. Dove Therapy System shampoos and conditioners with unique serums help repair and protect hair. Each serum seeks out and repairs damaged hair by depositing gel-phase conditioners and fine silicone droplets in an even layer, leaving hair with a conditioned, clean feel without weighing it down.

Dove is committed to providing consumers the best products to repair and protect their hair damage. To prove it Dove created the Dove Hair Repair Challenge. Customers who are not convinced that Dove conditioners repair hair damage can receive a full refund (up to an $8.00 value). Visit dovehair.com for more information about the Hair Repair Challenge and the Dove Study Results.

About the Dove Hair Care Study
All statistics are a result of the September 2008 Dove Hair Care Global Study conducted by Strategy One, an applied research consulting firm. The online survey was completed by 1,000 women in the U.S. between the ages of 18-64. Margin of error is +/- 3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

About Dove
The Dove mission is to make women feel more beautiful every day by challenging today’s stereotypical view of beauty and inspiring women to take great care of themselves. Dove, manufactured by Unilever, is the No. 1 personal wash brand nationwide. One in every three households uses a Dove product , which includes beauty bars, body washes, face care, anti-perspirant/deodorants, body mists, hair care and styling aids. Dove is available nationwide in food, drug and mass outlet stores.

What is Dove Heat Activated Protect & Shine Mist?

Lightweight Heat Activated Mist helps defend the internal structure of your hair from the damaging effects of blow dryers, flat irons & curling irons. Leaves hair feeling conditioned, soft and shiny.

Ingredients:

Water (Aqua), VP/VA Copolymer, Dimethiconol, PEG 40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, TEA Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate, Trehalose, Polyquaternium 6, Glycerin, Dimethiconol/Silsequioxane Copolymer, Fragrance (Parfum), Laureth 23, Cyclomethicone, PEG/PPG 20/15 Dimethicone, Ammonium Carbonate, Adipic Acid, Cetrimonium Chloride, Citric Acid, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylisothiazolinone


See the full review and link to get free samples after the jump!



MY TAKE: I have fine, color-treated hair that needs a volume boost every day. That said, I always use a hair dryer to add more volume to my hair and to just give a polished, taken-care-of look to it. I realize though that constant blow-drying can strip the hair of vital nutrients and just make it look dull and lifeless, and basically fried to death. My dilemma however was finding a heat protectant spray that won't bog down my already limp hair. As much as possible, I don't want to use too many products on my hair as I notice that too much gunk on the hair just make it look and feel weighed down. If I am aiming for volume, that is not a good thing.

I tried this new Heat Defense Therapy Heat Activated Protect & Shine Mist from Dove and I really was pleasantly surprised with this product. I spritz it on my hair before I expose it to the brutal heat of the blow dryer, and it just gives a natural shine to my hair without weighing it down, AND it protects my tresses from the heat. How cool is that? It doesn't leave a sticky residue, and the hair really feels soft to the touch. It also controls static while giving the hair a lovely soft sheen. It does have a light fragrance to it, but I hardly notice it.

I guess the best thing I can say about this product is that it does what it says, and yet doesn't bog my fine hair down. If only for that, I give it two thumbs up! If you have frequently styled hair with regular exposure to curling irons, blow dryers, hair straighteners and such other heat-aided styling gadgets, this product is a must have, I believe. Not only will it protect your hair from the punishing heat, it also gives a nice sheen to the tresses without leaving sticky, icky residue.

You can purchase your Heat Defense Therapy Protect & Shine Mist from drugstores and other retailers nationwide, or online at drugstore.com. You can also get free samples of these at the Dove website.

Watch out for Part II of the Dove Heat Defense Therapy Series featuring the shampoo and conditioner!

What Kind of Makeup Fashionista Are You

TotalBeauty.com
What Kind of Makeup Fashionista Are You?

Find the best makeup for your personal style with this quiz


Are you obsessed with the new neon trend or are you more of a stick-to-what-works kinda gal? Take this quiz to find out what kind of makeup fashionista you are and in turn you'll get customized makeup tips and product recommendations that'll help keep your beauty needs satisfied.

Take the quiz

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Summer Beauty Tips with Lancôme's Tarek Abbas

Summer is finally here and that means it’s time to update your look! Are you in need of a few makeup tips to kick-off the season? Lancôme National Makeup Artist Tarek Abbas is hosting one-on-one appointments at Nordstrom Chicago on 5/29 and 5/30. Space is limited so book your appointment now to get an inside look at the season’s hottest beauty tips and how to create a flawless finish for summer.



Tarek has been creating glamorous looks throughout the years and has touched the faces of the most beautiful celebrities and models including Elettra Wiedemann, Juliette Binoche, Selena Breed, Eva Longoria, Goldie Hawn and many more. He is one of Lancôme’s go-to makeup artists and has become Lancôme spokesmodel Arlenis Sosa’s favorite artist. Tarek created Arlenis’ fabulous look for the Met Ball this May.






Nordstrom Michigan Avenue on 5/29
10:00 am – 6:00 pm
55 East Grand Avenue, Chicago IL 60611
Number to book appointment: 312-464-1515 ext. 1427

10:00 am – 11:30 am – General appointments. There is a $50.00 reservation fee fully redeemable towards Lancôme products.

11:30 am – 1:30 pm – One-on-one appointments. There is a $100.00 reservation fee fully redeemable towards Lancôme products.

1:30 pm – 6:00 pm – General appointments. There is a $50.00 reservation fee fully redeemable towards Lancôme products.

Nordstrom in Oakbrook on 5/30
10:00 am – 6:00 pm
10 Oakbrook Mall, Oakbrook , IL 60521
Number to book appointment: 630-571-2121 ext. 1064

10:00 am – 12:00 pm – One-on-one appointments. There is a $100.00 reservation fee fully redeemable towards Lancôme products.

12:00 pm – 6:00 pm – General appointments. There is a $50.00 reservation fee fully redeemable towards Lancôme products.

The Top 10 Best-Skin Cities

TotalBeauty.com
The Top 10 Best-Skin Cities

These towns all have perfect conditions for smooth, clear, wrinkle-free skin


In a perfect world, we'd all have flawless-looking skin. In reality, few of us are that lucky. However, some of you are fortunate enough to live where the conditions are ideal for skin. We looked at pollution levels, amount of sunshine, tanning beds per capita, humidity, number of smokers, stress, diet and more to find the places best suited for your skin. Check them out, maybe it's time to relocate?

See cities

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

MAC Naked Honey: Initial Thoughts, Swatches and Review





NOTE: For official images and product information, CLICK HERE.

Naked Honey is one of the usual mid-year, summer offerings of MAC that focuses on summer and all the good things that come with it. Naked Honey is all about highlighters, hand creams, body washes and moisturizers that celebrate nature's gift from a most unlikely source: honey. It is well-known for being a humectant (captures moisture in the air and binds it to the skin) and a healer, both externally and internally. MAC takes advantage of the benefits of honey by creating body products based on this natural substance.

I am very interested in the Naked Honey Hand and Body Cream, described as "a sensuous cream made from bio-converted honey, shea butter, and vitamins C and E derivatives." I am a huge fan of shea butter, so I really would like to try this out and see how the combination of shea butter and honey can help heal my dry skin. More than the hand and body cream, though, I am interested in the Skin Salve- "formulated from honey, beeswax, sunflower oil and other natural ingredients, this rich honey-scented and flavoured salve instantly moisturizes and helps recondition dry skin. Multi-purpose. Use everywhere." I am glad to know that MAC is slowly getting into the natural bandwagon, especially in these environmentally conscious times.

Right now, though, I will be focusing on a few items from Naked Honey that I've tried: the Golden Nectar highlighting powder, Creme de Miel eyeshadow and Buzz lipgloss.

See swatches below the cut....




Golden Nectar is a muted gold tan highlighter with gold shimmer. It has an embossed honeycomb pattern that is jet-milled and has superfine, pearlized particles that create soft highlights on cheek, brow, shoulders, or anywhere on the body. The operative word in the description is "muted". The glow is not at all like the mineralized skinfinishes. It has noticeably low sheen that is neither frosty nor metallic. In short, the glow is subtle but quite noticeable. People who prefer subtle highlights would love this product because it doesn't give an in-your-face shimmer - just a nice, soft sheen that doesn't look fake or greasy.

Creme de Miel is a gorgeous highlighter because I love yellow-white shades. Creme de Miel is a frosty light yellow gold that is very similar to Ricepaper. When you put these two side by side, Creme de Miel looks a tad darker, but swatched on the skin, the latter is lighter with more white undertones than Ricepaper. Since Ricepaper is a staple highlighter for me, Creme de Miel is a must in my book.

Buzz is a dark copper brown with multi-dimensional pearl. This is a unique color for me as I don't have copper bronze lipglasses. It has definite red undertones and would go well with my golds, bronzes, yellows and browns. I love how it lights up the face as well.

I can't give a full review until I check out the other items from this collection. Suffice it to say that as of now, I believe the highlight powders will be the winners in this collection, followed by Creme de Miel eyeshadow and the body products. The fragrances look promising as well. Watch out for Part II of this review.

The Best and Worst Deodorants

TotalBeauty.com
The Best and Worst Deodorants

Which ones do readers say are guaranteed to stop the stink?


Deodorant is just one of those products you need to be able to trust. That's why we asked our readers to share which deodorants kept them sweat and odor free all day and which, well, didn't. Check out their picks, and say goodbye to stinky pits.

See deodorants

The Worst: No. 4: Crystal Body Deodorant Spray, $2.40

TotalBeauty.com average reader rating: 5.4*


"It was very messy. The nozzle would get clogged and the deodorant went everywhere except where I aimed it to go..."

No. 3: Clarins Gentle Care Cream Deodorant, $15

TotalBeauty.com average reader rating: 5.2*


Readers complain about the "hefty price" and the "odd scent." They also say "the cream is a little messy..."

The Best: No. 8: Secret Clinical Strength, $6.99

TotalBeauty.com average reader rating: 8.3*


"I have hyper-hydrosis, and it makes me feel disgusting," one reader says. "This is the only non-prescription strength product I can use, and it works!"

Want to see the rest of the list? Click here!


(EDITOR'S NOTE: I totally agree with No. 1 Best - it's what I use, and it's the very best I've tried!)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Gold and Bronze Look Using MAC Style Warrior's Solar Bits





Happy Memorial Day everyone! I hope you had a great three-day weekend. Here's a look using MAC Style Warrior Solar Bits in Scatterrays and Bronzescape. It's very important to note that two requirements for the application of Solar Bits are the following: (1) a good, tacky base, and (2) mixing medium. I used Urban Decay primer potion, then added Rubenesque paint pot in order to make the product adhere to the lid better. Mixing medium is another important tool because the product is hard to work with when it is dry. It is heavy and gritty, and would need to be foiled in order to stick to the skin and create a smooth finish. You don't need to fully soak your brush in water to work with the Solar Bits. A slightly damp brush is perfectly fine. As for the mixing medium, I used MAC's water-based mixing medium for this look, but your Fix+ or Charged Water would work just as well. I don't really recommend plain water as it would come out gritty, chalky and powdery in the end after the water has evaporated. You can make your own mixing medium by mixing 3 parts (distilled or purified) water to 1 part glycerin that you can buy at the drugstore. (NOTE: Do NOT make large batches as the lack of preservative would make this concoction bacteria-prone. Create small batches, like for a week's use, then throw the rest away.)


I used Handwritten to deepen the crease.


I used Shadow A (a matte highlighter) from the 28-piece Neutral palette to highlight.


I used MAC Eversun beauty powder blush on the apples of my cheeks, and MAC Refined Golden bronzer to contour.





I also used MAC Ravishing cremesheen on the lips, topped with Smile dazzleglass.

Here's a step-by-step illustration. All items MAC unless otherwise noted.


Apply Urban Decay primer potion all over lid, brows, lower lashline. Using a fluffy shader brush, apply MAC paint pots in Rubenesque on lid.


Using a stiff shader brush (MAC 239 or Loew Cornell Maxine's Mop 3/8"), foil Scatterrays using MAC mixing medium. Blend with finger. (NOTE: this has been taken before blending the product in; this wasn't the finished step!).


Using a damp shader brush, apply Bronzescape on outer V. Blend with the 224 brush.




Apply more Bronzescape to create depth to the crease. Blend again with the 224.


Apply Handwritten matte2 eyeshadow on the crease to contour using the 226 brush. I used a matte crease color to balance the metallic sheen of the Solar Bits.


Apply matte highlighter (Shadow A) from the Coastal Scents 28-piece neutral palette to highlight using Essence Of Beauty big fluffy brush. Apply Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Zero to tightline and on lower lashline. Apply Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Ye-yo (white) on inner corners. Blend with finger.


Apply Blacktrack fluidline on upper lashline. Apply Red Cherry falsies #1. Apply mascara.











Face:
Monistat gel as primer
MAC Prep + Prime Refined Skin Zone on t-zone
Joppa mineral foundation in Medium Light 2.5
Urban Decay 24/7 concealer on undereye area
Dayna's Rested mineral concealer on undereye area
DreamWorld creme topping (finishing powder) in Peach
MAC Refined Golden bronzer to contour
MAC Eversun beauty powder blush

Lips:
Softlips lip balm
MAC cremesheen lipstick in Ravishing
MAC dazzleglass in Smile

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