Smashbox 8-Piece Kit Giveaway For The Shades Of U Subscribers

Tomorrow is the first of December, and it's really beginning to look a lot like Christmas (*hums the tune*). To celebrate the coming holidays, here is a Holiday Giveaway Sweepstakes for the subscribers and followers of The Shades Of U residing in US and Canada (don't worry international subscribers, you will have your own giveaway).

This time, our sponsor is, an online cosmetic boutique with amazing deals on many high-end cosmetics and beauty products. If you browse their site, you would be surprised at how low their prices are compared to other cosmetic boutiques. What is even more amazing is that they dropped the prices even lower on ALL gift sets and kits! Care for a bonus discount? They are offering an ADDITIONAL 15% off gift sets and kits with code "GIFTS15" until 12/15/09. Gotta love beauty on the cheap :)

extra 15 off gift sets
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with this company and I receive no compensation for publishing this entry.

Take a look at the lovely prize in store for the lucky subscriber, courtesy of our sponsor,

Smashbox 8-Piece Master's Class Vol. 2 Kit (a $176 value)

Kit includes:
* Lip Brilliance Palette in 'Perfect Pout'
* Eyelights Palette in 'Special Effects'
* Bronzer/Blush Duo In 'Contour/Pop'
* Cream Eye Liner Pencil In 'Midnight Brown'
* Photo Finish Foundation Primer (0.5 oz)
* Smashbox Shadow Brush #26
* Smashbox Kabuki Brush
* Instructional DVD by Smashbox makeup artist Patrick Tumey

One lucky winner from the United States or Canada shall win a Smashbox 8-Piece Master's Class Vol. 2 Kit.

Contest Mechanics:

1. This contest is open only to The Shades Of U subscribers in the United States and Canda. Again, USA and Canada only please!

2. You must be a subscriber to become eligible to win. Subscribe to The Shades Of U via one of the following: the RSS Feed, e-mail subscription, Twitter, or Blogger/Google Friend Connect or Facebook. If you are currently a subscriber, you are automatically eligible to join and you do not need to re-subscribe.

3. Fill up the contest entry form below, include your name and e-mail address (don't worry, only I can read your information and these details shall not be published). You also need to answer the question, "How are you subscribed to The Shades Of U?". Your answer should be one of these:

a. RSS Feed
b. Twitter (include Twitter ID)
c. E-mail subscription (include email address)
d. Blogger/Google (include Blogger name)
e. Facebook (include Facebook name)

4. The contest shall run starting today,November 30, 2009 and ends on Friday, December 11, 2009 at 11:45 p.m. EST.

5. Contest Machine and The Shades Of U shall randomly pick one winner, announce the name of the winner on this blog, and shall contact the winner via the e-mail address provided in the entry form.

6. The winner shall respond with his/her mailing address within seventy-two (72) hours of the delivery of the notification e-mail; otherwise, the entry shall be disqualified and another winner shall be chosen. Thus, this is also the reason why entrants should subscribe to this blog to be promptly apprised of the winner's name just in case the notification e-mail does not go through or goes to the spam inbox.

7. The Shades Of U will then forward the information to the sponsor, which shall then ship the prize to the winner. As such, The Shades Of U does not have any control as to when the prize will be shipped out, but the sponsor has committed to ship the products to the recipient as soon as The Shades Of U determines the winner.

Goodluck to everyone! Remember: This is a US and Canada-only contest. For my international readers, watch out for more giveaways from The Shades Of U.

To join, fill up the entry form below from Contest Machine and click "Submit" (Note: remember to scroll all the way down to the "Submit" button in the contest entry form!).

Golds and Coppers Using Aromaleigh Mineral Eyeshadows

Happy belated Thanksgiving! How was your holiday? Mine was pretty great. We had two different kinds of turkey - the smoked and the deep-fried, and both were fabulous. Here's a photo of the deep-fried one my husband made:

(sorry for the askewness of the placemats! We had to put the platter down fast as it was heavy and hot!)

He injected it with his concoction of pineapple juice, garlic, and what-not, then dry-rubbed the bird with spices. It was so good!

Anyways, on to the Eye Of The Day!

I've always been a fan of Aromaleigh mineral shadows, mainly because of the great pigmentation and amazing texture. They really are stand-outs in the world of mineral makeup as they are very pigmented and the texture is beautiful, finish is also great. I try to own at least a sample of each mineral shadow from Aromaleigh, because I can create endless looks using the collection, and a little goes a long way.

Some of the colors I like from Aromaleigh are its vibrant golds, coppers, and bronzes. Here's a holiday-inspired look using some of my favorite Aromaleigh shadows.

Here is a step-by-step. All products Aromaleigh unless otherwise specified.

Apply Urban Decay primer potion all over lid and lower lashline. Using a fluffy shader brush, apply MAC paint pot in Cash Flow on lid.

Using a stiff shader brush (MAC 239 or Loew Cornell 3/8" maxine's mop), apply Gleam dry on inner lid.

Using the same brush, apply Satin Laces dry in patting motions on mid to outer lid.

Using the same brush, apply Crucible dry on outer V.

Blend the edges softly using the Japonesque angled crease brush (#231).

The 13 Worst Perfumes
The 13 Worst Perfumes

These fragrances had readers gagging, itching and more

First, a disclaimer: fragrance is a deeply personal thing, and one person's signature scent is another's gag-inducer. So, take these reviews with a grain of salt. But, there is something to be said for perfumes that have multiple people complaining of horrid stenches or headaches. So read on before your next fragrance purchase, at least you'll be more likely to spare your cubicle-mate some nausea.

See fragrance

No. 13: Clinique Aromatics Elixir, $42.50 average reader rating: 6.5

Some readers say the fragrance is "something even my grandmother would have snubbed ..."

No. 12: Yves Saint Laurent Beauty Parisienne Eau de Parfum, $39 average reader rating: 6.5

Readers say this perfume "screams old lady," is "not youthful at all," and has a "dated fragrance ..."

No. 11: Lush Go Green, $7.95 average reader rating: 6.4

Readers say to stay away unless you like smelling "like a Christmas tree air freshener ..."

Want to see what's no. 1? Click here!

Find the Perfect Long-Lasting Lipstick
Find the Perfect Long-Lasting Lipstick

Real women put them to the test so you don't have to

Looking for a lipstick that'll last through your holiday party (not to mention a few trips under the mistletoe)? Well, we've found some for you. had readers try nine different lipsticks that claim to be long lasting in order to find out which ones will really stand the test of time. Check out the results here.

See lipsticks

Beauty Recipes that Reduce Stress -- and Make Great Gifts
Beauty Recipes that Reduce Stress -- and Make Great Gifts

Need to relax or have a gift recipient who does? Make it easier with these homemade beauty products

We're loving these simple beauty recipes for several reasons. One, they're so easy to make, all they use are ingredients you already have in your kitchen, no pricey trip to the store necessary. Two, they're all specifically tailored to relax and de-stress you -- and who couldn't use that this time of year? Three, there are quite a few that you could package up and give as gifts, it's an inexpensive but thoughtful present your friends and family are sure to love!

See recipes

EcoTools Paraben-Free Hand and Foot Cream: A Review


I've always loved EcoTools because of their commitment to protect the environment, as well as their amazing, super affordable vegan brushes that are cruelty-free and made of recycled materials. This time, EcoTools has come up with their own bath and body collection that is sure to become a hit with those who crave for natural ingredients in their body products. EcoTools bath and body products are 98% natural. They are paraben-free, phthalate-free and cruelty-free. Like their makeup brush counterparts, they also are housed in recyclable containers and the ingredients are biodegradable. The clincher is that these are also dermatologist, allergy and clinically tested. What more can you ask for?

I was given some media samples by the company and I really love the hand cream. I also like the names! The hand cream is called One Hand Helps The Other. I am such a sucker for hand creams because I live in a very dry environment. As such, I really need to apply hand cream everytime I wash my hands to prevent my skin from drying.

One Hand Helps The Other smells pleasant, a light minty scent that is pleasing to the senses. It is a white cream that moisturizes without making the hands feel sticky or greasy, which I hate. I keep a tube of this in the office and it keeps my hands moisturized and presentable throughout the day.

The foot cream is called Love Heels All, an almost-clone of the hand cream except that it is thicker in consistency. It also doesn't give a greasy feel, and soothes the feet with its minty concoction. However, as opposed to my dislike of greasy hand creams, I like my foot cream to be a little more emollient, and yes, greasy does it for me when it comes to foot creams. That said, I like the hand cream better than the foot cream, but the latter is great for the heels too. The smell is very relaxing as well. This would be the perfect foot massage cream.

All in all, you can't go wrong with these babies. They are 98% natural, paraben, phthalate and cruelty-free, has great moisturizing properties, and retails for just $7.99 for a 4 oz./118 ml. tube. Definitely a winner for environment and cost-conscious consumers like you and me.

Quick Fixes for Perfect Eyebrows
Quick Fixes for Perfect Eyebrows

These expert tricks will help get you gorgeous arches at home

Few things can transform our faces more than eyebrows. It's critical not to overpluck, or pluck them into a bad shape. Doing your own brows can be a little intimidating at first, but with these tips from brow expert Kristie Streicher, from the Warren Tricomi Salons in Los Angeles and New York, you'll be a master plucker in no time.

See tips

Pinks and Purples Using Sassy and Aromaleigh Mineral Shadows



I love mineral eyeshadows so I decided to do another purply look featuring Sassy and Aromaleigh mineral shadows. I love the pigmentation and texture of Aromaleigh, while Sassy has nice colors and their mattes are pretty easy to blend.

I intended to show a step-by-step application but for some reason, my camera acted up again and I was only able to salvage photos taken mid-way through the eyeshadow application process. Nonetheless, I hope you can still appreciate the photos!

Apply MAC Beige-ing shadestick all over lid and lower lashline. Apply MAC Fresco Rose paint pot on lid. Foil Sassy Minerals Wonderland on lid using the Loew Cornell Maxine's Mop 3/8" (MAC 239 dupe) using MAC Charged Water. Using the same brush, apply Sassy Minerals Endless Party dry on outer lid and crease. Using the same brush, apply AL Colette on outer V. Blend with the 224 brush. Apply AL Blueorchid to blend with Colette. To lighten up the hues and to create a gradient look, apply AL Vigil of Change on outer V and crease using a stiff shader brush, then blend in one direction sweeps using the 224.

Using Stila No. 5 brush, apply AL Air & Light to highlight the browbone.

Victoria Secret's Fashion Show Event



Last November 18th, 30 Victoria’s Secret supermodels, including Victoria’s Secret Angels Heidi Klum, Alessandra Ambrosio, Doutzen Kroes, Marisa Miller, Miranda Kerr, and PINK’s Behati Prinsoloo, took over Times Square to celebrate the return of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show airing on CBS Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 10 PM.

Doutzen Kroes holiday shopping

Alessandra holiday shopping

Victoria’s Secret Angels Alessandra Ambrosio, Doutzen Kroes, and Marisa Miller shared their tips for selecting the perfect gift for the one you love and their favorite gifts, including top beauty picks for the holidays.

1. Marisa Miller’s favorites:
o Love Rocks Fragrance $12-$39 , the newest fragrance from Victoria’s Secret Beauty was inspired by the edgy allure of rock ‘n’ roll.

2. Alessandra Ambrosio favorites:
o The Lacie Collection $16-$48, a collection that features bright, supersoft stretch lace in a one-size-fits all thong, hiphugger, bralette, slip and more.

3. Doutzen Kroes' favorites:
o Gift Cards, the perfect gift that allows the one you love to buy their favorite items that have been on their wish list forever!

Everything You Need to Fight Adult Acne
Everything You Need to Fight Adult Acne

What causes it, how to treat it and more is all here

Got adult acne? Join the club -- nearly half of women over 25 do! Luckily, there is something you can do about those annoying blemishes. With this guide you'll get everything you need -- from products to tips and more -- to have the clear skin you want. Because acne is something that's definitely better left to the young-ins.

See guide

Sassy Minerals: A Look and Review


I've had the opportunity to try a new brand of mineral makeup called Sassy Minerals. I did a look featuring their eye shadows HERE, and I liked the texture and pigmentation of the products (I especially loved the Gasoline Rainbow liner). This time, here's a look featuring Sassy Minerals foundation and cheek blusher.


I received samples from the company in Golden Medium and Golden Tan. Like with many mineral makeup companies, I sadly did not get an exact match. I had to mix a 50-50 ratio of each shade to come up with my own customized color, maybe because I recently got a tan from my trip to Cabo San Lucas. Anyways, for those who are curious as to the ingredients, Sassy Mineral foundation contains few ingredients, which would make every mineral foundation purist like me happy: mica, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, iron oxides, and boron nitride. My skin is very sensitive, and its tendency to break out is directly proportional to the number of ingredients in the foundation, especially when parabens and non-natural ingredients are added.

The finish of the foundation is on the matte side, but it gets dewy the minute I spritz on a facial mist and buff the foundation in. I like how smooth and flawless the finish is. Staying power is good and most importantly, it didn't give me any breakouts.



(See a look featuring Sassy Minerals after the jump)

I also tried their So Cheeky Shimmer blush in Over the Garden Gate, and I am surprised that this shade really went well with my skintone. I applied it using a duo-fiber brush. I sprinkled a tiny bit of the minerals on the lid and swirled my brush onto it. I applied sparingly and it's just the perfect soft copper rose. I also like that it is not splotchy when applied, unlike some mineral blushes I've tried.


All in all, I like the quality, texture and finish of Sassy Minerals foundation and blush. The only downside I can think about is that I don't think I have an exact match when it comes to my skintone. However, having two shades is good in the sense that I can tweak my shade because my skintone varies in depth during the course of the year.

How to Have a Feel-Good Holiday this Year
How to Have a Feel-Good Holiday this Year

'Tis the season to be an earth-friendly, environmentally conscious anti-scrooge

Sleigh bells are ringing, snow is glistening, and you're all about that walk through a winter wonderland. But along with the joy of these seasonal outdoor elements comes the stress of holiday shopping, party hopping and family gathering. We say, no need to be gloomy when there's merriness to be found. Here, ways to relax and rejoice, while respecting the green (both the Earth and your loot).

See tips

Quiz: Could Your Winter Hairstyle Use a Boost?
Quiz: Could Your Winter Hairstyle Use a Boost?

Find out with this quiz, and get tips to kick it up a notch

Sure, you may spend most of your time these days bundled up in coats and scarves, but that doesn't mean your look can't still have an edge, right? Find out if your style is lacking and what you can do to change it with this quiz.

Take the quiz

Top 20 Earth-Friendly Beauty Gifts
Top 20 Earth-Friendly Beauty Gifts

The hottest skin care, makeup and hair care on every green chick's holiday wish list

Why not try something a little different this season and look for eco-friendly gifts? Any of the products in this round-up will fit the bill -- they're all eco-friendly and tested and approved by (notoriously picky) readers.

See products

OPI Feet Nail Strengthener and Nicole by OPI Love Your Life: An Unusual Combination




I just tried this unusual combination of Nicole by OPI Love Your Life over OPI Feet Nail Strengthener. I didn't even know that the latter was for the piggies - I just thought it was a nice color when I pulled it from my nail polish stash- I didn't know it would look nice as a base for Love Your Life. The latter is a pink-tinged white base with pink micro-glitter and super cute heart-shaped glitters mixed into it. So adorable! I layered it over OPI Feet and it was actually a good mix. What really impressed me was the staying power- this was my manicure for 6 straight days with nary a chip! Impressive! I didn't know if it was the OPI Feet or Love Your Life that really latched on to the nail to make it chip-free, but whatever it was, the combination was amazing.

Introducing In Bloom Fragrance By Reese Witherspoon For Avon

Avon introduces In Bloom, the first fragrance developed in partnership with Reese Witherspoon. Alluring and mysterious, In Bloom by Reese Witherspoon is for the multi-faceted woman who’s down to earth yet glamorous, elegant, authentic and confident.

The fragrance is an invitation to experience the sensual side of a woman. Precious and exquisite, the scent combines a delicate femininity with a seductive allure and a mysterious beauty.

"In developing In Bloom, I found myself drawn to the scents of my childhood in Tennessee,” explains Reese Witherspoon. “We had a great big Magnolia tree in the back yard, and it's that beautiful white blossom that inspired the perfume. In Bloom is indicative of where I am in my life today. I'm feeling very strong and independent, and so happy, so full of life. The fragrance truly captures that feeling¬¬—it's very sensual, very romantic and alluring.”

The Fragrance:
In Bloom is a Floral Oriental Woody fragrance that sparkles with a provocative blend of feminine floral notes:

Georgia Peach Tea Leaves, Crisp Greens

Star Gardenia, Magical Magnolias, Night Blooming Jasmine

Enveloping Cashmere Woods, Hypnotic Florals, Amber Wood Crystals

The golden hue of In Bloom glows through a delicate, rounded glass bottle topped with a flower in full bloom.

The Limited Edition Parfum:
The fragrance will also be available as a limited edition Parfum that features a lavishly sensual and concentrated mix of blooming flowers. It is housed in a special gift box, featuring a bottle charm of Reese’s monogram.

The In Bloom by Reese Witherspoon Fragrance Collection
In Bloom by Reese Witherspoon Eau de Parfum ($34.00, 1.7 fl. oz.)
In Bloom by Reese Witherspoon Limited Edition Parfum ($59.00, 1 fl. oz.)
In Bloom by Reese Witherspoon Body Mist ($15.00, 3.4 fl. oz.)
In Bloom by Reese Witherspoon Body Lotion ($15.00, 7 fl. oz.)
In Bloom by Reese Witherspoon Shower Gel ($15.00, 7 fl. oz.)

In Bloom by Reese Witherspoon exclusively for Avon will be available beginning in November 2009 through Avon Representatives nationwide. To find an Avon Representative call 1-800-FOR-AVON or visit

Best and Worst of Wen
Best and Worst of Wen

Wondering if Wen products really work or if it's all hype? See what the buzz is about

You've probably seen a Wen infomercial, or if not, you may have heard of it. The all-natural brand was created by celebrity hair stylist Chaz Dean, and is "a new approach to the way you cleanse your hair." readers share their six favorite Wen products, as well as two they won't be reordering.

See products

The Worst: No. 2: Wen Lavender Cleansing Conditioner, $28 average reader rating: 5.9

"I could not do anything with my hair. It would not hold style or shape ..."

No. 1: Wen Sweet Almond Mint Texture Balm, $26 average reader rating: 4.4

"You have to be very careful otherwise your hair will stick together and get an almost greasy look to it ..."

The Best: No. 6: Wen Tea Tree Cleansing Conditioner, $28 average reader rating: 7.3

It "takes away dandruff, cleanses and conditions hair, strengthens hair [and] moisturizes" all in one ...

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