Game Changer Beauty: My Amazing Blow Dry Secret Shake & Spray

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The Quick Dry Shake ‘n Spray by My Amazing Blow Dry Secret is one of those products where as soon as I tried it, I got really excited to tell you all about it. I was wandering around ISSE (seriously all you can REALLY do is wander – it’s so huge, lol) and saw a sign that said “cut your blow dry time in half!”

You have my attention.

I have hair down to my waist now. My natural waist, that is – not down on my hips where I actually wear my pants. Point being – REALLY long hair. And while it’s fine, I have a lot of it. Blow drying usually takes me 20 minutes or so with my HANA dryer, maybe slightly more with my T3. That’s a long time when you have to get up really early in the morning, or when you’re trying to get your hair dry before bed!

So I’m talking to the gal at the booth and she’s telling me about how this Shake ‘n Spray will cut my blow drying time in half. I was interested, but skeptical. I mean a lot of products claim to shorten blow dry time, but don’t really make a very noticeable difference. So she explained to me how it works. I’m about to blind you with science.

The magic ingredient in the Shake ‘n Spray is VCOH, or Virgin Coconut Oil Hydrosol. VCOH is natural fractionated cold-pressed coconut oil with super-fine molecules. These molecules are dispersed through the hair, which also disperses the water molecules on your hair. This dispersal makes the water evaporate faster. The coconut oil is left on your hair, which we all know is an excellent conditioner. What you’re left with is dried hair that is silky and shiny!

Oh one more thing – because of how this product works, it also makes your hair dry faster when you’re air drying it. Did I just blow your mind right now?

The reason it’s a Shake ‘n Spray is simple – you have to shake it. Similar to bi-phase eye makeup removers, the Quick Dry spray needs to be mixed in order to work. The clear half is the quick drying agent (VCOH etc.) and the pink part is all sorts of yummy-for-your-hair conditioners and UV protectants. When you shake it, the two halves combine into a sparkly lighter pink! It’s like magic.

Okay, so it seems legit. I received a couple little trial sizes of the spray, which the lady said would last a long time as a little bit goes a long way.

BUT HOW DOES IT WORK?

I towel-dried my hair as usual (just a little squeegee-ing), sprayed the My Amazing Blow Dry Secret Quick Dry Shake ‘n Spray about 4-6 times throughout my hair, and blow dried as usual. You know how long it took my hair to dry?

8. F*cking. Minutes.

So yes, it REALLY really works. It’s available for $25 for a 6.7 oz (200 mL) bottle from the My Amazing Blow Dry Secret website. They also have a shampoo and conditioner, but I haven’t tried those. I’d definitely want to try it after seeing how well this spray works even without the other products! I am impressed!!

An Eyeliner That Lasts On The Waterline – Really

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When I first became an Avon representative, I knew one of the first products I had to try – Avon Supershock Gel Eyeliner Pencil. I freely admit I was attracted to it because I always saw the Pixiwoo girls using it in their videos!

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September Favorites

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Following in my tradition of posting random awesome pictures on my monthly favorites posts, this month features Obama riding on a unicorn shooting rainbows out of his hands. Seemed pretty legit. Thanks, internet!

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Maybelline Big Eyes Mascara Review

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I go through phases when it comes to makeup. Certain times I’m really into one aspect of makeup moreso than all the rest. Right now I’m on a lash kick. I have tried quite a few Maybelline mascaras that I like, and I’ve been hearing a lot about a few newer ones. Maybelline was BOGO 1/2 off at CVS so I picked up a couple of them with my last prescription. ;)

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Ipsy Glam Bag Subscription Review

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Having been an Ipsy member and Glam Bag subscriber for a few months now I feel like I can accurately review the service on a whole for you all now.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Ipsy’s Glam Bag subscription service, first of all…hi, you must be new to the beauty world. Welcome. Anyway, it’s a monthly subscription where for $10/month you receive a makeup bag (purse size, roughly) with several beauty products in it. Some of the products are samples, some of them are full size. Each participating brand also provides some sort of deal for Ipsy subscribers. There is a lot of opportunity for brands to sponsor giveaways for additional prizes, so many times a participating brand will collaborate with the Ipsy stylists for some kind of challenge or contest, too.

I got my first Glam Bag in April, and I just received my August bag. I also got the bag from March (and I think one or 2 of the products in it) at the Generation Beauty event in June.

The Bags
The bags themselves are cute. Some of them are better than others. Each month’s bag has a theme, and the bag usually goes along with the theme somehow. They’re not super high quality bags by any means – basically the same quality as you’d receive with a Gift With Purchase. I don’t know who the manufacturer of the bags is, but I know they pay them less than $1 per bag (industry insider info there, y’all). They’re fine to just toss in a purse and use for a while, but I do not expect them to hold up over time. My favorite pattern is the one on the May Ipsy bag. Check out Pink Sith’s review for some great pics.

The Products
Duh this is what you all want to know about the most. The selection is vastly improved over the Glam Bags of old (when they used to be MyGlam). Here are some of the products I received in various bags:

  • Benefit Ben-a-Tint sample vial (the standard tiny sample)
  • NYX cream blush (full size)
  • Zoya nail polish (full size)
  • Starlooks lip liner (full size)
  • Michael Todd exfoliating scrub (deluxe sample size)
  • Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick (sample size – and can I just talk about how cute a MINI lipstick is?)
  • Pacifica BB Cream (sample)
  • Selena Gomez collection Nicole By OPI nail polish (full size)
  • Nailtini nail polish (full size)
  • Juice Beauty lip gloss (full size)
  • Sexy Hair Powder Play volumizing powder (sample)
  • Sexy Hair Soy Renewal Beach Spray thingy (sample)
  • BH Cosmetics Eye Shadow (little mini sample trio – shadows are about the size of a nickel each)
  • J.Cat Beauty glitter cream palette (full size but totally useless stupid product)
  • J.Cat Beauty false lashes (full size obviously – can’t really sample an eyelash lol)
  • Urban Decay eye shadow (full size – this was a special perk for those who are active on the forums, not everyone got this)
  • Be A Bombshell blush (full size)
  • St. Tropez instant bronzing stuff (deluxe sample)
  • Mica Beauty shimmer powder (I got 2 of these in different bags – I think they’re full size)
  • Pixi Lash Booster mascara (sample)
  • Yaby cosmetics concealer pan (full size but Yaby products are teensy)

Some pretty awesome things there. Definitely a lot more actual color cosmetics than other subscriptions I’ve seen/tried. I was STOKED about the full size Zoya polish and UD shadow. To be honest, the items were more hit than miss for me. Yes there were some misses. St Tropez was a huge bomb for me – I never tan. The Yaby concealer was way too dark (they sent me the 2nd to lightest shade even though my style profile says Very Fair skin – ooookay). It turns out even if they’d gotten it right and sent me the lightest shade, it would have still been too dark…but oh well.

The worst product of all was the J.Cat Beauty glitter cream palette. I tossed it in the garbage where it belongs because I was MAD at it, so I can’t really do a review with pictures. But the product wasn’t eye safe. Yet it came packaged with eye shadow applicators. Wtf? The glitter cream itself was lousy because even if you wanted to use it somewhere besides your eyes (like where???), it never sets. It just says moist and creases up somethin’ fierce.

But remember, there was more good than bad. I was mostly pretty satisfied with Ipsy’s selections!

The Service
I never had any issues with my bags at all, so I never had to contact IpsyCare. They always sent me a shipping notification and I received my bags when it said I was going to. Never had any issues with products arriving damaged or anything of that nature. I know there have been shipping issues with other people’s bags, but my personal experience has been nothing but smooth sailing.

Value
You definitely get a good deal with Ipsy. The $10 gets you a cute bag and some usually mostly full size products. The bag with the Zoya polish for example, that polish is $8 alone. The rest of the items in that bag were definitely worth more than $2.

Overall
If you’re considering subscribing to Ipsy, or you’re currently on the wait list (when bags sell out everyone else gets wait listed), go for it. It’s worth subscribing to.

But I Still Canceled
I just canceled my subscription. It wasn’t due to any negative feelings or experiences with the service. Money is tight right now, and Ipsy doesn’t let you skip a month like my favorite subscription service Julep does, so saving the $10 a month is nice.

But more than that, I’m just kind of over it. I’m up to my eyeballs in makeup bags (hello I used to work for a company that makes them lol), and many of the brands that work with Ipsy are also brands I work with as a blogger, so I didn’t really feel I was being exposed to anything new. I’ve tried Pixi, I’ve tried NYX, I’ve tried UD, etc. That doesn’t make me love the products any less. I just felt like it wasn’t really necessary to have this subscription bag in my life anymore.

I’m looking in to taking the $10 I’m saving and putting it towards something else, which I will tell you about once all of the details are finalized.

 

Are any of you Ipsy subscribers? What was your experience like? Do you give Ipsy a thumbs up or thumbs down?

Quickie Review – Gorgeous Cosmetics Lipstick in Pink Flip

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I had the chance to meet one on one with Gorgeous Cosmetics at Cosmoprof, and they gave me a few of their products to try. The first of which is this lipstick in the shade Pink Flip. 

I really like the packaging. It’s a square, shiny black tube with the Gorgeous logo in beige. The tube has some weight to it without being clunky – it feels solid high quality, which is important because this is a higher price point lipstick. The lipstick retails for $25, so you want there to be nice packaging!

Pink Flip is a very classic, creamy neutral pink. This is the kind of color that pretty much anyone could wear. It’s bright without being overstated, and has a cream finish – not flat matte but not overly shiny either. No frost or shimmer – yeee! :)

pinkflip2Gorgeous Cosmetics Lipstick in Pink Flip

Once applied, this lipstick feels great on my lips. It’s very creamy and comfortable, but doesn’t slip and slide around like the Color Whispers I tried yesterday. The pigmentation is really good too. I just put on a light coating of it in the photo above but I got very complete coverage.

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If pink is your thing, I highly recommend this color. I really like it a lot and it will go with a lot of looks. If pink isn’t your thing, they have a huge shade range with everything from bright purples and orange to neutral nudes.

Gorgeous Cosmetics are available from their website, www.gorgeouscosmetics.com, but also from Nordstrom which is SUPER cool because you’ll get free shipping and you can use ebates! ;) If you’re a MUA, you should totes check out their pro program too, which includes a nice discount. More info at the Gorgeous website.

Maybelline Color Whisper Swatches & Review

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In a world where drugstore brands were all competing to bring us moisturizing, pigmented color… 

Okay so maybe that’s a little dramatic (you DID read it in the movie trailer voice, RIGHT?), but ok we got Revlon Lip Butters, L’Oreal Color Riche Balms, and Maybelline Color Whispers all one right after another. I LOVE Revlon Lip Butters. So I was really excited to try Maybelline Color Whispers too. So much so that when they went on sale at Ulta a while back, I got 6 of them. They were BOGO or BOGO 1/2 off or somethingorother. A lot of bloggers & youtubers seemed to really like these, so I was all excited.

You know what? They’re just okay. Revlon Lip Butters are way better, for me. One thing I do really like is the scent. They’re kind of a sugary lemony scent. Yum.

Here are swatches of the ones I have:

cherryontopMaybelline Color Whisper in Cherry on Top

coralambitionMaybelline Color Whisper in Coral Ambition

gonudeMaybelline Color Whisper in Go Nude

mochamuseMaybelline Color Whisper in Mocha Muse

orangeattitudeMaybelline Color Whisper in Orange Attitude

pinuppeachMaybelline Color Whisper in Pin Up Peach

I love that there are some brighter colors. However, due to the gel formula of these lipsticks, the bright colors remain pretty translucent, which means it’s hard to apply them completely evenly. My lips were slightly dry and irritated from all the swatching by the time I tried Orange Attitude and Cherry on Top, which you can see by the bit of unevenness visible on my upper lip.

The wear time on these is minimal since the formula has a ton of slip, which is another reason why some colors look slightly uneven — the product is moving around on your lips and settling.

The colors are pretty, but these aren’t a go-to or a must have product for me. I will keep and use the ones I have but I most likely won’t be purchasing any more of them, and I certainly gravitate more toward my Lip Butters than these. They retail for around $5-$6 each at drugstores and Ulta.

What do you think of these? They’ve been out for a while so I’m sure a lot of you have tried them! ;)

I’m going to go marinate my poor lips in some lip balm…

My New Favorite Skincare Gadget

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Let me introduce you to my skin’s new BFF – the Luna by Foreo. Like any good geek, I appreciate a gadget. I have tried a bunch. I own a Clarisonic, I at one point had a Neutrogena Wave… you get where I’m going. So when I heard from Foreo asking me if I wanted to try the Luna, I said SURE! It sounded really cool.

 

And you know what? It IS really cool. The Luna emits what are called T-Sonic™ pulsations, which is short for transdermal sonic pulsations. It feels like a very gentle vibration. Where other skincare devices have brush heads, the Luna has silicone “touch points” (which I refer to as “nubbins”, lol). They look like this:

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Now, I have the Normal/Sensitive Skin Luna. There is also an Ultra Sensitive and a Combination Skin version that have different configurations of nubbins:

LINEUP_IMAGECombo, Normal/Sensitive, Ultra Sensitive

If you’re thinking this whole idea of silicone nubbins looks kinda familiar, it’s sort of like you took one of these:

P262041_hero^^ Generic Cheapo Silicone Cleansing Pad ^^

And gave it magical powers. And I say magical powers because I love my Luna. Now, I’d be ignoring a great big pink elephant in the room if I didn’t somewhat compare it to my Clarisonic, because I know that’s what you all want to know. It has some major advantages. First and foremost, it’s way easier to CLEAN.

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As you can see, the Luna is all one compact, palm-sized piece. There’s no brush attachments, which means there’s no “parts” for water to seep in under and get gross. Take the head off your Clarisonic and really look down into the brush itself. It’s a pain in the ass to clean! The Luna can be fully submerged and washes clean very easily.

The second major advantage also has to do with the lack of brush attachments. No replacement costs. Clarisonic brush heads run you about $25 a pop.

But this isn’t just an alternative to a Clarisonic brush and I don’t want you to think of it that way. The Luna is its own thing. In addition to providing a very thorough, gentle clean, it also serves another purpose…

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This is the Luna’s anti-aging side. In just 2 minutes or so, placing the Luna with the ridged side on certain points of the face (it comes with a little guide), this gadget gives you a tension-releasing massage to your face, stimulating your skin and helping to reduce wrinkles. It promises skin to look fuller and more youthful. Now, I’m not quite 27 so I don’t really worry about my skin looking youthful, but I do know it does something. I had a horrible headache, and could feel the tension in my forehead and temples. I used this little guy on those areas and I did notice improvement, so it DOES work for relieving tension. I don’t know enough about the science of wrinkles to really say whether or not it can do the other things it claims, and I don’t have much in the way of wrinkles to test that on. The benefits of facial massage are well-documented though, and that’s essentially what this does.

What I have noticed since I started using the Luna (and I’ve been using mine for a few weeks now – I really wanted to test it out!) is remarkably softer skin almost immediately. I also notice better absorption of my other skin care products, resulting in overall more balanced skin because it’s absorbing my moisturizer and toner etc. better than before.

As you all know I just went to Vegas, which involved staying up really late, wearing full face of makeup every day, being around lots of pollutants, eating slightly less than stellar health food (*lol*) and of course, lots of adult beverages. I’ve been really stressed lately aside from the blogging world, too. On top of all that, it was TOTM, which could have been the recipe for utter skin disaster. Even without all the other stuff going on, TOTM usually means at least one gnarly chin zit, right?

Nope! Nary a zit in sight. I even received heaps of compliments for my skin while I was in Vegas. (THANK YOU btw!!!) And absolutely no irritation whatsoever. Even when I use the delicate brush head on a Clarisonic, my skin is at least pink afterwards. I don’t have any irritation at ALL after using the Luna.

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This bare-faced picture was taken actually after a full day of running around doing errands etc. I washed my face this morning but haven’t washed it again tonight. My skin’s not perfect – but I am pretty darn happy with it, freckles and all. I have noticed improvement in the scarring on my chin, too, which is always awesome.

Now for the one downside to the Luna – cost. These high tech skin gadgets don’t come cheap. The Luna will run you $199. For a slightly cheaper option there is the Luna Mini at $139, which does have some differences (no variable speeds, slightly shorter battery life though both last hundreds of uses before needing a recharge). The Mini comes in cooler colors (aw shucks!), but if you can afford it either one would be a great investment in your skin. I think that whatever you can afford to spend on your skin care, spend it. I have regretted spending money on a makeup item but I have never regretted dropping cash on high quality skin care products that work well for me.

Before you get all huffy about the fact that this was a press sample item, I paid for my Clarisonic and the subsequent brush heads all myself and even though I like the Luna better for my face I still have/love/use Clarisonic for my body with the body brush head – so I’m not kidding when I say I believe in investing in skin care when you can afford it. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Foreo & the Luna (and even the Luna For Men!) check out their website: www.foreo.com. If I wasn’t clear, I love this thing and I love what it does for my skin! ;)

Senna Cosmetics Summer 2013 Collection Pictures & Swatches – Part 3

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The third and final installment of my picture/swatch posts of Senna Cosmetics’ Summer 2013 collection – face stuffs! The face component of the collection includes 3 products: 2 mineral bronzer/highlighter duos called Brilliant Bronze, and the Powder Point brush #33.

Can we talk about how much I love the Senna Powder Point brush? Oh, yeah of course we can — it’s my blog! :) I LOVE THIS BRUSH. It’s so soft and fluffy, while the beveled shape still allows for precise application. I also adore the aqua handles on Senna brushes. The Powder Point brush retails for $38, and for such a high quality brush it is well worth it. For those wondering how it might compare to the MAC 138, it’s the same sort of idea at a significant savings (the MAC version retails for a steep $53). I don’t know much more than that about a comparison because I don’t own the 138. Like the MAC 138, the Senna Powder Point brush is made from natural fibers. I do have the Sigma F25 (formerly SS138, guess why…) which is cheaper than Senna’s brush but not quite as soft and it sheds a little bit, like all of my Sigma face brushes do. *sigh*

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AND NOW TO THE BRONZERS!

Yes these are baked mineral bronzer/highlighters, but unlike other brands’ similar products they actually contain skin-healthy pearl powder. Pearl powder contains amino acids and proteins to hydrate and nourish your skin. We cover our face in the stuff, why shouldn’t makeup pull double duty? Plus, I love to see it when a brand takes so much care with its ingredients. ;) These retail for $42.

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Senna Brilliant Bronze Baked Mineral Bronzer/Highlighter in Dawn is described as light bronze with a seashell pink highlighter. The bronzer side has a quite rosy tone to it. You could totally wear this as blush for that warm pinky sun-kissed look. The highlighter is very light baby pink. Both shades have shimmer.

sennadawnheavySenna Brilliant Bronze Baked Bronzer/Highlighter in Dawn – heavily swatched on fair skin, direct sunlight.

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Dawn, blended out. The highlighter and bronzer are both visible when the light hits them, but are definitely subtle. You can layer them however for a more intense look – this is how I personally would wear it since I’m so fair. :)

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Senna Brilliant Bronze Baked Mineral Bronzer/Highlighter in Sunset is described as deep bronze with a golden highlighter. Don’t be intimidated by how dark the bronzer side is; Like its companion Dawn, Sunset is a buildable, flattering shade. This bronzer/highlighter would complement a variety of skintones. Both sides do have shimmer

sennasunsetheavySenna Sunset swatched heavily.

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Blended out as if I were going to wear it.

Funky French Manicure

2Judge me not by my cuticles.

This month I got my very first Ipsy Glam Bag, and the theme was Pretty in Pink. One of the items in my bag was a full size bottle of Sation nail polish in the shade Love At First Byte. [Read more…]