Julep Freedom Top Coat First Impressions


Gel-like shine and chip prevention without the hassle (and cost) of gel nail application? Sign me up! That’s exactly what the Freedom Topcoat from Julep promises to do. Does it deliver?  [Read more…]

Too Faced Better Than False Lashes Mascara First Impressions

Let’s talk about a mascara. Particularly, Too Faced Better Than False Lashes mascara. Okay, right there in the name that’s a pretty lofty claim. And just LOOK at the ridiculous picture on the box. There is no early way a mascara did that to someone’s lashes. There just isn’t. But whatever. The reviews on this so far that I’ve seen have been positive, so I had pretty high hopes.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking first. Here are my bare lashes:

I wouldn’t say my lashes are bad or anything, but I prefer a bit more length, separation, darkness, etc. Just a bit more. My lashes on steroids is kind of the look I’d prefer. Here’s my lashes, but the eye on (your) left has 1 application of this system (which consists of a base coat of mascara, a coat of fibers, and a top coat of mascara).

Hello! I saw much darker lashes, significantly more length, and volume. Here’s the mascara on both eyes:

HELLO. In mega close-up world, my lashes look a little spidery. But from normal person distance they look pretty spectacular. So I am somewhat impressed. But here are all my initial first impressions, good and bad:


– Great length.
– Not as messy as it sounds having to coat the fibers on top of the mascara and then mascara again on top of fibers.
– Mascara is a glossy dark shade of black (which might sound silly, aren’t all blacks dark? but some moreso than others).
– Did I mention LENGTH? Holy shit.


– You can feel it on your lashes. I’m not a regular fiber mascara user (they kinda scare me) so I don’t know if this is typical, but I can feel it on my lashes as I blink and go about my day with the mascara on. I don’t particularly like being “aware” of my mascara all day.
– The mascara itself is kind of wet so the opportunity for smudges is pretty big.
– The occasional fiber + mascara will brush off as you’re applying the 2nd coat of mascara, and that kind of makes a mess.
– It’s 35 fucking dollars.  For a mascara. Yes it’s a fancy mascara, but you have to toss mascara every 3 to 6 months! STEEP. It’s not the most expensive mascara I’ve ever seen (that honor goes to Cle de Peau) but it’s pretty close.

I’m still trying it out, as this is just a “first impressions” review. I think in the future things that will help this mascara look even better are combing my lashes before and after I apply it, and more practice.

Have you tried this mascara? What did you think?

First Impressions – mark. Summer

mark. has been a pet favorite of mine since many years ago when I decided to become a rep. I’ve been a mark. rep since 2006! The line has changed a ton since I started, especially in the area of skin care. I like a lot of their skin care products, and I used to love their eye cream back in the day before they scrapped the entire skin care line in order to reformulate everything and re-do it all.

The newest offerings from mark. will be launching next month, and I jumped at the chance to review them before they released. There are four products in the release:

Get Defensive – SPF 15 eye cream with maqui berry, an antioxidant, licorice root (to brighten skin), and alfalfa extract for boosting collagen. Retails for $14.

Conceal For Real – Intended to be a long-wearing concealer that will last through hot, humid summer days. This is in their popular hookup format with a wand applicator. Available in 4 shades. Retails for $6.50.

Get a Tint Shimmer – This is an updated shimmer version of the already mega-popular Get A Tint tinted moisturizer. It has an SPF of 15 and comes in four shades (just like the original Get A Tint). Retails for $12.

Got To Glow Gradual Self Tanner – A subtle, slow build of natural color and slight shimmer for a nice glow. This tanner/moisturizer also has SPF 15. mark. recommends this for those who want a subtle tan, or as a helper to extend the life of your tan. Retails for $14.

My first impressions of the Get Defensive SPF 15 Eye Cream:
– The packaging is good, but could be better. It dispenses way too much product with a full pump. I ended up applying plenty to my eye area and then having a bunch of excess that I just rubbed into my hands like hand cream. 
– The product itself is a fairly thick solid white cream. It took a bit of working to get it to rub in so that I didn’t have white stuff all over my eye area. If you have darker skin this might be a huge pain for you. I wasn’t wild about it taking that much rubbing to work it in, because it’s not a good idea to rub your eye area that much; the skin is so delicate! 
– No real discernible smell/fragrance.
– The SPF is chemical-based, which for me poses a couple of problems – I’m allergic to avobenzene (a very common chemical sunscreen) and it often breaks me out. Also, this is going near your eyes. If it’s hot and you sweat, or if you go in the pool, I wonder if this would run and get into your eyes? That would sting really bad! 
– Does not seem to “play well with others” – putting concealer on top made it kind of ball up and slide all over the place. You’ll have to wait a LONG time for it to fully absorb and then maybe it will go better. 
Overall I don’t think I’ll be using this eye cream. It was a good idea in theory, but the application just doesn’t live up to what I want in an eye cream.
My first impressions of the Conceal For Real Hookup Concealer:
– Again with bad packaging. :\ I like the convenience of a hookup, that’s very cool. But I shudder to think of teen girls using this product to conceal zits by dabbing it on with the sponge wand and then putting that right back into the product. When I tested this out I rubbed some off of the wand and then dipped my finger into that, but most teenagers won’t take the time to do that I don’t think. And many of them share makeup. Oy. Breeding ground for bacteria anyone?
– mark. doesn’t specify whether this is a concealer for spots or for under eye. They’re not the same. Under eye concealers need to be moisturizing while concealers for spots/acne etc. need to be dryer so they can wear longer. Judging by the product description talking about lasting through hot humid days, I’m going to guess it’s supposed to be for spots. Which then makes me go back to the packaging and just ask “why?!”. 
– The shade I used (Fair/Light) works decently for my skin tone.
– The consistency is pretty darn liquidy.
– It’s sort of hard to blend. It doesn’t seem to meld into my skin, but perch on top of it. Or I have to blend so much it disappears/gets rubbed off.
– I did not get super fabulous wear out of it, just a few hours max. 
I may keep using this if I can get it to blend easier. If you are looking for a concealer from mark. to use for under eye, I really like the Get Bright hookup highlighter. It’s not exactly a concealer, but it really does a great job of brightening if you don’t need tons of concealing. mark. also offers a couple of other concealers that I haven’t tried – the Good Riddance concealer pencil hookup and an anti-acne concealer that contains salicylic acid to help heal blemishes while you conceal them.
As for the Get A Tint Shimmer & Got To Glow, I will be reviewing those at a later time! 
mark. products can be purchased from meetmark.com, or my e-boutique – http://aben-yehuda.mymarkstore.com. As a mark. rep I do make a commission if purchases are made through my e-boutique, so your patronage is always appreciated. :)
Any questions about mark. cosmetics or being a mark. rep? Feel free to leave them in the comments below.
Product samples provided for editorial consideration.  I am a sales rep for this brand, but opinions are all my own.

First Impressions: Tan Towel

This is just a very quick, first impressions type deal for the Tan Towel self tanning wipes. I’m warming up to the idea of tanning lately, just for fun, because hey it’s summer and why the hell not. 
First let me start off by saying that I’m definitely a tanning novice. I thought the Tan Towels would be a great way to start since they seem so simple to apply. Well apparently even though they are quite simple, I’m also still a Tan Noob, and I screwed it up! I think these have the potential to be totally awesome and I’m not done trying them out. I want to really give them another shot. :)
Pre-Tanning Prep: I prepped for tanning by exfoliating really well. I used a Bath & Body Works scrub that is discontinued but scrubs extremely well. Then I shaved my legs. After the shower I made sure my legs were completely dry before starting the tanning process.
Using the Tan Towels is really simple – simply rip open the individually packaged towelette, and apply it to your skin in a circular motion. I used a Half Body towelette and it was plenty to do my legs and a little on the decolletes area (basically the areas that are the most pale for me). The towelettes have a slight citrusy smell that I didn’t find bothersome at all. My legs felt dry to the touch almost instantly after using, which was awesome. I still waited a while before putting clothes on though, just to be sure. Your tan is supposed to develop over the next few hours, but as I discovered this morning, there was still “magic” going on even over night, many hours after I applied the tanner. 
A few hours after application, I was in LOVE. There were no streaks, and the color was just a shade or 2 darker – all I’d wanted was to make my legs match my arms, and it accomplished this. SUPER. I was really excited to give these a rave review! 
Then I woke up this morning, and my hands were brown. I washed my hands immediately after applying the tanning wipe, just as instructed, so I really have no idea why this happened. My hands were fine for hours and hours… then all of a sudden I woke up with crazy brown hands. My legs aren’t as awesome as they were yesterday either. My left leg is darker than my right, for one, and there’s a pretty heavy line of demarkation at my ankle on the left leg. 
I didn’t really know what to do so I used some nail polish remover on my hands, which got most of the tanner off. I swiped a little bit around my ankle too which did seem to soften the demarkation line quite a bit. The actual color itself is still very good. It’s very golden and not orange in the slightest. 
I’m not quite sure why my hands got all brown, but I’m definitely going to give this a second shot with some gloves on, because the color is really nice. I’m going to pay more attention to exactly how much I wipe on each leg, too. 
I don’t want you guys to think that these suck because my first experience was less than perfect. I’m a noob. I’m not discouraged. I’m going to try to work with them some more, and I do recommend them just because they’re so flipping easy and non messy to apply.
Sample provided for editorial purposes.

Make Up For Ever Face & Body First Impressions

When I went to see the MUFE boutique opening last month, Cat, my adorable makeup artist for the day told me I have just got to try the Face & Body foundation. “It’s sick!” she said, saying it feels just like nothing on your skin and gives a very natural look. Well, today I finally tried it! And I must say, it’s everything Cat promised it would be.

First of all, here’s how it looks on me:

(Don’t believe the “lie”. I may look like I have nothing to cover but I have all sorts of little tiny red marks and stuff. Blah!)
I have shade 38, and if you remember, I wear 110 in the HD foundation. These two shades are very similar. MUFE HD #110 might be slightly more pink. However, 38 is a great match for me too.
I applied it with my Sigma duo fibre brush. I didn’t like how that brush applied the HD foundation, but I think it works really well for Face & Body. The texture of this foundation is very liquidy. I did shake it before using as directed on the bottle, but it’s almost runny. However, the wetter formula is nice because it’s not one of those foundations where you have to blend super fast or it will set in blotches on your face *cough, Colorstay*
The coverage is light at first, but buildable. When I applied this I purposefully went over some areas several times to see if it would cake up and it did not. You’re still going to only build this to about medium coverage, in my opinion. However, I really don’t like those “full coverage” foundations most of the time. They’re usually too thick and mask-like anyway. I ascribe to the same school of thought as makeup artist Lisa Eldridge when it comes to covering spots on the face: limit the heavy duty concealer/high coverage foundation to only the spots that need it, and use a sheerer more natural foundation everywhere else. I have yet to see someone who really does need full coverage foundation on their entire visage. ;) In the photo above I used a tiny (we’re talking smaller than a grain of rice) amount of MUFE Full Cover concealer to hit those spots that needed a little extra help.
First impression of the finish is definitely natural, and pretty. It’s luminous but not shiny or oily-looking. Kind of a healthy, alive glow– like skin. Just like Cat said!
But of course there’s also the wear! I have pretty much normal skin. I get a tiny bit oily during the day but right now, it’s just normal. Not particularly dry or oily. I set this foundation with my beloved Purely Cosmetics Diamond Perfect Finish powder. I did not use any primer. The foundation wore like a champ! I got over 12 hours of wear without it melting off of me or anything.
So! So far, so good. I’m going to continue using this in regular rotation with my other foundations. If my feelings change, I’ll definitely let you guys know!
Want to know what else I used on my face in that picture?

Eyes – MUFE Aqua Creme #15, Wet ‘n Wild single eye shadow in Nutty (crease), and MUFE Aqua Eyes #3L. Maybelline The Falsies mascara. Brow powder from Billion Dollar Brows. Under-eye brightener: Milani HD concealer #01.

Contour/Cheek – TooFaced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer, Pout Pearly Queen blush (discontinued) – these were a bit washed out in the photo

Lip – Bare

Sample provided for editorial purposes.

Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes First Impressions

I recently got this ADORABLE little set of metallic Aqua Eyes eyeliners from Make Up For Ever, and I decided to “road test” them in kind of a unique way. I swatched each one on the back of my hand, and just went about my life. I did not make any actual attempt to remove them, like when I washed my hands I didn’t scrub over the liners or anything I just washed like I normally would.
“Life” over the last few days has consisted of:
– using hand sanitizer regularly
– showering (yay!)
– carving 3 pumpkins
– running around doing errands
– preparing food
– sleeping with my hand (the one w/ the swatches, mind you) under my pillow
… you get the idea.
Right After Swatching

I gave them a few minutes to ‘set’ before I tried the traditional smudge test of letting them set and then smudging over them with my fingers. So far, so good. No smudging. 
24 Hours Later

After 24 hours, the gold liner’s swatch had faded a little bit on one part of the swatch. The rest were going strong! I was impressed, and left them on my hand to see what happened.
Ok have you ever carved a pumpkin? It’s seriously gross. I had pumpkin matter all over my arms up to my elbows almost, some of it was on my chest, and some even managed to get on my face. I washed my hands several times in addition to the regular use of hand sanitizer and showering that I usually have in everyday life.

I applied these on my hand on Thursday night. It’s now Saturday night (by the time you read this it will be Sunday though). I can still see a tiny mark where one of the swatches was. Seriously. It’s from the black liner. The gold was the first to rub off (which by the way didn’t fully disappear until last night), followed with some distance by the silver. The bronze, dark grey, and black held on for quite a while, but are now gone except for the tiny faint smudge where the black used to be.
But damn. Thursday night to Saturday night. That’s pretty darn impressive, don’t you think? I wish I had thought to take pictures throughout the days I had them on, but I was just so caught up/busy with whatever I had going on haha. I’ll be doing more tests with these (like uh, using them on my eyes would be nice eh?) and I’ll post more info and swatches later. I just had to post this when I realized I still saw some eyeliner on my hand tonight.
The kinda funny (or sad, depending…) thing about this trial is I was walking around with eyeliners on my hand for 3 days and no one said anything. They probably figured they didn’t want to know! 
The Make Up For Ever Rock For Ever Aqua Eyes set is $36, available at Sephora. It is limited edition though, so if you want it grab one up now while we still have the Friends & Family discount. ;)
Product sample provided for editorial purposes.

It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product First Impressions

Normally I do not review a product right after I try it, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. I saw this product on Youtube and it’s been on my radar since then, but when I had my recent 20% off coupon for Ulta I decided to give it a whirl. It’s available in 4 oz and 10 oz sizes at Ulta, so I picked up the 4 oz to try. Apparently there’s a 2 oz too, but I didn’t see it. I’ve only tried it once so far, but I just had to tell you guys about it and my first impressions.
It’s a 10 claims to do these 10 things:
– Repairs dry damaged hair
– Adds shine
– Smooths & controls frizz
– Seals & protects hair color
– Flat iron spray & thermal protector
– Detangles
– Stops hair breakage
– Creates silkiness
– Enhances natural body
– Prevents split ends
Quite a tall list of claims, right? Well I used it the day before yesterday and I gotta say, so far it lives up to all of the claims that I could possibly tell in one use (some of those, like split end prevention etc. you just couldn’t know in using it once). It definitely made my hair very silky, almost bouncy, detangled, smoothed, controlled frizz, added shine, and made my hair feel less dry even on the ends. It made flat ironing a breeze, too. I had such an awesome hair day yesterday and the day before and I just know it was in part due to this product I’ve added to my stash. As I’m growing my hair out, if this continues to perform the way it did the first time, this will be essential to keeping my hair manageable! I’ve been using Alterna products lately to boost my hair’s moisture, and this product complements the items I’m already using pretty nicely. 
Have you tried this? Was it a 10 for you too?

Gabrielle Faust Eyeshadow – First Impressions

These eye shadows are the first collection inspired by (and created for) vampire story author Gabrielle Faust by Overall Beauty. They are mineral pigments/eye shadows. Vegan makeup junkies will be excited to know that none of these shades contain carmine, and they are completely vegan. There are eight shades, and Overall Beauty says this is just the first of many product endeavors by Ms. Faust.

Color descriptions are as follows:

Hourglass Sand – golden cream
Sanctified Snow – opalescent white
Vampire’s Kiss – sangria red
Love Lost – deep rose
Aftermath – burnt umber brown
Misanthrope – ashen violet
Indiscretion – charcoal grey
Karmic Knight – dark eggplant purple

All of the shades except Sanctified Snow are matte. Check out my swatches! (Click for full size)

They’re swatched top to bottom in the same order my color descriptions above. :)
They are nice colors in general, but I have a couple of qualms. The first being that Karmic Knight and Misanthrope look exactly the same on my skin. These swatches are done on NW10 skin with no base. If I stare and scrutinize I can see that Karmic Knight is a bit cooler/ashier than Misanthrope, but the difference to my eye on my skin is so slight they might as well be the same color. Vampire’s Kiss is similar to those two as well, but has definite pronounced red undertones that the other two lack. The color Indiscretion is a tiny bit chalky just upon first swatch, but working with a brush will probably help me build up the color better. 
The quality of the colors themselves is very high. Matte shadows in general are often very hard to work with, but these are very smooth and easy to blend. I also appreciate that the shimmer in Sanctified Snow is not overly glittery or frosty. It could definitely be used as a brow highlight without looking ridiculous, even on women of a “certain age” who don’t like to wear shimmer. ;) 
My favorites are Love Lost, Vampire’s Kiss, and Aftermath, which is weird since I’m normally a purples person and figured I’d be drawn to them. Love Lost is going to look terrible on my eyes I’m sure (I cannot wear colors like this) but I can’t wait to try it as a blush. It’s SUCH a gorgeous rosey mauve shade. Vampire’s Kiss is a reddened violet shade and so smooth. I have other colors like this in my stash but this one has the most pigment and smoothest texture. Those of you who love experimenting with pigments should totally try mixing Vampire’s Kiss or Love Lost with lipgloss to make custom lipcolors! They’d look great. Aftermath is my third favorite because it is just such a rich, gorgeous brown. It doesn’t have too much red in it, and doesn’t go on ashy or chalky. Just smooth, chocolatey brown. This could also be used as a brow color.
I’m looking forward to playing around with these, as well as trying them over Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy, which works magic for any eyeshadow.
Gabrielle Faust eyeshadows are available as singles for $8.99 each or as a set for $72 from Overall Beauty. Use code VAMP2112 to get $2 off your order over $25.
Product provided by PR for review.

Zensation Deep Purifying Toner First Impressions

Usually I wait longer before reviewing beauty products, especially skincare. So this is just kind of a “first impressions” type review. I haven’t been using this very long but I’m really liking it so far so I wanted to share it with you!

I was completely unfamiliar with Zensation until I was contacted by their PR to ask if I wanted to review this toner. I’m always interested in trying new brands, so of course I wanted to try it. By the way, click the link to their website at your own risk; I find their website highly annoying hahaha. It plays music and is all in Flash. Blarg. Whatever, I’m a web design snob. ;)

Anyway, they are a luxury skincare brand out of Switzerland. The line is based around plant and fruit extracts, and natural oils. They claim to be anti-aging and anti-stress. Here’s a long list of things you won’t find in Zensation products:

– Alcohol
– Colorant/Dyes
– Synthetic Fragrance
– Animal-Derived Ingredients
– Mineral Oils
– Parabens

In going with the ‘zen’ theme and being a luxury skincare brand, the Zensation packaging is honestly gorgeous. The toner I tried is in a heavy frosted glass bottle with a cute floral design:

It’s just girly enough to be called pretty without being twee. I just really like it. It looks nice sitting on the counter in the bathroom. Since my bathroom is also the house’s guest bathroom, that matters to me haha. This toner is pricey at $35/4.2 oz, so I want it to have really nice packaging that doesn’t make it look or feel cheap. 
Deep Purifying Toner is formulated for oily/combination/acne-prone skin. It contains essential oils of thyme, sage, lavender, and mint as well as tea tree oil. The result is a really calming and herbal aroma that I really like.  But aside from smelling nice, those ingredients are naturally antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, which will help soothe blemishes and redness in troubled skin. 
Even after using my clarisonic brush I can tell that this toner is getting my skin extra clean, because I can see residue on my cotton pad. It does leave a slightly sticky residue, but that sinks in and dries in a matter of minutes and then my skin is completely matte. I know the thought of putting all those oils on your skin might be scary, but I took a leap of faith and I am glad! Toner is usually a product I can just take or leave, but Zensation has done a great job of creating what they want to accomplish– a toner that cleans without stripping the skin, helps to balance combination skin, and soothes.
Available from www.zensationbeaute.com.

First Impressions

I’m going to introduce something new to the blog. Because sometimes certain types of products have to be used for quite a while before enough experience is gathered for a full out “review”, I’m going to also include what I will call First Impressions.

It should be pretty self-explanatory, but basically when I’m trying something new I’ll post to let you know about it and what my first impressions are. Then I can update you on my progress later. ;)

So, to kick this off, here is a first impression of something I just started trying…

Dr. Lancer skincare – I just got this stuff like literally 2 days ago, so of course I don’t have a comprehensive review for you yet! But so far I like it alright. It’s a 3-step system. Step 1 is to polish (exfoliate), step 2 is cleanse, and step 3 is nourish/repair. So far the only real complaint I have is the smell of the products themselves. I don’t think there’s any added fragrance, which is a bonus if your skin is sensitive, but sometimes the natural smells of skincare ingredients don’t smell very cute if you know what I mean. It’s not a huge deal though, and I haven’t broken out in a rash or anything so I’ll keep using it and let you all know how it goes.