Amor de Lacquer: Essence’s pretty new bottles!

I freaking love Essence nail polish. Always have. Even though their bottle sizes freaked me out a bit (come on, Essence…you know they were too small) I was always in awe of the beautiful colors that they released. Very rarely do the affordable brands of nail polish come out with groundbreaking nail polish colors. I mean, it happens, but not every often. I can count on TWO sets of hands the gorgeous shades that Essence has. And now they’ve got larger and chic’er new bottles.

Looky!

Cute, right? I’ve got 3 shades here but I’m pretty sure I’ll be hoarding more. I am so in love with the bottle design, redesigned brush and beautiful shades.

L.O.L. is one of those Shrek greens that have been pretty popular. I’ve seen similar shades like this and if you’ve always wanted to snag one but didn’t want to spend a mess load of money on them, get L.O.L. It’s pretty, creamy and such an “interesting” shade that all nail polish lovers need to have in their stash.

Ultimate Pink is a hot pink and it’s a pretty awesome pedicure color.

Let’s Get Lost is more of a aqua blue but of course my camera is being nutty. As much as I love blues like this, I very rarely wear them because they always end up staining my nails no matter what I do. Grr.

Comparing the old Essence bottle to the new Essence bottle…

The newer bottle is just a bit taller but is obviously wider than the old bottle. Do you get as much product as say a bottle of Zoya?

Not really. But then again, this Essence nail polish is only $1.99. Oh! And then there’s the new wide brush.

…you’ll either love it or hate it. I actually really like brushes like these because I’ve got long and wide nail beds so I find them to be perfect in helping me achieve a smooth and even coat with just one stroke. I know I’m in the minority with the freakishly long nail beds so I’m pretty sure many nail polish lovers are not happy with the change.

But overall, I’m loving the updated look of these Essence nail polish bottles. They look classy, quirky and fun. I’m not sure if the update means they’ll be getting rid of the shades of the old bottles. I hope not because I’ve got some beautiful polishes in the old packaging that I don’t want them getting rid of. Time will tell… These babies are currently in Ulta stores and online too!

Any Essence nail polish lovers in the house? Whatcha think about the new bottle design?

Wet n Wild Juicy Lip Balm – For Chicks With Lips!

Ooooh Wet ‘n Wild. You are still killin’ the beauty game with affordable cosmetics for us all. I could write a never-ending list of the things that I love most about Wet ‘n Wild. One of those thangs? I love how they have so many different products for consumers of various skill levels. You know how there are brands that have products that just don’t seem to be newbie-friendly? Naw. Wet ‘n Wild isn’t like that. They have glosses for the everyday beauty girl, lipsticks for makeup artists and then these lip balms for…everyone!

It is my belief that EVERYONE needs to have at least one lip balm on them at all times. And not just to be “cute” but because ashy and crusty lips isn’t becoming for anyone. This is a fact. Or a law. Or something like that…

There isn’t much to say about these because they’re just so self-explanatory. Watch…

-They’re cheap. Only $2.99 a pop.
-They’ll last you forever. I mean look how ginormous they are.
-They smell good. They’re fruity and delightful but not overwhelming.
-They’re moisturizing.
-They contain SPF. Why don’t all lip products contain this stuff?
-They’re cute. No really. They are.
-Everyone needs a lip balm…7-year olds to 77-year olds.
-They don’t taste bad. Don’t you hate how some balms have a terrible taste?


(L-R) Strawberry Fraise (light pink/cotton candy), Cherry Cerise (red), Raspberry Frambois (purple-y), Watermelon Pasteque (pistachio) 

Despite their colors, they provide only a wee bit of tint. And I do mean wee bit. In fact, so little that my camera had a hard time picking it up. I like these mucho. I’ve got one in the beauty room that I use after doing lip swatches. It gives me a dose of moisture in between swatches. It doesn’t moisturize enough for hours on end but it gets the job done. Oh, and did I mention that they cheap. Yeah.

You can grab one or more of these babies at drugstores everywhere for only $2.99. I’ve been spotting them online at Walgreens.com.

Too Faced Teddy Bear Hair Professional Brush Set

Confession: When Esposo and I moved into our place together we fought over who would get the larger “hobby” room. He ended up winning because he had more equipment for his studio. I wanted the larger room primarily because it had a ton of beautiful natural light and I take a few hundred pics a week and I only like working with natural light.

And because I’m bossy and like to have my way. Anyway – long story short, I still crash his pad when I need to take beauty pics. Which is why until we move, you’ll always see a keyboard, vinyl record or cords and ish in my pics. I should really get Wife of the Year award for making that sacrifice, don’t you think?

Ah yes – but let’s get down to business. Looky! It’s Too Faced! I feel like it’s been forev since I’ve reviewed anything from them. Not that I haven’t been steadily stalking the brand. Because I do. I’ve tried quite a bit from them but never their brushes. Which is cray-zee because I’ve been missing out.

I’m squealing at the fact that it’s called Teddy Bear Hair. Coined by Too Faced Founder Jerrod Blandino, the idea is to give consumers a super soft brush without actually using animal hair. That’s right. These synthetic brushes are cruelty-free. Woot! The teddy bear feel is so dead on as these brushes are so incredibly soft. But let’s talk packaging first…

The 5-brushes are housed in a beautiful pink and gold cosmetic bag. It may be too small for travel purposes (you know…for beauty junkies like me who like to travel with EVERYTHING) but I think it’ll bode well for those who may want to toss it in a purse or bookbag.

It’s lightweight and perfectly portable. And what’s inside ain’t half bad either…

5 brushes with unlimited functions. I mean sure there are recommended uses for them but a true beauty rebel knows you can do anything with a good brush. These are crafted to perfection with detail everywhere. Each brush has pink chrome with Too Faced etched at the bottom.

Quick rundown of the team…

Powder Brush: This baby is super soft. While it would probably work just fine as all all over powder brush, I really like using it as a blush brush. It distributes the perfect amount of color on the cheekies.

Blending Fluff Brush: I’m a fan of stiff and dense brushes for blending in my crease but I love how this works when depositing color in the outer-V and blending it up into the crease.

Angled Eye Shadow Brush: This is another stunner that works great in the outer-V. I’ve tried using it that way a few times but I like it more for placing and blending color underneath my brow.

Small Crease Brush: I would use this for liquid and cream concealers more than anything else. But since I don’t use concealer much these days (I’m wearing foundation like a big girl!) I haven’t been getting much use out of this kid. Yet.

Angled Liner/Brow Brush: This is perfection. It isn’t as stiff as I’d like it to be but I have found that instead of using it on my lower lash line, it works REALLY well at putting a bit of color on or below the waterline. If I cared about those facial caterpillars enough, I reckon this would be a fab brush to use on the brows.

The crew altogether….

Overall: For $65, this is a pretty stellar brush set. And I know what you’re thinking…“OMG B…$65?” Not only are you getting 5 brushes, but you’re getting 5 brushes that you’ll actually use. AND you’re getting a groovy cosmetic bag to go with them. I think it’s a pretty good investment. Especially for makeup newbies or those wanting to treat themselves with some new brushes. Shedding won’t be a problem and I don’t see the paint on the handle of the brushes chipping either. These are definitely some quality brushes that will be lasting me for quite some time.

You can get this set from Sephora and Sephora.com. If you still find the price to be a little steep, maybe consider waiting to purchase these during one of Sephora’s many sales? Hmmm, think about it.

Any Too Faced lovers in the house? Or lovers of teddy bears? Anyone?

Amor de Lacquer: Zoya Designer collection

I’m back with another collection from Zoya’s Fall 2012 collections. I’m still swooning over the jellies that were the Gloss collection. Designer features 6 shades of my favorite nail polish formula ever…creamies!! Woo hooo!

Look at those luscious creams!

Evvie is described as an evergreen green cream and it’s unlike any kind of polish that I own. It’s such a beautiful and smoky hunter green. Fantastic!

Rekha is a blood red cream and while Zoya has plenty of red cream polishes, this one isn’t as bright as the others. Don’t let this picture fool you. It is actually a bit more muted.

Natty is a smoked navy blue cream and it is perfection. I love true blue polishes but Natty is goooorgeous!

Toni is a dark maroon red cream and don’t ask me why but it looks to be more of the dusty berry side. Not that I’m complaining though.

Monica is a dark mulberry purple cream is definitely my favorite of the bunch. Of course I don’t NEED any more purple creams but man…Monica is so pretty!

Noot is a charcoal green gray cream and as much as a I like it, it looks a lot like Evvie – just not as gray. I love both shades but they definitely fooled me as they almost look identical at a quick glance.

Must Haves:
-Natty
-Monica

This collection is currently available on Zoya.com for $8 a bottle. See any that you like?

Willa Naturals: Natural skincare for tweens.

Inspired by the delicate skin of her preteen, Christy Prunier has launched a natural skincare line of products just for the preteens and teens of the world. And the name of the brand is Willa!

Dear Mama Clumps,
How come you never developed a skincare line and named it after me? I guess it’s never too late to start. Bee’s Lippies, maybe? Let’s think about it.
XOXO,
B

Seriously though – what a cool concept, uh? I mean think about it – you’re 10, 11, 12 or 13…you don’t know much about skincare but you do realize you should be doing more than just splashing water on it at night. What do you use? Your Mom’s face wash has anti-aging properties splattered all over it and your younger sister’s products are for babies. And come on…you’re not a baby. And hence why Willa was born!

I think this line absolutely fills the market of young girls who are taking baby steps into skincare. And I just love that the brand omits the yucky ingredients It’s a paraben-free, cruelty-free and sulfate-free brand. I got to play around with the foaming cleanser and moisturizer. I wanted to use them and tap into my 11-year old self. Would I have used this back then?

Foaming Face Wash ($11 for 5.1 fl oz)

Developed to be a gentle face wash, the goal is simple: it helps to remove dirt from the skin. That’s it. And that’s really all a preteen needs in a face wash, right? The foaming action makes it easy to not over-distribute and it’s fun!

My 11-year old self would have had a ball with this. Scent-wise, I picked up on a ton of lavender but it’s not an overwhelming but pleasant enough for the young girls. I can appreciate that it doesn’t smell too kiddy. I would have cried if this smelled like bubblegum or somethin’ like that. Ick.

Clear Face Moisturizer ($11.50 for 1 fl oz)

While I think the packaging for this kid is a bit too small, I love the concept behind this moisturizer. Unlike most moisturizers on the market it isn’t super creamy or heavy. It’s a lightweight serum and has aloe, grape seed extract and has eucalyptus throughout. Genius! This is exactly what preteen skin needs. And by lightweight, they mean lightweight…

Of course my troubled skin requires more but this is perfect for the younger girlies. I love the scent on this one as it is very faint and dissipates after application. The moisturizer sinks in the skin but doesn’t feel oily or greasy.

What an adorable brand! The packaging is right up the alley of the preteens of the world and I think the products I’ve tried are pretty stellar. The price point is a little higher than what a parent may want to pay for but I’ll be one of those mommies that stresses healthy hygiene and so an investment of a “good” brand of skincare products is worth it to me.

Willa also has an Acne Spot Treatment Click Pen, Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 30, Face Towelettes, Cucumber Masks, Body Lotion and cutesy glosses. Everything is under $17.50 so parents won’t be breaking the bank if their daughters (or sons) develop a Willa obsession.

Adorable, right? You can scoop up Willa products online and at select Target sotres and J.Crew’s.

 

Okay, admit it – who else wasn’t thinking about healthy skin betwen the ages of 10 and 13? Anyone?

Mascara Monday: Korres Volcanic Minerals Volumizing Mascara

It’s been forever and a day since I’ve played around with Korres stuffs. And it’s a shame because Korres is one of my favorite preservative-free brands. Their Lip Butters are by far some of the best lip balms on the planet. And don’t even get me started on their Cleansing Wipes. This is my 3rd Korres mascara and it’s one of the most interesting mascaras that I’ve ever reviewed.

Price: $20 at Sephora and Sephora.com 
Packaging (brush wand): 4 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5

What It Claims: “This Obsidian black is formulated with volcanic minerals for the deepest, darkest color and an explosive increase in lash volume. These rich pigments blend with natural film formers to create a flexible yet strong coating that covers every lash. Volcanic Minerals Volumizing Mascara provides a glossy, luminous finish with a flexible conditioned feel, without any smudging or flakes for optimal, long-wearing benefits. The tapered brush head with unique cross-hatch bristles ensures smooth, clump-free application that grabs even the tiniest microlashes.” (source)

The Truth: Soooo, I’ll be reviewing a ton of mascaras in the coming weeks but THIS one will be my go to. It’s awesome!

What I Loved About It: It does such an incredible job volumizing with just 1 coat.

What I Didn’t Like: It has the tendency to clump.

Overall: Oh man, Korres. Y’all knocked this one out of the park. What a fantastic mascara! I’ve had good and fair experiences with Korres mascaras but I always review a new one with high hopes. It’s great to know that this one didn’t let me down. First of all…volcanic minerals? I question the validity of this one.

Did a makeup artist wake up one day and say, “OMG…we should go to a volcano, get some minerals and put it in a mascara. It’ll be epic. And one day a blogger who blogs about mascara every week will review it and love it.” I mean, I don’t know. Legit or gimmicky, the formula of this mascara is pretty stellar. It sits comfortably between thin ‘n thick without weighing more on one side or the other. The wand is decent too.

It’s nothing groundbreaking and I can appreciate that. Sometimes brands try way too hard to impress us consumers when it comes to mascara wands. I can appreciate what’s been working for years. There is one thing about this mascara that may throw you off though – the smell.

If you’re used to wearing natural (or preservative-free) mascaras, you are likely used to “interesting” smells. While this one isn’t as bad as some of the other scents I’ve gotten from natural mascaras, it may be a bit off putting to some. Oh. So you want to know WHAT it smells like? Woody, organic-y, green…. Horrible descriptions I know but if you try this mascara, you’ll understand what I mean.

When it comes to performance, I don’t know how these volcanic minerals do it, but they do it well. The wand makes for easy application and wiggling it through the lashes really helps elongate the lashes. My favorite thing about this mascara? How long it lasts! This isn’t the case with most natural mascara so I was really excited to know that I could wear this throughout an 8-hr workday without it flaking on me. And it removes super easily as well. Flaking is minimal and while I didn’t experience any smudging, I don’t think this is the ideal mascara for those who are looking for something waterproof. And sure it’s not the perfect volumizing mascara but it’s amazeballs nonetheless.

This baby is  2-coat wonder. I am in love.

 

Bare Lashes



Lashes after 2 coats



Do I recommend it?: Absolutely! It isn’t the cheapest mascara on the market but if you’re a lover of preservative-free mascaras that last for hours on end, this is the one you’ll want to holla at.

Any lovers of Korres? And what do you think…are there really volcanic minerals in that mascara?


The day a body wash changed my skin…for the better!

Lately my skin has been making me cry. And sorry y’all – I don’t feel all that petty about crying over skin. It doesn’t mean I’m vain. It just means that if my skin isn’t in perfect condition at any given moment – I’m liable to drop tears over it. Which seems fair, right?

No? Oh. Welllssss, along with my Eurcerin Healthy Skin Challenge, I’ve been using products that have been specifically recommended to me by  a Eucerin dermatologist. We had a Skype meeting and she was so sweet just listening to me complain about the eternal wreck that is my skin. I told her about my acne, eczema/dermatitis, hyperpigmentation, perpetual dry skin and the hormonal imbalances due to pregnancy. She listened intently and recommended that I try these two products.

Also known as the Skincare Dream Team. Beautiful, aren’t they?

Say hello to Eucerin Skin Calming Dry Skin Body Wash ($7.99).

First of all, this is my first time trying a body wash like this. Yes, I know I’m Ms. Naturalista Who Likes To Make Her Own Soap but my homemade bar soaps have been getting less and less attention since I’ve tried this. Simply put: this body wash is freaking awesome. First of all, it actually MOISTURIZES the skin. And it’s fragrance-free.

Although I grew up using body washes, I’ve had to stop using most of them because no matter how much they claim to moisturize the skin, they really don’t. At least not for my skin. Most body washes makes my eczema worse and so I’m left battling cleansed skin but insanely itchy and dry skin. The inclusion of oils in this body wash has me doing cartwheels because at initial glance and touch, I can see and feel said oil…

On the skin, it lathers nicely and so I feel like I’m getting a good cleanse but after rinsing, my skin doesn’t feel streaky clean. Instead, the oil seems to sink in. Wow! And yes, it IS fragrance-free but I can get a whiff of a faint “natural oil” smell. It doesn’t bother me but if you aren’t used to oils, it may throw you off a bit. Then again I’d rather smell like oils than like a field of artificial flowers. I’m just sayin’…

I can’t sing enough praises about this body wash. I just…can’t. I hope Eucerin never stops making it. And I’m not the only one lovin’ this stuff. Just check out the reviews.

And then there’s the Skin Calming Itch Relief Treatment body lotion ($7.99).

Eucerin is following suit with many other brands to help target those of us who have not only dry skin but super itchy skin as well. I’ve tried several commercial brands and have a favorite so I was curious to see how Eucerin Skin Calming Itch Relief Treatment could sway me. The claims seem impressive enough.

…and I like the inclusion of menthol; which I know can provide a nice and cooling feeling. Consistency-wise, I would have liked the lotion to have been on the thicker side.

But it isn’t watery like most drugstore lotions are, so I’m not complaining. The menthol effect does kick in after slathering it on the skin and it feels really nice. My skin always feels completely moisturized when I use it. I tend to only use the lotion on my problem areas (neck and back) and moisturize everywhere else with coconut oil. It works surprisingly well!

I’ve been using these 2 products for a week now and while I am head over heels in love with the body wash, I will continue using both for optimal results. My eczema is still around and I’m not sure it will ever completely disappear, as it is a chronic skin disease, but I love that I’m not so itchy and flaky.

Any other eczema suffers in the house? And have you ever heard of an oil-based body oil?

Amor de Lacquer: China Glaze On Safari Fall 2012 collection

I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve played around with any of China Glaze’s recent collections. I totally blew past their summer releases and I’m just stepping my toe into their Fall collections. 

I’ve only got 4 of the 10 of these On Safari babies but they’re still pretty to look at.

Elephant Walk is such an interesting gray. I think I like it more than China Glaze’s Recycle because it’s got a tiny bit of shimmer. Oh! And ‘scuse the smudgey wudgey on my middle finger. Application was a bit wonky with this one. It’s a cool graphite gray  that is dusty and just fantastic. Of course it’s not necessary if you already have you fair share of grays but it certainly is a nice one to add to my collection.

Purr-fect Plum is described as a bold burgundy but I’d describe it more as a berry with personality. It’s not crazy unique but it’s smooth, creamy and applied flawlessly.

Man Hunt is a bold cobalt blue that is definitely one of the BEST polishes in this collection. Especially if you’re a lover of blue polishes. I’ve searched high and low for a strikingly blue nail polish that doesn’t stain the nails and is opaque after only 2 coats. Man Hunt is a winner. Love love love this one.

Adventure Red-y is described as a vivid red. It’s one of those reds that Mama Clumps wouldn’t let me wear when I was young. That said, I LOVE it.

There are some other highlights in this collection. There’s Call of the Wild, Exotic Encounters and I’m Not Lion. It’s not the most totally awesome and amazing China Glaze collection I’ve come across but it’s got a nice mix of traditional and unique polishes. There’s somethin’ for everyone. You can snag this collection at Ulta, Sally Beauty Supply and even cheaper online at TransDesign.com for only $2.99 a pop.

Have you grabbed anything from this collection? How awesome is that Man Hunt?!