Review: Guerlain Rouge G in Grenade

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Guerlain Rouge G #65 Grenade

This was my first-ever luxury brand makeup, a holiday gift from me to me. I’ve had it so long that I keep completely forgetting to review it and it occurred to me not long ago that I should go ahead and do that. Otherwise it might show up in my empties before I got to! As you can see from the little nub that’s left of it, it’s been good to me.

(Jump to the summary)

Packaging

Guerlain Rouge G #65 Grenade

Review: Guerlain Rouge G #65 Grenade

Guerlain Rouge G’s are one of those products where the packaging really matters – not gonna lie, it’s one of the main reasons I bought this one. It comes in a metal case, and I don’t mean plastic with a tiny shell of metal. It’s for-real metal. The top is held on magnetically, and the G logo button at the bottom holds shut a lid that has mirrors on both surfaces. When you take the top off the mirrored lid automatically springs open. Pretty damn clever, if you ask me. Lipstick is really the only makeup I touch up during the day, so it’s nice to not need a separate compact mirror. Also, it just looks really, really luxe.

Despite all the many things I love about it, the Rouge G case does have some drawbacks. It’s pretty bulky, which can be annoying in a slim clutch. It’s also heavy. Not heavy enough to make a noticeable difference in my regular purse, but in a tiny wristlet I can definitely tell it’s in there. And as you can see from mine, the potential for scratch-age is there. Granted, I’ve been tossing this lipstick into my bag for something like two years so I actually think it’s doing ok.

Color

Guerlain Rouge G #65 GrenadeGrenade, one swipe

Guerlain Rouge G #65 GrenadeLeft: Rouge G Grenade, Right: Burberry Lip Cover Claret (reviewed here)

Guerlain Rouge G #65 Grenade swatchLeft: Rouge G Grenade, 2 swipes, Right: Burberry Claret, 2 swipes

Grenade is a bright, semi-sheer watermelon pink with fine shimmers. According to Guerlain’s product description, the Rouge G line uses ruby powder to give it its shine. So maybe the price isn’t all for the name & packaging, but I can’t help thinking of the diamond cream from Arrested Development. I won’t say it’s a perfect universal color for every person and situation in the whole world (because I don’t believe there’s any such thing) but it does go well with just about any makeup colors I’ve tried. Hence the tiny little stub – it’s one of the lipsticks I wear when I don’t know what lipstick to wear.

Texture, application & wear

Guerlain Rouge G #65 Grenade

FOTD 7-9-15

Here’s a closeup shot of the shimmers for you, because my macro lens was getting lonely. That picture makes it look a little bit gritty, but I promise you it’s not. It applies smoothly and evenly, even straight from the bullet, without gathering in lines. Basically, the texture is just beautiful. The formula has hyaluronic acid spheres and wild mango butter (not sure how that’s different than non-wild mangoes?) that makes it very moisturizing. It’s not slippery or thick, it just keeps my lips feeling nice and healthy.

I typically get about 3 or 4 hours of full-color wear, even with my extreme coffee addiction. After that it leaves a good stain for an hour or two, so I can wait until after lunch to touch up.

For those of you that have feels about fragranced lipsticks, this one does have a noticeable (though short-lived) scent. Here’s what Guerlain has to say about it:

Top notes sparkle with a lemon, orange and bergamot accord. The rose and iris heart exudes sweetness. The vanilla and tonka bean dry-down gives Rouge G all of its intensity.

I, on the other hand, would say it has a fruity-floral scent. And this is probably why I don’t really do fragrance reviews. Even though it looks like that fragrance should be coming out of a bottle instead of a lipstick tube, don’t worry – it’s not strong enough for other people to smell it, and it wears off pretty quickly.

Summary:

Packaging: It’s not totally practical (heavy, bulky and scratchable), but I don’t think that’s really what Guerlain was going for. A total case of form over function. Though that mirror is pretty handy.
Color: Gorgeous bright watermelon pink with extremely fine shimmers. It’s been one of my default go-to lipsticks ever since I got it.
Texture: Light and moisturizing, with a slightly glossy semi-sheer finish.
Application: It goes on smoothly and evenly, even if you apply multiple layers to build opacity. It’s one of the few lipsticks I own that I apply straight from the bullet instead of using a brush.
Wear Time: I get 3-4 hours of full-color time, with a stain that hangs around for another couple hours. It wears off evenly, even at the corners(!).

Overall: If you’re going to splurge on a lipstick, Rouge G needs to be on your shortlist of candidates.

 

Guerlain Rouge G ($53) is available at nordstrom.com and sephora.com

Sephora Beauty Before Brunch: VIB Rouge 4x Points Event

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VIB Rouge 4x Points EventIt’s that time again! Emails haven’t gone out yet, but the registration page for Sephora’s fall Beauty Before Brunch Event is up. Here are the details on the US event:

Date:

  • Aug 2nd, 2015 9-11AM
  • RSVP by July 31st
  • Online Aug 3rd-9th (update: no code needed, the points will automatically be credited to your account)

Deal:

  • 4x Points on all purchases for VIB Rouge
  • Goody bag at the event

Register:

For everyone else:

According to rumors on the Sephora forums the Rouge event for Canada will probably take place in the evening the same day, but the registration site isn’t up yet. BUT – if you check http://www.sephora.com/rouge-rsvp-ca it says ‘this event is in testing mode’, which is the same thing the US event page said before it went live.

Update: The Rouge event for Canada will be on August 5th, 7-9pm, RSVP by August 3rd at the link above.

But what about BI’s & VIB’s? I haven’t seen any definite information on it yet, but usually during point multiplier events BI’s get 2x and VIB’s get 3x starting a couple days later. I’ll keep stalking the forums and the registration page for more info!

Update (7/27): I received my email today and it confirms that BI’s will get double points and VIB’s will get triple points August 2nd-9th.

 

I don’t have a huge shopping list, but I’m definitely going to re-stock my Hourglass Immaculate foundation, which I just ran out of recently. And holy cow you guys, this will be my THIRD bottle, which will officially make it my most-repurchased foundation ever. I’ve also been wanting a tomato-red blush for a long time, so this may be the perfect excuse to pick one up. My eye is on NARS Exhibit A or Urban Decay Bang (if anyone has recommendations for one over the other, please tell). I’ve recently fallen in love with Armani Si (the eau de parfum version), but I may wait and pick that up later from Fragrancenet since they run 15-25% off promotions basically all the time. What’s on your shopping list?

 

Review: Josie Maran Cheek Gelee in Poppy Paradise

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Josie Maran Cheek Gelee Poppy Paradise

I’ve had my eye on the mini version of the Josie Maran Cheek Gelee ($13) for a while, because every time I wander by the checkout at Sephora it just catches my eye for some reason. I try to resist getting too many liquid/cream blushes because they expire sooner than powders, and I’m a little uneasy buying something that I know will probably expire before I even come close to using it all. But travel size = better chance of using it. One of the many reasons I’m a sucker for just about anything in those bins around the checkout lane.

In a hurry? Jump to the summary.

Packaging

Josie Maran Cheek Gelee Poppy Paradise

Not gonna lie, the packaging was a big part of the reason I wanted this little guy. I’m a sucker for travel size things and something about it just called to me. It was adorable right up to the point that I tried to use it. Dip a cheek brush in it? Nope, way too small. Dip my finger in it? Ok, but only if my nails are short – I’m not sure what assumptions people would make if I went around with some red substance embedded under my fingernails, but I don’t think I want to find out.

On the less gripey side of things, I did take this on my last trip because it’s super tiny. Great for travel! (insert big cheesy smile & thumbs up) It’s even small enough to throw in my purse if I really want to. The container itself seems rock solid; source: dropping it multiple times by accident. Basically you can take it with you anywhere, if you’re willing to fuss with getting the stuff out of the jar.

Color & Finish

Josie Maran Cheek Gelee Poppy Paradise

If summer were a color, it would be Poppy Paradise. Seriously. It’s a bright reddish-coral that looks like it should be in an underwater photo of a tropical ocean with super-model divers swimming by. Or at least, somewhere more glamorous than the vanity in my walk-in closet. It isn’t overwhelming on the skin, so what you end up with is a nice, healthy flush that doesn’t look like ruddiness. There are no sparkles at all, just a slight sheen. The opacity is just about the blush equivalent of a sheer lipstick.

Texture, application & wear

Josie Maran Cheek Gelee Poppy Paradise

The blush does leave a stain, which is good for the wear time but kind of a pain if you apply with your hands. If fingers are your favorite makeup tool then just be aware you’ll need to go wash them ASAP, or be ok with the fact that you now have bright pink fingertips.

How to actually apply & blend the blush had me scratching my head a bit. The blush has a thick balmy texture that takes a bit of work to spread around. I eventually came up with a system that works. It involves using a small paddle brush to pick up the blush and dot it on my cheek. Then I use a short/dense stippling brush in a patting motion to spread it over my skin. In case you’re wondering, the concealer brush is from some little set I got at the grocery store – I don’t know the brand, sorry. I use the Wayne Goss 04 as my stippling brush, but I think the Real Techniques one would work well too since it’s not as dense. My skin flushes like crazy when I use really firm brushes on it, so the first couple times I thought I over-applied because my cheeks got so pink. It is really sheer though, so after my skin had a few minutes to calm down I realized I actually needed to add a bit more.

The wear time is pretty ok – about 6-7 hours before it starts to fade a bit, but it’s still visible even after that. It’s been holding up under lots of humidity and sweat, and even survived an hour-long nap without getting all over my pillows. I haven’t gotten to the beach this summer (#sadface) but this would be my pick for a swim day.

Summary:

Packaging: The travel size pot is great for saving space, but the tiny opening makes it really difficult to actually get out of the container (arguably the most important part of any packaging).
Color/Finish: Poppy Paradise is a great summery red-coral color. The finish is fairly sheer so it works really well for a natural glow, not so much for dramatic looks.
Texture: The consistency is similar to a waxy lip balm, or maybe strawberry preserves.
Application: The best way I’ve found to apply is to pick it up on a small/flat brush, dot it onto your skin, and pat it out with a dense stippling brush. If your skin is prone to flushing check after a minute to make sure you didn’t under-apply.
Wear Time: About 6-7 hours over foundation before it started fading, but even then it didn’t disappear completely.
Overall: I’m pretty happy with the product itself but I suggest springing for the full size – the little one is a recipe for frustration.

 

Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee ($13-22) is available at sephora.com

Quick & easy way to bandage a cracked nail

Tutorial - Bandage a cracked nail

 

My nails have been growing out pretty nicely recently, so naturally this happened:

Tutorial - Bandage a cracked nail

I hate when a nail cracks like that – too far down to cut it off, but deep enough to catch on something. Since I first noticed it I’ve been living in fear of the moment it snags on something and takes half my nail off with it. Wearing a bandaid until it grows out didn’t seem like a workable solution, so I decided to make a bandage-type-thingy for it.

 

To start off with, you’re going to have to sacrifice a bag of tea. Doesn’t matter what kind, you just need a little square of the fabric. Cut it small enough to fit onto your nail without running over the edges, but big enough to cover the split.

Tutorial - Bandage a cracked nail

 

Apply a coat of clear nail polish to your nail. You can also use liquid bandage if you don’t have nail polish, but geez that stuff smells awful. While it’s still wet, put your fabric square over the split edge. Try to line it up with the edge of your nail as closely as possible. Once you have it placed, pat it down to make sure it’s secure. Use the bottom end of your tweezers or an orange stick to really press down the edge.

Tutorial - Bandage a cracked nail

 

Apply two more coats of clear polish (or liquid bandage, if that’s the route you’re going) and let it dry. That’s it, you’re done!

Tutorial - Bandage a cracked nail

 

The patch will be slightly visible but not incredibly obvious unless you’re looking for it. Mine has stayed intact through cleaning and woodworking, so it seems to be holding up pretty well. When you’re ready to take it off, it removes easily with regular nail polish remover.

 

What little tricks do you have for fixing damaged nails?

FOTD

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FOTD 7-9-15

FOTD 7-9-15I’m totally cheating here because this one is from last week, but I wanted to use it since I had time to do some decent lighting. No sense in wasting a good thing!

Face:

  • Hourglass Veil Foundation, Light Beige
  • Armani Master Corrector, pink
  • Amazing Cosmetics concealer, Medium Beige
  • Surratt blush, Grisaille (contour)
  • Burberry blush, Cameo
  • Shiseido blush, High Beam (highlight)
  • Guerlain Meteorites Pearls, Clair

Eyes:

  • NARS eye primer
  • NARS Brow Perfector, Suriname
  • Charlotte Tilbury Rock Chick quad
  • Marc Jacobs pencil liner, Blacquer
  • Diorshow mascara
  • e.l.f. lashes (which I took off halfway through the day because they HURT)

Lips:

  • Guerlain Rouge G, Grenade

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June Favorites (Video)

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June Favorites

Some of my most-reached-for products from last month. What were yours?

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Favorite products:

Posts mentioned:

Wearing:

Spotlight: Chikuhodo

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Chikuhodo Collection
You may or may not know this about me, but I’m a brush addict. New brush series? I’m checking it out. New brand? Holy shit, you can bet I’m there. I stared longingly at photos of Chikuhodo brushes for a long time before I finally got my paws on one, though. At the time they were only available from Japan or one (now-closed) website based in Sweden, so shipping was astronomical. Add that to the brushes themselves (not exactly ones I can run out and buy every week) and my wallet managed to trample down my curiosity. For a while. I finally cracked when some friends wanted to do a group order so we could split shipping, and I told myself “I’ll just have one.” Liar liar pants on fire.

Not terribly long after that now-eproject.com (the Japanese web store) rebranded itself as Visage and brought their prices down a bit; around the same time Chikuhodo released the R-series brushes, which are a little more reasonably-priced than their Z-series. Ugh, ok, just a couple more. But that’s all. Then, naturally, they broke into the US market via Beautylish and released a holiday set that just happened to be University of Kentucky colors. How could I not?

I thought I’d take a nice long brush no-buy, but earlier this year CDJapan started carrying Chikuhodo, and their prices for whatever reason are much lower than other stores. My first and biggest Chikuhodo lust was the sakura MK-2, but at the time (around 3 years ago) it was $260-something + $35 shipping on now-eproject. I just couldn’t even. When I saw it for less than half that on CDJapan a couple months ago I decided to finally pull the trigger. Three years is long enough to wait.

Again, I thought that would hold me over for a while, but I’ll be damned if they didn’t announce the Beautylish x Chikuhodo Sakura collection the very same day the MK-2 got delivered. Or maybe it was the next day. You get the point. If it’d been anything but sakura I probably could have held out, but I mean, I love them so much that I have them permanently embedded in my skin. Goodbye, dollars.

But really, I have enough now. I’m just going to say that to myself over and over until I believe it. For now, here are some mini-reviews and comparisons.

 Eye Brushes

Chikuhodo Collection - Eye Brushes

Chikuhodo Collection - Eye Brushes

Chikuhodo Collection - Eye Brushes

Left to right:

  • Wayne Goss 04 (blue squirrel, or maybe grey)
  • Chikuhodo Sakura crease  (grey squirrel)
  • Chikuhodo Sakura pencil (horse & fitch)
  • Hakuhodo G5514 (white goat)
  • Chikuhodo Noel Neige shader (white goat)
  • Chikuhodo Sakura shader (grey squirrel)
  • Hakuhodo G5507 (horse)

I actually haven’t purchased any Chikuhodo eye brushes on their own – all of mine came in sets. I’ve already got a pretty good collection of eye brushes going, and I run them hard enough that I don’t necessarily want to dish out for fancier ones. The ones I have I’m pretty pleased with though. I’m going to try to keep this from becoming an entire novel (haha good luck with that) so I’ll keep my opinions pretty short. I threw in some other brushes for size/shape comparison.

Sakura crease brush – I was really curious how this would be since I didn’t have a brush quite this shape. The Goss 04 is close-ish – shorter, wider and less pointed. So not the same at all, actually. The hairs taper almost all the way down the brush, so it picks up more powder than you might expect. The length and the crazy-soft hair make it very flexible, so it gives a really diffuse application and blends a bit at the same time. Not really the thing you’re looking for if you want precision, but great at what it’s meant to do. The construction is great – everything is attached firmly to everything else and the hairs all follow the brush shape perfectly.

Sakura pencil brush – Gotta admit, I’m still not totally sure what I’m going to use this for. Probably lipstick, or maybe pinpoint concealing. It’s very very stiff (that’s what she said) and the hair is a pretty coarse texture as brushes go. I tried this out on my lash line but it was absolutely too rough. I have sensitive eyes so your mileage may vary. It does pick up cream products well, and sets them back down on your skin without just smearing everything around.

Noel Neige shader – I like this brush a lot; it’s great to pack shadow on the lid, and it’s firm enough to diffuse cream shadows as long as they’re not fully set. It’s not my absolute favorite though (for picky reasons, of course). It’s well-built, but the brush head isn’t shaped quite as skillfully – in the last picture you can see a few wild hairs. I had just washed it, so that’s how it dries. The hair also isn’t as fine and soft as the white goat from Hakuhodo.

Sakura shader – Like the Noel shader, it’s got a few crazy bits of hair, but they’re less noticeable. It’s the perfect counterpart to the Noel one though – it’s smooth as silk (like, really expensive silk) and leaves a light wash of color. It kind of skims over the surface of the skin, which seems to make a smoother finish and show fewer lines.

Cheek Brushes

Chikuhodo Collection - Cheek Brushes

Chikuhodo Collection - Cheek Brushes

Chikuhodo Collection - Cheek Brushes

Left to right:

  • Chikuhodo R-C2 (grey squirrel)
  • Hakuhodo J210 (white goat)
  • Chikuhodo Noel Neige Cheek (white goat)
  • Chikuhodo Sakura Cheek (grey squirrel)
  • Koyudo RS Cheek (red quirrel)

Cheek brushes are kind of my thing. I don’t know what it is, but I can’t get enough of them. Literally, I’m going to have to split them into two brush cups soon.

R-C2 – I’ve already done a full review on this one (here) and all my opinions still stand. It blends beautifully and soft enough that it doesn’t make my skin flush at all. I’ve had it for a little over a year now, and it’s still exactly the same shape as it’s always been.

Noel Neige – Like its little sister shader brush, the Noel cheek brush has a little bit of eccentric-scientist hair around the edges, and it’s not quite as smooth as what I’m used to with my Hakuhodo brushes. It’s still very soft just not as soft. It’s very big and fluffy so I don’t really use it to apply blush – it’s fantastic for blending out blush though, and especially for going over it with translucent powder if I’ve gotten a little carried away.

Sakura – I’ve seen a lot of people as how this compares to the Chikuhodo Z-4 and the Suqqu cheek brush. Unfortunately I have neither of those brushes, so I can’t tell you (sorry). But, it’s nearly as soft as the Koyudo RS, with slicker hair. The tapered sides pick up plenty of powder. Equally good at patting it on the way I’ve seen a lot of Korean youtubers do, or just sweeping it along your cheekbones. The brush head is really nicely shaped, with everything falling in the right place.

Powder Brushes

Chikuhodo Collection - Powder Brushes

Chikuhodo Collection - Powder Brushes

Chikuhodo Collection - Powder Brushes

Left to right:

  • Chikuhodo R-P6 (grey squirrel)
  • Chikuhodo Passion powder (goat)
  • Chikuhodo Sakura powder (goat/grey squirrel mix)
  • Chikuhodo MK-2 (grey squirrel)
  • Hakuhodo J104 (white goat)

Somehow nearly all my fluffy powder brushes are Chikuhodo. I didn’t really mean for that to happen, it just did. #NoRagrets

R-P6 – Another one I’ve already reviewed, and like the R-C2 it’s still keeping its shape like a champ. It’s so fluffy and delicate-feeling that I was a bit worried how it would hold up, but it looks like I was just being a worrywart. This one is great for really soft powders that aren’t meant to be applied heavily, like the Hourglass ALPs or Guerlain Meteorites ballz. Not so much for harder textures – there’s a limit to how much product it can pick up since it’s so soft.

Passion powder – Yet again, already reviewed. It was time to do an update to that though, because it’s really softened up considerably after a lot of use. It’s still dense and firm (it would be really odd if that changed) so it can kick up a ton of powder with soft products. Which is why I don’t really use it with soft products. I like it for loose setting powder, but where it really shines is bronzer. Most perfect bronzer brush ever, at least for ones that are tightly pressed. It picks up the right amount of product and doesn’t drop it all on the first spot it touches down on your face.

Sakura – If you could make a mashup of the R-P6, Passion powder brush and MK-2, this is what you’d get. The hair blend is 50/50 goat and grey squirrel, so you get the best of both. It’s nearly as soft as the R-P6 but firm enough to pick up pressed powders like the Passion brush, and has a lovely handle like the MK-2. When I first opened up the package I couldn’t really see the angle in the brush head, but it was much more obvious once I washed it and it fluffed out a little. The shape makes it convenient for sweeping on powder vs buffing it in since it follows the contours of your face more easily. The brush head is shaped really nicely, with all the hairs going in the right direction.

MK-2 – Literally this is the powder brush I’ve always wanted (for the last 3 years or so). Admittedly at first I was only interested in it for its looks, but as soon as I finally got it I was in love. The hair is dense and soft so it’s a lot firmer than the R-P6. I use this for literally all kinds of all-over powders – loose or pressed, hard or soft, setting or finishing. And of course the handle is so gorgeous I kind of want to put it in a specially-lighted display case instead of in the brush cup with the rest of them.

Noel Neige – As far as I can tell the brush head on this one is the exact same size and shape as the Passion powder brush, but softer and more fluffy. Just like the Noel cheek brush, the hair is soft but less fine than white goat I have from some other brands. I love it best for products that need a firmer brush to pick up the product (I’m looking at you, RBR Diaphanous) but I still only want to apply a small amount.

 

All in all, I couldn’t be happier with the brand as a whole. I know the big question a lot of people have: Hakuhodo or Chikuhodo? (Which I will be doing a spotlight on Hakuhodo at some point, don’t worry.) I’d say if you want high-quality workhorse brushes, Hakuhodo is going to be more cost-effective. If you want great brushes that are more interesting aesthetically, Chikuhodo might be the way to go – unlike Hakuhodo, they come out with special limited-edition sets that aren’t outrageously more expensive than their regular brush lines.

 

What are your favorite Japanese brushes?

 

Chikuhodo brushes are available at beautylish.com, cdjapan.co.jp and visageusa.com

FOTD

FOTD 7/10/15For once I decided I had the willpower to do winged liner and wanted to keep testing the Benefit Push-Up Liner sample that I got from Ulta a while ago. Unfortunately after just a few weeks it was really dry and super crumbly. Eyeliner confetti everywhere. Also for some reason I woke up with my bottom lip really swollen – not sure if I slept funny or maybe allergies. But I guess now I know how I’d look with collagen injections (I think I’ll hold off).

Face:

  • Hourglass Immaculate foundation in Light Beige
  • Givenchy Terre Exotique Bronzer (this foundation is much too light for me at the moment)
  • Armani Master Corrector in pink
  • Amazing Cosmetics concealer in Medium Beige
  • Burberry blush in Blossom
  • Surratt blush in Grisaille
  • Hourglass ALP in Incandescent
  • Hourglass ALP in Dim

Eyes:

  • NARS eye primer
  • Burberry eyeshadows in Pale Barley & Dark Sable
  • Benefit Push-Up Liner in Beyond Brown
  • Diorshow mascara
  • NARS Brow Perfector in Suriname

Lips:

  • MUFE Aqua Lip in Rosewood
  • Givenchy Le Rouge in Rose Dressing

 

Review: Dior Diorshow Mascara

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Dior Diorshow MascaraWhen I did my Mascara Madness shopping list, I wasn’t sure what my wildcard mascara was going to be. The whole buy two get one free thing is the perfect chance to throw caution to the wind and get something I’ve done exactly zero research on. I’m living on the edge, here. So this year the lucky winner was the reformulated Diorshow mascara. Let’s ignore the fact that I haven’t used the original formulation – I have a mini rolling around in my makeup drawers, I just haven’t gotten around to using it. So what I’m saying is I can’t really give a good comparison between the old & new formulas at the moment. Sounds like I need to break open the original formula and do that pretty soon though.

Wand

Dior Diorshow MascaraThis wand is one of the bigger ones I’ve seen, for sure. At least, big enough so it’s a little bit of a chore maneuvering it around my small eyes. Aside from that I like it pretty well. It’s a pretty traditional shape – densely packed bristles in a spiral, narrowing toward the end. It pulls up quite a bit of product but not so much that I need to wipe the brush off, other than knocking off a tiny bit of excess from the very tip.

Texture, application & wear

Dior Diorshow Mascara

If you’re looking for a deep, dark, black mascara, this is for you. There’s no charcoal or brown tone to it, just black. Period. It also comes in brown, blue and purple, if you’re so inclined. I have to admit I don’t really understand the attraction of bright-colored mascara, but you gotta give the people what they want!

The texture is a bit wet, but fairly thick. When you combine that with the wand shape, just swiping it over my lashes can make some of the hairs clump together. But never fear, I’ve found a way around that! If I hold it at the base of my lashes, blink, then wiggle it a bit as I pull it up it gives much better separation. To be fair, that method usually gives me better results with just about any mascara, but this is a case that needs it. It creates a good amount of volume and a little bit of extra length. I wouldn’t really say it adds curl, but if I curl my lashes it doesn’t pull them flat as the day wears on. After 8-10 hours there’s just a teeny tiny bit of flaking, but not enough to irritate my eyes or look raccoon-y. Also noteworthy: I don’t think it claims to be waterproof, but it does hold up pretty well as long it’s had time to dry initially. But if you poke yourself in the eye with a tightlining brush immediately after applying it, it will run. Learn from my mistakes.

Once I’m done with makeup for the day, this mascara is pretty easy to remove with my regular eye makeup remover (the Neutrogena one). It doesn’t melt right off, but it also doesn’t require heavy duty scrubbing.

Dior Diorshow Mascara

 

In Short: It’s not the most effortless mascara I’ve ever used, but I love the way it makes my lashes look.

 

Dior Diorshow Mascara ($27.50) is available at sephora.com and nordstrom.com

Review: O.R.G. Skincare Mineral Peel

Press Sample

Is it weird to have so many obsessions that you need a waitlist for new ones? That’s sort of where I’m at, which I’m not sure what that says about me. A thing I’ve been wanting to delve into for a long time is Korean skincare, since I’ve heard nothing but raves about it. I even walked right by The Face Shop when we were in New York a couple months ago, but it was something like 2AM and I didn’t end up making it back over there with all the other things on our schedule. Next time, for sure. Anyway, a little while ago O.R.G. Skincare rang me up and asked if I’d like to try out their Mineral Peel spray. Um, yes. The company and the product have both been around for a while, but they’re new to me. To fill you in, O.R.G. is a skincare brand bringing products based on Asian skincare to the US market, starting with spray-on mineral peels for face and body. I’ve been testing out the face one; the body version is similar, but without some of the brightening and moisturizing ingredients.

Packaging

ORG MIneral Peel

For all that it’s just a spray bottle, I’m a pretty big fan of the packaging. For one thing, the tube it comes in was promptly converted to vanity storage – q-tips in the lid, and nail brushes in the main part. The airy, simple design meshes well with the overall brand message. I realize that doesn’t influence the effectiveness of the packaging or the product whatsoever, but I’m one of those people who can be manipulated into buying stuff with great design.

The bottle itself is great. It’s frosted glass, which gives it a luxe feel. I somehow haven’t accidentally pushed it off the edge of the counter (yet), so I’m not sure how it would hold up to a fall. I could test that for science, but I’d rather wait until I’ve used it up, just in case. It uses a regular spray cap and shoots out a fine, even mist. With a little bit of control you can even do a half-pump. It takes me about 3 pumps to get an even layer of the product over my entire face. Based on the amount I’ve gone through so far, I’d expect the whole bottle to last 2-3 months.

Ingredients & science

Being the skincare skeptic that I am, the first step in my testing was making sure you’re not just seeing the product itself balling up on the skin. I mean, it happens accidentally when I use certain sunscreens and primers together, so what’s to stop a company from making a product that intentionally balls up? Nothing, that’s what. It took me a minute to figure out exactly how to test that but I eventually settled on using nitrile gloves. That way it would still be exposed to body heat (does heat make it clump up? I have no idea but figured I should eliminate as many variables as possible) but not to skin and oils. After one spritz and 20 seconds of rubbing it in, this is what I had:

ORG MIneral Peel - test

A really creepy picture of my hand that only shows a few tiny grains. That leads me to believe the product does, in fact, actually do something. Following the directions – spray generously, wait three seconds then rub gently – this is how it looks in action:

ORG MIneral Peel

I don’t get the huge amount of granules they show in their product photos, but I exfoliate pretty aggressively anyway (AHA’s plus a gentle scrub cleanser). If I use it on skin that’s slightly more neglected like my hands or chest, a lot more ickiness appears.

Unfortunately I’m having a little trouble pinpointing exactly which ingredient actually causes the peeling effect. Mainly because when I plug the ingredients into PubMed the results look like some sort of medical vocabulary test. My bet, though, is on the carbomer, which is a thickener/emulsifier. Surely one of you out there has more knowledge about cosmetic ingredients than I do, so please feel free to correct me in the comments if I’m totally off base.

Aside from the whole peeling-off-the-skin-debris thing, the mineral peel is also loaded with moisturizing and anti-inflammatory ingredients, with some brightening agents and anti-oxidants thrown in for good measure. Notably missing are denatured alcohol and sulfates, which my skin doesn’t usually play well with. It’s free of parabens too, though I still think the anti-paraben craze is a little misguided. The brand is also cruelty-free, so no need to stress over the bunnies.

What it doesn’t do is cause faster skin cell turnover the way AHAs and retinoids do. So if you’re using those in your routine already, this isn’t really a substitute. Apples and oranges, ya know?

Ingredients: Mineral Water, Glycerin, Cetrimonium Chloride, Carbomer, Octandiol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Allantoin, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Silybum Marianum (Milk Thistle) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Simmondsia, Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Angelica Archangelica Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Citrate, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Sodium Chloride, Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Tocopheryl Acetate, Omega 3, Artemisia Vulgaris (Mugwort) Extract.

Use & results

And now for the million dollar question (cue dramatic music) – does it work? After a couple weeks of use I’ve concluded yes, yes it does. Here’s a before and after. Hint: you can click the photos to enlarge them.

Before:

ORG MIneral Peel - before

 

After:

ORG MIneral Peel - after

My skin looks clearer and brighter after using it, and it feels much more smooth. I’ve actually been using this in the morning to prep my skin for makeup. I haven’t had any irritation or breakouts from it (my skin does have a few breakouts going right now, but those predate the arrival of this product). It also helps in my never-ending battle against redness. My skin does flush a little bit right when I rub it in because my skin is a total diva, but after a few minutes there’s an obvious calming effect. Best of all it doesn’t make my skin feel tight or crackly, just soft and hydrated. Almost like an all-in-one toner and exfoliator. And who doesn’t like multi-use products?

In Short: Overall, a great addition to any skincare routine.

 

O.R.G. Mineral Peel ($44) is available at orgskincare.com and dermstore.com

This product was generously provided for consideration by O.R.G. Skincare. Just like all my reviews, all the opinions here are mine, all mine.