Archive for June, 2008

ABS’s Favorite Facial Treatments Part II: MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator Review

June 30, 2008
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Who knew that MAC’s Volcanic Ash Exfoliator from its Future Earth collection would sell out so quickly? Heck if I’d known I would’ve stocked up as soon as it was released!

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See the sludgy oily black goodness? It’s happiness in a leaky plastic tub.

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The Exfoliator is a mixture of Volcanic Ash and sugar crystals from the islands of Vanuatu. And for those who love a multi-taking product, this works great on both face and body.

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See the sugar crystals?
Rub this on your face or body and you’re left with what looks like a layer of greasy soot. Attractive, no?

MAC’s Volcanic Ash Exfoliator has to be once of my favorite MAC products of all time. It’s a multi-tasker, fun and easy to use (c’mon you can’t tell me it isn’t fun to smear black goo all over your face!), relatively inexpensive, pleasantly scented and non-irritating–all of which make me hope that MAC will make this a part of their permanent line at some point!

Basically you wet your face (or body), take some your Volcanic Ash Exfoliator, smear it all over the place and rub away until all of the fine sugar crystals have dissolved. You’d think the stuff would be difficult to remove but it rinses right off, with the added bonus of a cool foaming sensation. Once everything’s been rinsed away you’re left with baby soft skin!

I think it’s pretty self-evidence that I love this product, so if you can find this at your local MAC counter, I’d definitely grab it and hoard it as if your life depended on it!

Two little gripes though. #1 while it’s a great exfoliator and leaves your skin feeling very soft, the sugar crystals aren’t super fine and therefore won’t really give your pores a deep deep clean. If you’re looking for a thorough pore-cleansing scrub, look elsewhere! And #2 is my one major issue with this product-the packaging absolutely stinks!! I really don’t know what MAC was thinking with this one. The jar’s leaky (the oil leaks out the sides and gets everywhere as you can see in my first photo) and messy, and I’ve heard it gets gooey during shipment as well. Not pretty!

Have you tried MAC’s Volcanic Ash Exfoliator? Loved it? Hated it? Thought the packaging stunk? Tell me about it!

Read Part I of my Favorite Facial Treatments series here and learn how to make your own amazing aspirin mask.

See my MAC F&F haul here.

Read my MAC Neo Sci-Fi review and see swatches here.

Read my reviews of Pleasureseeker lipstick and Like Venus Dazzleglass here.

Thinking about pressing your pigments? Check out my tutorial here.

See my MAC Tendertones swatches here.

See MAC Cool Heat swatches here.

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Trish McEvoy’s ‘Beauty to Go’ Refillable Pen: How Did I MIss This?

June 27, 2008
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Trish McEvoy ‘Beauty to Go’ Refillable Pen-$25

Somehow I managed to miss this handy-dandy little pen while browsing through the Nordstrom beauty exclusives a few days back.

A click-pen that you can fill with your favorite foundation for touch-ups on the go? Sounds good to me!

Although I am concerned that this could get really messy. The brush seems rather small (more along the lines of a concealer pen) plus how would you clean the thing? If you’ve ever tried to clean the inside of a foundation bottle, you’ll know the stuff is virtually impossible to rinse out.

I need to see this in person but I’m definitely interested!

What do you think? Would you use this or is it a complete waste of your hard-earned cash?

What are you pre-ordering from the Nordstrom exclusives? See my wishlist here.

Photos at Last! MAC F&F Haul

June 27, 2008
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A happy family photo.

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I meant to post this sooner but it took my forever to get all the photos together!

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If MAC’s Volcanic Ash Exfoliator weren’t so hard to find (it’s sold out online), I’d have a cabinet full of it. This stuff is magic in a leaky plastic jar. In-depth review to come shortly!

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MAC Tropic Glow Slimshine from Cool Heat
See what it looks like on here.

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Close-Up! It’s not as Barbie-pink as it looks in this photo.

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Tropic Glow swatch: See the pretty silver pearl?

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MAC Shadestick in Beige-ing

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Beauty Powder in Natural Flare

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Natural Flare swatch: A peachy gold shade. I like to use it for a sweep of shimmer across my cheeks. It blends perfectly with my skin-tone.

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And buffed out. See the pretty shimmer/glow it leaves?

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MAC Plush Lash mascara
In-Depth review coming soon!

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Close-up of the cool brush

What did you end up purchasing during MAC’s F&F Event?

And a look back on some of my past MAC posts:

Remember the DressCamp frenzy? Reminisce and enjoy some product photos and swatches here.

See a tutorial using the DressCamp palette here.

Read my MAC Neo Sci-Fi review and see swatches here.

Read my reviews of Pleasureseeker lipstick and Like Venus Dazzleglass here.

See some MAC pigment swatches here.

Thinking about pressing your pigments? Check out my tutorial here.

See my MAC Tendertones swatches here.

See MAC Cool Heat swatches here.

Achieving Lush Lashes: Revolutionary or Just Hype?

June 27, 2008
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Slated for release in Fall 2008, Lancome’s newest Oscillation mascara vibrates 7,000 times per minute, supposedly doing away with the mascara-acrobatics many of us perform every morning to get at every last lash.

While this sounds like a pretty cool concept to me, this sounds like an accident waiting to happen. I can’t be the only one to constantly poke herself in the eye with mascara wands, and one oscillating this rapidly sounds like trouble :\

Either way I’ll be all over this one once it drops 😛

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I know that there are several products like this out there already, but Peter Thomas Roth’s ‘Lashes to Die For’ conditioning treatment is the first one I’ve seen available at a large retailer like Sephora, and so it intrigues me. At $125 I don’t quite find it intriguing enough to purchase (unless somebody can guarantee to me that this stuff works miracles), but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Interested in other high-tech gadgets for your face? Check out my review of SK-II’s Air-Touch foundation, a great option for those of you who like to airbrush your foundation.

Shu Uemura Friends and Family!

June 26, 2008
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Remember my post about the wonders of Shu Uemura’s Depsea Water Facial Mists from yesterday? Of course you do!

Well Shu Uemura’s F&F event happens to start today, meaning you can now save 20% on all the wonderfulness that is Shu!!

Use code: SHUSUMMER to save 20% on all your purchases through June 29th

My recommendations?
Their famous eyelash curler, High Performance Cleansing Oil, Depsea Water Facial Mists, and their Rouge Unlimited Crystal Shines.

What do you plan on getting during Shu Uemura’s Friends & Family event?

Read my review of Shu Uemura’s Depsea Water Facial Mists here.

Shu Uemura Depsea Water Facial Mists Review

June 25, 2008
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From Nordstrom: “Unique Depsea water contains over 60 minerals to help enhance skin’s moisture balance. Skin is hydrated and enhanced, free from arepsicial color and lightly scented with natural extracts.” ($24)

Shu Uemura’s DepSea Water is pumped from ocean depths of 200 meters, where sunlight doesn’t reach, and bottled at the source, where the Shu Uemura manufacturing facility is located. These deep sea waters are rich in minerals and are known for their skin-soothing properties (supposedly the water even soothes eczema!).

That all sounds pretty cool to me, no?

The deep sea waters are then scented with natural aromatic extracts, resulting in the myriad of yummy scented Depsea Waters that we purchase from department stores (and of course it comes unscented as well).

I initially purchased this for my mother as a hydrating mid-day skin refresher, because I would never have spent $24 on what’s essentially a spray bottle of water for myself. But having officially stolen it from her, I’m in love!!

I have this in the Yuzu scent, which although decent isn’t my favorite (it was LE anyway so not like I’ll be getting it again), but it’s been amazingly gentle and hydrating for my complexion. Although I have oily skin, some foundations tend to try it out (especially in the winter), making my skin unbearably tight and itchy. Products like MAC’s Fix+ only make me greasy and oily (I’ll be doing a comparison review later), whereas Shu Uemura’s Depsea soothes any skin irritation and basically calms my skin, returning it to its normal hydrated state.

I’ve also started using this straight out of the shower, and my skin’s really loving it. Basically I shower, stick my hair in a towel, spritz this stuff on, do the rest of my stuff and then apply my moisturizer after it’s had a chance to absorb.

I also love to stick my Depsea Water in the refrigerator for a refreshingly cool mist of moisture on a super-hot day.

One thing I do wish were different is the spray nozzle. I’d much prefer a finer mist, but oh well.

Yes $24 for a 5 oz. bottle of water may seem a little pricey, but unlike many other “water” sprays I’ve tried this one actually makes a difference with my complexion, plus it’s going to last me forever.

Now all I need to do is find a scent that I love. The best way to do this may be to try Nordstrom’s exclusive Shu Uemura Depsea Water Set ($40) which includes Bergamot, Hamamelis, and Chamomile).

Save 20% on all your Shu Uemura purchases through June 29th. Find out how here!

Curious about other Asian skincare lines? Check out my reviews of SK-II’s Cleansing Oil (which I’m obsessed with) and their Air-Touch foundation here.

Lip of the Day: MAC Cool Heat Tropic Glow Slimshine

June 25, 2008
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Isn’t it pretty? The silver pearl is much more evident in the photo than it is IRL, but regardless it’s a great everyday lippie.

See my MAC Cool Heat swatches here.

See my MAC Tendertones review and swatches here.

See my MAC Neo Sci-Fi Review and swatches here.

It’s That Time of Year Again: Nordstrom Beauty Exclusives!

June 24, 2008
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I always eagerly await Nordstrom’s Beauty Exclusives, because unlike many other sites whose “exclusives” consist pretty much of larger sizes of pre-existing items, Nordstrom’s actually has many great items not available anywhere else.

These don’t ship until July 18th, but they’re available for pre-order now!

My wish-list so far:

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Chanel Illuminating Powder-$65
The last thing I need is another powder, but the word “illuminating” is suckering me in.

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Chanel Beaute Initale Spray Serum-$85
This sounds great as a mid-day skin booster, but $85!! If I can find a way to work this into my skincare routine, it’s a definite maybe.

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Yves Saint Laurent “Superb Eyes” Set-$67.50
The set includes a full-sized Touche Eclat, Luxurious Mascara, and other key necessities for achieving “Superb Eyes.” I probably won’t be getting this since I don’t use Touche Eclat, plus I already have a favorite YSL mascara, but this set is a good deal for those who’ve been wanting to try some of YSL’s best-sellers.

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MAC Colour Forms lipsticks-$14
I’m curious about the “pearl-finished core” in these.

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Shu Uemura Depsea Water Set-$40
I love Shu Uemura Depsea Waters (review to come shortly-I promise!!), and these mini-sizes are perfect for travel or throwing in a bag to take to the beach. Unlike MAC’s Fix+, this doesn’t irritate my skin, make me itchy, or make me greasy. Just a great mist of hydration.

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Viktor & Rolf “Flowerbomb-Bombilicious” Hair Mist-$40
I love Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb, but it can be a bit heavy at times. This seems to be the perfect solution for the summer months-who doesn’t want beautifully scented hair? I need this!!!

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Viktor & Rolf “Flowerbomb” Anniversary Set-$125
This set includes the Eau de Perfume and the Body Cream-yum!

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Marc Jacobs “Daisy” Anniversary Gift Set-$85
This is one of my favorite summer fragrances, and not only do you get the Daisy fragrance, you also get the adorable solid perfume ring with pouch, body lotion, and an absolutely adorable zip case. This would make somebody a great gift!

Will you be pre-ordering anything from Norstrom’s Beauty Exclusives?

And the winner is………..

June 23, 2008
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Julie!!!

Sorry for making you ladies wait until the wee hours of the night for this, but congrats to our MAC pressed pigment compact winner Julie! I’ll be in touch soon to get all your info!

I hope you’ll let us know what you think of the pigments and my pressing abilities once you receive the pressed pigment compact 😛

See my illustrated MAC pigment-pressing tutorial here.

Sick of using your pigments only as shadows? Learn some new uses for them here.

Click here and here to see a few EOTD’s using my pressed MAC pigments.

Vamping for Camping

June 20, 2008
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You know those crazy people who packs tons and tons of stuff even if they’re only going away for the weekend? I’m one of them. I’m really good with not taking too much clothing or accessories, but when it comes to cosmetics and skincare my crazy paranoia kicks in and I pack enough products to last me for years!

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First of all I have major bug-phobia (especially mosquitoes!). They LOVE me-I guess I’m like nature’s candy 😛 Even if there’s not a bug to be seen, I’ll have bites all over my legs, arms, and face, while everyone else manages to walk away unscathed. Which is why I’ve packed bug spray, 2 anti-bug bracelets, and MORE bug spray!

My real issue is skincare and cosmetics though. I start out with a lotion or two, then it becomes, “What if I break out?” and in goes some acne medicine, then “what if my skin gets super-dry?” and of course we add in some Creme de La Mer, then “what if my skin behaves differently since I’ll be in a different place” and in go another 3-4 moisturizers =X

Same goes for makeup. Yes I know that the bears and bugs couldn’t care less what color eyeshadow I’m wearing, but I always worry that I’ll regret not taking something, so I figure better safe than sorry! Which is how I ended up with this for a camping trip from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon:

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I wanted to pack more (and tried!) but there was no way it would fit into my cosmetics bags, plus I need room for clothes and shoes! Hopefully I don’t find myself missing anything 😛