Sensai Cellular Performance Hydrachange Cream Review & Swatches

April 5, 2010
Thank you so much to all of you who’ve reached out to let me know that my daily posts have been missed – I love hearing from you amidst all the craziness of work, it really brightens my day.  So given all the stress I’ve been under (and the massive sleep-deprivation I’ve been experiencing) you’d think that my skin would be going haywire, but thanks to the soothing, hydrating gentleness that is Sensai’s new Hydrachange Cream, my skin hasn’t been betraying the chaos that happens to be my life.  Check out the full review after the jump!

The Science: Hydrachange Cream is an uber-gentle gel cream that imparts a refreshing moist sensation upon application.  Sensai’s unique Hyaluronic Acid Supporting Network evenly distributes Hydrachange Complex, (made up of a marine monosaccharide to improve firmness and smoothness, beta-carotene to promote hyaluronic acid synthesis and a hyaluronate to boost collagen) with water and emollient oils to clam the skin while sealing in moisture for constant hydration. 
The Good: My simultaneously super oily and super dry (and always super-irritated) skin loves loves LOVES Hydrachange Cream.  Over the nearly three months that I’ve been using this cream (never have I stuck with a single moisturizer this long) my pores have noticeably decreased in sizes, my skin is balanced and happy, and I’ve experienced nary a dry flake during the cold winter months.  This gel cream has a wonderfully light, almost watery texture that makes moisturizing such a pleasure in the morning (I hate struggling with a super thick cream) and is infused with the fresh, feminine, comforting fragrance of plum blossoms blended with notes of sandalwood, rose and jasmine (which are also supposed to boost hyaluronic acid synthesis in the dermis).  Have I also mentioned that I haven’t experienced a single major breakout since I started using this cream?  It’s heaven I tell you, pure heaven!
The Bad: I do have to say that there was one small hitch in the ABS/Hydrachange Cream love story – stickiness.  If there’s one thing I hate, it’s a sticky skincare product, and Hydrachange doesn’t dry to a completely matte finish, but rather remains slightly sticky to the touch throughout the day.  I do, however, think that this is why this particular product moisturizes so well and is so incredibly hydrating, so I really shouldn’t complain.  PLUS happily I’ve found that perfect skincare combination that makes for happy skin and a nice, smooth feel – I layer Hydrachange over my ever-trusty Estee Lauder Idealist (I’ve been using this stuff for years) and it settles into a nice and smooth, non-tacky finish that foundation just glides right over.
As promised, here are the ingredients!
The Verdict: While my wallet cringes (just a little) at the $160 for 1.4 oz. price, to be honest I’d pay pretty much any price for beautiful, happy skin, and so when sample jar (generously provided to me by the wonderful Sensai PR people) goes empty, I’ll be dragging myself over to the Kanebo counter at Bergdorf to restock. 
 
Availability:  Sensai’s Hydrachange Series is available at Bergdorf Goodman, BergdorfGoodman.com and NeimanMarcus.com (online only).  Do check out the line, it’s one of my favorite brands ever!
This review contains a press sample sent to ABS by the brand’s PR representative for blog consideration. If you have any questions regarding the foregoing, please feel free to contact me at a.beautyful.sentiment@gmail.com.

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Lipstick Queen Mystery Chinatown Pencil Review & Swatches

March 18, 2010
Some weeks back Gilt had a Lipstick Queen sample sale, so naturally I hauled a few items including this Lipstick Queen Chinatown pencil.  This line isn’t too widely carried (I’ve pretty much only seen it at Barney’s), which is a small tragedy considering all the fun items they make, but I was more than happy to pick up this pencil for only $12!  
Lipstick Queen’s Chinatown pencils are sheer, moisturizing glosses in an easy-to-use draw-on pencil form and Mystery was love at first swipe for me.  Check out the full review and more photos after the jump!

So what’s to love?  Well pretty much everything – my inner child loves cosmetics that come in big fat pencil form – maybe I feel like I’m being naughty and drawing on my face, maybe it makes me think of coloring books and crayons – either way, there’s just something so pure and innocent about it all :).  And to top it all off, the Chinatown pencils come boxed with their own fat pencil-appropriate sharpener, meaning you won’t have to go hunting all over the place for something that’ll be the perfect fit.  Gotta love it when cosmetics companies take practicalities into consideration for us!
The formula is sheer so if you’re looking for color that’ll pack a punch, look away.  If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a lightweight, semi-sheer kiss of color with a glossy finish minus the stickiness of a conventional gloss, you’ve found your product.  
Mystery looks to be a dark, vampy, kinda scary shade of deep purpley brown, but on the lips it’s this gorgeous berry stain reminiscent of the “I just had a popsicle” look.  It’s a subtle look with buildable pigmentation, and a great option for those who’ve to add a little non-scary color to their makeup arsenals. 
Please ignore the splotchiness in the lip swatch – these photos were taken awhile back and I’d actually just burned my lip (long story short I bit into an extremely hot dumpling that dripped scalding liquid onto my lip, resulting in several raised welts).  
So while the Lipstick Queen Chinatown pencils aren’t the longest lasting (non-sticky = not too long wearing) as I’d say they disappears in about an hour or two, they really do make for some good clean fun and are definitely a nice addition to my lippie collection. 
I purchased this product myself as I’ve been dying to own some Lipstick Queen for years now.  Next on my list of things to do – to meet Lipstick Queen creator Poppy King, who I’ve heard as absolutely AMAZING and seriously just a gem of a person.  


ABS’ Five: New & Noteworthy

March 17, 2010
HD Microfinish Blush combines mattifying and reflecting powders to create a soft-focus effect for a radiant complexion. Its ultra-fine, second-skin texture blends seamlessly, imparting a healthy glow that’s hard not to notice.
I’m not big on the non-powder blushes, but this is the first HD blush I’ve ever seen, and so of course I’m insanely curious and lemming this like crazy!  I’ve got my eye on Truth or Dare (an eye-popping hot pink) and Walk of Shame (a sweet bubblegum pink).
This powerful treatment and skin-perfecting face primer in one instantly fills wrinkles and produces a smooth and perfected skin surface—ensuring long-lasting make up application. The formula is enriched with powerful antioxidant Quercetin and Oak extracts, which improve skin cell functioning, repair fine lines and wrinkles, and improve skin texture and elasticity. The revolutionary, breakthrough Quercetin & Oak Age-reversing Primer is clinically proven to improve skin texture by 97% and significantly increase skin elasticity by 88%.
I’m on a pretty major primer kick lately (trust me you’ll see – I have a million primer reviews headed your way), and just today I whipped out the Korres Quercetin & Oak Age-Reversing Primer for a test-run.  Love that it’s -cone free (silicones without fail break me out, no matter how fabulous they make my complexion look) and this stuff feels heavenly on the skin.  Review to come!
Enriched with Vitamin E, Prodigy hydrates the lips with a silky and non-tacky formula, while offering superior water-resistant color. 
Hourglass suckered me in with the packaging on this one, but it was the light, silky smooth formula that won me over.  Available in six subtle shimmering shades, these Prodigy Hydrating Lip Glosses are not only darling in all their squat pudginess, but also pack a healthy dose of moisture and lip-soothing comfort.  Not the most practical (or inexpensive) little things, but certainly lemming-worthy. 
This innovative, medium-coverage formula is energized with Stila’s exclusive Ionic Mineral Complex™ that reads and reacts to skin zone-by-zone, visibly priming, balancing, correcting, and optimizing for a supremely flawless finish. Achieve a beautifully smooth look with this buildable, blendable, hydrating essential that minimizes pores, regulates oil, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
I honestly don’t know why I want this, but the fact remains that I do.  I have yet to try a Stila foundation (other than this one horribly dark sample packet I got from Sephora once) but this one just appeals to me.  I’m thinking it’s the words “One Step” in the name – I’m all about ease and simplicity in my makeup routine.
Korres Love Your Lips Collection brings you all the products you need to get your lips in prime-puckering condition. The two delectable cherry oil lip glosses come in natural shades and glide smoothly onto the lips for a shiny look, and are rich in cherry oil to moisturize and smooth. The gentle-yet-effective Lemon exfoliating scrub prepares lips for long-lasting lip color. Lips are left soft and nourished due to the proprietary blend of coconut flour, jojoba seed oil, and beeswax moisturize and condition lips. Also included is a Jasmine Lip Butter, which contains natural ingredients that melt onto the lips, leaving a shiny, tinted finish. The combination of shea butter and rice wax offers deep hydration and softness, making the formula ideal for chapped lips.
I’ve got Korres on the brain lately, and if you’ve been following me for the past few months, you’ll know that I absolutely adore their Lip Butters – these are right up there with my Sara Happ Lip Slip and Lisa Hoffman Lip Moisturizer.  This kit is not only a great value but guaranteed to get that pout into pucker-worthy shape!


Starry Nights

March 17, 2010

You may or may not have noticed that I’ve been AWOL lately – no posts, no comment responses, no nothing.  Well that’s all thanks to the lovely power outage I suffered over the past few days, meaning no power and no running water.  So what did this mean for me?  Well let’s just say having no internet and cable were the least of my worries – I was washing my face with bottled water and sitting in front of a crackling fireplace in an otherwise pitch black house.  Thankfully the craziness is over, the power and the water are now back (the storm is over, the fallen trees have been cleared and life is returning to normal), and so am I!   


SENSAI Cellular Performance HydraChange Series Preview

March 10, 2010

I hope you all survived your Tuesdays better than I did – I’d have to say that even for a Tuesday, mine was pretty abysmal.  On the bright side though, the work week is almost half over and I’ve got a seriously amazing new skincare line to introduce you to.

Sensai’s new Cellular Performance HydraChange Series (launching in mid-March), containing a unique hyaluronic acid cocktail, seals in moisture, smooths skin’s appearance, and best of all, provides an immediate water-like hydrating sensation upon contact. 

I’ve been playing around with two items from this launch, the HydraChange Mist ($75) and the HydraChange Cream ($175) and my mother will be the first to admit that my skin is looking pretty amazing lately (and if you know Korean mothers, you’ll know they never compliment you on anything, especially your skin).  I haven’t broken out once in the two months since I switched my skincare over to HydraChange and my skin hasn’t been dry despite the ridiculously cold we’ve been having, but most amazing for me is the fact that my pores seem to be significantly tighter (although I can’t be sure this is what brought about that change – I think it might have something to do with the daily cleanser I’m using as well – either way I’m seriously amazed and so so ecstatic since I’ve tried pretty much every pore-tightening product known to man to no avail).  I’ve got to run off to work soon so this is all the info you’re getting today, but you can expect review of the products soon!

Availability: Launching in-store at Bergdorf Goodman in mid-March.  Pre-orders available via kanebobg@gmail.com.  Available at Kanebo.com in April.


Tarina Tarantino Mini Haul

March 10, 2010
 You all all know that I’m a huge sucker for anything and everything pink, so when the Sephora-exclusive Tarina Tarantino line launched at Sephora a few weeks back I had to haul an item or two to review for the blog.  I swatched away at the store, and while I wasn’t too wowed by the liners (smudgy) and shadows (a little boring), I did happen to fall in love with the TARINA TARANTINO Pearl Glow Primer ($32), a quick-to-absorb, lightweight primer that contains actual pearl powder to give your complexion a luminscent glow, and the TARINA TARANTINO Dollskin Cheek Feather ($25).  The Dollskin Cheek blushes were all beautifully pigmented, finely milled powders that for me were the stars of the line, along with the primer.  
More photos after the jump!

If you’ve already got a Tarina Tarantino counter near you (and you’ve seen the Sephora employees dressed up in horrible hot pink wigs that look nothing like the glorious one featured on the model above) definitely run to check out the line.  I’m seriously tempted to go back for the Dollskin blushes in Charm and Parasol (the shimmer is multi-dimensional and really lust-worthy) and to maybe get a backup of the primer I love it so much.  I’ll be reviewing both for you soon!


Monday, Martha and Makeup

March 8, 2010


While I generally don’t love being at work (I so envy those of you who absolutely love your jobs), Monday are by far the worst – dragging your tired, weary body out of bed when all it wants is to pretend it’s still Sunday and hide under the covers. But I’ve decided to try to take it all in stride this week, as things really are looking pretty good – at least on the ABS front. Last week I got a lovely e-mail from the PR people over at Lancome letting me know that I’d been mentioned on the Lancome Blog – how cool is that?! That pretty much made my day.

As for today, I’m trying to brighten my mood by looking at Martha the Tangerine – named for Martha Stewart, the doyenne of all things domestic. I got bored sitting at my desk, and before you know it, Martha was born =P. Isn’t procrastination great?


And now for the makeup bit. I’ve settled into a bit of a makeup rut that I’m in the process of trying to shake off, but here’s the somewhat blah look I’ve been sporting for the past two weeks. Nothing spectacular but understated enough for work and simple enough that the clients don’t do a double-take. Details after the jump!






How To:

I’m hoping your weekend was more exciting than mine. I spent most of Sunday playing around with makeup, rereading Breaking Dawn and finishing the Percy Jackson series. What have you been up to these past few days?


Cle de Peau Beaute Concealer Review & Swatches

March 8, 2010
Cle de Peau Beaute Concealer ($70)

The Cle de Peau Beaute Concealer has been on my lust-list for the longest time, but $70 for a mere 0.17 ounces of product can be a little hard to stomach. Lucky for me, I’ve got wonderful friends like Nicole who send me products like this for Christmas.

Cle de Peau Beaute’s Concealer is a makeup-artist and celebrity favorite and one highly editorialized product – it’s an In Style Award winner and it’s nearly impossible to miss it being featured in various magazines. And while I’m not usually one to buy into product hype (nor was I much of a concealer user in the past), this concealer has made a believer out of me. Check out the rest of the review and additional photos after the jump!


Packaging: While nothing spectacular, the minimalistic sleek black tube accented with Cle de Peau’s logo and capped with q gemstone-like blue accent is extremely portable (I was a little shocked by just how small this was for $70 – I guess I was expecting something more along the lines of a stick foundation) although it can tend to get lost amongst my glosses and lipsticks. It’s chic and simple – nothing gaudy or ostentatious here!


The Formula: So we’re finally getting to what I absolutely love about this product – the formula. Looking at it initially, I was worried about dryness and skin drag, but Cle de Peau’s Concealer is wonderfully creamy and really blends like a dream as long as you’ve moisturized well underneath. The pigmentation is pretty fantastic, meaning a little really goes a very long way and you won’t need to layer and layer to achieve the coverage that you desire, and what’s really fantastic is that this works for both the undereye area (no nasty creeping or crepiness) and the rest of your face. I use mine to conceal dark circles, blemishes, redness in my cheeks, and pretty much anything and everything else.


Other than the price there’s very little not to love about this product, but I should warn that if your skin is very dry or you don’t moisturize really well, this can drag and look a little dry/chalky. However, it’s by far the best concealer that I’ve ever tried and I see myself using up all of my petite little stick.

Check out the swatches of Cle de Peau’s Concealer in shade Ivory below:



See isn’t the coverage just dreamy? I know that a $70 concealer really isn’t within a lot of people’s budgets, but if you’re like me and like to splurge on a beauty product every now and then, this one is really worth it. I love mine so much that I’ll even use it as an all-over foundation on occasion (I know I’m crazy and this is waaaaaay to expensive to use that way lol) when I’ve got nothing else in my purse.

Have you tried this yourself? Thoughts? I’m thinking I’d love to try La Mer’s new (rereleased) concealer at some point to compare since I’ve been hearing that it’s HG material.

This product was a gift from the always amazing Nicole – I’ve gotten to try so many incredible products thanks to her generosity and thoughtfulness!


L’Oreal True Match Roller Perfecting Roll-On Makeup Review & Swatches

February 25, 2010
L’Oreal True Match Roller Foundation in Shade N1-2 ($14.99)

Good idea or bad, you’ve got to admit that the concept of a roller foundation is pretty unique – I’ve thought of a million and one improvements I’d love to make to pretty much every single product I own, but I’ll admit that it never even occurred to me to apply foundation with a little paint-roller reminiscent applicator.

So how did it work out for me? Read on for the review (and more photos of course) after the jump!


First one little caveat – I have yet to have a good experience with L’Oreal compact foundations. Case in point, the Super Blendable Compact Foundation irritated my skin and gave me hives and all-around looked pretty terrible on. I’ve had better luck with their liquids, but generally I tend to stick to their lip products and a skincare item or two every now and then.


Having said that, my complaints about L’Oreal’s True Match Roller are essentially the same as those you’ve seen in my L’Oreal Super Blendable Compact Foundation review. The shade I received (N1-2) is too light, sits awkwardly on the surface of my complexion, never quite blending in and emphasizing any pores and lines, and irritates my skin. I know others who’ve experienced the same, and since the formula may or may not work for you (for me it’s a definite not) I thought I’d focus more on the roller since I know you’re all curious about the paint-roller method of foundation application.


So the roller is — well pretty much a miniature paint roller. It’s a rotating cylindrical sponge mounted on a little roller, and while it’s not terrible, it’s really not my ideal method of foundation application. On the pro side, it’s kinda fun to roll your foundation onto your face and to blend it in by repeatedly rolling over the same area. You can get anywhere from light to full coverage depending on how vigorously you blend and how much product you use, and there’s little to no skin-tugging involved.

Swatch of Shade N1-2 (you can see how it makes a rectangular shape)

As for the not-so-great, well my one major issue was that the roller applicator wasn’t quite as maneuverable as I would’ve liked. A tapered end would have been nice to get into those harder-to-reach areas around my nose, and I would’ve appreciated the applicator being a bit smaller or the pan of foundation being a bit larger, as overall it turned out to be a rather messy endeavor. Also, more often than not I’d end up picking up too much foundation with the applicator, which of course made for too much foundation on my face.


While a fun novelty item, L’Oreal True Match Roller Foundation sadly didn’t work at all for me. Ah well – I still love my Go 360 Clean Cleanser to bits and use it religiously every day!

This review contains a press sample sent to ABS by the brand’s PR representative for blog consideration. If you have any questions regarding the foregoing, please feel free to contact me at a.beautyful.sentiment@gmail.com.


Tarina Tarantino for Sephora is Here!

February 22, 2010


Tarina Tarantino’s Sephora cosmetics line has officially launched and of course I had to spread the news being a HUGE Tarina Tarantino fan! I shared my launch lemmings a few weeks back, but having had nearly a month to talk some sense into myself, I’ve decided to settle for just the TARINA TARANTINO Pearl Glow Primer ($32) as I’m still currently obsessed with perfecting that dewy, glowy but non-greasy look.

Have you seen any Tarina Tarantino goodies at your local Sephora? If so please share locations – I’ve been scouring mine but no luck yet!