Archive - May 2008

MAC Wipes: Take It Off! Take It all Off!

Published in: MAC Makeup, Product Reviews, Skin Care


I’ve scoured the earth searching for the ideal makeup removing wipe. Okay, well, maybe not the earth, but I have scoured the Bay Area, and I have yet to find a wipe that doesn’t smell weird, doesn’t hurt my eyes, doesn’t cost too much or doesn’t dry out too quickly due to packaging design flaws.

Although I’ve tried wipes by so many other brands, I always resisted buying MAC Wipes because I just couldn’t bring myself to pay $24.50 per pack.

Then, a few weeks ago, before a trip to the MAC Pro Store, I did some long overdue makeup math. I’d just run out of Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes ($9 per pack of 25) and realized that the cost of the bulk pack of 100 MAC Wipes for $24.50 came out to just 25 cents per wipe (versus 36 cents/wipe for Neutrogena’s). Hello, bargain!

That day I bought my first pack of 100 MAC Wipes, and I’m glad I did.
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Kashuk Tools: 3 Bargain Makeup Brushes that Rock

Published in: Drugstore Beauty Finds, Makeup Tools, Product Reviews


Bargain brush goddess Sonia Kashuk’s gone and done it again. Her Synthetic Flat Top Blusher Brush won me over a few weeks ago, and now I can’t live without several of the brushes from her Kashuk Tools line. I’ve been reaching for the Powder Brush ($19.99), Large Eye Shadow Brush ($12.99) and Angeled Eye Shadow Brush ($9.99) so often that I might as well have all three surgically attached to my hand.

Here’s why I love ’em, and why you might, too. 🙂


Kashuk Tools Powder Brush

Use: To apply loose or pressed powder to the entire face
Price: $19.99
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: A

Confession time! I keep this brush on my work desk and periodically rub it all over my face for no reason other than to feel its softness against my skin. It sends me into a state of minor ecstasy. I’ll make ooh, ahh sounds, like when I’m eating dulce de leche ice cream. In general, I try to do this when nobody’s looking, but the other day El Hub caught me and said the act looked “kinda pervy.”

But Sonia’s powder brush has even more going for it than its amazing softness. It applies powder evenly on my skin, powder that doesn’t look caked-on, and leaves a lovely, natural finish I just adore.

If you’re tempted to save a few dollars by purchasing the $11.99 white-handled Powder Brush 01 from Sonia’s other Brush Collection line, resist the urge. I’ve used the white-handled brush, too, and it’s not nearly as soft.


Large Eye Shadow Brush

Use: To apply eyeshadow to the entire eyelid area
Price: $12.99
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: A+

Sonia’s Large Eye Shadow Brush multi-tasks like a mo-fo. The Kashuk brush brigade designed the thick, soft brush (with a slightly rounded edge) to apply eyeshadow over the entire lid — much like the MAC 252 Large Eye Shader Brush ($29). While I absolutely love the MAC 252 for fast, single washes of color over the entire eye, it doesn’t multi-task quite like Sonia’s Large Eye Shadow Brush does.

Not only do I use Sonia’s Large Eye Shadow Brush for color washes but also to apply color to specific parts of the eye, which I can’t really do with the 252. The rounded shape of Sonia’s brush fits nicely into nooks and crannies — ideal for the crease, under the brow bone or in the outer V.

In a pinch, it even works as a blending brush, too.
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Bobbi Brown Almost Bare Eau de Parfum: Boy Eau Boy

Published in: Fragrance, Product Reviews


If I could, I’d change the name of Bobbi Brown’s newest summer fragrance. It left the factory known as Almost Bare ($60), but Almost Boy may have been a more accurate moniker.

When I spritzed it on my wrist, I smelled bar soap, tree bark, crushed leaves and citrus rind; the very first thing the scent made me think of was how the Brawny paper towel man must smell after a shower.

Some of my favorite recent products by Bobbi Brown…

Bobbi Brown calls Almost Bare a fresh floral and lists violet, muguet (Lily of the Valley) and jasmine as some of the individual notes within the fragrance, but I couldn’t detect them at all. The product’s more masculine notes — Italian bergamot (a citrus fruit), cedar and amber (a warm, kitchen-ey smell) — dominate the feminine notes, so, basically, it makes me smell like a dude. Sure, I smell like a clean, freshly washed dude (probably a very hot dude), but I still smell like a dude.

Bobbi Brown has marketed Almost Bare as a fragrance for women, but even the name seems a little masculine to me. The marketing folks probably meant to imply a subtle, undressed sexiness, but, honestly, when I hear Almost Bare I can’t help but picture bears. Yes, it’s weird, I know, but I can’t help it.


Nor is it a very complex fragrance. It remains much the same throughout the day, unlike fragrances that transition through a range of different notes over time.

Bobbi Brown Almost Bare Eau de Parfum

Use: A slightly masculine summer fragrance
Price: $60 for 1.5 oz. bottle
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: C+

I may not have been Bobbi Brown’s target customer with Almost Bare. I gravitate toward girly-girl scents with lots of layers. Give me J’adore or Coco Mademoiselle, and I’m in heaven. Even though I typically prefer much more complex and feminine fragrances than Almost Bare, I do have to hand it to Bobbi for creating a perfume that perfectly reflects the company’s makeup aesthetic. For me, the Bobbi Brown makeup line evokes a minimalist, not overly-feminine design. Almost Bare’s simple, clean, unisex fragrance reflects their makeup philosophy to a tee.
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5 Makeup Tips for Movie Night

Published in: Makeup Tips/How To

Ladies, I sure hope you’re able to get away from things for a couple hours to enjoy a fun movie night out with friends. You deserve a break! Go with girlfriends, that strapping young man in your life, or, hell, go by yourself (which I’ve done many times before). And to help you get ready for movie night, here are five quick makeup tips!



  • Before applying your eye makeup, start with Olay Definity Eye Illuminator ($25.99). Its multi-colored micas help to hide imperfections and limit the amount of makeup you’ll need to use around your eyes.
  • Use shimmer eyeshadows and blush selectively, especially if you’re going out to dinner before the movie. Harsh bar and restaurant lighting accentuates the contrast in shimmery makeup.


  • What makes a good story? The answer: drama. For dramatic lips, start with a good round tip lip brush. Apply your lipstick from the center of the lips (the bow of the upper lip and the center of the lower lip), working outward toward the corners. To line your lips, use a color that complements the shade you chose for your lips.
  • For extra shiny oomph!, apply a layer of MAC Clear Lipglass($13.50) on top of your lipstick.

Could somebody please pass the popcorn?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


What to Look for When Buying a Product with SPF

Published in: Beauty Tips, Skin Care

summer goddess

What to look for when buying a product with SPF

Most experts recommend checking the list of ingredients for two things: the first is to see if the product provides broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) coverage; the second is to see if the broad-spectrum sunscreen contains avobenzone, titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. All provide excellent UVA protection.

What’s the deal with UVA and UVB?

Both are types of sun radiation. UVB damages the outer layer of the skin and causes sunburns, boo!

An SPF number refers to the UVB burning protection a product offers (one with an SPF of 15 allows the wearer to stay in the sun 15 times longer than she would otherwise be able to).

But now we know that UVA rays, while they don’t cause sunburns, do damage the skin’s deeper layers. They work insidiously, wrinkling and spotting skin from within, destroying its elasticity. Like UVB rays, UVA rays are also believed to be a potential cause of skin cancer (melanoma).

Use it or lose it…

Don’t be chintzy with your sunscreen! The American Academy of Dermatology suggests using at least one ounce (about a shot glass full) of sunscreen on exposed skin every day. And don’t be shy about reapplying throughout the day. Experts say frequent application is key to maintaining good sun protection.

The American Academy of Dermatology Seal of Recognition

aad-seal-of-recognition-homeIt can be overwhelming to choose a sunscreen because of all the choices available. To help consumers choose products that provide the sun protection recommended by dermatologists, the American Academy of Dermatology has started a program called the “AAD Seal of Recognition.”

But the program has attracted a certain amount of controversy. When applying for the seal, manufacturers are obliged to pay $5,000 for the application, $10,000 on approval of the application and a further $10,000 a year later. Your best bet remains knowing (because knowledge is power!) which ingredients to look for (the most effective ones being avobenzone/Parsol 1789, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) when shopping for a product with sunscreen.

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