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Beauty Product Reviews | Page 4

Comparable to Smashbox Photo Finish Primer - $30 cheaper!

I've been using the ELF Studio Mineral Infused Face Primer for about a year now, I also have a backup in my kit to use on clients as well. For only $6, this primer is fantastic! When I first started using it, it instantly reminded me of the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer, $36.00. I had a mini of the Smashbox primer a while back, so when I started using the ELF primer I knew I had to do a review on it eventually. I think it's amazing that the ELF primer is such a close dupe for the Smashbox primer that has been getting a lot of love on beauty blogs and YouTube, and it's only a fraction of the price! Word of advice, when you first purchase this primer, shake it up really well. When I first used it, I pumped out an oily substance, so after shaking it up, it's been a clear gel substance ever since. It has a light, clean scent but it doesn't last all day, so you don't need to worry about smelling like primer for hours. I have combination skin (oilier areas on my forehead, nose and chin, and dryer areas on my temples and cheeks) and this primer doesn't create more shine or oils. I has silica in it, so it applies very smooth and keeps your skin smooth all day.

My favorite blotting papers EVER!

I love the original blotting sheets, but ever since I started using these new Evening Aburatorigami beauty papers, I've become a fan of both versions. I love how sleek the evening papers look, but mostly I appreciate their size. They are perfect for clutch bags when going out at night - awesome! My favorite thing about these papers is that no matter how many times you blot your skin, they don't mess up or remove your makeup. They absorb the oils cleanly without changing the effect of your face makeup. I can even use these on my eye lids to remove any extra oils they may be producing and my eye shadows don't lose their shape or pigmentation.

Worth all the $$!

I have been using these Tatcha Beauty Papers, Original Aburatorigami for almost a year now. They have replaced my drugstore blotting sheets and blotting powders. I have been using these sheets to remove any oils on my skin prior to applying my makeup, I use them on days when I don't wear any makeup to help reduce my natural oils, and of course I use them to touch up my skin when wearing makeup for extended time. My favorite thing about these papers is that no matter how many times you blot your skin, they don't mess up or remove your makeup. They absorb the oils cleanly without changing the effect of your face makeup. I can even use these on my eye lids to remove any extra oils they may be producing and my eye shadows don't lose their shape or pigmentation.

Spring/Summer 2012 shades ROCK!

I received a few new shades from Essence's Spring/Summer 2012 collection, and the formulations are so much better than the polish I had purchased last year. Even the brushes seem to work better. Either my 2011 polish was a dud, or Essence has stepped up their nail polishes! The brush isn't the highest quality, but it's high enough where it doesn't drag the polish - you still get a smooth texture. The shades I have in the photo are A Lovely Secret, Glamorous Life and Walk On Air.

A quick mani, but lasting damage

A few months ago I was sent some products to try out from Nutra Nail; I received 1 box of Gel Perfect UV-Free Gel-Color in the shade Champagne, 1 box of Gel Perfect UV-Free Gel-Color in the shade Passion, 1 box of No-Mess Express Gel Perfect Remover - 5 pads included. I've heard of the gel nail color trend booming all over beauty blogs and YouTube videos, but I had never tried it myself. My natural nails are very strong, thick and grow really fast, and I never experience major issues with having to wait forever for polish to dry.

The PR rep sent me links to their How-To YouTube videos, I followed the instructions on how to apply the Gel Perfect, let me know begin with a warning - make sure you do this in a well ventilated area - as in, open all your doors and windows and blast your fan on turbo! The activator smells so strong that it was burning my nose and I was trying to lean as far back away from my nails as possible. It was excruciatingly hard to do this manicure, aside from the activator's horrid smell, I found it to be a hassle to work so quickly on each nail. I prefer to take my time when painting my nails so I can have nice, clean edges - but with this Gel Perfect process, you have to work pretty quickly and that resulted in horribly messy nails. Oh, and I couldn't just go back and clean up the over polished areas, this stuff is immune to simple nail polish remover. So, I sported messy nails for a few days.

Day 1, my nails were bumpy and uneven, most likely from not doing the process quick enough and not cleaning the brush after every other nail to avoid the goopy, stringy effect that the Gel Color quickly turns to. Day 2, my nails were in the same condition as day 1's application. Day 3, after taking my morning shower and doing the dishes, my nails began to chip. The interesting thing is that they chipped in the way a candy coating would chip off. It came off in thick, shell like patches. The chipped areas constantly snagged my clothes and hair. Day 4, the chipping turned into cracking and there were mini earthquake lines in my manicure, along with sharp edges from the manicure chipping away. I couldn't handle it anymore and I had to remove the manicure ASAP.

The removal process claims to cleanly take about 2 minutes. First off, the remover has a heavy scent as well, so do this in a WELL ventilated area. The soaked pad inside the packet is stiff, so when you are following the instructions and it says to rub your nails against the pad - you really need to take the pad out and aggressively rub and scrape the polish off your nails, one at a time. It took me about half an hour to get the polish off, completely off!

Based on my one and only experience in using this system, the application takes forever, the removal takes forever and I'd honestly rather just grab a bottle of polish, slap on two coats and use a fast dry - it's much easier to do, easier to breathe through and it lasts a lot longer.

Now, based on the effect it had on my nails, I HIGHLY suggest not using this system! I strongly dislike this product and I've been suffering for the last few months. My natural nails are strong, thick and grow very quickly. They don't chip, peel or crack. After I removed the Nutra Nail Gel Perfect manicure, my nails were so damaged that they reminded me of when you get gel nails removed at the salon and they leave behind that scaley, peely, unhealthy look. My nails were so brittle that I had to keep them filed down to the skin because any bit of nail that hung over or was "grown out" would crack and chip off from the slightest contact with any hard surfaces. I was extremely saddened to see my nails in such an unhealthy state. Luckily, the damaged nail portions eventually grew out, and now I can sport my long, strong nails again.

Originally I wasn't going to do this review or even share this experience because I know a lot of people like the Nutra Nail Gel Perfect manicures, and I didn't feel like hearing "oh, you probably did it wrong". But, after my bad experience, I reached out to the PR that sent these products to me asking for guidance on why this tore up my nails and if I had in fact done the process incorrectly. She mentioned never hearing of this issue before and said she would forward my concern to another person, unfortunately I never heard back from her.

Since I didn't hear anything back from PR, I decided to go ahead and share my experience. Personally, I wouldn't recommend this product to anyone. If you are in a rush and want a 5 minute mani, it's probably safer to just use those nail appliques that are so hot right now.

The BEST base coat EVER!

I just purchased this base coat recently to replace my empty CND Stickey Base Coat, I thought I would try something new and I had heard that Zoya's prep polishes were really good. I've used this base coat a handful of times by now and I can easily say that I've fallen for this base coat! Not only does it protect my nails from staining, it holds my manicures in place (my current mani is going on 5 days with no chipping and minimal fading on the tips), and it's a thicker consistency than the standard base coats I've used in the past. In my experience, base coats are really thin and soak into my nails so quickly that I usually have to apply two layers of base coat before applying my nail polish. So, I'm really happy that I only need one layer of this base coat - cuts down my mani time a lot! I think this might just be better than the CND base coat I was previously using ;)

My #1 gentle, face exfoliator!

Back in September I received a generous 2 oz. sample of Philosophy's The Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash in my QVC Special NewBeauty TestTube for Summer/Fall 2011. It only took about a week of using this exfoliating wash for me to fall in love with it - and by falling in love with it, I mean I became unbelievably dependent on it! Ok, I know that sounds really dramatic - but I used to own MAC's Microfine Refinisher, which apparently was released a few years ago and then discontinued in 2010. It was my "holy grail", "must have", "cannot live without" exfoliating wash of all time.

After the loss of my MAC Microfine Refinisher, I was trying exfoliating washes left and right and they all turned out to be horrible matches for me. My skin is sensitive in a very picky way, I'm not sure what it's sensitive to, or what ingredients irritate it the most, but I know I cannot handle a LOT of facial products (washes, cleansers, masks, etc.) without my skin drying up, producing extra oil or just turning red from unhappiness. Then Philosophy's The Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash fell into my lap. After about a week of daily use, I knew that I had found my match - it's almost as good as MAC's Microfine Refinisher - that's a HUGE compliment coming from me.

The Similarities: Both of the exfoliating washes have that micro-massage texture, and rinse off to reveal super-baby-butt-smooth skin! Both of the products are very gentle on my skin, I had no irritation what-so-ever, my skin actually feels healthier and tighter (not in a dried out kind of way - more like a young face kind of way). Both of the products are gentle enough to use daily, which my skin needs because for some reason it produces a lot of dead skin. Lastly, both products have a faint scent that reminds me of rice - weird, I know, but this is my way of saying it doesn't have a chemically smell like some exfoliating washes do.

The Differences: Aside from the obvious; one being discontinued and the other being available, the MAC one came in a tube and the Philosophy one comes in a bottle. Another note to point out, the consistencies are very different. Philosophy's The Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash is a lot thinner than MAC's Microfine Refinisher, Philosophy's is more like a gel-like liquid and spreads out much thinner (the Philosophy one tends to clog at the opening, but the MAC one never did). Also, Philosophy's is not as packed full of the micro particles as the MAC Microfine Refinisher was.

In conclusion, I would recommend this to everyone! If your skin sounds to be similar to mine, I would highly suggestion buying a small bottle of this to try out. I couldn't be happier to have discovered this product. I even bought an 8 oz. bottle during one of Philosophy's features on Hautelook in November.

Batiste Dry Shampoo - Fresh

If you get oily hair from not washing it every day or every other day, I truly think this will pump up your do and work fantastic on you! Of course, if your hair is like mine and doesn't produce a lot of oil until a full work week passes, it might not help you out for a few days. I rarely make it to fifth-day-hair, so I'm not going to be repurchasing the Batiste Dry Shampoo.

The entire review can be read on my blog - it was way too long to post here:

Pretty good for about $3!

For a gloss, this Liquid Lip Shine is decent, it's a bit thinner than the glosses I own in my collection (Bath and Body Works, MAC, Revlon, etc.) but still has that stickier consistency. I'm actually pretty disappointed in it, mainly because I received a nude shade, and I always feel nude glosses are a waste of money because you can just buy a clear gloss and get the same effect. This gloss feels comfortable to wear, it applies smoothly and lasts a few good hours before wearing away. The shade, like I mentioned, I'm not a fan of, but I checked online and they offer many other shades that, for around $2.50ea, I would most likely try out. The wand on this gloss is similar to my Revlon Colorburst Lipgloss, but a tad bit longer. It's very flexible, so you don't need to press hard to apply the color - it bends very easily. I'm actually not a fan of these types of wands, but it still works fine - that's just my own personal preference. Overall, I think this gloss is pretty good for being a "lower-end" brand and only costing you about $2.50 per gloss. It's lasts quite a while, it's SUPER shiny, and it doesn't have that cheap-cosmetics-scent or flavor. I plan on picking up a few of the brighter shades next time I'm at the store, I would love to try Fashion Avenue Fuchsia for sure!

SUPER soft and blendable + inexpensive, can't get any better!

These liners are very soft - so soft that you don't need a lot of pressure to apply them. They melt very easily and are perfect for creating a dark base for your smokey eye looks. They can be used as a top lid liner, but I suggest setting it with a powder eye shadow, otherwise the liner will melt throughout the day and transfer to your top lid or brow bone area. The reason I bought these was to hopefully use them on the waterline, but unfortunately they don't hold pigmentation there and end up getting washed away from the natural moisture near your eye.

My favorite shades are Midnight and Ash, they are dark but not as dark as Black and are prefect to smoke out on the lash lines for that sultry look. Coffee is my least favorite - but that's just because I personally stay away from most brown shades.

Closer swatch photos on my blog:

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