Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Review: L'Oreal Color Gems

L'Oreal hair colors rank among my favorites. This  product is another winner. Here's what L'Oreal has to say about Color Gems:

Ammonia-Free Creme Demi-Permanent Haircolor

  • Deposit only, true-to-tone color with uniform, natural-looking color results and no visible root line!
  • Smoothing polymers and shine enhancing ingredients deliver flawless shine and superior conditioning
  • Multi-use haircolor can be used for: enhancing or enriching haircolor, blending gray, toning highlighted or pre-lightened hair, deepening dull permanent color or lowlighting
  • Clear Diamond Gloss shade adds extra shine without color deposit
  • 10-20 minute color processing
  • Available in 30 sparkling gem shades
In other words, it's gentle on your hair, can darken or tone your color, but not lighten, and adds a ton of shine.

This shit is amazing. Your hair becomes silky and shiny, and there is no lingering chemical smell. It's also blessedly cheap. The color and a bottle of developer (which has 2-4 applications in it) costs under $10.00. This does require a trip to Sally's. I'm an at home hair guru, so I have mixing bottles, brushes, and a box of gloves at home. These are necessary to measure the developer and mix the color. A brush also helps with clean and easy application, particularly around the hairline.

This product is demi-permanent, so you will get some wash out. Deal with it. You can dye it in a few weeks to maintain the rich, healthy color. I'm naturally dark blond, and I dye my hair a deep, golden brown with Color Gems.

If you have been going steady with Natural Instincts, Color Gems is the older more experienced brother that's always hangingaround that you'd like to try out. Go for it.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Review: E.L.F. Studio Line Brushes

I have three E.L.F. Studio Line Brushes:

The Complexion Brush

 Powder Brush

and Concealer Brush

I hands down recommend the powder and complexion brush. You can't beat the quality and performance for a brush that runs $3.00 a pop. I got mine for half-off. I feel like I ripped them off, so it feels me with glee when I use them. I use the powder brush for a thicker application of mineral make-up, and the complexion brush for light application. I also use it for blush and bronzer. If you had to pick on all-around winner, I would pick the complexion brush. I would wither without it. Or at the very least have splotchy skin.

The concealer brush is a fail. I've tried it with both cream and powder concealers, and it just doesn't cut it. It's so stiff it hurts your damn face and it doesn't blend well. I've started using it for eyeshadow instead if I need to really lay something in the crease.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Review: L'Oreal Superior Preference Hair Dye

Color: 2B

I love this product. And gosh darn it, I'm worth it!  I'm worth being 28 and wanting to cover ashy colored brownish hair that is sprinkled with excessive amounts of what I think is pre-mature (although maybe some extent) gray hair.  And I'm worth having the perfect color to do it with! 

L'Oreal Superior preference leaves your hair shiny and smooth, and the color lasts for a solid 5-6 weeks (I don't care what they tell you, 5-6 weeks is all you are gonna get out of any box color).  L'Oreal cannot help the fact that my hair grows like a weed, so the roots keep me coloring it at a solid 4-5 weeks, otherwise I develop the skunk stripe that only those of us that dye light hair darker can truly appreciate.  The color 2B is the perfect blend of being not 100% black (white people's hair is never that black) and yet not that brownish/redish that lighter colors tend to become all too quick if they are not 100% black.

So, if you are looking for a balanced color that really gives you that espresso dark hair, I've been using this product for about 1-year,....I will literally go into frantic panic-attack mode if my local pharmacy/grocery store is sold out.  I refuse to substitute.... because I'm worth it!!!


PS: This is Amanda. The conditioner in these babies is pretty good too. I wish they sold big bottles of it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

To Shampoo or not to Shampoo

I'v been reading about the new beauty movement of "No-poo." It sounds dirty and nasty but I promise it's not. No-pooing is not shampooing, but using alternative methods to clean the tresses. There are some great articles on No-Poo here and here

I have super-fine hair, so I choose the no-poo with cheap conditioner method.

I'll be honest, my hair feels nas-tay. I might wash tomorrow and experiment with the baking soda and vinegar method.

Part of my problem might be that I freaking love shampoo. I love the way it smells. I love the way it makes my hair feel. I love owning bottles and bottles of it so I have a variety of it to choose from. Oh gosh. I am so excited just thinking about all that shampoo. It makes me quiver.

Anyway, I don't know if no-poo is for me. Any thoughts?


Review: E.L.F. Complexion Perfection

E.L.F.'s Complexion Perfection promises to even out skin tone and absorb excess oil. It is a four color corrective powder palette, using pink, yellow, orange, and blue to diffuse and color correct.

At least that it what it's supposed to do. Sigh.

The Good: It looks soooo cool.

  • Does absorb access oil.
  • Great packaging and large mirror.
  • Evens out skin tone somewhat.
The Bad:

  • Chalky.
  • Even with light application it can look "dusty " on your face.
  • Not a real noticeable improvement in skin tone.
The Ugly: Over it. A regular skin-toned powder would provide better, more natural coverage. Don't be sucked in by the cool packaging.


The Epic Journey of SGY

A good friend and blog commenter, SGY, is doing a make-up overhaul. I promised to chronicle her journey via the blog.

Susan is a mother of 3 boys under the age of 10, so she needs a quick, effective beauty regimen that she can actually maintain. She also suffers from rosecea, so the products need to be non-irritating.

I'm dragging her ass to CVS tomorrow to hit up Physician's Formula.

Review: L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara

I have blond eyelashes. Like Powder. So I like a volumizing mascara to  make me less terrifying to the general public. Oliva and Sarah swear by L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara. Sarah (SRS) has used it since the 8th grade. Her eyelashes look like an effing commercial, so I defer to her expertise. Olivia also has some pretty peepers too. Tramps.

The Good:
  • Unlike most volumizing mascaras that leave a mess all up on your face, this has a great clean application. 
  • Doesn't clump.
  • Can be used on bottom lashes without looking freakish.
The Bad:
  • SRS warns against the use of the color "Carbon Black." The formula is thinner and isn't as effective. 
  • When the tube is "done" it turns against you. This is good and bad. At least you know when to buy new mascara (some of us have the tendency to keep using bacterial laden tubes of old favorites). 
The Ugly: Love it. I'm a convert. I haven't had a good mascara experience in a long while.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Review: Physician's Formula Mineral Wear

I have to start this post by saying I am truly, madly, deeply in lurve with the products I have tried in this line. The review is going to be biased because as I sit here at 9:30pm, my skin is glowing with mineral perfection. For reals.

I'm allergic to the world, so mineral lines appeal to me and my delicate (ahem) nature. I have tried Bare Minerals, the Neutragena Line, and of course, E.L.F.'s attempt at cashing in on the mineral cow. Bare Minerals was ok, but a little too pink for me. Neutragena's Mineral Sheers are very light and great, but too dark for me as I begin to develop my winter pallor.

I tried the following Physician's Formula Mineral Wear products:

  • Tinted Moisturizer
  • Loose Powder
  • Illuminating Veil
  • Perfecting Concentrate
Tinted Moisturizer
The tinted moisturizer is awesome. Not too thick, not too thin, and easily blendable. It also has SPF 15. Yay. I recommend this hands down.

Perfecting Concentrate
I paired the tinted moisturizer with the Perfecting Concentrate. It's like a Swiss Army knife. It can be used as a spot concealer, overall foundation, or sheer powder. I use it as an under eye concealer and to cover up my the ridiculous amount of red that is my nose. I look like Rudolph after he goes on a 3-day bender. The pen-like applicator is also super portable. You can stick it in your pocket or your purse, and the tiny kabuki brush works amazingly well for the range of applications. Epic win. Rocky vs. Drago win.

Loose Powder
This is another super sweet find. It can be worn as a light powder, or applied as a foundation. Again, the application range is amazing, the color blendable, and the pigments very fine. Minus 5 million points for the crappiest packaging in history. The container is cute, but useless, and unless your face is that of a small child, the kabuki brush follows the same line. I used my own big people brushes and loved the results of the actual product itself.

Illuminating Veil
I'm not a huge fan of matte, so I went with the illuminating veil. This has a nice, pearly finish. Not too sparkly. You won't look like an extra from Xanadu, I promise. They also have a mattifying version available. It gives the tinted moisturizer a refined, finished look without being heavy, or if you are going all powder minerals, it really softens and diffuses. You look hot.

I think I have found my new standards. This shit is the bomb. Get thee to the drugstore. The prices are also amazingly reasonable for the amount and quality you get: $8.00-14.00. And PF has some great bogo and half-off sales.

The PF website also has some informative (and mildly amusing) videos on using their products here.



Review: Olay Definity Color Recapture

I noticed that the hands of time aren't being kind to my skin. There are changes in texture and some fine lines. I decided to be proactive and throw some damn product at it before it was too late.

There are so many products to choose from it's ridiculous. I chose the Definity Color Recapture for several reasons:

  • Oil of Olay is a "trusted" brand.
  • The promises sounded pretty good:
    • Anti-Aging UV moisturizer that penetrates deep and hydrates to diminish the appearance of discoloration and wrinkles over time
    • SPF 15 for broad spectrum protection against damaging UVA/UVB rays
    • Sheer illuminating coverage to instantly even skin
  •  The swirl in the bottle looked super fancy.
  • I had a CVS coupon.
The Good:
  • I have noticed a positive change in my skin texture, tone, and a reduction in fine lines over time.
  • I have very sensitive skin and there was no irritation. 
  • The swirl is still there and remains fancy.
  • Lightly moisturizing.
  • Pale enough for me!
The Bad:
  • If you wear this alone you will look like a shiny demon. It literally looks like your face has been dipped in a plasticized preservative. You might be confused with Nicole Kidman leaving her botox factory.
  • It can "peel" when rub your face or out other make-up over it.
The Ugly: Despite it's flaws, it's a great product. You will see an improvement in your skin. You can cover up the creepy sheen and go about your day knowing your skin is lookin' better.



Review: E.L.F. Mineral Make-Up

I love E.L.F.  They have some fantastic beauty buys, many of which we will be delving into.

I was intrigued by their mineral make-up line. I read many of the reviews. My interest was piqued. So I purchased the following products when they had a sale:

Mineral Foundation
Mineral Concealer
Mineral Booster
Mineral Eyeshadow
Mineral Lipgloss

The Good:
  • The mineral eyeshadows and lipglosses are outstanding. The colors are a bit deceiving online, but the silky texture and sheer application are winners.  
  • In short, I love them. I have three of them and dream about owning each and everyone. I might even buy them their own bag. They are that awesome. Buy some.

When it comes to the foundation and friends, however, not so much.

I do have to admit something. I reflect light I am so pale. Right now, I still have a mild tan due to the fact that SPF 100,000 can't even protect me from earth's yellow sun. That makes me the color of your Great-Grandma Maggie who hasn't ventured outdoors since the Reagan administration. So, I am a challenging customer.

The Bad:

  • E.L.F. is one of the companies that equates being pale with being orange. When I applied the mineral foundation I looked like I had escaped from the Wonka Chocolate Factory.  I resembled Paris Hilton after a run-in with a bottle of Grey Goose and a can of spray tan. Oompa freakin' Loompa.
The Ugly: I think if you have medium to deep skin tones it might be a different story. When you are the color of paste, it fails. So, foundation fail. Eyeshadow and lip gloss win.



Welcome to Broke Ass Beauty

My name is Amanda and I am here to help the chicas of the world avoid all the money-wasting mistakes I made while purchasing cosmetics and beauty products. I'll be honest--I've blown quite a bit of green on some pretty worthless crap.

Looking good makes you feel good. It can also be an important part of your professional image. It shouldn't be a chore or a huge financial investment. My ass is broke. Money should be going to pay off those student loans, not evening out my unfortunate skin tone.

We are going to try and keep it real here. Most of the stuff I'll be reviewing can be found at your local drugstore, or easily obtained online. I'm also hoping to enlist my friend so we can get this party started in a big way.