Monday, September 2, 2013

New blog sale!

My sales blog, Sasquatch Sales, has just been updated with an all-new sale! There are hundreds of items, including a nice variety of luxury brands, drugstore brands, and everything in between.

You can check it out HERE! :)

Meet River...

This is our new baby!


This is who she's named after:


Spock loves being a big brother. Now to get pictures of the two of them together...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Kaleidoscope Collection Swatches

New pretties! I've reviewed this formula before (here) so I'm not going to repeat myself, besides saying that I still love this formula as much as ever. Great quality without exception, offering a variety of stunning colors. This new collection offers some gorgeous duochromes I couldn't wait to check out! I've skipped the product pictures, partially because I acquired them at different times and couldn't stand to wait until getting my hands on the last one to play with them, and partially because Makeup Magpie has provided some lovely product photos of these already - much better than I think I could do myself!

Here are swatches of all six Eyes to Kill Intense eyeshadows from the Kaleidoscope collection. From left to right, with each shade swatched alone first and then over a black gel liner, we have: #30 Rose Popilla, #31 June Beetle, #32 Gold Hercule, #33 Scarab Violetta, #34 Blue Beetle, and #35 Silver Chafer.




And here are some close-ups, in the same order:

#30 Rose Popilla
#31 June Beetle
#32 Gold Hercule
#33 Scarab Violetta
#34 Blue Beetle
#35 Silver Chafer

Aren't they just glorious?!

Disclaimer: I purchased these with my own funds.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Paula's Choice RESIST Ultra-Light Antioxidant Serum Review

A new "holy grail" product of mine I've been meaning to review for a while now is the Paula's Choice RESIST Ultra-Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum. (I guess it's barely "new" to me anymore, since I'm almost finished with my second tube!)

In my experience, it is extremely difficult to find a good serum when you have combination/oily, acne-prone skin. Most companies seem to have the idea that a serum should be either A) very rich and emollient, which often results in breakouts for me; B) light in consistency, which often translates to "full of alcohol" and therefore often results in my skin gradually becoming more and more dry and irritated; C) another word for "a light moisturizer"; or D) a makeup primer, which often translates to "a great big mix of silicones with no real benefits to the skin." I don't really have much use for any of those. Sometimes I'll take the "light moisturizer" version, like Guerlain's Super Aqua Serum (reviewed here), but I don't really consider those serums when I use one because I don't follow it up with another moisturizer.

Well, I'm so thrilled to say that in my opinion, Paula's Choice got it right with their RESIST Ultra-Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum. I absolutely love this product and can honestly say that it's my #2 top skincare product now, with Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid (reviewed here) still reigning as king. There are other skincare products I love as much as I love these two, but none as irreplaceable: I have favorite lip balms, moisturizers, cleansers, etc., but I would be perfectly fine with using alternative products if my favorites in those categories were discontinued. However, I would be lost if the 2% BHA Liquid or the RESIST Ultra-Light Antioxidant Serum were taken away from me.

So, why do I love it so much? It provides what I think of as a shot of hydration and vitamins to the skin. It's not greasy like so many other serums (including some other options from Paula's Choice that were too rich for my skin last I tried them), nor is it loaded with alcohols - in fact, it's alcohol-free. The product itself is a very thin, light yellow gel with a mildly pleasant scent that disappears after application. It sinks in completely within about one minute, and I apply it on my eyelids and under my eyes without getting any irritation in my eyes whatsoever or any negative effects to my makeup application/wear afterward. I also apply it to my lips, which leaves them softer and more plump.

The hyaluronic acid in it helps my skin absorb the hydration from the moisturizer I apply afterward even better, the niacinamide helps even out my skin tone, and the vitamin E, vitamin C, resveratrol, and quercetin provide anti-aging/skin-protecting benefits. There are even more good-for-you ingredients in it than that, but those are the ones I know the benefits of off the top of my head, and they are NOT all at the very end of the ingredient list (I'm looking at you, big department store brands)! It does have some silicones in the ingredient list, but overall I have to say it has a much more "water-based" feel than "silicone-based" feel to me. I think the product would be easier to dispense from packaging with a pump rather than a squeeze tube due to its liquidy consistency, but I'm not complaining; with the squeeze tube, at least I know I'm getting every last drop out of it when I'm running out! I just store it with the tip facing up and hold the tube horizontally/gradually tilt it upward as I squeeze out the product, so I can control how much comes out - no mess that way.

After using up about two full tubes now (each tube lasts me almost exactly three months, applied generously to my entire face and neck every morning), I can say with absolute certainty that this does not break me out, and I can see the benefits it provides my skin - there is an increased evenness and radiance to my skin that is absolutely apparent. In fact, two days ago, someone at work who I see on average a couple of times a week told me my skin was "glowing and so smooth, like buttermilk! You usually have amazing skin, but it looks even better now than before! What are you doing with it?" Who doesn't like to hear things like that?! I brought her some of my Paula's Choice sample packets I had at home the very next day. :)

Love, love, love. If you're oily and/or acne-prone like me, try this serum - you won't regret it! You can view the ingredient list for this product and/or purchase it here on the Paula's Choice website (not an affiliate link). Also, if you want to try it out but aren't ready to commit to a full size yet, in my experience, sometimes calling Paula's Choice customer service and simply asking nicely is all it takes for them to send you a sample packet for free!

Disclaimer: I bought this product myself and was not compensated in any way for this review.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Marc Jacobs haul: Some swatches, a whole bunch of reviews, and a FOTD

Bear with me, folks: this post is going to be detailed, but LONG!

I wasn't initially excited to hear about a new cosmetic brand by fashion designer Marc Jacobs coming  to the shelves at Sephora, but of course the cosmetic junkie in me just has to check out products from just about any new line, so I swung by my local Sephora the date of the Marc Jacobs launch to play for a little while with the products. Here are my thoughts on what I saw and played with, interspersed with some product pictures and looks.

- The foundation and powder: I was very excited to see that the lightest shade in both seems genuinely light enough for a true N10 like me! I got a sample of the liquid foundation, and have worn it for two days in a row now. The color is fantastic; it looks dark on my arm in the swatch pictures below, but my inner arm is more like N5; on my face, the color is a perfect match. Unfortunately, I can only recommend the formula to those who are VERY oily all over: it is very matte on the skin and quite drying, even on my oilier-than-usual summertime skin. Because it dries so quickly on the skin, I also found it difficult to apply. I applied it with a fluffy airbrush-style foundation brush yesterday and a traditional flat synthetic foundation brush today, and both times ended up with inevitable streaks on my skin - despite how quickly I worked - that I had to blend out vigorously with my fingertips. I found this to be the case over a sunscreen made to be used as a makeup primer (tried that yesterday) and over bare, moisturized skin (today). The powder looked a little more soft and luminous when I swatched it on my arm in-store, so perhaps it will be more friendly toward other skin types.

- The blushes: wow, these swatched gorgeously. Definitely had that "melt into the skin" effect, especially after a few minutes. Most notable was the colors - there are some clearly unusual ones, at least in the standard US market! I ended up buying three: Naughty, an ultra-pale shimmery pink that I was hoping would be on me what I wanted Illamasqua Katie (which turned hot pink on me in a half hour) to be; Outspoken, a deep lilac/lavender, less pink and more purple than NARS Gaiety and the like; and Reckless, a gorgeous rose-mauve type color that makes an excellent everyday blush. There were some other interesting colors too - a pink-red one that reminded me of Rock and Republic X-Rated... a coral one that was similar to Chanel Fleur de Lotus... and two orange ones, a deep rusty orange and a lighter, brighter one too!

- The pencil eyeliners: excellent formula, definitely comparable to Urban Decay 24/7s and the like but perhaps slightly less creamy/greasy - not dry, though. The swatches were sooo hard to get off my hand afterward! I bought the Jazz (Berry) color, the only one I knew would be unique to my collection. These are the kind of eyeliners that you twist up on the bottom, not the kind you sharpen.

I'll pause the "impressions" here and show you my pictures and swatches of the products I bought. From left to right: the Shameless Bold blushes in Naughty, Outspoken, and Reckless; the Genius Gel Super-Charged liquid foundation in #10 Ivory Light (only in the swatch pictures); and the Highliner Gel Crayon eyeliner in Jazz (Berry):

Marc Jacobs packaging
Swatches in sunlight
Swatches in shade

IMPORTANT NOTE: while the swatch picture taken in sunlight shows the textures of the products and how they "sit" on the skin best, the swatch picture taken in the shade is far more color-accurate for all five products.

In the FOTD below (I'm squinting because the sun was so bright - sorry about that), I am wearing the Marc Jacobs liquid foundation, Reckless blush, and Jazz (Berry) eyeliner. (The eyeshadow is Burberry Pale Barley, the powder is MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light, the highlighter is NARS Albatross, and the lipstick is Sonia Kashuk Shine Luxe in Sheer Berry.)



I really liked the way Reckless applied on my cheeks; it melted into the skin in a natural, beautiful way. I found that it lasted well on me for around 5-6 hours; after 8 hours, I saw some of the color had faded, but it was still lightly visible on my skin. The Jazz (Berry) eyeliner lasted all day with no problems, and unusually, applied more easily and evenly on my eyes than it did when I swatched it on my arm. Cool!

The foundation lasted all day as well, but I take issue with how drying it is: I had to carefully dab moisturizer on my chin and around my mouth after applying because the skin was looking flaky (an issue I don't run into often). I also noticed that my skin had a duller look and worse texture to it than usual this morning after I wore this foundation yesterday, and it was the only new face product I introduced into my routine recently. Moreover, when it's on my skin I don't feel like it's doing me any favors... it's sheer coverage, which can be nice, except in this case my skin literally looks no better after I apply the foundation than it looked bare. I'm very glad I asked for a sample first and did not impulse-buy the full size of this based on the excellent color alone!

Unfortunately, I didn't have as good of luck with the other two blushes. Naughty, the pale pink, is fantastic in theory but disappointing in practice: I had to pile it on to get it to show up in swatches (what you see above is many layers with a sponge). I did the same thing on my face, and found I was actually able to see the finely-shimmering texture/finish of the product on my cheeks before I was able to see the color. Bizarre. I applied it so thickly that I'd use up the whole pan in a month if I were to use it like that every day, and even then, I was only able to see the color on my skin faintly in direct sunlight - not at all in shade or indoor lighting. I was unable to get any pictures showing it on my face to share with you.

Outspoken, the lavender blush, was more pigmented than Naughty but less so than Reckless. I was able to get it to look clearly "lilac" on me (I'm always on the lookout for a fabulous purple-toned blush!), but I had to apply it very heavily to achieve this effect. This is much more blush than I would normally wear, but applied more sheerly it looks like your average cool pink, and I wanted to show you its potential. Because I evidently have no shame, here it is on me, but note that I have zero other makeup on in these pictures except for the Marc Jacobs foundation as a base, so be nice! I would never actually go out looking like this, LOL!



The bad news is that after about an hour, the color faded enough that it went right back to looking like a common cool pink, as it did earlier when I applied it more sheerly. There's nothing wrong with that, but it wasn't the unique and beautiful lavender color I was hoping it would be. With the elimination of that would-be positive attribute, the unimpressive pigmentation and lasting power are enough to make me feel very "meh" about Outspoken overall.

Okay - here are the rest of my first impressions, from looking at the display:

- The concealer pens: the product seems good (comparable to YSL Touche Eclat, perhaps with slightly more pigmentation), but its execution is terrible... they shouldn't have combined the click-button mechanism used to dispense the product with the "cooling" metal applicator tip. The product is far too runny in consistency for that to work well.

- The eyeshadow palettes: the quality on them seemed excellent from the swatching I did, except for a few dud colors scattered here and there throughout the palettes. I just can't get past my extreme dislike of the packaging, though (they remind me of the cheap plastic LA Colors dollar store palettes!) so I didn't even consider any of them.

- The lip glosses: seem decent, but I didn't try any on. Color range seems nice, some adventurous shades but nothing likely to be highly unflattering for most people. I like that they're separated into sheer ones and opaque ones in the display.

- The lipsticks: I only tried on two, and both looked awful on my lips (clung to dry areas in a hideous way), but maybe it's just because I chose the two lightest shades to try on? Hard to say.

- The nail polishes: worst nail polish bottle shape ever. It's outrageously impractical. It's like... a squashed oval. I am decently skilled at painting my own nails and I still know I'd knock those bottles over and spill their contents, constantly. For this reason, I barely even looked at the colors, but I hear some of them are actually quite lovely, so I may go back and take another look. If I find one I love, I suppose I can always decant it into another bottle... =/

I think that was just about everything - I didn't really play with the mascaras at all. Anyone else checked this stuff out yet? Want to share your thoughts too?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Deal Alert! GET PAID to take home Revlon Nearly Naked foundation

This is a fabulous deal I couldn't pass up sharing with you - Revlon Nearly Naked is one of my favorite foundations (reviewed here), and I literally just got paid one cent to take a bottle home from Rite Aid!


Here's how you can do this too, just this week and just at Rite Aid stores:

The retail price is originally $9.99, and all Revlon products are on sale this week for 40% off. That brings the price down to $5.99.

There is a printable $2 off any one Revlon Nearly Naked product coupon on the Rite Aid Video Values site (you watch a video and it gives you a coupon afterward - Google it to find the page - and if you have Adblock Plus, you'll need to disable it temporarily to watch them) - that is the 2nd item on the receipt. That brings the price down to $3.99.

There is a $2 off any one Revlon Foundation, Powder, BB Cream, Concealer, Blush or Primer coupon on the Rite Aid website that you can "clip" electronically and load onto your Wellness+ card, on the Load2Card section of their site (on the "Save" page) - that is the 2nd to last item on the receipt. This is automatically deducted when you enter your Wellness+ card onto the transaction. That brings the price down to $1.99.

There is also a second coupon just like the one above ($2 off any one Revlon Foundation, Powder, BB Cream, Concealer, Blush or Primer) that is printable on www.coupons.com. That's the last item on the receipt. That brings the price down to -$0.01!

The register did say "no valid items in transaction" when the cashier tried to scan the last coupon (from coupons.com), I'm guessing because it may be a duplicate of the Load2Card one. However, I just pointed out to the cashier that there was an applicable item ("it says any one Revlon foundation. Look, this is a Revlon foundation!") and he did a manual override to enter in the coupon. He never saw the Load2Card coupon since it was applied automatically and electronically, so I don't think he could have argued that the register was erring because I was doubling up on coupons - the computer screen didn't say anything to indicate the coupon was already used or applied.

HAVE FUN SHOPPING, GUYS :-* If you give this a try, please let me know how it worked out for you!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dior Constellation Quint Swatches and Review

Hi friends!

Sorry I haven't been posting so much lately. I feel like a failure of a blogger, having not even been able to get my act together enough to do "use it up" posts - let alone actual reviews - but hopefully there will be more soon to come. I have a whole backlog of fabulous swatches I can't wait to share with you, I just need to drudge up the motivation to get through the arduous process of resizing and labeling them all! My life has been busy lately, but in a wonderful way: The Boyfriend became The Fiancé, and we are getting all set to enjoy some much-needed relaxation time together and away from work next week. I've promised myself I will only read ONE wedding-related book during that time - or maybe two, but NO MORE! Vacations are not meant to be spent planning...

Anyway, I have a special treat for you today! Today was Day 1 of early access to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale exclusive items for Nordstrom cardholders, so of course I couldn't help but stop by Nordstrom on my lunch break. I wasn't really expecting to buy anything, as I've been on a self-imposed "low-buy" in order to help save up money for the wedding, but the Dior Constellation eyeshadow palette (#894) completely captured my heart. Those of you who know me well will already know that a Dior item must be truly exceptional for me to buy it, let alone for full retail price at a painful $61 (I would normally purchase Dior and most department-store-brand products through my own company, where I get a discount), as I've grown somewhat disenchanted with the brand in general since leaving Dior for another job in which, frankly, I'm treated much better. So, let that tell you how genuinely special I believe this palette is.

First, let's take a look at the packaging. I adore the embossed star design on the outer shades; I know with significant usage the design will disappear, but it's so adorable, I don't care:



Now let's enjoy the swatches, shall we? Not to toot my own horn, but I'm rather excited about how these pictures came out, as I think they do a pretty good job overall of showing the depth, texture, and undertones of these colors quite well. So, I'm going to share an abundance of them! The final one, on a slant, is the one that I feel is the most color-accurate of the four. These are all over primer:





Allow me to showcase each of the shades individually, as well. Because I love this palette, and because I CAN!

First, we have a satiny neutral that I want to call "betauve" (seriously, can we make that a word?) - it is a cool beige in which I also see touches of taupe and mauve:


Next, we have the most AMAZINGLY FABULOUS sparkly purple ever to grace my makeup collection. It's a true purple, not too plum or too violet, with tiny silver glimmers that do not overpower it or create glitter fallout (in my opinion, the particles are too fine to be "glitter"):


Then a surprisingly complex, shimmery pale pink that seems to me almost like it could be the lovechild of MAC Vex and Pink Freeze. It's not quite duochrome, but it definitely has something interesting going on - I'd encourage you to click the image below to view it full size. Thanks, Dior, for not making the highlight shade a boring, frosty white like you put in most of your other quints!


Next, there is a shimmery gold that made me purr with delight upon swatching it. Like the purple shade featured above, it's not too warm or too cool, and it has tiny silver glimmers that dance in the sunlight and should not cause fallout:


The final shade is another neutral one that really knocked my socks off. This one is sort of a dusky plum. It's not gray, it's not taupe, it's not plum, it's not purple - it's some beautiful hybrid of those shades (graupumple! I WIN AT NAMING COLORS!). Again, this shade pulls pretty neutral on my skin; for some reason, it's appearing slightly more red-based in these pictures than it actually appears to me in person. It reminds me of a more flattering version of MAC Shale:


I hope you enjoyed the photo-fest. All in all, I think this palette is absolutely stunning and unique. Every single color has excellent pigmentation and quality, and I would be hard-pressed to identify any skin tone on which it wouldn't be flattering. If you can only pick up one item from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I must recommend Dior's Constellation palette as your best option!

Disclaimer: I purchased this palette myself and am not being compensated in any way for this review.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Our easy at-home remedy for seborrheic dermatitis

Hi friends,

I know this is totally random given the usual content of this blog, but I thought it might be helpful to some of you, or perhaps that someone would find it via Google search who would appreciate the information.

Boyfriend has a pretty bad case of seborrheic dermatitis: his scalp is consistently raw, itchy, bumpy, and red, and is naturally oily but produces an excessive amount of dry flakes. He has tried tons of shampoos & leave-in treatments, including prescription products, to treat it. While lots of them have improved his condition, none have made it more than about 50% better. After doing a ton of research online, I suggested to him that we try this scalp mask (well, it's ideally meant to just be on his scalp, but it really ends up being a "scalp and hair" mask). It turns out that it's making a world of difference for him, so we thought we'd share it with you!

I mix about 9 parts raw and unprocessed honey with 1 part pure tea tree oil - about 2-3 tablespoons of this mixture is enough for his entire head - and massage it into his scalp with my bare hands. (He loves the head massage he gets out of it, too!) We leave that mixture on for 2-3 hours; he often wraps a plastic bag around his head during this time so he doesn't get the honey mixture everywhere. Then he just rinses it all out in the shower, easy as pie (he doesn't even need to shampoo afterward), and we're done. We do this twice a week.

Boyfriend says, and I quote, "Three hours may seem like a long time to keep this on, but I feel so much less self-conscious when I'm not flaking everywhere. This is the best scalp treatment that I've ever used, including prescribed medications." I'd also like to add that I've noticed his hair has gotten less oily since we started doing this, and it feels super-soft. He wants me to add that he recommends you keep a couple of paper towels handy while your scalp is marinating, in case a little bit of honey drips down the side of your face or neck.

Here are a couple of articles from the National Institutes of Health supporting the benefits of raw honey and tea tree oil on seborrheic dermatitis.

I hope this is helpful to someone! Happy to answer any questions you may have via the comment field or email. :)