Side by Side – Marcia and Lisa’s 2011 Discoveries

For our final Side by Side for 2011 we’ve decided to each pick 5 discoveries: items we never knew about or had any familiarity with that turned out to rock our world. In early 2012 we’ll be back with new Top Ten lists but for now check out to see what got Marcia and Lisa most excited about in 2011.

Marcia’s Discoveries:

1)      Somme Institute skincare: This is a brand that I never even had heard of in spite of its prominence at Nordstrom and spas. I have reviewed a lot of skincare in 2011 and will continue to do so but the one brand that I’ve used the longest and am still using while testing others is Somme. The line is simple, clean, fragrance free and effective. I especially love the three steps of Transport (exfoliation), Serum and A-Plus (vitamin enriched moisturizer). I’ve also been using the Eye Cream and Boost the warming mask which will be reviewed in January. All 7 items have made a difference in the condition of my skin and are highly recommended by me.


Somme Institute 5 step system

2)      Mally Poreless Face Defender:  I discovered the Mally Poreless Face Defender in a QVC kit. I liked it so much that when had their 20% off sale I bought the full size so that I could keep the smaller one in my purse and the full size on my vanity.  While nothing is going to rid me of the cursed pores this does minimize the effect and makes my foundation last longer at the same time.

Mally Poreless Face Defender

3)      DERMAdoctor Gorilla Warfare: LOVE this!! In my review I mentioned what a hairy person I am. Well my face is a lot less hairy now thanks to DERMAdoctor Gorilla Warfare. I use this every morning on my neck and the areas on my face where peach fuzz grows like wildfire. I’m seeing less and less as time goes on. This is an item that will be in my skincare regime for a long time to come. It’s lasting a long time and the minute I see that it’s winding down, I’ll be buying a new one.


DERMAdoctor Gorilla Warfare

4)      BB Balms and Creams: I reviewed 3 different ones this past year and they are an excellent alternative to foundation, especially in warm weather. BB Balms like to say that they are moisturizer, primer, foundation and skincare all rolled into one. My favorite of the three I have is Skin79 Super Beblemish Balm.  Even though it starts off looking gray when I smooth it on my skin, it instantly turns the right shade for me and gives a smooth looking appearance. I’ve also reviewed Missha M Perfect BB Cream and Boscia and compared them both in a review. Boscia gives me great coverage but the color is on the dark side for me personally with my extremely pale skin.


Skin79 BB Balm

5)      Rouge Bunny Rouge: what can I say about a brand that brings dreams to life? I’d heard about Rouge Bunny Rouge from London Makeup Girl but never dreamed that it could be mine. Ordering from Zuneta though is so easy. It’s not hard to reach free shipping and even if you pay it’s not expensive anymore for international shipping (less than $8 US). The majority of money I’ve spent this year has been on either RBR or Le Metier de Beaute.  It’s hard to pick favorites because I love the brand so much but what I don’t want to be without is Abyssinian Catbird eyeshadow, A Major eyeshadow duo and the Cheeks in Bloom Wands especially Vermeer. Expect to see a lot more reviews on Rouge Bunny Rouge. It won’t be a 2012 discovery but it will be a 2012 love I’m quite sure.

RBR Abysinnian Catbird


Lisa’s Discoveries:

1.  Illuminaire Beyond Black Everlasting Eyeliner ($21):  This eyeliner is like nothing I have ever tried before.  It’s not quite a gel, it’s not quite a liquid…I am not sure exactly how to categorize it, but it is SUPER black and truly awesome.

Illuminare Beyond Black Everlasting Eyeliner

I have so many gel and liquid liners it’s crazy, but this is truly an original.  It was a great discovery for 2011.

2.  Wen:  I have to say, nothing transformed my look more in 2011 than Wen did.  I had heard of ‘conditioning cleansing’, but was way too chicken to try it.  I started slowly with the Pomegranate Cleansing Conditioner ($32), then moved into the Fall Ginger Pumpkin Cleansing Conditioner ($32) and styling products like the Fig Styling Cream ($24) and the Fig Replenishing Treatment Mist ($32).

 My hair just kept getting better and better…and now I am trying the super conditioning treatment SixThirteen ($78) (can you smell a future review??)  My hair keeps getting more full and even more soft, so I stay on the cleansing condioner bandwagon.

3.  Motives Mineral Pressed Blush ($15.50):  Blush is a tough one for me.  Most look pretty, but don’t last on me because of my weird skin.  Motives has tons of great products, but the blushes are what really won me over this year.  I reach for them almost every day.

Motives Mineral Pressed Blush in Instinctive

Not only is the color gorgeous, they go on like silk and last for hours.  Plus, they can be used on your eyes or lips if you want.  Versatile, beautiful, great quality, and great price – total winners!!

4.  Marcelle Cosmetics:  Living sort of close to Canada, I had tried a few things from Marcelle in years past.  But in 2011 I discovered two items that have become part of my daily routine.  First, the Soothing Cleansing Water ($14.50).

Never in my life did I dream I would love a cleanser that doesn’t require water….but here I am.  I use this cleanser every day.  I use it for spot cleaning makeup ‘oops’, I use it as an eye makeup remover, I use it whenever I just don’t feel like doing the whole water and washcloth thing.  And my ‘tween-age’ daughter uses it exclusively…I am constantly having to steal the bottle back from her.  In addition to the cleanser, I also love the Lux Glosses ($10.95).  I got two colors:  Starlet and Muse.

Starlet is a shimmery pink, Muse is a deeper pink with shimmer.  I got them at the end of October, and guess what?  I have used them both up completely.  I don’t think I have ever used any lip gloss up before it was time to toss.  These were my ‘miracle of 2011’.

5.  Aglow Eco Living Candles:  The products from this eco-friendly line are beyond beautiful.  There is literally something for everyone here, from whimsical to goth-alicious.  Candles, diffusers, perfume jars…I love to peruse the site just to drool and wish.  Speaking of wishes…

Our wish for you is a happy, healthy holiday and a beautiful New Year!!!  Love to all of our amazing readers!!!  Lisa and Marcia

Side by Side – 10 top color items for 2011

Beauty Info Zone hasn’t done any top 10 lists lately and we’re way overdue. It was super hard to pick out of all the reviews we’ve done and narrow it down to only 10 products each so if we cheat a little, don’t be mad. We’ve both reviewed so many products that we reach for all the time. Here’s what’s standing out to Marcia and Lisa’s Top Ten for the first half of 2011.


  1. Rouge Bunny Rouge: Oh how I love my Rouge Bunny Rouge eyeshadows. Here are two reviews that I’ve written about them. There will be more to come! Start with my first RBR post and then read this post.
  2. Illamasqua nail polish: I love my nail polishes and I have used so many that have won my heart. But Illamasqua are the ones I’m lusting after.
  3. Face Stockholm: All the Face Stockholm products I’ve tried have been absolutely wonderful but if I have to pick one to live with forever after it would be the Rio cream blush.
  4. Billion Dollar Brows: Here’s where I cheated. I know I said 10 items but I use the BDB brow powder and tweezers every single day so I have to include them both. I would be lost without these now. 
  5. Tarte Inner Rim Brightener: Another product I use every single day; I even have two since I don’t want to be without this.
  6. Le Métier de Beaute’ Fresh Creme Tints: I have all of these and I love them to pieces. I’m a cream girl/lady/woman and these are so creamy. They double as blush and lip tints.
  7. Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushes: Cheating again, more Tarte but I can’t help it. These are the longest lasting powder blushes I’ve ever tried. Every color is fabulous too.
  8. Armani Intense Eyes to Kill eyeshadows:  These are unique on the market and I love using them. I’m so sad I didn’t buy more which means I will be buying more!
  9. Face Atelier Lip Putty: I picked this over all the other great Face Atelier products because I use it constantly. It’s the best product I own to prime my lips.
  10. Dan Read foundation: I know Lisa is going to mention this but the more I thought about the list, the more I realized I couldn’t write my top ten without it.


  1. Dan Read eyeshadows:  Everything about Dan Read makes me happy, especially his foundation, but I’m in an eyeshadow kind of mood lately and these have won my heart.
  2. Vasanti Eye Products: Every single eye product that I use from Vasanti is wonderful. Eye Wonder is a fabulous eye cream and Vasanti’s Moon Dust Shimmer Powder is amazing.
  3. OCC pigments:  I have always loved pigments and my collection is huge. OCC pigments stand out though because they are top notch and I love them all but Artifact is the very best. 
  4. Cargo eyeshadow palettes: I’m obviously on an eyeshadow kick lately and Cargo started this kick. Once I tried their palettes I became more obsessed with eyes than ever. Cool Neutral has gotten me through many work days because I know that even if I wake up late I’ll end up with a polished eye.
  5. Unii palettes: I’m in love with the amazing colors of Unii palettes. They bring a smile to the face of this serial depotter. Anyone who likes their eyeshadows and blushes in palette form needs a collection of these.
  6. Cargo Magic Brush: This is the brush I choose if I can only have one brush. It’s so soft and does such a magical job on my face.
  7. Face Stockholm color correcting foundation: I’ve been amazed with the Matte Foundation in Lilac. I never thought something like this would work but oh my goodness, it’s a fabulous addition to your foundations.
  8. Face Stockholm blush: Shambella matte blush has been my most used blush lately. The quality is terrific, so incredibly smooth and easy to blend.
  9. Illuminare eyeliner: I never thought that I’d fall so in love with an eyeliner but Illuminare Beyond Black has stolen my heart.
  10. Illuminare foundation: Illuminare makes several formulas of foundation and I refuse to pick a favorite; I can’t help but love Extra Coverage foundation/concealer and Mattifying Mineral foundation. Add in their Fast Application Pad and you have perfection.

We hope you’ve gotten to the end of this very long article. We each could have done a list of 20 but we have to stop at some point. We will be following up with another Side by Side with our top 10 on other types of products.

Did we hit any of your favorites in this list? — Marcia and Lisa

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia

Yes it’s all about me!! I am forgetting the rest of the Brady Bunch and just sharing some information about the original Marcia, not that fake with the blonde hair that hooked up with her brother.

This Marcia has two guest posts today that she’s ready, willing and able to share with the world of the BIZ.

Go to A Girl’s Gotta Spa to read what I think about Illuminare Beyond Black eyeliner. Lisa already reviewed it so I just had to go buy it for myself to see if she was right. I’ve never used a darker black eyeliner in my life. Check out the article to see for yourself.

Speaking of eyeliner, Modesty Brown caught me in a confession. Every Fridsay MB highlights someone to confess their sins. Let me know what you think about my particular sin.

Illuminate your stash with holy grails from Illuminare Cosmetics

Nothing makes me happier than exploring niche cosmetic lines and finding fabulous holy grails…except for the opportunity to share my finds with my fellow makeup aficionados.  I previously posted about the magical gel eyeliner by Illuminare here, and if you haven’t tried it out yet you really should – it’s different from anything else on the market, and it is one fantastic eyeliner for the waterline.  I actually started my Illuminare collection with the Extra Coverage Foundation/Concealer ($27) pictured above.  It has a thick, creamy consistency and you squeeze it out of the tube.  I like to squeeze a small amount on to a steel palette, then pat it on with my fingertips.  It can be used as a full coverage foundation or a concealer.  It’s the definition of full coverage, so I typically only use this as a concealer.  And boy does it conceal!!  If you have under-eye circles, even super dark ones, this will work for you.  I love how it covers completely without looking cakey or fake, and it doesn’t settle into my fine lines.  It’s also great for covering blemishes, you only need a tiny bit so it doesn’t clump up.  The key with this product, and all Illuminare foundations, is blending.  But I will get to that in minute.

I am also in love with the Ultimate All Day (Mattifying) Mineral Foundation ($27).  It’s a little thinner in consistency than the Extra Coverage Foundation.  However, it’s also very pigmented, so a little bit goes a long way.  This foundation gives a medium to full coverage, and while it’s mattifying, it still gives your skin a healthy looking glow.  it doesn’t settle into your pores, and it is one of the most natural looking foundations I have ever used.  It truly lasts all day, which is a bonus, and it’s great for even the most sensitive skins.

And here is the secret to a perfect finish with Illuminare foundation – and any foundation, for that matter.  This gem is the Fast Application Pad ($10).  It’s a cloth pad that reminds of very soft terry cloth.  This little puff gives you a fabulous, perfectly blended finish.  You can use it many ways, sometimes I apply my foundation using the pad, sometimes I apply with my fingers or a sponge, and then sweep the Fast Application Pad over my face.  It doesn’t soak up the foundation, it just blends it out and you are left with a truly flawless look.  I wash it by hand in the sink, and it holds up wonderfully.  It is machine washable, too.

I also tried the Ultimate All Day Blush ($18).  I have such a problem with blush, it fades on me so quickly it’s bizarre.  I am always looking for a blush that has true staying power.  Happily, Illuminares blush fits the bill!  This blush is a thick liquid in a squeeze tube.  I squeeze a little out on to my steel palette  – and I mean a little, because once again the product is highly pigmented – and then apply it with my Sonya Kashuk cream blush brush.   I sweep the Fast Application Pad over it, and it blends out perfectly.  The result is a ‘glow from within’ look that lasts and lasts, even for me.  It’s true love!

Pictured below are swatches – far left is the Ultimate All Day Mineral Foundation in Florentine Fair, next to that is the Extra Coverage Foundation/Concealer in Portofino Porceline, and then below is the Ultimate All Day Blush in Florentine Fair.

And here I am wearing the Extra Coverage Concealer, Ultimate All Day Mineral Foundation, and Ultimate All Day Blush.

One of the best things about Illuminare are their sample sizes.  They are generous enough to get quite a few uses, especially since the products are super pigmented and concentrated.  By ordering different sample colors you can find the right color for you before you buy, and have great sizes for travel.

So far I have found four holy grails within this line – the Beyond Black Everlasting Liner, Extra Coverage Foundation/Concealer, Ultimate All Day Mineral Foundation, and Ultimate All Day Blush.  I can’t wait to try the eyeshadows!!  – Lisa

My new favorite gel eyeliner – by Illuminare

I have used gel eyeliners for a very long time.  Right now I have 32 different gel liners in my personal stash.  But I have never, ever come across anything like the gel liner from IlluminareIlluminare is famous for making beautiful cosmetic products that really last.  I have and love the foundation (that’s for another review) and I was just blown away by this gel eye liner.

The eye liner is called Beyond Black Everlasting Eyeliner ($21), and as the name implies, it comes in one color:   Beyond Black.  The product is actually creamy – really creamy, almost wet.  Take a look at what it looks like inside:

You want a BLACK eye liner?  Here you go.  This is extremely pigmented and super dark black.  You want an eye liner that doesn’t fade, flake, or smudge?  Here you go.  This is the longest lasting eye liner I have ever used.  It’s waterproof, but washes off easily with soap. 

I love Illuminare’s Eye Liner/Brow brush ($10), it applies the eye liner perfectly.  The eye liner is great because it’s creamy at first, so it’s easy to apply and work with.  This liner brush gives a nice thin line, but it’s stiff enough to be able to work the product to smudge it out, or make a thicker dark line.

The bristles are Taklon so they are perfect for the creamy gel liner.  It has a flat angled tip which is great for lining and for filling in the brows.

Here is an eye look with a thin line on the eyelid.

And here is one with a thicker line.

Eyes open with a thin line here.

And eyes open with a thicker line and a thin line on the bottom lashes.  I did find that this worked fabulous on the waterline, but you need hold the waterline out to dry for a few seconds.  If your eyes can take it, wow, what a great look that lasts and lasts.  Here is a close up pic with the waterline done:

And here is a shot of the whole look with the waterline done:

Illuminare is mostly known for its amazing foundations and eye shadows, but I have to urge you to check out this gel liner first – it is genuinely unique and essential to any stash!  – Lisa