Narrowing down six months of reviews to my top 11 is close to impossible. I scanned through my reviews since my last top 10 list only 6 months ago and came up with at least 26 items. Luckily our last Side by Side was for some of our favorite discoveries so that narrowed my list down by 5. The following are what stands out, in no particular order. These are items I use all the time and would gladly purchase again.
REN: This was a surprise to me. I’m not a big bath and body person but once I had this gorgeous Neroli Gift Set* in my hands I realized that this was something special. Taking them into my shower just proved that. I love the fresh crisp fragrance of the Neroli and I like that it’s helping keep away the winter flakies. Whether you want the beautifully boxed gift set or the products separately, I think you’ll find some REN to be “renderful” in your life.
I’ve become a serum junkie lately and two different ones are taking over my life. The first is Chella Skin Firming Serum and the second is Reviva Labs Hyaluronic Acid Serum. I use the Chella Skin Firming Serum* in the morning. In my review I told you that it scored three touchdowns: 1) no fragrance 2) I need one tiny drop for my whole face and 3) how it works under my foundation. Not only is there a nice firming effect but it doesn’t affect the look of my foundation except to make it better and make me look more radiant each day. At night I use Reviva Labs Hyaluronic Acid Serum* and I’m thrilled about this rediscovery. With winter winds I normally get several dry spots plus notice how dehydrated my skin is but that’s not happening so far this winter. Even though this was a recent review I’ve been using it for about 6 weeks and I know this is a keeper.
SENNA: Senna always seems to make my top 10 lists. They have so many terrific products. The one that stands out recently and that has become a savoir many times is Light Tricks*. This is a fun double sided tool that brightens you when you most need brightening. The thin side is a light beige to put on your waterline to open your eye look. Since it’s not white, it looks very natural. The thicker side is a creamy champagne with a touch of shimmer and I use it all the time on my browbone to finish my eye look. It’s great for other areas like the cupid’s bow and inner corner of your eye but my favorite use is on my browbone.
My next choice is mascara and I’m picking two since I don’t want to choose! My two loves the past six months have been Napoleon Perdis and Marcelle. I had the Napoleon Mesmer-Eyes Mascara* and loved the dual action. The brush is actually a two sided comb. Side one is very small to help separate lashes, side two is wider and creates both length and volume. I always felt great wearing Mesmer-Eyes because it met the promises it made. My second favorite and the one I’m wearing right now is Marcelle Volume Precision Mascara* and I’m going to be really sad when I have to toss it soon. Even after almost 3 months this mascara is just as magical as it was from the very beginning. The brush is a polymer one with bristles of differing sizes. It gives me perfect definition and volume without any smudging ever. It’s one I can count on for a day to day look or to build up for glamour. Luckily I can order this on their website since I’m going back to it again and again.
Now I’m going to cheat a little since my next choice is nail polish. I adore nail polish and I just can’t pick which are my favorites of the last 6 months so I’m going to tell you that you need to read about Le Metier de Beaute Holiday Nail Polish sets that are still available at Neiman Marcus. Le Metier makes outstanding polishes that I can’t stop collecting. Nails Inc also has grabbed my heart. I’ve done several reviews on these with the latest being The Boltons and the Special Effects holographic top coat and the gorgeous Belgrave Place and Franklin’s Place . I also am madly in love with Chanel Peridot and Illamasqua Throb polishes that I reviewed together. I could go on and on but I don’t want you to fall asleep so I won’t mention Dashing Diva* polishes today (or maybe I just did).
TheBalm eyeshadows have won my heart this year. I already mentioned my love of Rouge Bunny Rouge or that would be my choice but I’m having a ball with TheBalm. So far I’ve reviewed Shady Lady Volume 2 and Shady Lady Volume 3 plus I have two more palettes to share in 2012. Great quality, great pigmentation, beautiful colors all at a reasonable price.
Last but not least is Make Up For Ever. It’s hard to pick between the Wild & Chic Best of Kit and the terrific Aqua Liners (Precision Waterproof Eyeliners) so I’ll keep these as numbers 10 and 11. With the MUFE Best of Kit* I was introduced to the Smoky Mascara, the HD Primer and Microfinish Powder plus got the chance to own the fabulous Aqua Eyes cream eyeshadow in #13. With the Aqua Liners I am able to choose from the half dozen colors I bought and know that my eyeliner looks beautiful throughout the day and night.
I hope I haven’t lost you by now since all of these products are ones I highly recommend and think you’d love too. Have I hit on any of your favorites? – Marcia
*starred items were PR samples
I always thought I was too old to buy TheBalm products so I kept away from them. I kept noticing that whenever Temptalia reviewed their eyeshadows though she just raved about them. She always gave them an A. Realizing that, I knew that one day some would be in my future. I started with All about Alex because I was beginning my green period (I’m sort of like Picasso in that way!) and quickly went from there to buying Shady Lady Volume 2. It didn’t take me long to then buy Shady Lady Volume 3 and that’s what I present to you today. Ladies, let me introduce you to some lovely friends that I think you are going to want to hang with.
Lusty Lee- what makes Lee so lusty is that she is subtle but frosty. She needs to be warmed by a handsome devil that wants to play with her bright silvery finish. She looks amazing on a night out on the town but I’m not so sure she wants to be with me during the day.
Envious Erin– Erin on the other hand is a perfect pal for day (or night). She sometimes looks white, she sometimes looks like a light gold and while she has some beautiful subtle shimmer to her gorgeousness she’s not over the top.
Racy Kacy– If you like copper, you’ll love Kacy. She is like a car’s finish – nice and metallic. I honestly had a car this shade when I met my husband so Racy Kacy is special to me.
Safe Bet Annette– Poor Annette, everyone always makes fun of her because she plays it safe so when it came to the Shady Lady she wanted to show that she’s not staid. She’s pink all right but she’s not a baby pastel. Instead she has a little kick to her cool tone. Don’t stand in her way or you might get booted!
Runaround Rebecca– The star of the show for me is Rebecca. I’m in love with olive shades lately and she really does a beautiful job playing with those tones. Rebecca is light but I wouldn’t consider her a true pastel. She adds a hint of liveliness to the days I am playing with olive or khaki. She loves when I pull out All About Alex and begs for them to be worn together so I oblige.
Come-hither Heather– Oh no, I just made Heather jealous. I’m sorry Heather, with your taupeness I bow down to you. You are everything I love in taupe; sometimes brown, sometimes gray and a hint of purple. Come hither Heather, I love you just as much but in a different way than Rebecca. Honest I do.
Open to offers Olwen – Whoa baby! In Welsh legend Olwen was a beautiful maiden, the lover of Culhwch and the daughter of the giant Yspaddaden. Her father insisted that Culhwch complete several seemingly impossible tasks before he would allow them to marry, and Culhwch was successful with all of them. I’ve never heard the name Olwen before but she has certainly made her mark. She stands out when you open this palette with her bright blue that shines with teal. She’s not for the faint of heart I’ll tell you that.
All the way Annie– I associate the name Annie with someone sweet and quiet. I am totally wrong here! This Annie has some bite to her purple majesty shade. She’s got silver glitter in her and she wants attention. She’s screaming “pay attention all you purple lovers, I won’t be ignored”. I have to save her for night though since she’s very intense plus she does get some glitter on my face.
Guilty Gwen– Yes, Gwen is guilty. Guilty of being someone who likes to play at night. She’s a beautiful black with silver glitter and she plays well with others. I think we might let her out of her cell for an evening of fun with the Shady Ladies. She really loves Annette, Lee and Erin though not all together. As a matter of fact I think for New Years she’s going to be the star of the show: Lusty Lee and Guilty Gwen! What a team they’ll make.
At $39.50 TheBalm Shady Lady Volume 3 is a steal. You get 9 gorgeous colors that give you endless combinations or work well with other shadows by TheBalm or other brands. They are beautifully pigmented and glide on, lasting the day. These ladies are only shady because they aren’t wimps!! — Marcia
In the next few weeks the beauty world will be rocked by the new TheBalm Muppet Show Palette. It’s a limited edition beauty that TheBalm put together for the upcoming Muppet movie. Smart move on their part considering what Urban Decay has done with their tie-in palettes. I wasn’t able to respond quickly enough to get on the waiting list for the palette but I can console myself with TheBalm Shady Lady Volume 2 eyeshadow palette.
After my experience with TheBalm All About Alex Eyeshadow I was primed and ready for more of this brand’s eyeshadows. Volume 2 of Shady Lady fit my needs perfectly with 9 beautiful colors. This palette is a steal – only $39.50! A single eyeshadow from them is $16 so for the price of 2.5 eyeshadows you get 9 shades. Come and experience Shady Lady Volume 2 with me.
Caught On the Act Courtney: rich brown with gold sparkle that looks beautiful on the eye. Courtney likes attention so she’s got some intensity but you can tone her down too. This makes a beautiful eyeliner. (This is available as a single eyeshadow.)
Feisty Felicia: exclusive to the palette this is a dark cool toned purple with some silver sparkle; wear it lightly or dark; line with it; if you love purple you’ll love Feisty Felicia because she lives up to her feisty name.
Insane Jane: beautiful light brown taupe that’s so easy to wear. I rarely wear just one shade of eyeshadow but this is one that looks great on the lid with just eyeliner and mascara as well as in the crease with a lighter color on the lid. I personally don’t find Jane to be insane, I find her to be the sanest in this palette but she likes to rhyme. Of course you can wear it with another shade like Caught in the act Courtney and then you get a little of that insanity coming out.
Bossy Bobbi: dark teal that is bossy all right. I was hoping to wear it to create a teal look for September’s Ovarian Cancer month but Bobbi decided she’d rather go on more navy-like on my eyes. Maybe adding Feisty Felicia to the crease made Bossy Bobbi scream for attention though.
Makeout Mary: beautiful light khaki green that doesn’t scream out for attention unless you want it to; it’s like Mary is hiding in the background since she doesn’t want her mom to find out she’s making out. She does like to show off her golden shimmer though.
Just This Once Jamie: shimmery light lilac shimmer. Jamie doesn’t show up well on my swatch but she’s a beauty when she’s on my eyes. She’s a mauve toned lilac and plays well with TFSI as an eyeshadow primer. She won’t be worn just once though so I might have to change her name. (Also available as a single eyeshadow.)
Mischievous Marissa: luxurious champagne gold. Marissa is a dark toned gold/peach and she plays beautifully with both Courtney and Felicia. If you want to be mischievous with her though try her with Mary or Bobbi and see how the tricks come out. (Available as a single)
Tempting Tara: shimmery silvery white who tempts those around you by glistening in your teardrop area or enticing someone to notice your beautiful brow bone. While Tara’s shimmery, she’s not glittery so she deserves the attention she’s tempted you with.
Devilish Danielle: soft champagne with a peach undertone. The reason Danielle’s devilish is because she tells all the other ladies in this palette that she’s their best friend since she looks so good with all of them but then she says “keep that between us two”; what a naughty girl.
TheBalm shadows are so silky going on that once you start you’ll want more. The level of pigmentation is beautiful and rich. There’s no tiptoeing around. They aren’t glittery though Shady Lady Volume 2 is frosty but that just makes me love them more. They blend like a dream and don’t end up all over your face when you are applying them. Shady Lady Volume 2 is last year’s palette but it’s still available on both Sephora.com and Beauty.com so grab onto it while you can.
By the way if you start getting jealous about not being able to own the Muppet Palette, do not rush to ebay and pay a fortune, instead wait for the holidays when TheBalm will be coming out with the identical palette but with a new name and design. It will be called The Balm and the Beautiful. The shades will be the same but with new names to fit the new theme. You can see that here on Temptalia.
Would I recommend this palette? You better believe it, these girls may sound shady but they are honestly beautiful. — Marcia
“I think the world just fell off its axis” – this is a quote from my blog partner Lisa when I told her that my new obsession with eyeshadows is now KHAKI. I have a feeling that everyone that knows me from my 12 years of writing about cosmetics will be saying the same thing. For years I was known as the “queen of purple”. I owned every purple eyeshadow that I could find. If it was purple, it was mine. So how did I go from that to khaki? Well it all started with Rouge Bunny Rouge’s Absynnian Catbird. I became totally enamored with that shade and me being me, I kept on going. I am just a little pretty obsessive when it comes to eyeshadows. I want to try every nuance of a shade that’s available. This is the reason why you’ll be seeing a lot of this shade in my reviews from now on.
One of the shadows I had to have after seeing it on blogs is All About Alex from TheBalm ($16). I started searching for the color to see how others described it and if I should get it. Temptalia is always raving about TheBalm eyeshadows so hers is the first blog I checked out. I then found Delicate Hummingbird and Vampy Varnish and I was sold. I needed to feed the obsession. So what do I think??
I think it’s wonderful!! This is described online as a ‘golden khaki olive’ which I think is spot on. There’s enough green in it to satisfy this new fascination of mine but enough brown in it so that I don’t feel like I’m really wearing too much green. All About Alex goes on like a dream. There is absolutely no fallout from the shadow. It glides on like silk. Even though the shadow itself is soft in texture it’s not powdery. If Goldilocks were judging this one she’d be saying “It’s just right!” There’s a very subtle shimmer to this that I notice more in my 10x mirror than I do in real life.
I’ve been playing with it to see what combinations I like with it so here are a few picture of ones I’ve found. I’ve been rediscovering several shadows in my collection since this is such a change for me.
Now that I have another fabulous khaki eyeshadow in my collection I needed just the right eyeliner. Almost every eyeliner shade I use looks the same on me. I have very dark lashes so everything looks sort of dark brown on me. In my collection the only liner I have that is close to khaki is MAC’s Superslick in Desires and Devices. I was interested in the new Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliners from the first time I saw them on blogs and Smog seemed to be the color closest to a khaki. It’s described as a deep brown with golden shimmer and iridescent sparkle. Surprisingly I see the sparkle and shimmer in Smog; I usually don’t without looking in a magnifying mirror. But it’s so subtle that it just adds interest rather than a startling look for someone of my generation. Smog looks like a khaki in some lights but in general it’s got more brown than the olive green that a khaki should have. The comparison picture shows MAC Desires and Devices and UD Smog. I’ve shown two shots since in the first one they look much more similar than they do in a close up. I then swatched two browns (Stila and MUFE #12) so you could see that these two liners aren’t quite brown, that they do have the green undertone that makes them more khaki-like.
What I like best about Urban Decay’s 24 7 Smog eyeliner is how long it lasts. I’ve worn it on extremely hot and humid days and it looks fresh from start to finish. I also like the brush – it’s thin enough to get the line that I prefer yet firm enough to make the eyeliner easy to apply. I like the color of the MAC slightly more but I often get it in my eyes since the formula is so wet and the brush isn’t nearly as easy to use. I’ve yet to have that problem with Urban Decay’s. At $18 it’s also a good price for this type of liner. There are some good swatches at Pink Sith for all of these UD 24/7 Waterproof eyeliners if you want to see all the gorgeous shades. Even though UD says they are waterproof I use my regular eye makeup remover to take them off. They come off in flakes but they still come off easily.
Expect to see lots more reviews on khaki. I still think that Rouge Bunny Rouge Absynnian Catbird is about the best shade I’ve seen but it’s expensive and not easy to get. Since I want to have others in the poor house with me, I need to find more than just these two beauties to tempt you with in the future. — Marcia