Side by Side – Face Stockholm cake eyeliner

Oh if only Beauty Info Zone lived in New York City. There’s so much that’s alluring in that city. One of our stops would be at a Face Stockholm store so we could choose among the gorgeous colors and formulas of product they have there. Another item on our agenda would probably be to take some of the makeup artist classes that they teach. Instead we have to be satisfied with ordering online or over the phone. Receiving a Face Stockholm package is pretty satisfying.

On today’s Side by Side we’re comparing cake eyeliners. These come in 5 colors (black, eggplant, navy, green and brown) for $18. We both tried this but in different colors so let’s see what Marcia and Lisa think.

MARCIA’s side:

Not too long ago I reviewed an Illamasqua cake eyeliner and mentioned how Face Stockholm had been my favorite cake eyeliner for years. I used up my last one a few years ago and I obviously forgot how wonderful it was. Just one time using it again brought back the memory of what I loved so much about it. The only thing that has changed is the packaging and that’s for the better. The product is just as wonderful as I thought it was.

What I noticed instantly with the eyeliner (mine is Eggplant) is just how velvety this was. I lightly wet my eyeliner brush and was able to work the liner into a beautiful cream consistency that made it so easy to apply. I didn’t have to fight with it to get it on my brush. I was able to pick up the right amount instantly. In addition I only needed water; I didn’t need to spend extra money for a sealing product. Face Stockholm Eggplant Cake Eyeliner went on smoothly, darkly and evenly without anything other than water. It lasted just as long with water as when I tested it with the sealing agent. I even went one day with applying it on one eye with just water and on the other eye with the sealer. No difference! What could be better?

In the above picture the top is liner with water while the bottom is liner with the Illamasqua sealant. I see no difference and it made no difference on my eyes.

Eggplant appears almost brown in my swatch but on my eyes it has the right amount of purple. It isn’t a glaring shade at all. It’s a subtle eggplant that works easily with all my purple eyeshadows. I’m not the person that wears eyeliner that’s very obvious most of the time so for my everyday looks I want subtle yet lasting color. Face Stockholm Eggplant fits that bill perfectly.


I went for the Navy cake eyeliner.  It’s gorgeous.  I love how it is slightly more subtle than black, and the dark blue really plays up the brown in my eyes. 

Like Marcia, I found the cake eyeliner to be extremely easy to use.  Both water and sealant work terrific, the resulting thick liquid goes on smooth and stays on all day.

I love cake eyeliners because they give you the consistency of a gel liner, but they don’t dry out like gel liners do.  The Face Stockholm cake eyeliners are especially wonderful because they truly do work just as well with water.  Be sure to check these out – just like Marcia, Face Stockholm cake eyeliners have become a staple for me.  – Lisa

Kids love Monkey Brains hair products

I wish they had stuff like this when I was a kid!  There’s a new hair care line called Monkey Brains  marketed for the preteen crowd, and it’s got a lot of fans in my family (including my husband, who is just a big kid anyway). 

My daughters (age 6 and 11) were so excited when the box of Monkey Brains arrived.  They could not wait to try everything, and anything that gets my kids excited about cleaning up is a winner in my book.  Monkey Brains has lots of cool products for hair, including styling products and a shampoo that helps get all the gunk out afterward.    Every single item in this line is alcohol-free and is only $3.99, something kids can buy with that allowance money. 

The Goop Out Shampoo is terrific.  It gets rid of leftover styling products without stripping the hair, and it smells great.  Based on the hilarious banana packaging, I thought it was going to smell like bananas, but it has a rather unisex orangey smell to my nose.

We also tried the Grease Monkey Hair Pomade.  It comes in a super cute, kid friendly package, and the product itself looks wonderful.

This pomade gives your hair shine and medium hold.  It’s water based, not oil based, so it gives hold without a slick, greasy look.  My husband actually stole this from the kids.

We also tried the Psycho Sticky Hair Glue.  This has far more holding power, so if you have a little one who like the spiky look, this is perfect.  I like that it doesn’t flake, so it gives super hold without the ick factor.  It does leave hair stiff, but I do believe that is the point!

My daughter Marina has very long, thick hair.  We decided to do a ‘before and after’ so you can see the results of the shampoo and the styling products.

Here she is before.  This is what her hair normally looks like.

She brushes her hair when it’s wet and lets it air dry.  For our test, she did a style where she flipped her hair over on the side and tried to keep it there without the help of barrettes.   Per her usual method, she let her hair air dry.

Here is her hair after.  You can see how sleek and shiny it is – and this is without conditioner, just the shampoo.  It was very soft, too.

And here is the front view, with her ‘style’.  She did the whole thing all by herself.  She actually put the styling products on after her hair was mostly dry.  I asked her why, since I would have done it with wet hair, and she said that she didn’t read to use it on wet hair anywhere in the directions.

I checked and she was right.  It didn’t seem to matter, though – wet or dry, the styling products worked about the same.  Here is the side of her hair, and it held quite well.  I was amazed as her hair is very thick and heavy.

I am quite impressed with this line.  It’s fun, it’s attractive to kids, and it’s effective enough that even the grown ups want to use it.  Plus, it’s most definitely affordable.  You can find these products in drug stores and grocery stores everywhere.  They have a finder feature at the website so you can type in your zip code to see where you can get the line.   If you have kids, it’s a great way to get them to voluntarily get clean!!  – Lisa

Get the Kimia Glow

Talk about luxury –  Kimia is the ultimate in pampering and feeling good about taking care of yourself.  The word “Kimia” actually means gold, as in the golden glow one gets from using this line.  The look  of these products is divine, the packaging is beautiful and feels almost decadent.  No wonder this line is one of Victoria Beckham’s favorites. 

The Kimia team (based in the UK but they ship anywhere)  is composed of three key players.  According the website, “The Kimia team combines the knowledge and expertise from around the world – with Dr Hedva Choval the alchemist, who sources, blends and formulates; with Germaine, the aromatherapist, whose combined experience with Callum, the chemist and product formulator, makes it possible for Kimia skincare to be brought to today’s woman. The team is led and inspired by Ian, who discovered the Kimia method and serum. He formed the Kimia team and company, and is committed to bringing innovative, all-natural beauty products that push the boundaries of natural science.”  Hey, that’s a team I want on my side!!

The first product I tried was the Perfection Neck and Decollete Serum ($90).  It is a Green Beauty Bible Awards WinnerKimia focuses on natural ingredients that help fight wrinkles and improve cell turnover, resulting in what they call the ‘Kimia Glow’.  In this product, the concentrated serum also improves elasticity, which helps to reduce that ‘chicken neck’ look that comes with age.  (I always wonder why people don’t concentrate on taking care of their necks, which is most definitely where a person’s true age can show.)  It’s an extremely moisturizing, lovely serum that is rather wet at first and then soaks in, leaving the neck super smooth and – yup, it’s true – younger looking.  It does have a fragrance that lingers, so keep that in mind if that bothers you.  I find it to be rather pleasant, but I know that people’s preferences vary.

I also tried the Exquisite Rejuvenating Facial System ($115), also a Green Beauty Bible Awards Winner.  It’s an elegant two-step system for hydrating, rejuvenating, and nourishing your skin. 

The first step is the famous Kimia facial oil, which is in a glass bottle with a dropper.  You put a few drops in your hands, rub together, then apply to a cleansed face.

You then lightly massage the oil on your face, doing this both morning and night. 

The serum is a light oil, it does go on wet but it soaks in easily.  It’s not as thick as the neck serum.  After you massage in the oil, you go on to the next step.

The second step is the Hydra-Activator, which is a light facial mist.  You spray this either directly on your face or into your hands, and then massage in.  It reacts with the serum and increases its efficacy by helping it to absorb, as well as assisting with dead skin cell turnover.  

Again, this has the signature Kimia fragrance, so be aware of that. 

I have mostly oily skin – my t-zone is a mess, but my cheeks are dry.  I find this system to be extremely hydrating, so those of you with very dry skin will LOVE it.  I love it, but I only use it on my cheeks when my hormones are all wonky. The beauty of this system is it’s designed to be adjustable based on your changing skin care needs by using more or less of the product.

This is some seriously exquisite skin care, and if you enjoy luxury you will absolutely love this.  I let my mom try it and then I had to wrestle it away from her – she still hasn’t forgiven me, but I am not going to give up these wonderful products!  – Lisa

Perfection Neck and Decollete Serum ingredients:

Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil (Sweet Almond), Hamamelis Virginiana Extract (Witch Hazel), Vitis Vinifera Seed Oil, Rosa Damascene Flower Oil (Rose), Calendula Officinalis Oil (Calendula), Camelina Sativa Oil, Salvia Sclarea Oil, Persea Gratissima Oil, Cannabis Sativa, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Neroli), Tocopheryl (Vitamin E)

Facial System ingredients: 

Exquisite 100% Natural Facial Oil: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil (Sweet Almond Oil), Hamamelis Virginiana Extract (Witch Hazel), Vitis Vinifera Seed Oil, Calendula Officinalis Oil (Calendula), Rosa Damascene Flower Oil (Rose), Salvia Sclarea Oil, Tocopheryl (Vitamin E), Sclerocarya Birrea (Marula), Rosa Moschata Oil (Rosehip), Vaccinium Macrocarpon Seed Oil (Cranberry), Citrus Aurantium Amara (Neroli) Hydra-Activator: Water, Alcohol*, Mentha Piperita Water (Peppermint), Rosmarinus Officinalis Distillate (Rosemary), Alchemilla Vulgaris (Lady’s Mantle), Hamamelis Virginiana Distillate (Witch Hazel), Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera), Lavandula Angustifolia Water (Lavender), Melissa Officinalis Distillate (Lemon Balm) * Naturally fermented grain alcohol

Primer power: Gerda Spillmann and Miracle Skin Transformer

I know many people are very low maintenance, and they don’t use or need a face primer before putting on foundation.  When it comes to makeup, I am not low maintenance.  I love all the bells and whistles in general, and I also have a true need for primer.  If I don’t use it, my skin soaks up whatever else I put on it – foundation, blush, powder – it’s gone in about two hours.  But a good primer not only helps the rest of my makeup look close to flawless, it also helps keep it in place for a good length of time.

Gerda Spillmann sent the BIZ their Hydro-Pearls Primer ($50.50) to try.  This is a  silicone free primer that doubles as a lightweight moisturizer.

Here is a swatch, you can see how it has a thinner consistency.  It does  a  nice job moisturizing the skin, which makes it a better choice for someone with drier skin than mine.  I have slightly oily skin, so I found this primer to be on the wet side.   I have to wait after application for several minutes to get the correct canvas for my foundation.  I also need something that mattifies the skin to keep my face from getting overly shiny, and that isn’t something this primer does.

This primer is not the right one for me, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good one.   I think that if you have dry skin you will really like it.  It’s also a good option for someone who has relatively good skin to begin with, because it’s thin consistency isn’t made for spackling larger flaws.  It does have a discernible fragrance, so be aware of that.  I think this primer is especially good for use with cream foundations like the Bio-Fond Cream Foundation ($57.75) which we reviewed here.  And I love the packaging, which is a sanitary and easy to use pump.

A surprise find for me was the Miracle Skin Transformer in Translucent ($48.00).  They have this in various shades for use as a foundation, but the Translucent works as a primer.

(sample size shown in picture above)

You can see from the swatch that this has a thicker consistency.  The Miracle Skin Transformer is silicone based, so it’s got that satiny feel to it.  It’s not as thick as many other silicone based primers.  This also has an SPF of 20, which is a bonus.  I like this very much as a primer, but my skin does love silicones. It is something you could use instead of foundation if you don’t need any tint, because it fills in fine lines and makes skin look and feel very smooth.  It dries down quickly without a fragrance, and it gives my oily t-zone a matte appearance.

The world of primers is surprisingly varied.  There is a primer out there for everyone – and one of these two primers just might be the right one for you.  – Lisa

The best new bronzers for spring part two: Carlene K and Xen-Tan

To be completely honest, I think I am addicted to bronzers.  I am constantly collecting them, testing them, and looking for the latest and greatest to add to my arsenal.  Previously, I reviewed my top bronzer picks for spring in the categories of self tanner for body and bronzing liquid for the face.  Today, I am going to review my top picks for body bronzer (not self tanner, this is the stuff that washes off) and then a surprise product that is either a self tanner or a bronzer for the face and body – or both, if that’s what you choose.

My favorite new body bronzer is Carlene K. Shine Body Bronzer ($29.99).  From what I understand, this is quite a Hollywood mainstay – many of the people you see on the red carpet have that glowy, gorgeous tan thanks to Carlene K Carlene K. is a famous makeup artist who actually created this bronzer while working with the Pussycat Dolls.

The bronzer is just like body lotion.  It spreads evenly and quickly, and dries down super fast.  It’s very moisturizing, and is anti-aging because of the plant derived collagen and Vitamin C and E.    It also has pumpkin extract to help the skin retain elasticity and firmness.  I adore the color it gives – it looks extremely natural, no orange tones, and gives a fabulous glow.  You can see in the swatch above how there is golden shimmer in it, which isn’t obvious but it does give that wonderful luminosity.

Here are pics of my arm before Carlene K. Shine Body Bronzer, and then after.

Love the color, and I had no problems with the product transferring to my clothing.  It washes right off in the shower, and it has no discernible scent when applied.  If you are looking for a body bronzer that is easy to apply, easy to wash off, and gives a beautiful instant color, look no further!  You can buy the Shine Body Bronzer online and in various stores across the U.S., just check the website for locations.

My last favorite new product in the bronzing arena is by Xen-Tan.  This is a truly amazing product that you just have to check out.  Xen-Tan products are available online, at Norstrom, and at Ulta, to name just a few places.  They have a wide array of self tanning products, and I tried out the E! Live From the Red Carpet Perfect Blend ($43.00). 

I fell in love as soon as I opened the box and saw the gorgeous starlet – super cute packaging!!

This is an extremely unusual product.  It is a self tanner and it’s a bronzer, you can choose to do one or both based on how you place the dial on the bottle.  You can also decide the depth of the color you want.  The color is very natural looking, and the lotion smells nice, like cucumbers.  And, this bronzer/self tanner works great for both the body and the face.

You can see up at the top the different settings to choose from, from 100% self tanner to 100% bronzer.

Here I have it set to 100% self tanner.

And here is the 100% self tanner swatched.  It’s a light lotion that spreads easily.  I have used this tons of times and have never once gotten any streaks, which is unusual for a self tanner without a color guide. 

Now here is the bottle set to 100% bronzer.  Like the self tanner, the bronzer works for both the face and the body.  Here is a swatch:

The bronzer can be used on the face because it doesn’t have any shimmer to it.  Usually the ‘glowy’ body bronzers aren’t face appropriate because the ‘glow’ is too obvious.  This one gives a very pretty, deep tan look that works on any part of your body.

So here is the super cool part – 50/50!!  With this setting, you get the best of both worlds – your self tanner is working while the bronzer gives you immediate color.  Genius!!!!  

Here is a swatch of the 50/50.  How fun is that??

So many bronzers, so little time…and these are fabulous options that I think should be in everyone’s faux-tan arsenal.  – Lisa

Highlighting and shading with Dan Read

I previously posted about the fantastic foundation by Dan Read, and today I want to focus on his highlighting and shading products.  These two little jars have totally changed the way I do my makeup every day.  It is amazing how much of a difference  a little contouring can make.

I guess I avoided messing with contouring  because I thought it would take a lot of time.  However, what I do adds maybe one minute to my morning routine, if that – and it makes a big difference.

The product I use to highlight is the Yellow Highlight ($15.75).

Here is my obviously very used jar.  It looks REALLY yellow, doesn’t it?  But it’s extremely natural looking when applied.  It goes on easily and sheers right out, leaving a very subtle but effective brightening effect.  The yellow counteracts dark areas, which means it works great on under eye circles and any other recessed areas on your face.  The purpose of highlighting is to bring those areas forward.  The areas I use this on every day are under my eyes, straight down the bridge of my nose, on my nasal labial folds, right above my upper lip, and just below my lower lip.

Highlighting brings areas forward, and shading pulls areas back.  For shading, I use the  Natural Shading ($15.75).  It works great because it has gray tones to it, which match real complexions.

Shading will make areas recede.  Areas I shade every day are the sides of my nose, from my cheekbone down, and sometimes under my chin.

Here I am with foundation on, as well as my highlighter and shading.  I put it on pretty dark for photo purposes.  I use my pink egg, AKA the Beauty Blender, and just dip it into each jar.  In the picture above you can see the yellow under my eyes, down my nose, on those creases next to my lips, and it’s also right above my upper lip and below my lower lip.  The shading is more obvious – it’s on the outer sides of my nose, and from my cheekbones down.

I apply these with the sponge, and then I use my finger to blend.  The heat from my finger makes the highlighter and shading just melt into my skin, and the overall look is very natural.  Above is a picture of me after I blended everything in with my fingertips.

And here is the final look.  Highlighting and shading is actually not complicated, and it doesn’t take long to do at all.  I find that Dan Read’s Yellow Highlighter and Natural Shading are super easy to use and they last forever.  They are also pretty inexpensive.  Take a chance and try them out – I think you are going to really like your look.  – Lisa

Fun even a klutz can have – Kiss and Broadway Nail Arts

I’m a girly girl when it comes to my nails. I love a beautifully manicured hand and I get a little fussy about how my nails look. In previous reviews you’ve seen some of my favorite colors (mostly red, purple and blue) but every once in a while I like to go off the deep end and try something fun. I usually wait a day or two before my next scheduled manicure before trying things myself because I AM LEFT HANDED.  I am very left handed and I do a horrible job doing my own nails but I can tolerate a day or two of my own work for fun’s sake. That said I’d still like to show you the messy fun I had with KISS Nail Arts products.

The Nail Artist Paint Set ($6.99) has 3 polishes with ultra thin brushes for creating designs or painting the tips of your nails. The brush can be used very precisely for your artistic expression. The set I have comes with toys!! It has two sheets of tip guides, a funky > shape and a classic ) shape. It also comes with a sheet of sweet little rhinestones. I have a few warnings when using the kit:  1) the brush can drip from the top so I’m very careful now to wait until the color drips down the brush, holding it over the bottle rim, before attempting to be artistic. (When you see my pictures you’ll know why I use the word “attempt”.) 2) When removing the tip guides make sure your polish is totally dry first. You certainly get your money’s worth out of these kits. You can use them with other stencils and over the terrific Kiss fake nails we’ve previously reviewed. 

If you are artistic then you’ll want to get your hands on one of the two Nail Artist Fine Art Pen sets ($5.99). There are two shades in each (pink & silver or black & white). The tips are very fine to make sure you can draw with them easily. I found it awkward to draw on my nails but I’m not the least bit artistic that way. Instead I think using plain tips from their Glue On nails would be more my style. Paint a few and attach them and let creativity fly.  

The next product I’ve been playing with is Broadway Nail Dress (sister company of Kiss). These are stick-on wraps in the most interesting designs ($5.49). I have polka dots and a red leopard look, currently there are 5 looks available. These aren’t polish and there’s no dry time so they can be done at the last minute though I do warn you to practice first. Directions say to start with your pinkie and work towards your thumb. Find the right size for your nails (there are 2 sheets with 14 sizes on each sheet) and pull up by the tab. Position it lightly on your nail and then smooth the sides. Since they will be much too long for your fingertips a two sided file comes with it. Fold the excess down over your fingertip and then use the black side of the file in a downward motion to remove the excess. Next use the pink side to smooth the tip. These last for several days on their own but you can add a top coat if you wanted an even longer wear. There’s a great “how to video” to help you see the right technique (I wish I’d watched it before trying it the first time!).

My absolute favorite product from Kiss are their sets of little Nail Artist Flat Stickers. These are something that even a klutz with a capital K can use to dress up and change their nail looks. I have their Abstract set ($2.99 for 120 stickers) and they have 10 sets total (these can have up to 200 stickers). The Abstract set comes with a sheet of gold flowers, a sheet of black floral designs and (my favorite) a sheet of colorful mixed designs of flowers and butterflies with little rhinestones. I like to put just one on my ring finger or pinkie to give a little hint of color and an airbrush quality. If you hold your mouse over one of the packages online you can see the adorable designs in each package. I’ve got my eye on Catwalk especially.

Kiss and Broadway Nails can be found at CVS, Walgreen, Walmart and They are so reasonably priced and provide hours of fun and days of beauty. — Marcia