Making summer easier, part 2 – Clinique, Kiss Brows, Better Than Lips

This summer I’ve been finding myself reaching for a few things to make my life a little simpler. My personal schedule has changed and I don’t have as much time, especially in the mornings, to spend putting on cosmetics like I have in the past. I’ve been using a few items that make my routine quicker and easier and I’d like to share some of them with you.

1) I’ve owned Clinique’s All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage for over a year but it’s only lately that I’ve started to appreciate it. I purchased it ($26) during a GWP event since that’s the only time I purchase Clinique. I used it sporadically in the mornings or during the day. Recently though it’s become something I use most mornings. The rollerball has a cooling effect while it attempts to reduce puffiness and the look of fatique. It’s a temporary outcome but it’s enough to get me going in the morning and feel better about myself. I still use my Senna Lift and Lighten eye cream when applying makeup but this starts the ball rolling (pun intended). The cool metal ball refreshes my undereyes. Here’s what Clinique has to say: This instantly cooling rollerball helps massage away bags, refreshes and hydrates puffy eyes on contact. Brightens eye area immediately and over time. Combats dark circles, too. With caffeine, potent antioxidents and soothing botanicals. Oil-free, non-irritating, ophthalmologist tested.

2) You’ve mostly heard us talk about the company KISS as a nail company but they have a lot more products than just nails. One of my summer favorites is their TINTED BROW MARKER & PENCIL DUO. Kiss also makes one called Tinted Brow Gel & Pencil Duo. The one I’m reviewing has a marker end, sort of like a very thin Sharpie, and a retractable pencil end. There are two reasons this makes my summer list. 1) It’s easy to find and at the same time the price is great ($6.48). It’s always fun to walk into CVS, Walgreens or Walmart and walk out with a prize. (Online it’s available at Beauty Online Supply) 2) It’s fast and easy to use.

I have this in Dark Brown which unfortunately is the only shade it comes in. For me though that’s perfect since my hair is a very dark brown. As dark as the two ends are though, they look very natural on my eyebrows. The marker end is very pointed making it easy to draw in natural looking hairs if you are missing any. It dries very fast which is another plus. The pencil end is retractable and needs no sharpening. It glides on so easily that it’s become a summer quickie staple for me.

3) I’m not known for wearing lipstick all the time. I put it on and then forget about refreshing it – not a good admission for a beauty blogger. What I do like though is to have some lip balms around my house and in my purse. The two I’ve been using a lot lately are by BETTER THAN LIPS. The company that created these is Therapy Systems and they have two different lip balms. Better than Lips ($12) is a clear lip balm that is 100% natural and over 95% organic. It does have beeswax in it so if you are vegan be aware of that. I call Better Than Lips my “babysitting” balm because I can kiss my little grandson as much as I want and I leave no evidence behind. It leaves my lips conditioned and soft so he doesn’t have to deal with any chapped or rough lips. When he’s not around I use Even Better Than Lips  ($14) the tinted version. It just comes in one shade which gives just the slightest color to my lips. It’s definitely even better than my lips. I love the moisturizing effect that these have and to top it off there’s no annoying fragrance.

While I only had room to tell you about 3 items, all three are ones I recommend to make life easier this summer and every day. I’d love to hear what makes your life easier too. — 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

Facial gardens come to life with Garden Botanika

The best part of being a blogger for the past 13 months is learning about new brands and getting a chance to test them out. The best part of being a blogger for the past 13 months is revisiting old favorite brands and reminding myself what I loved about them. Obviously I can’t pick which is the best since both of these statements are true.  I’m learning so much about new and old loves.

The brand I’m revisiting in this article is Garden Botanika.  I have fond memories of shopping at the Garden Botanika store at my local mall. My sister and I would spend hours there deciding what things we couldn’t live without. When I went to work at Ulta I was thrilled to be able to play with Garden Botanika again.

One of my favorite products from GB was their Shadow Primer ($13). They were just about the first brand to come out with this and it was such a welcome addition to my makeup arsenal. I bought it again when I found it at Ulta but I’m not sure if I have the newest formulation of this. Here’s what GB tells us about the primer: “Make shadow last on and on. Re-formulated to glide on more smoothly, our primer combines oil-absorbing Kaolin and soothing Lavender Flower Wax to create a crease-proof, fade-proof, smudge-proof base. Emollient Meadowfoam and Shea Butter condition skin and prevent dryness and flakiness that can interfere with eye shadow.” Whether I have the newest one or the previous formula, I just know it changed how my eyeshadows lasted so it remains in my stash and gets pulled out to be used several times a month.

Now another primer has come into my life from Garden Botanika, She’s Prepped Mineral Foundation Primer ($20). The brand Garden Botanika was one of the very first to use natural products and they continue to do so.  She’s Prepped Mineral Foundation contains the following:

-Orchic Extract which enhances product application and leaves skin smooth.

-Silica minimizes shine.

-Vitamins C, E, and A help prevent signs of aging.

What makes She’s Prepped different from the other primers I’ve used is that this paraben free primer uses minerals to help make it a “miracle worker” for your skin. This is recommended for all skin types and for all foundation types (mineral, liquid and cream). Of course I’ve tried it with all three to test out their claims. I have to agree with them and say they are right. I’ve been wearing Dan Read cream foundation often lately and when I use She’s Prepped first I notice that it goes on even more smoothly than without the primer. I’ve used it with my Purely Minerals foundation and with several liquids (MAC Pro Longwear, Lancome Teint Miracle) lately with the same great results. GB tells us that it’s formulated to combat dry, flaky skin, uneven texture and enlarged pores. Anything that helps with my enlarged pores makes me happy. Yes it has silicones but that is what helps make the texture so silky. Once it’s on you don’t feel another layer on your skin, you just feel silky.

I’ve also been wearing Cherry Lip and Cheek Stain ($18).

I’m super lazy about reapplying lipstick and this lip and cheek stain makes life so easy for me. I make no bones about my love of cream blushes so that’s how this was used first. Cherry is the perfect description of this. It gives me a cherry flush that is so UNmadeup looking. It just looks natural on my cheeks. Even though it’s not winter it gives me that outdoorsy shade of cold cheeks. The best part is that it’s not sticky at all. Actually the texture is a little bit stiff at first but that makes it easy to apply. This contains silica to help absorb excess oils in your cheeks. As far as my lips, since there’s no fragrance and no sticky feeling, I usually put it on as soon as I’m done applying it as my blush. Whatever I might have in my purse later doesn’t clash with this either. The look is sheer and the application is easy.

Garden Botanika lovers can join their Garden Club and receive 15% off on their purchases but even without doing that their prices are excellent.  Garden Botanika has something for everyone from fragrance to bath & body to cosmetics to skincare. It’s time for us all to revisit this favorite brand. — Marcia

Getting bubblicious with Lush

Look at this!!  It’s just beautiful, and it makes me think of warm spring days with gorgeous blue skies.  Besides that, it looks good enough to eat!  This is the Blue Skies and Fluffy White Clouds Bubble Bar ($10.95) from Lush.  I love to take baths, and I want tons and tons of bubbles in my tub.  This bubble bar delivers and then some.  The scent, which reminds me of incense, isn’t overpowering.  It’s just enough to really relax you and help you find that calm, meditative state that a great bubble bath can put you in to.  Plus, this baby is HUGE.  I can get five or six amazing, bubble filled baths out of one of these bars.

My other favorite bubble bar is the Lush Hollywood Bar ($9.95).  It smells the same as the Fever massage bar, if you are familiar with that one.  It’s sort of perfumey, I definitely smell jasmine and sandalwood, so it’s kind of spicy.  The bubbles are tremendous and last forever.   Plus it’s just so darn cute – love the star and the tiny sparkles!!

My kids beg for a tiny corner of my bubble bars.  Here is my little Annie with bubbles from a very small amount of the Blue Skies and Fluffy White Clouds bar – I almost couldn’t find her in the tub.

Here are a few other Lush goodies I am enjoying in particular now.  Top middle is the Candy Cane Bubble Bar ($9.95).  This has a very sweet, candy-like scent, and the bubbles are just amazing.  It’s a great size, I can get four or five baths with towering bubbles out of one of these bars.

Next is the Therapy Massage Bar ($9.95).  This smells awesome – a little like chocolate, a little like lavender.  It’s a unisex scent, which is a plus.  This bar melts into the skin, giving just enough slip for a great massage.  Love it!!

Under that is the Coalface Cleanser bar ($10.95). This is my husband’s favorite, it dissolves grease and grime like no other!!  If you or your significant other have a penchant for getting really dirty working on cars or in the garden, this is a soap you need.  While it’s billed as a soap for the face, I found it’s way too strong for me to use anywhere except my hands.

And then finally, Alkmaar soap ($7.95).  It smells of jasmine and honeysuckle and vanilla.  It gives the most creamy lather ever, and you smell just amazing for the rest of the day.

Spring has finally arrived in Michigan, which makes me happy.  And that makes me think of Lush, which also always makes me happy!  What are your favorite Lush items?  – Lisa