Monday, July 31, 2006

L'Oreal Lineur Intense Defining Liquid Liner


I've been using liquid eyeliner ever since I was 13 years old and an aspiring headbanger. You see, my sister was this crazy rocker with big bleached hair and eyes lined in electric blue liquid liner. Being the little bratty sister I was (and probably still am), I bought myself a bottle and began to practise. Needless to say, I'm glad I grew out of that phase of teased out hair and electric blue eyeliner.

I didn't grow out of liquid eyeliner though. In fact, it was just the beginning of a love affair! For many years, I practised and perfected the precise liquid line. I tried many product lines, in search of the ideal liner tip. I became a little disgruntled at the lack of good products, even though I realize it was all about your own personal preferences. I hated the marker type felt tip. Too many products ran out so quickly when you use them on a daily basis. The lines weren't intense and crisp enough. Even with the steadiest hand, you could not get a very fine line. Even with the pricier, department store counter brands didn't satisfy me.

And then I found L'Oreal's Lineur Intense Defining Liquid Liner. My beauty saviour!

You know, every so often you find that product. That amazing product that you hope will never go off the market by being discontinued. That product you mention when somebody asks you if you had to take any makeup product on a desert island, what would it be? I would say L'Oreal's Lineur Intense Defining Liquid Liner. This is one on my most relied on product and it has never let me down.

There are many benefits to this great liner. First of all, the liner brush tip is not a marker type felt tip. It is a small brush. With a little practise, you can achieve both a very fine line or a dramatic thicker line - depending on how sassy you feel. You have complete control when you use this brush.

The eyeliner itself is very intense. The line is crisp and perfect. The color will not become see through by the end of the day, nor will it leave it's mark on your eyelid. It's long lasting and you can't say that about many pencil liners or powder liners. This liner is perfect for achieving that fun and retro 50's makeup look or that darker gothic eye or even that professional, classic lined eye. It's very versatile.

As well, I live in snowy Canada. I've been caught in the rain and blustery snowy days. Yet, the eyeliner has completely stayed on! I've had PMS monster outbursts and I didn't have raccoon eyes! Yet, at the end of the night it comes off very easily with a great eye makeup remover. It is apparently great for sensitive eyes and safe for contact lens wearers.

I can't emphasize this enough - this is an amazing, must-have product. If you are new to liquid liners, give it a little time. Practise makes perfect!


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Friday, July 28, 2006

Friday's Ferocious Female - Mabel Stark

I came across Mabel Stark through reading what I thought was a fiction novel. It was called the Final Confessions of Mabel Stark by Robert Hough - you can find it listed on the right hand side of my blog. Though it is written as a faux memoir, a lot of the facts were actually true! Being intrigued by the circuses and sideshows of yesteryear, this book left me pleasantly surprised.



Here's a blurb from
Wikipedia:
Mabel Stark (real name Mary Haynie) was the worlds premier tiger trainer of the 1920, specializing in highly sexualized circus acts. Born in Kentucky, a single child, Stark led an isolated and difficult childhood including corporal punishment from her mother. At the age of 13, both her parents died leaving her an orphan. She spent the rest of her youth with an aunt inLouisville, Kentucky; at the age of 18 she ran away to become a nurse, but ended up working as a stripper at the Great Parker Carnival instead taking the name Mary Aganosticus and later Mabel Stark.

When the manager of the Carnival's menagerie left to form his own circus, he invited Stark, who had shown an interest in the animals, to join him. She was originally slated to teach a troupe of performing goats- but failing that went on to replace the recently-killed cat-trainer Marguerite Haupt.

Choosing to work with the more difficult breed of tigers, rather than the more docile lions, it has been surmised that the solitary Stark preferred the company of one of the few solitary creatures in nature. There she met her new companion Rajah who would become her trademark tamed tiger.

She would later reveal in her writing that when she appeared to be tussling with Rajah, it was actually Rajah trying to copulate with her - which was her reason from changing from an all-black leather ensemble to an all-white bodysuit, to hide the resultant semen.

She was approached by, and joined the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, though in 1925 they announced they were discarding the large cat portion of their travelling circus and terminated her employment, instead introducing Clyde Beatty as their stand-in tamer for the occasional act. The following year, working for a much smaller circus, Stark was mauled by unfed tigers - an event some claimed was an attempt at suicide on her part since she'd previously displayed her desire to die at the claws of tigers; she spent the next two years in hospital recovering from the event.


Stark appeared occasionally on television in the 1960. For example, she did a stint as one of the guests with an unusual occupation on What's my Line, the popular Sunday Night CBS-TV program.

Her final job was as a menagerie-trainer with JungleLand in Thousand Oaks, California - but in 1968 the park was sold to a new owner who disliked Stark and promptly fired her. Three months later she killed herself by a combination of an overdose of barbiturates and carbon monoxide poisoning.


Five Reasons to Like Mabel Stark:
1) Her acts were highly sexual and daring. Yes, it was the circus - but she was the cream of the crop!
2) She found passion in her career and would not give up on working at something she truly loved.
3) She successfully worked in a very male dominated industry.
4) She worked that white leather jumpsuit. Men used to go to her shows to see her! And clearly, her tiger liked her as well.
5) She worked with tigers. I can't even think about working with people without groaning!


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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Palmolive Naturals White Radiance Soap

My friend came back from the Phillipines recently and all he brought back to me was a bar of skin whitening soap. Sigh, the year before he brought back a "Rolux" for me.

Skin whitening is apparently all the rage out in that neck of the woods. The ladies of the Phillipines desire lightened skin, so my friend tells me. I never gave it much thought, to be quite honest. All I know is that I loathe the look of over tanned North American white women. I
used to work at a few day spas/salons with tanning beds - I think I am allowed to pass judgement on women who don that healthy shade of orangey-brown. Anyway, my friend was making a nice and honest gesture when presenting me with this bar of soap. He figured, since I avoid the sun/tanning to the point where people mislabel me as "goth" and wear a lighter share of makeup, that I really want to be whiter than white.



I'm pretty white. If I got any whiter, I'd look like Powder. I want to look healthy, not dead. Like I said before, he did his best at making a sweet and honest gesture.

I was a little afraid of using this product. I realise that it's directly from Asia so I'm assuming the standards of packaging products (especially health and beauty related) may not be as important as it is in North America or Europe. The major cause of concern was the lack of listed ingredients. For someone with sensitive skin and acne, I was a little curious about what I would be applying on my face. Other than papaya and "cream" (cream of what, I don't know), I am clueless about what exactly is in this bar of beauty soap. I searched around online and could not find anything about this product - which led me to feel even more suspicious about test trying this out on myself. I went on the Palmolive UK site and there was no listing for this particular kind of soap (does it mean it contains bad ingredients or that the British just don't need skin whitening soap as they look pasty already?).

So I gave in and tried it. How white could I get from using it one or two times anyway? I have to admit, it has a very pretty smell of fresh papaya and cream - just like it says on the box. It lathers up fantastically (I'm very keen on lather!). Applies nice and smooth. At this point, the only issue I had with this is the feeling of my skin when I was in the process of washing it off. It felt as though I was running wet hands over a balloon, if that makes any sense whatsoever. Once that part was over and innerly complained about, my skin actually took to the soap. My face felt very smooth and soft. I was impressed with that, even though I knew there had to be something bad within this bar o'soap.

With a little more patience, I successfully found more information about whitening bars and creams. I have NOT used that bar of soap since, even though it smells lovely!

To have white skin is heavily marketed in Asia, apparently. According to
this article half the women in the Phillipines are currently using such a product. A while back I came across another website which said that many product ingredients manufactured in Asia are banned in North America and Europe. I'm only assuming that this product would never be sold here.

What I found out is that many whitening soaps and creams contain hydroquinone. I do not know if this Palmolive product contains this or not, I'm only being cautious. Hydroquinone is a chemical used in photograph processing materials. It has shown to cause leukemia in mice and other animals. Europe has put a ban on beauty products containing hydroquinone, as well as many African countries have banned the use of skin whitenings with harmful chemicals. Though I do not know if this Palmolive Naturals soap contains hydroquinone or not, I would rather not take my chances.

I realise that there are a million products, especially for beauty, that most likely contain very harmful and damaging products. I know I am guilty of using them - the hair dye, certain eye shadows, hair spray, anti-perspirant, etc. One day when some brilliant beauty expert/scientist invents a healthy way to dye my hair black, I will switch over to that.

As far as this particular product goes, there is no list of ingredients on the package therefore I do not feel very confident using this product. I don't feel positive about the concept of people with darker skin wishing to be white and "radiant" either, by means of harmful chemicals with permanent results. Be comfortable in your skin! Be sassy!

Obviously, I do not recommend this product. Unless someone can find me a list of ingredients in this brand of soap, I rest my case.



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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Revlon Age Defying Foundation


I've always had a bitch of a time trying to find the right foundation.

Once upon a time, I used to work at a MAC counter. I was, what one would call, a makeup snob. I never treated "regular" folks like crap however. I treated each and every person like the deserving client they were, regardless of what kind of style or how they dressed. Lord knows, the other girls at that counter were pretty judgemental at that. So, I stuck to my snobbish beauty regime. I only used what I thought were good products. I scoffed at the dreaded drugstore brands - ewww. That was until I became rather unemployed, haha.

Actually, I never liked MAC's foundation. I cringed at having to use it. On some people, it looks fantastic. I enjoyed Studio Fix on those days were I was completely in a rush to get ready. The coverage is amazing but I still wasn't personally satisfied. I have combination skin. It is the skin type most often overlooked, I think. You have your foundation for normal skin. You have it for dry and oily. But what about those tragic gals like myself who are burdened with the state of dry/normal/oily skin? Top it off with some ridiculous adult acne and you have a pretty sight.

For a while, I used Max Factor's Lasting Performance. And yes, you can purchase it at Wal-Mart. The makeup snob in me shuddered at the very thought. I liked the coverage and it became my brand of choice. It still didn't do the trick. I found that it ended up making my face look rather heavy, picking up those dry flakes, but it could be my own damn fault for trying to hide my own blemishes. But you know, after the powder was applied - it truly brought out my dry skin. I think it would work amazing with oilier skin.

Then one day, my small town no longer carried Lasting Performance. Isn't that the worst thing? Sigh, it is always a sad day for your face when your favorite brand of cosmetics is discontinued or no longer available in your local shops! I had to enter that dread drugstore again!

I came home with Revlon's Age Defying Foundation for combination skin (normal to combination, actually). Of course, the title Age Defying scared the crap out of me. I'm not even thirty and I need some thing the defies my age? Okay, breathe deeply...I am not getting old...I am not getting old...

Here are the stats:
- It's apparently supposed to make you look younger in 14 days. I think I still look 29
- It contains Botafirm, which is a patented blend of hexapeptides and botanicals - reducing lines by nearly 50% in 2 weeks
- Specially formulated for normal/combination skin, it is an oil-free formula that contains a clean pore complex and plant extracts to help tighten and tone pores.
- Medium coverage
- SPF 20

First of all, I was just happy to find one product out there that was for combination skin. When the sales associate helped me, that was the only thing she could recommend. It is a very light textured foundation and does not appear heavy. It smells really fresh and I look forward to applying it. Yes, it is medium coverage so if you do have blemishes - it helps if you use a good concealer for those spots and under eye rings. It applies smoothly and easily, whether you choose to apply with a makeup sponge or your fingertips. It comes in a wide range of skin tone "colors" unless you are black or simply have a darker complexion. It feels very healthy on my skin and has never irritated my very sensitive skin type. I was really impressed, to say the least!

I always thought Revlon products were a joke. I never liked their mascara nor their nail polishes. I was very surprised to see the quality of this product. It has been a complete pleasure to use and it is now a part of my daily beauty routine.

If you have that unpredictable skin type titled "combination", I suggest you give it a go!

Biotherm Acnopur and Source Therapie


I’ve always had not so nice skin. I’ve tried many different cleansers, products, and dermatologist recommended medications. In my late teens, I drew the line at committing to be on birth control and Accutane. I figured I would rather suffer with bad skin than mess something up within me on a larger scale. That’s not to say I am content with my skin, by any means. In fact, it is the one physical feature about me that I am most self conscious of. I’m close to thirty years old and still suffer from scarring acne – I’m not proud to state that. While the rest of me is quite adult, my skin chooses to stay in the state of self esteem deflating junior high school days.

I decided to bite the bullet and shop behind the counter for once. Instead of shopping for face soap, I went in search of facial products. It’s about time I tried something new, after too many unsatisfied experiences with skincare products that hurt my sensitive skin rather than heal.

I’m pretty skeptical when it comes to my skin. Not only is it acne prone, but it is sensitive and normal to dry. It seems that most skincare companies have great products for acne prone skin but only if you experience oily skin. Those products are harsh and damaging to skin like mine and to most people with sensitive skin. They are strong and powerful, stripping all your oils from your skin and turning your face into one giant patch of sore and burning dry flakes. These companies make you believe that the only way to solve your bad skin is to use severely harsh cleansers and toners. O! The joys of having problematic skin!

I ended up going with Biotherm products. I heard the name and nothing negative attached to it. To be completely honest, the Biotherm skincare rep was the first person to approach me in the store and being completely confused about what I should purchase I went with her best judgment.

Biotherm has a line of skincare products for acne prone skin called Acnopur. They have a pore unclogging purifying foam, a clarifying exfoliating lotion, moisturizer, and a blemish spot treatment. I went with the cleanser and toner from that line as well as a little something extra to help with my slight scarring.

Acnopur Pore Unclogging Purifying Foam was like a sigh of relief for my skin! It was a welcome change from all the powerful products that I have used in the past. It lathers into a rich foam, which I appreciate. The scent is clean, subtle, and pleasant. It does not smell like it’s full of chemicals, like some cleansers for acne prone skin. From the moment I began to lather in between my hands and massage it on my face, I knew there was a huge difference in this product compared to regular over the counter face soap. I was very glad I spent the money on this product. It removes makeup gently and left my skin feeling refreshed and smooth. I felt very confident about putting this product on my face and even more so when I discovered it did not make my face feel tight and dry afterwards.

Acnopur Clarifying Exfoliating Lotion is, apparently, a dual action formula that helps exfoliate the skin, unblock pores, and eliminates impurities. As with the foam, it contains a “tri-active complex” of salicylic acid, an anti-bacterial agent, and white clay. It also contains a pure extract of thermal plankton. What that means, I have no idea. My experience with toner lotions in the past were much the same as with cleansers. I had no faith in them and was convinced the only thing it will do is make my face red, burn, and even more dry. Once again, I was pleasantly surprised! It went on gentle and my skin did not protest afterwards. There was no burning sensation, it did not irritate it, and it left a soothing coolness to my skin. Like the cleanser, it smells subtle and clean.

Biotherm’s Source Therapie is a pure spa concentrate skin perfector. I must admit, I was highly skeptical of this product. I don’t typically fall for lines like, “you’ll feel the difference in 5 seconds!” and “see the difference in 5 days!”

The product itself is a very concentrated and creamy blue gel, with an extremely silky texture. It is pretty pricy but since you are only using it in very small doses, it’s well worth it. It contains regenerating oligo-mineral complex which combines “highly stimulating bicarbonate ions with seven minerals and essential trace elements” – according to the product info. There is more thermal plankton and moisturizing agents as well. First of all, it smells great. It smells a lot like this deep conditioning hair product line by Rusk - Deepshine. It is a fresh, natural, and softly rich scent that is honestly so hard to describe. Second of all, a little goes a long way. You don’t have to feel guilty for dropping $50 on a small bottle. Thirdly, it works so wonderfully! Like I said, I was skeptical. I didn’t really believe the rep when she said I’ll feel the difference in 5 seconds or see an improvement in 5 days. Just another sales pitch, I thought. I was terribly wrong. Within those seconds, my skin felt so incredibly smooth. I’ve had troubled skin for a long time and it’s been years since I felt such smoothness from my skin. And that was within those 5 seconds. After 5 days, my skin was ideally moisturized – as promised. I’ve always had problems with dry patches due to bad products and weather conditions. This product did wonders. My skin is now stable – it’s not dry anymore, nor is it oily from too much moisturizing. It feels perfect, thanks to this product. It’s a marvelous skincare must for people with dry skin and/or imperfections.

Since I live with my skin, I don’t really know if I can see the difference. It’s also only been a week of using these new products on my face. I can confidently confess that my skin has not broken out since using these products, the state of my skin feels much more stable, and my problem with dryness vs. acne prone skin problems have been solved!

I love these products and was well worth the money. Highly recommended.