Do you like smokey eyes? Or maybe you really want to try it but every time your eyes end up a muddy mess? Then Laura Mercier’s new Cavier Stick Eye Color ($24) might be just what you’re looking for.

What it is:

It’s a creamy, water proof, no budge, stick eye color. When you first swipe it on you’ve got about 30 – 45 seconds to buff and rub to perfection, which is more than enough even for novices. The product is packed with color, though I did note it took two swipes of the lighter color to reach similar intensities of the darker colors.

It comes in seven colors: Sapphire, Amethyst, Plum, Cocoa, Khaki, Jungle, Steel and Smoke (which is a Nordstrom exclusive I think). For the most part the color is what’s on the tin, but don’t let that fool you, each color is complex and gorgeous. I picked up Steel, Jungle and Cocoa.

Cocoa – A fudgy brown with copper tones.
Jungle – Forest green, hinting towards black with golden tones
Steel – Blue/silver sky color with just a hint of pink overtones

How do I use them?

I’m planning a longer tutorial for a basic smokey eye later, but quickly, all you need to do is line your eye, bring it around the outer corner and into the lower lash line as much as you’re comfortable with and then take a nice domed brush and buff outward and toward the crease.

Staying power?

Pretty damn good. I rubbed back and forth pretty hard on the test strips and it didn’t budge or smudge, other reports say that they are basically summer proof. However they didn't give me flashbacks to some waterproof mascara I've had to take off clients. A few swipes with my usual makeup remover and it was gone.

Final thoughts: A lovely find that is very versatile and goof proof enough that I look forward to traveling with them. A+

Images and swatches below:



List under the cut )

During another shopping trip, I nabbed several Chanel base products and selection of the fall season collection. I'll also be talking about several creams and cleansers of various origins and hopefully finishing up a guest spot elsewhere. In the future I'd love to do a few posts that require audience participation and eventually take on a Patient X, someone with complex skin care requirements, either due to an allergy or just a problem they can't seem to solve, ideally someone who can came to me for treatments so I can observe their skin in person over a period of time.  

Also in the works are a few critical thinking posts about how companies advertise and what fears the industry relies on that not just bug the crap out of me, but often move me from grumpy and into mad. 

Something more soon, thanks to all five of my readers!


Jul. 26th, 2011 05:43 pm
For the three of you reading this, I had several posts planned and then I bruised my tail bone. Yeaouch. I have *ahem* aquired a donut shaped pillow to help, but today is the first day I can really sit up for any amount of time. Needless to say, I wasn't up to typing before now. Hopefully I'll get some work done in the next few days. I've got pictures of some nail polish and an entire professional brush set (and then some) from Sigma to talk about, along with bunches of other things.
I went to pick up a metallic lip color from a Bobbi Brown lip palette I recieved over a year ago. While all the colors were lovely, I really loved Ruby, from the metallic line. Well the person I spoke to at the counter said she was putting together the new display (the lip glosses are getting made over and larger) and noticed there was no room for the metallic lip color line. So get your favorites now before the possible draught. I and the sales assocaite had no problems imagining a reformulation might be on the way, but that doesn't mean the that while the line phases out, there won't be some rending of clothing as people's favorites disapear.
It takes a lot to get me to spend $25 on a nail color, but Chanel managed to hit it out of the park with the fall line. I do believe I made an amusing sight as I stood at the display and bit my lips in indecision. In the end I went for the most unique. Peridot is a multitone metalic (Chanel's theme being precious metals/stones) that only looks gold upon first impression. Around the edges the color is always on the verge of a green/blue tint and frankly it's the most distracting my nails have been in a long while.

Sadly I am chipped to high heaven by day two, but I suspect some of that may be how out of practice I am at evenly coating and possibly the need to play with which base I use for chanel. Good thing I took this picture yesterday huh?


This image actually comes pretty close to doing the color justice. All in all, I do not feel over-splurged. This color is limited edition (I think! note to self: look that up) so if you want it, you'll need to grab it sooner rather than later. It's available at most Chanel counters.

side note: I'm very new to getting good shots of makeup and swatches, I have a moderate end point and shoot digital camera, advice is welcome.

Things I'm loving right now. Imaige of product

Lancome Eau Fraiche Douceur (micellar cleansing water) - $35/6.8 fl. oz. at sephora and the Lancome website. 

The truth is once you're buying from Lancome and similarly priced items, usually at that point it's all excellent quality and your choices are now dependent on your needs and wants from your skin care. 

Over the years I have tried a lot of products and by process of elimination, and augmented by the number of prescriptions I take, I've basically got no other choice to start my searches for a product in the Lancome range. Not that I won't try well reccommended drug store products, especially with my knowledge of ingredients at hand, btu in general I find my skin doesn't react well to brands that use the cheaper versions of excellent ingredients to keep the cost down. There's nothing wrong with that, but my skin has the final say about what it will tolerate. 

Lacome's cleansing water is a wonderful combination of pleasing looks (it's crystal clear), smell (a gentle but familiar Lancome fragrance) and efficiency. While the bottle it comes in has what looks like a specialized nozzle, it's nothing more than looks and you can easily transfer it out to a smaller bottle for travel. 

How it works: 

With or without makup, saturate a cotton pad (3 or 4 sprays) with the fluid and gently wipe your face clean. I've used this product to remove a full face of makeup or just the general morning grit. It takes 1 - 4 cottons, but it works without leaving a sticky or oily residue. You might want to look into sturdy cotton pads, that way you can apply some pressure for the more stubborn makeup and not risk tearing it to shreds. Target brand, oval shaped, pads are excellent. 

I find the idea of traveling with this stuff very appealing, it let's me cut down on my toiletry routine. 

The nitty gritty: 

This cleansing water acts as both a cleanser and a toner. It's non comedogenic and excellent for sensitive skin. 

I'm having a pickle of a time getting to an ingredients list, but seeing as how this is already on my rebuy list, I'll make sure to save the packaging next time. The one ingredient I could find was Rose de France, a quick google search got me mostly gemstones, so my current professional opinion is that it's <i>probably</i> some form of rose water which is very soothing and balancing. 

Why it's extra special to me: 

At the end of the day, bending over a sink for a prolonged period of time lands between 'ouch' and 'not happening' and while even the best facial cleansing clothes work, they're not as healthy for your skin as actually cleansing and toning, and often can be overly envigorating for sensitive skin. So it's a pleasure to 'retire' to the bedroom and then sit through <i>all</i> of my evening routine. 

Final Score:  9/10 (loses one point for how quickly you can go through it using it twice a day.)

Thoughts? Questions? Product recommendations?
Some of you might recall the last time I tried to start up a blog, I was in the middle of school and a whole bunch of other things. Yeah, what can I say, sometimes you only learn by doing, or in this case, not doing. Well since the last time I posted I have graduated and received my diploma and license and know a whole lot more about skin, makeup and skin care and I feel confident in my ability to share that information and perhaps answer other people's questions.

I'm leaving my previous posts up because some of them had some good information. The intro post that you can find conveniently easy considering I doubt there's ten posts total on this blog at the moment, still stands. Mostly I'm going to add some of my own philosophy, most of which I've managed to have time to develop and amazingly, this is easier the more knowledge you have.

I thought I'd start with some basic info and add onto it as it seems organic to the conversation. (Note how I'm not trying to do it all once, like the last time. She can be taught!)

Who am I?

My name is Rachel and I'm a NYS Licensed Esthetician. I am certified to perform facials, facial massage, body treatments, all forms of waxing, tweezing and brow shaping, makeup application, LED therapy, micrdermabrasion, microcurrent, laser hair removal (also certified as a laser safety officer).

While I am open to all clients and hope that when I finally open my own doors (soon! she cries.) no one will feel unwelcome, I do plan to work towards treatment plans for people with chronic diseases and pain.


Because despite the law ADA compliance is at best a lucky strike in most adventures. While I appreciate the abundance of disabled parking places, I'd also love a place to sit down your stores. I'm much more likely to purchase items if I wasn't on a ticking clock which not only limits shopping minutes, but often has to include potential time spent standing in line. I love you Sephora, but you're a very hard store to handle some days.

Many people with chronic conditions live in terms of management some days/weeks/years management is great, some... not so much. Whether it's because medicine only understands so much or the human body is a complex biochemical machine that never responds the same way twice, most people who deal with disease management find they are advised to leave the comfortable sphere of western medicine to gain more relief. I'd like to see an integration of western, eastern, and relaxation therapies for people like this. Some of my most pain free days, are my most relaxed days. Relaxation, by the way, is state I can often find when I know I won't have to worry about how much of the days activities Other People assume I can get through when I say 'Light day' and they say 'Light day.

In case you haven't figured it you, I included myself a lot on the previous paragraphs. That is because I have fibromyalgia, GAD, Severe Depressive Disorder and a couple of other minor (comparatively) things floating around. I take 8 - 10 prescription medications a day, plus vitamins, to live a semi normal life. This does not mean I think it's acceptable for me to lock myself in my apartment because everything is too hard and takes too much planning. Yes, that's actually a pretty comfortable option, but I'd like to provide other options for people with similar problems. When I open my own place, ADA compliance among other things (gender/non gender friendly, transfriendly, sexual identity friendly, PTSD friendly, you name, I want to be friendly) will not be an after thought. Everyone has the right to feel comfortable and to find some peace of mind.

What does this have to do with being an esthetician?

Well I think I answered some of that, but let's just say people with chronic stress, chronic illnesses, chronic medications, large hormonal changes, etc, all have pretty specific skin care needs. And the entire industry is so anti-aging happy that many estheticians suffer from a lack of eduction in anything else, it's also important to understand as much as possible about a person before treating their skin.

My favorite example is that of the acne prone skin. The important question, well okay, one of the important questions, is; Is your skin dehydrated? If it is and you end up going for the classic acne skin solutions, you'll find you're that one person who leaves the bad feedback because of course it didn't work for you, it wasn't designed for your problem and most likely exacerbated the whole thing.

So. I hope anyone reading this can see where I'm coming from. I'm happy to answer any questions my readers might have, please feel free to speak up.

Over the next few weeks I'll slowly be fixing this place up, adding links to organizations, philosophies and beauty products that I love or mean a lot to me. In order to avoid overwhelming myself I'm going to post about why each link ends up in my links list and let you, the readers, into the process of setting up my professional blog.

Thank you for reading.


Did anyone else get flattened by the run towards Christmas? Yeah, thought so.

Today’s theme is finishing glow.

Brightening Gold Mineral Veil (Currently on sale at Sephora for $24) - First up is an oldy but a goody, Bare Escentuals. Now I love their product, but their packaging makes travel and touch ups very difficult, over the years they’ve introduced and retired several travel style compacts, most of which didn’t work out so well, however they’ve introduced a new style compact for a series of mineral veils, that seems to be the right balance for on the go.

 When you open the compact you’ll see a perfect amount of powder gathered at the back, that’s because there’s a small opening that only fills up when the compact is closed. You can also minimize (I got it to just a tiny amount) what appears by tilting it forward (while closed!) and gently shaking (the opposite of what you do when wanting a full amount). So the usual mess has been minimized more than enough for me.

For those of you not familiar with Mineral Veil, it’s what I’d call a finishing or setting powder. An excellent last step that both seals your makeup and helps absorb excess perspiration and oil thus helping your makeup stay on longer. The original recipe is most excellent and over the years BE has introduced various remixes, many of which are favorites of mine.

This blend contains gold, just enough to luminze your face, a gentle glow really, excellent for holiday parties. It comes with its own mini, retractable, kabuki brush that is super soft and super portable.

All in all this get’s an A, a well rounded entry from BE.

Girl Meets Pearl ($30)– Next up is Benefit. GMP as liquid pearl for the face and is advertised as an over makeup product. The old adage in makeup is that you do all your liquids first and then all of your powders, this helps the finish be smoother and more natural, but for curiosity’s sake I gave it a shot and gently dabbed some over my powder set – it blended in beautifully.

The color is definitely a pinky gold, but heavier on the gold than pink and it’s very subtle, though definitely a bigger impact than the mineral veil. At 12mL or .4 Fl Oz, this product is definitely worth the cost per oz.

I give it an A+, because I was so incredibly pleased with the color and surprised by its blendability.

Bella Bamba ($28)– More Benefit! Released just this week, Bella Bamba is the newest edition to Benefit’s powder box collection. I’m a huge fan of the powder boxes, I own almost all of them and plan on completing my collection at some point in the future. It’s a nice small line and Benefit seems to be aiming for universality in their colors here, or at least, as many people as possible.

BB is advertised as a 3D face powder, for brightening, sculpting and highlighting. So it might through you to know that it’s richly pigmented. The color is a deep, yet bright pink, with a shimmer that’s very there, yet not. I admit, I don’t know what they did, but it’s definitely something, I tested it out the other day and found my face looking perfectly sculpted with only the minimal steps required.

The box itself is also something to be excited about, until now, the boxes have always been, well, rather box like. The lids came off for application. BB’s lid is attached to the base and has a mirror inside, thus making it a lot more convenient to carry around. As with all powder boxes, it comes with a brush, but this one is rounded off on all sides and just a touch fluffier and a great shape for application.

I give this one an A, but think that it might be hard for some people to pull off if they’re not good with blushes.

Pink Mosaic Shimmer Block ($38) – Finally, Laura Mercier, who I’m finding to be a ninja like makeup line, quiet, careful, but packing a big punch. I think these shimmer blocks are comparable to Bobbi Brown’s shimmer bricks. They cost the same and do similar things, Bobbi Brown’s bricks have more color gradiation and I haven’t been able to get my hands on one to try it out, but from other people’s reviews, I’m feel safe enough in calling them similar.

These come in five different color combos, I picked up the pinker one of the two pinks (orchid is a bit more mauve-y). The great thing about these only having four color gradations is that they’re easier to single out for specific uses, like the lightest color is an excellent brow highlighter. I applied this with a light sweep of a large powder brush over the compact and then over my face. Excellent glow appeal. I’d say this particular product is a bit more oomphy, so you’ll need an extremely light hand for daytime application, but there’s also enough in the pan that I feel comfortable using it on my shoulders, arms and décolleté without feeling wasteful.

All in all I give it an A, no plus because while I do find the formula soft and blendable and the colors gorgeous, it didn’t have that extra ‘oooh’ factor to get top marks.

I’m a huge fan of lists, so you might as well get used to seeing them early.

Six items you might not necessarily think to keep in your makeup drawer, but I've found invaluable:

1. A mixing space. I picked up 5 cheap, white, 3 inch diameter, shallow bowls at target. I use them to mix and match various makeup mediums. They wipe down easy with some makeup remover and can be run through the dishwasher when needed. They’re great for makeup that doesn’t always come out in the perfect amount or that is just awkward at getting from the container to your face (liquid foundation I am looking at you). It’s also fun to mix a few mediums together. Moisturizers and liquid highlighters, highlighters and foundation, foundation and foundation. I just find them nifty, carefully contained, artist palettes.

2. A blending brush - An eye shadow blending brush is usually an unusually fluffy or large brush for the eyelid area. Often it looks like an over-fluffed crease or lid brush. These brushes are great for gently running over your finished eye and smoothing out any transitional areas and generally giving you a nicely finished look.

3. Water – Most eye shadows can be applied damp for a more dramatic effect. If you’re not sure, try it on your arm and see how it goes. I find that a small spray bottled (the size of a small perfume bottle) gets the right amount of water onto the brush.

4. Brush cleaner - There’s two ways to clean your brushes. The hard way, which should be done pretty regularly, which involves a shampoo type substance and running water and prolonged dry times. The easy way involves some tissues and a spray bottle and only a few minutes of dry time. Spray the tissues and wipe your brush back and forth and voila, mostly clean brushes that stay well conditioned. The easy way lets you put off the hard way for another week or so, depending on how often you use your brushes. Sephora has its own brand as well as several others. A clean and well conditioned brush makes your makeup go on easier and smoother.

5. Setting powder – Okay this is for people who use anything but basic pressed powder as foundation. I know it sounds like an extra step and time but really if you pick the right powder, be it translucent or colored or shimmered, it sets your makeup while finishing off your look. It’s too easy to leave brush marks but a good powder applied with the right brush makes sure that doesn’t happen. It can also make sure you fade the color from the edge of your face, down your neck so there’s no obvious makeup line. Now what you use is completely up to you, be it a pressed foundation, a finishing powder (something usually marketed with the words radiance or sheer, try not to confuse them with all over face colors, which work more like brozners), a translucent powder or a loose powder, more important is how you apply it. Which brings us to—

6. A kabuki brush - Great for face products. Excellent and giving you that smoothed out look. Will also substitute as any other face brush in a pinch, with a little practice. Often I’ll use it dry just to buff my face out and make sure my makeup looks smooth.
I had totally planned to post something before now, but the holidays sort of bulldozed over me with their typical carefree way. *looks fashionable and pancaked*
Today is another type of post that I hope becomes a regular feature. Despite adoring a product to pieces, it’s hard to tell what will become a regular in your routine and what will stay a cherished occasional. Once a month I’ll talk about products that I’ve had a chance to use for a prolonged period of time (at least one month). Sort of like an extended and deluxe review process, only slightly more personal.

more )

Something I’ve heard a lot of people say when they talk about their life long search for the perfect skin care liner or product: “I’m not going to pay money for water!”

The reality is, you’re not really paying for the water, but water is a very good ingredient in some products. The truth is, if all you needed to keep your skin moisturized was water, then doctors would be recommending a balanced diet of drinking water and sitting under a controlled spray of the stuff. Unfortunately, showering tends to dry us out more than anything else. So yes, water is often a good ingredient.

More. )

No, I'm not going to do one of these every day, but they are pretty fun and I just bought a new camera (I'll let you figure out if the camera saga is a comedy or tragedy) so I decided to do as many of these posts as I feel like in order to help bring up the learning curve. That out of the way, I appologize if my photography burns your eyes or something.

more )

One very popular type of blog post is the Look of the Day. I enjoy it for lots of reasons, inspiration, mini product reviews, new ideas for using products, etc. So, I’m doing one too.

Today’s look was built around darkly contrasting lips. Once upon a time, I was but a wee makeup junkie and my original makeup collection included several darker (for my pigment) lipsticks. I could pull them off under the right conditions, which are not as rare as a blue moon. There was a several year gap between my regular makeup wearing days as a teen/young adult and my current happy fun time with makeup. So I’ve only recently rebought some of my long time favorite looks. This lip color came in one of Clinique’s holiday sets (to be reviewed later, but flying colors so far).

More )

As promised, I bring you the next in a series of posts about the holiday makeup (and if I have time, skincare) deals.

This post is all about Too Faced. [Link]

More )

While picking up the last of my meds I noticed that my Rite Aid was having a buy one get one half off sale on almost all of their makeup. I picked up several items from L'oreal's HiP line, I'm most excited about their kohl eyeliners, and few other bits and pieces from the from several drug store brands 'higher end' lines.

I'm specifically searching out 'druge store' brands becasue they're ubiquitous and usually the cheapest on the market. This doesn't mean they're any better or worse, but it does mean there's a certain unknown quantity to them, even if it's only the lack of testers in most drug stores. Also, brands like L'oreal and Revlon do eventually put out products that are dupes for some of the expensive and popular formulas, such as baked or cream to powder  prodcuts and while it may not be the cutting edge of cosmetics, some of them are just as good as their more expensive counter parts.

So look out for the product reviews coming soon, for now I will fumble around with the tags on this post.

EcoTools [link] is what you might call an extremely environmentally friendly and green company. I picked up my first brush by EcoTools because the idea looked pretty neat and I needed a relatively cheap foundation brush for an experiment and I wasn’t disappointed.

All of their brushes come in reusable bags for storage and travel. This appeals to me a lot because some brushes carry a lot of excess and can dirty up your makeup bag very quickly and a dirty makeup bag leads to dirty makeup tools, dirty makeup tools lead to dirty hands, dirty hands leads to dirty clothes and that way the dark side lays /Yoda.

They boast cruelty free bristles, recycled aluminum and bamboo and little to no fall out when being used (this last one is the silent makeup killer, I’m telling you). The price is also pretty appealing, no single brush going over $10, the retractable kabuki I purchased was only $8 and those tend to be the highest priced. The brushes are soft, well made for their intended products and not at all flimsy feeling. The only negative I’d mention is that I’ve seen smoother operating mechanisms on retractable brushes, but that’s really a minor quibble.

I also like that these brushes are available in my local drug store. I’m there approximately twice a month without fail, so I know if I ever need a brush and don’t need it to be ultra, super, tippity top, superior grade, I can get one at my bi-monthly drugstore vacation and don’t have to make a special trip to the ultra tempting sephora or bite my lip through making it to free shipping on a website.

No, I haven't forgetten about the holiday reviews, but the weekends are pretty busy for me so I haven't had a chance to finish typing the next one up.

While we're here, is there any topic, trend, brand, category or technique that is of particular interest to anyone?

I'm not trying to look like an Urban Decay marketing rep, I have lots of future posts devoted to anything but UD, but I just noticed, as I was perusing my iphone sephora app, that the smoke out kits have just been lowered another $5.

Smoke Out Kit $10 - It comes in 3 color combinations, includes 4 shadows, 1 eyeliner, 1 mini mascara, 1 brush and (what's probably most important to some people) one set of instructions. Also it comes in a nice compact kit with a mirror. I had been eyeing these at $15, but now at $10 it's totally worth your while if you've been looking to pick up something in the smokey or 'how-to' range. Order before midnight tonight and you can use the code ff2010 to get the friends and family discount.

Yes. I know. I'm not helping. *G*

While I’m still looking for the very important USB cable that will let my camera talk to my computer, I thought I’d start my series on lots of makeup for less! Most brands release images of their holiday collections in late August/early September and have them in stores by October. Today we shop Urban Decay. Hopefully by next post I’ll also have my picture hosting space finally sorted so you won’t have to follow the links to see the products.

More under the cut )

Sometimes you just have to combine your favorite things. In my case, I can no longer support my Sephora habit, so I had to come up with a way to get that product high without those high product prices.

This blog will generally keep to the topic of beauty, beauty supplies and products, beauty services, skin and general health. Sometimes it might diverge here and there, but in general you can count on detailed thoughts and feelings relating to the beauty industry.

Who am I? My name is Rachel and I’m a student esthetician. An esthetician is someone who has studied skin care extensively (well okay, it’s not a masters degree) and is the person behind your facial, hair waxing and makeup.

Other than screening anonymous comments, which is only for spam filtering purposes, this blog is happy to encourage discussion, however it is my blog and I reserve the right to police behavior that I find unsociable, racist, misogynistic, bigoted and in any other way holding absolutely no conversational value.

Do I have an agenda? Other than being more than likely to talk about things that interest me, I suppose not.

A little about my makeup and beauty interests:

What am I especially fascinated with?
Primers and luminizers and tone eveners and pore shrinkiners.

Well, a number of reasons.

1. I have incredibly fair skin which hates the sun with a burning passion.

2. I have a mild rosacea which becomes irritated at the first hint of a rise in temperature.

3. On any given day, in any given month I am taking between 8 and 12 prescription medications, all of which change my body chemistry to certain degrees, so often I find after a medication change, something doesn’t work the way it used to.

4. I am fascinated by how much I can change the finished product with only minor changes in the routine.

Do you have an opinion on pallettes?
Yes, more please! I like ‘em big because it’s a great way to try out a bunch of different products for discounted price (mostly) and I like ‘em small because anything that lightens my travel load makes me happy.

Will there be photos and videos?
I would like to, but currently my only working device is my iphone, so I’ll share some, but it won’t really do any products justice. Thankfully the rest is all a little light housekeeping and some computer maintenance.

Why makeup and beauty products?
Why watercolors or acrylics? Why pastry or stews? In other words, the answer is kind of complex if you want to me to give you more than metaphors, as this blog goes on, I’ll touch back on this question a bit more.

MY EYES, OH GOD MY EYES! Yes. I know. I'm working on the layout. Very funny.

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