Friday, December 23, 2011

Illamasqua 70% Off Sale!

Beginning Friday, December 23rd get up to 70% off select Illamasqua products! Don't look for hot new items here- you won't find the awesome new Skin Base Foundation, for instance, but you will find a bunch of great deals on pigments, shadows, polishes, pencils and more that are on their way out. Prices start at just £5 (about $7.80) and supplies are sure to run low quickly, so hurry over!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lash Out With Your Paperself!

If you're looking for something unique to vamp up your eye look this holiday season, these amazing lashes may be it. Incredible art for your eyeballs, London based Paperself now ships all 17 of their styles internationally! 

Retailers like Anthropologie, Sephora, and Urban Outfitters are catching on to the trend too, and since most styles retail for under $20, they're definitely an affordable indulgence!

Some of my favorite styles are:

Deer and Butterfly

Lace Garden

Small Peacock
I mean, how adorable and unexpected would those flirty little peacock lashes be, peeking out from the outer corner of your eyes?

Have you ever tried paper lashes? What are your favorite styles? What kind of looks would you wear these with?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ask Outinapout:
Do Pore Minimizers Really Work?

The Question
I was wondering if you know if there are pore minimizing treatments, permanent fixes, or even any products that can temporarily help reduce pore size. I've tried pore refining primers, such as Benefit Porefessional, and treatments like Peter Thomas Roth gel and Dr. Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner but none really seem to help.

I've heard masks, exfoliating, and toner/witch hazel help but I'm not sure if this is true?

My Answer
As you've no doubt realized, there are a lot of products out there claiming they can make pores appear smaller. The bad news is, most of the claims out there are simply marketing, and the key word is appear. The majority of "pore-refining" products, like both the Benefit and Dr. Brandt products you mentioned, simply help cosmetically. They use silicone to essentially act like spackle, scattering light and smoothing over the surface of the pore to make the skin look smoother. Depending on the size of your pores, this bit of optical trickery may not even be noticeable. More importantly, products like this don't do anything to permanently improve pore size- as soon as you wash them off, the benefits are gone.

As far as other topical treatments like masks, toners and exfoliators, it all comes down to what's on the label. The list of key ingredients to search for is a short one- there are really only two that I would bother spending my money on when it comes to pore refining:

Salicylic acid (aka. beta hydroxy acid or BHA) is a chemical exfoliant that's oil soluble, so it can actually dissolve and remove the gunk in your pores that's stretching them out and making them look larger. Salicylic acid is readily available at all price points, in products ranging from at-home daily treatments to the higher concentration chemical peels performed by dermatologists or estheticians. If you choose the do-it-yourself route, you'll want to make sure the product you choose is effective, so read this post for more info on choosing the correct product and starting a BHA regime.

FYI, I'm not sure exactly which Peter Thomas Roth gel you're using, but the AHA/BHA Acne Clearing Gel does contain salicylic acid, so provided it's used at the correct pH, you should see some improvements. Keep in mind, however, that it takes time for these types of products to work- a minimum of 4 weeks, but often up to 6-8 weeks to see a real difference.

Retinol can also be helpful for pore reduction. Since it increases the rate at which your skin renews itself and encourages your skin to produce healthier cells, it can strengthen and tighten the skin. Tighter skin means smaller pores! Keep in mind, not all retinols are created equal; I highly suggest spending a little extra and springing for a trip to your doctor for a prescription for this one!

As far as longer-term results, most experts will tell you that there is no permanent treatment to reduce pore size. There is some evidence that fractional CO2 laser treatments or photodynamic therapy (PDT) may be options, though it would seem the jury is still out on both treatments. Of course, both treatments carry risks, so this would definitely be something to discuss with a dermatologist.

The real rub about pore size is that it's largely influenced by genetics, so in some ways, we're all stuck with what we've got. Of course, the condition of your skin will always play a part. Oily, thicker skin often has more noticeable pores, and the more built up debris on the skin, the more obvious the pores will look. Adding the treatments I mentioned above to a skin-type appropriate skin care regiment can go a long way toward giving you the skin (and pore size) you want!

Beauty Buzz Words:

Retinol is the primary form of Vitamin A. It is a nutrient essential in growth, repoductive, and vision processes. In skincare, it's used for its cell communicating and antioxidant properties.

Prescription retinol (aka: tretinoin, retinoic acid or all trans retinoic acid, brand names vary) penetrates the skin's outer-most layer into the deeper dermal area, aiding in healthier cell formation. This means a reduction in hyper-pigmentation (age/sun spots), acne and psoriasis. Retinol also stimulates collagen production, which means fewer wrinkles. At high-levels, retinol can actually help to protect from the development of skin cancer.

Keep in mind, over-the-counter retinol is not regulated and may not have the same effect as the prescription forms.

Because retinol works to expose new skin, users will be more sensitive to the damaging effects of the sun. Use of a daily sunscreen is an imperative part of any routine that includes retinol.

Beauty Buzz Words:
Beta Hydroxy Acid

Beta Hydroxy Acid (aka. BHA or salicylic acid) is a chemical exfoliant that works by essentially dissolving the glue that holds dead skin cells together. BHA is oil soluble, meaning that it can get past the sebum in clogged pores to remove build up and clean pores out. For this reason, BHA is commonly found in acne treatments, but may also improve the appearance of large pores, fine lines, and uneven skin tone. BHA works best at a pH of between 3 and 4.

Because BHAs work to expose new skin, users will be more sensitive to the damaging effects of the sun. Use of a daily sunscreen is an imperative part of any routine that includes BHAs.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cherry Culture 20% Off Holiday Sale

As the kids say: I'll just leave this here! :) The graphic tells it all, but some of that type is awfully tiny, so I'll give you the details. December 8th to December 15th, get 20% off everything in store on Cherry Culture. with code WHS20. That teeny tiny print says: All sales are final, no returns or exchanges. Order processing may take up to 14 days, offer ends 12/15/2011 at 11:59 CST. 

There you go! Anyone stocking up or gift shopping?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Product Review:
Reviva Labs Hyaluronic Acid Serum

It's no secret that I'm somewhat (OK, alotwhat) wary of "natural" skincare. Sure, when it comes to cheesecake recipes, my grandma's advice is exactly what I want, but when it comes to my skin, I want all of the advancements modern science can provide! So when I was approached by Reviva Labs with an offer to review some of their products, I was skeptical. Nonetheless, my Mama taught me well, so I never judge a book by its cover.

After browsing Reviva's product selection a bit on their website, I was impressed to see formulations that seemed to successfully merge natural and state-of-the-art, using the best of both worlds to create gentle but effective skincare. I tested several items in Reviva's line that I'll be reviewing shortly- today's feature is:

Hyaluronic Acid Serum 1oz for $22

One of my very favorite ingredients, hyaluronic acid is like little moisture magnets for your skin. A Natural Moisturizing Factor that's able to hold up to 1000 times its weight in moisture, hyaluronic acid can help maintain a healthy skin barrier while it temporarily plumps skin, relieving the appearance of fine lines. 

Reviva's version is a clear gel that spreads easily and absorbs immediately. The texture is slippery (kinda like aloe) but not at all sticky. Since I have dry skin, I chose to use this under my moisturizer, both day and night. Since it absorbs so quickly, it worked beautifully under makeup, and despite its weightlessness, I could definitely see the difference it made in the moisture levels of my skin. I suffer from year-round flakiness, and this serum basically eradicated it. I also like that Reviva added Green Tea extract, a potent antioxidant.

Like I mentioned, this lightweight formula layers well under moisturizer for those with normal to dry skin. Oilier skin types (especially those that have a hard time finding a hyrdator that doesn't feel greasy or break them out) will love this oil-free serum applied all by itself.

Given the versatility of this serum, its compatibility for all skin types, and the fact that it costs half to a third of what similar serums run, I would definitely recommend this, and plan on purchasing a replacement bottle for myself! Reviva Labs products are available at several online retailers, as well as health food stores and salons across the country. 

The product featured in this review was submitted for promotional consideration by a representative of the company. What does this mean? I didn't pay for it. My commitment is to you- my readers- and to myself (it's called integrity, I like to have it). The opinions expressed on are my own, based on my own research and experience; I am not paid in any way nor is the final outcome of the post influenced by any outside party.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Eye of the Day: Mulled Cranberry Cider

It's been a long time since I've done an EOTD...honestly, it's been a long time since I've done anything fancy makeup-wise at all (on myself anyway!) Having a VERY active almost-four-year-old takes makeup down a few notches on the priority list, and the fact that my camera is crap and I can pretty much never get pictures that decently portray my work doesn't help. Really, my blood pressure is high as it is, so spending the time to create a look and then not being able to get a photo that shows accurate color, depth and texture (sometimes I'd even settle for 2 out of 3) is sometime more trouble than I can bare. But enough whining!

The other day I was talking to the lovely Mika of aijuswhanakno, about a particular brand that I have no great love for, Urban Decay. Mika mentioned that she was a little jealous that I had the first Book of Shadows and didn't even like it. This got me to thinking, maybe I need to get it out and give it another try. That's where this look came from.

I wanted to do something seasonal, but not totally expected, and I also wanted to work strictly within the palette. I decided if I was going to give Urban Decay some love, I was going to go in full force: the first shade I dipped into was glitter-bomb extraordinaire, Midnight Cowboy.

After applying NYX White Eyeshadow Base (not my favorite, but it was the closest at hand) I used my MAC 239 to dab Midnight Cowboy on the inner corner of my eye, not quite 1/3 of the way toward the center.

Again with my 239, I took Baked and put it on the rest of my lid, blending it lightly into the Midnight Cowboy by tapping gently with my finger. I took the Baked out to the outer corner of my eye, and blended it just up to the crease.

With a MAC 219 I added Roach, concentrating the color toward the outer corner and crease and lightly pulling it in toward the midpoint of my lid.

Above my crease, I used a MAC 217 brush to blend Last Call into and slightly above where I'd placed the roach, stopping just on top of my orbital bone.

When it came to blending and hi-lighting my brow bone, I ran out of luck with my Book of Shadows. Of the 16 shades in the book, not one was light enough or matte enough to use as a blending shade, so I grabbed my Sleek Au Naturel palette and used my MAC 217 with Honeycomb to soften the top edge of the Last Call. I added a bit of Nougat under the high point of my brow and blended it outer end of my brow. As a last though, I took a little bit of baked in the inner 1/3 of my crease to add some interest and soften the transition from the berry-plum Last call and the fair champagne of the Midnight Cowboy (you can see this touch better in the picture below, it's not as apparent in the pic above).

I applied UD 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Rockstar on the top lash line from the outer corner inward to just about the pupil, and just about to the outer 1/4 of my bottom lash line. Using a smudger brush I softened the top line and pulled the bottom line in to about the mid-point of my eye. Then I used the same brush to apply a bit of Last Call on top of the liner. I cleaned my brush, applied 24/7 pencil in Eldorado to my lower waterline and the very inner corner of my eyes, and used my smudger to add a bit of baked to the inner corners and inner, lower lash line, blending the gold shade into Last Call.

I added some Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash in black, and called it a day!

You'll have to forgive me for the pictures- the lighting is awful, and the cropping and wonky angles are even worse, but these were the shots that I felt best captured the colors and placement. Hauling my Book of Shadows out of the depths one more time was a nice challenge- though that Midnight Cowboy almost made me regret my decision from the get go. One thing you can see in the pictures are some of the tiny white flecks that show the migration path Cowboy's silver glitter moseys along on. Keep in mind, this was after constant dusting and sponging to remove the glitter from beneath my eyes. Finally, I grabbed my makeup wipes and wiped away the glitter- 3 or 4 times! I re-did my foundation, but still, by the time I was ready to take pictures, the only place this glitter wasn't was on the part of my lid where I'd actually put it. Grrr....

As I mentioned, there also isn't a great hi-lighting option in this set for fair skin. There's also a lack of contouring shades, being that even the deeper shades like Roach are satiny and reflect light- making it really hard to get good depth out of them. The one good, dark contour in this palette is Perversion, but to my eye this "jet black" leans a little blue, so I skipped it this time lest I muddy up my look.

Product List:
  • NYX White Eyeshadow Base (I prefer Urban Decay Primer Potion)
  • UD Midnight Cowboy (pale champagne with chunky silver glitter)
  • UD Baked (an almost-bronze gold)
  • UD Roach (satiny deep copper brown)
  • UD Last Call (mid-tone satin plum-berry)
  • Sleek MakeUP Honeycomb (matte light wheat)
  • Sleek MakeUP Nougat (matte off-white) 
  • UD's 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Rockstar (charred eggplant)
  • UD's 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Eldorado (gold)
  • Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash mascara in Black.
  • MAC 239 (small dense, short-bristled paddle brush)
  • MAC 219 (pencil brush)
  • MAC 217 brush (full, fluffy, round-tipped brush)
  • Lancome #10 Smudger Brush
The Sleek product featured in this review was submitted for promotional consideration by a representative of the company. 

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