July 28, 2011

Loreal Voluminous Carbon Black Waterproof Mascara Review

I get so obsessed with testing and reviewing the latest products to hit the shelves, I sometimes forget that there are many amazing products out there that I pass over simply because they've been out there for a long time. I guess I was thinking that recently released products are full of new technology and better ingredients than their previous counterparts.  But I should know, after all the products I've tested, that sometimes new products are just gimmicks, while older products are often tried and true favorites.
Recently, a friend told me that her go-to holy grail mascara is Loreal Voluminous, and that she won't use anything else, not even luxury brands.   I reviewed Voluminous Million Lashes a few months ago, but I had never tried the original Voluminous.  I set out to Rite Aid today to pick up a tube and see what the fuss was about.
I noticed several different versions and colors, but ended up going with the Carbon Black formula, which has a new waterproof version.  It cost around $7.50, but since Rite Aid is having a BOGO this week on Loreal, I also purchased the new Visible Lift foundation, and this mascara only cost me half price!

Here's my before picture with nothing on my lashes:
Now for the after picture- I want to warn you- this is after about 6 coats, so it's a little clumpier than it should be.  I just couldn't stop going- I wanted to test how far I could go.  After about 2-3 coats, my lashes looked amazing, and they weren't even close to clumping so I wanted to see how big I could get them.

The formula is just amazing to build up- not too wet, not too dry.  The brush is the perfect size to grab every lash  and it's stiff enough that it gives nice separation.  It gave both volume and a little length, and my lashes felt light and fluttery.  I have to give credit where credit is due- there's a reason this mascara has been on the market for so long- it's fantastic!
All in all, it makes me wonder what other older products I've been missing!
Do you guys have any favorites that have been out there forever?  I'd love to hear about them.

After wearing this mascara for a few days, I have some negatives.  One, I don't know if this is only because it's the carbon black formula, but even though this is supposed to be waterproof, it smudges like crazy!  Has anyone else tried the regular waterproof version and had this problem?
Two, the formula has changed since the first day, and has gotten very goopy, wet, and hard to control.  The first day I used it, I was able to build nice volume, and it was a great consistency.  Now it literally gets all over my eyelids when I apply it, even if I do it carefully.  I'm not sure that the volumizing results are worth the hassle of applying it and  major raccoon eyes.

July 27, 2011

Garnier Sleek and Shine Blow Dry Perfector Straightening Balm Review

Garnier has really been impressing me lately, and since CVS was offering $5 in ExtraBucks with a $15 Garnier purchase, I decided to stock up on some new products.  I recently reviewed two other new products- Silky Secret leave in spray, and the newly reformulated Anti-Frizz serum, both of which I totally loved, so I thought I'd pick up some more new products to try!

Yesterday, I bought the new Blow Dry Perfector straightening balm as well as the new Sleek and Shine shampoo and conditioner that have been reformulated with Argan Oil (review coming in a separate post! :)
One of my readers, Aimee had asked me to review the Blow Dry Perfector, so I wanted to get that posted first.

The Details: According to the packaging, this Blow Dry Perfector Straightening Balm is supposed to cut down on blow-drying time, straighten, and create a humidity-resistant barrier to prevent frizz. 
It contains Argan Oil and Rice Bran Oil, and also has Dimethicone as the second ingredient. Here's the entire ingredient panel: 
The product itself is a creamy balm that's pretty thick in consistency.  The packaging says to use a small amount, but since I have long hair, I used about the size of a quarter.  Because it's so thick, it doesn't spread as easily as a serum, but I tried to coat my hair as evenly as I could, keeping away from the roots so it didn't weigh my hair down.

I also added a little of the anti-frizz serum to the ends, since my hair is extra damaged from bleaching.
The Results: 
I love this balm!  It definitely cut down on drying time, and gave me a smooth silky blowout.  The next day, my hair was still frizz-free and in the summertime, that's pretty amazing.  
It didn't weigh my hair down at all, and left my hair with Garnier's signature fruity scent.   I will say that I'm glad I used the anti-frizz serum on the ends, because one thing this balm doesn't do is add a lot of moisture. ut fo I think that for someone who has normal, non-damaged hair, it would add enough conditioning, but for those of you who have split ends or lots of damage might need to add another product to help smooth and condition. 
  My hair is already pretty straight, with just a little bit of wave, so straightening my hair was a pretty simple task .  I'd love to hear from people with curly hair who have tried using this product to straighten.  How did it work?  Do you think it made straightening easier?  Also those of you with straight hair, would you buy this to cut down on blow-drying?

XO Jenna

July 25, 2011

Love's Soft Jasmin and Fresh Lemon are BACK!

When I was a teenager, I was head over heels for  Love's Soft Jasmin perfume, but I never really got into Love's Baby Soft, which was the most popular in the line- too powdery!
I went looking for the Jasmine fragrance last year, after reminiscing with an old friend from high school about it, but the only scent that remained on shelves was the Baby-Soft fragrance.
So, imagine my surprise when I saw Soft Jasmine and Fresh Lemon (another classic from the 80's) at CVS today!
Apparently, Dana Classic Fragrances decided to re-release these favorites at the request of fans and bloggers over the years.
See, companies really DO listen to us sometimes! :)

Both fragrances will be available in 1.5 oz. / 45ml Body Mists and will be featured at CVS stores in August 2011. (Although your store might already have it out, like mine!)

July 23, 2011

Garnier Fructis Silky Secret and Sleek and Shine Anti Frizz Serum Review

It's been 100 degrees the past few days in CT, so I went to Walgreens the other day in search of something that would control and smooth my hair in this ridiculous humidity.
Garnier Fructis came to mind, because I've seen the commercials that say it smooths your hair even in 97% humidity.  I figured, why not test it out during the worst heat wave we've had in a long time?

I couldn't decide between 2 new products: Silky Shine Leave-In Spray from the Daily Care line, and the Anti Frizz Serum from the Sleek and Shine line. 

I decided to try the Anti Frizz Serum first. This is the NEW version of this product, which replaces the old anti-frizz serum.  This one has argan oil added into the ingredients.
Just to preface, I have fine hair, so I don't like anything too heavy that will weigh down my hair.  BUT, my hair is also color treated (bleached) and very damaged, so I need super-conditioning without the weight.  So you see my dilemma....
This product is formulated with:
Argan Oil
Apricot Kernel Oil

Here's what the directions say:
The directions say to use one pump, but it was a bit too much, even for my long hair.  I had to wipe a bit off on a towel before using it.  I coated my towel-dried hair from the middle down to the ends, avoiding the scalp area to prevent greasies later.
When blowdrying with a round brush, I noticed that my hair was super smooth and straight.  This can also be used on dry hair, so I smoothed a little on afterward for extra measure. The argan and apricot kernel oils didn't weigh my hair down, yet it was shiny and frizz-free for the whole day.
The one thing I would say to be careful with when using this, is the amount you use.  It's a very thick serum and if you have fine hair, use it sparingly.  If I had used the whole pump like the directions said, it would have definitely made my hair greasy.

Yesterday, I tried the Silky Secret Leave-in spray.  

This is part of the Daily Care line for Normal Hair, so I was a little concerned that it wouldn't give enough moisture to my severely parched hair.  After getting out of the shower, I sprayed several pumps into my hair and combed through, using a round brush to blow it out straight.
I was totally amazed by this product.  It was so light, yet did an amazing job conditioning my hair!  I sprayed it pretty liberally, yet my hair didn't feel greasy or weighed down, just smooth and light.  
I would say that this product is the one I've been looking for that conditions deeply, yet is light enough for fine hair.
Today, I used it on dry hair.  I had my hair in a ponytail and it was getting kind of frizzy toward the end of the day (I hadn't used either product yet).  I sprayed some silky secret on my ponytail and combed through with my fingers. It soaked right in and smoothed out the hair instantly.  It also refreshed my hair and made it smell good (it has the Garnier fruity smell).

The thing I love about this product is that it doesn't smooth the hair by coating it like a silicone product would- it just sinks in and makes your hair feel soft and smooth.

Has anyone out there tried the new anti-frizz serum with argan oil?  Or Silky Secret?  What do you guys think?

July 20, 2011

Coty Wild Musk Review

 I worked at Sephora for three years and in that time, I became sort of a fragrance snob, if you will.  I found plenty of fragrances there that I liked, but I was always searching for a softer scent, one that smelled like clean skin, but not too soapy or citrusy.  I was looking for warmth without smelling like vanilla or chocolate or any type of food for that matter.  I never found it. 
The other day, I was in CVS and why, I'll never know, I stopped to check out an endcap featuring all the scents of my teen years.  There was Jovan Musk, Love's Baby Soft, Exclamation, all the Parfums deCoeur body sprays, and there in the middle was a Wild Musk tester.  I held it up to my nose, and it didn't smell offensive, so I sprayed a little on my wrist and walked around the store waiting for it to dry.
I forgot all about it until I went back to work and was sitting at my desk and caught a whiff of something amazing.  I held my wrist up to my nose and realized that I had found it.  I couldn't stop sniffing my wrist all day, and even asked a guy friend to smell it.  "What is that?" he wanted to know, but I was kind of embarrassed to tell him what it was, so I just said, "do you like it?" and he said, "it smells soooo good!" and grabbed my wrist so he could smell it again.
That night I went home and did a little research.  I couldn't believe that I was liking a cheap perfume so much, so I went looking for evidence that I wasn't crazy.  And I found it... 94 Makeupalley.com reviewers gave it 4.1 out of 5 and most of those who gave it less only did so because the fragrance didn't last long enough for them. 
This scent reminds me of high school...maybe I wore it back then, I'm not sure.  But it is definitely a snuggling fragrance. It's so warm and sexy, but clean at the same time- it's not a dirty-smelling musk.  Its notes are bergamot, jasmine, rose, amber, sandalwood, vanilla and musk.  Sounds heavy, but it's not.
I purchased the body spray the next day for $3.99 and when I got home, my fiancee could not stop snuggling me on the couch and smelling my neck.  The body spray is light and doesn't last long, so I am going to spring for the cologne, which is about $12.  If you want to try it, get the body spray first- it's only $3.99 and if you hate it, no big deal.  Test it out on your guy.  Don't say anything, just see what he does.  :)

July 19, 2011

Nuance by Salma Hayek Preview & Swatches (and WIN a free product!)

Even though the Nuance line by Salma Hayek isn't due out in CVS stores until August, I spotted it today.  The makeup display was set up, and I also saw skincare and haircare in their respective aisles.

Naturally, I had to try something from the line, and I was most drawn to the makeup, because it was full of very natural colors, not to mention cool packaging!  The color selection reminds me of Bobbi Brown, because of the look-good-on-everyone palette (no crazy colors here).
Obviously I wanted to try everything, but since I myself am on a budget, I'll have to wait to purchase more items.

For now, I'd wanted to give you a preview of the eyeshadows I bought.  First, I was drawn to the Mineral Eyeshadow Duo in Sheer Plum/Putty.  These shadow duos are supposed to be crease resistant and can be used wet or dry, according to the packaging.  Also, each duo comes with a matte shade and a satin shade.  I swatched a little of each color on a piece of white paper so that the colors would look more true. (The picture doesn't do it justice though)
The plummy shade has gorgeous gold flecks in it, and is way more beautiful in person.  The matte putty shade is a true putty color- brownish purple- just beautiful!  And these colors are truly crease resistant!  I wore mine all day and they still look amazing on.  They are highly pigmented and feel very velvety to the touch.  This duo cost $8.49.

Next up is my favorite eyeshadow quad EVER! Just from a packaging standpoint alone, it's genius.  It looks like a closed flower and the petals open up to reveal the four colors with a sponge applicator in the center.  I bought this in Natural, which has four very neutral, wearable (yet not boring!) shades.

The four colors in the quad are from darkest to lightest: 1. toasted almond; 2. shimmering bronze; 3. champagne gold; 4. frosted blush. 

Here, I swatched the four colors on a piece of white paper: 
Like the eyeshadow duo, these contain rice lipids & vitamin E to condition, nourish and protect lids.  These have the same amazingly soft, velvety texture and high pigmentation.  Everything is also paraben and fragrance free.  This quad cost $9.99. 

I am in love with this line already!  I can't wait to purchase more products.  I think this is a truly high-end drugstore line. 

To check out the full line, or to purchase, go to CVS.com .

Now, for the giveaway!  One lucky winner will receive the eyeshadow quad above, worth $10.  To enter, all you have to do, is post a comment below to let me know what you think of the Nuance line- do you want to try it, or have you already?  Then, subscribe to Frugirl by entering your email in the Subscribe form on the top left of our homepage.  (This is how we will know how to contact you if you win!)  Contest ends August 1st.  Good luck!

July 18, 2011

The Mascara Wars- Flirt All That Lash Vs. Rimmel Volume Accelerator

I ended up getting sucked in to buying 2 mascaras that I happened to see today, one at Kohls from their Flirt! line, and the other was Rimmel's Volume Accelerator.  Since they're both volumizing formulas, I decided to pit them against each other to see which one comes out on top!
I'll rate them in different categories, then choose an overall winner. 


The Flirt! mascara was not cheap at $14.  It was actually more like a splurge!
The Rimmel was priced at $8.50, but I was able to get it for $7.70 by using my Rite Aid loyalty card.
One Point Rimmel!

The Flirt! All That Lash has the same giant teddy bear brush as my favorite splurge mascara, Diorshow.  I love giant brushes for creating volume.  The brushes were also stiff, which is another plus, as softer bristles make it hard to comb through clumps.  (You can see how thick the formula is on the end of the brush!)

The Rimmel brush was also amazing- it's large in size, but also has a tapered tip, perfect for grabbing those baby hairs at the inner corner of the eye without getting mascara all over your skin.  

I have to declare this round a Tie, because I liked both brushes for different reasons. Two points Rimmel, one point Flirt!

The Flirt! mascara has a thick formula that reminds me of Diorshow again. It's great for layering without making lashes too wet and gloppy.  It also didn't flake or smudge much at all, and comes off with only warm water.  My only complaint was that it made my lashes stick together a little when I tried to layer on more than two coats.  I had to use a lash comb afterwards.

The Rimmel mascara was a wetter formula, but not so much that it got gloppy. I was able to layer it without it clumping.  It also has some high tech ingredients like Procapcil, Keratin and Caffeine that are supposed to make lashes more numerous over time.

Three Points Rimmel!  

 Here's my before lashes...
And....the after pics.  Flirt! All That Lash is on the left, Rimmel Volume Accelerator on the right.  As you can see, they both gave similar volume and length, but the Rimmel separated lashes just a little bit better than the Flirt!. 

Rimmel Volume Accelerator wins!

So, I'm looking for your thoughts...have any of you tried either one of these yet?  This was my first experience with a Flirt! product, and they seem to have a slightly higher than drugstore pricepoint.  Does anyone feel that their products are worth the money?

July 13, 2011

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind The Eraser Concealer Review

I really love Maybelline's Eraser foundation, so I was jumping up and down in the drugstore when I saw that they had come out with a concealer version.

Here's what the Maybelline website says:

• Micro-Corrector Applicator micro-fills and smoothes.
• Active formula with Haloxyl reduces the look of puffiness and shadows while fading the appearance of under-eye circles.

It has the same Goji Berry complex that the foundation has, which makes it a treatment for the skin and has anti-aging properties. In addition to the regular shades, they have a Neutralizer shade for extreme dark circles and a brightener shade that just adds luminosity. 

First, I love the applicator.  It's a furry, super soft sponge-like tip that you can use to apply the product and then blend it to your heart's content- no fingers!! It feels so good against the skin, and doesn't pull on the eye area.  It's also anti-microbial, and the packaging tells you not to run it under water- just clean with a dry tissue.

My one complaint with the applicator is that the first time you use it you have to twist it a lot to get the product to come up, but you can't see it until you've twisted too much- and made a big mess.  I would suggest twisting a few times and running it across the back of your hand, and just repeat this process until the product starts to come out. Once you get it going, 2 clicks is enough to dispense the product. 

The consistency of the product is ultra-light- almost like a moisturizer.  The best part is that it's not cakey, so it's great for anyone who is worried about fine lines.  But, it doesn't cover much.  As you can see from my before and after photos below, it brightens, and hides some light discolorations, but there is still a little darkness under my eyes.  I'm thinking maybe the Neutralizer shade would have to be used in conjunction with this to cover dark circles. (Before is on the left, after is on the right)

So if you're looking for a product to brighten the eye area and diffuse, but not totally cover flaws, this is the perfect product for you.  I've been using it every day and I just add a little extra concealer if I'm going out at night, or something.  I also love that it makes wrinkles less noticeable, where other concealers tend to sink in and accentuate them. 

This product cost around $8.49 at CVS.

July 10, 2011

Sunday Drugstore Mini Haul, NYC Cosmetics, Essie, St. Ives

Today was a lazy Sunday and I was just running some errands, so when I got to CVS, I thought I would treat myself to some new products.
After reading an article in Allure Magazine on drugstore shopping secrets, (see a few posts down), I now check to see if an eyeliner is made in Germany before I buy them.  NYC Cosmetics makes a waterproof eyeliner that is made in Germany, so I picked up one in Mink brown for $3.99. It goes on super smooth and crayon-like, perfect for smudging!  It also doesn't budge until you wash it off with soap.

Then I saw IndividualEyes Custom Compact palettes (also by NYC) that are supposed to enhance certain eye colors, so I picked up the one for blue eyes called Smoky Blues- it comes with a highlighter and primer also, and was only $4.99!
This palette has a golden color, a grayish green, copper brown, and plummy gray. Another cool thing about this palette is that it shows you which colors go where, and how to apply them.
Here are the swatches alone, without any primer: the highlighter is first, followed by the golden color, which is very light.
Here are the colors again- this time, the ones in the top row are with the primer underneath- makes a difference!

While I was on my NYC kick, I decided to try their blush stick in a pretty pink color- Big Apple Blush.  This was also only $3.99.
As you can see, it's pink with a little shimmer- perfect for highlighting.
Here it is on my arm, not blended in very well, so you can see the color better:

Since I'm addicted to Essie Nail polish, I got a bright summer pink called Mod Square for $8.

Finally, I've been looking for a scrub that has a little more power behind it than the average exfoliating body wash.  I feel like most aren't grainy enough for me- I really like gritty scrubs. I found one by St Ives that looked promising. Here are the labels:

This scrub is exactly what I was looking for.  It's more grainy than other body washes with exfoliating beads, because it contains sea salt as well.  I also love that it doesn't have an oily texture like some scrubs do, so it's a great scrub for using before applying self-tanner.  I also looove the scent- it's very fresh and spa like.  And of course I love the price- it was like $1.99!
All in all, I'm enjoying playing with my new products!  Has anyone here had any experience with the NYC line?  Good or bad?

XO Jenna

Maybelline The Falsies Flared Review

I am definitely a fan of the original Falsies mascara, (not so much the Black Drama version though- too gloppy), so I jumped at the chance to buy the Flared version when I saw it in CVS.  There's something so flirty about lashes that flare out at the edges- I just had to have this.  

It appears to be the same formula as the original, but what's different, according to the packaging, is the brush.  The curved, spoon brush is supposed to make your lashes flare out when you apply it.  Sounded like a gimmick to me, but I figured, why not?

Below is my before and after pictures- they were taken in two different rooms, so that's why the light looks different. 

While I definitely think this mascara does a great job of thickening and lengthening my lashes, as well as flaring the outer corner lashes, I'm not sure that it flares them more than other mascaras I've used in the past. 

Granted, I always focus on the outer corner no matter what type of brush I'm using because I like to get as much flare as possible.  The brush on the Falsies Flared definitely makes focusing on those outer lashes easier, so that's a good thing. 
My only complaint, is that this mascara flakes, like the original Falsies, albeit not quite as much.  It also tends to get a little dried out after about 5 or 6 uses, but that's not a big deal- I'd much rather it be a little dry than too wet. 

What's your impression of any of the Falsies line of mascaras?  I'm going to give this one a solid 4 out of 5.

July 7, 2011

Loreal Color Riche LeGloss Review (& Nude Touch Swatches)

I buy lipglosses all the time, and usually they aren't that pigmented.  I mean, something that looks hot pink in the tube barely adds any color to my lips.  So I wasn't expecting much when I purchased Loreal's new Le Gloss in Nude Touch.  

Jennifer Lopez is the face of this new product and she looks amazing as ever.  According to Loreal's website, Le Gloss is "infused with Ultra Hydrating Omega 3, protective Vitamin E, and Argan Oil for the richest shine experience yet".  

This gloss is actually very pigmented, and I am loving the texture.  It feels and looks similar to a Chanel Glossimer I used to have, and at a fraction of the price- $7.99!  It's long lasting (for a gloss anyway) and super shiny.  It also smells a bit like a vanilla cookie- yum!  If you're looking for a gloss that actually adds color to your lips as well as shine, you have to try this one! 
The color I purchased was Nude Touch (similar to my own lipcolor- I wasn't in a bold mood today!).  

Right out of the tube. 
Still has lots of pigment and shine when spread out.

My lips before- no gloss.

My lips after.  I have to say that the picture looks much less intense than in real life.  The camera didn't pick up the shine and color as much as it could have.  In real life, my lips actually looked like J. Lo's above!
Have any of you tried this?  What are your thoughts?

XO Jenna