Thursday, December 20, 2012

The VI Peel - Review Day 1

About a month ago, I approached my dermatologist's aesthetician about either a peel or microdermabrasion in hopes of vanquishing the remaining melasma from my pregnancy along with other discolorations (such as faded red acne scars and sun-induced freckles).  Based on the fact that I already had multiple IPL sessions to deal with the worst of the melasma and she was familiar with my skin, my aesthetician suggested the VI Peel.  Somewhat familiar with this peel, having read various blog reviews on the interwebs, I booked the appointment for today.

Vitality Institute Medical Products, maker of the VI Peel, claims:
The VI Peel will improve the tone, texture and clarity of the skin; reduce or eliminate age spots, freckles, and hyper-pigmentation, including melasma; soften lines and wrinkles; clear acne skin conditions; reduce or eliminate acne scars; and stimulate the production of collagen, for firmer, more youthful skin. Vi Peel also works well in conjunction with lasers, injectables and post procedure.

The peel provides superior results for all skin types (Fitzpatrick 1-6). Regular use of the Vi Peel (two to four peels per year), along with proper home care, reverses sun damage. It treats hyper pigmentation including melasma, acne and acne scars, loss of firmness and rosacea. The peel is also suitable for the eye area, chest, hands, arms and back.

Leading up the moment, I was nervous. If I were Batman, the area of my face covered by the eyemask would be my most sensitive (peeling after the tiniest hint of glycolic acid or retin-A), while the other doesn't care what you do to it. Images of post-peel Patsy Stone and Samantha Jones danced in my head. After I was assured by my practitioner that this peel would not cause any wounds, bleeding or weeping, I settled down in the chair and prepared for the worst.

The peel starts with acetone, when an acetone-soaked pad is scrubbed all over your face (area of peel).  My aesthetician told me that the peel originally had alcohol as the initial cleanser but, the company switched to acetone to ensure that no oils remained on the skin whatsoever.  I thought the alcohol would have been worse but she assured me that the acetone is harsher on your skin.  Except for the moment when I accidentally huffed some of it (she was cleansing under my nose when I took an ill-timed breath in), it was not a big deal.

Then, she applied the first layer of the peel which contains a numbing medicine. On initial contact I experienced a mild stinging but, it was fleeting and after a minute, was gone completely.  She waited for the medicine to take full effect before she applied the second layer.  Then, finally, she applied a third layer, including a thin layer on my upper eyelids.  I experienced another fleeting moment of mild stinging with the third layer but, again, it was gone within seconds.

The peel itself has an odd, lingering smell... kind of like new pool toys or a shower curtain, which leads me to believe it contains phthalates.  If you are sensitive to chemical odors, this will likely trigger a reaction. An hour post-peel I can definitely still smell it and my face tight and has the numbed quality of having been to the dentist's office for a filling earlier in the day.

Watch this space for more updates in the upcoming days.  I expect to be my own, personal snow globe for Christmas.

(no foundation or concealer - just moisturizer and eye makeup)

Right side - melasma on lower cheek / jaw
Right side - close up of red marks and freckles

Left side - melasma on lower cheek / jaw

Left side - close up of red marks

Right front - close up of red marks / pores/ freckles

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Chanel Kind of Morning

It was that kind of morning. Running late, needing something composed and confident, I reached for Chanel.

The star of the show is Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss in Troublant. Its subtle rosewood color and lush finish make the perfect statement.

For eyes it's Ombre Essentielle in Beige Lame from lash to crease and blended above the crease with a matte ivory.

Lower lashline was defined with Le Crayon Yeux in Khaki Platine and upper lashline was tightlined with Too Faced Perfect Eyeliner in Perfect Espresso. Lancome Defincils on lashes.

Face: Clinique Redness Solutions foundation in Calming Alabaster (01) and Illamasqua blush in Lover.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Get 3 summer colors with 2 Revlon Balm Stains

Thanks to Rite Aid's 40% off sale on Revlon this week, I purchased Revlon's Balm Stain in Smitten (fuchsia pink) and Rendezvous (clear orange) for about $5 each.

Alone, each provides a punch of long lasting color. But, the magic happens when you layer these together and get a bright coral.

Swatches: Smitten, DIY Layered Coral, Rendezvous. Pictures taken without flash and with flash (both indoors).

Disclosure: I purchased these items.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Aromaleigh Startle - A Dupe for Chanel Illusion d'Ombre in Epatant?

After haphazardly choosing a mineral eyeshadow for application this morning, I was struck by the uncanny similarity between Aromaleigh's Startle and Chanel Illusion d'Ombre in Epatant.

When I picked up my sifter of Startle it was because the color stuck to the lid looked taupe to me and that was my goal.  However upon application it was not taupe but, very much a metallic silvery green with hints of antique gold.  Note to self: swatch on hand prior to application.

When applied, it looks just like Epatant to me.  (Which also bears similarities to Lancome's legendary Erika F. eyeshadow.)  The only difference is that Startle is a smooth metallic finish whereas Epatant has some sparkle.  However, this is very minor and, when viewed at a normal distance, is pretty much unnoticeable.

Now, the bad news.  Startle is discontinued.  (And, in fact, Aromaleigh is no longer its original self but, Aromaleigh v.2 (second version).)

The good news:  You can find jars of Startle on ebay, priced very attractively.

If you've lemminged for Erika F. or Epatant, I urge you to give Startle a try at a much, much lower price tag.

Aromaleigh's original shadows apply very smoothly, last all day over a primer and the colors are knock-out gorgeous - Startle very much included.  I experienced ZERO fallout using this shade, patting over a regular (non-sticky) primer.

Aromaleigh's Startle on lid
Products used:
Too Faced Shadow Insurance (original) primer
Aromaleigh Startle on lid
MAC Soba in crease
Darling Girl Fluff on browbone
Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Bourbon on upper lashline
Kevyn Aucoin, The Eyelash Curler to curl upper lashes
Lancome Defincils on upper lashes

Thursday, October 13, 2011

EOTD: Darling Girl Will-O-Wisp Work-Safe Eye

I was delighted to open up my first-ever order from Darling Girl Cosmetics.  Each shade was multifaceted, smooth and buttery to apply, and absolutely gorgeous.  Needless to say, it won't be my last!

Today's EOTD features Will-O-Wisp, a Halloween 2011 "Darling Ghoul" shade that will be made permanent.  It's one of the Spectral Shift shadows and is described as: 

Will-O Wisp - Sheer peachy pink with a silvery blue shift and blue reflect.

Spectral Shifts are sheer iridescent multi-purpose colors. Use them as eye shadow, face highlighter, blush.

This is an unusual color for me but it was so lovely, I had to pick up a very reasonably priced petit jar for $2.25.

Here is the look I created to wear to my job in an pretty standard office environment (not overly strict, but not crazy lenient, either):

Lid: Darling Girl Will-O-Wisp. Crease: MAC Silver Ring. Highlight: Urban Decay Virgin. Upper Eye Liner: Bobbi Brown Gel in Violet Ink. Lower Eye Liner: Chanel Rose Platine.

To show blue sparks.
I used:
Primer: Urban Decay Primer Potion on entire eye area. Too Faced Glitter Glue on mobile lid only (TFGG was applied after crease color was applied).
Lid: Darling Girl Will-O-Wisp.
Crease: MAC Silver Ring.
Highlight: Urban Decay Virgin.
Upper Eye Liner: Bobbi Brown Gel in Violet Ink.
Lower Eye Liner: Chanel Rose Platine.
Mascara: Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes - upper lashes only.
Elta MD Tinted Physical Sunscreen SPF 41
Lancome Cream Blush in light pink (sorry, color is in a palette, will update when I can)
Hard Candy Lipstick in Rush Hour.

Here is Will-O-Wisp swatched with a brush over Too Faced Glitter Glue:
Will-O-Wisp is 5th from the left.^

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Missha M Perfect Cover BB Cream

I am seriously in love with this BB cream.  It's one of the few BB creams that offers a shade pale enough for my skin tone.  The sun protection is outstanding at SPF 42 PA+++.  (PA refers to the amount of protection the sunscreen offers from the UVA rays.)  The formula is easy to blend and is moisturizing enough for my dry skin without feeling greasy.

The formulation has some excellent ingredients and "actives" that really work for my skin:  Macadamia Oil, Rose Hip Seed Oil, Jojoba Oil all increase moisture and have anti-aging properties.  Fagus Sylvatica Bud Extract, an interesting ingredient, is an active derived from Beech trees that is said to improve skin moisturization,  reduce wrinkles and improve cell oxygen consumption. Ceramides which form part of the skin's barrier, helping to guard the skin from external aggressions and dehydration and Sodium Hyaluronate which maintains and attracts water to the skin.

Official Ingredients (per Missha's website): Water(Aqua), Cyclomethicone, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Zinc Oxide, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Mineral Oil, Phenyl Trimethicone, Talc, Arbutin, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Dimethicone, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Squalane, Adenosine, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Polyethylene, Beeswax(Cera Alba), Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Caviar Extract, Algae Extract, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Fagus Sylvatica Bud Extract, Ceramide 3, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Chloride, Fragrance(Parfum), Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Disodium EDTA, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Benzyl Salicylate, Hydroxycitronellal, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Citronellol
MAY CONTAIN[+/-; Titanium Dioxide(CI 77891), Iron Oxides(CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499)]

Here it is just dispensed from the tube:
Missha M Perfect Cover BB Cream in No. 13
I ordered shade number 13 (known as bright beige or milky beige) from a Korean seller on ebay and paid approx. $13 shipped.  It's also available to order from Missha's US site, but it will cost you a bit more than double.

The packaging claims that this cream:
lightens skin tone by healing visible wrinkles and blemishes with excellent skin-cover ability, and prevents skin aging through effective whitening and anti-wrinkle properties.

While the Missha website states:
Blemish Balm, also called BB Cream, is known to have been formulated as an after-treatment cream to help patients who have gone through laser skin surgery to soothe and regenerate the skin.

The M Perfect Cover BB Cream gives an even and natural-looking coverage with the soothing, moisturising properties of a cream. It is suitable for all skin types including acne-prone skin, and can be used as a makeup base or foundation.

While I can't talk about the skin whitening properties, as I'm currently using hydroquinone, I can say that my skin has improved in appearance since using this BB Cream.  Fine lines seem to be minimized and the sun protection it offers (coupled with my powder sunscreen applied midday) is keeping further damage at bay.  Perhaps my skin loves the ingredients?

And here it is applied:
bare skin
blending in

blended, immediately after

after 10 minutes

One thing to keep in mind with all BB creams is that they look much better about 10 minutes after application.  I'm assuming this is because nearly all the formulas claim to self-regulate to the skin.  So, apply it as you would a skin care product and wait before applying blush/powder/bronzer/highlight.

Have you tried a BB cream?  What's your favorite and why?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Guerlain Rouge Automatique in Habit Rouge #123

I was really waffling between which of the new Rouge Automatiques to purchase.  Obsessing over reds lately, at least that much was nailed down.  I decided on Habit Rouge which Karla Sugar described as a "warm, tomato red", but which otherwise hasn't garnered a lot of blog attention (compared to some of the other colors in the range).

My local Sephora does not carry Guerlain, so I ordered on faith. (Faith and the fact that Sephora has a generous return policy.)

Definitely more orange-based than blue, it's a warm red for sure.  But  I would not call it "tomato".  Habit Rouge has a depth to it that I fell in love with.  This red is deep, bordering on dark when compared to some of the other colors in the range that practically scream.  Not vampy in anyway, it has a hint of brown to it which adds to the wearability and beauty of the color.

The only aspect that I find odd is the formula.  While Rouge Automatique still wears great, I prefer the lip-hugging formula of Rouge G.  Rouge Automatique has a lot of slip and feels as if it could slide off your lips at any moment (it doesn't, but the feeling is a bit distracting).

Habit Rouge has an lovely, understated quality about it.  It's a work safe red and I think the color is quite beautiful.  Warm to neutral skin tones will shine in this color.  Cool tones should try before buying as it might lean too warm for you.

Here it is on lips, no liner, applied straight from the tube:

Guerlain Rouge Automatique in Habit Rouge