Thursday, June 30, 2011

Welcome to h.wood.

Beauty and tea: two of my favorite things. Leave it to a Hollywood club to combine them. is a newish line that incorporates tea amongst other high-quality ingredients into their beauty line.

I recently tested out their eyeshadow in Pico. It's a sheer stormy-purple shade with bits of silver shimmer. The subtle sparkle keeps it from looking like you were on the losing end of a bar room brawl. The texture is incredibly smooth and silky. There is no caking or flaking here, but for longer wear time I would suggest using primer on lids before applying.

I go with one or two quick swipes for a sheer wash of color that is work appropriate. To amp it up for a sultry night-time look; build up the color using your finger or even use a small angled brush to push the color into your lashline.

Overall, I'm pretty impressed with this beauty brand. Will you be giving h.wood. a try? What about their teas? Those are up next for me. Check out the line here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

New SPF Regulations

Sun protection is so very important. If you haven't heard this before, you've probably been living under a rock. But it's certainly important enough to repeat over and over, everyone needs to protect themselves from the sun's harmful rays. It's something you need to think about every day, whether it's sunny or cloudy.

The FDA is stepping in to regulate how SPF can label itself. Gone are the days that something can label itself a sunblock, since it is not really possible and products are no longer allowed to claim to be waterproof or sweatproof. Sunscreens will be able to label themselves "broad spectrum" (meaning they protect against both UVA and UVB rays) if they protect against all forms of sun-related skin damage. Burns are mostly caused by UVB rays; while UVA can also cause sunburn, they also can cause skin cancer and premature aging. Ick!

Bottles will also have a labeled time frame for which you should expect to be protected before reapplication is necessary. If a sunscreen claims to protect for longer than 2 hours, they will need to submit data to support their claim and get approval from the FDA, the same goes for products stating immediate protection upon application.

In the next year this new labeling will be put into effect, making it easier for consumers to choose the right sun protection for themselves. Inform yourself here, and don't forget to always wear sunscreen!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Brow Wiz(ardry)

They say the eyes are the window to the soul. Well, those window adornments we call eyebrows say just as much about us. My relationship with my brows has been a tumultuous one. As a teen I had the full brows that are having a serious moment right now. Sadly, at the time, big, bushy brows were not so glam. And I had more of a big, bushy brow (that's right, singular). So at an early age I was introduced to the wonders of waxing. It was a whole new world.

Defined arches, separate brows... it was wondrous. Of course you can't wax again until there is enough regrowth to grab, so tweezers became my new best friend. Let's just say there was a point when we were a little too close: I over plucked. I know I'm not alone in this, I'm talking to you cartoon brows- you know who you are. A single drawn-on line is not a natural look and frankly, it detracts from your eyes. It's just plain old harsh-looking. I didn't want to head down that path. I let mine start to grow back. There are sections that will never be as Brooke-Shields-full as their heyday back in middle school. But I've since learned the difference between maintenance and overzealous grooming.

Now when I'm feeling nostalgic over my fallen fuzzy eye caterpillars I whip out Anastasia's Brow Wiz pencil. WOW! I had never thought to use a brow pencil before. This product has changed my life. I had no idea my brows could look this good. Holy arches (albeit fake ones)! The tip of the pencil is extremely small so each stroke mimics tiny hairs. The other end of the pencil contains a brow brush which is perfect for blending and shaping. The finished product is beautifully defined, natural looking eyebrows. It's hard to describe just how much of a difference it makes, you have to try it for yourself. I had a few people notice something different but they weren't quite able to place their finger on it.

Brow Wiz comes in three colors: Ash Blonde, Medium Ash and Brunette (I have the brunette). You need to try this, even if you don't think you need a brow pencil, you do. Trust me. Buy here; it will be the best $20 you spend.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

MAKE UP FOR EVER's Aqua Liner lasts forever (well, almost)

It's official, summer is here! Welcome warmer weather, sunshine-y days, skimpy clothing and bright colors. There is one thing I don't look forward to with the warmer weather, and that's my makeup sliding right off my dewy shiny face. Yuck. I want to look breezy and flawless even when it's a million degrees out.

Eye makeup is usually the first casuality of super-sticky, hot weather. Sad. Well, dry those tears (or dab that sweat off) and get yourself a tube (or five) of MAKE UP FOR EVER's Aqua Liner. I don't want to say I'm obsessed with this stuff but let me put it this way: in two weeks I've picked up three of them.

Over the years I've mastered many a beauty trick; liquid liner has always eluded me. I once tried to put liquid liner on and my hand slipped, it went all the way up to my eyebrow in a more vertical manner than anything else. Another time I attempted to put a felt tip liquid liner on the inner rim of my eye- unless you want extreme burning and excessive watering I recommend you don't ever do that. But I've learned from my mistakes, mostly I learned to stay as far away from liquid liner as possible. Sure, I've been tempted by the cat-eye goodness I've seen walk the runways but I'm a bit of a beauty bungle on this matter.

When I saw MUFE had brightly colored, waterproof liners I was willing to give my old nemesis another go. The foam tip gives such control and without much effort you get a precise clean line. While the liquid is still wet you can touch up any mistakes but once it sets... This liner is no joke, it's lasted through a hot shower. They said waterproof and boy do they mean it. It comes off easily with makeup remover, though. The Aqua Liners have already become a staple of my summer makeup routine. I'll see you at Sephora, I'll be the one holding eight liners looking very pleased with myself. ($23 at Sephora)

Friday, June 17, 2011

You had me at Monoi

Monoi means quite literally "scented oil." Truly legit monoi comes from Tahiti where the process of creating monoi is steeped in tradition as well as strict processing codes. The tiare flowers are picked before they are fully open and then placed in coconut oil where they blossom, infusing the oil with their gorgeous scent. Monoi oil has been around for centuries and boasts a number of beneficial properties for skin and hair.

Enter Carol's Daughter and their new Monoi Repairing Shampoo. This sulfate and paraben-free cleanser is like a tropical vacation in a bottle. The exotic scent is swoon-worthy. The rich, creamy formula gently cleans and moisturizes hair. And on top of all that, monoi oil protects hair from the elements and can help clear up dreaded dandruff.

My first wash left my hair tangle-free and smelling of lush gardenia. I only purchased the shampoo to test out this line and will definitely be going back for the conditioner as well. I have very fine hair and this shampoo rinses clean and doesn't leave behind any film to weigh my hair down. I can definitely see an overall improvement in the condition of my hair and during my aggressive brushings there has been less breakage. I know, I know- I need to be gentle when brushing sopping wet hair, but my hair knots up at the mere sight of water so I tend to tug a bit hard. I imagine the Monoi Repairing Conditioner will speed up my post-shower tug-o-war with my tresses.

I have used countless shampoos and conditioners over the years and I'm happy to say I'm super excited about this reparative duo. Note to Carol's Daughter, this one was worth the wait! Buy here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

It's a 10...definitely a 10!

We all have hair issues. Some more than others (ahem, me). And with summer upon us, dryness from chlorine, salt, and other warm weather hazards are bound to wreak havoc on tresses. Everyone wants simple wash-and-go hair, which is a nice thought but not so easy to achieve.

I have tried a lot of hair products over the years. A LOT. For the longest time I assumed I had thick hair- not so, I have fine hair... but a whole mess (mess being the operative word) of it. Many of the products I used to tame frizz and combat tangles were weighing my hair down. In turn, I wound up washing it more often than necessary, leading guessed it...dried-out strands. Ick.

I've come to realize I only need to wash my hair about 2-3 times per week and I really don't need a lot of product. Despite having fine hair, it has a mind of it's own and frizzes at will. Seriously, if my hair even senses humidity on the horizon I'm in French Poodle territory. On top of that, my hair gets knotty like nobody's business, brushing it out can be downright painful. So I was very happy to be introduced to "It's a 10" Miracle Leave-In Product.

This handy little spray is named after the 10 things it does:

1. Repairs dry, damaged hair
2. Adds shine
3. Smoothes and controls frizz
4. Seals and protects hair color
5. Flat iron spray and thermal protector
6. Detangles
7. Stops hair breakage
8. Creates silkiness
9. Enhances natural body
10. Prevents split ends

I can't say whether or not it has long-term results since it's new to my hair care routine but I can confirm it detangles, smoothes frizz and enhances body. My hair was not weighed down at all, which is pretty amazing for a leave-in (most are heavy or greasy). It also smells pretty fantastic. I recommend giving this one a try. You can find a local retailer or salon here. Wash, condition, spray on It's a 10 and go!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lierac Paris

I like to think I'm in the know about beauty products in general, but especially about hard-to-find and foreign lines. I'm ashamed to admit I did not discover Lierac on my own. I first heard about the line on the lovely Lisa Eldridge's blog. (She's an amazing talent, check out her and her product recommendations immediately.) What's really strange is I'm sure I've passed the prominent display countless times considering it's sold at my (and your) local CVS! Yes, you read that correctly. This mega-chic line is available at the drugstore.

Let's get to the actual products shall we, that's what we're all here for. I've been using the Creme Mesolift Anti-Aging Radiance. This dream cream is so buttery and rich and just melts right into parched skin. Direct from their website: "This fresh rich cream brings an immediate boost of radiance to tired, dull skin. With a high concentration of an energizing cocktail (Vitamins A, C, E, B5, B6, minerals and hyaluronic acid) plus citrus AHAs, the skin becomes energized, toned and appears more youthful."

Basically it's chock full of all the goodness skin so desperately needs. We're all pressed for time and sometimes it's easy to run out the door without moisturizing. Well, that's a big no-no. Dried out skin looks older and just generally unhealthy. A tiny dab of this goes a looooong way, so don't shy away from the $54 price tag. I've noticed it immediately plumps skin, and the smell of apricots and flowers is quite nice. I haven't noticed diminished lines yet, but I'm checking into this one. Check out the full line of Lierac at CVS or online.