Monthly Archives: May 2011

Save vs. Splurge: battle of the brands. Part II.

For those of you that want the quick scoop on this post, here’s a little preview.

For a high-end volumizing mascara:

Splurge on Lancome Hypnôse Mascara.

For a budget-friendly volumizing mascara with similar results:

Save on L’Oréal Voluminous® Original Mascara and/or Maybelline XXL Volume + Length Microfiber Mascara.

For those of you that want the details, keep on reading…

When it comes to mascaras, there are only a few high-end branded ones that I would shamelessly splurge on because there’s just nothing like them…and one of those would be Lancome’s Hypnôse Mascara. Aside from the quality of a mascara, the trick in choosing one that will give your lashes the effect you’re looking for is in the mascara’s wand – its structure, its size and the texture of its bristles. Professional makeup artists and experienced makeup gurus are usually able to tell from inspecting a mascara’s wand what effect it will give to the lashes. I say “usually” because the mascara’s quality has to be taken into consideration as well; the quality of the product in the tube or container can affect the outcome of its application.

Now, when I talk about quality, I’m not talking about brands. Good quality mascaras don’t necessarily have to be from a high-end or luxury brand. It can be from any brand in the beauty industry and, from personal experience, one of the best ways to actually find a good quality mascara is by keeping an open mind when browsing the beauty shops for one. Sure, go ahead and try out the testers at Lancome, Dior or Chanel but don’t overlook the other brands that you may stumble upon during your shopping spree. Sometimes, you’ll find a mascara very similar to the one you saw at the Dior counter for a fraction of its price.

The sweetest thing about Lancome’s Hypnôse Mascara is that I only have to apply one coat of it on my lashes for it to give effective results. For a volumizing mascara, I find it to be one of the best in the market; it separates the lashes and makes them look so much more pronounced in a very alluring way. It doesn’t clump and it doesn’t make my lashes look like spider legs – which has happened to me with other mascaras. Gross, I know. However, for those of us on a budget, Lancome Hypnôse Mascara can leave a visible dent in our wallets (especially for people living in the UAE as its even more expensive here than it is in the US or the UK) so if any of you are looking for similar alternatives with budget-friendly prices, check out my two suggestions below:

L’Oréal Voluminous® Original Mascara: for many of you beauty junkies out there, this alternative may not come as a shocker. After all, it’s a well known fact that L’Oreal owns Lancome, as well as many other well-known cosmetic brands. So, it’s no surprise that L’Oreal’s Voluminous may serve as an effective lower-priced alternative to Lancome’s Hypnôse. They are both produced by the same company and are both very similar, if not exactly alike, in quality. This product has definitely got my vote.

Maybelline XXL Volume + Length Microfiber Mascara: this mascara’s wand looks very similar to Lancome’s Hypnôse mascara wand and the quality of the mascara itself is pretty decent, in my honest opinion. Just like Lancome’s Hypnôse mascara, it gives my lashes much needed extra volume and length without clumping them. While the result may not be as dramatic or pronounced as if you had used Lancome’s mascara, you will definitely not be disappointed. I do have to apply two or more coats of the mascara on my lashes to get the full volumizing and thickening effect but, nevertheless, for a product that I consider to be budget-friendly, it’s definitely good value for the money. (P.S. Maybelline is also owned by L’Oreal – but that is not the reason I have suggested it as an alternative. It simply happens to be one of my favorite brands when it comes to mascaras!)

Silky Blusher by Seventeen (Greece): big thumbs up.

One of my favorite brands of blusher is the Greek one, “Seventeen” cosmetics (not to be confused with UK brand “17” cosmetics), and it is only sold in a few countries, worldwide, including Lebanon.  Other than its country of origin, I am not sure where else the brand is sold. I really wish it was available in Dubai but, unfortunately, it’s not. (Maybe that’s a good thing as their products would be sold at double their original prices here.) Nevertheless, if any of you are tempted to try any of their blushers, you could always ask a friend that’s going to Greece or Lebanon to buy some for you 😉

The blusher, labeled by Seventeen cosmetics as “Silky Blusher”, is available in a huge variety of colors and shades which is one of the reasons I really like them. There are colors that could be suitable for people of light, medium or dark skin tones. Another reason, and the primary one, is that they are so well pigmented that a little bit of them goes a long way. Literally. I usually have to either dab my blusher brush at the blusher very gently or tap it off a few times after it’s picked up some of the product to make sure I don’t swipe too much onto my cheeks. This makes it great for you gals that like to use the same type or color of blusher for daily wear and not have to worry about it running out any time soon. I can assure you, from personal experience, one Silky Blusher will last you a long time – even if you use it almost every day.

A third reason is their long -lasting durability; whenever I use any of my Seventeen blushers, I never have to do any touch ups throughout the day…unless I’ve been out dancing for hours. The product is also very easy to blend on the cheeks and face, and it’s very easy to achieve a natural look with most of the shades it is available in. My favorite ones, in no particular order, are: 45 Natural Blush, 10 Peach Rose, 40 Coral and 21 Plum Apricot. Last but not least, the product’s pricing is very reasonable (similar to the price range of Rimmel or Maybelline blushers…in the UK or US, not in Dubai…) but it can vary by a few Lebanese pounds, depending on which place you buy it from in Lebanon. They are usually found in drugstores, big supermarket chains or some of the local beauty stores.

If you don’t have the chance to visit Lebanon or Greece any time soon, but know someone that does, then check out the blushers on the brand’s website at:
http://www.seventeencosmetics.gr/en/colour/face/silky_blusher.html 

If you’d like to try some out for yourself, consider choosing at least one or two blushers in colors you like and ask your friend if he/she would be willing to get them for you. That way, if you don’t like how the shades you picked look on your skin, you won’t have to beat yourself up over it because you won’t have spent much money on them. If you happen to like the blushers, then hurrah for you! Nevertheless, I really hope you enjoy them as much as I do. 😉

Save vs. Splurge: battle of the brands. Part I.

Here is my personal take on some beauty products from different brands that, in my opinion, give the same or very similar results. The only difference between them is, as hinted in the title of this post, their pricing. While all the products I am about to mention come from brands that I consider to be very good, regardless of whether they are “drugstore” (do we even have those in Dubai? Even drugstore brands seem to cost more than they originally do…), mid-priced or high-end brands. For the sake of different people having different opinions on what prices are considered to be low, affordable or expensive, I will not be mentioning any numbers! You can go see that information for yourselves at the stores if you are really interested.

Face primers/bases
Pore minimizing effect: Splurge on The POREfessional by benefit. Save on Pore Minimizing First Base by MISSHA. For someone who has large pores, especially on the nose, around the nose and/or on the cheeks, a pore minimizing primer is always a good thing to invest in. Having tried the ones made by both benefit and MISSHA, I felt that they give pretty much the same effect. They both come in tube forms, and while MISSHA’s Pore Minimizing Base is considerably lower in price and higher in quantity (30 ml, as opposed to benefit’s 20 ml), benefit’s POREfessional takes less time to blend into the skin and it dries faster.

Mattifying/Shine-free effect: Splurge on Urban Decay’s De Slick in a Tube. Save on The Body Shop’s Matte It Skin Primer. For those of you that suffer from oily or combination skin, mattifying or anti-shine primers that are oil-free and give matte/shine-free effects can be a great investment. Urban Decay’s mattifying primer was recommended to me by my sister and I will have to confess that I haven’t actually purchased one for myself (I tried it at the shop) but I just might have to when the one I have from The Body Shop runs out. Both primers are made in gel form and both dry really fast when you apply them on the skin. Urban Decay’s primer has 20 ml of product packed in the tube while The Body Shop’s has 25 ml. I personally think they both have really good anti-shine and oil-control effects, making the appearance of my usually very oily face look a lot less oily. There is a quite a big difference in their prices, I won’t sugarcoat the truth for you there. If any of you live in Dubai, then you know that most beauty products here are at least double the price of what they originally cost in the US, UK or Canada. So, before buying any of them, go to the shops and give them a try. Urban Decay’s product is available in Sephora stores throughout Dubai.

Foundations/Concealers:
For Oily or Combination Skin/Oil-free: Splurge on MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid. Save on Revlon’s ColorStay Foundation with SoftFlex. I’ve written a more detailed post on Revlon’s ColorStay Foundation and I briefly compared it to MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid. (See post at http://wp.me/p1zlI3-n.) While they both give pretty much the same effects and results, I personally prefer Revlon’s foundation because I feel it suits my skin better due to several reasons (see post) and it’s easier on my wallet. I have heard from several makeup gurus on Youtube and personal friends that MAC’s foundation caused their faces to break out or worsened the acne they were already troubled with. Personally, I’ve never had this problem with MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid but, like I always say, it always comes down to personal preferences so please feel free to go to the shops and give them both a try before making your choice. Better safe than sorry.

For undereye darkness or circles/anti-cernes: Splurge on Makeup Forever’s Lift Concealer. Save on Maybelline’s Dream Mousse Concealer. If you’re the kinda gal that suffers from dark under eye circles, then you know how it is…we almost *never* leave the house without dabbing a bit of concealer under the eyes. Especially for fair-skinned ladies, undereye darkness can be such a hassle to deal with…which is why undereye concealer is really important. For some of us, it could even be a major necessity. Being a really fair-skinned gal myself, it can be rather annoying when people ask me if I’m “feeling sick” or say that I’m looking “very tired” just because I forgot to put some undereye concealer. Jeez. Any way, having bought and tried both Makeup Forever’s and Maybelline’s undereye concealers, I will have to say that I like them both equally and for different reasons. Yes, the first one is mucho expensive compared to the latter, but they both give decent coverage for undereye darkness. While Maybelline’s concealer is definitely thicker in consistency and gives slightly better coverage, Makeup Forever’s concealer is easier to blend in and gives the undereye a somewhat luminiscent/glowy effect..(at least, that’s what I observe whenever I use it.) Now this may come as a shocker to some of you but I consider Makeup Forever’s undereye concealer to work better when used for a daily natural look and Maybelline’s to work better when used for those evening outings or special occasions. This is because MF’s concealer is lighter in weight and thinner in texture than Maybelline’s, making it a better choice for my everyday natural makeup look.

(Note: this is just the first of many Save vs. Splurge posts…so don’t worry if you don’t see what you’re looking for in this one!)

Update: Maybelline Mousse Dream Concealer was discontinued many years ago. A possible drugstore alternative that may be available in the UAE is the NYX HD Concealer.

 

Cocoa Butter Sugar Scrub by Boots

The first thing I noticed about Boots’ Cocoa Butter Sugar Scrub is its delicious smell. It smells exactly like what its label says and its scent stays on the skin for a long time after it’s been used in the shower. It really does leave the skin smooth, soft and moisturized so I would say this scrub is good for people with skin that tends to get dry, especially around the elbows and knees.

However, a little of this stuff goes a long way so be careful not to use too much of it or it could end up making your skin feel somewhat greasy or oily. It’s quite thick in consistency and its texture is similar to that of cookie dough with tiny specs of sugar granules grounded in. You can find it in any Boots store within Dubai.

Bath and Body Work’s Liplicious Lip gloss: YUM.

What is it about lip gloss that makes lips looks so much more…luscious? Is it the shine? Is it the glimmer? Or is it that subtle sheen of color that gives lips an alluring glistening appearance… What do you think? Personally, I love lip gloss because it comes in many different forms: clear, tinted, colored, glittered, flavored….etc, and this makes it so easy for me to just swipe on any kind of lip gloss according to my mood. I’ll use clear lip gloss if I just want my lips to look a little less dry or the lipstick I have on to look a bit less matte. I’ll use tinted lip gloss to give my lips that “barely there” look – just enough color to look lively but not too much that it’s so obvious. I’ll use colored lip gloss if I feel like going all out on my makeup for a special occasion or a party or just an evening out with some friends. I’m not the biggest fan of glittered lip gloss unless the glitter is very subtle that it only slightly shows on top of colored lip gloss or lipstick. I am a huge fan of flavored lip gloss ’cause well….some are just so yummy. Lip gloss is awesome. So, in this review, I’m going to share my thoughts on one of my favorite kinds: the Liplicious lip gloss from Bath & Body Works.

Like I already said, I love flavored lip gloss. I love flavored lip gloss even more when it comes in flavors that I like. The Liplicious lip gloss from Bath & Body Works comes in a variety of flavors related to fruits, desserts, drinks and some of B & B W’s signature scents. The ones I have purchased and tried are: Dark Kiss (my favorite B & B W signature scent), Coconut Cream Cupcake, Strawberry Cupcake, Red Velvet Cupcake, Cotton Candy and Blue Colada. They all smell heavenly, I can assure you, and these are only a few of the many delicious flavors they are available in. (See link at the end of post.)

While most of them are clear or sheer in color, some of them do live a hint of color on the lips. You can wear them on top of lipstick or alone and they will still leave your lips looking just as lush…but be careful not to accidentally lick the gloss as you will be tempted to eat it all up 😀 They taste just as good as they smell! I really like them because they last on my lips for hours without having to do frequent touch ups and they keep them from getting dry. They’re easy to take anywhere with you, as most types of lip gloss are, ’cause you can just stick it in your purse or bag. They come in a tube form and have a very convenient applicator that makes it easy for you to apply the gloss onto your lips without making a mess, similar to those of Maybelline’s ShineSensational Lip gloss.

I am not sure if all the scents/flavors shown in the link below are available in Dubai as I don’t remember having seen all of them at the B & B W shops here. It has been some time since I have been to any of them so perhaps they have been able to stock the full line (although, knowing how shops in the UAE never have the full original stock, I doubt it.) Nevertheless, the ones that we do have available here are still very yummy and delish! You can even give them a try at the shop before buying any so feel free to go and see for yourself and let me know what you think 😉

Bath & Body Works (Liplicious line): http://www.bathandbodyworks.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=11477818&cm_sp=LN-_-Liplicious-_-Liplicious&cp=4090259.4090258.4090273.11228511 

(Note: some of the signature scent flavors may be not be shown in the link because I think, but I’m not exactly sure, that they are promotional items offered for sale from time to time. Also, pricing of items in the link is not identical to that of Dubai’s.)

Until my next post,

Yasmine.

L’Oreal Volume Million Lashes Mascara: it’s alright.

For those of you that have thin and light-colored lashes, and possibly not very much of them, this may be a good mascara. I, myself, was not blessed with a great abundance of thick, dark or long lashes – in fact, they’re barely visible without any form of mascara on – and so I’ve come to rely on mascaras that have bristles of a plastic-rubbery texture with a comb-like appearance because they seem to separate my lashes better, while lengthening and volumizing them too, making them appear less sparse and scarce in nature. L’Oreal Volume Million Lashes is one of those mascaras. But, beware, if you have sensitive eyes or eyes that are prone to tearing up/getting irritated the moment something less-than-extremely-soft touches your lash lines, then this mascara may not be your kinda thing.

The bristles, like I previously said, have this plastic-rubbery like feeling to them. They were formulated like this to “separate lashes for a fanned-like effect” (as stated on L’Oreal’s web site) and while I think they do have that effect on my lashes, to a certain extent, they don’t necessarily volumize them in a massive way. BUT, they do give my lashes some volume, which for me is way better than no volume at all and they don’t clump my lashes as much as mascaras with the usual fluffy bristles do. I feel I have more control over the mascara application with Volume Million Lashes.

For those of you that are blessed with a considerable number of thick, dark and/or long lashes, this mascara may not do much for you because, in my opinion, it doesn’t really give *that* much volume – it simply accentuates the appearance of lashes and makes it seem like you have slightly more than you actually do…but when you already have a lot, or when you already have thick and dark ones, you won’t see much difference. This mascara may be used to lengthen the lashes if you apply it mostly at the tips but don’t expect any dramatic results. I like that it comes in black and brown colors, because I use the brown colored one as a daily mascara and the black one for special occasions or night outings.

For those of you that have tried this mascara, what do you think? Did you like it?

Yours truly,

Yasmine.

L’Oreal Studio Secrets Smoothing Resurfacing Primer

Being someone with skin that gets oily pretty fast throughout the day, any face primer or base that leaves it looking less oily or (surprisingly) matte is a definite keeper. Having tried many face primers in the past, I have only come across a few that truly “mattified” my skin, leaving it with a smooth and even surface. One of those would be L’Oreal’s Studio Secrets Smoothing Resurfacing Primer. I love it, it is one of my top 3 primers for several reasons:

  • It controls the oiliness of my skin throughout the day so well that I barely need to do any touch ups.
  • It blends into my skin easily and makes my extremely visible pores look less visible.
  • Applying liquid foundation over it is easy as pie; the foundation blends easily and dries fast, allowing me to apply my makeup over it almost immediately. Personally, I always set my foundation with face powder but that isn’t a necessary rule for people with normal or dry skin.
  • It really does make my makeup appear more lively, flattering and flawless and it makes it last longer throughout the day.

The texture of the primer itself is heavenly. It’s like an air-whipped and fluffy mousse and as soon as you apply it onto your skin, it blends in and mattifies it. Very similar to the idea of cream-to-powder foundation but feels a lot lighter and softer on the face, almost like it’s not even there. Literally. The primer itself is pinkish-white in color but it doesn’t leave any subtle pinkness or paleness to the skin, even on tan or dark skin. I’ve seen this for myself when a very tan lady was trying it on at the store.

I am not sure if the product is available in Dubai because I have not seen it anywhere here yet and I purchased mine from a drugstore in London. Other than the UK, I know it is also available in the USA so if any of you travel that way, make sure to give it a try at the store and let me know what you think 😉

Blog you later,

Yasmine (aka Yaz.)

Revlon Colorstay Foundation (with SoftFlex™): a general review.

The Revlon ColorStay Foundation (formally known as Revlon ColorStay™ Makeup with SoftFlex™), in my opinion, is a tried and true product. It is one of the few foundations that I have found to work for my skin type (oily) and I find it to have a flawless, smooth and natural-looking finish – not exactly matte but not oily dewy either. I would consider it a medium-to-full coverage type of foundation and the nice thing about it is that the product itself comes in two different formulations, according to skin type: Normal/Dry Skin (with SPF 15) and Combination/Oily Skin (with SPF 6). I use the latter one, of course, but I have heard many good things from friends about the Normal/Dry Skin formula.

It is available in 20 different colors, ranging from Ivory (the lightest) to Mocha (the darkest). Having extremely fair skin, myself, I use the first two colors in the spectrum, Ivory and Buff. I find that mixing the two colors together provides me with the perfect shade for my skin color. Since my skin gets oily quite fast, I set the foundation with powder which helps maintain the natural flawless look longer throughout the day.

I have heard a lot of people compare Revlon’s ColorStay Foundation to MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid Foundation, saying that it is just as good, if not better, in texture and coverage. They are both available with SPF. Having tried both foundations myself, I find they both offer decent coverage but, personally, I prefer Revlon ColorStay because it feels less thick and heavy on my face and it blends into the skin with more ease. It also comes off faster with a makeup cleanser/remover.

Has anyone else tried this type of foundation? What are your thoughts on it? Do you find Revlon’s ColorStay Foundation comparable to MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid? Feel free to leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

Welcome to Beauty Buzzed, my personal beauty blog.

Hello Readers,

Welcome to Beauty Buzzed, my personal makeup & beauty blog. Everything I write on this blog is based on my honest opinions and thoughts about everything and anything to do with beauty. You will see posts about beauty products related to the face, hair, skin, nails and whatever else I come across. I will share all the beauty tips I swear by with you and I will give honest reviews on products that I have tried and tested.

Until next post,

Yasmine Sarhi.

P.S. This blog reflects my personal opinions on beauty products and cosmetics. The reviews and answers I give may not necessarily apply to everyone. Please don’t take my words at face value and try doing some of your own research before you try or buy anything.