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Christmas beauty buys

Dear Roses and Lilies,

Beside of  the little makeup treasures I bought just before Christmas, my darling bf also bought me some highly coveted glamorous makeup pieces: the new and enhanced Rouge Dior lipstick in # 365 Rose Songe and the Diorshow Fusion Mono eyeshadow in Cosmos.

I bought my first Dior lipstick two years ago, after extensive online "research".  I was shopping for the perfect lipstick for my mom. It had to be super moisturizing even after removing it, the perfect neutral shade and easy to apply ( preferably on the go, no lipliner required ).

After much careful consideration, the winner was Dior. And it did not disappoint!

The formula is moisturizing, the lipstick glides on like a dream and stays put for hours. As a bonus, it smells really pleasant and inviting, like any glam lipstick should really. It doesn't have a vintage rose scent or a candy-like one; it's a light floral scent that fades away once you apply the lipstick.

This year, for their 60th anniversary, Dior relaunched their couture lipsticks in an enhanced formula, slightly different packaging and new shades.

Formula-wise, I can only say it's still super moisturizing, so I don't really think it needed improvement to begin with. The finish, however, is glossier and more luminous ( the light reflecting particles help with that ). As a result, your lips will look fuller and fresher.

The scent stays the same, which is awesome, because I really fell in love with it.

As for the eyeshadow, it also launched earlier this year and I've been really obsessed with it. Cream eyeshadows are so easy to play with it and last a lot more on me than powders. The Dior cream eyeshadows have a shimmery finish, perfect for party looks and a texture to die for. The shade range available in RO is limited, but who needs white eyeshadow anyway? ;-)

So far, I only got # 881 Hypnotique and # 281 Cosmos - two different shades close to my heart. Hypnothic is smoky, plummy brown with multicolored micro-shimmer and Cosmos is a shimmery blackened navy blue, like the night sky in summer.

Now that I can put the stars on and glossy lips, I am party ready! ;-)

What's your New Year's Eve party look going to be like?



Beauty essentials - lip balm

Dear Roses and Lilies,

When it comes to beautiful skin and, especially, perfect lips, the first thing you need is hydration.

To help you achieve a youthful, fresh pout, what do you reach for?

Lip balm is such a generic product; it is very accessible, available in so many flavors and various types of packaging.

But, when it comes to versatility and benefits, there's nothing like it.

I love lip balm, as there is so much you can use it for. Primarily designed to rehydrate chapped lips, a good lip balm can easily be used to soften the skin on your elbows or, in combination with sugar, it'll help you exfoliate your lips.

It can also replace your lipstick. All you need to do is apply lip pencil on top. Any lip pencil color goes and you'll get a creamy finish plus hydration!

What's your favorite brand of lip balm and why?

Stay beautiful!



Little makeup treasures

Dear Roses and Lilies,

Here are some little makeup treasures I bought recently, after stumbling upon them by chance. The price on each was so good that I jumped. :-)

I got a Givenchy lipgloss, in #451 Fizz Peach - a really sheer nude with a hint of sparkle.I gave this away as a Christmas present, so I didn't get a chance to test it.

The Chanel lipgloss in #52 Genie ( Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss ) looks really orange, almost neon on the applicator. On your lips, and worn on its own, the color is sheer so you just get shine and a hint of orange.

The Laura Mercier eyeshadow stick in Twilight is similar shade-wise to the Dior cream eyeshadow in #881 Hypnotique. Otherwise, it's not as glittery as the Dior and it lasts longer on me without smudging or fading. The texture is on the dry side so no primer needed with this one.

I am planning to use these ( except for the Givenchy gloss) a lot this season.

What are your little makeup treasures?


P.S.: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone!


My month without Bioderma

Dear Roses and Lilies,

Re-reading my skincare faves post, I feel I absolutely have to share some more "intel" on the Bioderma Sensibio H2O micelle solution.

After getting hooked on it months ago, I decided to spend a month without using it - a little experiment.

What this special water does:

1. removes makeup in a flash

2. soothes irritated skin

4. treats skin sensitivity

What's on the ingredients list:
Water (Aqua), PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Propylene Glycol, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Fructooligosaccharides, Disodium EDTA, Cetrimonium Bromide.

This is probably the best makeup remover on Earth! Yes, it does remove waterproof makeup as well, although not as easily as non-waterproof ( is this a word? ).

So now you know what I missed most... and oh! the non-greasy/oily feel to the skin.

What I used to remove makeup this past month: makeup removing lotion ( Aslavital ) or soap and water ( really, just cheap soap and tap water! ). You can imagine, there hasn't been too much makeup on my face, as I also decided to sport no makeup makeup looks a lot.

Bottom line, I don't think I'll give up on Bioderma very soon. It is the only skincare product I am 100% satisfied with, although it is pricey. But, because it's so good, it's worth every penny.

Have you ever tried it or something similar to it? How was it?

Eagerly awaiting your comments.



Beauty essentials - mascara

Dear Roses and Lilies,

If you were to move to a deserted island ( are there any more of those left? ) what makeup item would you take with you? Only one choice allowed!

I would have a hard time deciding, but I lean towards mascara.

I currently own three full size mascaras and four sample sizes. They behave differently and no, I don't really need them all... but they're so pretty! :-))

Since we're supposed to ditch old mascara every three months ( for medical reasons, that is ), I like to stock up on them. How do you know when your mascara is old and you don't remember when you bought it? Well, it looks dry and it smells rancid ( or sour anyway ). If you detect any funny smell, do trow it away immediately.

Moving on, here's a short review of the ones I have or tried ( but no longer own ).

Top of the list: Clinique Lash Power Mascara - long wear, tubing technology, warm water removal

It's supposed to stay put for 24 hours - but I never sleep with mascara on my lashes. It wears beautifully for 12 hours though. The brush is skinny so the mascara lengthens rather than volumizes.
But that's fine with me, because it does not clump, it does not smudge and, best of all, it does not irritate my eyes.

Downside - it is expensive, maybe too expensive for a mascara.

Second best: Miss Sporty Pump Up Booster - volumizing, collagen enriched formula

This one has a big fat brush and lots of plant extracts ( all of which are good for adding more fiber to your lashes ). On me, it lasts around 6 hours without smudging. The formula is on the dry side, so you're getting a matte finish. And it is budget friendly.

Downside - it clumps if you apply it like crazy ( 3 or 4 coats ).

Lucky number three: Sephora Full Action Extreme Effect Mascara - volumizing, lengthening

I got the blue version simply because colored mascara was one of this summer's trends. I like it because it doesn't smudge on me ( although I am yet to test it in cold weather + indoor heating ).

Downside - again, maybe too expensive for a mascara

And now for the sample size mascaras:

1. Benefit they're Real! - defining, lengthening. Smudges like crazy on me - probably because it's more on the glossy/wet side. It doesn't irritate my eyes and the wand is awesome.

2. Lancome Hypnose - volumizing, slightly curling. The brush is not as big as the Miss Sporty one, but it still does a pretty good job. What I don't like is that it dries rapidly and I end up with bits of dried mascara after 5 hours of wear. It also smudges a little. I don't think I will buy a full size one, simply because it is expensive.

3. Chanel Le Volume de Chanel - volumizing. This is one that I don't have anymore. It volumizes and defines your lashes beautifully. But it irritated my eyes and smudged after 3 hours of wear. So, whilst I love Chanel, I won't buy any of their mascaras.

The other samples I have are duplicates ( one Clinique and one Lancome ).

I hope you enjoyed this post and I eagerly await your responses!



On how to buy makeup

Dear Roses and Lilies,

It may happen to the best of us to find ourselves blocked in front of a store shelf, unable to decide what to buy and sometimes scared to touch the beautifully packaged products.

When it comes to makeup, you may find that it isn't an easy job. It's not like walking into a grocery store and getting whatever is on your list... or is it?

And, to further complicate things, you may run into an irritating sales rep who looks bored, tired or even suspicious... like they hardly can wait to get rid of you.

Working with people is difficult, I get it. Young people even tend to lose their patience more easily. But customer service should always be more about the customer than about selling.

To make the whole buying process easier, here's some tips:

 1. try to make up your mind on what you want to buy before leaving home - this way you will reduce the chances of getting confused and finally buying something completely different

2. DO NOT go shopping while you're PMSing - PMS makes you feel everything but fine and you may end up getting something useless or ugly. You always need a clear mind for decision-making.

3. before buying products online, make sure you already know what you're getting ( i.e. the foundation shade is right, you already know which lipstick suits you etc. )

4. set up a budget before going shopping - sales assistants will always encourage you to buy more, or buy only the most expensive products

5. spend some time researching the things you want to get - it's no use buying something that 90% of the people who bought that product think it sucks

Keeping all these simple things in mind:

1. if you are unsure about a product, ask a SA for help - they are supposed to be more knowledgeable than you anyway

2. don't get discouraged when the SA gives you the "evil eye" - looking back harshly at someone or bowing your head never helps. Instead, try to be the better person and ask for assistance. The more you keep them busy, the sooner their facial expression will change - and it'll help you focus on your own goal

3. if you want to test a product, but you are unsure of what to grab, ask the SA. Why not have them do their job instead of hovering around customers with a watchful eye? <-- That's the security guy's task.

4. if none of the above work, don't fret. Just leave that store and get the product or something similar from another store, or online. The competition's there to make sure customers get good service at all times.

Hope these tips will help you on your next shopping spree!



Serums serums... Clarins HydraQuench

Dear Roses and Lilies,

So far, I reviewed two serums - one for treating sensitive skin, one for gentle exfoliation and brightening.

This time, I'll talk about one good for moisturizing dehydrated skin: Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase.

Long name, kind of hard to remember, but once you see the blue bottle, you'll know this is the one.

What I have at the moment is the sample size.

A dinky 3 ml bottle I am happy with. :-)

What's in my serum:

Aqua, Glycerine, Isohexadecane, Isononyl Isononanoates, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Sodium PCA, Trehalose, Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil, Benzophenone-4, Sodium Chloride, Parfum, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopherylacetate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tromethamine, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hyaluronate, Disodium EDTA, Alcohol, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Carrageenan Extract, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Alfalfa Extract, Cedrelopsis Grevei Bark Extract, Pyrus Sorbus Bud Extract, Sorbic Acid, Tocopherol, CI 42090 (Blue 1), CI 60730 (Violet 2).

It is a water based serum, so no greasy or sticky feel. It does contain alcohol and fragrance so I wouldn't recommend it on a very sensitive skin.

It also has hyaluronic acid and some cool plant extracts that help seal in moisture. Of course, you're also supposed to wear your regular moisturizer on top, especially if your skin feels shriveled with thirst.

This tiny sample has seen two trips abroad and chilly German weather and it did a very good job. I could take it with me on the airplane ( d'oh! ) and I only needed one drop to take care of my dry patches. No moisturizer on top, I swear! :-))

From what I read on the net, this one does a good job for combo, oily or normal skin. It does not, on its own, moisturize dry or very dry skin. Not intensive enough, some say.

I considered buying a full size bottle but, at the price, I can get a moisturizing serum that doesn't have fragrance and/or alcohol in it. Again, my problem with allergens...

Have you tried this one? Did you like it?



Serums serums... Artistry essentials

Dear Roses and Lilies,

Continuing my serums series, I present to you ARTISTRY® essentials Alpha Hydroxy Serum Plus, from Amway.

This one is a more recent acquisition of mine. After testing it once and seeing some results the same day, I decided to get it ( ok, not instantly, but I bought it, eventually ).

What's in my serum:

Water, PEG-20, Lactic Acid, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Lactobacillus/Acerola Cherry Ferment, Oat Extract, Panthenol, Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Sodium PCA, PCA, Green Tea Extract, Kola Nut Extract, Guarana Extract, Mate Extract, Algae Extract, Phospholipids, Sphingolipids, Cholesterol, Proline, Sodium Hyaluronate, Saccharide Isomerate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben and Butylparaben.

Claims to:

- moisturize

- gently exfoliate

- reduce skin flakiness

The lactic acid it contains ( 5% ) is the one that helps exfoliate your skin and give back that youthful glow we all love. It is a derivative of sour milk, which means you can easily exfoliate your skin with some yogurt ( DYI posts coming up later ;-) ) if you enjoy "cooking" up your skincare at home.

Everything else in it is pretty much a moisturizer, antioxidant and preservative.

I'm thinking the oat extract is in there to cancel out some of the effects of the sodium hydroxide ( SH, a PH adjuster, being the only one on the list likely to cause irritation ). Otherwise, I know oat helps reduce cholesterol...

What's the serum done for me so far:

- youthful glow ( pretty pink undertone back! ) - check

- reduce flakiness ( not so much as induce ) - semi-check

- moisturize ( no additional moisturizer needed on top of it ) - check

What I liked about it:

- only needed to use it once a day to get results in two weeks

- smells delicious, although it doesn't contain fragrance ( or so they say )

- it's travel friendly because of the size and shape of the plastic (?) container

What I disliked:

- my face turns sticky after applying the product and the stickiness lasts for hours, even with foundation on top

- for the first few minutes upon application, my face gets a little itchy

- slightly induces flakiness and clogs my pores (why - oh - why? )

All in all, it's a good serum and, if you can get past the stickiness - and you keep using it - the way your skin looks will improve over time.

For me, even though I love 90% of what's in it, the serum is not good enough. After using it for a while ( sometimes these skincare products need time to work ), I find that it is not suitable for oily and/or very sensitive skin.

Those of you who have normal to dry or very dry skin would love this serum.

Have you already tried this serum? How did it work for you?

Till next time!



Serums serums... Dr. Scheller

Dear Roses and Lilies,

I want to talk to you some more about the Dr. Scheller Jojoba & Shisandra, Irritationsmilderndes Intensiv-Serum, featured in my skincare faves post.

I posted the German name here because... they already revamped the serum and are selling it in the US under a slightly easier to pronounce and remember name and I have the old version, bought at a much more affordable price, but doing the same thing as the new version. :-D

Moving on... what's in my serum:

Aqua, Glycerin, Betaine, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Schizandra Fruit Extract, Gossypium Herbaceum Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Xanthan Gum, Chondrus Crispus, Lecithin, Tocopherol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid, Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate

According to the ingredient analysis done via, the Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil, also known as Jojoba seed oil, can cause breakouts and/or irritate your skin if you are super sensitive (which it shouldn't, since the product is aimed at sensitive skin!!!).

Chondrus Crispus (Irish moss) poses the same problem with sensitive skin. But it's in your ice cream as well, so who cares?! :-))

Lecithin, tocopherol and ascorbyl palmitate are three of the antioxidants that can make your life worse if you have acne problems. No acne for me, so I'm safe.

As you can see, there are no parabens, silicon, mineral oils or synthetic colorants in this product. Which is excellent, given that many name brands still try to cut corners by using only the cheapest and most toxic (on the long term) ingredients...

Now, alcohol makes Mojito taste good, but I don't fancy it when applied to my skin.  

This serum does have alcohol in it, used as a solvent - which prevents the juice from becoming thick. It's positioned lower on the ingredients list, so there's not much of it in the product (compared to some of the foundations I tested, where the alcohol is placed right after the water - a lucky number 2 on the list - makes me think about cocktails again).

Schizandra - for those who didn't know, is a plant indigenous to East Asia. Its berries are used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs. (thank you,!)

Apparently, it's also good for your skin and this one is unlikely to cause any breakouts.

All in all, I am happy I bought this serum... although, at first, I kinda' laughed when I read the print on the packaging (yes, in German). I thought this would be one more inefficient product some obscure company launched - to fool us, cheap babes.

It's not the case, however. The serum works - no high expectations please! - it moisturizes my skin after I wash it and calms down redness.

Little to no breakouts and no itchy or greasy feel to my skin!

And what I really love about this serum is that it has a dropper instead of a pump, which makes it fun to use and it is more hygienic too.

Have you tried other products from Dr. Scheller? Can you recommend any?



On how to look fabulous in a dark lippie

Dear Roses and Lilies,

If you recall my Winter memories post, I featured a Dior lipstick that looks pretty dark in the tube.

It was called Rouge Hypnotic #862 in the old Rouge Dior range. The new range has the same shade in 5th Avenue #813.

As with all dark lipsticks, this one can be very versatile. You can wear it in many ways: a light stain, applied with your finger; one coat applied with a brush; combined with a similar lip pencil shade; applied on your lips straight from the tube, without a lip pencil - for an intense look; applied with your lip brush + gloss on top; applied on your cheeks and blended out with your fingers for a healthy flush etc.

It's all fun and the lipstick doesn't have to stay hidden in your drawer because you're afraid to wear it. :-D

For more insight on how to look great in dark lipsticks, check out Lisa Eldridge's tutorials on her website,

She is a fantastic makeup artist with years and years of experience. PLUS, she has a round-up of amazing what-to-get-your-loved-ones-for-the-holidays videos, with giveaways open GLOBALLY!

You still have time to watch her holiday gift ideas and giveaway videos on youtube and post comments. She will announce the winners on Dec.10.

So have loads of fun and don't forget to shine!