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Swatch time: Sephora Rouge Infusion Fuchsia Concentrate

Dear Roses and Lilies,

To expand my pink lippies collection, I bought Sephora's Rouge Infusion in #05 Fuchsia concentrate. I already had a fuchsia lipstick, but I wanted to get something that lasts longer.

Fishing through all fusion lipsticks available, I stopped at Sephora. They had just launched the Rouge Infusion line, a less expensive alternative to YSL and other high brands.

For the price, you get a very high quality product. I've been wearing this shade for a while now. The applicator makes it very easy to outline and fill in your lips - no pencil needed. The shade can go from vivid fuchsia to berry in two or three coats.

The texture is quite creamy - somewhere inbetween a really good gloss and a lipstick. The finish is glossy, but not sticky and it does not dry my lips. It will highlight chapped lips so make sure you exfoliate (if needed) and moisturize. As far as longevity goes - 6 hours full on and 4 as a stain. Yes, it stains very well and it may replace your waterproof lipstick.

Of course, you have to pair it with a link pink or fuchsia blusher, so it doesn't make you look washed out. Concealing all your redness and spots is also a must, because this shade has a lot of red in it.

I usually team it up with a pink blusher and a neutral eyeshadow, because the lips become the focus of the whole look.

Sephora Rouge Infusion Fuchsia concentrate, one coat
This shade is perfect for summer, if you want an alternative to the usual corals and tangerines and neutrals.

Have you tried any of the Rouge Infusion shades?



Swatch time: Guerlain Pamplelune Shine Automatique

Dear Roses and Lilies,

Now that the sunny days are here, it's time to bring out the shiny stuff. As far as my makeup collection goes, I love lipsticks that feel lightweight and have some microglitter, but without being sticky or too sheer.

It was high time I tried one of the Guerlain lipsticks, now that my fave Clarins lipstick is discontinued and very hard to find. :-(

This month's lipstick highlight: Guerlain Shine Automatique in #240 Pamplelune.

I must say, I am hooked on the packaging of Rouge Automatique line. It is everything you would expect from a premium brand: elegant, easy and fun to use and... did I mention elegant? I wonder how long it would take me to break that mechanism, but I'll report back on it.

This lipstick has fragrance in it, but the scent is faint. It is also very similar to the Dior lipsticks' scent.
It is similar in color to Clarins' Rouge Prodige in #116 Coral Tulip. In terms of texture and pigmentation, it is somewhere between Clarins' Joli Rouge and Chanel's Rouge Coco Shine.

Pamplelune is very easy to apply and lasts for around 4 hours, if you don't eat or drink anything. Being a shinny, sheer lipstick, it does not leave a stain behind so you will need to reapply it throughout the day.

It is very hydrating, which Guerlain lipstick are quite famous for. And, for the money, they better be nourishing and awesome!

I am very happy with it, especially since I have the fragrance with the same name from Guerlain.

What's your opinion on Guerlain sheer lipsticks?



For now and forever - Chanel N°5

Dear Roses and Lilies,

Chanel N°5 was born out of the desire to please a woman's whims, the creativity of a perfume genius and a fortunate accident. 1921 was the year it was first presented and it still is a best seller, to be coveted and loved by people everywhere.

Browsing through my olfactory memories, I cannot recall smelling it on anyone, throughout my childhood. And, since fragrances became particularly fascinating for me at a later age only, it took me a while to even become interested in N°5. For me, Chanel was just some designer whose perfumes and makeup I would never be able to afford, let alone the clothes. Funny how things can change over time... ( no, I still cannot afford the clothes and their fragrances and makeup are a pain to my wallet ).

So, I first sniffed this fragrance during a visit at a perfumer's shop in Greece about 5 years ago. I bought a generous amount of decant, which will probably last me a very long time. And, considering how pricy this perfume can be, I didn't bother buying any of the bottles on the market.

Sometimes, I will settle for what's inside the precious bottles and not fuss about the packaging.

On to the fragrance...

The top notes, as listed on, are: aldehydes, neroli, ylang-ylang, bergamot and lemon. Middle notes are: iris, orris root, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley and rose.
Base notes: amber, sandalwood, patchouli, musk, civet, vanilla, oakmoss and vetiver.

The composition is so well blended, that I can hardly distinguish anything specific. Instead, I can give you my overall impression, by just closing my eyes and breathing in this exquisite smell.

There is something citrusy, a bit sweet and powdery in the opening. I learned that the "powderiness" of a fragrance is given by the amount of iris in it. The more you add iris and/or orris root in a fragrance, the more powdery the overall impression will be.

And there is something nutty and woody. Something like a green hazelnut. There is the neroli, which smells quite bitter at the beginning but sweetens up over time, and patchouli.

The rest is just lots of flowers and aldehydes - N°5 contains such a high concentration of this synthetic component ( which adds to the soapy/floral/citrusy notes in a fragrance ) that it makes it first of its kind in the perfume world. ( Of course, other perfume houses used aldehydes in their fragrances, but none of their offspring were like Chanel N°5.)

As far as longevity goes, I noticed that, depending on the temperature, it would last between 12 and 24 hours on my skin. It is not a projection monster, unless you use a lot, but that is not an issue, because I prefer subtle elegance to screechy modern scents.

Setting aside all the romance and glamor weaved around Chanel N°5, I must admit this is the best classic elegant perfume ever created. Not for very young people ( I prefer more playful fragrances for the very young ), but for everyone else... who can understand and appreciate it.

What's your take on N°5?



Fragrance love: Marc Jacobs Daisy Black Edition

Dear Roses and Lilies,

I finally caved and added a Marc Jacobs fragrance to my collection. And, of course, it had to be a limited edition version, because they are the coolest. :-)

I don't care much for MJ fragrance bottles, because they look like they are made for school girls. Daisy, however, comes in a more "mature" looking bottle, with the flower-y cap.

On to the juice...

Top notes for Daisy ( same as the original, permanent version ) : grapefruit, violet leaf and wild strawberry. I love strawberries, but I sadly don't smell it anywhere in this fragrance. I do get some grapefruit in the opening, but it does not last long.

Middle notes are: gardenia, violet and jasmine. Oh, velveeety jasmine... not! I get lots of gardenia and some soft violet, which seem to be the theme of this fragrance.

Base notes: musk, white woods and vanilla. The base is woody and musky, mostly. Vanilla is there to counteract the soapiness, I think. My nose is not yet trained to distinguish the various types of "wood" used in perfumery, so "white" tells me only: clean, dry, cold.

Overall, Daisy presents itself as a clean floral that does not project heavily and does not last over 6 hours. For me, this is an "early morning" fragrance, suitable for women who like to be "as fresh as a daisy" in spring/summer. Not too playful, not too serious either.

What does this fragrance smell like on you?



Benefit "realness of concealness" mini kit

Dear Roses and Lilies,

I absolutely love mini makeup kits and palettes. They come in handy and you get to try various products before buying their full size versions.

Benefit make the nicest little sets and kits out there, like this adorable "fake-it kit" - realness of concealness.

The packaging is adorable and portable. But, what you can find inside is really the highlight.

You get sample sizes of the "boi-ing" concealer, the eyelid primer "Lemon Aid" ( cheesy name, huh? ), a mini "highbeam" highlighter, a mini "ooh la lift" under-eye luminizer and a mini lip primer "lipplump".

Now since this kit is no longer available, I'll just review what's inside.

Of all these little products, the only one you cannot get any more is the lip primer. Which is not a huge loss, and you'll see why...

Here's a hand swatch:

From the top right - highbeam - a pinky highlighter you can use on top of your cheek bones, cupid's bow, brow bone and bridge of the nose for a soft, luminous effect, but without looking greasy or glittery.

Next up is ooh la lift - which you use mainly on your brow bone to give a lifted effect, or on the inner corners of your eyes, for a more wide-awake look.

On the top left - boi-ing industrial strength concealer - obviously too dark for me now, but it will come in handy in summer. It does cover blemishes and spots well and it lasts for around 6 hours on my oily skin, without melting away. It is creamy enough to be used under your eyes as well.

On the bottom left - lemon aid - a yellow toned primer to lift the sallowness on your eyelids. It does help blend your eyeshadows easier and it highlights their color better. It looks like a lemon, smells like a lemon... must be a lemon?

Last product, bottom right, which looks disgusting IMO - is the lipplump. This is a lip primer which is supposed to help your lips look bigger.

How to use: you apply it on bare lips, pat it in, then blot to remove the excess. It will pale down your lips considerably ( doesn't concealer do that too? ) and blur away fine lines. What it also does is change the lipstick color slightly.

Let me demonstrate:

Top picture - lip primer on - my lips look pale and feel dry. The product is not supposed to be drying, because of the jojoba oil, but, being a primer, it's not particularly creamy either.

Second and third pictures - Dior lipstick with primer and the same without primer.

As far as plumping goes, it looks like this product is more like a lip pencil for lazy people. It helps outline the contours of your lips, but there is no other lip plumping effect...

The quantity for the mini product tubes is 2.5 g/0.09 oz. The lemon lid primer is 1.0 g/0.03 oz, while the concealers reads 1.20 g/0.04 oz.

Of all these products, I love highbeam. It's pinkish, so perfect for my skin tone.

What's your take on the Benefit makeup kits?



Natural summer glow with Bourjois

Dear Roses and Lilies,

Finally, after many trials and sad results, I found a bronzer that is close to perfect. Since I am yet to become a bronzer buff, buying a more wallet friendly bronzing powder seemed like the best idea. Wasting money on a high end bronzer, only to discover it looks bad on your complexion is really not something I want to do... again. :-D

Bourjois' Delice de Poudre was the product of choice. This is a matte bronzing powder with barely there shimmer particles. It comes in two shades, so that fair complexion as well as deeper complexions could benefit from the "sun in a box".

The powder smells faintly of chocolate but, once applied, the scent quickly fades.

About the shimmer particles - you know how some bronzing powders make your face look shiny all over, because of the shimmer.
Delice de Poudre has shimmer in it, but it's only there so you won't look flat. The powder is still good for contouring.

Now to the look...

A good base is very important before bronzer. So make sure to use a good foundation, that looks natural. The heavier the coverage, the cakier your makeup will look with the bronzer on.

Conceal your undereye area if needed - there is no puffiness and blueish hues in summer, after spending the day on the beach, right?

On your eyelids, use your favorite shade. I am more into neutrals lately, so Benefit's Creaseless Cream Shadow in no pressure! is my go to.

Next are brows and lashes. I like to do my brows before my lashes. Depending on how heavily I pencil my eyebrows, I would use either a lengthening or a volumizing mascara. I use the same pencil to line my upper lash line. When using this kind of pencils on your lash line, do so gently. They tend to be drier and more difficult to use as liners.

Once the eyes are done, powder your face all over. This is important, so the bronzer won't stick to your base and make you look dirty.

Let the makeup set while doing your lips. I love this hot red chilly hue from Bourjois's Rouge Edition Velvet line. Apart from being affordable, the shades are very nice and the product is high quality.

Saving the best for last... apply the bronzing powder all over you face. Start with contouring your face, though. Then you can decide how much and where to apply the powder to next.

The end results should be a natural glow, that doesn't look too yellow or too orange.

The hand is there to show you the difference between my natural pre-summer skintone vs. the bronzer look.

I enjoyed doing this look on myself and I was happy to discover that it lasted around 9 hours without fading or sliding off my face.

Can you recommend a fantastic bronzing powder?



Fragrance love: Guerlain Shalimar Ode a la Vanille

Dear Roses and Lilies,

In 2013, Guerlain launched a new flanker for their cult oriental fragrance, Shalimar. The new oriental vanilla variation is called "Ode a la Vanille Sur la route du Mexique" - ode to vanilla on the road to Mexico.

The bottle retains it's classic shape with the blue cap, and the box is simply stunning!

As the name implies, this version is more about vanilla and its marvelous aroma.

I love Ode a la Vanille because there is no spiciness, no woody notes and no musk. There are only 7 uncomplicated notes that, brought together, form a fragrance not as deep as the 1925 version, but still pleasant and sensual.

Now for my nose: when I spray Shalimar Ode a la Vanille, I get something sparkly like a citrus concoction. Don't let that throw you off the trail, however. There is no bergamot in the opening. There is opoponax, which is a type of resin that is both sparkly and bitter.

Then there's incense, without which a fragrance cannot call itself "oriental". This, together with the resin, adds the "mystery" vibe. There are chocolate and caramel notes, but those are redundant, in my opinion. Since there is a healthy dose of vanilla and tonka beans, the fragrance is sweet enough to resemble a caramel cookie.

As for the flower notes, the perfumer chose only iris. No more jasmine - the flower so frequently added in perfumes - and no more roses. The iris adds a bit of powder to the composition, but it doesn't make it as powdery as Shalimar Parfum Initial.

Ode a la Vanille lasts for over 7 hours on my skin. It is not a sillage bomb, it's made to be more close to the skin and bed friendly. And by "bed friendly", I mean it's sensual and perfect for a romantic evening spent with your significant other, by the fire or candlelight. ;-) And you can enjoy it all year round, because it's perfect for the colder months and bearable in the hot summer months, as long as you don't over apply.

It is a very loving fragrance, that will get you compliments both from women and men who get close enough to smell it.

Have you had a sniff of this stunning frag? How would you describe your Shalimar experience?



My casual day look with nude lips

Dear Roses and Lilies,

This is my third variant of a casual day look, that I like wearing most of the time. The difference, on this one, is that you need to subtly change the tones from neutral-cold to neutral-warm. Does that make sense? No? Then keep reading...

First step is foundation - well blended, same tone as your skin and don't forget to conceal any red areas around your nose. Then add concealer if you need extra coverage and move on to eyes. I love the kitten flick liner so, when I have time, I pay extra attention to getting the lines right. And these,of course, on top of a neutral or brightening eye shadow.

The eyelashes need to be curled and then coated in mascara, so that you would get extra definition on your eyes. And don't forget your eyebrows: keep them groomed and healthy.

Powder the center of your face if you have combo or oily skin - this is important even with foundations aimed at these skin types, because the oil absorbing ingredients in them will do the job only for a few hours.

Now on to the cheeks...

On my last two looks, I used the Bourjois Blush Exclusif pink blusher, which looks really light on me. I didn't bother taking the blusher off - it would have meant redoing the base and that's boring. :-)
So I simply added another Bourjois cream blusher on top - 04 Sweet Cherry.

For lips, I used TheBalm Girls in Mai Billsbepaid on top of a light stain or, to be more specific, on top of what was left of Givenchy's Le Rouge in 301 Magnolia Organza.

The nude lipstick from TheBalm is creamy and leaning towards brown-y rather than pink-y.

Sometimes I love the color, but, now that I used the cherry blusher, I felt like some pink mixed in with the nude would work better.

What do you think?


My casual day look with glossy pink lips

Dear Roses and Lilies,

If leaving your lips look natural is not for you, there's always a confidence booster nearby. All you need to remember is to keep it simple and wearable with just a pop of color.

For my second casual day look, I took off most of the moisturizing gloss. Not all of it, because lips need moisture even under other lip products.

The rest of the makeup stays the same: foundation - depending on your preferences - concealer where and if needed, a touch of powder, a neutral eyeshadow, liner, volumizing mascara and eyebrow products. The pale pink blusher looks good with many lip colors, as long as they are not too warm toned.

Back to lips: I went glossy because it is the easiest thing to do. If, however, you don't like sticky glosses, you can always try one of those fusion lipsticks - a stain, a gloss and a lipstick in one single product.

Like the YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stains or the Rebel Nudes.

I used no. 103 Pink Taboo, which is a wearable pink. The first layer is pretty sheer, but by the time you finish applying the second layer, the color coverage is opaque.

This is non-sticky and the texture is watery in the tube but turns to gel on your lips. Once it sets, there is very little color transfer and, since this product is also designed to function as a stain, the color will last longer ( vs. your average glossy product ). I love this shade because it stays glossy all day and it's comfy on my lips.

The price on YSL makeup in general is pretty steep, but there are many dupes out there already, for a lower price. Fell free to adapt this look to your own budget and skin tone.

The end result is a fresh, casual face, with a hint of color to brighten your mood.

Hope you like it!



My casual day look with pale lips

Dear Roses and Lilies,

When trying to look effortlessly chic, sometimes it's best to minimal makeup for a maximum effect. When I posted a series of 4 pictures on facebook with different interpretations of casual chic, this particular look  received the most votes. The overall feel is supposed to be fresh and serene, like a summer morning.

How to:

Starting with the base, I didn't feel like doing something heavy, so I used Rimmel's Matte BB cream in light, just where I needed some evening out. Then I prepped and primed my eyes with Benefit's Stay Don't Stray, added some shine on my eyelids with Benefit's Creaseless Cream Shadow in no pressure! and lined my upper lash line using a gel eyeliner. The one I have is the very cheap kind, that has a more matte finish - kind of like a pencil, but long lasting. The thick liner with a flick is designed to make your eyelashes look longer at the outer corners. It also gives you that cute kitten look.

On to mascara - no eyelash curling because I used plenty of Miss Sporty SL3DV.  Then I filled in my brows using my Rimmel eyebrow pencil.

On my cheeks, I applied Bourjois Blush Exclusif - a really nice pale pink cream to powder blusher.

I applied some powder on the center of my face to pale down the BB cream a bit. Turns out "light" is not light enough for me. But it's Rimmel - only available in two shades - at a great price.

My lips received "special" treatment: no liner, no color, just a highly moisturizing and refreshing cooling gloss from L'Occitane En Provence ( which, I think, is discontinued... sadly ).

The only slightly complicated thing about this look is getting the lines right. Tracing them with a brush dipped in gel eyeliner does make the job a whole lot easier than struggling with a liquid liner.

I hope you enjoyed this post!



Dior Addict Fluid Stick Mirage Look

Dear Roses and Lilies,

Not so long ago, Dior launched their line of fusion lipsticks, following the trend: not a lipstick, not a gloss, but something inbetween and liquid-y. When I first saw them, I wasn't very impressed. The packaging of the Dior Addict lipsticks never did attract me. They look like drugstore brand lipsticks, IMO. The packaging for their Fluid Sticks is the same style, only bigger and heavier. It's meant to look like a lipstick bullet, which is cute if you enjoy these little marketing tricks.

I was also reluctant to trying these out because my YSL glossy stain damages my lips.

After careful consideration and reading some reviews on the internet, I took the plunge. I am still not happy about how the packaging looks, sorry Dior. But the product itself is very good.

I have #338 Mirage, which I first thought would be a nude-y color, by the way it looks in the tube.

When applied, it's this really pale orange color - like almost ripe oranges.

Which reminded me of my orange-y blusher, from Farmasi. I bought it some time ago, in hopes of paring it with an orange lipstick and blue eyeshadow. Sounds crazy, right?

The look I did using Mirage, however, is more casual and appropriate for summer.

When creating this look, I started with the base. My skin felt dull so I used the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum foundation, working it from the center of my face outwards. Then I applied Benefit's Stay Don't Stray around my eyes and my nasal folds for some brightening.

Did some pinpoint concealing using the Korres Pomegranate Concealer, which is very long lasting and heavy coverage. Then I applied Benefit's Creaseless Cream Shadow in "no pressure!", blending the color halfway up to my brow bone. This shade has some shimmer in it, but not enough for it to register as shinny or metallic on the eyelid.

As I felt that my brows looked quit skinny, I decided to amp them up using the Rimmer eyebrow pencil. I always use a heavy hand with it - light strokes are just not my thing - so I use a slightly tapered eyeshadow brush to blend the pencil.

Moving back to my eyes, I applied 3 coats of the Rimmer Lash Accelerator mascara. I figured since my lips are going to be glossy, my eyelashes could use some glossiness too.

All done with the eyes, I applied a good layer of translucent powder all over my face. I love using the powder puff, it's so soft!

Moving on to lips - I had worn a moisturizing lipstick the day before so I didn't need to use any lipbalm. I applied Mirage straight away. The first layer looks really pale, but the color payoff and coverage are good. I wanted to add more layers, and see how it would behave. The product turns from liquid to gel pretty quickly and it sets on your lips. So, if you do not work fast, it may turn patchy. Lots of patting, maybe some lip liner - or no lip liner - and you are all set.

It's not sticky at all, which is a relief. It does turn tacky, but that doesn't bother me. And it does last for hours, even with coffee time, lunch and dinner. Of course it fades and transfers on cups and glasses, but some of that gel stays put, even though it's not really a stain.

Being that it's such a pale shade - on my lips, at least - I felt like doing lots of blusher. So I took my big contouring brush ( no, I don't care that it's not made for applying blusher ), dipped it in my Farmasi orange blusher, tapped off the excess and swiped it across the apples of my cheeks and my cheek bones. Then I blended the edges with my fingers and done!

A simple summer casual Mirage look. I hope you found it inspiring.



Budget mascara - Miss Sporty Studio Lash

Dear Roses and Lilies,

As of late, I have been focusing a lot on finding mascaras that do a great job on my lashes and cost less than most "high end" mascaras.

Since my lashes are fairly long but thin, I like using a lot of volumizing mascaras. I went from really cheap mascaras to really expensive ones and most of them failed - some stung my eyes, others clumped, others smudged.

My current favorite, from the ones that passed my little trials: Miss Sporty Studio Lash 3D Volumythic.

This is a really good low cost mascara for everyday. The little bean shaped wand helps get in those tiny corners and coat the lashes you never knew you had.

You can also get it close to the roots of the lashes, which will help maintain the curl after using eyelash curlers. If you are like me - your lashes are not straight but not curled either - then you probably won't need any eyelash curlers with this mascara. Two coats are more than enough; if you apply three, it will look clumpy.

The formula is on the drier side, so it isn't likely to smudge ( too much ). On my oily lids, it only starts to smudge after the 8th hour of wear, in normal temp and moisture conditions.

It does not sting my sensitive eyes and it can be easily removed, without having to pull at my lashes or rub my skin.

All in all, I am very happy with it and highly recommend it. And when 3 months pass and I have to get a new tube and throw the old one away, my wallet does not "cry out in pain".



Pink lips for moody days

Dear Roses and Lilies,

From muted to frosty to fuchsia, I love pink lipsticks! I think that different shades of pink are flattering for different skin tones, so from going bare with a tinted lip balm to going bold with fuchsia, there is a shade for every taste.

Claudia's pinks
First row, left to right: Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in 79 Saga ( LE ) and Dior Rouge Dior in 365 Rose Songe ( the new Rouge Dior ).

Second row, left to right: Chanel Rouge Coco in 13 Gardenia and TheBalm in Anita Boytoy.

Third row, left to right: Le Rouge Givenchy in 301 Magnolia Organza and YSL Rouge Volupte Shine in 19 Fuchsia in Rage.

Fourth row, left to right: Clinique Chubby Stick in 14 Curvy Candy and Sephora Rouge Infusion in 05 Fuchsia concentrate.

Fifth row, left to right: Bourjois Gloss Effet 3D in 46 Rose lyric and YSL Rouge Pur Couture Rebel Nudes in 103 Pink Taboo.

Depending on my mood, I would reach for the lip balm when I'm out and about, for a vivid fuchsia when I'm bored or a glossy stain when I am lazy and don't want to keep touch up my lips throughout the day.

Which one is your favorite shade?


New Artistry Signature Color lipsticks - Bellini and Ballet Pink

Dear Roses and Lilies,

After having had the pleasure of "playing" with Artistry's Signature Color in Taffeta Rose, I thought it would be nice to add two of their other shades to my lipstick collection.

From their more pigmented range, I got #3 Bellini and #7 Ballet Pink.

Bellini is a muted coral and it's universally flattering: it looks charming on pale skins as well as on darker skin tones.

The texture is creamy and it almost feels like a lip balm. Application is very easy and you don't really need to use a lipliner, because it does not bleed at all.

The packaging is the same - fun twist and click ( it was really fun to watch three of the women in my family struggle to get the lipstick out ).

I really enjoy coral shades of lipstick and I think Bellini would make a nice summertime lip color.

Ballet Pink is a medium rose pink - again, universally flattering. It could easily replace a boring nude lipstick.

The texture is creamy and the wear is comfortable. You don't need a lipliner with it, unless your lip shape needs serious correcting.

It goes well with smokey eyes for an evening look and it looks nice with a daytime no makeup makeup look... or any other look that you fancy, for that matter.

What these two have in common: 3.8g / 0.13 oz of product, black carton boxes and the golden twist and click packaging. They are fragrance free and made in the US.

Both shades wore for 4 hours without fading. I don't find them particularly moisturizing, but they are not drying either.

However, you do need to make sure your lips are moisturized and exfoliated before applying the lipstick. Otherwise, the flaky bits will be highlighted.

In terms of price, they are somewhere between affordable and expensive. Premium certainly does not come cheap!

Compared to other lipsticks I have...

Bellini is similar to Clarins Rouge Eclat in #08 coral pink. The Clarins lipstick, however, is more pigmented so the shade is more vivid.

Ballet Pink is similar to Chanel's Rouge Coco is #13 Gardenia, except that Gardenia has golden micro-shimmer in it.

Bellini looks stunning on one of my aunts, who has a pale complexion.

Ballet Pink looks great on my mom, who has a medium complexion and who prefers lipstick shades that are natural/neutral/nude.

Have you tried any other shades from Artistry Signature Color range? Which ones are your current favorites?



Sephora 2 in 1 waterproof eye makeup remover gel

Dear Roses and Lilies,

I received a cute little sample of this makeup remover recently and I decided to share my thoughts on it with you.

This retails at Sephora in the US for only $10.00 at 4.22 oz ( 125 ml ) of product. The price everywhere else in the world should be around $10.00 + some taxes specific to each country.

On to the packaging:

The bottle comes with a pump, which is hygienic and practical. Being that it is large, it won't be easy to carry around in your bag. But you can always use a small pot for traveling.

The ingredients:

Water, Propanediol, Poloxamer 184, Glycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer,Caprylyl Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol,Butylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA,Sodium Hydroxide, Centaurea Cyanus Flower Extract, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil,Potassium Sorbate,Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide, Apigenin, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Oleanolic Acid, Biotinoyl Tripeptide-1

All of these are there to help dissolve even stubborn eye makeup and soothe the eye area ( well, apart from preservatives, pH adjusters etc. ).

The claims:

A gentle gel that moisturizes while removing eye makeup in one gesture. It's supposed to be good for your eyelids as well as your lashes.

What it does:

This 2 in 1 waterproof eye makeup remover gel does help remove eye makeup pretty quickly. I tried two methods: first I dampened the cotton pad, then added the gel. Gently patted for ten seconds then took it off my eye. It did not remove all my mascara ( and I am not using a waterproof one ).

Second, I applied the gel directly onto a dry cotton pad. The left it on my eye for ten seconds, and removed it.

Again, it removed my eye makeup but not in "one swift gesture". Had to apply twice to make sure everything was off. I guess I am too used to Bioderma and had way to high expectations on this one.

In terms of skincare, it does make the skin around my eyes feel moisturized. I don't have problems with my lashes for the moment, so I doubt this product will make them grow longer.

It did not irritate my eyes in any way and I didn't end up with bits of mascara under my eyes in the morning.

Overall: it does the job well and that's good, considering the price. The gel texture is new to me and I discovered it feels quite fresh and not as heavy as a cleansing milk.

Have you tried any other gel makeup removers?



Clinique and their DDMG

Dear Roses and Lilies,

Ever since I discovered moisturizers, I've been searching for one that is not only suitable for my skin type, but really does the job well.

From low budget to extra expensive, there a tons of brands you can choose from and it is, sometimes, a matter of personal preference.

Now, I am not really into high end skincare - to me, it means spending a ridiculous amount of money on something fancy and shiny that gets used up fast, but with the same benefits as something less expensive.

Bearing all this in mind, before going out to buy a new moisturizer, I spend a lot of time researching it. The ingredients list is very important to me so, if I read about a product on the internet and the ingredients are not listed, I tend to move on to another product. I can't stand having to spend more than 5 minutes in front of a shelf, reading the ingredients on the packaging and trying to decide whether they would be good or bad for my skin. And I feel particularly irritated when I am asked by a sales person if they can be of any assistance, especially if I don't ask for it ( don't you? ).

Gifts from friends and family do include skincare from time to time, mostly on the budget side, but I am happy to get them nevertheless. And these are the only exceptions to my rule, but that does not mean I don't test drive them for a while before giving them the thumbs up or throwing them out.

I spent a lot of time researching the Clinique skincare products: browsing their page, reading reviews on all kinds of websites, analyzing their ingredients lists. So two products caught my eye: the
Turnaround Concentrate Radiance Renewer serum ( which I received a sample of when I was shopping for skincare ) and the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel.

What's in it:

Water/Aqua/Eau, Dimethicone, Isododecane, Butylene Glycol, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Glycerin, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Polygonum Cuspidatum Root Extract, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract/Extrait D’Orge, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Caffeine, Triethelose, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sucrose, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria), Polysilicone-11, Silica, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Oleth-10, Lactobacillus Ferment, Laureth-23, Laureth-4, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Tromethamine, Disdoium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Yellow 5, Red 4, Yellow 6

As you can see, Dimethicone is second on the list - which may mean there's a lot of it. So, if you are allergic to this ingredient, skip this moisturizer.

Next, lots of antioxidants and moisturizing ingredients - I love the plant extracts and I find it funny to see there is cucumber in it as well. Cucumber has been used by my grandma for years!

Of course, there are various ingredients that are supposed to help prevent an allergic reaction to everything else, some ingredients that are classified as fragrances ( no, not the type that irritates your skin ), two preservatives and some ingredients that add a bit of color.

It is oil free, which is great for my already oily skin.

What it does:

Beside what Clinique claim it does - which I never read before buying a product - this is a good moisturizer.

And that is all it does: moisturizes the skin "on the verge of perfection".

I haven't head any allergic reactions to it - no flare-ups, no breakouts, no extra oiliness on my T zone. It has been a year since I started using it and it really did help keep my breakouts in check.

I love the fact that it is not a heavy cream. It feels soft, gets absorbed quickly and my face doesn't feel sticky at all.

Overall: a good investment and I do plan to get the full size bottle next - and test it on family members as well. :-D

Have you tried any of the products from Clinique's three-step?



DIY gentle exfoliation VICHY

Dear Roses and Lilies,

Thermal water is very good for all kinds of skin problems. From minor burns to irritation to blemishes to dehydration, it successfully helps treat all.

You can find several brands in your local pharmacy, all with the same benefits. The one I've been using for a while is the Vichy thermal water ( I always buy the jumbo size, because small ones run out fast ).

When you first spray the water onto your skin, you can feel your pores tighten and you get that overall calming effect on your irritated areas. It is enriched with minerals, that are beneficial for your skin.

The list of uses and application methods is long:

You can soak a cotton pad in it, then apply on your tired eyes - you'll feel refreshed and the puffiness will be reduced. Spray it on sunburns and they'll calm down.

Spray it on your face in the evening, after removing your makeup, instead of adding loads and loads of cream and you'll see an overall improvement the very next morning.

On to the DIY:

Do you get those little loose bits of skin sometimes, when your skin's just acting up? Well, I do. Mostly on my forehead, nose, cheeks and lips... well, pretty much all over my face, in small patches.

What I like to do: apply some of water on a cotton pad, then gently buff the areas with loose skin. "Gently" is the key word when it comes to exfoliation, so never scrub like you would your bathroom sink!

After removing the dead skin cells, spray a generous amount directly onto your face, let it sink in for 10 seconds, then take it off with a clean towel - patting gently.

This should do the job perfectly and soothe your skin after your little semi-facial.

Say "bye bye" to those nasty flakes!



Alverde liquid eyeshadows

Dear Roses and Lilies,

On a beauty quest to find eyeshadows that last and last without creasing and fading, I discovered liquid colors - so quick and easy to apply!

Not wanting to invest in something expensive that I might not like, from the multitude of liquid eyeshadows I could find ( two brands ), I chose the least expensive.

If you never heard of Alverde before it is because it's a drug store brand you can find in the dm-drogerie markt chain of retail stores, in some European countries.

The products are all made in Germany, so I am sure they undergo rigorous quality control before they hit the shelves.

Back to my eyeshadows...

These are metallic colors, good for party makeup rather than daytime makeup. I have #20 Metallic Turquoise and #30 Metallic Aubergine.

#30 and #20 in 2 layers

What I like about these eyeshadows:

The color payoff is amazing, even if you choose to apply one layer only.

This dark aubergine color is lovely and it works great on brown eyes. The look you get is full on drama!

Metallic Aubergine 30

The turquoise shade is very vivid and somewhat frosty. I think it works best as a liner or just as a highlighter, applied on the inner corners of your eyes.

Metallic Turquoise 20

The formula is non-drying and suitable for sensitive eyes as well. 

Application method - take the excess off the applicator on the back of your hand before applying the first layer and gently dab onto your eyelid. Close your eyes and let it set for 10 seconds, then build up gradually. Don't rub, or else it'll turn patchy.

Use a sponge or the applicator the eyeshadow comes with. I don't recommend using a brush or fingers to apply this product. It will come off on your fingers and dry really fast on your brush and the finish will be streaky.

It takes no more than a minute to finish your eye look and the shadow won't budge for 7-8 hours. No primer needed and super easy to remove, using your regular makeup remover.

Do you own any liquid eyeshadows worth raving about?



New Artistry Signature Color lipsticks - Taffeta Rose

Dear Roses and Lilies,

For those of you who have been using lipsticks by Artistry ( from Amway ) and are happy with how they perform, there is yet another reason for you to love them.

Artistry recently redesigned their lipstick range. Now we have the Crescendo packaging with the golden cap for the regular, full coverage lipsticks and the black cap for their sheer ones - and a new name: Signature Color and Signature Color Sheer.

What both versions have in common - the exclusive twist and click design that makes using these lipsticks a whole lotta' fun.

Taffeta Rose #14 seems to me like a warm rosy color in the tube and it looks fantastic on a medium to dark skin tone. On pale skin, it can make you look washed out if you're not careful how you do the rest of your makeup.

The lipstick itself is moisturizing and - they say - fragrance free. It does contain soybean oil, which is both a moisturizer and a fragrance.

If you ever smelled a Clinique lipstick, which is also fragrance free, you'll surely notice the bitter, 'old times of yore' lipstick scent.

These Artistry lipsticks do not smell like that. To cover up the nasty aspirin-like smell, there's a tiny bit of fragrance - but it's quite safe.

Full ingredients list for Artistry Signature Color lipsticks:

As you may notice, they added more plant extracts, which is a huge plus in my book. So no more chapped lips after taking the lipstick off and, probably, anti-aging benefits on the long-term.

For those of you who are not familiar with Artistry lipsticks, I do encourage you to try the full coverage or the sheer ones. The packaging is eye catching, fun to play with and the shade range is decent.

See ya' later!



Color on a budget - eyeshadows

Dear Roses and Lilies,

While shopping around for... nothing in particular, lots of colorful products caught my eye. Being on a budget ( sometimes ), shopping for makeup can still be fun.

I found eyeshadows that are cute, colorful and good, for extremely low prices.

My first buy was this duo from Miss Sporty. This is a brand that, IMO, has quality makeup at very affordable prices ( it has Coty printed on the back, after all ).

The packaging is all plastic, cute and portable. There is a small sponge applicator that comes in handy when you're on the go ( although I prefer using my fingers ). 

The duo I got is called Lively Spirit #222. I think this one's discontinued, but they still have 5 more colorful duos you can choose from. The color payoff is good - and you can apply wet or dry. Adding two or more layers, depending on how intense you want it to look, is easy. And the finish is iridescent and there are no chalky colors in these duos.

As for lasting power - around 5 hours and then it starts to crease and fade. If you use a primer, it will probably last for another 1 - 2 hours. This also depends on your skin type and eye shape, of course. I have yet to discover a product that lasts as long as it is advertised ( except for mascara ), on my oily skin.

My second budget buy is this trio ( #622 ) by Polish brand called Quiz Cosmetics. It is even less expensive than the Miss Sporty eyeshadow duo.

I bought this one because of the yellow eyeshadow. I first thought it was going to be a matte eyeshadow. Turns out it is iridescent.

The packaging - again, simple. No applicator this time. It says "Trendy Fashion" on the lid.

Color payoff is good and the powder is finely milled so it feels soft. The green shade has more microshimmer in it than the other two but this only makes it so much more vibrant and perfect for summer.

Lasting power - still around 5 hours, which is fabulous! :-)

Do you know of any other budget eyeshadows worth trying?


P.S.: Beauty doesn't always have to cost a lot of money!


Beauty essentials - lip gloss

Dear Roses and Lilies,

Whether you want to add some color on your lips and look super casual or want to add drama for a night out - lip gloss is your go to. Clear, colorful, glittery, moisturizing - it comes in many shapes, sizes and prices.

Years and years ago, when the lipstick trend was somewhat muted, we all enjoyed Lancome's Juicy Tubes, Avon's little flavored lip glosses and waves on waves of other brands of cute, colorful, scented miracle workers.

For those of us who do not enjoy the sticky feel on our lips, Chanel ( and some other brands ) came up with some amazing comfy and non-sticky lip glosses.

From low price to high price, I enjoy trying out several different lip glosses...

L'Occitane en Provence Verbena Sorbet Cooling Gloss is a relief for dry lips on a sunny summer day. It is a clear gloss that you can wear on its own or on top of your favorite lipstick. It's cooling and moisturizing, with a lot of plant extracts ( obtained from Organic Farming, they say... ).

If you haven't tried the Bourjois lip glosses, it's high time you dive in. There are plenty of colors to choose from and they are fun to play with.

Avon still make nice, less sticky lip glosses that smell delicious and add volume to your lips ( smoke and mirrors, but it works ). I had one that tasted like caramel, so it was a joy to apply over an over again.

And there are the plumping lip glosses, featuring ingredients like hot chilly ( nasty and stingy ) or hyaluronic acid. Amway have their beautycycle Light Up Lip Gloss, which comes in 3 shades and are plumping, non-sticky, moisturizing.

From a more obscure brand, another plumping product which contains hyaluronic acid plus vitamin C is Volume Lip Extreme from Eveline Cosmetics. It is an affordable lip gloss that comes in 12 wearable shades.

Last but not least, there are the "fusion" lip glosses. YSL have their glossy stains - expensive but longwear, shiny, fabulous. Chanel have their Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss - longwear, moisturizing, lip gloss with am oomph! for couture lips. Guerlain have their Rouge G L'Extrait, which more a lipstick than a gloss... and the list goes on and on.

What I love about lip gloss is that you can experiment with all these different colors and textures, especially if you are uncomfortable with some lipstick shades. If you are afraid to wear red lipstick because you think it may make you look like a clown, there are tons of red tinted lip glosses you can use instead.

So lip gloss will always be on my beauty essentials list. Is it on yours?



Bourjois foundations - Healthy Mix ( original )

Dear Roses and Lilies,

This is going to be an attempt of a review for the old and still much appreciated Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation.

After it was revamped and relaunched and, with the old Healthy Mix still on the shelves of most stores, it was only natural that we would benefit from a promotion on the old version. So, when I went to the store to get another bottle of the Healthy Mix Serum in a considerably darker shade ( it was summer, after all ), the SA told me I would get a free bottle of the old Healthy Mix. Like with everything "free", this was a pleasant surprise. And, never having tested this version before, I was excited.

Comparing the two that I have ( HM and HMS ), I would say they are very different. Whilst Healthy Mix Serum is aimed at normal to dry skin, Healthy Mix is more suitable for normal to combination skin. The texture is different too, Healthy Mix being a liquid foundation, but with enough silicone in it to make it easily blendable, while Healthy Mix Serum is a gel type foundation.

The finish is quite velvety with Healthy Mix as opposed to the dewy finish you get with the Serum version. ( I actually painted half of my face with HMS and the other half with HM to be able to see the differences better... and because it was more fun that way! )

As far as longevity goes, Healthy Mix stays put for around 7h as long as my skin is not in the occasional "avenger mode" ( extra oily and dull ).

It does not clog or highlight my pores in any way so it's good for the bad skin days as well and I don't really need to use any powder. Blotting at some point in the day is necessary with oily skin, but the foundation stays put ( well, 99% of it ).

In terms of coverage, I would say it's light but buildable to medium without caking.

Last but not least - something we all like - it is an affordable foundation.

Have you tried the new Healthy Mix? How does it compare to the old one?



Fragrance love: Givenchy eaudemoiselle de Givenchy

Dear Roses and Lilies,

I recommend you a spring/summer fragrance launched in 2010 by Givenchy to keep you joyful.

Givenchy eaudemoiselle de Givenchy is the kind of fragrance that you should wear lightheartedly.

Top notes are composed of Amalfi lemon, tangerine and basil. Middle notes are ylang-ylang and rose. Base notes are musk, tonka bean and ambrette seeds.

The bottle looks very vintage and clean and it is made of sturdy glass ( yes, I dropped it a few times, it's still in one piece ). No complicated shapes, no flowers and hugs and kisses and chirping birds.

The soft-sweet-sour scent of rose water enriched with lemon and basil can be a go to on sunny summer days and on colder spring days. As it is an EDT, you can spray it on lavishly and it stays fresh all day long.

eaudemoiselle de Givenchy is not the most impressive rose fragrance around, but I really enjoy its sparkly facets. Since it does not have lilies or jasmine in its composition, it's not the kind of fragrance that intoxicates your senses. The ylang-ylang in the heart of the fragrance highlights rather than mutes the roses.

And now for the base notes...

Although it used to be obtained from the musk deer's "musk pod" - uhum - nowadays almost all perfumers use synthetic musk only - for obvious reasons. And this fragrance lasts longer because of the musk base.

The ambrette seeds warm the scent up slightly while the tonka beans add sweetness.

What this fragrance reminds me of...

the rose jam my granny's sister used to serve whenever we were visiting. It's a very nice memory from my childhood.
The commercial is quite confusing. There's a blond lady in a black cape looking very sexy-sombre. I don't understand the witch theme they weaved around the fragrance ( although she is in a sunlit scenery with lots of green grass, trees and water... ).

Have you tried this fragrance yet?



Fragrance love: Chanel Cristalle EDP

Dear Roses and Lilies,

When I first tested Cristalle EDP by Chanel, I was impressed by how it seemed to be a good combination between the classic floral aldehydic fragrances, the citrusy and  the chypre fragrances I tested before this one.

Being in the mood for trying out pretty much everything there was to test in the store, I went overboard. Tried everything except the gourmand, overly sweet, ozonic, spicy or overly bitter fragrances. Knowing that my nose would eventually get confused, I stopped at Chanel.

I wanted something that has a classic vibe to it, but not too "times of yore". At the same time, I craved for something with citrusy notes, so that the fragrance would feel refreshing on rainy days. But the citrusy part should not turn sweet and syrupy in the end nor give way to something deep, dark and intoxicating.

So I got something sparkly green and clean. Cristalle starts off with sweet citrus notes, like mandarin juice with a tinge of crushed wild mint leaves. The EDP version is supposed to have peach and melon in it, but I honestly cannot detect either of them. Instead, I get a fresh scent, like green grass, that stays with me till the end... of those 6 pleasant hours. Now I know this is the hyacinth or actually, a breed of it, which used to grow in my granny's garden when my mom was a child.

It will not bother the people in the room with you because the sillage is rather soft.

It is suitable for daytime, but not elegant enough for a night out. It's very casual and somewhat sporty, I dare say. Spring - summer - early fall type of perfume.

All in all, the fragrance is clean, but not as cold and empty as a crystal and certainly not perfect.
But who really wants perfect?



Emerald if you please - Calvin Klein single eyeshadow

Dear Roses and Lilies,

Today we go green, but not with envy

For those of you who don't particularly like orchid hues ( as in the shade of the year ), a good alternative is emerald green.

The word "Emerald" is derived (via Old French: Esmeraude and Middle English: Emeraude), from Vulgar Latin: Esmaralda/Esmaraldus, a variant of Latin Smaragdus, which originated in Greek: σμάραγδος (smaragdos; "green gem") ( )

This precious stone is one of the most fascinating gems to be found in nature. To me, an emerald is by far more beautiful than any diamond out there. I know I know, some of you may disagree. But I prefer this warm, green, fragile stone over some form of carbon that makes people go nuts.

So emerald, my darling - your hue takes me back to green forests and pastures, enjoying the simple things in life.

Surprisingly, I don't own many emerald green items. In terms of makeup, I had several hues of green, but never emerald... well, until now.

I found this gorgeous CK eyeshadow all by accident, whilst trying out some perfumes last week. I wasn't going to buy any makeup, but then the color immediately caught my eye. So I couldn't part with it and I am glad I didn't. :-)

This is from the Tempting Glance Intense eyeshadow line and the color is emerald #115. It has 1.40 g./0.05 OZ of product in it, but I think it's more than enough for a mono.

The packaging: square, clean, built-in mirror and tiny sponge applicator that is good for touch-ups.

The powder is finely milled and soft and it has micro shimmer in it, which makes the finish iridescent.

You can apply the eyeshadow in a contouring fashion, just into the crease and over a light base; as a sheer wash of color in one layer or add more drama by applying more layers. You can also apply it just as an eyeliner, with a damp brush.

Staying power is average - it lasts on me around 5 hours before it starts to crease and fade.

All in all, it is not the most impressive eyeshadow out there, but the color is wonderful!




On cream blushers - Too Faced

Dear Roses and Lilies,

I got this Too Faced Natural Face Natural Radiance Face Palette two years ago, in summer, because it has some of the essentials for creating a radiant, natural looking complexion: 2 concealers, 1 highlighter, 2 blushers, 1 bronzing powder, 3 HOW TO cards and a mirror.

The packaging is cute, practical and portable ( these Americans know what they're doing ).

Of the 2 blushers in the palette, I like the cream one. The shade is a dark, warm rosewood, more suitable for medium complexions. I have a light complexion so I only ever wear this in summer, after getting a bit of a tan.

What I love about this blusher is how it blends seamlessly into my skin. A little goes a long way so the lightest touch will do.

It lasts on me for a whole 8 hours before it starts to fade around the edges. To get it to last longer, you can always add some powder blusher on top.

The texture is creamy, but without turning powdery or feeling heavy, so you can get the natural effect easily.

I also tried it on my lips ( why not? ), but it makes them look quite pale, so it would be perfect if you were to create a "just risen from the dead" look.

The formula is non-greasy and non-drying so you can wear it with confidence even if you have dry skin ( of course, that doesn't mean you should skip moisturizer ).

This was my first ever cream blusher, so Too Faced is actually the one brand that got me into liking cream makeup vs. liquid or powder makeup.

Have you tried any Too Faced life changing products?


"Luminous" is the word of the day

Dear Roses and Lilies,

Refreshed by the sunny spring weather outside, I put on a sunny, happy face.

I decided to go very fresh and luminous, with the aid of some pretty nice makeup items.

Starting with my base, I applied Guerlain Parure de Lumiere ( cream version ). I knew I would spend a few hours out in the sun, so this foundation was perfect because it has decent coverage and SPF 25. This is the kind of foundation that helps bring back light into your skin, even in the dull days.

For my cheeks, I used Benefit benetint - a nice lip and cheek stain that smells of delicious roses. This can also be applied on bare skin. I prefer it that way because, if you feel you've gone overboard, you can always tone it down or blend the edges with foundation.

I also applied one layer of benetint on my lips and blended it with my fingers.

Then, I applied Benefit Stay Don't Stray under my eyes and on my upper lids and blended it gently. I allowed it to set for a few moments, till I added another layer of benetint on my lips.

Then I applied Benefit's creaseless cream shadow in r.s.v.p - an oyster pink shade that brightens your eyes beautifully.

I added some Benefit girl meets pearl highlighter onto the high points of my cheeks, bridge of my nose and Cupid's bow.

My brows got a nice brushing through and then some Rimmel eyebrow pencil in #004.

Miss Sporty Studio Lash 3D Volumizing was my mascara of choice, because it adds volume, length and curl!

I finished the look with another layer of benetint on my lips ( I just love how natural it looks!).

And voila!

Hope this was inspiring!

Have a bright day



Budget mascara - Rimmel's Lash Accelerator

Dear Roses and Lilies,

We've already established that mascara is a beauty essential and there are so many formulations, packaging types, wands and price points that we are really blessed with a great variety to choose from. But how much are you willing to spend on a good year rounder mascara?

Well, help's on the way!

I've already tested Le Volume de Chanel ( expensive, yes ) and I've concluded that I love the wand but not so much the stuff that comes in the tube. But, today I am going to talk to you about Rimmel's Lash Accelerator, which is much more budget friendly.

Let's start with what the ad says:

"Our first mascara and lash treatment in one that works both instantly, and overtime with Grow-Lash Complex. Instantly up to 80% visibly longer looking lashes. Up to 117% visibly longer looking lashes after 30 days of use." ( )

What it does for me:

My lashes look instantly longer, but then that is what happens with any mascara. After all, my lashes aren't very dark, so black makes them look long. :-)

I guess this feature would be better put to the test on people who sleep with mascara on or accidentally burn their lashes. I am in neither category, fortunately.

Plus, lashes are not known to grow in length indefinitely. Yes, some fall out and others come out to fill the gaps, but they don't get any longer than what's already encoded in your genes. ;-)

So I don't buy into the 117% thing and mascara ads tend to be exaggerated anyway.

What I do like about this mascara:

The wand is skinny so I don't have a hard time applying the mascara ( my eyes are on the small side ). The finish is glossy, but there are no smudges like the ones I get with Benefit's they're real.

It does not sting my eyes at all so this mascara may be good for sensitive eyes as well.

Although two coats are more than enough, because the payoff is good, it doesn't clump when applying more coats.

Removing the mascara at the end of the day is easy: you can either use your normal eye makeup remover or soap and water ( if you are lazy ).


It still smudges after 7 hours of wear ( if the air is not particularly hot and moist ).

All in all, Lash Accelerator mascara is a good day to day product. It doesn't feel heavy, it doesn't sting my eyes, clump or cause my lashes to fall out.

If you do have problems with your lashes, you can try this mascara. It doesn't cost a lot of money and it may help you on the long term.

Stay beautiful!



Pretty in pink

Dear Roses and Lilies,

Put on your pink sunglasses to embark on this voyage into the heart of pink flowers and candy and fruity flavors.

This winter, although it was short and odd, seemed long enough for me. So, perfume-wise, I quickly went from spicy fragrances to floral and gourmand ones. I am easing myself into spring and summer, surrounded by pink stuff.

So, moving from spicy warm wine to tea and berries ( or is it berry tea? ), I've put away my YSL Opium and reached again for Givenchy's Ange ou Demon le secret ( the one from 2009 ).

This is the kind of fragrance that you can still wear in winter, although it is soft and harmless. Still, not suitable for summer.

Top notes in Ange ou Demon le secret:lemon, tea, cranberry - berry tea with a drop of lemon. ;-)

Middle notes are: jasmine, peony and water lily. Base notes: patchouli and woodsy notes.

What my nose gets from this fragrance: berry tea and intoxicating jasmine, on a base of cuddling patchouli. It's truly a delightful smell, that lasts for around 9 hours before it becomes really really close to the skin.

This is a fragrance you can wear at the office. It's not a projection monster and it won't kill the flies and the spiders from under your seats.

In summer, Ange ou Demon le secret tends to become a little too harsh and maybe a tad too sweet.

My boyfriend got this for me shortly after it launched so I can't say how the new formulation is. I know the new Ange ou Demon le secret comes in a slightly different bottle and that they added musk. They should have called the new fragrance - "L'Intense", "L'Absolu" or something to differentiate from the old formulation. I just hope it smells as good as the 2009 version.

Moving on, from berry tea to yummy chocolate and Lancome's La Vie Est Belle.

This is maybe the most successful fragrance of the past two years or so. When I was in Paris earlier this year, I could smell LVEB every 5 minutes. I really find this amazing because I don't remember smelling any other perfume so often on people around me.

For this reason, many would think this is a generic perfume and would shy away from it or wrinkle their noses.

Well, did not the same happen to Shalimar in it's glory days? Or, dare I say, to Chanel 5? Now we pay a lot of money for a bottle of the ( sadly according to some ) reformulated Shalimar or the eternal No. 5.

Lancome fragrances, in my humble nose's opinion, are very persistent, like any eau de parfum should be, really.

La Vie Est Belle is no exception. It lasts for over 12 hours on my skin and days on end on my scarf.

Sprayed on a paper strip, I get iris, jasmine, patchouli and the praline smell ( where does that come from? ) with pear and berries.

My skin highlights the patchouli, praline and pear, with lots of jasmine and little iris. I can't detect the vanilla, tonka and orange blossom, but that is maybe because they are well blended with everything else.

This fragrance too, would be a little too heavy for summer time ( but, for that, they've created the eau de parfum legere and the EDT versions, right?). In addition to that, unless you spray it lightly, in an enclosed space - such as an office or a class room - you risk intoxicating everybody.

Moving on to warmer weather scents, Versace's Bright Crystal brings spring.

This is not one of my favorite fragrances, but it's suitable for spring and I keep hoping it would grow on me eventually.

I have the EDT concentration of this floral fruity fragrance, so it lasts a little over 6 hours and gets close to the skin around the 4th hour of wear.

What bothers me about this fragrance is the heavy magnolia note. I've no idea what Yuzu smells like, honestly, so I would say I can detect pomegranate and amber in the background.

This would probably be a sweet fragrance, if it wasn't for the water notes... Water notes??? How would one get a perfume to smell like water? Assuming water is supposed to smell...

Overall, Bright Crystal is just what the name implies: a bright fragrance, a crystal warmed by flowers and fruity notes. Not too sweet, but not bitter either and perfect for blondes!

And finally, for the warmer summer months...

Oriflame's Miss O, a melange of ripe fruit with a prominent lily at the heart of the composition.

All blended together in one sweet cocktail, fruity notes are: grapefruit, bergamot, kiwi, pineapple, black currant, peach and coconut. Heliotrope and lily are the only floral notes, while the base consists of cedar, sandalwood, amber and musk.

This fragrance is supposed to be young and fun, but the lily kills it, in my opinion. "Fun", in my book, translates into something sparkly fresh and sunny. Wish there were more citrus and less jam in this one.

Still, Miss O is nice for summer time, because it is quite soft... well, unless you put on tons of it. Being an EDT, it will not last long - maybe a full 4 hours before it disappears completely.

So here are my pretty in pink fragrances for this year: Givenchy Ange ou Demon le secret, Lancome La Vie Est Belle, Versace Bright Crystal and Oriflame Miss O.

Hope you enjoy reading this post as much as I've enjoyed writing it.