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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.



Bourjois foundations - Healthy Mix Serum

Dear Roses and Lilies,

Now that spring is coming, it's time we take out the more light coverage foundations and the BB/CC creams and move the more heavy coverage products back to storage ( I am sure that, if you are into using foundations, you too have at least 2 in your collection ).

Being more into experimenting new textures and coverages, I now have several stored away in my "makeup wardrobe".

The ones I love and come back to time and time again are the Bourjois foundations.

Over the years, by experimenting mostly on myself, I noticed I am very much into light coverage foundations. Don't you find that it's better not to cover your skin in heavy coverage products? Especially if you have nothing or almost nothing to conceal on your face...

If you look around you on the street, in bars and clubs, you may find that a lot of girls wear heavy coverage foundations, or ones that don't suit their skin types or tones. This is frustrating to me, at least, because I do love to stare at a beautiful face, no matter where and when.

So I try to make sure that I don't fall into the category of people who don't know their faces or think less of themselves.

Keeping all this in mind, I chose the lighter foundations, that look softer and skin-like. One of them is the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum foundation.

It is a gel foundation suitable for normal to dry skin types. So, on combo or oily skin, it will not last long without a touch of powder. Which is fine with me, really, because, in my experience, foundations targeted at combo and oily skin feel heavier on the skin, not to mention they mostly have matte finishes.

It is not the kind of foundation that sets fast, so you have time to blend it really well and work it into your skin. The scent is pleasant and it fades fast, so it won't turn your stomach.

The finish is dewy, which means it's also really nice for a night out, when you want to look more polished. And it photographs beautifully!

Downside to it - if you are living in a very hot climate, you'll have to add more powder or quit using it altogether. As the air gets more humid and hot, you risk getting as shiny as a hospital light bulb.

Which is your favorite Bourjois foundation?


P.S.: I apologize for the picture. Since it is a much used and loved foundation, most of the writing on the packaging has faded.


Fragrance love: Me and Mitsy - Guerlain Mitsouko EDT

Dear Roses and Lilies,

The year was 1919, when Jacques Guerlain created a fragrance to mark the end of the war. According to the legend, this fragrance was inspired by a story of impossible love between a dude and a dudette. Blah blah blah...

Fast forward to what is really important: top notes of Mitsouko ( we forgive the French for spelling foreign names wrong ) include citruses, jasmine and rose. Middle notes include lilac, peach, ylang-ylang and base notes include cinnamon, amber, moss and vetiver.
Olfactory group - chypre. Not too sweet, not too bitter, not too citrus-y, just really well balanced.

I have the EDT version, which is sharper than the EDP. I much prefer this one, however, because it is not as overwhelming.

For the first few minutes, you'd get spices and cinnamon - smelled from the distance ( says my boyfriend ). Up close - mostly mossy, earthy, green notes - something I don't recall smelling before in any perfume. The fragrance takes around 3 hours to settle down and then the peachy note emerges... ever so gently. But it's not the sweet peach you would expect, the one you get from most gourmand fragrances today. You'd still get cinnamon, but not the kind you'd imagine combined with coffee or wine. It's a refreshing, cold cinnamon, if you know what I mean...

With Mitsy, I realize my skin brings out the best of the base notes. I don't care much for jasmine and I don't smell it at all. Same goes for the lilac. They must be super well blended with the rest of the ingredients.

Mossy forests is what I envisage when wearing Mitsouko. I am very curious of how much I will enjoy this fragrance during summer.

So far, I find it really special, unique and certainly not for everyone.

What is your favorite chypre?



On cream blushers - Bourjois

Dear Roses and Lilies,

Chanel launched a line of cream blushers last year that are dreamy and, according to many on the internet, super easy to work with.

I looked at them like cats look at mice, but the high price point made me turn away and look for cheaper alternatives.

Browsing through the huge bucket called internet, I came across several articles on Bourjois cream blushers ( they were launched last year as well, but I can't find them anywhere locally ).

They come in 4 shades. You may find some of the shades online ( this goes for my Romanian readers ) but, if you never had the chance to swatch them, I wouldn't recommend taking the risk.

I finally had the luck to swatch all 4 shades when I was in Paris this year. I know, it's been months and months since these blushers launched, so this is not going to be new to most readers. :-)

Shades 1 to 3 are very sheer on me. Of course, they are buildable, but I like to get good payoff from one layer.

So I decided to get shade number 4, which is called Sweet Cherry.

On my skin, this registers more like a dusty rose than a cherry. And I soon realized it looks a lot like the cream blusher from one of the Too Faced palettes. 

Back to Bourjois: in terms of color payoff, this shade is great. I get enough color and don't need to build up at all.

There are reviews on different makeup products that say "the product is highly buildable and doesn't look patchy". Well, with the Bourjois cream blushers, building up can be tiresome. If your skin is patchy, then that's that. You won't be able to build up anything. It will look awful, no matter how good the product is. So I would recommend making sure that your skin is super moisturized before applying this blusher ( on top or under foundation, whichever you prefer ).

Blending this blusher is easy, but not easy enough. I find that I always need to work fast to get the edges blended seamlessly. And I don't know about the second skin feel they promise... I mean, it doesn't feel heavy at all, nor greasy, nor too powdery, but isn't a cream to powder product supposed to feel like that anyway?

As for staying power, I noticed it usually lasts around 6 to 7 hours on me without fading too much. This is awesome, since I have oily skin and makeup usually slides off or fades pretty fast sometimes.

Do you own any of the other 3 shades? How do they "behave" on your skin tone and type?