Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Review: Hana Flat 1" Iron from Misikko Marketing

Image courtesy of Misikko.com

How many of you lovely ladies have curly hair?  Or, maybe it's not even that curly, but just needs help depending on how the weather is.  Personally, I have wavy hair, and lots of it, which I tend to keep short because it becomes a lot more managable at this length.  Recently I had the opportunity to review a flat iron and I couldn't be more excited to post my review.

Image courtesy of Misikko.com

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Misikko.com, which is an online e-tailer for professional flat irons.  Not only do they carry the iron which I am going to review below, but they carry Chi flat irons and FHI flat irons as well.  Looking to see which irons are rated the best amongst tried and true customers?  Head on over to their best flat iron page and see the reviews there! 

Well first, let me just show you how absolutely adorable the packaging is.  Not only is this flat iron pink (how cute!), but it came packed with the cutest little silk flowers, which definitely brightened the day when I opened the package!

Included with the iron was a silicon heat-resistant mat to place on the table during use to prevent damange to any type of surface, a travel case, the tin and case that the iron fits into, and a bottle of the Hana Shine Shield, which is a heat protectant serum for the hair (below).

Carrying case for the Hana 1" flat iron.

The first thing I noticed, outside the gorgeous pink color of the iron, was the easy-to-read "on" and "off" switch, along with temperature setting and indicator light which blinks once the iron has reached the desired setting.  There is a closeup of this below.  Also, these are ceramic plates, so you know your hair is receiving the best treatment.
Image courtesy of Misikko.com

Although I do have wavy hair, I decided a more difficult and trying test subject would be a great way to review this iron, so I picked my little sister as the guinea pig.  My sister has tons of rich, tight, curly brown hair.  Although her hair isn't coarse at all, she has enough hair to make anyone with hair envy jealous.  Personally, I would love to have her hair - color and all - which is ironic conisidering I dye my hair blonde!  Look at all the shine and curls in the "before" pictures below - it's just gorgeous. 

Well, with curly hair at hand, I decided to tackle the task of straightening her hair.  I had set aside about 30-45 minutes to do this, as I have tried previous brands in the past with some success, but the time to accomplish the desired look was substantial.   After dividing her hair into four sections, I went about the task at hand.  Let me tell you, the performance of this flat iron is UNBELIEVABLE!  In one pass of the iron (set at ~375 degrees), I was able to have a straight section of hair immediately, with no need to come back.  Section by section, this was no exception.  Even the tight curls underneath were simple to straighten.  I was sceptical that the 1" width of this iron would be sufficient to staighten this much hair, but sure enough it worked like a dream.  I managed to straighten my sister's entire head of hair in under 15 minutes.

The other nice thing is the roundness of this iron, which I think you can see in the first few pictures, is it has the flexibility to "curl" your longer hair - it doesn't have to just be a flat iron!  There is a very handy "how to" guide that comes with the iron, and will teach you everything you need to know about achieving curls, flipping your hair under or out, and other techniques that are very helpful when using an iron such as this.


Look at these before and after shots!  Isn't it amazing!  One thing I forgot to take a picture of was the shine serum by Hana which also came with this.  This is truely a serum, and has the consistency of mineral oil.  As my art teacher used to say, "A dot does a lot!", and this is no exception.  About a pea sized drop of this serum and I was able to apply to my sister's hair and protect it from the heat.  Look at how shiny her hair is, and even better, it smells tropical and wonderful!

Another key points to take away: 1) the iron comes with an extremely long cord, and where the cord connects with the iron itself, it swivles/twists, which allows you to keep working and not worry about any tangles in the wire.  2) the iron is easy to use because it's light weight and easy to grip.  3) As mentioned earlier, you can adjust the temperature of the iron.  Depending on who is using the iron will determine what type of heat is needed.  Seeing as my hair is wavy, I don't need a setting of 375-400 like my sister did.  This helps us protect our hair!  The guide (above), also has some suggested settings based on your hair type, which is a great starting point when working with one of these types of irons. 

All in all, I have to say this is the best flat iron I've used to date, and I've tried numerous varieties from the basic you can find at your drug store to those at a beauty supply store.  I would definitely suggest you pick one up if you have been struggling with your iron. 

Keep your eyes peeled here, as well, since I will be posting a contest to win your own flat iron, courtesy of Misikko.com. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

FOTD Using Physician's Formula Shimmer Strips Gel Eyeliner in black

Since I posted about these fantastic Physician's Formula Shimmer Strip Gel Eyeliners yesterday, I wanted to post a FOTD using them as well.  Today I am posting a FOTD using the black pot of eye liner.  I also am using the new Wet 'n Wild Shimmering Berry blush and e.l.f. Lucious Liquid Lipstick in Raspberry.  



Like I mentioned yesterday, these eyeliners are so nice and smooth, it's hard to believe they are a gel liner.  The best part is...the looks below were only one swipe of the brush!  This means there isn't any cakey liner that flakes off into your eyes later in the day.  

Personally, I think using black eyeliner as "test" is great, because I can tell if a product is good by looking in the mirror at the end of the day.  In the case of eyeliners, I typically have what looks like black tears in the outer corners of my eyes due to oils smearing the liner.  If the liner gets an "A" in my book, the smearing is minimal by the end of the day.  In the case of these liners, I had absolutely NO smearing at the end of the day.  For once, a liner actually stays put!!


I also wanted to try out my new Wet 'n Wild blush in Berry Shimmer and one of my new e.l.f. Luscious Liquid Lipsticks in Raspberry.  I really am liking these Luscious Liquid Lipsticks - there is just enough color without being overbearing on the lips.

Face:
Bare Escentuals Foundation "Fair"
Bare Escentuals Mineral Veil
Wet 'n Wild Shimmering Berry Blush

Eyes:
Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy
Fyrinnae Sticky Buns - inner corner
Fyrinnae Lousy Tip - outer corner and crease
MAC Pigment "Vanilla" - highlight
Physician's Formula Shimmer Strips Gel Eyeliner "black" - liner
Cover Girl LashBlast Fusion Mascara

Lips:
e.l.f. Luscious Liquid Lipstick "Raspberry"




Monday, April 26, 2010

Review: Physicians Formulas Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Gel Eyeliners - Green Eyes




Taking another page from the beautiful Recssionista's book, I finally found the Physician's Formula Shimmer Strips Gel Eyeliners she reviewed here at my CVS!  And, to be totally honest, these have been pending my review for quite some time, since life seemed to get in the way of blogging for a while there.   :)

I purchased the set for Green Eyes although there are also sets for Brown Eyes, Hazel Eyes and Blue Eyes.  The eyeliners are stackable, with bright metallic lids which interlock.  The lids themselves unscrew so you can keep your eyeliner nice and moist without the worry of drying out.  I do like the fact that they can either stack or be separate, because depending on what type of storage you use, have a large stack of eyeliners might be a deal-breaker!  The set also comes with a surprisingly nice eyeliner brush.  The brush is tapered, and flat, so it can be used to create a smooth thin line, or a thick bolder line. It is also made of sturdy, but not stiff, bristles, so it won't tug and "scrape" along your eyelid when applied.


The three colors in the Green Eye stack are a bright blue/purple, a bright leaf green, and what appear to be a rich black.  Below is a close up of each eye line in the pot.  




As you can see below, the blue is actually a bright egg-plant, but for some reason all the blue iridescence shows up in my picture of the pot of liner.    The green is just that, a bright leaf green.  Its not as olive as it appears below, which I will show you by comparing it to MAC's Fluidline in Sweet Sage.  You can sort of see the subtle shimmer in each of these, although some have more than others.  I'd say that the blue/purple is the least shimmery of all three, then the green, and although you can't really see it below, the black has this beautiful turquoise and purple/green shimmer!


Just to give you an idea as to the size of each pot, I have compared this to a MAC Fluidline Pot.  Let's be honest, MAC gives a lot of product in these pots, so as you can see, the Physicians Formula pots are quite generous, and you get three for about the half the price of a Fluidline pot.  I also wanted you to see the comparison of this particular green next to a true sage/olive green color.  As you can see, the green in the Physician's Formula is really a true/leaf green, although there is a hint of golden shimmer to it, helping neutralize the color once applied.  


Here are the two: Physician's Formula's green and MAC Fluidline Sweet Sage next to eachother.



Retail Price: $10.99
Where to purchase:  CVS, Walgreens,
Product: 5 out of 5

Price: 5 out of 5

Packaging: 5 out of 5

Overall: 5 out of 5

Would I purchase again? Absolutely!  Very rarely will I give a product a 5 out of 5, but this one is the exception.  The colors are gorgeous, the application is beyond simple, and the brush is great too!  Let me just say that I have tried every drug store gel eyeliner available, and nothing applies quite like this. I would almost think it was a liquid when I applied it - the brush moved along the lashline so smoothly, and there was no tugging or pulling and dragging of the product, so you get a nice, smooth line immediately.  Also, because the eyeliner is extremely pigmented, there is very little need to re-apply over the first line, so you don't get that cakey effect that can happen with some liners.  As a result, there is no flaking or cracking during the day!  Nothing annoys me more than when I look in the mirror in the afternoon and the liquid or gel eyeliner I applied earlier that day has cracked out of the inner corners of my eyes, so it looks as though I only applied eyeliner to half my lid!  Also, I must say that this product wears like iron.  After I swatched the liners, I let them dry, and then did the *Mally* test, as I call it...do any of you ever watch Mally Beauty on QVC and see her rigorously rub back and forth on the models hand for her liners and shadows?  It's quite amusing, but speaks volumes to the capacity of her products to stay put!  I swatched it early in the morning before I went to work, and even after I washed my hands with soap and water, there was the remnants of the liner on my hand.  Don't let this deter you, though - when I used my face wash, which is just basic Olay, it came right off.  So, as I said, this wears like iron!

I just wish my CVS kept things in stock - I would love to try some of the blues or browns!  I will just have to pop into another CVS or Walgreens and see if they have any other shades!

Definitely a great product - have any of you tried this?

Friday, April 23, 2010

e.l.f. Luscioius Liquid Lipsticks: Raspberry & Perfect Pink and Mineral Lipgloss in Bare


Who doesn't absolutely love a bargain...especially when it's a great product!?  Well, e.l.f. Cosmetics had some new shades of their Luscious Liquid Lipstickss available, and I decided that at $1 a pop, it was due time I tried them out.  I am so glad I did!

The Luscious Liquid Lipsticks are like a smooth, liquid, creamy and sheer version of a true lipstick.  These particular lippies come in a twist bottom tube, where the product comes up through a large doe-foot applicator (there are close-ups of this process below).  The colors are very well pigmented, but not over the top.  You can easily apply one coat and have this be a simply sheer color on your lips with a hint of shine, or apply another coat over the top and get those wet, berry-kissed lips that look so beautiful in the summer - kind of like you've been sipping on a strawberry daquiri!  I purchased two colors: Raspberry and Perfect Pink.  I also picked up a Mineral Lipgloss, as I have been eyeing these for quite some time.  The shade I chose was Bare, which is truly that - a rich skin-toned shade with little to no shimmer. 

Below are some close-ups of the applicator.  I find that this can make or break a product.  Although I tend to lean towards brush applicators, the substantial size and felt covered applicator of the Luscious Liquid Lipsticks actually make these quite easy and efficient to apply, without overdoing it.


With the simple crank at the bottom of the tube, you release the product into the applicator at the top.  Keep in mind, that your first go around will require 10-12 good twists to get the product to release on the applicator, but from that point forward, one to two twists will give you enough for an application. 


Below are the two shades I purchased: Raspberry (top) and Perfect Pink (bottom).   There appear to be two different amounts of products, but in reality this is the difference between cranking up the product to be dispersed out of the applicator (Raspberry), and how "full" your product looks prior to twisting the bottom (Perfect Pink).  Now, don't let this deter you from ordering this product - they are only $1...yes...$1 a piece, and this product is so silky smooth, it will go for miles!  Also, the fragrance is a light, sweet, mint.  It reminds me of an old bubble-mint gum flavor I used to love as a child, but of course, they don't make any more!



I also purchased the Mineral Lip Gloss in Bare.  I wanted to compare this product to the Bare Escentual Natural Lipglosses, which I absolutely adore. Bare is a deep skin tone or natural shade.  It reminds me of a lighter terre-cotta color in the tube, although on the lips it turns out to be a beautiful deep lip shade.  There are hints of silver shimmer in the tube, but in reality once applied, all you see is shine.  No sparkles, grit, or shimmer is left behind or makes you look like a disco ball.  This would definitely be the shade to go for if you are looking to enhance the natural shade of your lips with a hint of color and some shine. 


The applicator is your standard doe-foot (below).  I will say that the formula is much thinner than the Bare Escentuals Natural Lipgloss, but the e.l.f. Mineral Lip Gloss still lasts for quite some time on the lips.  There is not any minty flavoring - if anything I smell a hint of vanilla.



In addition to swatching on the arm (above), there are lip swatches of each lipgloss below.  Please disregard the silly freckles I have - I have no foundation on and must have been sitting out on the patio during the day, making my little freckle-friends appear! :)





These are absolutely beautiful.  I would highly suggest you pick up the Luscious Liquid Lipsticks if you plan on placing an order with e.l.f. anytime soon.  They are beautiful, leave your lips soft and supple, and have just the right amount of color.  The tubes, easily the size of a fat pen, fit perfectly in your purse - what ease at $1 a pop!

Who else has tried these?  What is your favorite e.l.f. product? 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Review: NEW Cover Girl LashBlash Fusion Mascara "Very Black"


As mentioned yesterday, I stumbled up on the new Cover Girl LashBlast Fusion mascara at my local CVS at the end of last week.  I couldn't believe that my store would actually have something new in a timely fashion, so I was very excited to get this and test it out!



What actually drew my eye to the display was the beautiful, pearlescent purple tube!  I mean, how can you walk by something that bright and shiny and not purchase it?!  Upon closer inspection, I read on the package that this mascara is supposed to lengthen AND volumize my lashes, so it was an instantaneaous sell!  I'm such a sucker for all-in-one products and pretty packaging!  Cover Girl, you did a great job on that one!

The actual tube itself is the same as the bright orange version of the original product, LashBlast mascara.  It is thick, has a thicker wand, and the same bristle-packed brush, although it appears to taper a little bit more towards the end than the original or Luxe versions do -- click here to see my review of the LashBlast Luxe, which has a closeup of the brushes. 


The product itself comes only in Black right now, although the website does indicate that more colors are coming soon. 

I find that testing new mascaras is a difficult task because it usually takes days to master the techinique and applicatioin of a new product - and mascara is no exception.  The actual formula of the Fusion version seems to be drier and more difficult to work with than the original LashBlast.  I have found that I have to add layer upon layer of product to achieve the desired fullness in my lashes, that to be quite honest, would have taken one or two swipes of the original version.  I'm not sure if this is because the product itself is thinner, or if it is due to the fact that it dries so quickly and becomes difficult to manipulate upon application.  I really didn't see that much of a difference in length, either.  I honestly haven't tried the LashBlast Lenghth (in the yellow tube), although I had read rave reviews online upon it's release.  But, in comparison to other lengthening mascaras, this one would receive an *eh* in my book. 

On the bright side, this mascara did not clump, flake, or leave any residual product around the eyes, even after hours of use.  Because of the consistency and lightness of the formula, it was a breeze to remove with just water and my facewash - no makeup remover or extreme scrubbing needed.  Also, because the formula dries so quickly, I didn't get any excess mascara on or around my eyes during or inbetween application of coats, which sometimes becomes quite the problem with thicker or *wetter* versions of mascara.

Below is a closeup of the product on, this being three coats.  As I said, it didn't clump, which is nice, especially since I had to apply three coats to get the desired thickness.  The product does coat pretty much every lash, as well, which gave me that desired "fringe" effect that everyone is looking for in mascara. 


Retail Price: $8.99 - $9.99
Where to purchase:  CVS, Walgreens, Walmart
Product: 3.5 out of 5
Price: 4 out of 5
Packaging: 4 out of 5
Overall: 3.5 out of 5
Would I purchase again?  Upon my first week or so of use, I would have to say no, but I am going to give this a few more weeks of trial before I finally make my commitment one way or another.  As I said, I prefer the original formula of LashBlast to this new version, so I would tend to go for the bright orange tube before this purple one.  I think it's simply a matter of ease of use, and I don't find this particular formula to be as user friendly for me as others.  Just note, this isn't to say that it would be for you, though! 

I'd love to know if you have tried this and what your thoughts are - please let me (and all my readers) know!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New LashBlast Fusion Mascara and Wet 'n Wild Berry Shimmer Blush

I heard that CVS was having some good specials this week, including BOGOFree on their Wet 'n Wild, 40% off Physicians Formula, and BOGOFree on Rimmel, so I thought I would see what my tiny store had to offer.  I was pleasantly surprised to see a display of NEW LashBlash Fusion Mascara and a new Wet 'n Wild Blush called Berry Shimmer.  Although the blush may or may not be that new, I decided to get it for the summer.  I had yet to read anything about the new LashBlash mascara, either, so this was an immediate purchase seeing how much I love the original formula.


I will review the LashBlash Fusion Mascara tomorrow, but today wanted to swatch the new Wet 'n Wild Blush in Berry Shimmer.  As many of you may remember, Pearlescent Pink is a supposed dup of Nars Orgasm blush, which I posted about here (along with a few other drug store dupes).  The Pearlescent Pink is one of my favorite blushes I have, be it high-end or drug store.  The color, pigmentation and consistency is great, and at $3.99 retail (or on sale if you are lucky!), you can't beat the price. 

Seeing as the Wet 'n Wild display was all BOGO, I thought I'd get myself another Pearlescent Pink blush as backup.  When I looked at the other blushes, I saw a "NEW" sticker on one (at the very bottom no less), and pulled it out.  Berry Shimmer, the newest color blush in their collection, is a much deeper and shade of pink with golden shimmer.  Berry is a great description for it!  The pigmentation is just as good, if not better, than the Pearlescent Pink, the shimmer is apparent but not over-the-top, and the blush wears all day long.  Since I am a very fair skintoned, I had to use a very light hand and light brush - I would suggest a skunk brush of some variety...whichever is your favorite!  This allowed me to apply this color without looking like a clown.  I will say, the deeper your skintone, the better this shade will look, so I am hoping for some sunny weather soon so I can get a little bit of a tan! :) 


Since many of you own the Pearlescent Pink, I wanted to do a side-by-side comparison of the two.  Below are the actual blushes in the pan, and below that are the swatches.



Like I said, this is very pigmented.  I also used my fingertip to swatch this blush, so you get a little more *umph* in the swatch when done this way.  But, needless to say, you get the idea about the color.  It is an absolute beauty, and at BOGO, why not give it a try!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Something Non-Makeup related...

One of my other major passions is gardening.  Living in the midwest, I have to find a way to enjoy this hobby in the winter, so about 8 years ago I became pretty intrigued with orchids, and to this day they are somewhat of an addition.  Although quite a challenge to grow, the reward is well worth it when these beauties bloom.  This past weekend there was an annual orchid show at one of the conservatories downtown and I brought my camera along to take some pictures of the flowers on display.  The colors and varieties are absolutely amazing, so I had to share!  Enjoy...hopefully this will bring some much needed springtime into your homes as well!

Feel free to click any picture to enlarge!




Coming up, I will review the new Loreal LashBlast Fusion...

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