Thursday, December 30, 2010

Conair Tourmaline Ceramic Straightener Review (Guest Post)

The following post was written by Shipra, enjoy - Mani :)

Hello! I am a follower and fan of Makeup Newbie. I myself am a newbie with much less experience with beauty products (and much fewer lip glosses in my stash), but I enjoy reading and learning. A particular interest of mine is hair care.

My curls are not extremely tight but curlier than Mani’s soft waves, and a whole lot frizzier too. It’s frustrating when my curls aren’t in a cooperative mood, and so, for special occasions when I want to look a bit more polished, I always reach for my straightener.

Unfortunately, an awesome and very cheap Revlon straightener I owned for a couple years experienced electronic shock in London this last July and refused to turn on after the trip. Thus, after reading Mani’s post about straighteners in August, I hung around the hair supplies aisle in Wal-Mart to find a nice replacement. After purchasing the new straightener and trying it out for a couple months, I asked Mani if I could review it here on her blog.

 “Conair Tourmaline Ceramic Straightener”
(I don’t remember how much it was exactly, but it was definitely between $25 - $30.)

The Conair Professional tourmaline ceramic 1" straightener features 25% longer plates. Promotes healthy looking hair-micro particles of pure ceramic generate infrared energy to gently penetrate hair follicles while straightening. To give you faster styling, the 1" plates are 25" longer than our standard straighteners. Promotes shiny results the micro particles of tourmaline crystals emit natural ions that reduce frizz. Conair, 1" Tourmaline Ceramic Straightener, MODEL #CS58W.

The straightener offers heat levels up to 392F, auto-off, and dual voltage (a plus considering my London problem). Conair also promises professional results, reduced frizz, and smooth hair. Sounds promising, right?

While I’ve used this straightener a couple times before, most of those times were not as relaxed as a most recent attempt to get my hair straight just after finals ended a couple weeks ago.

Right out of the shower, after applying Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine and lots of TRESemmé Heat Tamer Spray from Thermal Creations, I blow-dried my hair, not trying to make it straight, but letting it transform into a 70s fro. It took me about 10 minutes.

I then spritzed the entire poof with heat spray again and waited 10min for it to dry. After the hair was completely dry, I straightened section by section: below the ears, above the ears, around the forehead, crown, and bangs. It took me about 40 minutes to straighten my medium-length hair. Finally, I applied a tiny bit more Sleek and Shine to tame frizz, then pulled the hair back in a loose bun to consolidate the hair for about 15 minutes.

The end results were very satisfying! My hair fell nicely around my face, styled in the exact way that I had moved the straightener. Since I had paid particular attention to the roots, which I always used to mess up, the hair was smooth from the top to the ends, a very new effect for my hair!

Because I agree with Mani that the stick-straight-hair look isn’t enormously flattering, I worked in a small curve to the ends of my hair which made it more natural. My mom (I’m 20, so I’m still at home with the parental units) told me my hair looked much nicer this time than other times I straightened it (underhanded diss?) and that she even preferred it to my curly hair (which I got from her)!

  • Because it’s only 1”, the straightener is very light and easy to maneuver. For hard-to-get pieces, like the hair on the back of my head, holding the straightener up doesn’t hurt.
  • Three heat settings—some straighteners don’t offer heat setting options while some offer precise, exact-degree settings. I find that exact degrees help when baking cookies, not when straightening hair. The three settings provide easy control over how much heat is applied to the hair without getting overly technical.
  •  As Mani always says, a little goes a long way, especially with my hair which isn’t very thin, but still straightens very easily. I can do the entire bottom layers on the Low setting and switch to Medium only for the crown.
  • My hair doesn’t feel burnt or damaged after use. However, the heat tamer spray probably also had a hand in that.
  • Because the straightener has an auto-off mechanism, the straightener sometimes turns off while I’m still working with it. I’m okay with the safety of it though.
  • Since this is a cheaper straightener and I have curly hair, I find that I often have to go over the same piece a couple times, which is not necessarily the case when I use more high-end straighteners. That could, however, stem from the fact that I don’t use the High setting on the straightener.

I recommend this straightener to anyone with thin to medium-thickness hair, curls or waves, or just anyone on a tight budget. I’m definitely keeping this with my hair care supplies! What straightener do you use? 

Shipra, a Steel City native and pre-law student, is a makeup and hair care enthusiast. Don't let her self-proclaimed 'newbie' status fool you, this girl knows her way around a makeup pallet...must be the artist in her :) Thanks so much!

MAC's Mickey Contractor Collection

Was just browsing around on Karen's Makeup and Beauty Blog and came across this article, couldn't wait to share it with you all. MAC is coming out with a Bollywood-inspired collection, how exciting is that? I am already drooling over the Select Moisturecover duo, the turquoise gel liner, and the lip products!! This line launches in the US on Jan 6th :) Just in time to get us over the post-holiday blues!!

Check this link out for more info!

Chapped Lip Solutions!

Chapped lips, the bane of winter :( I have searched high and low, in several forums and drugstores, for chapsticks and lip balms before I found my favorites. A lot of trial and error was involved, not that I minded, chapsticks are the fun things I add to my purchase while waiting in line to pay (what? I embrace my shopaholic nature!) :P

Here are the top four products I keep in rotation. Depending on the situation, I may reach for one over the other.

Burt's Bees Honey Lip Balm
Chapped lip severity: Little to none
This is a great chapstick to wear preventatively on a daily basis. I think I have about 2 or 3 tubes in different places (backpack, purse, vanity) so I am never too far from moisturized, honey-kissed lips! The consistency of the balm itself is dense and hard, so it may not feel good when applied on severely chapped lips. It would require rubbing the stick on your lips several times to really get a good coating on. 

Blistex Daily Conditioning Treatment (DCT)
Chapped lip severity: Little to medium
DCT comes in a little tub and can be applied with your finger. For this reason, I like to keep this balm at home, it can get a little unsanitary when used on the go. A thin layer works really well to soothe mildly chapped lips. When applied in a thicker layer, however, the product tends to gunk up and make my lips feel prune-y, so watch out for that! I'd also like to note that this product has SPF 20, yay :)

Eucerin Aquaphor Healing Ointment
Chapped lip severity: Little to severe
This is my go to, all time favorite lip product. It is packaged like a hand cream, has the look of petroleum jelly, and really is a healing ointment! A little goes a long way and I find that applying Aquaphor before sleeping really helps to heal any cracked or chapped lip issues I may have. This also doubles as a great ointment for cracked or dry knuckles and hands (it is meant for skin in general). I always keep this bottle on hand, you never know when it can come in handy!!

Neosporin Lip Treatment (LT)
Chapped lip severity: Severe
I came across this product one winter when my lips were as rough as sandpaper and nothing else would help! I am throwing it in with my list of favorite chapsticks, but this is more of a medicated ointment. The directions for use indicate that it should only be used twice within a 24 hour period. LT really does provide relief to persistent chapped lips! I used this for 2 days and then was able to switch back to regular chapsticks to maintain the results. 

Did your go-to chapstick not make my list? Let me know! I am always interested in conducting more research :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

MOROCCANOIL Oil Treatment Review

As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I have dry hair. I wash it and blow dry it every other day. I also use some sort of hot tool (curling iron, hot rollers) at least once a week. With all of this heat styling, my hair is crying out for hydration! I've been using frizz-reducing serums and leave-in conditioner treatments for many years now, but in the cold and dry winter months, I need something a bit more potent. Many Youtube Beauty Gurus have been touting the wonders of Argan oil, so when I saw MOROCCANOIL Oil Treatment near the checkout counter of my local Beauty Supply store, I decided to give it a try. 

The original MOROCCANOIL oil treatment revives hair, strengthens and conditions, and reduces drying time.

Here is my take on the product:


  • A little goes a long way - the product is very thick so you only need to use a dime-sized amount for medium length hair. I have a 0.85 fl. oz. bottle that I've been using for over a month (and sharing with friends) and only a quarter of the bottle has been used.
  • Delivers on its promise - I started noticing more healthy looking hair after two weeks of using this product!
  • Smells heavenly - sometimes I open the bottle just to smell it :P
  • Expensive! - I paid $15 for the tiniest bottle (0.85 fl. oz.)
  • Packaging - It comes in a screw top bottle which I am always afraid will lead to a spill or too much product coming into my hands. Wish the bottle had a pump or test tube applicator.
I have been using this product for the past month and a half and it has become a necessary part of my hair care routine. I apply a dime-size amount of the product to the ends of my towel dried hair. I take any excess oil and apply it to any other areas that I notice are usually dry. I am very sure, however, not to apply this at or near my roots, it is very thick and oily!! After applying, I style my hair as I normally would. If my hair is looking especially dry after blow drying or even the next day, I take a teeny tiny amount and apply it to the ends, just to bring a little shine. 

I have been perusing the MOROCCANOIL website, and this exact product comes in a lighter shade to accommodate those with lighter hair. Also, for my male readers, my brother has coarse, curly hair and this product has been working well for him too, it is definitely gender neutral!

Will I repurchase? Yes! Even though it is expensive and I'm not a huge fan of how it is packaged, I really think this product has made a difference in the health of my hair and I love it! 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


While I have been to Sephora loads of times (probably too many according to my bank account :P ), I recently went to ULTA for the first time! I love that they carry NYX as I have been dying to try some of their products. Unfortunately the store I went to did not carry any NYX blushes :( Regardless, I was able to pick up a couple of fun goodies and thought I'd share those with you all!

1) NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss in African Queen ($5.99)
I have wanted to try this shade since I first went on the NYX website, it is a gorgeous fuchsia pink...its loud, super pigmented, and I love it! Perfect for a night out :) At $5.99 a pop, how can you say no? Am looking forward to trying other shades in this line!! 

2) Tarte Ring It In Cheek Stain Set ($25)
What a perfect set for someone who is blush crazy like me!! This set comes with three creamy, easy-to-apply blush shades (Vivid - a vibrant rosy pink, Luster - a shimmery peach champagne, and Flawless - a soft, peachy pink) and a cute gold cocktail ring.

3) NYX Slim Eye Pencil in Velvet ($3.59)
For a little holiday glam, I picked up this gold/bronzy eyeliner. Glides on very smoothly :) 

4) EcoTools Bamboo Powder Brush ($9.99)
Having recently picked up a face powder, thought it was high time to pick up a corresponding brush. In the summer, I bought the Eco Tools 5 piece brush set and the brushes are so soft and nice. Expecting the same for this brush too!

All in all, a nice first trip to ULTA! Loving all my selections <3! Reviews/swatches/pics to come soon!!!

TBS DeoDry Deodorant Review

A while back, I wrote a post about the potential risks associated with antiperspirants containing aluminum and parabens. Since then, I have been on the hunt for a fragrant and effective aluminum/paraben-free alternative. Thanks to the wonders of Groupon, I was able to try out The Body Shop with a $50 for $25 deal :) 

The Body Shop DeoDry Dry-Effect Deodorant line has three different scents, Chilled and Breezy, Fresh and Floral, and Cool and Zesty, in both stick and roll-on form. I liked Chilled and Breezy best. It's a fresh scent that reminds me of Juniper Breeze from Bath and Body Works. It would work well for both men and women!

According to TBS, this deodorant is...

- Best if you want to enjoy odor protection with our unique blend of volcanic minerals and refreshing essential oils with a cool, breezy scent. Contains no aluminum salts or parabens!       
 - Best for all skin types
How it works:
  • Minimizes white marks on clothing.
  • Community Trade aloe vera from Guatemala is renowned for its incredible soothing, hydrating and moisturizing properties — perfect for sensitive skin.
  • Community Trade alcohol is made from alcohol which comes from the organic sugar cane farmers of the CADO cooperative in Ecuador.
  • A unique volcanic mineral absorbs moisture to help keep you dry.

I purchased the Chilled and Breezy deodorant in stick form and it has a gel consistency. I personally prefer the more powdery stick deodorants because they feel more drying, but have yet to find an aluminum/paraben-free deodorant like that.

Here's my take on the product:

  • Nice scent which lingers for hours after application
  • Does not include aluminums and parabens!
  • Made of natural ingredients (volcanic material sounds so interesting!)
  • Have not had any issues with leaving white residue on clothing
  • Good for sensitive skin, has not caused any irritations to my sensitive underarms
  • Price: got it on sale for $4! That's not too far off from drugstore brand prices :)
  • As cool as volcanic material sounds, it does not keep me dry as TBS claims
  • Packaging promises 24 hour odor protection, did not always find this to be the case. Have had to reapply after 10-12 hours
  • Gel stick consistency leaves underarms feeling damp...not a great feeling!
Overall, I am pretty pleased with this product. I was not expecting this to perform any miracles, I know that I tend to perspire more than the average lady, so certain allowances were made ;) As a deodorant, it did perform quite well, however, I have been using it during winter in NYC. I wonder how this will hold up during the hot and humid summer months!?

I also believe that there is a certain transition period for your body to accommodate to  aluminum-free deodorants. When I first started using aluminum-free deodorants, I thought that they were completely ineffective, but after a few weeks, my body that is something to consider.

Will I repurchase? Leaning towards yes (especially if on sale!). I like the scent and it is convenient to carry when traveling. 

Have you tried any note-worthy deodorants? Share in the comments below!!

Charlotte Russe After Xmas Sale!

Happy Happy Holidays Readers :)  Hope you are enjoying the post-Christmas sales, I know I sure am!

Wanted to alert you all to the Charlotte Russe *sale* going on now! I was able to buy several shirts, skirts, and skinny jeans for just $5 each! Also, they have many accessories on sale as 2 for $8. The same sale is going on online, so be sure to check it out! 

:) Happy Shopping!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fun with Hot Rollers

I was recently out shopping at Ross and, as usual, found myself pouring over their hair, makeup, and body section. I've been really into watching ItsJudyTime's Youtube videos and she does a lot of fun hair tutorials that involve hot rollers. The Remington Style Ionic Hot Rollers set was on sale for $7.99 (originally $20.99), so I thought it was a good time to try them out :) By the way, I highly recommend taking a look at stores like Ross, T.J.Maxx, and Marshalls for deals on face and hair products because they usually have major discounts!

This was my very first time using hot rollers, so I thought I'd document the experience! I am a fan of big hair and although my hair has quite a bit of volume and natural wave to it, I would love to have defined curls and even more volume :P 

Here is what my hair looks like after air drying...a little unruly, I know :P

I followed the heating instructions of the rollers and in the meantime went onto trusty Youtube to find a video that would guide me on how to put these rollers in. Here is what I found. It's a great video that walks you through the steps. 

Now, I must reiterate that this was my first time...I had a few issues. First off, I kept burning sister, who kindly "volunteered" to help me (lol!) didn't find the curlers to be as unbearably hot as I did...maybe I'm just weak :( My second major issue was my hair. I had just washed it that morning, so it was a little too smooth and slippery, giving me some problems while rolling. The other hair problem I had was my layers/bangs. All the different lengths made the top sections a little tricky. Here is how it came out:

I waited for about 20 minutes, busied myself with Angry Birds, soo addicting! Once the time had passed, I went and gave the curlers a final shot of heat with my blow dryer, then set it to cold air and cooled them off again (a Youtube tutorial recommended this). Making sure that all of my hair was cooled off, I started taking out the rollers (the fun part!!). 


I combed through my hair with my fingers to loosen the curls a bit, then I applied some hair oil to smooth out any frizzies. I didn't apply any product before because I am not a big fan of hair spray, though in the future I will try a heat protectant spray for sure. I also need to figure out how to position the curlers to give me a little more volume at the top...

For about 10 minutes of effort (and minor burns :P), I'm pretty pleased with the results! What do you think?

Obsessed with Blush!

If it's not clear to you already, dear readers, I am very prone to flights of fancy. When I first started blogging and getting into makeup, it was all about lip products...couldn't get enough of glosses, stains, lip sticks, you name it, I was drooling over it :P  Then, I transitioned to eye pencils, mascaras, etc. Well, my obsession of late has been getting fresh, glowing skin. Since I have already found my go-to concealer (MAC Select Moisturecover), the next logical step was to enter the blush arena, *sigh* and I just can't get enough! Back in the day, I used to think blush was so clownish and not something I'd ever be interested in wrong was I? It gives your face a healthy, vibrant, glow...brightens you up while remaining subtle, how can you not love that?! 

Here are the three blushes I've picked up over the past two months which I have been having a lot of fun experimenting with!

MAC Love Joy
1) MAC Mineralize Blush in Love Joy (~$24)
This is a beautiful rosy brown shade with gold shimmer. The shimmer isn't over the top (OTT), though! The SA at MAC told me that this color really suits darker skin tones and I have to agree :) It is extremely pigmented, so it's to start with a tiny bit of product and build it up from there if necessary. I have been applying it with my Eco Tools Bamboo Blush Brush by just touching it to the product and swiping it upwards over the apples of my cheeks.

NARS Penny Lane

2) NARS Cream Blush Cheek Color in Penny Lane ($25)
Let me start off by saying I have been dying to try NARS for the longest time. People keep raving about it on Youtube, but I was a little hesitant about the price. On my last Sephora visit, I went with the specific intent of finding a cream blush. I have dry skin and the idea of applying a creamy product instead of a powdery one during the harsh winter months really appealed to me. In the pan, it looks a very brownish/pale pink, nude color, but on my cheeks it appears as a natural, soft peach. As the Sephora SA described it: It gives you that just came from outside "Oooh, I'm cold!" look :P It has a touch of shimmer, but again, not OTT. The formula is cream to powder finish, which keeps your cheeks looking dewy but not greasy, always a plus! Like the MAC blush, a little goes a long way, so I had no problem paying as much as I did because it will last!!

TBS 01
3) The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Stain 01 ($14)
This color looks extremely intimidating in the tube and even upon first swipe on your cheeks, but once you rub it in, it gives the most beautiful, matte, rosy look! The product has a gel consistency and is easy to blend into to the apples of your cheek, one small swipe of the applicator is just the right amount. It is fast drying, so definitely work one cheek at a time! Also, this is one of those products to be extra careful with as it is a be sure to start off with a small amount of product and really take your time applying it to the right areas lest you end up looking a little overdone! FYI: It comes off with soap/water and makeup remover, but otherwise doesn't budge! 

I really find swatches helpful, so I tried doing some to show what these colors look like on my skin. Let me know if these are helpful and I'll continue doing these in the future:

So here are my current loves! I am still in the process of learning how to apply blush...haha the first day I wore blush to class, my friend asked me if I had a rash on my face :( LOL!! Practice makes perfect, right? Since then, I have received some compliments, believe it or not. I think I'm finally getting the hang of things...just can't be afraid to make mistakes!! I think that's a philosophy I'm trying to apply to life in general. 

Any good blush recommendations? I have heard good things about the Stila cream blush in Rose and NYX Desert Rose...let me know!! I am just dying to try more :)

I'm Back!! & Perfume Musings :)

My hiatus is officially over!! I had a busy couple of months with exams and projects, but now I am relaxing on holiday break and can't wait to share my new obsessions with you all :) I'll just jump right in, cause I'm itching to blog!!!!

Over the years, I have picked one go-to scent and stuck to it for as long as it took for me to find another that I liked more...I started out in early high school with Gap Heaven, then transitioned to Bath and Body Works' Moonlight Path around my senior year...for the past five years, I've been using Bath and Body Works' Japanese Cherry Blossom. I decided that it was high time that I get out of my fragrance rut and try something new. My first stop was the Sephora Fragrance Finder, but I found that I had no real clue what I preferred amongst fresh, floral, oriental, or woody. I also didn't have a real favorite fragrance to narrow down my I kinda put the search on pause until I found time to really spend a day in the store and spritz n' sniff til I found my scent(s).

Luckily, instead, I watched AllThatGlitters21's holiday gift guide video and found out about Sephora's Fragrance Sampler ($50)!! After watching the video, I decided that I must have this, that this product was just made for me and I wouldn't rest til I got it (please tell me this happens to other people too!!) here's why it's so awesome: 

1) You get 10 mini samples of Sephora's best selling fragrances (another set comes with 12)
2) You get a fuchsia rollerball with a cute mini funnel so you can keep your favorite scent in your purse without worrying about spills!
3) You get a matching fuchsia makeup bag 
4) **Best Part** You get a voucher for a free (yes, free!!) full-sized perfume bottle of your choice from Sephora

How perfect is this?? Not only am I getting a chance to sample 10 popular fragrances, I'm also gonna get to get a bottle of my fave! :) This is available at stores now for anyone looking to give this as a holiday gift to others (or themselves :P )

Right now I have yet to fully try all of the samples. My current absolute favorite is Flora by Gucci, followed by Vera Wang Princess. This surprised me because I didn't think I cared much for sweet scents...see how great this is?! (Lol, I am not getting paid by Sephora, I just really do like this product!)

FYI: Here are all the scents I got in my set: Flower by Kenzo, Coach Poppy, Flora by Gucci, Vera Wang Princess, Very Hollywood Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren Romance, Harajuku Lovers G, Narciso Rodriguez For Her, Daisy Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein Euphoria

I decided to school myself in the science behind perfume scents a bit while having fun selecting a scent, and Wiki had a really nice bit of info behind why perfumes smell different as the day goes on:

Fragrance notes

§  Top notes: The scents that are perceived immediately on application of a perfume. Top notes consist of small, light molecules that evaporate quickly. They form a person's initial impression of a perfume and thus are very important in the selling of a perfume. Also called the head notes.Perfume is described in a musical metaphor as having three sets of notes, making the harmonious scent accord. The notes unfold over time, with the immediate impression of the top note leading to the deeper middle notes, and the base notes gradually appearing as the final stage. These notes are created carefully with knowledge of the evaporation process of the perfume.
§  Middle notes: The scent of a perfume that emerges just prior to when the top notes dissipate. The middle note compounds form the "heart" or main body of a perfume and act to mask the often unpleasant initial impression of base notes, which become more pleasant with time. They are also called the heart notes.
§  Base notes: The scent of a perfume that appears close to the departure of the middle notes. The base and middle notes together are the main theme of a perfume. Base notes bring depth and solidity to a perfume. Compounds of this class of scents are typically rich and "deep" and are usually not perceived until 30 minutes after application.

The scents in the top and middle notes are influenced by the base notes, as well the scents of the base notes will be altered by the type of fragrance materials used as middle notes. Manufacturers of perfumes usually publish perfume notes and typically they present it as fragrance pyramid, with the components listed in imaginative and abstract terms (Source).

Will keep you posted on what I finally select!! Glad to be back and blogging again, so much more to share! :) Keep a look out!