Monday, April 7, 2014

Bb Pret-a-Powder...aka..sexy hair powder!

Doing something a little different by taking a break from makeup and focusing on my love for Bumble hair products, namely a new hair powder the company introduced.


Honestly, one of the best purchased I have made early this year. I have used Bumble for many years and I have even taken breaks switching brands because every now and then I like to experiment and see what else is out there. I try products from every price point - drugstore, salon and specialty department stores. But I always come back to Bumble and bumble.

As you can read from the bottle "it's equal parts dry shampoo, style extender and volume in a pinch" and I couldn't agree more.

From the Bumble and bumble site, here are the main components:

Polysilicone-22: a new hybrid silicone powder which specifically targets oils and absorbs them while remaining invisible on the hair.Helps to provide dry cleansing, leaving hair clean and refreshed.
  • Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Tapioca Starch, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour : Natural starches that provide absorbency and act as bulking ingredients. They help to provide texture and volume to the hair. Helps to provide dry cleansing, leaving hair clean and refreshed.
  • Silica : Very lightweight, absorbent powder that remains transparent on the hair. Helps to remove oil and other impurities from the hair.
  • Montmorillonite : a natural clay from the Poitou-Charentes region of France that absorbs oil to dry cleanse.
  • As you know, I have tried many dry shampoos - even reviewed them here but it never really pumped up the volume of my hair quite well as this powder. 
  • I apply directly at the roots at the top of the crown and also a few layers underneath. If I am applying after a sweaty workout, I also apply at the sides of my head (temples) where I tend to sweat a lot. I was instructed by my stylist to shake the bottle and apply it to my hair as if I was shaking salt to season my food. This is not as easy as it sounds (for me at least). But with enough practice, I'm finally getting the hang of it. This doesn't leave a heavy scent as some dry shampoo sprays but along with absorbing oil from my scalp, it also help absorb some odor. 
  • Now $26/USD for just 2oz may sound like a lot but trust me a little does go a long way. Especially if you have dark hair like me. Apply sparingly and rub it in vigorously. Add more if needed, ha, just like salt! Okay, anyway...this is the one product I can count on to give me full, sexy, bed head hair. Blast some heat from your blow dryer, if accessible, to really amplify volume.I finish with just a touch of hair oil to the tips of my hair to smooth any frizzy strands. 
  • I really love how this adds extra texture and grip to the hair. It really aids when I want to do a ponytail with a bit of height on the crown. It also adds wonder to top-knot days.
  • I used it here on a freshly shampooed hair:


  • And here it is on second day hair:

  • Not as full but not bad considering this was after a particularly sweaty (at home) gym session. 
  • I even got great service from my cafeteria one morning after using this product to freshen up my unshampooed post-workout 'do. Yes, the cafeteria at my work and yes, food is free but I did get extra small talk, pleasantry and maybe even more eggs in my breakfast as usual! 
  • I can imagine the possibilities if I were still a single gal at bar with glorious sexy hair but I'm now mom at home drinking whiskey shots on my kitchen counter top with my lovely husband while our adorable daughter is sleeping. 
  • My husband does love when I vamp it up with big hair and smoky eyes, he is from New Jersey after all. But then again he loves me in the morning with a bare face, glasses and flat hair. 
  • Thanks Bumble for giving me a product to remind me that I can be vixen no matter the situation and location! I'll definitely be back for more once I spray the sad last shot of powder on to my limp locks. 
  • Available at salons and specialty stores that carry Bumble and bumble brand. 
  • I bought this from my stylist, Melvin Burns and do check him out and his fabulous staff if you are looking for a new look in the SF area:  www.ecrusalon.com
  • Also check out the Bumble site for styling tips and my favorite, style product recipes. Also, the how-to videos are awesome and really inspire me to experiment with the way I apply my products and blow out my hair. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

When Is It Okay to Be a Narcissist?

When it's spelled NARSISSIST! And it's in the form of an awesome eye shadow palette.



Feast your eyes on 15 pans of shadow goodness:



This little lovely was sent to me for consideration from the generous PR crew at NARS. I am a full fledged NARSISSIST and couldn't be more proud! In fact, this is the only palette I have been using exclusively for the past three weeks. I even went away on a family trip and instead of stuffing my over sized makeup bags with solo pans and shadow palettes. I took this one palette. I had more room for those extra tubes of nude pink glosses I can never have enough of at all times. It really hasn't disappointed me yet! There may be a few repeating shades I already own, it doesn't bother me. I'm so pleased that I have a backup and it's housed with a smartly edited set!

I will admit that I received this early February and I'm now just getting around to writing this review. 

BAD BLOGGER!

This is what happens when you have a new demanding job, a long work commute, and still trying to maintain the title of "Awesome Mom and Wife"! However, this allowed me to really test this palette out and give a fair assessment. So how do I feel about this palette?

I feel that each row is arranged by theme: top row - neutral, middle row - smoky nudes, third row - taupe, charcoal smoky eyes. But I do like to mix up colors and also layer. If I want a softly lined eye, I use Pandora (black) along the top and bottom lash lines. 

To swatch shades fairly - I broke it down by row.

Row 1:

shades left to right:
All about Eve/Madrague/Fez/Bali/Coconut Grove

Row 2:


Madrague II/Nepal/Ashes to Ashes/Brousse/Mekong

Row 3:

Bellissima/Lhasa/Bad Behavior/Dogon/Pandora

I still can't get over just how easy these shades are to pair or wear solo for days that you just don't want to wear blend more than two shadows together.

Here's just a small sample how I've been wearing these shades:


The shades I wear almost daily: Ashes to Ashes, Nepal and Madrague/Madrague II. Neutrals are my fall back but when I'm feeling extra saucy and/or I'm going out I'll dip my shadow brushes into Lhasa, Bad Behavior and Pandora as my outer-v accent and lower lash smoker. I use Bali (neutral brown) to fill in my brows - one of the best shades I have discovered. It keeps my brows looking full and natural and it's also a great shade to use as a contour. I love using Madrague (matte caramel) as my eye socket contour. This shade lends a bit of deeper contrast when using the lighter shades on my lid, like soft rose Nepal or matte cream, Madrague II. But when using with a slightly deeper mocha taupe, Ashes to Ashes or taupe grey, Lhasa - Madrague softens and lightly diffuses the color and lending a hand to seemlessly blend with a darker, outer-v shade. I have been loving Coconut Grove, Brousse, and Bad Behavior (when using a heavier hand in application). As usual, when paired with a great eye primer or even concealer on the lid, these shades will stay on your lids the entire day until you are ready to swipe it off with your best eye makeup remover.

The first time I received this, I was really hesitant to even swatch each pan. And then the biggest decision - which shade do I try first? I am so glad I have this beautifully edited palette in my collection - it's going to solve a lot groggy morning problems like, "shit, I overslept and I need to leave the house in thirty minutes!"

Side note - in the photo of me in top right corner I'm sporting Love blush and Adelaide Illuminator from the Final Cut collection (NARS). This was also sent to me for consideration. This tea rose blush is very subtle on my tan skin but it's just as beautiful if it were worn by someone with a fairer complexion. I'll post a swatch photo soon. And by soon, I mean before the month is over. Love is a gorgeous shade for a soft pop of pink on my cheeks when I'm wearing both smoky or subtle neutral shaded lids. The blush and illuminator retails for $30/USD.

I cannot praise this palette enough. You can find this at department and specialty stores that feature the NARS brand and of course online at www.narscosmetics.com.

Narsisist palette - $79/USD








Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Peek at NARS' SPRING 2014 High Seize Collection

Here's a very long overdue post.

Yeah, newsflash...I know! Quick update on where I've been - I quit my job in SF and now currently working in Silicon Valley for a big internet company. That's all I'll say! Also, my new job is really consuming lots of my time and sadly that last thing I want to do is review my beloved beauty products that seem to give me sad puppy dog eyes as I look at them on my sad bathroom counter!

Yes, I sometimes view inanimate objects as breathing things...just go with it!

Recently the good, kind folks at NARS treated me with a sample of the recent Spring 2014 High Seize collection. And I am inspired to write again! Rich, aquatic and anchored in glamour. This collection will really have you craving a warm yacht holiday escape from the dreaded polar vortex!


The new items have me digging deep in over stuffed cosmetic pouches to pull out more NARS products that I have been neglecting. I have rediscovered my love for NARS and just how easy I can pull a look together with these colors for those early morning that I don't have a full hour to get ready because I have to get out the door to drive up to almost an hour to work each morning. Glad to report that I have two new items to add to the mix!

Here's what was sent to me:


Na Pali Coast Multiple ($39/USD) and Larger than Life Long Wear Eye Liner in Puerta Del Sol ($24/USD).

Obligatory forearm swatches:


Na Pali Coast Multiple:


Na Pali Coast is located on the North Shore of Kauai, Hawaii. This beautiful rose peach shimmer does a very easy job of evoking walking along a balmy island shore right at dusk. It is gorgeous! As you know the multiple is a product that is that - multi-purpose for your face. Honestly, I just use it to highlight cheekbones or as a cream rouge. The darker shades I tend to use for both cheeks and lips.

I used it today to keep my complexion warm while I walked the cold, wet streets of SF this morning:


I have a love/hate relationship with the Multiple - it's a great highlighter but because my skin is dark I sometimes have to pack it on just to show up on my cheeks. If it's a shimmer then I feel too frosty - okay for Vegas, per se but not so much for a suburb south of SF. Also, it never lasts more than two hours on me. My skin sucks it right up. I have to take it with me so I can reapply. But I'll probably never stop buying them because I do love it's portability and the right shades do wonders for my look and mood. As you can tell, by my beanie, I am freezing my ass off but this glowing peachy rose cream makes me look a bit sun kissed!

Puerta Del Sol
Named after the busy town square in Madrid, Spain. It's a lovely parrot green shimmer.


I was lucky enough to visit Madrid a few years ago. I do remember visiting this square and parrot green shimmer doesn't come to mind. Until I came across this photo:


I miss Spain :(

Eye liners vibrant like this are often reserved for my bottom water lines to brighten my eyes.


A beautiful shimmering jade on my eyes. But let's talk staying power - I didn't have to touch up the color till four hours later. And that's just on my water lines! I need to purchase Via Veneto (black) next time I'm at a NARS counter. That long wear strength is just ridiculous!

This collection also feature two new dazzling shadow duos - need Kauai because it features the shade of the year - orchid! There are also two new polishes, two larger than life glosses, a new satin lip pencil and another larger than life eye liner. These shades got me in full vacay mode - I'll be back at the NARS counter soon.

Ugh, guess that means I need to clean out my makeup stash...A-G-A-I-N!

NARS HIGH SEIZE SPRING 2014 Collection available now at narscosmetics.com, NARS boutiques and department stores that feature the NARS brand.

Monday, December 2, 2013

What Did I Buy?

In this week's episode of Lex's luxurious beauty buys, I throw that phrase around loosely, I share with you what I bought at the last Sephora's VIB sale:


This beauty sponge has been making its way around the beauty blog blocks and I was curious. But would this $19.95 sponge really make a difference in the way foundation lays on my skin? I've even seen this used on video tutorials to apply foundation and concealer with convincing accolades. Okay, I was convinced. I was going to buy this but only on sale.

I've tried this damp to stipple my tinted moisturizer,creamy compact foundation and the pointed tip is convenient to blend concealer under my eyes and at the corners. It did make my makeup look natural and not look like it was just sitting on my skin - it does blend nicely. I also like that it's soft to the touch. However, it will remain stained by your foundation and concealers, no matter how much you try to clean it. I use the cheaper alternate - baby shampoo. It was also recommended by a sales associate is to try a very light drop of dish washing liquid to remove any lingering grease. I'm not exactly sure just how long this will last but I probably won't replace it because of it's price tag.

So do you need this? It's really up to you. If you like using your foundation brush or inexpensive sponge version - stick with that. I am trying this out of pure curiosity. It's not an entirely big loss - I do like the color pink!

Monday, November 11, 2013

em michelle phan: Arched Defining Brow Liners

I have a confession to make - I have never watched a Michelle Phan makeup tutorial on her YouTube channel, up until recently. And if you are a blogger and into makeup, you have heard of her. If not then you must have waken up under a rock...a very big, heavy rock. She was innovative early in her tutorial videos by adopting a voice over format. It's a very documentary like feel. As a former art student, she approaches makeup application like art work. And anyone that mimics their tutorials like the awesome PBS Bob Ross instructional show, is extra cool in my book. She was named a video makeup artist by Lancome and has recently launcher her own cosmetics line, EM Michelle Phan.

I am a very, very lucky girl to have received an invitation to try out some of her products.

Arched Defining Brow Liners:

There are five shades to choose from: ash blonde, medium brown, caramel, brunette and black. Since I wasn't sure just how dark the black pencil was I opted for both the brunette and black pencils. I like that these are self sharpening and there's a spoolie on the other end for blending.


Brunette has a bit of red in it and black is not what you think. It's a dark neutral brown that has a bit of grey in it.

Here's a very naked eye with Brunette:


This is a great shade for the days where I don't want to do a heavily shaded lid or on the weekends when I'm running errands with my daughter and I just want to keep my makeup super simple.

I have been blending the two shades together and I'm loving the results:


I love that it's not too dark and it looks like it could be my actual brows if I were blessed with naturally dark and full eye brows! 

For the past twenty years, I've been a shadow and slanted brush kind of girl. In fact, it would take me less than five minutes to do both brows. Then again, that's on a good day. I actually shunned all pencils, only using to fill sparse sections of my arches. The pencils I have used are often waxy and weren't that great. I love the formula of this pencil, just enough creaminess to go on easily but still sturdy to be long lasting and it blends like a dream with the spoolie brush. I am very impressed with this product, as I take my brows seriously. 

Yes, I'm that girl that doesn't leave the house without her brows on to go on a four mile run on the weekends. 

On that note, these pencils do not fade even after an intense workout. The irony is I have bangs again and my brows are covered for the most part. Well luckily, I found this pencil to define and darken my brows when my bangs are blown haphazardly on a windy day. 

These pencils retail for $19/USD and can be found online, click here

These were sent to me for consideration.