16 February 2010

Product Review: LUSH The Comforter Bubble Bar

Another long week has come to an end. As promised, I stopped in to Lush to find a new product to test and review (such a hassle , I might add :P). The sales girls were really on their game this round, and though I insisted I was in a rush and only had enough money for one item I was shown just about every product in the store. One of the girls was shocked that I had never tried The Comforter bubble bar and decided for me that I would be purchasing one. So, I did.

I was not thrilled when I was prompted to pay $9.00 for one item but the girl ensured me that she usually got about four baths out of one bar That was all the persuasion I needed for this hot pink, candy scented gem. Bubble bars are an interesting invention. They are solid, chalky and crumbly, yet some how are said to color the water, fill the room with fragrance and provide mounds of white bubbles. Needless to say, I was curious as to see how this would turn out.

Lush's descriptions are wordy and uninformative to say the least, but here it goes:
This pink and white swirly bar resembles a rolled up scarf, ready to wrap you in warmth and comfort. The fruity blackcurrant fragrance comes from cassis absolute; we love this delicious scent so much we put it in You Snap the Whip (our scrubby Body Butter), Sweetie Pie shower jelly and of course the Comforter solid perfume. Inhale it and it feels like you're getting a big, yummy hug. This one is big enough to be broken in half for two baths.
 I'm not sure what blackcurrant smells of, but The Comforter smells of licorice and bubble gum. I would normally cower at the thought of such a smell, but this is actually rather nice. The licorice scent cuts the "sickening" out of the sickeningly-sweet bubble gum. I used less than a fourth of the bar for one bath (this thing was huge) and, as I was prompted, crumbled the pieces under warm running water. Just as I was promised, the water turned a vibrant hot pink under gobs of bright white bubbles. The scent is so light in the water that it is hard to smell it at all, which was a bit disappointing. I was ecstatic about this bath, and thought I had found the Lush item of a life time when I started to realize that the bubbles were all starting to fade away. Seriously, after 10 minutes there were NO bubbles in the entire tub. The girl at Lush told me this may happen and she said that the bubbles were activated by the motion of the water, and though I may feel silly doing so, I should splash the water around a bit and I would be surrounded in bubbles once again. Well, I splashed about and nothing happened. No bubbles reappeared. I was beyond disappointed. I am chalking this up to the fact that I used half of the recommended dose (the website does call for half a bar). For my next bath I will use the proper amount and hope that my bath stays full of bubbles. Until then, I will say the gorgeous pink water, and sweet scent just wont hold up against the bubble dilemma.

11 February 2010

MAC's Release: Viva Glam Gaga

The beauty of MAC Cosmetics is their product launches and fabulous limited edition items. Today marks the release of their new Viva Glam spokes women, Lady Gaga and Cyndi Lauper. The Viva Glam sector of MAC, is actually a very commendable one. This foundation sells lipstick in which 100% of the proceeds goes to the research of HIV and AIDS.

Would I buy a lipstick buy MAC? Definitely.
Would I buy a lipstick that Lady Gaga promotes? Definitely.
Would I buy a lipstick to raise money for HIV and AIDS? Absolutely.
Is there any doubt that I will be going to the mall tonight and buying as many of this puppies that I can afford? Nope.

It beyond excites me that my celebrity idol is teaming up with my favorite make up company to produce a product that will be raising money for charity. I am seriously in make up heaven at the moment.

Alexander McQueen RIP

I'm writing a simple post in memorial of fashion designer, Lee McQueen, who was found dead today in his home. He was a brilliant designer with unique, beautiful pieces that inspired any fashion lover.

At age 40, his death was too soon.

Urban Decay's Alice in Wonderland Book of Shadows

For make up fans and Tim Burton fans alike, the beauty product of the century has been released. Urban Decay's Alice in Wonderland Book of Shadows was sent to retail stores at the end of January and I finally decided to suck it up and fork out my $52 for the one beauty collectors item that I could not live without.

Urban Decay is famous for their eye shadow pallets because of the highly pigmented, unique colors and the smooth, bendable formulation. It is just a bonus that the packaging they choose is irresistibly kitschy, and cute. This particular pallet comes with a few bonus items as well; two 24/7 liners in the colors Zero and Flipside (might I mention, the BEST eyeliner that money can buy, and regularly selling for $17 each) and a trail vial of their infamous Primer Potion that allows your "lid art" to last all day.
What sold me on this particular pallet (though, they didn't have to twist my arm) was the idea that these shadows are all in their original line, they did not formulate some weird, cheap rubbish to cash in on the trend. Rather, Urban Decay renamed their best selling shadows to fit the theme (I love this!)

The names, original shadow names, and descriptions are below:
Underland (Flash) - Bright iridescent purple
Alice (Painkiller) - Bright bold aqua
Oraculum (Baked) - Rich Bronze
Queen (Last Call) - Plum
Chessur (Chopper) - Coppery fawn with silver shimmer
White Rabbit (Polyester Bride) - White with silver glitter
Wonderland (Maui Wowie) - Dirty gold with silver glitter
Curiouser (Grifter) - Lavender with silver glitter
Muchness (X) - Golden peach
Mushroom (Mushroom) - Pewerter
Midnight Tea Party (Midnight Cowboy Rides Again) - Champagne pink with silver glitter
Vorpal (S&M) - Bright metallic silver
Absolem (Homegrown) - Bright true grass green
Drink Me, Eat Me (Sin) - Champagne
Madhatter (Twice Baked) - Brown with golden shimmer
Jabberwocky (Oil Slick) - Black and with silver sparkle 

Reaching out for the best description of this product that I could muster, I  decided to take the description from Urban Decay it's self. They write:
When Disney called to ask if Urban Decay would design a product for the launch of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, they were like, "Um….yes!" The result is this truly amazing (and seriously collectible) Book of Shadows. Tucked inside a hidden drawer are 16 best-selling Eyeshadows, given topsy-turvy names like White Rabbit, Jabberwocky, and Oraculum. Alongside them lie travel sizes of Eyeshadow Primer Potion and two 24/7 Eye Pencils. From smoky neutral eyes to flashes of hallucinogenic green and purple, the looks you can create are as endless as the rabbit hole itself. The top opens to reveal a pop-up scene of Alice in the mushroom forest. Her "drink me" bottle discarded, she staggers past towering mushrooms, only to cross paths with a very peculiar, hookah-smoking caterpillar. A large mirror rests behind the scene, making you feel as if you are transported into the film itself. Anyone who loves Urban Decay, Tim Burton, Disney, or Alice in Wonderland absolutely MUST have this palette. Even the Mad Hatter would say this Book of Shadows delivers it all.
 I think they are accurate in stating that the eyeshadow looks you can create are endless, a dark, smokey night time look, something soft and subtle for day and many choices for just a pop of color. This description is a little kooky, but isn't that what we love about UD, Tim Burton and Alice's story? Anyone who is interested in building their eyeshadow collection should check this pallet out for it's diverse color selection and smooth, bendable formulation. Even a makeup beginner would look like a pro with the help of this pallet.

09 February 2010

Product Review: LUSH Sakura Bath Bomb

I work 30 hours in three days. Because of my school schedule I am only available on the weekends, Friday through Sunday. Now, it may just be me but I am in immense pain by Sunday night, like, I can barely get to the top of the stairs in time to fall on to the couch. So, what's a girl to do? I take a Lush Bath, of course. Now, it is definitely a "Lush Bath" because this is an experience. I fork over approximately $5.00 to soak in colored, silky, scented water and I am not ashamed. This past Sunday I had the luxury of using a Sakura Bath Bomb from Lush.

Lush's description of the product: "In Japanese, Sakura means Cherry Blossom, the gorgeous white and pink flowers that bloom for just a brief period of time in the Spring. Relax into the warm water as the pretty pink and blue sea salts dissolve just like your cares. Imagine cherry blossoms softly falling as you inhale the fragrance of jasmine, mimosa and orange blossom (what we think Cherry Blossoms should smell like). You'll feel as beautiful as the transient blossoms."

When you drop this 6 ounce "bath bomb" in to the water it will immediately begin fizzing up and dissolving (think alkaseltzer) and creating a cloud of cotton candy pink. The scent is really nice and soft; I would say the smell is mature, floral and clean. Overall, I find bath bombs my least favorite if Lush's bath products only because the fizzing lasts a mere thirty seconds and the water is never as vibrant as the product itself. When the Sakura bomb is fully dissolved the water is a very pale pink color, it almost looks a bit dirty if you ask me. The smell is really nice and lingered on my skin for a while, the sea salt also made my skin feel soft.

At $5.95 a piece I will probably not be repurchasing this item. The smell alone does not make up for the mediocrity of the rest. I will test drive a new bath product next weekend. Onward.

03 February 2010

What's in a name?

It is inevitable that we are all predisposed to trust a product because of its "brand name". My previous post showed that it is not enough to use a wonderful skincare product and to be happy with the results that that product produced, we must all know that it was a CHANEL skincare product that gave them these amazing results. Had their skin been by Clean and Clear would those double C's (not interlocking, of course) been stamped on their forehead? The answer we all will conclude is "no". Why must product labels play such an important role in the brands that we trust, or even brands that we would never give a second look? I noticed on many blogs that we decide to RAVE about finding a good "drugstore" foundation, as though we all would never expect such a thing. Is it true that Revlon's Colorstay foundation compares to MAC's Studio Fix Fluid and for just a fraction of the cost!? NO, it couldn't be =O! I hope you all recognized the sarcasm here... of course this is possible, of course we do not need to pay for a name brand, and yet we all are guilty of doing this.

I happen to own both foundations, I also happen to have a friend of very similar skin tone, and this friend happens to be very guilty of being a brand name snob (it is safe to assume she won't be reading this post). I had to test my hypothesis because I am only a consumer by day, I am a scientist by night. My friend and I planned a girls night out and it was not uncommon for me to do her make up for such a night. She fumbled through my drawers of makeup and decided which products I would use to doll her up. Not surprisingly,all of the products that she chose were MAC products. Even with suggestions against certain products and recommendations towards others she insisted that it was the MAC products that she liked the best. In the midst of singing loudly along to our Lady Gaga CD and the fog of hairspray around us, my friend did not realize that she was being "made up" with drugstore brands! Did she love her makeup look? Of course she did!

So, why do we buy the products we buy? If this blog was about psychological market research I would be able to point to statistics that show the decisions we make are deep rooted in... something. But, it's not. I think that when it comes to make up we are snobs. It is true that a high end makeup counter will devote three employees to one customer to make sure their experience is delightful, at a drug store you would be lucky to get anyone's attention and even then would head no advice given by them. So what does this all create? A status that you pay for quality, that you only accept the best.

So what do you think? Is it appropriate to buy a name brand simply because of the name? If money wasn't an issue would you reach for the exact same product with a generic label?
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