Friday, July 24, 2009

Magical Delivery of Surprise Presents #2

Incidentally, I did the math for BeautyFix box number one and even leaving off the 3Lab M Cream's figure, the box's value was well over $50...more like $196. Great deal, even if you happen to get something you don't like. Box number two arrived a week or two ago and despite one misstep, everything else was pretty great.
Cures by Avance Age Defyer Eye, $50 for 0.5 oz.

This is a very nice, light moisturizer for the eye area. I can't really vouch for the AGE DEFYING qualities because I simply don't have a heck of a lot of fine lines and wrinkles in play, but I can certainly appreciate a nice moisturizer. I did find that if I didn't wait a little bit to put makeup over it, it would kind of ball up, but what I usually do in the morning is apply any moisturizing and toning products, dry my hair, and then apply makeup, so it works well in that context, and if you were putting it on before bed then you'd be good to go. At $50 for half an ounce, I'd probably pass on this since as I mentioned I'm not really in the AGE DEFYING market, but if you yourself are in said market, I think this would actually be worth your money. This is not to say it's a bargain - $50 for a small tube is not what I would call a steal - but rather to say that it's a good product.
Decleor Source D'Eclat Instant Radiance Moisturizer, $56 for 1.69 oz.

You really can't say anything bad about Decleor products...well, that's not true, you can say that not all of them have the best smell, but generally that's a very minor problem and completely insignificant compared to the results it will give you. I've been to a couple Decleor spas and used several of their products and not once have I been disappointed. This moisturizer is no exception. I have tried a couple of radiance-oriented lotions and powders and have found almost every one to make me look either shiny or greasy, neither of which is okay. I was a little concerned about this one because it did have that pearlescent sheen that threatens shiny, shiny doom, but when I put it on, the effect was perfectly subtle and the moisturization was ideal. It just gives you a nice fresh look, and as an added bonus, makeup applies really well over it. I really loved this one.
Pur-lisse Pur-lip Comfort, $22 for 0.5 oz.

My lips are a constant source of trauma in my life. Every seasonal change, they kind of lose their shit and start cracking and peeling and generally being horrible, and of course because I am compulsive, I wind up messing with the little hurty flaky bits and it's just bad news everywhere. I try and litter my surroundings with chapstick with the thought that the more I see it, the more I'll use it, but it remains a problem. This Pur-lisse product, despite it's stupid naming scheme (ah, the pseudo-Scandanavian spa product protocol), is fantastic, and I have very high hopes for it. I have been really impressed with the difference it's made in my not-currently-freaking-out lips and based on what I've seen, I expect it to perform admirably when the seasons change. A little pricey for lip stuff, but NOT for lip stuff that works this well. Pending success when fall rolls around, I'm thinking this is a product I'll keep around.
Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray, $29 for 4 oz., $39 for 6 oz.

I tend to get some makeup fatigue by the end of the day, so if I'm going out after work I really should (read: do not always) touch up my makeup. This spray, however, sets everything so it stays remarkably well. I just assumed that this was a hoax, to be honest with you, but I'm really, really impressed with the difference that this spray makes to the longevity of my makeup. It does take a little getting used to, because normally I would avoid spraying liquids near my eyes and inviting mascara runs and eyeshadow chaos, but once you try it you'll see that it doesn't wreak havoc on your careful application. Really great product, I'm glad I received it!
Me! Bath Shower Sherbet, $28 per pint

I have been using this salt scrub that is very oily and makes the bath a danger zone (sorry honey), but I love the scent of it so I take the risk. This Shower Sherbet, though, is wonderful AND non-hazardous. It's a big ass container, and the scent is lovely. However, the best part is that it has all these great oils and scrubbers in it that go on you and don't adhere to every molecule of your tub! I got the Vanilla Purity "flavor" and I am really thrilled with it...which is saying something, since I hate - not dislike, hate - about 99% of vanilla scented bath and body products. This is a really nice scrub and did leave me with a palpable difference in the feeling of my skin. I would order this again, and after looking through their website, I would be interested in a number of their other products as well.
SpaRitual nail polish in "Airhead," $10 and ginger hand lotion, $28 for 7.7 oz.

SpaRitual focuses on making stylish but Earth-friendly polishes, which is pretty neat. I like the color, and the polish itself seems to hold up pretty well, even on my post-acrylics, beat-to-hell nails. The color is very sweet and unobtrusive, and they have a good range of options on their site. The bottle is recyclable and the polish itself is made without formaldehyde and some other nasty polluting chemicals. The lotion is also excellent, and actually smells like real ginger, rather than that creepy made-in-a-lab-in-New-Jersey faux ginger that cosmetics companies often use. (Note to Fragrance People: When people like a scent found naturally, they want to smell LIKE THAT SCENT, not like an approximation that you tidied up.) Great stuff. I would buy both of these again.
Juara Tamarind Tea Toner, $27 for 4.75 oz.

Continuing the tradition of embarassing confessions on here, I am really bad about cleaning my face at night, which as I understand it is when you should be using toner, which is basically a reset button for your face (TM Jen D). I tend to use old-school Ponds cold cream (NB: that stuff works.) moments before collapsing into bed. Toner is just too much effort. However, I have been using this one right after I get out of the shower in the morning so I can let it do its thing while I blowdry my hair and it does make my skin feel great. I think I need to kick the laziness if there are in fact benefits to be reaped. I'll probably pick some of this up (after I use up my bottle of Mario Badescu cucumber toner, which is also excellent).
The Youth As We Know It concentrate, $70 for 1 oz.

Bliss makes some really great products - they tend to smell good and do as advertised, which frankly in cosmetics is not always the case. This is an anti-aging concentrate that is supposed to do all manner of wonderful things to your skin, and what I can attest to is that it is moisturizing and refreshing, which is most of what I ask of face products. Not having used it for that long, I can't say whether it will prevent aging and all that hoo-rah, but it seems like a great product and I like how it feels. It's another one I'd be unlikely to buy right now, simply because I don't really need anti-aging stuff and don't really like the emphasis that society places on the avoidance of something it is in our nature to do, i.e. get older, but I would use this as a moisturizer for sure.
Degree Body Mist, $3.49 at Big Y as of yesterday when I went to buy salsa.

Here's the misstep in this round of BeautyFix. Let me first say that I don't have an issue with the actual product. It's perfectly fine - I got the scent called "Sexy Intrigue," which...okay - and I threw it in my gym bag. I'm not going to use it as an every day perfume (Is that what you're supposed to do with these things?) but it's a non-offensive nice scent for destinkifying after the gym. I do have a mild problem with it being included in the BeautyFix package because it simply is not at the level of the other products, and I'm paying to sample new top of the line products. "Nice, but available in the same building where I buy vegetables" is really not sufficient. Fine.

I DO have a problem with the marketing for this product for two primary reasons, and I'm sorry if this doesn't interest you but it is of constant irritation to me. First of all, I hate - HATE - the commercials for this, where some asshole with a walking stick, white gloves and an affected Europeville bullshit accent is talking about how women never slow down and this means they sweat, so the best perfume in the world isn't worth jack if they sweat it off, so "he" decided to put his perfume in the deodorant aisle instead of in "little glass bottles." Also there is a shot of a woman walking what looks like a panther. What the fuck. Here's my problem with this...can we please find a place between acting like women are barely functional princesses who only like pink shit and acting like women are so totally hardcore for accomplishing their daily lives that the BINDINGS OF THE WORLD CANNOT HOLD THEM? Women don't need pandering in either direction. Make a nice perfume that smells good and put it in whatever the hell you want. Scent does not require special packaging to denote female toughness.

So that's annoying. More annoying is the use of the male voice and visual cues. You know why? This stuff was created by a woman. It's annoying enough to have some bullshit marketing pitch that's all "this is my offering as a humble man, set at the stairs of the temple of women" but to find out that Degree thinks I'll only BUY this crap if they present it to me as a Gift From A Caring Man is extra insulting. Why not just market it as a body mist that smells good and is easy to use? Why must we go to the high-fashion artsy place (because as you know, women only like things if they have the smell of fashion on them) and emphasize the Males Care factor? I'm disappointed that Degree thinks women are stupid enough to fall for this shitty marketing and honestly it makes me not want to buy their product. You can do better, Degree.

All in all, another solid round from BeautyFix! I highly recommend signing up. More reviews to come in the near future!

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