Review: Lancome Eye Set, aka. favorite Black Friday find!

I was going to wait to do any Black Friday posts until the weekend deals were over, but I am almost positive that this Lancome set–with FULL-SIZE mascara and liner–takes the cake out of any find in terms of value, quality, and convenience. Plus, you get a choice of mascara between the Hypnose Drama (pictured) and Definicils.

Lancome Hypnose Mascara Set, $29

Note: While pasting the above picture, I found out that Nordstrom now has them on sale for $29 here–hurry while you can!

Now, I may just slightly be biased because I ended up getting this as a complimentary gift with my Macy’s purchase, but it would have been worth every cent of the $29 that they had it for as a doorbuster for the following reasons:

Lancome Artliner Eyeliner, $30.50

(1) The Artliner: Anyone who knows beauty knows that the Lancome Artliner in Noir is simply top of the line. At $30.50 for the full size, it already overcompensates for the cost of the set–need you further reason? I have bought this liner multiple times (on sale for $20-25) before, because it is just that good–never flakes, perfect applicator, long-lasting color, and extremely easy removal. The only thing keeping it from Holy Grail status is the color (it is very matte and I sometimes prefer a blacker, shinier black), but honestly, it is the most reliable everyday liner I have ever tried. I ran out of my last one just recently, so this would have already been a no-brainer buy for me.

Bi-Facil Double-Action Magic

(2) The Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover: Speaking of Holy Grails, this is one. Oh. My. Goodness. I had been meaning to try this because it is quite the superstar in online reviews and I hate, hate, HATE eye makeup removal. It pulls, stings, takes a long time, and by the end of it my skin is red and puffy around two beaten black eyes. But with this travel-size gift from the beauty gods, I think I can finally let myself wear mascara more often. It got both my eyeliner and mascara in one swipe–with a napkin! (Shh, I had no cotton on hand.) Plus, the name has a pun, and how often do you get that in brands like Lancome?

Disclaimer: not my picture, but too accurate not to post.

(3) The Hypnose Drama Mascara: Much better than expected! This was basically the cherry on top of the dynamic duo above. I had no idea if Hypnose or Definicils was the better mascara, but I picked this because of the unique shape. No regrets! It has a nice consistency, easy applicator, and dries fairly quickly. Did I mention it goes for $27.50 by itself?

So there you have it. An amazing buy for those of you needing to restock eyeliner, mascara, or even this Holy Grail makeup remover. Doctor out.

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Black Friday Game Plan

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Well, with Black Friday also upon us (and being a measly student miles away from my family), I decided that it was a good idea to share my overview of stores and deals after days of shopaholic researching. Note that I have no suburban stores (JCPenney, Kohl’s) because I live in one of the biggest cities in the U.S. and there are none around me.

1) Today: Online shopping! Stores have already started their online sales as of 12 am today and actually have a lot of their in-store deals conveniently online. Since most of them also offer free shipping, it’s quite tempting to stay on your butt and shop from home. What have I bought so far? Well, thanks to PT, I took advantage of the Urban Decay sale last night already, but I’ll keep looking today.

2) All day (?!): Express Although I am not a huge Express fan myself (and I have no idea why they are open all day), I guess they are one place to browse while I wait for other stores to open downtown. They have 50% off everything (also available online) throughout today.

3) 4 PM: Old Navy Old Navy is opening its doors controversially early today with 50% off everything, and the first 100 in line have a chance to be a millionaire. They also have a text-to-win game for 1,000 $200 winners. I might do the texting game, but I don’t think I’ll be standing in line for what is basically a lottery.

4) 6 PM: Macy’s This one actually has some serious doorbusters–I have already placed a hold on a pearl earring set, a memory foam pillow, and a panini grill in our giant store downtown. They are my favorite in terms of placing their entirety of deals online and even letting you make a list–on my list is their $10 Smashbox set and $9 Tarte eyeshadow palette.

5) 8 PM: Sephora Unfortunately, my Sephora does not open at 8 pm *sniff* but I did hear that they have 31 items under $10. Hopefully next year.

6) 8 PM: H&M They have scratch-offs for the first 100 in line and certain percentages off certain amounts spent in store. A bit disappointing, in my opinion.

7) Power sleep!

8) 6 AM: Neiman Marcus Last Call So excited for my first NMLC deal. First 100 in line get gift cards up to $1000 (per store!) on top of 40-60% off everything. Can you say YES?

9) 7 AM: Everything else Our mall opens at 7 am, including about every store you can imagine. Some stores I will be visiting are Banana Republic with 40% off your purchase and 50% off an item until 1 pm, Nordstrom Rack with 30% off all clearance (including designer!), Zara, Mango, and Bath & Body Works…honestly, probably shopping til I drop.

Happy deals!

OOTD: The Horrible Khaki Pants

Finally, an outfit post!

Alright, it is time that I introduce these god-awful khaki pants that I have to wear as part of my volunteer shifts at the hospital (thankfully, I can just save the oversized polo until my actual shift), and of course, the countless ways I desperately try to make them work for the day’s outfit before I run to my shift.

11-24

Today’s strategy: try to show as little of them as possible.

On me: Cardigan from H&M, oversized blouse from Tommy Hilfiger, scarf from Burberry (yes, don’t kill me), booties from local mall, and let’s not forget–pants courtesy of my local medical center

Keep tuned for more beauty soon, and for my Americans–BLACK FRIDAY!

Review: John Frieda Frizz Ease Leave-In Serum

I know this is the third hair-related thing in a row, but I just cut and dyed my hair recently and I’ve already used about ten products within the past 48 hours and I’m trying to push my blog off to a strong start. Okay, breathing.

Anyways, today’s post is about my (almost!) holy grail but still favorite wet hair product by our beloved John Frieda. As a reminder, I have naturally wavy/curly blonde hair that has been abused in every way.

The serum as I knew it for 3 honeymoon years
The new bottle, sadly smaller

Note: I pictured the “Extra Strength” version as that is what I use, but there is also an “Original Formula” as well as others, so keep in mind your options. Personally, I’m all about go big or go home, so this appealed to me–not to mention the clearly superior purple bottle–and I do not regret my choice.

Well, I have been using this insane product for the past four years, maybe a bit longer. I rarely ever stick to one thing for so long, so take away from that this single fact: this thing is AMAZING.

Because I could go on about it for pages, I will structure my raving (whoops, rating, I meant rating) as follows:

– Nature of Product: heavy, viscous clear liquid that should only be applied in drops, because it goes a longgg way (and I have longgg hair). Do NOT overdo it, or you will be sad. At about $8, it gives good bang for your buck (+1) and will last quite long as a result (+1).

– When to Use: On towel-dried hair, maybe just a few minutes air-dried. That is, mostly wet hair that is not soaking. Appropriate for any style as long as this is going to be your main styling product for the day (ie. don’t use if you are going to gel your hair or whatnot; that’s overkill). Versatility +1. Also, I do not use this every day, and I don’t think you should need to.

– Results: Even if you are simply letting your hair air dry, I guarantee it will feel softer (+1) and look shinier  (+1) instantly. All the more dramatic with heat tools. My reason for buying this for the first time was mainly the feathery parts of my hair that were getting fried from all the abuse I put them through, and Frizz Ease was truly a savior. After a few weeks of occasional use, I was able to straighten my hair to sleek perfection like before. Speaking of, you will definitely notice the difference most when you straighten your hair–just so, so super sleek.

Bottom line? BUY IT. My total here is +5 in pros as well as a personal +1 of gratitude for rescuing my dead hair, so +6 overall. I doubt many will be beating that on this blog.

Sneak Peak: My Daily Makeup Bag

Here is a sneak peek at the products I keep in my on-the-go bag for daily use. As you can see, it’s all over the spectrum in terms of brands, and it’s always changing. I will be doing a post on my routine soon, but my real goal is to review each product (obviously, they are all essentials) eventually!

makeup bag

What you might see: Urban Decay, Shu Uemura, NYX, Make Up For Ever, Benefit, Lancome, MAC, L’Oreal, Hard Candy, and much more…stay tuned!

Cheap Find: Suave Professionals Anti-Frizz Cream

I know, I know. Suave? Really? But really.

Suave Sleek Anti-Frizz Cream, $2.97

I met this little guy when I received a coupon in the mail to try it for free, so I thought: meh, why not? Less than 3 dollars may not be much to save (but +2 on that price!), but you can’t say I would have ever picked this up were it not for the coupon–so congrats, Suave marketing, on doing it right!

Anyway, without any expectations whatsoever, this pretty much blew me away. I have tried lots, lots, LOTS of leave-in conditioners from all walks of life, and we all know most are more or less crap. This is not crap. This is $3 of light frizz-control and shine and a tiny bit of fragrance (I cannot stand the overwhelming majority of conditioner scents) without any stickiness or heaviness or wetness. More precisely, I find myself adding a drop or two when my wavy hair is either (1) about 90% dry and in that “Shall I frizz today?” phase, or (2) styled/blow-dried and needs to be set and shine-proofed. Mostly, for that extra inch of perfection.

Hence, my rating would be +2 for cost, +1 for lightness, +1 for shine, and +1 for frizz control, for a grand total of +5 for its use as a finisher (not as a stand-alone conditioner or styler or mask or anything else).

Bottom line: this is not some miracle product or expensive organic oil, but I would say that it’s worth a try and better than any drugstore “leave-in” type cream I’ve come across (sprays are another story). I keep buying it because it lasts half a year and has yet to fail me.

Review: ghd Classic 1″ Styler

Well, as my 6-or-something-year-old Remington Wet-2-Straight (though still going strong!) is just not cutting it for my recent efforts to up the quality of my beauty/fashion collection, I decided to finally cave and test out this little starlet (ordered from Sephora–hello free holiday samples!):

ghd Classic 1″ Styler

Upon opening the glitzy box, I was a little underwhelmed by the small, regular-looking tool. It only has a on-off switch and a LED light to flash that it is on, so no heat settings or anything fancy (to me, -1). By the reviews all over the web, you would think this thing is a gift from the heavens, but yeah, pretty basic in terms of looks and function.

I plugged in the hairdryer-like plug, pressed “RESET,” and switched it on. To my surprise, it beeped eagerly within seconds. Impressive point +1.

I then straightened a couple sections of my abused, wavy hair (using a protection spray first). It took about two sweeps per section, but it did do the job rather quickly and smoothly. Overall, better than even the tourmaline flat irons that I have used, so +2 for that.

Then, I tried out the second most important function for me: curling. I love my curls but I’m lazy, so I do not want to deal with both a straightener AND a curler every time I want to look optimal. Well, I tried a couple methods to see how many different shapes I could get, and I have to say not all of them worked out equally well. This thing is pretty hot/unprotected (my bulky Remington must have spoiled me), so I did suffer a mini-burn on my index finger. Therefore, I think I will abstain my rating for the curling ability for now, at least until I get a fair grasp of the thing.

And finally, the most dramatic part: as my wonderful luck would have it, it was raining–actually raining, with fat raindrops and everything–in the middle of the record-breaking drought of good ol’ California today, so of course I could already hear my hair frizzing as soon as I cracked my window in the morning. BUT–here is the amazing part–my hair somehow went the whole day, i.e. about 6 hours including multiple 15-minute periods of walking under the rainfall,  without frizzing. Yep, you read that right. I’m entirely not sure if it’s my new leave-in spray or the effects of the ghd, but still, we gotta give it a +1 for that.

Thus, the final count: lack of functions (-1) + superfast heat-up (+1) + impressive straightening (+2) + frizz-defying magic (+1) = +3 stars as of yet. Not too shabby, but it will have the chance to redeem itself as I continue to test out the (1) curling skills and (2) durability.