Sunday, September 30, 2012

Le Metier de Beaute CHEM60 Pro-Peel & GLOW10ai Mask experience

            Recently I was invited by Le Metier de Beaute to preview their new at-home facial peel at my nearest Nieman Marcus counter. This Saturday afternoon, I stopped by the Neiman Marcus on 737 North Michigan Ave. to see what what it was all about.

          The Le Metier de Beaute CHEM60 Pro-Peel and GLOW10ai Mask Set (shown above) is a 15 minute at-home salicylic and glycolic acid facial peel designed to give professional spa-like results. The peel is a two step process that can be used once a week. The CHEM-60 Pro-Peel is the first step, which can be applied for 60 seconds (or up to five minutes). Its purpose is to desquamate skin cells. After washing off with warm water, the GLOW10ai mask is applied. The mask has a white glue-like appearance and a thick consistency. It should be applied thickly, as it will help peel off the upper skin layers and unclog pores. It takes around fifteen minutes to completely dry, at which point you can pull it off. I had a test patch run on my hand, and indeed it did result in a brightened and smoothened appearance. Although the treatment did seem to work, I was not offered an actual facial peel experience so I cannot report those results at this time.

         While at there, I did dabble in a few pieces of makeup since this was my first time at a Le Metier de Beaute counter. I was hoping to try the famed LMdB Corinthian, but sadly it was missing from the shadow selection. I did receive a nice touch-up with the Powder Rouge in Fresh, which was very pretty. I also got to try Purple Haze, which I recognized as a popular limited edition item from the Ken Downing collection from Fall 2011.

           I asked a few questions about the other skincare in Le Metier's line (shown above), as my sales associate was quite knowledgeable about skincare.  I learned about the Daily Refresh Tonic and Daily Renew cleanser. Both have a gorgeous peppermint scent, which I really liked. I'll keep these in mind for the future.

          The Le Metier de Beaute CHEM60 Pro-Peel and GLOW10ai Mask Set ($260 for 4-5 uses) is available for presale and should be available at counters by November.  From a product perspective, I think this may be worth a look if you are a fan of Le Metier de Beaute skincare. As for my first experience at a LMdB, I have mixed feelings. I was excited to take part, brought my camera and came prepared to report on an experience. Unfortunately, there had been a mixup with my appointment time. My experience ended up being a more like a customer question session, instead of a facial product experience. It was different than I had expected, but I still had a good time. Should I have ever the chance to try the peel again, I'll know what to do. Thanks for reading! Have you had the chance to try the new Le Metier CHEM60 Pro-Peel and GLOW10ai or LMdB skincare? What are your favorite peels?

Love, Dovey.

Disclosure: I was invited to partake in this experience by the company's PR. The ideas and opinions in this post are genuine and my own.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Urban Decay Holiday 2012 preview

         For beauties both naughty and nice, Urban Decay Holiday 2012 has Feminine, Fun, Dangerous, and Vice. I'm opening my presents a little early this holiday season, so stay tuned for colorful reviews! In the meantime, which one of these sets catches your eye?

Love, Dovey.

Disclosure: This post contains product(s) sent to Cute and Mundane for consideration by PR. The ideas and opinions in this post are genuine and my own

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I 'Louvre' the Cle de Peau Luminzing Face Enhancer (review + swatches)

          The Cle de Peau Luminizing Face Enhancer in 11-Pastel has an ethereal beauty. Is it art or is it makeup? I can't be sure. Typically, I'm not one to be lured with detailing, however I couldn't help but be drawn in by this timeless geometric design that has both striking simplicity and cool complexity.

         The Cle de Peau Luminizing Face Enhancer has a marvelous jeweled mirror casing. If I gaze into the mirror, I see a Picasso-like image of my face. The effect is created by a 3-dimensional jewel like upper layer that sits above a mirror. The casing is weighty, as I would expect of a luxury item. The compact has a magnetic snap closure.

          Triangles and pyramids posess a certain cultural mystique. The jeweled casing of my Cle de Peau Face Luminizing Enhancer brought to mind the complex triangulations of glass and light found in the Louvre pyramid. Above is a decades old photo from a family vacation in France. Apparently we were in such a hurry to get places that this is the only photo we shot at the inverted pyramid base. I'm the shadow on the far left, my mom is in the middle, and my brother is on the right. This was in the days before digital cameras, so the silhouettes were unintentional. However, In retrospect, I think it made for a more spectacular composition.

        The beautiful three-dimensional triangular pattern from the lid of the Cle de Peau Luminizing Face Enhancer in 11-Pastel continues onto the product itself. The rose-scented powder is quite soft and has a silky feel. There are four different colors in the pan: lavender, blue, off-white, and peach.

          I've swatched the colors in the Cle de Peau Luminizing Face Enhancer in 11-Pastel both as single colors and as a blended color. Each color is swatched heavily so that they it shows up. You can see the differences between the lavender, blue, white, and peach sheens in the single swatches.When blended together, the result is a light, balanced highlight color. The powder adds a sheer silky glow to the face when applied with the included brush. There is some white character to the color that may become more noticeable on darker skin tones.

        The Cle de Peau Luminizing Face Enhancer in Pastel is a treasure I'd rather display in a glass box than tote around in my makeup bag. That said, I'm not one for keeping unused makeup around, so this luminizer will get some love. Plus, should I manage to hit pan, refills are available for purchase. Thanks for reading! Have you tried Cle de Peau? What are your favorite highlighters and luminizers? What are some beautifully packaged products in your collection?

Love, Dovey.

P.S. Instagram has nothing on two decades of actual photo aging :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ralph Lauren Romance Eau de Parfum review

          Ralph Lauren Romance Eau de Parfum is a classic. One can already infer the nature of the scent from the simple elegance of the bottle. Ralph Lauren Romance is meant to evoke the essence of falling in love. (I'm imaging a girl in a billowy white cotton dress and a bouquet of red roses, standing in a tall grassy field full of wildflowers). The intended notes include: Sungoddess Rose, marigold, ginger, chamomile oil, yellow freesia, white violet, lotus flower, day lily, patchouli, oakmoss, musk. In simplified terms, the scent is a combination of rose and musk. However, there are a few more directions that are taken, albeit to restrained degrees. The rose is a key, but not solo note. It's lighter than the heavy rose one finds in Stella McCartney's Stella. Somehow I get a near juiciness in the rose. I wonder if this may be due to the uplifting nectar of lily and freesiea. As I mentioned, there is a clear and present musk. There is also a definite, but not offensive, contribution from patchouli. The patchouli itself is gentle. Its scent seems to be wrapped within a few other lightly pungent scents (the marigold, ginger and chamomile). The gentle complexity makes the patchouli element less noticeable and therefore more bearable for me. I also can find a dash of wood once I get past the musk and patchouli. After a dry-down, the rose, musk, and patchouli become the most evident. Over a longer period of time, much of the patchouli is lost and I'm left with a light musk scent.
          Ralph Lauren Romance Eau de Parfum is a well rounded ladylike fragrance centered around rose and musk. All the notes seem to be tempered so that there are really no bright trills or base notes that play out in the scent. While it is timeless, feminine, and easy to wear, one could say it runs the risk of being a bit boring. Generally, I prefer scents with more pizzazz (and less patchouli), so Romance typically doesn't make it into my everyday rotation. How about you? Have you tried Ralph Lauren Romance? What fragrances or notes do you consider to be classic? What fragrances remind you of falling in love?

Love, Dovey.

P.S. See more of my ever-growing miniature-fragrance collection here.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bobbi Brown Black Chocolate eyeshadow review + swatches

          "Life [is] like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get." The same can be said for ordering makeup sight unseen. When Bobbi Brown eyeshadow in Black Chocolate was released this fall, I didn't preview it at counters. I simply ordered it online and hoped for the  best.

          Bobbi Brown Black Chocolate eyeshadow is one of four eyeshadow colors in the Fall 2012 Uber Basics collection. The four colors included Bone, Cement, Taupe, and Black Chocolate. I already have the three former colors in full or palette sizes. Black Chocolate was the only new color in the collection. However, it's not completely new, as it did show up previously in Bobbi Brown's tortoiseshell palette.

          Bobbi Brown eyeshadows contain a generous amount of product. They have 0.08 oz. of eyeshadow, which you can compare to 0.05oz for a MAC eyeshadow. They have superb pigmentation and texture. I'd be hard pressed to think of another brand that has line of matte neutral shadows that is as comprehensive and well done as Bobbi's. The eyeshadows can easily pop in and out of their single packaging and be inserted into larger palettes.

          I try not to make it a habit of collecting too much of a certain kind of makeup, but I can never seem to have too many nude lipsticks or dark eyeshadows. My favorite way to define my eyes is with strong yet soft and smudgy line. This typically involves the use of a dark eyeshadow and my Sephora pencil brush (my brush BFF). I like to have a variety of dark colors to vary the look, depending on my mood. Bobbi Brown Caviar and Smoke are among my most-used colors.
          Bobbi Brown Black Chocolate eyeshadow is described online as a 'black brown.' The descriptor is not that helpful, as Caviar is described as a 'black brown', while Smoke is a 'deep brown black.' As you can see from the pans above and the swatches below, the three colors are actually quite different. To me, Bobbi Brown Black Chocolate is a soft dark chocolate brown with just a hint of black. Bobbi Brown Caviar is much darker and blacker. Bobbi Brown Expresso is darker and cooler. Bobbi Brown Smoke has a similar intensity, but is more grey. NARS Coconut Grove (reviewed here) is the most similar, but its pigmentation is a bit richer, darker, and cooler.

         I ordered Bobbi Brown Black Chocolate on a whim, but I'm really pleased with my decision. I've been wanting a soft yet dark brown and this fits the bill. By the way, this was probably one of the best beauty blog photo shoots ever. Suffice it to say, I ended up enjoying a few truffles, favoring the crunchy toffee filled kind. Thanks for reading! Did you pick up anything from the Bobbi Brown Uber Beige collection? What are your favorite dark liner colors? Which chocolates do you go for first in a box?

Love, Dovey.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Nude Skincare review: Perfect Cleansing Oil, Purify Cleansing Wash, and Miracle Mask

           Beauty and skincare aficionados may have noticed the recent launch and promotion of Nude Skincare at Sephora. My interest was  certainly piqued. Today I have the scoop on Nude Skincare, as well as reviews of a few items from their line. Nude skincare focuses on feeding your skin with omega oils and their trademark n-probiotic cell nutrient*. The line focuses on creating healthy skin with ingredient lists free of gluten, parabens, sulfates, silicones, mineral oil, sulfates, synthetic color, and synthetic fragrance. All three products shown today are vegan.
Even the boxes are pretty!

            Nude Skincare's products are packaged in mod lavender packaging with purple writing. It complements their logo quite well. I think the simple modern packaging is going to going to appeal to a lot of beauty lovers. (My mom loves this color and I can already see her calling me after this review). The plastic is matte, if you know what I mean. It's not the slippery shiny variety. Some of the moisturizers and other products in the Nude Skincare line are packaged in dark purple glass bottles with silver lids. It's also worth noting that the products I received were made in France.

          The Nude Perfect Cleansing Oil has a pretty jasmine scent, which I love. Cleansing oils are great for removing makeup and dissolving away other oil-soluble impurities. Typically they're applied to the face dry, however I like to dampen my face slightly before using the Nude Perfect Cleansing Oil. The consistency is a little thicker than other oils, so this helps. Warm the oil between your hands before use helps increase fluidity. The cleansing oil does a good job of removing all my makeup. After rinsing off with warm water, a protective layer of oil does remain. It's quite a bit actually. This would work well for those with dry skin, especially in the wintertime. Since I have combination skin, I use a heavy cleanser to remove all residue after use.

           The Nude Purify Cleansing Wash is a balanced foaming cleanser that cleanses the skin with the help of ingredients like cinnamon, ginger, and burnet root. The cleanser has a gentle fruity, soapy, earthy scent that I like. When squeezed it out of the tube, the cleanser comes out in a semi-solid gel like consistency. The soap is relatively concentrated so you only need a small amount to wash your face. It works on the face easily to create a gentle lather. The Nude Purify Cleansing Wash does a good job at cleansing, but it's a little shy of being deep cleanser. It leaves skin feeling comfortable, not dry after the wash. I was pleased with the Nude Purify Cleansing Wash. I think its performance runs in a nice middle ground that can please oily and dry types.

          The Nude Miracle Mask brightens and adds radiance to skin via a blend of AHAs (a natural glycolic acid) and exfoliating rice beads. The scent is reminiscent of orange marmalade. It's similar to the REN peel, for those of you who are familiar with it. The peel has a thick serum like consistency that has very small exfoliating grains. The peel should be massaged onto the face for one minute, and then left on for five minutes. The result is brightened skin. There are similar 'mask/peel' products available at similar price ranges and I think it depends on your preference. REN Radiance lacks any exfoliating grains, Philosophy Microdelivery is much more exfoliating, and Nude Skincare is in between.

          Nude Perfect Cleansing Oil ($36 for 3.4 oz.), Nude Purify Cleansing Wash ($26 for 3.4 oz.), and Nude Miracle Mask ($48 for 2.6 oz.) are available at Sephora or Nude Skincare online. I like the clean and pretty aesthetics of the packaging. I also appreciate the vegan and simple ingredient lists of these products.  Because the line's treatment philosophy involves the use of omega fatty acid containing plant oils*, I would say this that the Nude Skincare line would be best suited for normal to dry skin. Thanks for reading! Have you seen Nude Skincare in stores? Have you tried any products or samples? What are some of your cleansing oils, peels, or cleansers?

Love, Dovey

*Note: Science is a big part of Nude Skincare's marketing campaign, so I felt it was important to mention it here. Their products are based on the use of 'Omega Oils' and 'N-Probiotic.' First, I assume, but can't be sure, that 'Omega Oils' refer to oils rich in Omega Fatty acids. Second, concerning Nude Skicare's n-probiotic cell nutrient, their website specifically states "Within 24 hours your skin starts producing its own natural anti-aging ingredients*". This claim is based on "*in vitro"(i.e. cell culture) results. (Sephora omits 'in vitro' completely). Technically, 'your skin' should actually be denoted as 'skin cells'. This is an important designation, since cell culture results do not necessarily correlate with actual results on living skin. I hope the company will clarify these two things in the future.

Ingredients: Nude Perfect Cleansing Oil- Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Polyglyceryl-4 Oleate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Parfum (Fragrance), Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol. Nude Purify Cleansing Wash- Water, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Isostearyl Alcohol, Isopropyl Palmitate, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Lauryl Glucoside, Alpha-Glucan Oligosaccharide, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower Extract, Sanguisorba Officinalis Root Extract, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Cinnamomum Cassia Bark Extract, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Caprylyl Glycol, Parfum (Fragrance), Butylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Tocopherol, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides, Phenoxyethanol. Nude Miracle Mask- Water, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Germ Powder, Citric Acid, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Glycolic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Sclerotium Gum, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ruscus Aculeatus Root Extract, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Phenoxyethanol, Xanthan Gum, Alpha Glucan Oligosaccharide, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Fragrance, Pentylene Glycol, Tocopherol. 

Disclosure: This post contains product(s) sent to Cute and Mundane for consideration by PR. The ideas and opinions in this post are genuine and my own

Friday, September 21, 2012

Win It! MAC Moth Brown eyeshadow Giveaway!

           Thank you. That's something that just can't be said enough. It is really readers, my fellow bloggers, and makeup enthusiasts that bring so much joy into this blog. It's what keeps me hammering away on my keyboard late at night and what inspires my crazy weekend photo sessions. Blogging can be a pretty solitary hobby; it means a lot to me to know that you take time out of your day to stop by, read, or drop a note. I wanted to give away something special as a way of saying thanks, so I picked up an extra MAC Moth Brown eyeshadow last month when the fan MAC By Request collection came out (see my review here). MAC Moth Brown is one of those legendary limited edition eyeshadows that beauty lovers still hear about long after its gone. It's since sold out online, but I'm excited that I can give one lucky reader the chance to enjoy this beautiful color!

          This giveaway is open to Cute and Mundane readers, including international readers. You just have to show that you follow in at least one of the ways listed in the rafflecopter widget below. I tried to make my tweet choices interesting, however should you find them too cheesy, you are welcome to use your creative license to compose a new one (as long as it retains the important elements: giveaway/@cuteandmundane/MAC Moth Brown). Good Luck!

Love, Dovey.
a Rafflecopter giveaway Giveaway rules and information: The giveaway prize is one MAC Moth Brown eyeshadow purchased by me. Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. This giveaway is open internationally. I will randomly pick one eligible winner using the Rafflecopter widget after the conclusion of the giveaway. The winner will have 72 hours to respond to my email with their mailing address, which I will use solely for the purposes of mailing the prize. I will pack the prize carefully, but will not be responsible should the package be lost in transit. I reserve the right to disqualify any entry. Reasons may include (but are not limited to) false or ambiguous entries (a.k.a. not completing the task you said you did), multiple entries for one person, and accounts suspected to be used solely for the purpose of 'giveaway hunting. Giveaway rules are subject change without notice. If any changes are made, they will be updated in the blog post and widget.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

LUSH Jumping Juniper shampoo bar review

         I just can't quit LUSH shampoo bars. How could I? They're so sudsy, fragrant, and cleansing. Perhaps you already know of my obsession. (I was tickled when Liz of Beauty Reductionista mentioned that she thinks of me when she sees them!) My long-time favorite is LUSH Seanik, the salty blue volumizing shampoo bar (reviewed here). After wearing my current bar down to a nubbin, I decided it was time to get a new one. This time, instead of buying Seanik for the fifth time in a row, I branched out and tried LUSH Jumping Juniper.
         I bought my Jumping Juniper shampoo bar from LUSH on State Street; it was my first time purchasing there. The associates were really nice and even cleaned out the old shampoo tin I brought with me before packing Jumping Juniper in it. (Note: You can purchase the shampoo tins at LUSH; they're great for travel. I brought mine to the store so I wouldn't have to use any paper packaging.) I also got a sample of BIG Shampoo, which I'm happy about.

          The LUSH Jumping Juniper bar has a really nice fruity lavender scent to compliment its lavender color. Every bar has a sprig embedded in it. Lavender is one of my favorite garden flowers; my apartment complex had some growing in the common area this year (see above). LUSH Jumping Juniper washes away oil and balances your scalp. Juniper berry helps cut out the oil, lemon and lime add shine, rosemary is antibacterial, and lavender balances and soothes the scalp.  When used in a hot shower, the beautiful fresh citrus scents in Jumping Juniper become evident. The shampoo suds up well and thoroughly cleans my hair. My hair felt a little less dry than with Seanik. I think this is because Jumping Juniper is more 'balancing' and lacks the salt found in Seanik. I think this will make sense for me in the winter months when I'm going for a less beach-y hair look.

         It's love. I'm already worrying about which LUSH shampoo bar I'll repurchase the next time around: Jumping Jumpier or Seanik? Good thing it'll be a couple months before I have to decide again. Thanks for reading! Have you tried any LUSH shampoo bars? Have you tried any LUSH recently?

Love, Dovey.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

REN Keep Young and Beautiful Anti-Aging Eye Cream review

          REN is an under the radar skincare brand that has a growing following of beauty lovers in-the-know. REN products are full of feel-good ingredients and free of parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, petrolatum, synthetic fragrance, synthetic colors, and silicones. Recently I tried the brand new REN Keep Young and Beautiful Anti-Aging Eye Cream. As the name suggests, REN Keep Young and Beautiful eye cream serves as youth regenerating eye treatment. Ingredients like peptides, collagen, ceramide, and alpha-linolelic acid are included to plump, moisturize, and lift the eye. I also noticed that rose water was the first ingredient on the list (see below). REN Keep Young and Beautiful eye cream is packaged in a long pump bottle format, of which I am a fan. The pump makes use hygienic and convenient. The length is great since it only makes a small footprint in my skincare storage basket. The texture of the REN Keep Young and Beautiful eye 'cream' is more like a lotion, but not a serum. As you can imagine, a thick cream can't travel up a pump. It's light and sinks in quickly without leaving much a film. There may be a faint blackberry scent, though it could be my imagination. I can't assess wrinkle improvement, as I have none, however my eye area does look fresh and well rested lately.

         Overall, I give the REN Keep Young and Beautiful Anti-Aging Eye Cream ($40 for 0.5 oz.) a thumbs up. I love the pump format and bottle shape. I also like the idea of anti-aging product that has a light feel and can be worn under makeup. I've been reaching for REN Keep Young and Beautiful Anti-Aging Eye Cream everyday and will probably use it down to the last drop. Thanks for reading! Have you ever tried REN skincare products? Do you prefer your eye creams heavy or light? What are your favorites?

Love, Dovey.

Ingredients: Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Triheptanoin, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Caprylic/ Capric Triglyceride, Squalane, Glycerin, Cetearyl Glucoside, Rosa Canina (Rose Hip) Fruit Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Myristyl Myristate, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Lauryl Laurate, Oryzanol, Palmitoyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Phenoxyethanol, Vaccinium Vitis-Idaea (Lingonberry) Seed Oil, Hexapeptide-11, Safflower Glyceride/ Palm Oil Aminopropanediol Esters, Bisabolol, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Tocopherol, Xanthan Gum, Panthenol, Faex (Yeast) Extract. 
Disclosure: This post contains product(s) sent to Cute and Mundane for consideration by PR. The ideas and opinions in this post are genuine and my own.   

Escada Especially Escada Eau de Parfum review

          Escada Especially Escada was a good fragrance find for me this summer. It's one of my deluxe fragrance samples (see more here) that I'm happy to have on my dresser. The scent is meant to embody a modern glamour inspired by  morning dew on the petals of a sparkling rose.

         The pink fragrance of Escada Especially Escada is housed in squat rectangular packaging paired with an over-the-top golden topper. It really reflects the resoundingly feminine, fun, and glamorous scent inside. The intended notes in this fragrance include: pear, rose, amrette seeds, ylang ylang, and musky notes.

        Escada Especially Escada brings together juicy pear and fresh rose for an unexpected fruity floral combination. The scent is feminine and ulplifting, but possesses an opulence due to the full bodied nature of both pear and rose scents. It's the fruit and floral components themselves and not the addition of various spices or base notes that gives the scent more body. Because of this, light fruity floral lovers would most likely be able to enjoy this too. The base is rounded out with a smooth musk for a nice finish.

         Escada Especially Escada is a fun and rich fruity floral scent. I can see this simple pear, rose, and musk combination pleasing a lot of noses. Thanks for reading! Have you tried Escada Especially Escada or any other perfumes from the Escada line? Have you come across any nice pink scents lately?

Love, Dovey

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

TATCHA Normal Skincare Routine review

          TATCHA is a luxury skincare line that has drawn inspiration from old East Asian beauty rituals. Founder Victoria Tsai brought together a two hundred year old book detailing the beauty rituals of geisha and modern skincare scientist to formulate an East-meets-West skincare routine. The ritual is based on a trifecta of antioxidant rich red algae extract, rice bran, and green tea extracts that form TATCHA's trademark HADASEI complex. TATCHA has recently featured in Vogue magazine, as well as other printed and online press.

           TATCHA products show an attention to detail that should be expected of a luxury skincare line. The skincare products are housed in off-white thick plastic containers that are reminiscent of porcelain. The Tatcha logo is embedded with a blue and gold enamel-like finish. The new containers are taped closed with a strip of blue and white geometrically patterned tape. Upon opening the bottles, I peeled the stickers off. Even the product boxes (seen above) have a beautiful wooden print. All the products I received were made in Japan. TATCHA also sent a beautiful pamphlet detailing the history and inspirations behind the brand (seen below).

          There are four steps to the TATCHA skincare routine: PURE, POLISHED, RADIANT, and SUPPLE. The first step,'Pure,' refers to the One-Step Camellia Cleansing Oil. It is followed by 'Polished', an exfoliant Rice Enzyme powder. 'Radiant' is the Tatcha Deep Brightening Serum. Finally, skin is moisturized with 'Supple', the Moisture Rich Silk Cream

         The TATCHA One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil contains a blend of camellia oil, rice bran oil, red algae, and green tea. It's a gentle cleanser that is meant to wash away makeup and other impurities. The scent is beautiful; it smells like sweet rice water with some floral hints. The Camellia cleansing oil is meant to be applied directly to a dry face for best effect, which is typical of cleansing oils. I found that it also works well when applied to a slightly damp face. One to two pumps is enough per use. The Cleansing oil has a watery non-oily texture that is easy to work over the face. It dissolves away makeup (except for stubborn waterproof mascara) and washes off easily with warm water. Only a slight oil residue is left on the face. Those with dry skin could stop here, however I like to use a cleanser afterwards since I have combination/clog prone skin.

          The TATCHA Rice Enzyme Powder  is the second step in the routine. This polishing step exfoliates and smooths the skin using a blend of rice and papaya enzymes, plus Tatcha's HADASEI-3 complex. Rice enzyme has long been used in East Asian cultures for beautifying skin. The TATCHA Rice Enzyme powder comes in three different blends (Gentle, Classic, and Deep) to account for different types of skin. I have the Classic version, which contains added pearl for skin conditioning. The TATCHA Rice Enzyme Polishing Powder was unique from other skin treatments I've tried. Half a teaspoon of powder is poured into wet hands. By mixing the powder with water, the treatment is activated and becomes a luxuriously creamy paste that can be massage onto the face. The texture is mostly milky, however I could feel a few larger particles and some micro-particles working on my skin. Again, there was a sweet rice scent. After washing the TATCHA Rice Enzyme Powder off, I did notice my skin was smoother and brighter.

          The TATCHA Deep Brightening Serum contains licorice, scutellaria, jujube, and TATCHA's HADASEI-3  Complex to add luminosity to the skin. Silk and Squalene aid in moisturization. Recently, brightening and lightening serums that have been used by Asian consumers for some time have become more popular in the U.S . The TATCHA Brightening serum has the same beautiful scent as the other TATCHA products. It goes on smoothly and sinks in quickly. A smooth residue is left at the surface. This product has received a lot of love from other beauty bloggers for its ability to even skin tone, however it wasn't a good fit for my sensitive skin. There was no obvious bad reaction. I noticed mild signs that my skin wasn't happy and stopped using this part of the routine. I have plans to test this on Mr. Lovey though; he has a lot of freckles and sun damage that could use erasing. I will update if I see results.

          Finally, the TATCHA Moisture Rich Silk Cream is a cream made with silk protein designed to form a barrier that protects the skin. Rice bran oil, red algae, and green tea works to prevent aging. Wild thyme, ginseng root, and royal jelly promote moisturization and balance. The cream certainly had a luxurious feel. It was silky to the touch and had a plush feeling when worn. It was moisturizing, without feeling oily. While the moisturizer does sink in, you will notice a moisturizing film if you touch your face, even hours later. I does a good job of protecting your face and locking in moisture. The cute fabric knot and golden spoon were delightful details on the packaging too.

          Overall, I enjoyed my Tatcha experience. The packaging was beautiful and the products were of appropriate quality. The light floral and sweet rice fragrance was a plus as well. My favorites were the TATCHA One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil for its light feel and the TATCHA Rice Enzyme Powder which was a unique and effective experience. TATCHA One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil ($48 for 5.1oz.), Classic Rice Enzyme Powder ($65 for 2.1oz.), Deep Brightening Serum ($150 for 1.0 oz.) and Moisture Rich Silk Cream ($150 for 1.7oz.) are available through Barney's or TATCHA's online shop. Thanks for reading! Have you tried the TATCHA products or passed by a counter? What do you think of the packaging? Do you use any Asian inspired skincare routines or product lines?

Love, Dovey.

Disclosure: This post contains product(s) sent to Cute and Mundane for consideration by PR. The ideas and opinions in this post are genuine and my own.   

Monday, September 17, 2012

NARS 413 BLKR Eyeshadow Duo review + swatches

           The moment I saw the NARS 413 BLKR eyeshadow duo, I knew I had to have it. Though I am a self-professed NARS fanatic, it's been some time since I've been this excited over an eyeshadow duo! This duo is the newest addition (along with a bright pink velvet gloss collection) to the NARS 413 BLKR collection. It debuted during Fall 2012 Fashion's Night Out.

         'NARS 413 BLKR' refers to the NARS flagship boutique that is located on 413 Bleecker St. in NYC. (You can read about my visit to the 413 Bleecker boutique here). The 413 BLKR makeup collection is composed of items that can only be bought at the flagship store or  NARS online. I already have the 413 BLKR eyeshadow single, which I reviewed previously here.

          The colors in NARS 413 BLKR eyeshadow duo are described as a shimmering amethyst and a black with red pearl. The colors have a soft, smoky, and classical beauty when seen in the pan. The combination of a sheen with blackened flecked pearl bring to mind complex fall textures like velvet. This eyeshadow duo begs to be worn with my dark purple velvet blazer, don't you think?

           I would describe the colors in NARS 413 BLKR eyeshadow duo as a dusty orchid with light shimmer and a black with red plum flecks. The orchid pink/purple is absolutely gorgeous. I love its subdued and slightly hazy nature. I've compared it to the NARS 413 BLKR eyeshadow single (reviewed here). You can see the single is a cooler blue toned lavender. My guess is that the closest NARS eyeshadow single color would be Ondine. The darker half of the NARS 413 BLKR eyeshadow duo looks purple in the pan due to the red shimmer, however it's actually a pitch black. The pearl is barely evident when swatched, though it is easier to see in person. I pulled out the Urban Decay Creep, a black with silver flecks, for comparison. You can see that 413 BLKR is as black, if not blacker than Creep. I also swatched Urban Decay Hustle, a dark purple eyeshadow. You can see that the darker half of 413 BLKR looks nothing like a purple when swatched. I do wish the red pearl was more prominent; the color would have been stunning.

           The NARS 413 BLKR eyeshadow duo is another beautiful addition to the 413 BLKR lineup. I can't wait to see what NARS has in store for future additions to the 413 BLKR collection. Thanks for reading! Did you get anything during Fashion's Night out this year? Have you tried anything from the 413 BLKR collection? Can you think of any colors that might look similar to these?

Love, Dovey.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Snapshot of a small haul

        On Saturday, I took a whirl around town and picked up a few things for myself. I'm not an impulse shopper when it comes to makeup or skincare, so these three things were more or less what I planned on getting. My beloved LUSH Seanik Shampoo bar (see review here) is nearly finished, so I had to get a new bar. I decided to be a little 'adventurous' this time and go for LUSH Jumping Juniper instead. My medium sized bottle of Avene Eau Thermale Thermal Spring Water was 2/3 finished, so I picked up the large size this time at Look Bar / Walgreens. Since I've had so much success with other products from the Cleanance Line, I decided to try Avene Cleanance Toner. All three items may seem basic and very vanilla, however I find considerable satisfaction in knowing each one will get a lot of love. Thanks for reading! Have you stocked up on any old favorites recently?

Love, Dovey.

Kate Walsh Boyfriend Eau de Parfum review

          In a recent Sephora order, I chose Boyfriend Eau de Parfum by Kate Walsh as one of my free samples. Kate Walsh is the actress who plays Dr. Addison Montgomery on Grey's Anatomy and the spinoff show Private Practice. Boyfriend Eau de Parfum is meant to evoke the lingering scent of your boyfriend on your skin. It's a way for a woman to carry the scent of her man with her throughout the day. To bring home the point, the amber colored fragrance is housed in a bottle imprinted with various men's names (Joe, Pablo, Sebastian, John, Kevin, Rob, and Michael)

         Boyfriend is a woman's scent with masculine wood tones mixed in. The inspirational notes include: dark plum, myrrh, night blooming jasmine, benzoin tears, skin musk, golden amber, and vanilla woods. In simplified terms, I would describe this as a vanilla and cedar wood scent. The scent opens with the resiny scent of myrrh and benzoin. These contribute to the masculine woodsy element of Boyfriend.  However, hints of cedar-like woods often show up in women's fragrances. The choice of wood keeps the fragrance in the feminine spectrum, while the strength used makes it more masculine. The wood is followed by a considerable amount of vanilla. It's not too sweet and it's rounded out with amber. There are touches of musk and jasmine that I really have to think about to notice in the midst of an overwhelming wood scent. After drying down, the woods become cleaner and the vanilla grows a bit sweeter.

        Kate Walsh's Boyfriend Eau de Parfum is a decidedly sexy scent meant for a confident woman. It succesfully accomplishes its goal of being a women's fragrance with a man's smell mixed in. As a blind smell test, I held a fragranced sheet up to Mr. Lovey's nose. He responded with 'Is this for men or women?' While the woods in Boyfriend Eau de Parfum are definitely not for me, I do appreciate its concept and execution.  Thanks for reading! Have you tried Boyfriend or the new Billionaire Boyfriend? What do you think about mixing a man's scent into your perfume? Yay or nay?

Love, Dovey.