Monday, December 31, 2012

Victoria's Secret Bombshell Diamonds Eau de Parfum review + photos

             Victoria's Secret has a sparkly new take on their classic Bombshell perfume this season. Victoria's Secret Bombshell Diamonds Eau de Parfum is a visual stunner, complete with a faux diamond choker and swinging diamond tassels.

Top notes: raspberry pulp, pink pepper, passion fruit, mandarin, pear sorbet accord
Mid notes: litchi blossom, ginger lily, hypnotic jasmine, brilliant poppy, juicy plum
Base notes: sandalwood, creamy musk, amber crystals, frosted vanilla creme, warm cedar

            Victoria's Secret Bombshell Diamonds Eau de Parfum is a bright fruity floral. The fruit notes are exotic; the top notes seem to be a combination of raspberry, lychee, and passionfruit. The mid scent settles into more smooth and creamy notes, including lily flower, pear, and plum. The base is smooth and unobtrusive; vanilla and musk dominate the undertones.

               Victoria's Secret Bombshell Diamonds Eau de parfum is a flirty and feminine fruity floral for the girl who can't resist sparkle. After all, diamonds are a girl's best friend. Thanks for reading!

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.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

MAKE UP FOR EVER Pro Finish powder foundation review + swatches

          MAKE UP FOR EVER has a brand new foundation to kick off the new year! MAKE UP FOR EVER Pro Finish foundation is a powder foundation with a customizable finish. I'm a big fan of the line's foundations, so I'm super excited to share their newest launch with you today!

         MAKE UP FOR EVER Pro Finish foundation is packaged in a straightforward black plastic snap-shut case with a mirrored lid. The pan containing the foundation flips upward to reveal a sponge applicator.

          The foundation can be used dry or wet for customized coverage. The sponge applicator applies the product well, but you can also use a powder brush of course. On the underside of the case there are 'breathing holes' (pictured below), so a wet sponge can quickly dry even when placed inside.

         Although MAKE UP FOR EVER Pro Finish foundation is described as multi-purpose, it behaves mostly like a powder product; it's not going to replace your liquid foundation. Pro-Finish can be used as a standalone product for quick light/medium coverage with a matte finish. After all, powder applies faster and is lower maintenance than a liquid foundation. The finish is a bit dry; it would be best used on well moisturized skin and will probably come in handy during the summertime. It can also be layered for more coverage at risk of drying out your skin. The color oxidizes only slightly on my currently non-oily skin. MAKE UP FOR EVER Pro Finish can be used in tandem with your favorite foundation as a setting or mattifying powder. Because it is a color foundation, it can add more coverage than a translucent powder. Plus, the all-in-one product and applicator packaging makes it very convenient for touch-ups during the day.

Note: Ombre effect on the pan is a result of light and doesn't reflect on the actual appearance.
         MAKE UP FOR EVER Pro Finish foundation is available in 25 shades with  golden, pink, and neutral undertones; it's quite a large selection compared to most lines (it's even bigger than that of Bare Minerals). I was matched to shade #117 Golden Ivory (see swatches below) which has yellow undertones. It's lighter than most of my foundations, however you can still see the differences in undertone.  You can see that #117 has less of a beige undertone than MAKE UP FOR EVER Face + Body foundation in #20 and MAKE UP FOR EVER HD foundation in #118.  It's more yellow and less peach or pink than Urban Decay NAKED foundation in 3.5 and NARS Sheer Glow in Deauville. While the light color of #117 is good for me during winter, if I wanted a Pro Finish color to match my liquid foundation range I would probably go up to #118 Neutral Beige or #120 Neutral Ivory.

           MAKE UP FOR EVER Pro Finish Foundation will launch in January 2013. The powder foundation is good for light matte coverage alone, or as a finishing powder on top of liquid foundation. The color range is a big plus and the included sponge is handy for on-the-go touch-ups during the day. The powder is mattifying, so it would be best used lightly or with good moisturizer underneath.Thanks for reading! Have you tried MAKE UP FOR EVER foundations? What are your favorite powder foundation products?

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.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gucci Guilty Eau de Toilette (for women) review

          Gucci Guilty Eau de Toilette suggests sensuality in every aspect of its creation. The golden bottle has Gucci's trademark interlocked G's, often likened to a belt buckle, with a glass cutout window looking inside. Plus, there's its name, Guilty, and the racy advertising campaign featuring Chris Evans and Evan Rachel Wood. It seems that Gucci Guilty means to personify the jet-set allure brought to the brand during its Tom Ford years. I was hesitant to try Gucci Guilty, as I expected it to be overly opulent; I was pleasantly surprised to find the contrary.

Notes: mandarin, pink pepper, peach, lilac, geranium, amber, patchouli
          Gucci Guilty is a warm, sensual, and light 'floriental' perfume. I would say it focuses on sweet peach, smooth lilac, and a dash of pepper for dimension. When the scent opens, I don't really experience the citrus burst that Gucci Guilty is meant to have. In fact, I don't really detect much bursting at all. The perfume begins on a warm and well blended note; it's hard to distinguish single components for the first few seconds. The first note to make itself known is a sweet peach. A light lilac runs alongside and hangs in the air, but not so much as to be cloying. The peach fades and trails into a dash of pink pepper that tickles my nose and adds dimension to an otherwise simple scent. (I believe this note is what Gucci Guilty's highly dramatized retail descriptors like 'forbidden' and 'dangerous' refer to). A hint of green geranium complements the pepper nicely. The stronger notes finally dissipate, revealing a sweet amber base with clean vanilla-like tones. The amber and patchouli are left unemphasized; you won't find much spice or smokiness at the base.

          Gucci Guilty is a smooth concoction of fruit, flower, and spice that hugs the skin. The lightness and lack of heavy base notes keeps it sensual but unobtrusive. I was surprised to find it to be such a wearable scent, considering my initial expectations. However, considering that the Gucci Guilty ad campaign is quite tame when compared to other sensationalized products (e.g. YSL Opium or Tom Ford Neroli Portofino, both by Tom Ford), perhaps that was to be expected. I'd have to say Gucci Guilty is a sheep in wolf's clothing, intimidating on the outside but soft in the inside. Thanks for reading! Have you tried Gucci Guilty? Do you have any Gucci scents in your collection? What are your favorite 'florientals'?

Love, Dovey.

Monday, December 24, 2012

My NARS Red Nail polish collection review + comparison swatches (Chinatown, Jungle Red, Rouge Andalou, and Dovima)

            Red is the classic color. It was the first color known to be used in art, used in cave paintings during the Paleolithic age over 15,000 years ago. Since then it's been used to represent life, power, beauty, and luck amongst other things. This time of year however, it's mainly the color of the holidays! I've found that red is an over-represented color in my nail polish collection, since I'm always on the search for the perfect red. At first glance, many reds seem to be interchangeable, however because they are such powerful statement colors, even the delicate nuances that separate a classic rouge from a seasonal red can make or break a look. In my opinion, NARS has the best classic reds, hands down. Today I'm sharing my NARS red nail polish collection, which includes Chinatown, Jungle Red, Rouge Andalou, and Dovima.

          NARS Chinatown is a dark vampy red that is the most unique out of today's NARS lineup. It's hard to find a neutral blackened red. Often, dark reds tend to lean either too purple or too brown for my liking. Revlon Vixen, of Chanel Rouge Noir / Vamp 'dupe' fame, is very similar to NARS Chinatown, but has a pinch more purple tone to it. China Glaze Prey Tell (reviewed here) is significantly darker and more purple as well. Sephora by OPI Rock His World is a little lighter and more brown.

          NARS Jungle Red is a classic dark red. It's a straightforward neutral red that is lighter than NARS Chinatown and Essie Bordeaux. Jungle Red looks a bit light in my nail wheel below; check out the swatches further below for a more accurate look.

         NARS Rouge Andalou nail polish is a shimmery candy apple red. SpaRitual Stiletto is a darker and a more blue-based red. Revlon Blackberry is brick red with a warm glow.

        NARS Dovima is a primary (a.k.a. stop sign) red. It's red with great strength and neutrality. SpaRitual Hunk of Burnin' Love is also a nice and balanced red. It's very similar to Dovima; it's just a hair lighter. Essie Really Red is a slightly lighter and pinker than Dovima. Sephora by OPI Fiercely Fabulous is an orange red. L'Oreal Apple of my eye is a jelly red that is lighter and more pink toned than Dovima. If you're thinking all these reds look pretty similar, you'd be right. However, as I mentioned above, small nuances in red make a big difference.

         In my search for the perfect reds, I've amassed quite a collection. However the buck stops here; after acquiring all four NARS reds, I no longer feel the need to find new and better reds. While I am a NARS enthusiast, it's not the name that draws me in; the colors catch my eye even in an unlabeled nail wheel (and I've noticed they catch readers' notice when used in comparison swatches). They also pass the ultimate test; I find myself reaching for and wearing these staple colors more often than any of the other reds in my collection.

           NARS Chinatown, Jungle Red, Rouge Andalou, and Dovima are classic, neutral, and timeless interpretations of red. The execution of color is truly masterful; I remain convinced that NARS has an unrivaled eye for color. All four colors here are favorite-worthy polishes in my collection. I'm wearing them this holiday season, and will likely continue to do so year round. Thanks for reading and Happy Holidays! Which NARS color catches your eye? What are your favorite red nail polishes? What colors have you worn this holiday season?

Love, Dovey.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Inspired by Martin-Guillaume Biennais

          Back by popular request, welcome to the latest installment of Cute and Mundane's 'Inspired by Art' series! If you're new to the blog, this series is something I started back in August 2011, when I came across Édouard Manet's 1967 painting The Philosopher and was inspired to design a palette around the beautiful blue hues. On my most recent visit to Chicago's Art Institute, I 'struck gold' when I came across the opulent table service display, pictured above. This empire-style silver-gilt service belonged to Pauline Borghese, sister of Emperor Napoleon I of France. The set was designed by Martin-Guillaume Biennais (1764-1843), Napoleon's chief goldsmith.  Biennais was born of modest means in Lower Normandy and settled in Paris as a tablet maker. His exceptional destiny was born when he attracted the attention of then General Bonaparte; Biennais went on to craft the regalia used at the emperor's coronation. Although renowned for all aspects of his craft, Biennais' silver-gilt pieces are among his most spectacular creations.

         To me, the Biennais silver-gilt display evokes the look of dark blue eyes and gold highlights on a creamy canvas base. Deep cobalt blue anchors the ensemble and provides contrast to golden highlights. Eyeshadows like NARS Mandchourie eyeshadow duo (reviewed here), Urban Decay Evidence eyeshadow, Smashbox Sapphire, and MAC Nautical Navy eyeshadow (reviewed here) could be used to create a smoky blue eye. Alternatively, a cleanly drawn line could also add sufficient depth and interest. A few of the liners in my collection (Guerlain Terracotta Khôl Kajal 02 Blu Aqua and NARS Larger Than Life eyeliner in Rue Saint Honoré) would get the job done.

          Gold, of course, is the centerpiece of the look. MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt and Guerlain Terracotta Sun in the City (reviewed here) are perfect for adding gilded highlights to the face. As for adding that special golden glint to your eyes, try out NARS Exotic Dance eyeshadow duo (reviewed here), Bare Minerals High Shine Eyecolor in Gold Medal, and MAC Barefoot Eyeshadow (reviewed here). I would suggest applying these products liberally to highlight cheekbones and the rims or corners of the eye. Just make sure you don't overdo it or else you might end up looking like an Oscar!

          Nail colors allow for a dash of creativity, and it's up to you whether you'd like to focus on accentuating your golden glow, your deep blue-shadowed eyes, or both. NARS Versailles nail polish (reviewed here) is my current favorite gold polish. The Sephora by OPI Only Gold for Me top coat can add a gold sparkle to any polish. Sephora by OPI Blue Grotto nail polish and SpaRitual Osmium nail polish (reviewed here) are striking dark blues.

            Martin-Guillaume Biennais' Napoleonic table service provides a beautiful inspiration fit for the holidays. Deep blue and brilliant gold are a departure from the reds that typify the holiday season; however, they still impart a sense of familiarity... Perhaps this is because blue and gold are the original colors of Christmas; after all, in scenes of the nativity, a humble manger glows golden bright amidst a deep blue Christmas sky.

           Thank you for reading, and thank you to everyone who encouraged me to continue my 'Inspired by Art' series! Your support means a lot to me, and I plan to share art-inspired color palettes more regularly in the future! Have you worn any blue or gold this holiday season? What colors have you been wearing lately? Do you own any ornate silverware from generations past?

Love, Dovey.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Five - Holiday news edition

            Happy Friday! I hope you've made it to the end of this week safe, sound, and in good spirits. This week can be best described as one of rolling emotions. Our hearts are heavy as we remember the recent tragedy in Newtown, and many of us have been trying to piece together a sense of normalcy this past week. In a time that is usually reserved for love, happiness, and good cheer, we instead find ourselves mourning and reflecting on the true meaning of holiday spirit. I've made it a point to love more, give thanks, and remember the important things in life. I caught up with a dear friend who made a surprise stop in Chicago and wrote cards to people I cherish. I spent quality time with Mr. Lovey and hugged Baby Bird. It's been a different week for sure. In the spirit of that idea, I've posted a 'different' kind of link list this week; here are five interesting, fun, and/or important news reads for your enjoyment:

1. Instagram reverts to original ad terms after uproar. NPR
2. What does it take to build a Lego Hobbit? Wall Street Journal
3. Betsey Johnson resurrects her empire on reality TV. New York Times
4. In a surprising turn of events, the House adjourns for Christmas. Washington Post
5. A teacher's heroism remembered.  USNews 

           Thank you for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend surrounded by those you love. I would love to hear how you're doing, or what you've got planned for the weekend!

Love, Dovey.

P.S. The Christmas card above is by UNICEF. They always have a great selection of cards and the proceeds benefit children of the world.

LUSH '...had a very shiny nose' gift set (Holiday 2012) review + photos

          If you're still trying to 'wrap up' Christmas shopping for the men in your life, take a look at this reindeer inspired gift at LUSH. LUSH '....had a very shiny nose' gift set (Holiday 2012) is a shower set geared towards men, which is nice since men's gifts are considerably harder to come by. (And why not? Men take showers too). The fresh scented products include: Mr. Punch soap, The Olive Branch shower gel, and Sandy Santa.

        LUSH Mr. Punch looks just like punch full of floating fruit; it even has a few dried juniper berries mixed in. It's packed with fragrant and toning ingredients including juniper berry oil, blackcurrant absolute, lime oil, and gin. In hot water, the soap has a bright fruity blackcurrant scent with a touch of gin. I've developed a small obsession with Mr. Punch; after all, who couldn't use an extra shot of booze?

          LUSH The Olive Branch is a Mediterranean-inspired body cleanser that's full of olive oil to keep skin moisturized and soft. Like a martini, this body wash should be shaken before use so that all the oils emulsify. The Olive Branch also contains a vine leaf infusion, sea salt, and fresh mandarin juice. The scent is not a bright citrus scent like LUSH Happy Hippy; the strong vine contribution makes it unisex (if not masculine).

LUSH Sandy Santa sugar scrub
          LUSH Sandy Santa is a sugar and sand shower scrub that will buff away dry winter skin. (This limited edition holiday scrub was inspired by a life-sized 'Sandy Santa' seen at a sand-sculpture competition in Brazil!) It works as promised, and the orange, rosewood, and sandalwood scent is absolutely gorgeous.

          LUSH '....had a very shiny nose' gift set ($23.95) is full of crowd pleasing shower goodies that are easy-to-use. The unisex scents would suit a variety of people, including men and those not familiar with LUSH. The ready-to-go red-nosed wrapping is cute and and convenient too. Thanks for reading! Which of the three products above appeals to you most? Have you ever gifted shower goodies for the men in your life? What are your go-to men's gifts?

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, December 19, 2012

Jurlique Rose Indulgence Essentials (Holiday 2012) review + photos

          This holiday, Jurlique has a number of golden gifts for the skincare lover on your list. I have the Jurlique Rose Indulgence Essentials set to share with you today! Rose essential oils are prized for their uplifting scent and skin balancing properties; this gift box has three full-sized rose infused and/or scented skincare treats tucked inside a beautifully patterned old gold box.

          The Jurlique Rose Hand Cream (4.3 oz.) is packaged in a metal squeeze tube. It contains safflower, almond, and macadamia nut oils to moisturize skin. The texture is rich like a cream, and it sinks in pretty quickly. There is a pretty rose fragrance that lingers as well. The Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist is a moisturizing facial spray that contains rose, marshmallow root, and aloe extracts to treat skin. There is an initial burst of rose fragrance upon spraying; the mist leaves a moisturizing residue on your face afterwards. I've tried and liked this mist before (see my full review here). The gift set contains the larger 3.3 fl.oz. spray, which is great!

            The Jurlique Rose Shower Gel (10.1 fl.oz.)  is packaged in convenient pump form. While the product does not contain rose, it has a beautiful rose fragrance that comes to life in hot water. I found the consistency of the shower gel to be sudsy and cleansing without drying my skin. (It lathers very nicely, as a matter of fact).

         The Jurlique Rose Indulgences Essentials set ($70 for $102 value) is an indulgent holiday treat that will appeal to a broad range of beauty lovers. I really like how the rose hand cream, facial mist, and shower gel are all practical products that can get good use during the year. Jurlique is a bit pricey, however the products I've tried thus far seem to be of good quality with beautiful botanical ingredient lists. For those interested in trying the brand, this and a number of other sets might be a cost-effective starting point. Thanks for reading! Have you tried Jurlique? What are your favorite rose products?

Love, Dovey.

P.S. I noticed a 30% off + free 2 day shipping discount on !
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.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

LUSH Rocket reuseable bubble bar (Holiday 2012) review + photos

          For Holiday 2012, LUSH has the perfect product for aspiring astronauts and anyone who's wanted to blast off in a bath full of bubbles! LUSH Rocket reusable bubble bar is a spicy clove bud, violet, fire-tree oil, and ginger fragranced bar that's the perfect antidote to a deep space chill (or a cold winter night). To use LUSH Rocket reusable bubble bar, grasp the 'flames' and swirl the blue spaceship around your tub. A trail of bubbles should follow in its wake. Rocket is different from LUSH's traditionally 'one-use' bubble bars that easily crumble under a stream of water. It's firmer and therefore takes significantly more effort to dissolve. Rocket colors water blue and adds its warm and comforting fragrance quickly; bubbles, on the other hand, require more effort to make, especially in still water. I'd suggest holding the bubble bar under a running tap to get more effective bubble production. LUSH Rocket bubble bar should last through a few uses depending on how much you use each time.

           LUSH Rocket reusable bubble bar ($9.95) is a fragrant and fun way to re-ignite your engines after a long day. It's really cute, and would be great for explorers, both big and small. Thanks for reading! Have you tried LUSH Rocket or any LUSH Bubble Bars? What fragrances do you typically like for your winter baths and showers?

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.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

NARS Versailles nail polish review + swatches

          NARS Versailles is a nail polish with regal inspiration. Its namesake palace is famed as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. However, if you'll indulge me in a brief bit of history, Versailles was not always the paragon of grandiosity it is today. It was a small village located on the outskirts of Paris. Louis XIII, who was pleased with the location as a hunting ground, ordered the construction of a hunting lodge in 1624. The Château de Versailles became the center of French politics in 1682 when Louis XIV (The Sun King) moved his court from Paris and subsequently expanded the lodge into a palace. It was inhabited by the royal family until 1789 when ill-fated Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette were forced to return to Paris at the start of the French revolution.

Me and my bro, circa the 1990s.
          I had the good fortune to visit Versailles back in the 1990s on a family vacation. If there's one central theme to the Château de Versailles, it's gold. Gold trim graces all aspects of the palatial detailing, transforming the palace into a fiery golden mirage underneath the midday sun. You might be able to appreciate this striking effect from the photo above of me and my brother. My childhood memories of Versailles have long since faded like the aged mirrors of the Galerie des Glaces, but golden flashes still emerge through the silvered fog like the stallions leaping through the fountain's spray in the Basin d'Apollon. Although nothing can compare with the palace in its full midsummer glory, NARS Versailles retains the spark of golden splendor that makes Versailles so memorable.

           NARS Versailles nail polish looks like an alchemical amalgamation of gold with pearls (if that were at all possible). It's a unique golden champagne with a pearl finish; the color is not as metallic or 18K toned like many gold nail lacquers, nor is it as rosy as most champagnes. Although NARS Versailles is described as a sheer  formula color, I found that it becomes opaque with two coats.

          I've compared NARS Versailles to swatches of other colors in my collection above. Versailles lacks the rosiness and metallic finish of SpaRitual Sun Salutation. It's significantly more gold. SpaRitual Cassiterite (reviewed here) is a platinum gold glitter polish that is lighter, cooler, and less yellow than Versailles. I've swatched two beige nail colors of similar intensity to better demonstrate undertones. The warm beige of Sephora by OPI Going Nude Eh? more closely matches the undertone of Versailles. OPI Did you 'ear about Van Gogh (reviewed here) has a cooler tone.

            NARS Versailles truly bottles the golden glow of the palace in my childhood memories. This post highlights the reason I've been long enamored with NARS; the brand creates impeccably nuanced colors that are drawn from worldly inspiration. As you might know, I love beauty that has been 'Inspired By' art, life, and travel! Thanks for reading! Have you tried NARS Versailles or any other shades of NARS nail polish? What is your go-to gold nail polish? What brands inspire you?

Love, Dovey.

P.S. For more on NARS + French inspirations, check out this blush post.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Five : Christmas stocking edition

           Happy Friday! It's that time of the year when life is swirling about like a snowstorm; there's work, family and friends, and holiday preparations. This weekend, I have to catch up on holiday cards and Christmas shopping. After all, there are stockings (above) that need to be filled! I'm thinking Baby Bird might like a new toy (or perhaps a bag of chicken treats?).

          Amidst the flurry of preparations, I've been enjoying displays of festive spirit and bright lights about town. The rails of apartment perches shine with individual strands, while the pinnacles of the Willis (a.k.a. Sears) tower and other Chicago skyscrapers boast red and green lights that can be seen from miles away. They certainly add cheer to chilly winter nights! Speaking of cold winter nights, what could be better than tucking in on a Friday evening with some good reads? Here are five great blog posts that caught my eye this week:

1. Front Row Beauty shares a cool contouring tutorial.
2. Atlantic Pacific wears stripes that stand out in a fog.
3. Beauty Look Book has swatches of the new JINsoon nail lacquers.
4. The Notice photographs a stairwell (think M.C. Escher!)
5. Best Things in Beauty shares a beautifully patterned compact from Chanel Spring 2013.

            Thanks for reading! What are you doing this weekend? Have you finished your holiday preparations? Do you buy Christmas presents for your pet?

Love, Dovey.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare review: Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution and Clarifying Colloidal Sulfur Mask

          The cheerful orange and simple white packaging of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare products channels the do-it-yourself ethos of the clinically-inspired treatments within. You may be familiar with the Alpha Beta Daily Facial Peel which is a mainstay of the line. Dr. Dennis Gross (an NYC dermatologist) formulated this product to improve upon too-harsh chemical peels that caused 'over-exfoliation' and inflammation. The Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare line continues to formulate clinically inspired products for at-home use. I have two of their newest products to share with you today: Dr. Dennis Gross Clarifying Colloidal Sulfur Mask and Ferulic Acid + Dr. Dennis Gross Retinol Brightening Solution.

           Dr. Dennis Gross Clarifying Colloidal Sulfur Mask is a facial mask designed for those with acne, blackheads, and larger pores. The mask is formulated to absorb excess oil and acne-causing bacteria. Sulfur has natural anti-bacterial properties and is often found in natural anti-acne masks. Bentonite absorbs excess oil, while prickly pear calms redness and irritation. The mask can be worn for a duration as short as 10 minutes, or overnight for the best effects. There is a peculiar pump dispensing mechanism; you press down the big white top, and product is ejected through a hole in the middle. It's nice that the mask has a dispenser so that one doesn't have to repeatedly dip fingers into. This prevents potential contamination of the product. The consistency of the Clarifying Colloidal Sulfur Mask is quite smooth and lotion-like. It dries quickly on the face, but remains comfortable and not 'too drying' as some anti-acne masks can be. Overall, it worked nicely; it shrunk a lingering spot and my skin looked clearer afterwards. In general, I think sulfur masks are effective options for acne-prone skin.

            Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution is a 'professional strength' serum meant to combat uneven, sun-damaged, or dull skin. Retinols are Vitamin A related compounds that are thought to promote proper differentiation of skin, thereby improving skin quality and reducing discoloration; they're found in may clinical treatments and over-the-counter serums such as this one. The innovation in this product is the combination of Ferulic Acid with Retinol; they work together to correct 'hyperactivity' without lightening normal skin pigmentation. The fluid-like delivery system was designed to be fast absorbing. I found that the Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening solution feels watery, unlike the more viscous feel of typical serums. It seems to absorb upon contact with skin, so I try to pat it in quickly. It's mostly unscented, though I detect a transient trace of a fish-oil like scent. I've liked it so far and have found that it is brightening, though at this point I cannot judge its ability to even tone, since those kinds of results take weeks to produce. However, judging from a number of customer reviews I've read, long term users seem to be pretty pleased with the results.

          Dr. Dennis Gross Clarifying Colloidal Sulfur Mask ($42 for 1.7oz.) and Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution ($85 for 1 oz.) can be purchased at Sephora or Dr. Dennis Gross online. Overall, I had a good experience. They seem to be effective and agree well with my sensitive combination skin. Thanks for reading! Have you tried Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare? Do you like to incorporate retinol-containing serums or clarifying masks into your routine?

Love, Dovey.

Dr. Dennis Gross Clarifying Colloidal Sulfur Mask Ingredients: Water, Colloidal Sulfur, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycerin, PEG-100 Stearate, Butylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Zinc Oxide, Bentonite, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Opuntia Tuna Flower/ Stem Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Bisabolol, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Farnesol, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Phenylethyl Resorcinol, Retinol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium PCA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Allantoin, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol.
Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Serum Ingredients: Water, Ethoxydiglycol, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Ferulic Acid, Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Rhizome/Root, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract, Arbutin, Morus Alba Leaf Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Mandelic Acid, Retinol, Hexylresorcinol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Quercetin Caprylate, Disodium Lauriminodipropionate Tocopheryl Phosphates, Ubiquinone, Phospholipids, PVM,MA Decadiene Crosspolymer, Disodium EDTA, Urea, Potassium Hydroxide, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol.
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.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Diptyque Volutes Eau de Toilette review

          Volutes refer to swirls and whorls, epitomized by the spinning tendrils of rising tobacco smoke. Aptly named, Diptyque Volutes evokes memories of long voyages redolent of spice and adventure, with elegant ladies leaning on a ship's rails smoking Khedive cigarettes. This unisex scent was constructed around a Diptyque founder's childhood experiences in the Orient.

Notes: iris, honey, dried fruits, pink pepper, saffron, hay, immortell, opopanax, myrhh, styrax, and benzoin.
           The honeyed and spiced tobacco scent of Diptyqe Volutes unfolds like a well-worn map, revealing new points of interest as you smooth out its creases by candlelight. The fragrance opens with the crisp alacrity typical of citrus, in the form of the spicy woody resin scent of benzoin. This punchy note quickly steps aside to reveal a powdery (and not so green) iris. As the fragrance enters its mid-tone zone, tobacco becomes increasingly evident. The tobacco dances with different partners; it lingers with resin first, followed by a long pause with a savory honey, before settling into an intimate relationship with black pepper. The pepper adds a pep in the step of smoky tobacco in its final incarnation. There's also a subtly sweet contribution from dried fruit at the end.

         As I mentioned above, Diptyqe Volutes Eau de Parfum is meant to be worn by both men and women. With this in mind, the construction follows a somewhat expected formula: a floral whisp, savory middle notes, and wooden tones. Also to please both sexes, the scent falls into a middle ground when it comes to weight; its delicate character counters the warm and weighty contribution of spice.

           The construction of Diptyque Volutes is, admittedly, nice. I can see how this oriental scent is more like ladies smoking on the rails of a cruise-ship, as opposed to an adventurer's foray into the courtyard of a maharajah. The tobacco, honey, and spice fragrance features an array of discernible notes that are delicate enough to be approachable, yet spicy enough to be interesting. Being a unisex scent, Volutes does straddle a middle ground, giving it an uncertain identity. Mr. Lovey and I prefer more cleanly demarcated feminine and masculine scents, so it's not our cup of tea. However, if you prefer soft oriental, spicy, or woody scents, this relaxing blend will probably please.

          Thanks for reading! Have you tried Diptyque Volutes? What are your favorite Diptyque items? How do you feel about Unisex scents?

Love, Dovey.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Kiehl's Kenny Scharf Creme de Corps (Holiday 2012) review + photos

          Kiehl's has a very colorful collaboration for a cause this holiday season. The company has partnered with artist Kenny Scharf to create a vibrantly packaged bottle of the fan-favorite Creme de Corps body lotion. One hundred percent of net profits from the sale of Limited Edition Kenny Scharf Creme de Corps (up to $200,000) will benefit children's causes around the world. In the United States, proceeds will support RxArt, a non-profit organization that places contemporary art in pediatric hospitals to lift the spirits of young patients.

           Kenny Scharf is an American painter based in Brooklyn New York. He's known for his pop-surrealist paintings and installations and was a key figure in the East Village art scene of the 1980's. (Fun fact: Scharf was a friend and former roommate of Keith Haring!) The Limited Edition Kenny Scharf Creme de Corps bottle features Scharf's work Globo Mundo.

          Kiehl's Creme de Corps has been a Kiehl's fan favorite for over four decades. Creme de Corps is a rich, hydrating moisturizer. It has the consistency of a lotion and sinks in quickly, yet imparts the moisturizing capacity of a heavier cream. There is a 'lotion-like' scent that I assume is a result of the ingredients within (as opposed to an added fragrance).

          Limited Edition Kenny Scharf Creme de Corps ($48 for 16.9 oz.) is sure to please both art lovers and Kiehl's fans alike. Plus, the profits from sales of this body moisturizer will be headed towards good causes that benefit children. Art and beauty are two of my loves in life, so I'm happy to have this bottle on my counter-top this holiday season. Thanks for reading! Have you tried Kiehl's Creme de Corps? What do you think of the pop-art packaging? Are you more inclined to purchase products that support charitable causes?

Love, Dovey.

Creme de Corps Ingredients: Aqua/Water, Squalane, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Dimethicone, PPG-5 Pentaerythyl Ether, Sesamum Indicum / Sesame Seed Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Isopropyl Palmitate, Ookerite, Benzophenone-3 Butyrospermum Parkii Shea Butter, Methylparaben, MAgnesium Aluminum Silicate, Xanthan Gum, Glycine Soja / Soybean Sterols, Sodium PCA, Propylparaben, Allantoin, Olea Europaea / Olive Fruit Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil / Sweet Almond Oil, Prunus Ameniaca / Apricot Kernel Oil, Theobroma Cacao / Cocoa Seed Butter, Persea Gratissima / Avocado Oil, Tocopherol, BHT, Lecithin, Butylparaben, Zea MAys / Corn Oil, Aloe Barbadensis / Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Cl 75130/Beta-Carotene Fmla 685270/4 Code F.I.L. D27314/1.
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.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

LUSH Mr. Frosty and Mrs. Frosty gift sets (Holiday 2012) review + photos

          For Holiday 2012, LUSH Mr. Frosty is back, as cheery as ever and filled with bath-time treats. Also as a special surprise LUSH Mrs. Frosty is making an appearance for the first time! (A whirlwind courtship and wedding took place at the North Pole during the holiday off-season). The Frostys each have three bath treats packaged in re-usable LUSH knot wraps.

           Mr. Frosty features a selection of warm and delicious bath-time treats. LUSH Cinders bath bomb is a sweet and spicy cinnamon scented bath bomb that evokes the warmth of a hearth. It's the perfect bath bomb to use after a chilly day. Pop rocks embedded in this bomb make crackling fireplace sounds as they dissolve in water. Almond oil moisturizes dry winter skin. LUSH Golden Wonder bath bomb is an enormous citrus and champagne scented bomb. As the bomb dissolves, you'll find a colorful surprise within! LUSH Butterball bath bomb creates a fragrant and hydrating bath. It has a wonderful vanilla and ylang ylang scent, accompanied by chunks of moisturizing cocoa butter.

Below, the embedded crystals in LUSH Cinders give it the look of warm embers!

           Mr. Frosty's better half, Mrs. Frosty, prefers sweet and fruity scents. LUSH So White bath bomb has a fresh and beautiful apple fragrance. The delicate fruity floral bath bomb also contains neroli, bergamot, and rose oils to induce relaxation. So White is a returning holiday favorite; however this year it's bigger and has a fizzy pink surprise at the center. LUSH The Comforter bubble bar is a sweet and fruity blackcurrant scented bar. It's named for its ability to envelop you in a soft and warm layer of bubbles, much like a downy comforter. Each bar can create two baths. Finally, you'll find a LUSH Butterball bath bomb; it's what Mr. and Mrs. Frosty have in common!

Below, LUSH 'The Comforter' bubble bar crumbles to reveal its soft white and pink interior.

And finally, here's a portrait of the happy couple!

          LUSH Mr. Frosty ($21.95) and LUSH Mrs. Frosty ($21.95) are an oh-so charming couple. They will surely bring smiles to a lot of faces this holiday season. Mr. Frosty contains yummy treats that could please anyone, while the sweeter contents in Mrs. Frosty would be better suited to female recipients. I'd have a hard time choosing between the two, so I'm glad I have both the Mr. and the Mrs! I'm planning on re-using and re-filling them for years to come. Thanks for reading! Which Frosty (Mr. or Mrs.) would you choose if you had to? Have you bought or explored LUSH Holiday 2012 products? What are your essential LUSH bath bombs or bubble bars?

Love, Dovey.

P.S. Check out my photos of LUSH Mr. Bumble, another super-cute knot wrap!
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.