Beauty Event at Nordstrom + What I Bought at the MAC Counter

Nordstrom's is having yet another beauty event that forced me into spending over $100 at the MAC counter. Seriously!

With every $100 purchase, you receive the following:

  • Bare Escentuals® bareMinerals® Face Color in Pure Radiance (0.02 oz.)
  • Bvlgari ‘Eau Parfumée au thé blanc’ Oshibori Refreshing Towel
  • Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch (0.13 oz.)
  • Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Body Lotion (0.2 oz.)
  • Ed Hardy by Christian Audigier Eau de Parfum Spray (0.05 oz.)
  • GoSmile Advanced Formula B1 Tooth Whitening Ampoule
  • Kinerase® Intensive Eye Cream (0.1 oz.)
  • NARS Potent EFA Cream (0.24 oz.)
  • Pangea Organics Facial Cleanser—Egyptian Calendula & Blood Orange (0.1 oz.)
  • St. John Signature Eau de Parfum Spray (0.05 oz.)
  • Shiseido ‘The Makeup’ Pre-Makeup Cream SPF 15 (0.21 oz.)
I don't see any sort of ending date on this event, just a note about how it's available "while supplies last." If you are visiting the Norfolk Nordstrom, you best move yourself on in there, because people were snapping these things up.

What did I spend $100 on? All MAC, of course. Every single liner in the Starflash collection, Orpheus, Raven, Feline, and Mystery. LustreTwin in Red Flame/Orange Flicker (which is so beautiful I can barely bring myself to wear it), Mineralize Eyeshadow in Odd Couple from Electro Flash, and Mineralize blush in Gleeful from the Sonic Chic collection.

Time For Another Trip to Sephora

There are some great new products out at Sephora these days. The one I'm most excited about is Kat Von D Rock 'n Roll Eyeshadow Duos. It looks like they come in a nice array of colors and I'm dying to try them out. I'm already a big fan of her Kat Von D Autograph Eyeliner (although Rimmel Liquid Eye Liner will always have my #1 spot).

Also coming out is Stila Backstage Beauty Eye Shadow Palette - The Red Carpet Look. This looks like a fantastic combo for creating fall and winter's smoky eyes. This palette was actually designed for Marchesa's Fall 08 collection and includes both matte and shimmer shades, which makes me unreasonably happy. I love my shimmer, but I'm ready for some new looks.

Also in stores is the new Sephora by OPI line, which I've written about before. I can't wait to get in there and pick up a few shades - they look fantastic for fall.

Happy shopping!

Sheer and Vivid at the Same Time, It Really Is Possible: CoverGirl Eye Enhancers

It seems like eyeshadows have fallen into a rut in the beauty world. You know what I mean - pick up any popular eye shadow at the moment and it will be shimmery, pigmented, bold, and rather thick. That's okay, I'm a huge fan of the whole shimmering, sultry look. But sometimes I want something new, and that's where CoverGirl Eye Enhancers have come in lately. 

I've tried both the Blazing Blues and the Firecracker three-kit shades, and with both of them I noticed that they are matte, which I really like, and that they are more sheer than many of the brands that are out there these days. Not to say that the colors aren't completely vivid, they absolutely are. But they go on and stay on quite sheer. Those who are used to or want a lot of color will have to build these up layer by layer. I found, however, that I loved the look of sheer and vivid - it's unique to what is going on in the beauty world right now. 

A few other tips: be sure to use an eyeshadow brush versus the included applicator, which isn't even worth including. If you find that the colors don't stay, try an eyeshadow primer, or even a skin primer on your lids and see if that doesn't help. Paired with jet black eyeliner and a thickening mascara, these shadows are well worth the $4 you'll pay for them.

You will find CoverGirl Eye Enhancers in single shades, a 3-kit, and a 4-kit. They are available at almost all mass retailers for $3 for the single shade, $4 for the 3-kit, and $5 for the quad. A definite beauty bargain for my recessionistas.  You can also grab them at Amazon

Need a Light, Blendable Blush That Doesn't Overwhelm Your Wallet? Max Factor Colorgenius Blush

I'll admit it: I'm not much of a blush person. Oh, I use it every day, and I seem to have a few of them (although they don't come close to the number of eye shadows I have). But I don't know much about contouring, or how to properly apply it so that my cheeks suddenly become my best feature. I tend to stick with simple things, like one color blushes. However, I stepped out of my comfort zone with Max Factor's Colorgenius Blush, and I'm glad I did.

This is a tri-colored blush made out of mineral ingredients and ultra-fine pigments. Each color in the compact can be worn on it's own, or used together for a more dramatic look. I have used it a couple of different ways: I swished my brush all over all the colors and applied it that way, and I've also used each color seperately as a blush, contour, and highlighter. The colors worked well together, but that's just more effort than I usually want to put into my cheeks on a daily basis. Using all the colors together worked just as well.

Those of us with sensitive skin or even problematic skin will love this blush for it's oil-free minerals and emollients for soft application. There are three color combinations, Roses, Peaches, and Spices, so girls of every color will find something that works for them.

Max Factor Colorgenius Blush can be found at most mass retailers at a price of about $8.50.

Taming the Wild Beast: L'Oreal Paris Studio Smoothness Smoothing Cream

Don't you love summer humidity? I know my coarse, curly hair does. It loves the fact that nothing I do really gets it under control, until I break out the flat iron. One weapon in my arsenal is Loreal Studio Line Smoothness Hair Smoothing Cream.

One of the reasons I love this product is that it can be used two different ways: in damp hair prior to styling, and again in dry hair to tame frizzies.

I smooth this in after washing, making sure to distribute it evenly throughout my hair. Then, after styling (which should really say, "then, after flat ironing every last curl out of my rebellious hair") I add just a tiny bit to increase shine and keep frizz from forming later.

I've been using this faithfully for almost two weeks, and I'm very pleased at the result. It adds some nice shine to my otherwise rather dull hair, and I'm impressed with the frizz control. Looks like L'Oreal continues to surprise me with their product offerings these days!

You can find Loreal Studio Line Smoothness Hair Smoothing Cream in most mass retailers, and you can expect to pay about $8.99.

Is It Weird to Have Highlighting Mascara? Not So Much

Don't go thinking that this is a traditional colored mascara. It's really not - it is a highlighting mascara. It offers an interesting top coat over a traditional mascara color.

Interesting, no? Max Factor Vivid Impact Highlighting Mascara is certainly interesting! I've tried both 24 Karat Brown and Blazing Black and actually really like them both. Here is how it works: you apply the basecoat (black, brown, or blue base) to your liking (you know me, I personally do about three coats), then use the highlighting top coat which adds dimension to the lashes with it's iridescent pearlescent formula. You can make the highlighting color as dramatic as you like, although I find that just a hint of color is really all I need.

The basecoat mascara is a good one. The brush is typical of what we're seeing on the new mascaras - a plastic brush with short bristles for maximum seperation and minimal clumping. Max Factor is calling this their iFX brush, and claiming that it helps make your lashes look 70% longer than no mascara at all. I don't know about that statistic, as I think most of those are just about unprovable, but it did add a great deal of volume AND length to my lashes, which is very important for me.

The highlighting top coat is fun to play with. It's lighter, not as pigmented, and truly meant to add highlights versus color, so don't be afraid of the crazy shades that you see on the package. Like any new product, you will have to play with the highlighter a bit to get exactly the look you're going for - increase the highlights for a dramatic look, or just lightly brush it on for an everyday look. I haven't used it for dramatic looks, but I can tell you that I've received a lot of compliments on my eye makeup when I brush just a bit of highlighter on it. Not enough to change the color of my mascara, just enough to add a bit of interest.

My favorite is Blazing Black, because I'm all about an inky mascara, although 24 Karat Brown will work well for those who usually go for a more neutral look. I find that 24 Karat Brown mixes well with my brown shades such as my LORAC Croc Face Palette.

While it won't replace my daily Diorshow Waterproof Mascara, I will be keeping it around for those fun looks that you always seem to need every now and again.

Max Factor Vivid Impact Highlighting Mascara is easily removable with soap and water or a good eye makeup remover. You will be able to find it at most mass retailers for about $8.99.

My girl Rhianna always looks incredible. Check out her makeup in the new video "Disturbia." You can always grab the song at Rihanna - Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded - Disturbia if it moves you.

Shimmering, Not Obnoxious: Benefit's Miss Popularity Highlighter

Benefit Cosmetics Miss Popularity is my absolute favorite highlighter. I do love both Moon Beam and High Beam, but I keep coming back to Miss Popularity on a daily basis.

While most people are all about using it in the corners of the eyes, I love it the best in the cupid's bow of my upper lip. It's shimmery without being glittery, noticeable without being obnoxious. It's in pigment form, so it's easily controllable, and you can use it in many different mediums. Very versatile and easy to use.

Benefit always makes cosmetics that I can use, and the packaging is always fantastic. But the price points might be a bit high for my recessionistas. For products in the $10 range, try POP Beauty Golden Sparkle Sauce or Sephora Brand Light Touch Highlighter.

Inky, Dramatic Lashes Your Thing? Too Faced Lash Injection to the Rescue

If you like inky, dramatic lashes, then you will love Too Faced Lash Injection. One coat will give you a fantastic coat, and you can build it to develop lashes that look just as plush as false ones. One caveat: there is a learning curve with this mascara. It's not your typical formula, and requires a bit of getting used to. If you're not careful, it can clump and turn into a bit of a mess, but keep working with it. You will eventually get the hang of it and love the end result.

I don't need to use my Make Up For Ever Lash Fibers with this mascara, and it does come off a bit oddly. Like Blinc's Kiss Me Mascara, it seems to form "tubes" on your lashes and comes off in little ball-looking glops. Make sure you use a good eye makeup remover.

If you don't want to invest in a great big huge tube, check out the Too Faced Lash Injection Mini. It's a perfect sample size, and goes great in your travel bag.

Sunday Afternoon Music: More Madonna

You can also grab it at Madonna - Hard Candy (Deluxe Version) - Beat Goes On (feat. Kanye West).

Required for Amusement Parks: Secret Clinical Strength Anti-Perspirant

This weekend I went on a little staycation. I gathered up the kids, packed a bag, and went up to Williamsburg, Virginia to visit Busch Gardens: Europe and the Prime Outlets for the tax-free weekend. But do you know that I must have picked the hottest weekend of the year to go hang out in an amusement park all day? Oh, yeah. When one visits an amusement park on the first day of August, one must be prepared to sweat. Now, I could be all feminine about it and talk about how I perspired, or glistened, but that would be ridiculous. It was hot and steamy with no breeze. Every chance I got I would seek out some shade and chug half a bottle of water. $5 Italian ice never tasted so good. It's a darn good thing that I had on my Secret Clinical Strength Advanced Antiperspirant Solid so that I didn't offend anyone around me. In all honesty, I have never had a anti-perspirant work so well. In fact, I was tempted to offer it up to a few people around me at various points in the day.

Secret Clinical Strength Advanced Antiperspirant recently won Allure Magazine's Breakthrough Award and Reader's Choice Award, and I'm not at all surprised. This is one product that really lives up to the hype. According to the manufacturer, Secret Clinical Strength Advanced Antiperspirant provides three layers of protection: clinically proven, prescription strength wetness protection; odor-fighting capsules that absorb odor all day, and skin soothing condioners such as petroleum and dimethicone. It contains 20% aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex GLY, the maximum level active ingredient allowed without a prescription in an anti-perspirant, and seems to be a favorite of many dermatologists who recommend it to patients with severe underarm wetness.

It's best to apply it at night, like many prescription products. The reason for that is that the body is at it's most natural temperature and is most receptive to forming a strong barrier against perspiration.

While I've never been one to have a problem with severe underarm wetness, you can be sure that I'll never be in this camp now, considering I have a secret weapon: Secret Clinical Strength Advanced Antiperspirant Solid. I won't be without it, especially when I'm very active, it's very hot, or I'm crazy enough to go to an amusement park in August.

You can find Secret Clinical Strength Advanced Antiperspirant Solid at most mass retailers for about $9.99.

Loose Pigmented Eyeshadow Goes Mainstream

Loose pigment eyeshadow has long been a staple of makeup addicts everywhere. MAC is probably best known for their amazing pigments, although many people claim that working with them can be daunting.

Enter in Max Factor and their new line Vivid Impact Eye Shadow. This is a double ended loose powder eye shadow that delivers bold color with an easy application. The flexible applicator is key to the entire experience: it can be used to apply the loose powder all over the entire lid or you can use it to line the eyes and create a dramatic look that draws attention to the eyes. It is even easy to use under the eyes - the applicator is pointed as well as soft, so using it is a breeze.

What I liked best about this formula, aside from the applicator, was the pigment. It is rare for me to find a drugstore brand that actually has the level of pigment that I'm used to working with, and Max Factor Vivid Impact Eye Shadow certainly fits the bill. I have Emerald Coast and Two Cents, and all four colors are bright and vivid. They are also extremely easy to blend (which is why so many love loose pigmented shadow versus compressed shadows) using either the applicator or my standard eyeshadow brushes.

Max Factor Vivid Impact Eye Shadow comes in ten amazing combinations and can be found at most mass retailers for about $5.49. I think this would be a great introduction to working with loose pigment shadows without spending a fortune.

Total Beauty

About Me

My photo
Meredith Edwards-Cornwall is the founder of online lifestyle websites and She is also known as @retrodiva on Twitter. She specializes in drinking large amounts of espresso, shopping, and enjoying social media. In all of her free time she writes for twice a week, and does various other freelance gigs involving writing, designing, and generally being awesome. While she believes that success is indeed a job in New York, she currently resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia with her husband, two children, and two cats and has hung on to her day job.