Tag Archives: product review

FOTD & Review of TBN Blackened Violet

8 Dec

SAM_0373Two Christmases ago I purchased a few samples from The Body Needs’ Blackened Collection. I’m not a huge smoky eye girl, so I’m just now getting around to using them. I opted for loose shadow, but TBN also sells BV pressed into a 26mm pan or a “crush pot” – NOT to be confused with Coastal Scents’ “hot pots,” LOL! The sample size costs about $2 and is about 1/2 tablespoon of loose e/s encased in a 0.5 gram sifter jar. This is the perfect size for someone who is interested, but not willing to make a commitment to the full size product.

What’s interesting about BV is that it takes on a different cast depending on what color base you use underneath the pigment. See for yourself…

swatches of blackened violet over NYX jumbo pencils

swatches of blackened violet over black, red & white bases (using NYX jumbo pencils) – NO FLASH

Although the price & packaging of Blackened Violet are great, I was pretty underwhelmed by the actual performance of the product. I felt that I had to pack it on to get a decent color payoff and found that it had a lot of fallout.The color is so dark that you’ll need makeup remover or a wet wipe to keep from looking like you have dark circles under your eye or you got TKO’ed last night! I also discovered that blending out Blackened Violet will remove most of the shimmer, which is what makes it so pretty in the swatches on my hand. I even used a metallic base to help the shimmer translate, but the finished product was quite demure. For that reason, this s e/s was a fail for me (Overall score: 4). But if you’re in the market for a blackish-purplish e/s with a little bit of shimmer, then this may be the one for you. *kanye shrug* ONTO the FOTD…


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Updates & HG products of 2013

20 Nov

We are lonnnnng overdue for a lil chat, so let’s get it poppin’ y’all…

 The items in this video are just a few of my faves (holy grail products) for the year 2013. Stay tuned because I have many more product reviews to come…

Lipstick exploration…

5 Nov

Last weekend my bestie went to an 80s throwback party sporting this obnoxiously pink lipstick & believe it or not it was GORGE! She’d kill me if I posted the pic of her looking like a black Cyndi Lauper (sans the rainbow hair), so you’re just gonna hafta take my word for it. 😉 I’ve been kinda bored with my pout lately & I felt inspired by her willingness to try something new. So during my grocery run this afternoon, I copped a few new tubes of Wet N Wild Mega Last lip color.

914C Mocha-licious: a ruddy brown, halfway in between chocolate & berry

902C Bare it All : The perfect nude

Both lipsticks are very pigmented with buildable coverage, meaning you can either wear them sheer or saturated. They are really creamy & have a semi-matte formula. I like my lips to shine, so both of the following swatches were topped with Liplicious gloss in Frozen Daquiri (a sheer gloss w/ pink & silver sparkles).

914C / Mocha-licious

902C Bare it All

These lipsticks cost me $2 each & are available anywhere Wet N Wild Cosmetics are sold. I’m not a huge fan of Mocha-licious, but I’m gonna let it grow on me. I, however, INSTANTLY loved Bare it All. If you’re in the market for a nude lipstick, I encourage you to try it! Oh and for the brown-skinned girls who are intimidated by light colored lipstick: line your lips in a brown pencil prior to application, then smudge the lipstick into the liner & top with gloss. That’s what I did for the picture above. IT WORKS!

Product Review: Queen Helene Royal Curl Shaping Créme

5 Jun

As I stated in my Jan/Feb Acquisitions video, I love this stuff. I bought this 15 ounce jar at my local Earth Fare for just under $8. I’ve seen Royal Curl Curl Shaping Créme recently at my local BSS & Tarjay, so it’s fairly easy to find. It claims to be “all natural” which isn’t entirely true (see the ingredients list below). However, it is alcohol, sulfate, petrolatum, paraben & phthalate free! WOOT WOOT! It promises to tame frizz, define curls, smooth waves with silky hold, quench your hair’s thirst (without grease) & defend against heat & humidity. It smells ridiculously sweet, like a pack of Tropical Starbursts… YUM! I love sweet-smelling hair products, so this is one of my favorite features. If you’re conservative in that area, you probably won’t be a fan.

Royal Curl has the consistency of grape jelly

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Pectin, Agave Rigida (Sisal) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Royal Jelly Extract, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Amyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citronellol, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool, Fragrance (Parfum).

I used this product on dry hair (twist n curl) & had underwhelming results…

But the directions explicitly state that this product should be used on wet hair. Reading is fundamental y’all. I did a twist-out on damp/wet hair & had much better results…

I have also used Royal Curl to shingle & coil Giovanni with great results. Although this is an overall great product, I do have a few gripes. I read several product reviews in which the curly girl used this product to smooth her edges. It did NOTHING of the sort for me. I’m sure you could use it to smooth down a puff/bun/ponytail, but doubt I’d use it that way (unless it was close to hairwashing day) because this product has the tendency to build up. Anyway, I needed to smooth the edges of my twists, so I used Ecostyler olive oil gel, which brings me to my next complaint… Royal Curl does not play nice w/ Ecostyle gel or coconut oil. It left tiny white flakes in my hair on two separate occasions. Next gripe: this product is extremely sticky. After my hair was dry I had to use a hot washcloth to remove the tacky residue from my face/neck/ears. But once my curls were set, I enjoyed a flexible, crunch-free hold.

NOTE: Because wet hair is susceptible to shrinkage & you must use Royal Curl on wet hair, this is not a product that will help elongate your curls. But if you’re seeking a sweet-smelling humectant, you should definitely give it a try.

Price:            1   2   3   4   5   6   7    ●   9

Packaging:   1   2   3   4   ●   6   7   8   9

Efficacy:       1   2   3   4   5   6   ●   8   9

        Overall score: 7

Don’t call it a comeback!

10 May

Product Review: Dior Eye Makeup Remover

4 Feb


“What it is: A non-oily eye makeup remover that quickly and effectively removes all eye makeup, even the most stubborn, waterproof mascaras.

What it does: This eye makeup remover is able to remove even the toughest makeup formulas while remaining gentle on the eye area. It leaves the area clean and soft while leaving your lashes silky and conditioned.

What else you need to know: Ophthalmologist tested for safe use around the delicate eye area.”


Price:            ●   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9

Packaging:  1   2   3   4   ●   6   7   8   9

Efficacy:       1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   ●

Overall score: 5

      Christian Dior Instant Eye Makeup Remover is available at Sephora & any department store w/ a Dior makeup counter. In the picture above you’ll notice that the product has 2 distinct parts; you have to agitate it before use (like oil & vinegar salad dressing). I purchased this 4.2 ounce bottle at Dillard’s for $30. Whatchu say girl? Yes y’all, twenty-eight dollars plus tax. The packaging is functional, but there’s nothing special about it, so I gave it a 5 in that area. This is probably the best eye makeup remover I’ve ever used (hence the efficacy score of 9 points), but it only gets a 5 overall because it’s so darn expensive. I searched all the department store brand eye makeup removers @ & there was only ONE that cost more than Dior. Your next question is, why’d you buy it Sham? *STORY-TIME ALERT*

      Back in October, I got a sample of this product in my birthday goodie bag from Sephora. I had no intentions of buying the full size, until… One day I wore Ruby Kisses gel liner & my regular eye makeup remover wouldn’t get it off. I typically use a baby wipe & Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover & I dip a Q-tip in the remover & run it across my lashline or waterline to remove stubborn eyeliner. Well I must’ve been wearing a gang of eyeliner or something, because that day Rimmel only smudged the eyeliner, but did not remove it. I was becoming frustrated then I remembered the Dior sample. I took another Q-tip & tried it again, this time it came off in ONE PASS! From then on I would use Rimmel to take off the majority of the makeup, then a few drops of Dior to wipe the slate clean. One day I noticed that my sample bottle had been depleted, so I bit the bullet & bought the full size. I’m happy as a clam because it takes everything off… cream shadow, cream liner, gel liner, waterproof mascara. But because it’s so expensive, I try to use it sparingly. Would I buy it again? I doubt it, maybe if I ran out of remover close to payday, LOL!


Efficacy is paramount in a good eye makeup remover. Why? The skin around your eyes is thinner & more sensitive than any of the skin on the rest of your face & it encases your eyeballs for goodness sake! Your peepers enable you to work for a living, gaze at that handsome stranger in the coffee shop & more importantly read this blog 😉 You don’t want or need any product that requires you to scrub at this skin to get your makeup off. Not a good look! If you’re in the market for eye makeup remover, here are some products that I can personally vouch for:

  • Rimmel Gentle (oil-free) Eye Makeup Remover – This has been one of my staple products for several years now. Although it doesn’t do much for gel, cream, waterproof or liquid eyeliner, it’s a great product. You get 4.2 oz of product for $5 & it’s available at drugstores & Wal-mart.
  • Mary Kay Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover – I used this product 2 years ago & it works like a charm. The only reason I stopped using it is because my supplier stopped selling Mary Kay. It also has a two-part formula that requires agitation before use. It’s efficacy is comparable to department store brands, but it’s a bit cheaper, 3.75 oz of product for $15.
  • Lancome Bi-Facil Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover – Fan-friggin-tastic product (just like Dior) & it breaks the bank at $27 for 4.2 oz of product (just like Dior).
  • Avon Moisture Effective Eye Makeup Remover Lotion – One word to describe this product… Buttah! It’s pretty  awesome. I received a bottle as a gift & I was amazed at how smooth a lotion remover could be. It’s not oil-free, but that aspect didn’t really bother me because it doesn’t leave you feeling greasy. And it’s pretty cheap, $4 for a 2 oz bottle.

For additional recommendations check out these lists:

Speaking of eye makeup remover wipes, I recently received an email about using baby wipes to remove my makeup (Hi Shantae! *hugs*). When I used cotton pads to remove my eye makeup they left excessive lint on my face & always got caught in my eyebrows or eyelashes. I could use a washcloth to take my makeup off, but I’m anal about stained towels, so that’s a no go. Makeup remover wipes are great & I’m not knocking anyone who uses them, but come in packs of 20-30 wipes (at varying prices). My bag of Huggies Natural Care fragrance-free baby wipes (144 count) costs $6 & is available just about everywhere. It lasts me for MONTHS & the best part is that it’s multipurpose. In addition to removing eye makeup, lipstick/gloss, I use em to clean up spilled products on my bathroom sink/counter/floor, wipe product residue from my ears, neck & shoulders after styling my hair, wipe down my curling/flat irons after each use, I can use em for anything. They’re extremely efficient & cost-effective.

Product Review: Mega Care Grape Seed Oil

30 Jan

  • Price:            1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8  
  • Packaging:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8  
  • Efficacy:      1   2   3   4   5   6   ●   8   9
  • Overall rating: 8

Ingredients: Grape seed oil, sweet almond oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, castor oil, wheat germ oil, tocopherol (vitamin e), fragrance

I paid $1 for this 1.5 ounce tube of oil. I posted the ingredient list above, so that you would know that this is not 100% grape seed oil. That fact that it’s not pure, doesn’t bother me because all of the ingredients listed are good for your hair. Although the list says there’s a fragrance, I really didn’t notice one. Mega Care Grape Seed Oil has a thinner consistency than olive oil. It’s viscosity & color are comparable to sweet almond oil (which happens to be the second ingredient). I love the packaging! It has an applicator tip, so that you can administer the product drop by drop. And this tube is slightly larger than a tube of lip gloss, so it fits in almost any bag. Unlike most oil receptacles, this tube closes securely, without any leakage (thus far), which makes it ideal for traveling.

How did I use it?

I used MCGSO to seal my ends during a (wet) roller set. And on week 2, I used it to smooth out frizzy patches before wrapping my hair at night. It left my hair shiny, but did not weigh it down, or make it feel greasy.

At 99¢ a tube it’s definitely worth trying. I recommend it & would definitely buy it again.

Product Review: Black Radiance Complexion Perfection Under Eye Concealer

27 Jan

  • Price: 5 out of 5
  • Packaging: 5 out of 5
  • Efficacy: 1 out of 5
  • Overall rating: 3 stars

 This dual tipped concealer stick costs about $6 & is avaiable at most drugstores. One end is liquid concealer w/ a doe foot applicator (like a tube of lip gloss) & the other end is a retractable crème stick. It comes in four different shades, mine is Medium (CA8015). The liquid concealer is smooth & easy to apply, but the color looks SO YELLOW against my skin. The yellowness is not a big deal, since I’m wearing it under my eyes & I cover it w/ pressed powder. But that makes it un-wearable for rest of my face. The crème stick side is a lot closer to my actual complexion; so much so that it’s hard to tell I’m wearing it. Unfortunately this crème is greasy. The first time I wore it, it slid down the sides of my nose within 6 hours… darn T-zone oils! Since then I’ve been wearing eyeshadow primer underneath & that seems to help it stay put.

 Why did I give it an overall score of 3 stars? This product offers only light coverage, which suits me fine. But the purpose of a concealer is to mask blemishes, dark circles & other skin discolorations & it doesn’t really do that. I will probably use it til it’s gone, but I doubt if I’ll replace it. I would not this product unless you need light coverage. If face tends to be on the oily side, don’t bother trying this product. #SlipNSlide


Creme Concealer: Bis-Hydroxyethoxypropyl Dimethicone, Decyl Oleate, Isopropyl Palmitate, Ozokerite, Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Petrolatum, Beeswax, Paraffin, Nylon-12, Phenoxyethanol, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Methicone, Talc, Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77942, 77499), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Mica, Chromium Oxide Greens (CI 77288), Ultramarines (CI 77007).

Liquid Concealer: Isopropyl Palmitate, Isododecane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Ethylhexyl Isonanoate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Nylon-12, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Alumina, Silica Silylate, Propylene Carbonate, Phenoxyethanol, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Methicone, Talc, Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Mica, Chromium Oxide Greens (CI 77288), Ultramarines (CI 77007).

Product Review: Love Etc. Body Butter

26 Jan

  • Price: 5 out of 5
  • Packaging: 5 out of 5
  • Efficacy: 5 out of 5
  • Overall rating: 4 stars

Before now I was an exclusive lotion/oil user, but this product made a believer out of me!  In terms of efficacy, body butter is soooo much better than lotion! In fact I think it should be called “ash be gone.” I put some on in the morning after my shower & my skin was still soft, not to mention scented, after work. That longevity is most likely attributed to the shea butter & cocoa butter it contains (see complete list of ingredients below). Body butter has a soft, creamy texture reminiscent of softened cream cheese. It feels a bit greasy upon application, but once you work it into your skin that feeling goes away (kinda like shea butter). I purchased this 6.75 ounce tub at TJ Maxx during a recent trip to Birmingham. I gave it 5 stars on the price because I only spent $6 & that’s pretty inexpensive for a perfumed moisturizer. Aside from the colorful label, there’s nothing special about the packaging. I gave it 5 stars because jars/tubs make it possible for you to use every last drop of product. They also give you more control over how much you use; you scoop out the necessary amount of product, instead of beating & squeezing a bottle of lotion. Jars/tubs are also very travel-friendly, unlike bottles of lotion, that easily come unscrewed or popped open in your luggage. Now I know what you’re thinking… If it’s so great, then why’d you give it an overall score of 4 stars?! Here’s are the negatives…

  • The REAL price. Although I paid $6, it retails for $18 a tub (or $27 for 2 tubs) on TBS’s official website. It’s good stuff & all, but there’s NO WAY in the world I’d buy it at that price.
  • Product scarcity. If I wanted to buy some from TBS, I’d have to order it online because the nearest store is 3 hours away from where I live. There’s not a single store in the entire state of Alabama. How you gon have a store in Mississippi, but none it Alabama?! SMH (Pardon my salty little rant) Obviously I’ll buy it from TJMaxx, Ross or Marshall’s, but y’all know how their inventory is: HIT & MISS! So when you get a jar, you better buy extra, because they might be out of stock next time. A PJ like me can’t subscribe to this practice because frankly I need the cabinet space. I buy most products one at a time, so I HATE to add another scarce product to my beauty regimen.
  • The fragrance. This aspect is complicated because it smells fantastic… like love in a jar (hence the name). But if you have a sensitive sense of smell (like I do) then it can be overwhelming. Love Etc. will smell up your clothes, your sheets & anything else you touch while the product is fresh on your skin. Don’t get me wrong, I get complimented every time I wear it, but sometimes I just wanna smell lowkey. Also, be mindful that it may (or may not) work well w/ your perfume. Then again, the sweet, floral fragrance makes it perfect for a DIY spa day or a hot date w/ your boo thang. NOTE: TBS Body Butter comes in a variety of scents; surely you can find one that suits you.

BOTTOM LINE: I like it, recommend it & would buy it again, but I’ll probably try another scent next time.

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Fragrance, Cyclohexasiloxane, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Lanolin Alcohol, Phenethyl Alcohol, Caprylyl Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Benzyl Salicylate, Limonene, Linalool, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Disodium EDTA, Tocopherol, Citronellol, Sodium Hydroxide, Red 33, Red 4.

Something new: Maybelline Color Tattoo

11 Jan

You see what had happened was… I went to Wal-mart to buy some cereal, milk, juice & bread, yet somehow I landed in the cosmetics department. I think my feet walked over there on auto-pilot, or something like that. I literally gasped when I stumbled upon this display & startled the lady standing next to me, LOL!

Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 Hour Cream Gel Shadow

• Ink technology creates 24HR wear shadow for our most intense, long-lasting color saturation
• Cream formula glides on without creasing and keeps color vibrant
• Ophthalmologist-tested.  Safe for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers

I bought three of the ten available shades; Fierce & Tangy 10 (shimmery tangerine orange), Pomegranate Punk 30 (pinkish burgundy w/ gold glitter) & Painted Purple 20 (shimmery purple).

These are the preliminary swatches…

My first impression is that the colors are very pigmented, yet blend-able & the formula is creamy, yet non-greasy. I haven’t used them yet, so I can’t testify about their longevity. I can’t wait to try em! Stay tuned for my review.