New Magazine Launch in March: Glam Belleza Latina

glam belleza Latina A

A new women’s beauty magazine launch! YES!  I heard about this a few months ago, but I shelved it to the back of my mind because I am horribly impatient.  American Glamour will be launching a BRAND new women’s magazine, which will be released quarterly, starting March 5, 2013.  It is the new to the market Glam Belleza Latina, a latina-centric BEAUTY magazine. 


This new magazine has been described as the lovechild of Glamour and Allure magazine.  I used to ADORE Allure magazine (before they became STALE.   (I still subscribe  – ‘cuz you never know when they will fire up that stagnant ship.  That magazine was responsible for my first non-drugstore related beauty purchases from Sephora for many years.)  If there were a magazine that desperately needed a REDESIGN and REDIRECTION, it would be ALLURE.  You heard that editorial board at ALLURE?  This loyal subscriber for the past 10 years wants you to get better and not sink the ship.)  Anyways, I am really excited.  While I enjoy looking at fashion, what really rings my bell are beauty editorials and new skincare product launches.  I am so addicted that I have tear sheets of the best beauty editorials and beauty spotlights for the last several years, collected in colorful binders.  (Alright, alright, stuffed into the pockets of the binders, waiting to be sorted and organized by different themes.)

This magazine will be available at newstands on March 5, 2013 and it will come in the ever convenient digest size.  Basically the same size as the british edition of Glamour, which makes it perfectly stowable in most shoulder bags, like Rebecca Minkoff’s MAC Clutch.  I am really excited and I can’t wait to get my mitts on this.  I hope I am not disappointed, but even if I were, I would still buy it.  TRUTH.

Cosmopolitan for Latinas launched last spring, and I was super excited to get that.  Before that I had been occasionally picking up Latina.  However, that was an exercise in dashed hopes, over and over again.  I think I kept buying it out of a sense of obligation.  I don’t know how they make money. That magazine is SO LOSTIt’s everywhere, yet magically nowhere.  I remember reading this interesting article on Mexican women who spend their lives running crazy distances.  It was a brief one page article but what was the point?  I flipped the page intrigued to read more but NADA.  That was it.  Nothing else on this group of indigenous women in the dustier, more rural parts of Mexico.  Guess I will no longer have to buy Latina magazine, cuz I’ve got not one but TWO replacements.  YAY!!!  I just hope to the plastic baby jesus  in the manger of Talladega Nights that it isn’t the same content you would find in a general women’s magazine -cough, cough -with the same “universal” images.

Even if I weren’t latina, I would still pick this up because I am a true BEAUTY fiend.  If I could, I would buy the beauty inserts in asian magazines individually – AND I can’t even read the characters!  It doesn’t matter.  Beauty products and editorials represent an international non-lingual language that ALL WOMEN understand.  So, don’t hesitate to pick this up even if you are not Latina.

Eeeek.  I await.

I await no longer.  Here’s a snap of two pages.

Glam Belleza Latina 2

Glam Belleza Latina 1


*Um…the inaugural issue has left me feeling a bit meh…as a baby quarterly mag, I will allow it to grow up.  Since it comes with my regular Glamour subscription, I don’t have to pay extra to receive it, but this is trailing ALLURE in quality of content and uniqueness of vision.  Honestly, they slapped known latina stars (with a bevy of what appeared to be non-latina models) over content that looks EXACTLY the same as what you would find in any other american women’s fashion magazine.  I love it! (sarcasm)  NO BUENO.   They basically inserted the word “latina” in various places.  WOW. 

I believe they are taking a page from Latina magazine trying to be “universal.”  The problem with that is when you try to be all things to all people, you please NO ONE.  They are basically ignoring certain demographic realities within the american latino community that the good ‘ole U.S. Census Bureau is grappling with as we speak.  Oh, what fun we will have when those census forms roll out!

So far: Cosmopolitan for Latinas >>>Glam Belleza Latina >>Latina

*No comment on the cheesy uninspired title of the magazine or the very repetitive choice of the lovely Jennifer Lopez on the inaugural cover.  I swear Jennifer Lopez is not the end all be all of LATINA beauty.  (You know when I will get excited for a feature on Jennifer Lopez?  When she publicly reveals all the things she does to stay looking that AMAZING! ALL OF IT!!!  I want to know her dermatologist’s name, treatments used, presciptions, skincare products, spa treatments, diets, exercise routine, hair color, makeup shades she uses, ecetera!)

How about we break out some new stars.  I am getting tired of the Jennifer Lopez, Eva Longoria, Jessica Alba, Salma Hayek, Shakira, Zoe Saldanha covers – and this is not an excuse to start rotating in Sofia Vergara or Selena Gomez (love them both – don’t me wrong) either.  My only exception is Eva Mendes who can be on as many covers as she wants (you know, like, this is Eva in Orange, and this month Eva in Green, and this month Eva in Pink  – she is THAT stunning.  I will NEVER get tired of her face.

HA! I think I just listed every future cover star for the next two years! 🙂

Chemical Escape


Over the last year or so, I have read several articles about the usage of adderall by young adults in college and in the workplace.  The newly redesigned SELF magazine (I LOVE the redesign) featured an article about the increasing use of adderall with young women (the issue with Julianne Hough on the cover).  Reading that article reminded me of the rather common use of chemical stimulants during my school years, starting in high school, and throughout.

Admission:  I went to a private school where copious amounts of Mountain Dew, Coke, and coffee were rather commonplace.  The pressure to excel in class, on the field, and to stay thin, or fit, was super high.  Nevermind the ultimate goal, which was to get into a top ranked ivy league school.  While I don’t know how widespread cheating was, I did see it, although in rather localized instances.  While no one discussed ritalin, or adderall, I was aware of certain individuals who were granted special accomodations, whether extra time, or different testing times, for their assignments or exams.  It was strange to me to see these individuals receive this special attention, even though I could not tell anything different about them, but it also didn’t concern me.  It’s not something you put much thought into in high school.

It was the same in college.  Mountain Dew, or some crazy caffeinated drink, to keep you going through the long hours of the night trying to crank out a paper, or memorize as much information as possible was commonplace.  I know in college, I took a cue from my fellow students, and when I procrastinated to the very last second, I prepped for allnighters with multiple bottles of Mountain Dew.  However, the physical and mental drain that occurs pulling these allnighters is sickening.  By my junior year, the idea of pulling those empty calorie-infused allnighters made me nauseous, nevermind the pressure to create a full edited, proofread paper in one shot with footnotes, or endnotes.  I started planning my time better.  But by my senior year, I started noting mentions of adderall by people seeking to get it from whomever was willing to give people their pills, or more likely, was selling them.

By graduate school, my blinders were off and it was apparent to me this was the drug of choice to add a competitive edge.  Caffeine was small-time.  I became aware of students soliciting other individuals for adderal, or other chemical stimulants, for a competitive edge in their studies.  Usage was far more open, and people were very comfortable talking about who was selling, and asking whether they could get some.  People were very open about their own usage.  You would think that usage of chemical aids to help someone perform would end after the end of someone’s academic career, but interestingly enough, it just get’s a little bit more illicit.  However, now the use of stimulants, relaxants, and downers are employed much more regularly.

I was surprised to note, while in graduate school, the number of people who began to rely a little too much on alcohol to unwind after class, on weekends, and even after the end of schooling, as the most preferred method of unwinding.  Except, these weren’t nightcaps.  This was full on buzzed, broaching drunkeness, but not blind drunkness, fortunately.   Frequently.  It became a joke to me that people start graduate school and immediately become functional “alcoholics.”  The joke while I was in grad school was that I, too, would fall for the bottle.  (Except that wasn’t going to happen  because I do not like alcohol – blech.)  Alcohol may be the preferred method of relaxing, but close behind was pot.

This is were I look like a rube, but I was really shocked when I discovered how common pot smoking was.  Yes, I am revealing my goody two shoeness in this capacity.  I always associated illicit drug use with delinquents who weren’t going anywhere with their lives, so to see highly accomplished, upwardly mobile, educated folks inhaling without an inhibition was kind of shocking to me.  (Yes, I was a geeky, awkward, shy and cloistered teenager and young adult.  People who get to know me are very shocked at how blind I was growing up, or don’t see how I could not have been exposed to it.)  But pot smoking and functional alcoholics are quite common in undergrad and in graduate school.  (Some of you may be shaking your heads at my naivete, but apparently I had my head too safely hidden in my books.)  Now, it’s easy to think that this behavior ends once school ends, but really it’s just a gateway to harder, more illicit drugs for some heavy abusers of the “safer” drugs. 

I became aware of the use of cocaine as a stimulant to give a chemical edge by dual super hard workers and partiers, while in grad school, but it was always isolated to those chemical John and Jane Does, who were already kind of out there, and a hot mess to begin with.  What surprised me was the use of cocaine, by highly educated, professional, have it together folks.  These are individuals you would never believe do the stuff, or would ever have a need to “escape” anything.  Cocaine is the new party drug used by young, educated professional folks in clubs, or small houseparties, with bottles of Grey Goose nearby.  I am always shocked to find out who has tried occasionally, or who are regular users.  These are not the faces of cocaine abusers you see highlighted on the 10 o’clock news.  Frankly, cocaine is an expensive drug, so only those who have money have easier access to it. 

The point being?  A lot of people are trying to cope with LIFE.  Whether it’s coping with stress of competing by seeking an edge, or looking to relax from that stress, or looking to escape it altogether with complete avoidance, or seeking a new chemical brain high, people are not trying to deal.  I used to feel like a complete nerd because I didn’t see the point of smoking (never smoked), or why getting drunk is FUN (UM NO), don’t even get me started on the illegal stuff  (NO, I will not add that to my bucket list), but you know what – NOT ANYMORE.  No, I am still nerdy, but I don’t feel bad about it.

What’s interesting about all this recreational drug use (or abuse), is how it is described as a party other people want in on.  The users, or abusers, not necessarily the same as it depends on the drug, are rarely honest about why they are really doing whatever it is they are doing.  It’s always treated as no big deal, or a stage in life, a much needed pick me up, or just having SOME FUN, but no one ever says: I hate my life, I feel too much pressure, I feel empty and this makes me feel, I am afraid of failing and need to keep going, I am so stressed I can’t relax without a downer, I am soooo scared and tightly wound that I can’t relax without it.  Now, when I see someone who is normally reserved getting completely TRASHED and STUPID, I don’t think – WOW, that guy is having fun.  I think -WOW, I wonder what that married, mild-mannered average joe with three small children is escaping from.  Truth.

For me, I think it’s more avoidance than just having fun.  I don’t think momentarily scrambling your brain cells is a good thing.  Clearly, everyone can do what fits their circumstances.  But sometimes I wonder if people just aren’t taking the time to notice the small things in life that totally make being aware and alert on your own truly worthwhile. 

*This post has nothing to do with individuals who are using doctor-prescribed medication to correct chemical, or emotional imbalances they suffer from.

Skin Perfecting Primer and SPF: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Daily Anti-Aging Primer with Sunscreen, SPF 50

Prmer Love

1. La Roche-Posay Anthelios daily Anti-Aging Primer with Sunscreen, SPF 50, 1.01 oz for $39.50

I am not much of a fan of primers, considering all the layers of serums, lotions, sunscreen, and foundation, or concealer, I use.  Even I have limits as to how many products I will use on my skin.  I have purchased primers before, but I have never come close to even emptying a bottle of primer.  As a matter of fact, I think I have all of them mostly unused with two exceptions: Hourglass’s No. 28 Serum Primer (A-MAZING) and La Roche-Posay Anthelios (Surprise WHOAH).   While I loved Hourglass‘ essential oil serum primer for my dry, flaking tazorac’d skin almost immediately, La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Daily Anti-Aging Primer with Sunscreen was a slow crawl to adoration.

First thing first, I did not pick this up because it was a primer.  I picked this up because it had a high SPF and the Anthelios lines is well rated in the suncare category.  However, I have not been able to find an Anthelios sunscreen that wasn’t oily feeling on my skin and that’s just a HUGE NO.  I was hoping for a more dry-matte texture.

My first unpleasant experience with this was how HARD it was to squeeze product out of the tube.  The primer/sunscreen is like hardened silicone.  It is thick and on the dense side.  You should not apply directly to skin without warming and softening it up between your hands.  Also, I prefer to use a very thin, sheer moisturizing serum, or lotion, beforehand to cut down on the skin dragging that happens when applying this primer/sunscreen.  It is NOT silky.

Once applied to your skin, it creates a hazy, blurring effect – BUT NOT in a good way.  This primer/sunscreen is not invisible.  Your skin looks like its been coated with old style, non-translucent vaseline.  I did not like the way it looked on naked skin without some sort of coverup.  However, when I fully layered on foundation my skin looked too done.  The trick with this primer is to use only a little bit of base.  Localized dabs of concealer on spots, around the nose and above eyebrows, or super sheer applications of foundations – only where you need it – created this incredible glowing, clear skin HD finish. 

The key is that you have to allow the foundation/concealer and the primer/sunscreen to melt into your skin from the heat of your body.  Your skin won’t look amazing during the first 15 minutes, but your skin looks AMAZING after, and for MANY, MANY hours later.  It also had a mattifying effect on my skin.  I noticed my skin a few hours later and it looked fantastic, non-greasy, glowing matte  I was asked by somebody, who knows about my acne/post inflammatory mark covering struggle, if I was wearing makeup because they couldn’t tell.  YES!  (I told them the truth).

Want enhanced glow?  Mixing a highlighter like Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone with La Roche-Posay Daily Anti-Aging Primer with Sunscreen, created an amazing glowing base for the small dabs of concealer/foundation to melt into the skin with.

Caveat?  You should REALLY thoroughly cleanse your skin before applying this product.  If you have super oily, acneic skin like mine, use a strong pore-clarifying cleanser with salicylic acid – and while you are at it – with alpha hydroxy acids, too.  The first time I used this, I used a non-beta, non-alpha hydroxy acid cleanser (gym bag mini cleanser) and I broke out in a huge bump that came out of nowhere later that day.  I am also careful to use only a very thin, sheer application of serum, or lotion, to add silky moisture to my skin to make sure the primer/sunscreen glides on skin easier without dragging.  If your skin is not oily, you may need a heavy essential oil moisturizer to prevent overdrying. This is the sort of product you don’t want to layer too many other products under., though.  However, if you are careful with cleansing and not using too many products that could potentially clog pores, your skin WILL NOT break out.  Also, make sure you REALLY get this off your skin, perhaps with double cleansing.  This is kind of an industrial strength primer.  My skin needs industrial strength, though.

This is the first primer I will get the chance to repurchase – EVER.  I have to…I am almost out.  The next big test will be in the summer where it is super hot and humid.  If my skin can withstand breaking out with this stuff on, and not look like a greasy hamburger in the summer, then this will be an all year round product for me.

With that I am going to quickly go through the product literature on this primer/sunscreen, which describes it as a colorless (NOT exactly – think of semi-opaque plastic containers), lightweight (NO) texture primer that fills in and smoothes imperfections like fine lines, wrinkles and pores (YUP), while mattifying combination-oily skin with oil absorbing powders (OH YEAH! ).  The anti-aging properties of this product are mostly in the fact that it has a strong, stable SPF with a few antioxidant ingredients (Cell-Ox Shield Antioxidant Complex with Senna Alta).  However, this product does an amazing job of blurring imperfections on the face after it melts into the skin and mixes with dabs of concealer and foundation, while offering a smooth, matte long lasting finish for oily-skinned girls.

Oily skinned girls should run and pick this up.  However, before you do – keep reading.

Miracle Blur

Now, I noticed a curious thing with the advertisement of L’Oreal’s Revitalift Miracle Blur Instant Skin Smoother Finishing Cream, SPF 30. The “Miracle Blur” product strikes me as very similar to the Anthelios Daily Anti-Aging Primer.   La-Roche Posay is owned by the global parent company L’Oreal.  I took a look at the ingredient list and they are ALMOST exactly the same (and in the same order) except for the fact that the more expensive product has 3 more ingredients at the back, which I have highlighted in magenta font color. Diethylhexyl Syringylidenemalonate is identified online as a skin protecting ingredient that acts as a UV ray filter.  Maltodextrin (usually found as a food additive) is used as a binding agent to stabilize other ingredients that may have a beneficial effect on the skin (in this case, an anti-aging benefit).  Cassia Alata Leaf Extract serves as an antioxidant against free radical damage.  I have not tried L’Oreal’s “Miracle Blur.”  However, I do have a generous sized sample I will try and compare and report back with my results.  Fifteen dollars is a kind of a significant mark-up for nearly the same thing.  However, the difference in SPF’s also gives me pause.  However, the listing order of ingredients does not necessarily mean that the ingredients were used in the same amounts.  Either way, I found the similarity between both products interesting.  It is worth investigating.

L’Oreal’s Revitalift Miracle Blur Instant Skin Smoother Finishing Cream, SPF 30

Ingredients:  Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (10%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (5%), Oxybenzone (6%), Dimethicone, C12 15 Alkyl Benzoate, Talc, Diisopropyl Sebacate, Silica, Silica Silylate, Glycerin, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Water

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Daily Anti-Aging Primer with Sunscreen, SPF 50

Ingredients: Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (10%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (5%), Oxybenzone (6%), Dimethicone, C12 15 Alkyl Benzoate, Talc, Diispropyl Sebacate, Silica, Silica Silylate, Glycerin, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, dimethicone crosspolymer, Water, Diethylhexyl Syringylidenemalonate, Cassia Alata (Candle Tree) Leaf Extract, Maltodextrin

Drugstore Cleanser-palooza for Oily Acne-Prone Skin

Drugstore cleansers

It’s here! It’s here! Drugstore Cleanser-palooza!!!  So, as you all know, I have super oily, acne-prone skin with large pores in t-zone, which sadly seem to be getting bigger as I get older.  I buy a ton of facial cleansers out of curiosity.  I do not restrict myself to using just one until I finish it.  I can go weeks, or months, using the same product and then switch to something else, before I come back.  All of this fickleness has netted me some interesting observations about various cleansers, such as which are best for the various stages of my oily, acne-prone skin.  Not all oily skin, acne-prone cleansers are the same.  There are variations, and some are better for the winter, while others are better for the summer.  Enough preamble, let’s hop to this joint.  One caveat.  I nearly ALWAYS use a prescription retinoid which does sensitize and dry out my skin on it’s own.

1. Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask, 4.2 oz for SRP

I figured we would start with the most aggressive of the cleansers:  starting with the Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask, a hybrid dual purpose skincare product with benzoyl peroxide.  The benzoyl peroxide is the only reason why this product is the most aggressive of all the drugstore cleansers I have.  When I was a teenager I couldn’t use benzoyl peroxide.  It completely irritated and burned my skin.  I stayed away from it for years until a few years back when I ventured back with PCA’s Acne Cream and 5% BPO Cleanser, both which were very gentle and treated smaller hormonal acne breakouts very well.  I think the current formulations of benzoyl peroxide have gotten a lot gentler on skin without sacrificing effectiveness.  However, drugstore renditions are still not the gentlest on the market.  This dual cleanser/mask superficially dries out my skin, while causing brief inflammation.  Forget about using it as a mask for more than a few seconds.  FIYAAAAA!!!  My skin burned.  I don’t see myself buying this again.  I will only briefly use as a cleanser, but only to use it up.  It burns either way.

Ingredients: Benzoyl Peroxide 3.5%, Water, Glycerin, Kaolin, Bentonite (CI 77004), Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Titanium Dioxide, Trideceth 9, PEG 5 Ethylhexanoate, Menthol, Sodium Citrate, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Fragrance

2. Garnier Nutritioniste Nutri-Pure Daily Exfoliating Gel Cleanser, 5.0 oz for SRP

The teeny micro beads in this make it a bit more aggressive than the #3 cleanser by Phisoderm.  This is a great cleanser for the summer months when it is super humid and hot.  My skin is atrocious in high heat and humidity.  I need serious pore degreasers.  Let’s assume I am not aggressively breaking out and don’t need the assistance of Tazorac, then this is what I would use.  I have purchased this cleanser twice.  The fragrance sensitive may not like this though because of the strong chemically – not fresh or natural – scent of pepperment.  Think floor detergent.  Yeah, I went there.  I don’t mind it, but others could. Obviously, this also has a ton of chemicals – naturalist’s wouldn’t dare put on their skin.  That’s fair, but I find I need strong ass chemicals during the summer to control the oil in my skin.  This cleanser is especially great when you just don’t feel like using the Clarisonic because of the microscrubbers.  I do have a Clarisonic, but I have gotten very lazy about using it.

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Butylene Glycol, TEA Lauryl Sulfate, Polyethylene, Sodium
Lauroyl Oat Amino Acids, Coco Glucoside, Grapefruit Extract, Jojoba Esters, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Panthenol, Salicylic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), C10 30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Steareth 20 Methacrylate Copolymer, Alcohol, Benzophenone 4, Decyl Glucoside, Disodium EDTA,  Hydroxystearic Acid, Menthol, Polyethylene Glycol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Trideceth 6, Triethanolamine, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Methylparaben, FD&C Blue 1 (CI 42090), CI 47005 (Yellow 10), CI 77289 (Chromium Hydroxide Green), Parfum/Fragrance, Benzyl Salicylate, Limonene, Linalool, FIL

Drugstore Cleanser 2

3. Phisoderm Anti-Blemish Gel Facial Wash, 6.0 oz for SRP

I do not give up on skincare products.  If I spent my money on it, I will figure out an ideal use, if I don’t succeed the first time.  I will try, try, try until I do.  I purchased this cleanser near the end of last winter.  When I started using it, I started noticing my skin was becoming rougher, tighter, and flaking.  I quickly realized this cleanser was too drying on my skin.  Add in the use of a Rx retinoid and I had facial dandruff.  Muy unattractivo.  I was surprised by how drying this was.  When I switched from Retin-A to Tazorac, the dryness and roughness of my skin became unbearable and I had to shelve this for a while. But bring it back I did – And I AM SO GLAD I DID!  This is my favorite drugstore cleanser for oily, acne-prone skin when I am not blitzing my skin on retinoids on a daily basis (think every other day).  It penetrates pores with salicylic acid, while exfoliating the skin with lactic acid.   It is cheap and used with the right accompanying skincare – no continuous use of aggressive retinoids and use of serum oils after, this stuff is the best.  My skin has dramatically cleared up over the winter.  This has been excellent but I do need to butter of my skin with essential oil serums.  Without it, my skin would be too dry.  On the otherhand, during the summer, if I am not using Tazorac, this stuff is amazing too. Total repurchase!  Hurrah!

Ingredients:  2% Salicylic Acid, Water, Sodium C14 16 Olefin Sulfonate, Lauramidopropyl Betaine, Lauryl Glucoside, Sodium Chloride, Disodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, Fragrance, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Lactic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Triethanolamine

4. Neutrogena Deep Clean Long-Last Shine Control Cleanser/Mask, 6.0 oz for SRP

If you don’t have an issue with acne or it’s pretty mild, and your biggest concern is oily skin, then this is a great product.  It was surprisingly effective on degreasing my skin without irritating it.  The only reason why I wouldn’t purchase this again is because I have to be vigilant against acne ALL THE TIME.  I am clear for a few weeks at a time these days but only because I am vigilant.  I try to reduce the number of treatment products I use on my skin and this would be better with a stronger acne fighting ingredient that isn’t benzoyl peroxide.  Salicylic acid is listed but it’s pretty low on the list.

Ingredients: Water, Cetyl Alcohol, PPG 15 Stearyl Ether, Steareth 21, Titanium Dioxide, Glycerin, Polysorbate 60, Rice Protein, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Phenoxyethanol, Salicylic Acid, Fragrance, Caprylyl Glycol, Disodium Lauroamphodiacetate, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Menthol, Sodium Benzotriazole Butylphenol Sulfonate, Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090), Green 5, Red 40 Lake (CI 16035)

5. Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Control Foam Wash, 8.0 oz for SRP

I actually dedicated a separate blog post to this cleanser, along with the accompanying SPF moisturizer, which I LOVE.  This is great for sucking up oil and not drying out skin.  It does leave an interesting filmy feeling, which is what I presume will continue to control oil production on the skin.  My original review indicated that this is problematic for me because of all of the other products I use.  Plus, I need active anti-acne maintenance.  This is great if you only have very oily skin with mild, almost non-existent acne.

Ingredients: Water, Zinc Coceth Sulfate, Glycerin, PEG 75, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Zinc Gluconate, PEG 200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate, PEG 40 Hydrogenated Castor
Oil, PEG 7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Sodium Benzoate, Masking Fragrance (Parfum),
Disodium EDTA

Drugstore Cleanser 3

6. Biore Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser, 6.77 oz for SRP

This is a pretty standard 2% salicylic acid drugstore cleanser.  I don’t really see that much difference between Biore’s version and Neutrogena’s 2% versions.  This is great to use during the summer because it does give a quick chill to the skin, but other than that it’s pretty average and on par with other cleansers.  I am constantly swapping out 2% salicylic acid cleansers of various drugstore brands because they are so fungible.  2% salicylic acid cleansers are a great basic to have for oily, acne-prone skin and I find unless you have specialized needs (like I occasionally do) you don’t need to buy something more expensive or upscale.  However, if you have sensitive, acne-prone skin, you must try the B. Kamins Acne Cleanser I posted about here. 🙂

Ingredients: Salicylic Acid 2%, Water, Glycerin, Sodium C14 16 Olefin Sulfonate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Decyl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Lauric Acid, Betaine, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Extract, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Extract, PEG 7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Glyceryl Oleate, Sodium Hydroxide, Polyquaternium 7, Menthol, Disodium EDTA, BHT, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylparaben, Fragrance

7. L’Oreal Youth Code Foaming Gel Cleanser, 8.0 oz for SRP

This cleanser is from L’Oreal’s Youth Code line up, which is meant for older skintypes.  It utilizes lipo-hydroxy acid (LHA), or capryloyl salicylic acid, to gently exfoliate the skin.  LHA offers far more refined exfoliation that is less irritating to skin than good ‘ole salicylic acid, which penetrates deeper and a tad unevenly.  Individuals with more sensitive skin types can use this.  I actually purchased this in the summer and did not care for it because I noticed it left my skin feeling too moisturized for my taste.  My skin never felt “clean.”  I stopped using it and switched to a drugstore cleanser by Phisoderm that was better suited for super oily, acne-prone skin in humid, hot and nasty environments.  My pores are producing massive amounts of oil in the summer, I didn’t need a moisturized feeling.  Blech.  However, I pulled this bad boy out in the fall and winter, and it is SO MUCH BETTER for me in colder, drier environments.  I have noticed that my skin is getting far more reactive to seasonal changes than it used to be.  In the summers, my skin is beyond gross pumping oil like no one’s business.  However, in the winter, when I am using my retinoids – which is almost always – I need a cleanser that is less stripping, and leaves a bit of moisture behind.  This cleanser leaves my skin soft, gently moisturized, and cleansed.  It is non-irritating, even when I have tazorac’d my skin.  It is also a less expensive option than B. Kamins Acne Wash.  However, the B. Kamins Acne Wash has more potent acne-fighters, while still being super gentle on sensitive skin.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), PEG 8, Lauryl Betaine, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, P Anisic Acid, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Citric Acid, Decyl Glucoside, Hexylene Glycol, Menthol, PEG 120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Sodium Hydroxide, Tetrasodium EDTA, Fragrance

I have tried tons of drugstore cleansers.  This “small” collection is currently what I have in my bathroom.  However, I am constantly rotating out brands that didn’t work and rotating in new ones, while repurchasing those I loved.  Perhaps, by next summer there may be a whole new -palooza to blog about.  🙂

MAC Cosmetics Pro Powder Blush

Pro Fuschia

1. MAC Cosmetics Pro Powder Blush in Full Fucshia for $17.00

MAC Cosmetics is well known.  It is the gateway cosmetic brand for someone making the jump from drugstore to department store.  It is cool, colorful, fairly priced, and just too much freaking fun.  You can easily develop a cosmetic addiction off of MAC Cosmetics alone.    There isn’t much to say about this powder blush purchase.  I love blushes, in general.  This Pro Powder Blush is designed to fit in a palette, which I love.  There is nothing more awesome than opening a palette and just seeing circles of color and dab, dab, dabbing your brush in there like a painter.  It makes me feel oh so creative and skilled – except I am not that skilled, or talented, on the creative front.  Boooo.  But I can oh so pretend to my heart’s content. 

Anyways, this is Full Fuchsia and you can see it is a hair more purple and deeper than the fucshia shade I have from Kevyn Aucoin’s The Creamy Glow in LiquifucshiaLiquifucshia has this vibrancy that I love.  Full Fuchsia can be used to tone down the vibrancy of Liquifuchsia, but also impart a richer, multi-dimensional fuchsia flush.  It can also anchor the color so that the cream blush doesn’t fade away or migrate on oily skin.   I likes.  Hate to say it, but it NEVER occurred to me to actually layer blushes, especially powders over creams, until I started this blog.  #FACEPALM. #FAIL.

Here are the swatches.

MAC Pro fuschia swatch 1 Text

Jouer Cosmetics Highlighter


1. Jouer Cosmetics Highlighter in Tiare, $20.00

I noticed Jouer’s Highlighter in Tiare featured in a number of mags over the last couple months.  But the first place I really sort of zoned in on it was from The Beauty Samples blog post on it.  The swatches were beautiful.  I love highlighters so this sucker was going to end up in my hands eventually.  This is where the idea and visual appeal of a product can sometimes run counter to the actual user appeal of a product.

I love cosmetics.  I love the colors, textures, containers, and retail packaging.  I love the advertisements, the stories, the philosophies.  But sometimes that’s as far as it goes.  The actual usability of a product get’s lost in there, or becomes unimportant.  Except, I can’t justify collecting for collectings sake.  I have to actually love using the product.  It has to make sense with my skintype, skin tone, preferred makeup application methods…you get the idea.   As much as I LOVE the philosophy, packaging, colors, and branding of Jouer Cosmetics, I did not love this highlighter – not the shade, not the texture, and not how it fit into my makeup routine. 

This is a dense cream highlighter.  In comparison to Jouer’s Tint – which I love – this was harder to blend and the color pay off was far too streaky and diffuse for my taste.  I really had to jam in my finger to pick up any color.  I had to layer to get a strong color payoff.  Placing it on my naked cheeks and nose bridge, there was a barely there streaks of inconsistent gold.  I had to aggressively work in the product on my skin.  That’s a fail.  The only product I have that has to be aggressively worked in is my old discontinued Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Glow in Nuelle – EXCEPT I LOVE IT.  Why?  The blush is a dense, almost spackle-like texture that is pigment rich and requires extreme buffing into skin, but it imparts the most AMAZING ground into the cheek flush of color that will not fade or budge.  It looks amazingly natural.  (The new Creamy Glows just don’t compare even though they are far easier to use.)  You can imagine if it was that difficult to work on naked oily skin, using the product on skin covered in layers of serum, sunscreen, foundation or concealer, and blush was not going to be easy.  I am not a fan.  When it comes to cream highlighters, I love easy, creamy, blendable textures with real pigment payoff.  This was not it.

I decided to compare Jouer’s Highlighter to a similarly-toned highlighter – Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in MoonstoneTiare has a stronger gold cast to it while Moonstone offered a pale, almost white-gold effect.  The key difference was application.  The Shimmering Skin Perfector is a sheer liquid that you can slap on with abandon on naked skin, mix in with cream blushes, moisturizers, foundations for that all over luminous effect.  It is EASY!  Jouer’s Highlighter has the same effect but it is NOT easy.  It requires far more labor, and far more product for the same effect.  Also, budget-wise, and total number of uses, Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector is a steal. 

Where Jouer’s Highlighter could have come on top would be portability.  Except Edward Bess’ All Over Seduction does what Jouer’s Highlighter should have done.  Offer smooth, blendable, visible shimmery pigment that can be used in small spaces in a super portable and convenient package. 

Here are the swatches.  This is the amazing thing about photos of swatches.  I look at these swatches and it’s like I am falling in love with this all over again and I am getting excited about adding it to my collection.  Then I remember – DOH!  Just because something looks great as a swatch does not mean it will look as amazing when it is actually used and incorporated into my makeup routine.

Tiare Text

Becca Tiare Collage

Ingredients: Ricinus Communis (Castor Seed) Oil, Isopropyl Myristate, Petrolatum, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Paraffin, C12 15 Alkyl Benzoate, Stearoxymethicone Dimethicone Copolymer, Trioctyldodecyl Citrate, Ozokerite, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla Cera) Wax, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Isostearyl Behenate, Polyethylene, Kaolin, Biotite, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, BHT, Propylparaben, May also contain:, Mica (CI 77019), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492), Carmine (CI 75470) (CI 75470)

Gorgeous Cosmetics “Sheer Brilliance” Liquid Foundation

Gorgeous Sheer Base

1. Gorgeous Cosmetics Sheer Brilliance Liquid Foundation, 1.1 oz for $50.00

I was checking out Nordstrom’s beauty selection when I came across the new to the U.S. brand, Gorgeous Cosmetics.  My eyes went agog.  As a true beauty fiend who is always looking for something better, or just – different – I had to do some net sleuthing for this brand. 

Gorgeous Cosmetics is a premium australian brand created by pro australian makeup artist David McConnell.  It is difficult to find blog reviews for this brand.  As always, I focused on my makeup bread and butter: foundations, blushes and highlighters when I decided to check out this brand.  It was very difficult to select shades sight unseen as a Nordstrom is nowhere near me.  I decided to select from the lower shade range. 

First up is their “Sheer Brilliance” Liquid Foundation, which is a sheer coverage foundation that provides light to medium coverage with layering.  Now here is where I will start making comparisons to Becca Cosmetics, that OTHER australian brand.

SBG Bottom

“Sheer Brilliance” is meant for dry skin and offers a very soft “velvet” but sheer finish.  I find that the texture of this foundation is slightly thicker than the water-like Luminous Skin Colour by Becca Cosmetics.  It also offers more pigment, which  means that you won’t necessarily fit multiple shades the way you could with Becca’s Luminous Skin Colour, which is more forgiving with wrong shade selections.  Another difference with “Sheer Brilliance” and Luminous Skin Colour is that “Sheer Brilliance” offers distinct undertone categorized shades, while Luminous Skin Colour follows a more fluid skintone range that changes wth depth and undertone, but isn’t very easily broken up into different undertone categories.  I find Becca’s skintone range far more flattering and reflective of the diversity within human skin, while Gorgeous Cosmetics seems to stay within the strict Yellow, Beige, Peach, Brown undertone categories which doesn’t offer much flexibility for those of us who fall outside of it.  In that aspect, Gorgeous Cosmetics offers a similar shade range to what most American Beauty brands offer.  However, the finish and feel of “Sheer Brilliance” is unique to me compared to the many foundations I have tried.  Lightweight, sheer, velvety and luminous is not that common.

Unfortunately, I was not able to find a shade match from the two shades I selected.  I am fortunate I did NOT go with the beauty advisor choice of a level 3 shade.  You mention the undertone “olive” and all of a sudden someone things you are medium-deep.  No, I am not one of those folks trying to “brighten” my skintone with makeup three shades too light, I am trying to match it.  And yes, I have green undertones to my skin, even though I am naturally light, if not fair.  While 3Y may have been useable, it is obvious it would have been a very golden yellow and I am not golden.

SBG Swatch Text

2Y is closest to MAC’s NC 15-20 without the dreaded peach undertone, while 2N is closer to MAC’s NW 20-25.    It felt soft, velvety and luminous, but also sheer.  It’s very nice texture and look and I think even oilier skintypes can use this even though it says it is best for dry skin.

If you are looking for a sheer foundation with a bit more coverage, and you fall within american traditional shade ranges, then this is a good product to check out.

Upcoming Posts Sneak Peek

MAC Pro FuchsiaGorgeous Sheer Base

Maybelline Whisper

Glyco Square

Gorgeous Base Perfect

Drugstore cleansers

Foundation Collection

MAC Lip Mix

MAC eyeshadows


LRP SPF Primer

Arden Illuminator


Mac Pro Burnt Pepper

Inglot Palette

Becca Mineral Bronzer Sideways Jouer Mineral Blush

I have gotten really lazy about blogging lately.  I posted this as a push for myself to get these up.  I normally have a few weeks of prescheduled posts.  Now, I have NADA.  Posted these to put some pressure on me.  Otherwise, you’d all be waiting a few weeks.  That’s how lazy I have gotten.  Don’t be surprised if a post shows up that I didn’t provide a sneak peek of.  The order will really depend on my mood.  Some of these are nearly two months old.  I have a few other product posts  that have been languishing for far longer though.  Yikes.

Versatile Blogger Award!

I want to thank Jacques over at Jacques Delight for nominating for the Versatile Blogger Award – my very first Versatile Blogger Award!  Jacques is an incredibly versatile blogger who loves books and beauty, so expect to find numerous reviews on both, but also random odds and ends on just about anything. 

Now – on to the the 7 things about me (I feel like I am this close to giving away my blood type, bank account number and snapshot of my birth certificate. teehee) with all the about me nuggets:

1.  I constantly debate on whether to out certain rather huge aspects about myself on the blog to put things in context.  What I do, my name….you know the basics.

2. However,  I am a bit paranoid.

3. I used to be very into designer bags…thank goodness that’s no longer the case…

4. Some of my friends still don’t know about my beauty blog and I don’t think I will ever share it.  If it’s not their thing,  why share it?

5. I always say I am going to get plastic surgery to either fix my nose, or get another “enhancement,”  but I don’t think I will – for the nose.  Now that other one….

6.  I don’t think botox is plastic surgery, therefore, when the time comes, botox me up!  (Secretly though, I hope that I will be the special little snowflake who won’t need it).

7.  I am a speedreader.  This mostly involves dropping articles and other unnecessary words.  Unfortunately, this skill has affected my thought and writing patterns – significantly.   I constantly have to proofread more “social” types of writing.  This blog showed me how bad it truly is.  Eek.

Now, on to the 15 blogs.  Yikes.  What I have become aware of is that bloggers tend to travel in packs.  We tend to circle around the same blogs.  I am not interested in redundancy.  But I also have less time to discover new blogs-which makes me sad.    So, with that I am altering the rules.  Sorry!  I am only going to post one blog, which I have found VERY impressive, and which I am sure is not visited by the same circle of blogs that visit mine.  I love her organization, product selection (budget to department store mix), and the awesome FOTDs.  She has only been blogging since late fall but her blog growth has been EXPLOSIVE  – and she takes pictures with an IPHONE folks.  *shakes head at my crappy lighting and skill situation*  She also has a companion tumblr site which I find just incredibly beautiful to look at because I love the assortment of colors.

Introducing the beauty MILK, both the blog and the tumblr site.  Written by Coco of Puerto Rico, a latina – woohoo.  She is an engineering student with a passion for cosmetics and the skills to compete with any makeup artist.  Oh yeah, and she is gorgeous  – SMACK, SMACK, SMACK – just kidding!   I hope to see her enter the Allure Beauty Blogger Competition coming this spring (hint, hint).

UPDATED: Apparently the bogus REVLON sponsored Allure Beauty Blogger Competition is not open to commonwealth Puerto Ricans, despite being citizens of the United States.   Bummer.

An honorable mention goes to Teni Panosian of Miss Maven.  She is an actress/model of armenian descent, who created her own blog and youtube channel.  Apparently, armenian women are beautiful, she looks strikingly similar to Kim Kardashian.  I don’t really consider her blog an amateur blog, so it gets an honorable mention.  However, I LOVE her makeup tutorial videos. 

*click on the bold to get to the blog or tumblr site.


Triple hot Collage

Do you have a man type?  I think I do.  I didn’t used to have a type.  I think I just started noticing that there were similarities in the men I was attracted to.  It’s not so bad, but it can be very limiting if this generalized attraction consistency becomes a restrictive guideline for deciding if you are interested, or attracted, to someone.  You could dismiss someone just because they didn’t fit into your type and totally miss out on someone who is still HOT, but you were too blinded by your own “preference.”  We are creatures of habit.   We will go for the same just because it is what we are used to.  But we could totally be missing out on something new and different that is just as good or even better!

This hit me while I was meeting up with a casual long-term acquaintance for brunch.  I had met him while I was in grad school.  He asked me out on a date but I didn’t take him seriously mostly because of the age difference, because I was crushing on someone else at the time, and he was an undergraduate student at the same school I was a graduate student.  And even though a distant part of my brain recognized that he was attractive, my attraction shorthand recognized that he didn’t match my type.   

So, what is attraction shorthand?  It’s where you designate a set of features as attractive and decided to zone in on anyone that met those parameters.  The problem with attraction shorthand is that its EXTREMELY LAZY.  There is actually no thought involved.  You are not actually engaged in the process.  You screen out and are dismissive of anything that falls outside, and then you make it super easy for someone who fits the profile to waltz right in your life without the normal day to day tests that determine whether someone is interesting, attractive, or worthwhile enough to get to know.  

So, getting back to that young whippersnapper, who as far as I was concerned was a high school student – ok, not really, but you get my frame of mind – I totally dismissed him, but he kept tabs on me for the next several years.  I offered friendship at the time and wasn’t really sure if he could swing it.   I kept smacking him down.  Do you want to get some coffee sometime?  I don’t drink coffee.  Happy New Years!  I don’t celebrate the holidays.  Want to meet up and hang this saturday?  Ugh.  I’ve been working 7 days a week and get home way too late.  Wanna do something this weekend? I’m sooooo tired.

Contact was intermittent over the next few years.  But I felt bad for smacking him down, if only because as a Dominican-Puerto Rican graduate school educated person, there aren’t that many Dominicans (he is) rolling around in the higher education system.  (I expect this to change over time, and I have seen huge improvement.  But still, there is a higher education gap.)  So, finally I was ready to actively test the friendship waters.  After sending a rather harsh sounding email about how I am strictly interested in a platonic friendship and that I will not entertain anything else, we scheduled a brunch meet up.  I decided to go to the gym beforehand.  I came in my gym pants, oversized cashmere striped sweater, lugging my gym gear in my longchamp duffel-like bag.  Hair in a messy, fly-away top knot, skin slightly broken out.  I am all business as I walk to the popular tourist attraction spot – 15 minutes late – and then – eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…that slow increasing inner cringe as you are walking to something you were so NOT EXPECTING.


Apparently, the “highschooler” grew up…into a MAN (RAWR).  Now, I’ve rarely seen him in person after I graduated, so our communication was either by phone, text, or email.  I had done a pretty good job of brushing off his meet up requests without actually rejecting him flat out because I was interested in a friendship but wanted to kill any romantic inclinations in the lad’s heart.  Boy, was I internally slapping myself silly.

During the brunch it became obvious to me that I was attracted to him.  Did he magically grow into my type? NOPE.  For whatever reason, the blinders were off. Shorthand attraction had been disabled.  (Plus, let’s get real, he was now in his late twenties – big difference with a college junior).   I was able to process this attractive man in front of me without dismissing him.  I was all sheepish throughout the brunch and EMBARASSED!!!  The thoughts in my head?  Why did I have to come right after the gym?  Why didn’t I push this back for another couple of weeks so I could have lost more weight?  Why didn’t I wait ’til my skin was in better condition.  Why did I wear this oversized cashmere HORIZONTAL striped sweater that made me look even BIGGER!!!  Why the hell am I lugging this overstuffed gym bag?

By the end, I was so amused at the irony.  Even more amused when I found out he had a girlfriend.  The overeager boy was gone.  In front of me was a rather cool-faced, impenetrable attractive man who WAS ONLY interested in friendship.  Yes, folks I laughed on the inside.  Totally and completely bemused. 

Attraction shorthand…turn that shit off folks. 

*A little more complicated because of the age difference and the fact that I was mooning over someone else at the time of initial meeting.  But you get the gist.