Great Drugstore Foundation!

Lately I have been reading some wonderful reviews of Milani’s Conceal & Perfect 2-in-1 Foundation and Concealer.


This liquid foundation runs around $10 for 1 ounce, and since my current favorite foundation,  IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream retails for $38 – and I have paid as much as $48 for Laura Mercier foundation – (and I am low on both) -I thought I would give Milani a try.

Milani comes in 19 shades – and because it is a drugstore brand without samples, finding your shade can be a little tricky.  The bottle is a bit tinted, but you can see the color pretty clearly by looking at the bottom of the bottle, so I compared in-store with a L’Oreal shade that I know works for me. And Light Beige 03 for me turned out to be a great match.

I  relied on IT CC Cream all Summer because it is very good coverage with an SPF 50 sunscreen. But now that Summer is over, I won’t be worrying so much about high-level sun protection. I can go with a sunscreen just in my moisturizer (I am currently using Neutrogena Visibly Even with an SPF of 30, which should see me through Fall And Winter in Connecticut). So Milani’s lack of sunscreen is not an issue right now.

Conceal & Perfect is described as a full coverage foundation – full enough to double as your concealer too. I wouldn’t go that far. But its coverage is good – certainly as good as IT CC cream, and much better than Laura Mercier’s Candleglow foundation.

The finish is satiny, rather than full matte. I’m currently infatuated with a very glowy look, so even a satin finish is not quite dewy enough for me.

But I’ve been adding an illuminator to my foundation anyway, for that healthy, dewy – and hopefully youthful – look. And I found a good deal on that too: last month I purchased No. 7 Skin Illuminator at Ulta.

no7 illuminator

It retails for $12.99 for 1 ounce. In comparison, the “holy grail” of illuminating drops, Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops, will set you back $42 for just 0.5 ounces. Of course, the Cover FX drops are very intense, so a small bottle will last a long time, but …still… $12.99 vs $42!

And yes, No. 7 Illuminator is more subtle, and you need a bit more. I use 2 parts foundation to one part illuminator.

But oh my, the results of Milani’s beautiful satin-finish foundation combined with No.7 Skin Illuminator – my skin looks as glowy and flawless as a sixty-something complexion can look.

I am all set for Winter!




Makeup Tips for Non-Teenagers

I watch a lot of makeup tutorials on YouTube. I love them.

But mostly, these makeup experts (and they are really experts!) are teenagers. Or at least extremely young women.

There are a few women who are “mature” – and they have some good tips and product reviews. And even the teenagers once in a while show me something that will work for me.

I’m 66, by the way, which is a really tricky age. I’m on Medicare (so I have a card in my wallet that states I am officially old) – but I think I’m quite pretty – which I did NOT think when I was 20, or 30, 40, or even 50. It was only when I turned 60 that I began to like the way I looked.

This could be due to a couple of reasons:

  • A)  I understand after all these years how to make the most of what I’ve got;
  • B)  I was always pretty, but I just didn’t recognize it;
  • C)  I have actually and miraculously gotten prettier as I aged.

In my case, I think the answer is

  • D) All of the above.

Whatever the reasons, it is amazingly wonderful to finally feel good about my looks.


As much as I want to look as young as possible, some trends and makeup looks are NOT for women my age. Or not for me, at least.

And as much as I am not ashamed to be 66, I still want to look beautiful.

YouTube – and my own trial and error efforts – has provided me with a few tips that really work for “mature’ women.

Here’s the best of what I have discovered:

1. Luminous Foundation. I have a few age spots and freckles I’m not fond of. So I like a foundation with good (medium to full) coverage. But some matte foundations make my skin look very dull and flat – and old. I more dewy, luminous look. And it’s not difficult to add a bit of radiance even to a matte foundation. Just add a few drops of oil (like argan oil or rosehip seed oil – any facial oil) or liquid illuminator. I have the travel size of Benefit High Beam, and I add just a drop or two to my foundation. I love the result.  In addition, I’ve been using a setting spray with a dewy finish rather than matte – like Milani’s Make It Dewy.

2. Soft – But Full – Eyebrows. Thin little lines of eyebrows are very aging. The thinner the brows, the older you will look. However, you need to balance a thicker brow with a soft look. The best way to do this is to avoid that “comma” look with too much emphasis on the inner corner (the nose side) . When you apply brow product, (and I like a nice light brow gel that you apply with a tiny mascara-like wand like Ulta’s Brow Tint), don’t start at the inner corner. Start about a quarter of the way into your brow and do both brows. Then go back to the inner corners. You will have a lot less product on the wand, and so the inner corner will be much softer. It’s way more natural and flattering.

3. Disguise for Sparse Lashes. I’ve written before about my sparse eyelashes and how my castor oil treatments are working – and they are. But us older women will naturally find that our lashes get increasingly sparse as we age. One way to make them look thicker (besides great mascara, of course) is to tightline your upper lash line. ‘Tightlining’ means using your eyeliner (I love IT No-Tug Gel Liner, which really stays put) on your waterline… upper only, and then lift your lids a little and really get in between your lashes – fill in any gaps between your lashes. I like this so much, I now rarely even line my top lids in the traditional way, except maybe for a smudge on the corner.

4. Widening and Lifting Your Eyes. I’m not saying I would never get plastic surgery – who knows what the future may hold for me. But there are a couple of tricks to help make your eyes looks younger without surgery or Botox:

A) Lay off the undereye eyeliner. I loved lining my lower lids when I was young, but now it just makes my eyes looks small. Instead, I apply a little shadow with a fine brush – in a medium brown or plum usually – to add just a bit of definition. Or nothing at all. I do add a little mascara on my lower lashes – but again, with a light hand.

B) Open up your eyes with a flesh, pink or even lavender liner in the waterline. I have a nice flesh colored creamy eyepencil I’ve had for ages (Chella Highlighter Crayon). I line my lower waterline and my eyes look instantly bigger. (Don’t use white though – too stark).

C) Don’t extend your shadow past your eyes. The smoky eye is a beautiful look – for young women. On older women, it can make you look unhealthy and emphasize droopy lids. Once I finish my eyemakeup, I take a bit more concealer on a brush, and re-do my inner corners – that’s a no-brainer. But the genius trick I found on YouTube is to also add, as a finishing touch, a bit of concealer on the outer corners of your eyes, sweeping it up to lighten that area and eliminate any shadow extending past your immediate eye area. Instant eye-lift!  The difference to me is amazing!

5. Lip Liner. I’ve only recently changed my mind about lip liner. I have thin lips and I always felt that lining them made them look even smaller. But I have finally admitted to myself that my lips have lost whatever little bit of natural definition they had. And the right liner can really help. I use a very soft liner – Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner (which is very inexpensive) in a color just a bit darker than my lips. “Epic” is the shade I like. And after I apply it, I blend it well… over my whole lip area, which softens any harsh line. As a bonus, my lipstick last longer too. (Bonus tip: Rimmel liner is extremely soft and fragile… do not wind it up more than the tiniest bit over the casing, or it will break off.)

These are my favorite makeup tricks for looking my best at 66.

Here are the products I’ve mentioned:


Milani Make It Dewy Setting Spray
Benefit High Beam Liquid Highlighter
Ulta Brow Tint
Yadah Silky Fit Concealer
IT No-Tug Waterproof Gel Liner
Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner
Chella Highlighter Crayon

And here’s the result (pretty good for a Medicare-card bearer!)





Bronzers – A Little Late Season Color

It took me all Summer to find a Bronzer that really suits me.

But that’s fine, because now that Summer is just about over, I will need a little extra color.

But finding a bronzer that works on mature skin is not always that easy.

Contouring is a definite NO for me – I think older women look better without the sharp angles. But bronzer in the right shade can be lovely.  As long as it is not:  too glittery, too grayish, or too orangeish – and does not emphasize pores and lines.  Easy, right?

Here are four that I have been trying this Summer:




As the above swatches show – I have two cool shades and too warm shades.

Let’s go from the top down:

Ulta Beauty Matte Bronzer  (in Cool).  This is truly a matte bronzer – no radiance or shimmer whatsoever. It’s very pretty on the skin and very long-lasting. And the price is great – $10.00 for 0.32 ounces. It’s a creamy powder and I think the consistency, texture and look is a lot like Urban Decay’s Beached Bronzer, which is $28 – and also beautiful by the way. If you like a really matte look, Ulta’s Bronzer is very good – and it also comes in Warm, if you’d prefer.

Sonia Kashuk Undectable Creme Bronzer (in Warm Tan.)  This is the only cream bronzer I’ve tried. It’s super creamy, and very pigmented. I only needed a tiny bit to produce the swatch you see above.. and so a little goes a long way on your skin. It’s a very warm color and not quite matte – it’s a little glowy, which I like. The downside is that cream product can be hard to blend on the skin, as they tend to blend away, with your foundation blending away too. And I wouldn’t say they are particularly long-lasting. But if cream works better for you, and warm (very warm) shades flatter you, this one is nice. It’s $10.99 at Target.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer (in Luminous Bronze Light). This was my big impulse splurge. It goes for $50 for .39 ounces.  It’s amazingly radiant. I feel like I glow from within when I wear it. Someone just this week told me that I looked beautiful and so healthy. There is a big downside though (besides the price). It’s a warm bronzer – warmer than it looks in the pan – which you can see in the swatch. And for some reason, although it looks great in indoor lighting, it looks quite orangeish outside in natural light. So it’s just not flattering at all outside. But if I am going out for the evening, or someplace indoors during daylight – it’s gorgeous.

The Balm Bronzer/Blush (in Balm Desert). This has been my go-blush since I purchased it about a month ago. I’m so sorry I didn’t discover it at the beginning of the summer – but OMG, it is beautiful. I found it quite by accident through the website, which I love (and you should give it a try if you haven’t. Christine of Temptalia reviews more products and provides more dupes with side-by-side comparions than I would have thought possible.) Back to Balm Desert:  It is reasonably priced, although not the cheapest, at $21 for .23 ounces. It’s not available at Ulta or Sephora, unfortunately, but you can find it online at or at Kohl’s, where, happily, you can try it. It’s a rosy brown, on the coolish side, but it has a bit of a warm undertone. For me, it’s perfect. It’s not overly pigmented, but it is buildable, and because it is not too pigmented, I think it will also work come Winter, when I’m even more pale than today. It is not matte – it has a beautiful radiance. And it lasts all day. It looks just lovely in natural lighting as well as indoors. My favorite!!!!



Here I am this morning with my Balm Desert bronzer. I usually add just a touch of blush over this on the apples of my cheeks (either a dusty pink or a peach works nicely), but I really wanted to show how the bronzer looks by itself – both to give a true picture of the product, and also to show that it really can go it alone. It’s called a Bronzer/Blush for a reason.




And here I am in natural light – five hours later.



If you have a favorite bronzer, I’d love to hear about it!



August Beauty Boxes

This was the deciding month:  What beauty box subscription do I keep and which do I cancel?

Four months ago, I subscribed to the Allure Beauty Box for $15 month and to the Ipsy GlamBag for $10 month. But I don’t really want that many samples every month, so I figured I’d see which suits me better after a few months.

So August came, and here’s what I received:


Skinfix Facial Cleansing Cloths.   I like the Skinfix brand, and to get a couple of these packets is nice for travel. But I like the products I already use. Just OK.


Ouai Finishing Creme. A very nice silky leave-in conditioner. My color-treated hair can get a little dry, and so this is a nice product to have on hand. Usually, though, I don’t look to make my hair silky. I’d rather thicken it up to add some volume. But it’s nice to work this into my hair once a week or so.


Caudalie Instant Detox Mask.  I really love all Caudalie products. They feel great, smell wonderful, and work well for me. So I was delighted to get this mask.


‘Hey, Honey, I Peel Good’ Peel Cream.  Cute name, but I do not use peel creams. Too harsh for my sensitive skin. I am too fearful of what I will look like the next day.


Vichy Daily Booster.  I don’t really care how special the water is. It’s WATER.


Rodial Smoky Eye Pencil in Black.  A nice liner. But I don’t often wear black liner at my age (much prefer brown or ever better, soft gray) – and this is like the third black eyeliner I’ve received in four months. I am set for life.



Yadah Silky Fit Concealer.  OMG, is this Korean oncealer every nice!!! Beautiful silky consistency, doesn’t accentuate my crinkly undereye skin, and although I never thought a brightening undereye concealer would work for mature skin – it is amazing! I’m wearing this almost every day, and it’s a decent size sample. And it’s reasonably priced from ($18.70 for the large size and only $5.00 for the mini.) You can also buy this through Amazon, fulfilled by Yadah.


Balm Voyage Shadow In Kuwakaribisha.  The Balm is another brand I really love. And this Peachy shadow/highlighter with a luminous sheen is great for a little dab of glow on the lid (just a dab… too glowy at my age is a no-no.) Very nice.


Promise Organic Coconut Milk Facial Lotion.  A good light lotion. But I like the skin care regimen I already have. I may use this, but more likely I will give it away.


Firma Beauty Angled Contour Brush.  I have a lot of cosmetic brushes already, but I have to admit – this is a really nice one. I’ve been using it for my bronzer, and I like it better than the contour brush I already had.


Make Up For Ever Excessive Lash Mascara.  A good, but not great mascara. Not what I would have named Excessive by any means,  but okay for a casual day.



So which beauty subscription did I keep?

Well, in a moment of atypical (for me) frugality, I cancelled both.

Here’s my reasoning:  I think all these samples are overwhelming me right now. A whole bunch of tiny stuff, half of which I don’t have time to try.  I figured I’d rather put the money into something I choose myself.

Allure concentrates (at least so far) on skin care, and that’s wonderful at my age – but I have two issues with that. First, these small samples don’t really have enough product to be able to evaluate the long term effect on your complexion. And also, I really like what I use now – I don’t particularly want to stop my regimen to try something new that may or may not work.

Ipsy, though, is a harder decision. I love the majority of what they have sent me.

So I think I will just take a breather for a few months.

And if I go back – it will be Ipsy.

For sure.

Glowy, Casual Look

It took me all Summer to find a great glowy, natural look for warm days.


But even though Summer is almost over, I think I’ll still get a lot of use out of this look – because it’s perfect for the gym – where I feel much better facing all those mirrors with at least a little makeup.

Here’s how I achieved this look:

Instead of foundation, I used a tinted moisturizer:

Aveeno Positively Radiant Tinted Moisturizer (Fair to Light)

This moisturizer is a little luminous, as the name implies, but to get a bit more of a glow, I mix it with just a drop or two of rosehip seed oil. 

aveeno positivelyradiant

For concealer, I have discovered a terrific luminous concealer.. (it was part of my Ipsy bag this month.)

Yada Silky Fit Concealer BB Power Brightening


The name is quite a mouthful, but what a great product. I didn’t think I would like such luminosity under my eyes… but it is amazing… it doesn’t exaggerate my crinkly undereye area and the glowy finish is such a pretty and healthy look.

For Bronzer, I’ve got another late-summer find.

The Balm’s Balm Desert Bronzer/Blush



I usually like a matte bronzer, but Balm Desert has just a bit of glow – the perfect amount of glow. And it doesn’t turn orangey on me, as many bronzers do. I not only used this as bronzer, but as eyeshadow too. Two steps in one product.

For an additional pop of color, I added a little blush on the apples of my cheeks.

Sephora Collection Airbrush Blush (in Such A Peach)


I wouldn’t dare just spray this on my cheeks…. I’d have color all over like a clown for sure. I spray it on a blush brush and just touch it to my smiling cheeks.

To finish off my eyes, I lined the waterline and just a smudged the upper lash line (on the outer corners) with

Essence Gel Eye Pencil (In Gunmetal)


This liner is a very inexpensive, good waterproof liner that I think is a close dupe to my favorite upscale liner, IT Cosmetics No-Tug Waterproof liner.

And then mascara… on a hot day, or a gym day, I go with

L’Oreal Lash Paradise Waterproof Liner



My brows are a little thin here and there, so I filled them in with just a bit of brow tint.

Ulta Beauty Brow Tint (in Light)

ulta browtint

On my lips:

Urban Decay Vice Lipstick (in Broken)


Urban Decay’s Vice lipsticks come in a zillion shades and half a zillion finishes. I love the shade Broken, which is described as a sheer shimmer finish. It’s perfect. (And if you use a neutral lipliner as a base coat, it can go a little stronger and less sheer.)

To finish my look with even more glow, instead of my usual setting spray, I used

Pixi By Petra Glow Mist

glow mist

I have to admit I don’t particularly like the scent of this product, but it dissipates quickly – and it gives such a light dewy look.

I’m so happy with this summery look – I’m sure I’ll recreate it often no matter what the season.


Good Products I Hate

I’m not the only one.

Everyone has had this experience: Buying a really popular, highly rated product only to find it doesn’t work for us.  Sometimes we try and try. The raves are so plentiful, we think we must be doing something wrong.

But we’re not. There’s nothing wrong with the product. And nothing wrong with us. Just the wrong combination. We’re just incompatible. Like two really great people who are happier divorced.

Here’s a few of my rejected highly-rated products:

Nars Orgasm Blush

nars orgasm

Orgasm is the Holy Grail (and Holy Cow, that term gets used A LOT) of blushes. I have it; I’ve worn it. I’ve dropped it. (Literally: I have just a few shards left because it hit the floor.) But I would never buy it again. This blush is a peach-pink with a gold shimmer. It’s described as universally flattering. But I guess I am not of this universe. The peachy-pink part is nice – it’s the gold shimmer that just doesn’t wear well on me. After a few hours, I have weirdly glitterly cheeks. No peachy-pink left. Just pale-ish micro-glitter.

Tarte Shape Tape Concealer

shape tape

Watch any YouTube video. EVERY popular beauty vlogger loves this stuff. Great consistency. Wonderful coverage. Long lasting. A shade for everyone. I just had to have it. But I just had to return it. Way too heavy for my fragile thin undereye area… I need something a lot lighter. It cakes on me like I am wearing actual cake.

Too Faced Born This Way Foundation


I tried this one day in Sephora. OMG – I loved it. My skin looked flawless. My discoloration and age spots disappeared. But I had recently purchased a different foundation, and I didn’t want to spend the money right away. But once Summer was here, and I needed a slightly darker shade, Born This Way was what I wanted. And Too Faced was offering a discount online. Fantastic! Only it wasn’t. This foundation just doesn’t wear well on me. It starts out beautiful. But within a few hours, it seems to show every pore – and I don’t even have visible pores. I think it creates extra pores. Fail.

Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer

butter bronzer

A light bronzer great for fair skin. And it smells heavenly. Yes, on the first statement. A big NO! on the second statement. It’s got just the perfect color, and buttery (like in its name) consistency. But to my nose… it is NOT a heavenly coconut scent. It is a cloyingly heavy (rather than heavenly) smell of movie theatre popcorn. Old stuck-to-the-floor movie theatre popcorn. I thought it would dissipate… I waited as long as I could stand it. I washed the sweet smell off my face and brought this back to the drugstore. Don’t get me wrong – thousands of women LOVE the scent. I am just not one of them.

All of these products are good, high-quality, well-loved products.

They are just not for me.

How about you? Have you found yourself at odd with the reviews on something?

Two Eye Palettes

How many eyeshadows do you need?

Most of the time, I think the answer is:  NONE.  I often use just a little of my bronzer on my lids with some gray or brown liner smudged on the outer corners, well-blended.

But when I do want shadow, I usually want something fairly neutral. Bright colors and older eyes are not especially compatible.

Here are two palettes I like – one with warm shades and one with cool. Both are travel-sized palettes, which I like because I don’t need huge amounts (when was the last time you actually used up an eyeshadow?) and they store and pack so easily (and they are more reasonably priced.)


Tarte’s Tarteist Pro To Go


Tarteist Pro To Go

This little palette of six colors retails for about $23. It’s small – each shade is just 0.03 oz – check the eyelash curler in the photo to get an idea.

This palette gives you three matte shades and three irridescent shades. With the exception of the lightest matte shade, they are quite highly pigmented.


Irridescent and aging eyes is another tricky combination, but I do add just a dot of Hype on the center of my lids once in a while for a little pop.  Or Boss (bronzy) or Dominate (warm wine) on the outer corners – but just a touch. That type of sheen works best if you have younger eyes (i.e., not crinkly eyelids) than mine. I usually use the very neutral Drive on my lid, Crisp in the crease, and either Crisp or Stylin close to my upper and lower lashline.

Here’s a look with the Pro To Go palette. I kept it warm and natural with Crisp on the lower lashline but a touch of the golden Hype on the center of my lids.



For a cooler toned look, which is my go-to look, I use:

Urban Decay Naked2 Basics


Urban Decay Naked2 Basics

This is another travel-sized palette, although it is a bit larger in size of the shadows – each being 0.05 ounces. It retails for $29.

Naked2 Basics is extremely neutral – all the colors are matte except for the lightest shade, which has only a very slight sheen. They will give you a very subtle look, since they are not very pigmented, except for the darkest shade.


My most often-used look with the Naked2 Basics is Stark on my lids, Cover in the crease, and Undone along the lashline. Althought these tones are so subtle and neutral, there are lots of good combinations here. (I would guess though, if you have a deeper skin tone than I, you may need something more pigmented for a cool palette.)


As I mentioned, I often just use my Bronzer as shadow, with some well-blended liner for accent, but if you are looking for subtle eye color, these two palettes would probably give you everything you need.

I have a couple of tips for you – if, like me – you have “mature” eyes.

– It is pretty common to use a little highlighter under the browbone. If you do that, don’t go too glittery or irridescent if you have heavy droopy lids like mine. Not the right part of your eyes to emphasize.

– As with the browbone, I’ve seen lots of tutorials where the makeup artist puts a little highlighter on the inner corner of the eye. To me, this technique is also one that may not be the best look for older eyes. But a tiny dot of irridescence on the center of the eyelid can be flattering. In the inner corners, a tiny blended dab of extra concealer works better for me than highlighter to widen the eyes and make me look more “awake”.

– Both these palettes – though the powder has a nice creamy consistency – have a lot of  “fallout.” That is, you get a dusting of color falling off your brush and onto your cheeks. For this reason, you may want to do your eyes first – and then your foundation. Another way around this (although it is some kind of makeup treason to say so) – on the dark colors with a lot of fallout, I use a sponge tip applicator and not a brush. Please don’t call the makeup police on me.

– One tip I learned from YouTube that I love – after my makeup is done, I take a little concealer on a brush and I apply it on the outer corners of my eyes and sweep it upward and outwards to the outer corner of my brow. In effect, I am erasing any makeup outside the direct eye area itself. I can’t believe how much this lifts my droopy eyes. Instant Youth (well, almost.)

Ipsy vs Allure – July Samples

I decided to wait until August to review my July bags, because sometimes I just need a little more time to decide whether I like something or not.

For instance, in a previous bag from Allure I received Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Booster Serum, and I thought it was fairly good. But after using it a few more times, I liked it even more.  So I really should have rated it higher than I did.

So this month I gave both my Ipsy and Allure bags a bit more time.

I had planned when I subscribed to both Ipsy Bag and Allure beauty boxes that I would decide which was the better deal, and keep only one subscription.  And last month I liked the Ipsy bag a lot more than Allure beauty box.

But of course, this month just the opposite happened.

So I am still undecided which monthly subscription I like more.

In the IPSY BAG  I got:

ipsyjulybagThis little vinyl zipper bag that the samples came in. It is definitely a little too cutesy for a woman my age, but my eleven-year-old niece loved it.

brtc maskBRTC Jasmine Waterful Sleeping Mask. To be honest, this may be a great product, but I love the nighttime routine I am using right now (rosehip seed oil) – so I am putting this unopened into my collection for the women’s shelter.
ciateliner.pngCiate London Gel-Kohl Hybrid Liner (in Black). This is a good liner, but brown or gray liners are much more flattering to me. This is also going into the give-away bag.

deepdiveTarte Rainforest Of The Sea Deep-Dive Cleansing Gel.  This is a very tiny sample, but I was pretty excited to get it, since I like the Tarte brand a lot. But this cleanser was very disappointing. It left a filmy residue that I just didn’t like.

sosusanbrushSo Susan Blender Brush. I have never heard of the brand So Susan, and I have lots of shadow and other cosmetic brushes. So at first I thought it was kind of ho-hum. But after giving it a try, I find I really like this brush a lot, and I’m using it every day. It turns out to be the best of the Ipsy offerings this month.

trifleTrifle Cosmetics Raspberry Ripple Ombre Radiance Blush Palette.  This is a small sample of some unusual colors that I don’t already have in my blush collection. They work best when I swirl them together, but they are not really colors I would use a lot. The middle color makes a nice base eyeshadow though.

So that’s the bag from Ipsy. Definitely not anything I am loving, except the brush. But probably worth the $10 cost – if for no other reason that my niece liked the bag.



I was really happy with my Allure samples this month. Here’s what I received:

feelmaskFeel Brilliant Charcoal Face Sheet Mask.  I’ll confess that even after weeks I haven’t yet used this. If it is still unopened by the time I get my next box, I’ll just donate this instead.

beautyforreallip Beauty For Real Lip Revival Exfoliating and Hydrating Lip Scrub. I have never used a lip exfoliator before. But I like this – my lips feel very smooth and the product has a refreshing tingle that seems to plump my lips. It’s especially nice before apply a matte lipstick which tends to show every little crack and crease.

briogeoBriogeo Rosarco Blow-Dry Perfection & Heat Protectant Creme. This is a very silky pre-styling conditioner. The timing for this is perfect for summer-fried hair. I’m using it and I like it.

cargoCargo Swimmables Water Resistant Blush (in Bali). I don’t really need a blush I can swim in, but one that can stand up to Zumba is a plus. And this is a pretty and wearable rose shade- not too dark but not too light. And it’s a decent sized sample too – it’s only about 1/3 the size of their regular blush, but that means it is nearly as big as the small Nars blushes that I love – and pay $30 for. I’ve worn it several times already.

burtsbeesBurt’s Bees Complete Nourshiment Facial Oil. This is not a brand I am fond of – their lip balms irritate my lips. This facial oil seems nice though, and does contain my beloved rosehip seed oil. But the sample size is teensy-tiny – I only got a few applications out of the bottle, which is nowhere near enough for anyone to to decide whether they like the product or not. It also contains jojoba and primrose seed oils as well as a long list of other seed oils. The fragrance is distinctly woodsy. I don’t like the smell of rosehip seed oil by itself, but I’d rather not have such a hodgepodge of oils – where I can’t pinpoint what is beneficial and what is not. And straight rosehip oil is cheaper.

wanderlipstick Wander Beauty Lipstick (in Barely There). This is another generously-sized sample –  half the size of their regular lipstick. And the color is very pretty – a medium rosy-mauve – that goes great with the Cargo blush. It has good lasting ability too. Another winner.

redken07 Redken Fashion Waves 07 Sea-Salt Spray. I was not overly excited to see such an ordinary brand as Redken in my Allure box. But guess what? I love this! My hair is very fine and I get really good volume and body from this spray. And I can use it on wet or dry hair. Of all the products I received this month, this is the one I am sure I will repurchase. Just goes to show that you never know what you are going to love.

So in summary, I got SEVEN products in my Allure Beauty Box, and several of them – the blush, the lipstick and the sea salt spray – are terrific. This month’s box was well worth the $15 cost.

I can’t wait to see what August brings.







Rosehip Seed Oil

Last week, I shared my experiment with using castor oil to help improve my sparse eyelashes.  I found that sometimes natural products really work.

Well, here’s another one.

Rosehip Seed Oil

About six weeks ago, I read about the benefits of using rosehip seed oil as a nighttime facial treatment. Rosehip Seed Oil is packed with vitamins, anti-oxidents and anti-inflammatory fatty acids. Many women around the world have been using this for years, but it certainly has come into fashion with proponents like Kate Middleton and Victoria Beckham.

Rosehip seed oil is moisturizing, firming, and brightening. It’s also shown to be effective in reducing and preventing wrinkles, diminishing age spots, and even fading scars.

I thought I would give it a try so I picked up a bottle at my local natural foods store. I also bought another brand online.


Some brands are quite expensive, but you don’t have to buy the pricey kind that the Duchess of Cambridge likes. I paid $11 locally and $8 online.  Just make sure it is cold-pressed, so it hasn’t lost its nutrients.

Rosehip seed oil is easy to apply. After I have thoroughly cleansed my face, I apply three or four drops onto the palm of my hand. I warm it in my hands and then massage it into my face and neck. This small amount is plenty.  Most information sources advise you to use the oil as a last step in your moisturizing routine… that you should start with your thinnest product (serum, if you use one), and then go thicker to thickest…that is,  moisturizer and then the oil.

But that order just doesn’t work for me. For one thing, I use serum as part of my morning routine. But more important, I don’t like the smell of the oil at all. To me, it has a slightly fishy smell. (some brands are worse than others, I believe). Some people say that it smells like cold tea or something earthy – but I find it fishy.

But my nighttime moisturizer, Origins Night-A Mins, smells heavenly. And it is quite thick and blends well with the oil. So I apply the rosehip seed oil first, and the Night-A-Mins moisturizer last. So I get the lovely smell and not the fishy smell.

And six weeks later, I see results.

My skin is plumper, firmer, and my fine lines are less noticeable. I think even my deeper wrinkles look a little improved. I haven’t seen much improvement in my age spots, but I think that may need more time. Age spots are very difficult to lighten.

Overall, I am really happy with my rosehip oil, and it nows has a permanent part of my skin care regimen.

And now I have a further reason to love Rosehip Seed Oil.

I love trying new makeup ideas, and I recently saw a video about getting a more “glowy” summer look.  This idea really interested me, because sometimes I feel that I look a little powdery – like my great aunts used to look in the 50s. I am not quite ready to look so old!

The video I saw suggested adding a drop of facial oil to your foundation. Any oil – argan oil, maracuja oil, rosehip oil – even just plain almond oil. Any oil that is good for your face can be added to your foundation.

So I gave it a try. I used my rosehip seed oil. And just a drop into my foundation (Origins Plantscription) didn’t overpower me with the smell either. I would say the ratio is about 3 parts foundation to 1 part oil. And yes, it added a wonderful sheen to my matte foundation. I lost a bit of opacity, but I didn’t really mind, since the finish is so beautiful.

I still felt I needed a setting powder to make my makeup last. I was a little worried that I would lose the glow.  But I had also recently invested in a new pressed powder, Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder. This powder has a subtle and beautiful luminosity. It’s fine enough to even use to set undereye concealer.


Color “2 – Light”

And it works beautifully. I can set my foundation and not lose the glow.

What a nice summer look!

Thank you, all you little rosehip seeds!


On my way to the gym. My makeup has been on for more than four hours, and it still has a nice glow.


My Natural Eyelash Treatment

I mentioned some time ago that I was trying out a natural treatment for my sparse eyelashes.

This is a photo from 2 months ago.


original lashes

I took this closeup of my eye to illustrate how dark my undereye area was. But I was horrified at my eyelashes. I have always had very sparse, short eyelashes. But the eyelash situation was getting worse.

And the disappearance of my eyelashes was kind of a vicious circle, because I was wearing more and more mascara to cover up the problem, and then getting it all off at night was really hard on my lashes, causing me to lose more.

I thought about using Latisse or something similar, but I was worried about the side effects. I especially didn’t like the possibility that my eye color would change. I don’t have the most beautiful eyes in the world, but they are a nice blue color with hints of green and grey. The color is about the only thing I like about them.

In addition, I have read that products like Latisse are a vicious circle in themselves. Because when you stop using the product, your lashes revert right back to where they were before. So you are pretty much stuck taking the prescription forever.

So I did a little research on whether there might be a more natural remedy.

And the answer surprised me:


Yes, castor oil is good for your eyelashes (and brows and hair and skin too.)

Castor oil is high in Vitamin E and other minerals and proteins. It is antibacterial. It also is very gentle, and odorless and colorless.

It promotes hair growth – and especially eyelashes, because it not only promotes growth but also thickness and strength.

I did quite a bit of research – this is my eyes I’m talking about, and I don’t want to harm them in any way.

Once I felt assured that castor oil was safe, I went to the health food store (you can also buy it online) and bought a bottle of cold-pressed organic castor oil. Cold pressing is important to leave the nutrients intact. 


It costs $10.99 for sixteen ounces. It’s a huge bottle, and there was no legible expiration date. But castor oil has a long shelf life (often a couple of years),  and it fairly easy to tell when it has gone bad, as it becomes cloudy and smells rancid. If I am in doubt at all, it’s inexpensive enough to just toss the bottle and get a new one. 

I did a patch test first. Even if a product is harmless, you could still be allergic to it. After I was convinced I wasn’t sensitive to castor oil, I started my regimen.

At bedtime every night, I applied the castor oil to my lashline and eyelashes with the small e.l.f. smudge brush in the photo above. (a q-tip is fine too). 

In the morning, I rinsed off any residue when I washed my face. I used the castor oil every single night, and never had any irritation, redness, or swelling. My eyes were just fine.

I also stopped using my eyelash curler for a while too, since I felt I needed to be as gentle with my lashes as possible.

After 30 days, my lashes looked like this:


30 days of treatment

Notice especially my left eye (which is the left in the photo too), as that is the same eye as in the first pic. The big bare spot I had in my “before” photo right in the center of my eye is filling in. My right eye also had a bare spot and that is showing improvement as well.

After the first month, I started using my eyelash curler again once in a while, and did not see any negative effects.

And now it has been two months. 

Here’s what my lashes look like now:


60 day r

60 days of treatment

The bare spots are completely filled in, and I have noticeably more lashes.

Are they still sparse and short? Yes. Probably always will be, given my genetics. But they are very much improved, and I have more lashes than I ever imagined I would have. 

Look at them side by side: Here’s my left eye in the “before” photo and the same eye in “after” photo. I have absolutely no makeup on whatsoever. 

I think it is just amazing.


I’m going to continue with the castor oil regimen, and hope for even more improvement. But even if this is as good as it gets, it’s pretty good to me!

And once I cover up my dark circles and add a little makeup and a LOT of mascara:



How happy (and gorgeous) are these eyes ?!?!?!