1. 6. Grayburn: September 2008 7.


A Gift For You

There is a first time for everything.

This blog celebrates its 1-year anniversary today. In this time, I have come to realize that blogging has been an incredible journey for me. I am so glad that I got to share my experiences with all of you. And I have each of you to thank because it is you who have allowed and encouraged me to continue on this path. My love for blogging is still strong. If anything, it just seems to get stronger with each post.

The occasion has also got me thinking about the future of this blog. Since it is easy for me to have a ramble fest when it comes to beauty products, I can easily get carried away. So I think it might be more useful if you comment on the topics or specifics of what you would like to see tackled here. For example, do you like Giveaways? Please feel free to leave suggestions.

To mark this occasion, I would also like to host a Giveaway! It is my first so I feel over the moon about it.

The Prize:
A skincare set containing a Y.E.S Anti-aging Serum & their Rejuvenating Moisture Cream. Information about this set can be found at this link. The set has a value of 98 USD so I encourage all of you to enter your ballots!

Rules: Only open to residents of US & Canada. Email your answer for the following questions, along with a valid email address to grayburn{@}mail{dot}org. Please include "Y.E.S. Giveaway" in the subject of your email. The winner will have answered all the questions correctly and be notified by an email from me where I will ask for your shipping details. Giveaway ends next week Monday (October 6th, 2008). Good Luck!


1. What is the name of the mascara (my HG) that has been mentioned the most (as many as in 12 different posts!) on this blog?
2. What is the name of the fashion event I attended twice this year (January & July)?
3. Name a post from this blog you have read and found interesting :)


Thanks to all of you who participated. The turnout took me by complete surprise and I am sorry that there is only 1 set of the skincare to giveaway. I wish I had a set for everyone that came to play!

The winner for this first ever giveaway goes by the initials R.M.

I have already emailed the winner to let her know she had won!

Credit: Grayburn
(Terms of Use), vintagevinylrevival.com, yesskincare.com
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Do You Do E-Shopping?

You might find this information from the ShopSmart Magazine (Consumer Reports) handy. It is the result and summary of the screening they had conducted to compare some of the e-tailers out there.

Do any of you shop at these sites? Would you recommend any of these to your friends or to me (do any of them have international shipping)?

Best Overall Selection
: Beauty.com

Shipping Free if you spend $49 or more.

Return policy 30 days on unopened products or, for certain items, if you don’t like the color. Returns cost $4.99 unless a product is damaged or incorrect or the color is wrong.

Great for Hard-to-Find Products: Beautyhabit.com

Shipping Free on orders of $100 or more; otherwise $5.95.

Return policy 14 days on most items. No returns on opened or used products.

Great for Trendy Brands: Beautyofasite.com

Shipping Free on orders over $75; otherwise $5.95 to $8.95.

Return policy 30 days. You pay for return shipping unless the product was damaged. All returns are for exchange or store credit only. There are no refunds or returns on color cosmetics.

Best Prices: Buymebeauty.com

Shipping Free on orders of $35 or more; $4.95 on orders of less than $35.

Return policy 30 days. Products must be unused and unopened, unless they are defective. You have to call or e-mail before returning products; you will also have to pay the costs of return shipping.

Great Return Policy: Cosmeticmall.com

Shipping $5.95 plus 93 cents per pound.

Return policy 30 days. You can return most products for any reason, even after they’re opened.

Great Drugstore Makeup Section: Drugstore.com

Shipping Free on your first nonprescription order of $25 or more; free on orders of $49 or more after that.

Return policy 30 days. Returns are free if a product is damaged, defective, or incorrect. Returns are free on certain products if you don’t like the color. Otherwise, products must be unopened and unused.

Great for Freebies: Sephora.com

Shipping Free on orders over $50; otherwise $5.95.

Return policy 60 days. Free return shipping. Store credit after 60 days.

Great for Organic Products: Skinbotanica.com

Shipping Free on orders over $49; otherwise $5.95.

Return policy 60 days.

Best Shipping Deal: Skin-One.com

Shipping Free.

Return policy 30 days. Product must be at least 75 percent full. You have to pay return shipping fees, and no returns are allowed of an opened product if you received a sample of it with your order.

Best Online Version of a Walk-In Store: Walgreens.com

Shipping Many items qualify for free shipping of purchases of $50 or more; otherwise $5.49 for 10 pounds or less.

Return policy 30 days.

Sad Site: BeautyDepot.com

This site didn’t have a wide selection of products. You have to buy $99 worth of stuff to get free shipping; otherwise you could end up paying $7.95 or more for UPS ground. Cosmetics (and many other products) were not returnable, and there’s no toll-free customer-service number.

Credit: Grayburn (Terms of Use), ShopSmart November 2008 issue
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The Prayers Of SSS Lashes

Even when I have found the one mascara that answers the prayers sung by my Short, Sparse & Straight lashes, I can't help but to be lured into trying yet another mascara; especially if it came GWP.

I was wandering through the isles at Zellers when I was in Toronto and came across that wonderful line of eyeshadow quads from Revlon. I was pulled into one with shimmery lavender shades in the Lavender Meadow quad (reviewed); especially because it had a tube of Luxurious Lengths Mascara attached to it.

Revlon Luxurious Lengths Mascara

So what about the mascara? The one I have is in Blackest Black. The color that it deposits on my lashes is more of a natural black. The formula itself is not clumpy and not overly wet or thick. When dried, the formula does not flake and has even resisted moisture better than other waterproof formulas I have tried. So far, so good.

The brush, it seems, can be the Pièce de résistance for some but a deal-breaker for others. On one side of the brush, the bristles are flat (think Maybelline Lash Discovery mascara). On the other, the bristles are rounded and curved. Its doublesided-ness tackles the issue of having separate brushes for volumizing and lengthening. Not bad, except for one thing. The result is not as 'luxurious' or curvaceous as the company claims. The stiff bristles although are good for ensuring separation and no clumps, it is simply too stiff to produce any curve. Several swipes is necessary to deposit enough color to show up on the lashes. This mascara, while it may be good for those seeking natural looking results, those of us that need more help in the lash department might stick to using mascaras that address volume and length separetly.

Vic's Secret Heated Lash Curler

Rather than being an impulse purchase, this heated lash curler has been in the planning for some time.

The one that I finally decided on is actually rather inexpensive. Excluding the cost of shipping, this heated lash curler from Vic's Secret was less than an average visit at Starbucks.

The gadget comes in a handy purse-friendly format with two levels of heat settings, powered by one AAA battery. My initial try had me going about it very careful. At first I touched the heated part with my fingers and then slowly I allowed it to come near my closed eye. It isn't hot actually at the lowest setting and it only produces a slight curl that did not hold for too long. However, the highest setting (which feels warm to my lids) produced the kind of curl that I look for. The result is curls that curve naturally without that unnatural bend.

The desired result is achieved by first applying Revlon's Luxurious Lengths mascara to my lashes, waiting until the mascara is completely dried, then curl with the heated lash curler. Was I satisfied? Yes!

Revlon is available at your local drugstore and Vic's Secret is available at sasa.com.

Credit: Grayburn
(Terms of Use)
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All Eyes On: LIPS

Three of my current favorite lip looks:Bourjois has just released a line of red lipsticks called Beauty-to-wear So Rouge red colors. There is finally an easier way to shop for a red lippie for any skin tone. There is a color for everyone in the new collection.

Trendy Rouge #31 is a red that is bold enough for glamor wear. Wear it with bare lids with just a thin line of liquid eyeliner and bare powdered cheeks.

I love the blinding shimmer in this Super Shine gloss from Rituals. To make sure it doesn't turn gaudy, concentrate the color in the middle parts of the lips. I powdered the outer corners to stop the gloss from migrating outwards and to emphasize the dewiness of the gloss in the middle.

I dug this Versace lipstick out from storage and I believe has been discontinued. What a shame. It is gorgeously pigmented and has fantastic texture that does not feel heavy.

Credit: Grayburn (Terms of Use)
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Interpretation Of MAC Fall Makeup Looks

I have been obsessed with looking at the MAC Cult of Cherry collection. The deep cherry and chocolate hues of the collection is made even more delicious with an array of lipsticks, mattenes and lipglasses so devilishly pigmented. So Scarlet (lipstick), Bing (Mattene Lipstick), and Jampacked (Lipglass) are the ones to have for Fall because it might be a while until we see these kinds of colors again.

Now I am quite used to waiting for some time for any new MAC releases here. I used to fret and get all anxious about the wait but something has changed and I quite enjoy it now. This waiting period gives me the time to read everyone else's reviews and see their interpretations. The time also lets me come up with my own interpretations and stand-in products until the real thing reaches me. It will be about another week or so until the entire collection shows up in the Netherlands so I have put together a few of my favorite stand-ins that I love and am using right now.

MAC Face Chart - Jampacked

For this look, I use a Versace lipstick I already own in V2015. The beautiful cherry stain color with no shimmer is disguised by the look of scary eggplant color. The swatch above was done with one single swipe so with a few more swipes, it reaches the intensity of the look in MAC's face chart (above left). Great versatility! Thanks to the hype with dark lips this fall, I can work this and finally pull this one from storage.

To complete the look while not taking too much attention from that delicious lip look, the Sephora Blush Me Twice! duo in Duo Capricieuse No. 1 is perfect. Since this was purchased when I was in Paris, the name of the product is different elsewhere (on their site, it is called Blush Me Twice! Hot Pink/Bronze) and may not be available everywhere. I find that both sides of the blush can be used allover the face and on the eyes to contour and highlight, and to re-create the look in the face chart. I am particularly fond of the satin feel of the finely pressed powder of this blush duo. The texture feels incredibly light and has a beautiful sheen.

MAC Face Chart

Dark smoky eyes have all the attention as well; as long as it is not paired with a strong lip like the one above. Colors of soot, dust, ash and matt black are the ones to pay attention to. For this task I call on my Hot Contrast eyeshadow from MAC. The beautiful veining on the lighter side consists of silver, red, black and pink. Because of the marbling, we get to play and create a variety of looks depending on how much of each color we choose to pick up. The matt black side is supposed to be a straight matt black but mine came with a a smudge of shimmery red in it. So much fun and what you get may be different from what others have!

A second interpretation of the smoky eye this fall can be done with H&M's Makeup Palette called 40's Night Makeup Palette. The compact costs me a whopping 7 euros and contains 5 shades for making up the eyes and 3 shades for the cheeks. The palette came in two choices and this one was another Paris purchase. I have not seen this in the Netherlands yet but I hope it makes an appearance elsewhere other than Paris. The killer shades are the smoldering blue/green that looks like velvet in the compact, the shimmery charcoal that sparkles, and the diamante ricepaper shade. The blushes are usable and has good texture, but they are way too small to use with a proper blush brush. I had to squeeze my brush to make it compact enough to fit. But who cares because the compact as a whole is so cute and metallic aqua!

Credit: Grayburn (Terms of Use), maccosmetics.com
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7 Days Of Summer Beauty Classics '08 - Day Seven

Summer for me is not all about wearing bright colors. On those days when I don't reach for the warm colors such as those from MAC's Neo Sci-Fi collection (reviewed), I found myself craving for the cool tones in Christian Dior's 5 Couleurs Palette in #220 called Precious Hope. This palette is not a new release but it has been a staple for me for quite some time now. It has proven itself to be resourceful especially for the times when I want to create a natural but interesting pastel-ized smoky eyes.

One of the main reasons that I would need to use such a subdued combination of colors on my eyes is to accommodate the brightly-colored mouths of Summer '08. These pastel shades work particularly well because they are matte but not in any way chalky. Looking at the dustiness of the compact, you can tell that this is a well-used and loved palette. However, you may notice that the 'CD' on the white glittery shade in the middle is still almost intact. I cannot seem to get any color payoff with that one.

As with all shadows from Christian Dior, they have very soft textures that are incredible to blend and play with. The great thing also about their shadows is that the fine powder does not seem to want to settle into any fine lines.

Credit: Grayburn (Terms of Use)
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Which Category Do You Fit Into?

Just a heads-up on The Body Shop's new line of body products that aim to take care of our inner and outer selves. I have been to their store and tested most of the products myself. Granted, the wellness approach is nothing new, but I think they have done a convincing job at creating some lemming-worthy items to treat our body and soul.

The line is divided into four categories (see image above) and is driven by ingredients that do double duties in terms of provoking a state of mind via scent and active properties. I think I am going to have to get something from each category since I suffer from each one of them at different times. For example, I could really use some of that Total Energy Exhilarating body wash (state #1) during that one time of the month when I can use a kick of energy at that time. Or, I could hand over that bottle of Divine Calm Relaxing Massage oil (state #2) to BFOG when life is stressing me out. And when I feel like getting some detox action, I would probably give the Rejuvenating Bath Soak (state #4) that contains wasabi (!) a try.

As soon as I get my hands on these, I will let you in on the scoop!

Credit: Grayburn (Terms of Use), thebodyshop.com
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7 Days Of Summer Beauty Classics '08 - Day Six

A little spritz here and there with a facial spray really gives a welcoming relief to a hot, sticky complexion. I love to carry a facial spray in my purse during the hotter months simply because of that.

The MAC Fix+ spray contains ingredients that draw moisture onto the skin and to help makeup adhere to the skin. Not only is it a handy freshen-upper, it is my must-have because I use mineral foundation. The smell of the product isn't half bad either. Three spritzes on my face after the application of mineral foundation takes away that powdery look and prepares the skin for the next step: setting powder. I know that many use mineral or spring water sprays such as Evian or Avene however, my personal preference is for MAC's because of the extras on their ingredients list. I sent BFOG for a few bottles of this while he was in New York earlier this week. He returned only with one bottle (the last on the shelves) after having visited 3 different MAC counters there.

Credit: Grayburn (Terms of Use)
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Feeling The Heat

Even with being all the way over here in Europe, I am certainly feeling the waves of heat from New York's Fashion Week. I have been bitten by the fashion bug again. At another location in NYC on September 11th, the Nolcha Fashion Week will kick off to present 35 independent international fashion designers. How much better can it get for the people of the city of style and fashion?

Check out the selected 8 makeup looks for the Nolcha shows created by makeup artist Robert Moulton using DEX Cosmetics' mineral makeup. I am loving the hairspray technique from the Carolina Brasil face chart and want to imitate the lips from the Celestino show. Click to follow Robert's instructions on how to recreate the looks or to see them in more detail.

Carolina Brasil



Royal Sunday




Moss Universe

Credit: Grayburn (Terms of Use), DEX Cosmetics
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7 Days Of Summer Beauty Classics '08 - Day Five

Just look at these two posing for the camera. They both belong to spot # 5 on my
Summer Beauty Classics '08 list because they go hand in hand when it comes to creating a dewy summer flush.

Nars The Multiple in South Beach

Putting aside jokes and obvious adult-only choices for names in Nars' products, this brand constantly put out products that are at the top of my list for quality and universality.

Pictured left is The Multiple in a shade called South Beach. If you notice the fine shimmer it holds, you can imagine that this does not produce a sweaty glow but rather a surreal one. It may not have as much of the cool tones as in MAC's Emote blush, but it is not to say that this has overly warm tones either. Nars describe this shade as a "shimmering apricot" but on me, it translates to a gorgeous tan.

I dab on this color with my MAC #190 foundation brush which in my opinion, has great cushiony bristles. I usually place and blend the color on the protruding parts of my face where the sun naturally places color (cheekbones, top of the ears, bridge of the nose).

Tarte Cheek Stain in Tipsy

A firm favorite of mine and always low in or out of stock at Sephora, this Cheek Stain from Tarte smells like Summer to me because of its fruity peachy/apricot sorbet scent. It seems that Tarte's Tipsy is currently sold out on their website and I caught wind that this is one of Salma Hayek's favorite products!

Don't let the brightness scare you. To me, this has the perfect combination of flush and warmth. The stain applies as a sheer wash of color. Rather than swiping this over my cheeks (which I feel disrupts my foundation), I pat this on with a brush in the same manner as with Nars' Multiples. It may initially apply slightly sticky, but it manages to dry off into a long-lasting stain.

Leave it as is for a natural glowy flush on the cheeks, or lightly dust over it with some powder blush to set and ensure that there is color on your cheeks the entire day.

Credit: Grayburn (Terms of Use)
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7 Days Of Summer Beauty Classics '08 - Day Four

I had frizzy hair when I was younger partly because I was clueless in the haircare department and didn't think that it went beyond shampoo and conditioner. The other part of the reason was that I didn't have extra money to invest in quality hair appliances.

Now a little older and perhaps a tad wiser (thanks to being kept up-to-date by information from other bloggers), I have found quite a few Holy Grail-title worthy haircare products/appliances. One such appliance is the T3 hairdryer from Bespoke Labs. Thus this is the one that wins spot #4 on my Summer Beauty Classics '08.

I have the T3 hairdryer in the overnight version because I live in Europe. It is also handy since I know I can bring it with me anywhere I go with its dual voltage capability, is lightweight and folds in half! What makes their hairdryers work so well is that their insides are fitted with tourmaline, which emits a stream of negative ions onto the hair. That is the secret to drying our hair dry faster and smoother, without boiling the hair dry as conventional hairdryers do. What I have noticed while using mine is that it doesn't release a strong/big flow of air. I find that that is a good thing since too strong of an air flow creates frizziness. The funny thing is, it has cut down my drying time and my hair is looking healthier than before.

I found my Bespoke Labs T3 Overnight Hairdryer at Misikko

Credit: Grayburn (Terms of Use)
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7 Days Of Summer Beauty Classics '08 - Day Three

The Body Shop Vitamine E Moisture Serum

Hanging around in the intensity of summer's heat wilts the best in me. What makes it more uncomfortable and at times unbearable, is that greasy feeling some moisturizers leave on my skin. I know it is tempting but this is not the time to skip moisturizers as it is always important to keep our skin hydrated.

This is where skin serums come in. They nourish and feed the skin and generally gets absorbed so well by our skin that they almost become undetectable. The texture of the Vitamine E Moisture Serum is somewhere between a gel, serum and a lotion. The liquid applies firstly like that of a lotion and when it is warmed up by the skin, it becomes a gel. Finally, when it is fully absorbed, it feels like you only have a serum on the skin. The Vitamine E in the serum is a nice bonus because of its anti-oxidative properties. The fluid also contains Wheat Germ Oil and Tara Bush seed extract.

This potion is a firm Summer Beauty Classic of mine and it keeps my skin well-hydrated, soft to the touch and fresh. It also works well at night under a heavier moisturizer or under makeup during the day.

Credit: Grayburn (Terms of Use)
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7 Days Of Summer Beauty Classics '08 - Day Two

Using Aveda's Pure Abundance Potion definitely takes practicing and a lot of getting used to. I think the initial learning phase scares people away. Well, at least it did me. The pale green powder delivers Ooomph (package states 17% thicker) and that is why it takes a spot on the 7 Days of Summer Beauty Classics '08 list. But using it meant that I had to enlist my baking skills.

The cap flips open on this tiny bottle to reveal a single hole that lets the powder out. One has to be careful to not shake the bottle too much as unnecessary motion turns its content into liquid. It is a 3-step process: gently turn the bottle upside down, sprinkle a small amount of the product directly at the roots by gently tapping on the bottom of the bottle (think dusting powdered sugar over a cake without the proper sifter), work the powder in by tousling and teasing the area where you want the Ooomph. As soon as the powder touches the skin, it feels cooling, as if fine ice dust has touched it. Set the volume you have just achieved with a flexible hairspray (Though I was advised against using the one from the same collection).

It brings the Va-Va back into my mostly straight but somewhat wavy medium-thickness hair. I have found it to be great at creating volume for messy buns, as well as when I leave my hair down (to past my shoulders). This is a definite Summer classic product because it also helps to fix humidity-induced greasy roots.

Credit: Grayburn (Terms of Use)
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7 Days Of Summer Beauty Classics '08 - Day One

It is sad to have to almost say goodbye to Summer. Seeing that I am not quite ready to do that just yet, I decided to do a series on the products that saw me through Summer this year. All of these products have been tried & very much tested and are absolutely my favorite go-to's. I am calling it 7 Days of Summer Beauty '08 Classics.

Looking back, I realized that I had (and still am having) a lot of fun with beauty this Summer. I discovered bright colors this year, and found products that kept me hydrated, dry, glowing, and ones that helped me get ready fast. Knowing how to be ready fast is a real plus especially when we cannot tolerate spending tonnes of time getting ready, or when we get a last minute invite to a BBQ.

Without further delay, let me introduce you to Day One of 7 Days of Summer Beauty Classics '08

Day One: Cheerful Summer Colors of the MAC Neo Sci-Fi Collection

Spaced Out (blush)

This is a true peach blush. It may not be one that is usable all the year round but it looks damn good on sun-lit cheeks. It is the color of happiness and hugging someone you love on a sunny day.

Magnetic Fields (eyeshadow)

The coolness in this color comes from the sprinkling of silver shimmer. In a base of blackened taupe, the pearlized shimmers show up as random fine diamond dusts. This shadow gives great cool contrast to the warmth in this collection.

Evening Aura (eyeshadow)

Such a beautiful shimmering peach champagne color. It is sheer but stunning if packed on the lids. The frostiness makes this color unique and different from the warm peaches out there. It is lovely!

Pleasure Seeker (lipstick)

A nude and sheer peach jello color that is so easy to wear. This is no MAC 3N lipstick (which is my personal ultimate nude lipstick), but wearing this with Evening Aura is gorgeous. They complement each other so well and the result is soft, pretty and sophisticated.

Credit: Grayburn (Terms of Use)
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On A Positive Note, The Launch Of Summer 2008 Beauty Classics

So I let the copycat dampen my mood. This blog has been around for almost a year now so I guess if this is the first horrible thing to happen to it, it isn't so bad. I want to thank all of you who lend me an ear and support. Your advice came in the form of everything from links to useful resources, sweet sweet words, to encouragement to give his behind a kick. I drank up your words until I hit the bottom of the glass!

I love how when a wave gets thrown my way, that I become stronger and even sometimes learn to surf that wave. Gaining new experiences and friendship is something that is well worth the challenge (as long as I survive it!).

So in the attempt to revive my mood and my fellow bloggers', who have also been affected by the copycat, I am launching a series of posts to sum up the Best of the Best beauty 2008 Summer classics. I hope that you are as excited as me and will feel the need to contribute what your Summer '08 beauty classics are as well!

The song to kick off the event is "Superwoman" by Alicia Keys. I love the positivity in the song for women.

Credit: Grayburn (Terms of Use), youtube.com