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Beauty

Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara

I have always been drawn to Benefit Cosmetics.

The packaging speaks to me.  The bright pink with all the cool retro-looking photos – I dig it.  So trying out the Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara was a no-brainer.

There’s even a Benefit Cosmetics vending machine in the Burbank Airport.  I’m sure there’s others in other airports, but Burbank is the only place I’ve seen one.  Every time I have down time at the airport, I inevitably end up circling the Benefit vending machine, the products winking back at me like expensive bags of chips or candy bars.  I usually have to pry myself away.

Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Mascara Pin - Beauty Chaos

The first thing I ever purchased from Benefit was their Kitten Sparkling Body Powder.

loved it.  This was back in college when I was still wearing things like sparkling body powder, and I used to dust myself with it every time I went out.  Unfortunately, Benefit has discontinued the Kitten, but they bring it back for limited offers every once in a while.

Now, before I get into the review, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately.  Maybe it’s because I’m doing too much.  Maybe it’s that a spider tried to assassinate me this morning as I was waking up.  One of the foster cats, Moonshine, thwarted his attempt, but he’s now lost in my bedroom waiting for his next opportunity.

Just look at those faces!

Oh, and the foster cats are still with us.  The people who were interested apparently lost interest.  Their loss – these girls are amazing and they are welcome here for as long as they like.  Or at least as long as they’re saving me from spider assassins.

Now, back to Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara.

Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Mascara - Beauty ChaosI came upon a display at Ulta with a bunch of different mascaras, several of which were “fan favorites.”  Since I had already tried a few of the ones on display, including Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, I decided to try Benefit.

The packaging, of course, is adorable, with the signature Benefit script screaming “They’re Real!” in orange and red across the black box.  Copy on the box says that 94% of users saw dramatic length and volume and visible lift, and 90% saw base to tip curl.  Apparently 100% of users saw long wearing results, which is a pretty hefty claim for any company as it leaves absolutely no margin for error.

The tube itself is this futuristic looking dark chrome color, really cool.  And the brush is specially designed for Benefit to give ultimate results.

The reviews on Ulta.com are mixed.
Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Mascara - Left Eye Only
Mascara left eye only

I’ve seen some products where the feedback is overwhelmingly positive, and those products usually are shoo-ins.  While They’re Real! has a good amount of five star reviews, there are also a pretty significant number of two and one star reviews.

The reason I’m mentioning this is I find this mascara…underwhelming.  It works fine, lengthens a bit and darkens my lashes, but not nearly to the extent that some other mascaras I’ve tried do.  I’m a little disappointed, to be honest.  With the packaging boasting such amazing claims, I thought for sure I’d found my next favorite.  Unfortunately not, especially for the price tag of $24.

Cost and Where to Buy

Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara can be found at Ulta, Sephora, and the Benefit Cosmetics website for $24.  On the Benefit site, there are three colors to choose from: black, brown, and blue.

Summing Up

Benefit Cosmetics They're Real Mascara - Beauty Chaos
Top: Naked
Middle: One Coat
Bottom: Two Coats

By all means, conduct your own experiment with this one.  I’m kind of spoiled when it comes to mascara; I expect a lot, and if my lashes don’t look like I’m wearing falsies, I’m not happy.  Based on the five star reviews up, and many claiming it’s their favorite, I imagine there are plenty of women out there for whom this mascara works magically.

Got a mascara you want me to try?  Leave me a comment or message me here!

Cherioll Suck Out Blackheads Face Mask

So I’m very, very excited.  Despite still grappling with this hideous cold, while I was in the shower this afternoon my Amazon package came! And that means delivery of my first-ever charcoal mask.  I can’t remember where I heard about the Cherioll Suck Out Blackheads Face Mask (loving the name, BTW), but if it’s on my Amazon Wish List, I probably read about it in a magazine.

I have been just jonesing to try one of these.  Especially one where the packaging makes little sense in English.  This mask says, “Penetration ability and stubborn blackheads pores absorb dirt, astringent improve dull rough skin.”  Yep.  Amazing.

As you can imagine, I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this package since I ordered it on Thursday.  Seriously, what did I do before Amazon Prime?  Now I’m so spoiled, when I order stuff from anywhere else it feels like it takes forever.  Plus, my copy of “American Gods” is in the package and I need to get a jump on it because I’m hosting book club in a couple weeks.

That’s right.  Crazy cat lady and book club?  How much sexier does it get?!

First Impressions

Cherioll Suck Out Blackheads Face Mask - Beauty Chaos

Other than the labeling is amazing, my first impression is that this stuff is black.  Like, staring into space black.  When I open the tube it immediately starts oozing out of the package, so I frantically start scooping it onto my face.  It smells kind of like the peel off face masks I remember from my teen years…I think they were orange flavored or something.  Not entirely unpleasant, but it does feel like I’m slathering latex on my face and need a pair of leather pants and possibly a whip to complete my ensemble.

As I write this, I am sitting waiting for the mask to dry.  The package says to wait 15 to 20 minutes, peel off, then rinse with water.  I will follow with my 30 seconds of icing and light moisturizer.

Experience

Peeling the Cherioll Suck Out Blackhead Mask is a little bit gross, but a little bit satisfying.  For the most part, it comes off in a sheet.  Although at some moments it feels like it’s taking my skin with it.  I rinse my skin and assess.  Unfortunately, the mask seems to have done nothing except tighten my pores slightly.  Any blackheads that I hoped to get rid of are still regrettably intact.

Cherioll Suck Out Blackheads Face Mask Pin

Cost and Where to Buy

If you’d like to try the Cherioll Suck Out Blackhead Mask for yourself, Amazon has it for $13.98.  I haven’t been able to find it anywhere else.

Summing Up

Unfortunately, I didn’t really like this product.  I’d give it a 4 out of 10.  Not only did it not do what it promised, I now have black stuff all over my towels.  I hope it comes off with a wash.  I don’t think the peel-off mask did anything to necessarily harm my skin, but I probably won’t be breaking it out and slathering it on again.  If you decide to try it, I suggest cleaning up with a towel that you won’t miss, just in case the black stuff doesn’t come out in the wash.

And now, your blog-ly dose of cuteness.

Cherioll Suck Out Blackheads Face Mask - Beauty Chaos

Got a comment? Question? Suggestion? Shakespearean insult? Comment below or message me here!

Batiste Dry Shampoo

Today, we’ll have a look at Batiste Dry Shampoo.  But first…

Random Thoughts

I took Petunia, who I’ve taken to calling “Pet” or “Little Tuna” to the vet for her first round of shots today.  Husband and I were joking that if it turns out that she’s a boy, we’ll call her Jim Halpert.  The emergency vet that we took her to when we found her couldn’t *quite* tell her gender for sure, which is the reason for the possible switch.  As it turns out, she is a girl, and sweet Petunia she shall remain.

Batiste Dry Shampoo Petunia
Petunia. No, those are not my legs 😉

As I was sitting in the waiting room of the low cost vet clinic, an adorable older man came in with a little kid and a wriggling Yorkie.  He sat down next to me and I, of course, could not resist the puppy.  She happily hopped over into my lap (we were on a bench) and began jumping back and forth between the man and I.

The man pulled out his phone and, with a narration of broken English, began showing me photos and videos of his other dog.  It was a lovely moment.  A woman then entered, who was clearly with them, and began signing them in.  As the Yorkie settled into my lap, however, I noticed something.  She reeked.  And not like dog.  This pup smelled like some sort of doggie perfume.

Now, I understand that people don’t love the smell of “dog.”  But putting a dog perfume on a dog to cover up the smell just makes the dog smell like perfume-covered-dog.  It’s not great.  T

They brought Petunia out and we settled up and left.  Unfortunately, the Yorkie’s perfume was now firmly attached to my clothing, so I had to change and shower.  Moral of the story?  Please stop putting perfume on dogs.

Onto our topic du jour, Batiste Dry Shampoo.

First Impressions

Batiste Dry Shampoo - Beauty Chaos

I’ve tried other dry shampoos and liked them, for the most part.  But Batista has a bit of a cult following going.  Urban Outfitters is carrying it behind their counters, and I see it pop up in my Facebook ads from time to time.  So when I ran out of my last bottle of dry shampoo, I decided to give Batiste Dry Shampoo a go.

First of all, the packaging is adorable.  It reminds me of a ’60s mod party with a dash of hippie and a smidge of ’70s disco.  I know, that’s a lot.  But I see it all in that packaging.  The spray has the typical fire-extinguisher-esque quality to it, as do a lot of dry shampoos.  Why do they have to spray so hard?  I should probably do some research into that; there has to be a reason.

Experience

I feel as though I should drop a disclaimer in here.  A lot of articles have been popping up recently disparaging dry shampoo.  People are saying it’s making their hair break, fall out, and causing permanent scalp damage.  I feel very bad for these people.  But I have been using dry shampoo fairly regularly for a couple of years without issue.

That all being said, I don’t use dry shampoo every day.  I don’t even use it every other day.  Dry shampoo, for me, is reserved for pretty specific occasions when I a) haven’t washed my hair in more than 2 days or b) need some extra volume on day 2 of a blowout before I set my hair in rollers.

By using dry shampoo fairly sporadically, I hope to avoid having my hair break off or fall out.  Plus, I have a very oily scalp, and if I go more than every other day without washing it, my hair gets kind of greasy.  I know you’re supposed to wash your hair as little as possible, so sometimes I make it to day 3.  Very rarely, but it happens.

Now, there are some pros and cons to dry shampoo.  It soaks up the oil really well, if your scalp is oily.  And if you need texture for an updo and you just washed your hair, it works really well. But in my experience, it leaves hair feeling kind of…dirty.  I prefer to use dry shampoo when I’m planning to wear my hair up.  If there’s an occasion which requires my hair to be down, good old-fashioned shampoo and conditioner is my go-to.

If used correctly, though, Batiste Dry Shampoo is a stellar choice.  And I’ve found if used sparingly, it can be a good sub for shampoo, in a pinch.

Batiste Dry Shampoo Pin

Cost and Where to Buy

This is the best part of Batiste Dry Shampoo.  You can find it at Target  or Walgreens for just $5.99! Or if you’re feeling hipster-ish, you can wander into your neighborhood Urban Outfitters and pick some up.  Also, there are a variety of formulations of Batiste Dry Shampoo, ranging from different scents to Hint of Color formulations to Strength & Shine.  Lots of options!

Summing Up

I’d give Batiste Dry Shampoo a solid 8 out of 10.  It’s a great product at an awesome price.  It does leave me feeling like there’s a sort of film on my hair, which is why I’m docking points.  Overall, though, a solid brand and a solid buy.

Got a dry shampoo you’d like me to try?  Leave me a comment or contact me here!

Khloe Kardashian’s Nighttime Skincare Routine

So for my next trick, I’ve decided to try out Khloe Kardashian’s nighttime skincare routine.  I thought of this while I was vacuuming, which seems to be when I write a lot of stuff (in my head).  That and the shower.

I’m cheating a bit on this one, though, because I’ll have to write it over a span of a week in order to fully experience the skincare regime.  In the interim, I hope to review some other stuff, so if you have any ideas message me here!

But in the meantime, how are things?  Well, mom, thanks for asking.  Since my house is now bursting with cats, I spend a lot of time vacuuming.  I’d say if I spend 50% of my life sleeping, about 49.9% of the time I’m vacuuming.  My husband says he’s the only thing that’s keeping me from being a crazy cat lady (even though he’s the one who brought home the latest snuggle bug).  I say the joke’s on him, because pretty soon there will be dogs and chickens and bunnies and if he weren’t here there would probably be a cow, so ha.  People would probably think I’m building an ark.  Crazy cat lady is the least of my worries.

Khloe Kardashian’s Nighttime Skincare Routine

Now I, like a lot of the population, have grown a bit tired of the whole Kardashian clan.  However, if I had to pick one, it would be Khloe.  She’s always been my favorite.  Maybe because she’s a bit of an underdog.  Or because compared to her sisters, she’s super tall, and I know that feeling.  Who knows?  But Khloe is my Kardashian spirit animal.

On a side note, being inspired while vacuuming is kind of a pain, especially when I’ve done said vacuuming after my workout and am super sweaty.  But anyways. Vitamin E - Khloe Kardashian Nighttime Beauty Routine

According to Khloe, the first thing she does is wash her face three times with Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Gel Cleanser.  Then she mixes her La Mer face cream with a couple drops of vitamin E oil and slathers it on.  She then puts vitamin E oil on her lashes, before crawling into bed to, apparently, edit episodes of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”  I think this claim is suspect, but whatever.

Facial Shampoo - Khloe Kardashian's Nighttime Beauty RoutineSo I’m going to modify this routine slightly.  First of all, I have a face wash that I rely on, Clinical Formula’s Facial Shampoo, so I will be using that.  Secondly, I’m slightly older than Khloe and have been blessed with adult acne, so I will continue using my Retin-A and benzoyl peroxide every other night.  Third, I need money for food and stuff, so I won’t be using La Mer moisturizer, even though I’m sure it’s made of the tears of a thousand virgins and is what keeps stars looking so young.  I will substitute Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture and put it on 15 minutes after either the benzo or Retin-A.

Also, I ice my face every time I wash it.  My aesthetician insists on it and I swear, it’s slowing down the aging process.

So down the Kardashian rabbit hole I go.  I’m skeptical of this routine, rather the vitamin E oil step, only because I’m certain my skin will break out from rubbing oil on it.   But I’m willing to try if I can glow like my favorite K.

Day 1

Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture - Khloe Kardashian Nighttime Beauty RoutineSo last night, I washed my face three times (even though I wasn’t wearing nearly a third of the makeup Khloe wears), rubbed my ice cube on my face, and got ready for the moisturizer.  I put two drops of vitamin E oil in my Neutrogena oil-free moisturizer (yes, I see the irony) and slathered it on my face.  It felt great, but I was sure I could feel my pores clogging.

Next I put a few drops of the vitamin E oil onto a Q-tip and rubbed that carefully along my lash line, so as not to blind myself.  I conducted an experiment a couple years ago where I made my own lash treatment from a Pinterest post consisting of castor oil, vitamin E oil, and something else that I can’t remember.  The instructions were to apply it with a spoolie mascara brush nightly.  Every night, I suffered through blurry vision and oil in my eyes, with very little payoff.  Not the best, Pinterest.

This morning, I was sure I would wake up with pores erupting like Mount St. Helens.  To my delight and surprise, my face was soft, smooth, and not broken out.  At least, not any more than usual.  My eyelashes looked the same.

Day 2

Last night I washed three times, used ice, benzoyl peroxide, and moisturizer with vitamin E.  Today I woke up and my skin looked pretty good.  Not super glowy, but not dull and looking like it was aching for moisture either.  About midway through the day, however, I did get a blemish starting on my cheek, and i noticed my pores looked a little clogged.  I put on mascara today, and it did glide on really smoothly.  Though I can’t tell if that’s a result of the vitamin E oil or if I’m just tricking myself into believing that it is.

Day 3

Amazingly, my skin still seems to be reacting well to this regimen.  Last night I scrubbed three times, iced, then used the moisturizer with vitamin E.  I also put the oil on my lash line.  My skin was super soft and smooth this morning, with no signs of any impending eruptions.

Khloe Kardashian's Nighttime Skincare Routine Pin - Beauty Chaos

Day 4

Well, today I look like crap no matter what because I overindulged in the wine a bit yesterday.  Last night I used Retin-A before the moisturizer with vitamin E, scrubbing three times and icing pre-treatment.  My skin looks okay today.  It’s a bit dull from dehydration, I think, but no breakouts.

Day 5

Last night, I only washed my face twice since I didn’t put makeup on yesterday (and I’m going through face soap like crazy).  I iced, then used the Neutrogena moisturizer with two drops of vitamin E oil.  Once again, I put  the oil on my lash line.  My skin looks pretty glowy this morning, I have to say.  No breakouts to speak of.  Maybe there is something to this…

Day 6

After attending a movie screening for the film, Band Aid, that I worked on last summer, I came home and washed my face three times.  I was wearing what I would consider to be a ton of makeup, although in Kardashian world it was probably what they wear to the gym. Next, I used my Neutrogena moisturizer and vitamin E.  I probably should have put benzoyl peroxide on beforehand, but it was late and I didn’t feel like waiting 15 minutes before going to bed.  Today, I feel like my skin looks a little clogged, but again, no breakouts.  Oh, and last night James Van Der Beek literally ran into me so now I have magic Dawson dust on me.  The screening was surreal.

Day 7

Last night I washed my face twice (another no makeup day), iced, and applied benzoyl peroxide.  Then I waited around 20 minutes and finished with my Neutrogena moisturizer with two drops of vitamin E oil.  This morning, my skin is still looking pretty good.

The Verdict

I am pretty happy with the way this routine turned out.  My skin didn’t break out, and did seem more moisturized than usual.  That is something I have struggled with ever since I had a laser treatment two years ago, which did nothing but dull my skin.  I will probably stick with the vitamin E oil in my moisturizer, but may limit my washing to two times.  I’m running out of face wash, y’all.

Want me to try someone else’s beauty routine?  Leave me a comment or message me here!

Redken Diamond Oil

As I sit here, I am on day 6 of a terrible cold.  My plan had been to start my Physique 57 Challenge last week and be a week into it by now.  But I got one workout into the challenge and caught a terrible cold.  Thwarted by germs, I attempted to stay in bed all weekend to get rid of this disaster.  I failed.

So I decided, in the meantime, to review some of my new buys.  First is Redken Diamond Oil Shatterproof Shine.  I was introduced to this product while reading an Elle magazine a year or so ago.  One writer decided to examine what “taking care of your hair” truly entails by consulting experts.

Apparently, a lot is required to simply care for your hair in the correct way, according to the article.  This was the same article that introduced me to Dr. Dennis Gross’ Anti-Aging Scalp Serum.  The experts (the names escape me now) recommend all kinds of elaborate treatments, as well as carefully brushing hair in the manner of Disney princesses (brushing with one hand very, very gently while holding the other hand flat on the other side of the brush).  They also adamantly recommend only using a brush with boar bristles and heat styling only when your life depends on it.

While this is all well and good, I learned early that my unruly hair tangles, and the way to get those tangles out is a good old-fashioned paddle brush.  I also know that I look like a drowned rat (or better yet, the survivor of the zombie apocalypse) when I don’t blow dry my hair, so air drying is usually not an option.  However, I have managed to wean myself down to only washing my hair every other day instead of every day, so at least I’m doing something right.

First Impressions

I found the Redken Diamond Oil at Frends Beauty Supply, during the same trip that I bought the Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation Illuminator.  Being a beauty junkie, it is absolutely impossible for me to enter a beauty supply store and only purchase one item.  So after I found the illuminator, I wandered the aisles and found the Redken Diamond Oil.  I remembered seeing a photo of it in the Elle article, so I decided to give it a go.

The bottle is a little smaller than I expected, but you need so little of the product for everyday use that I’m sure it will last for a long time.

Redken Diamond Oil Pin

Experience

Aside from using the Redken Diamond Oil for everyday use, the Elle article recommended using it as a hair mask, in addition to a scalp mask that I’ll discuss in a different review.  The oil has a light consistency and a delicate scent.  The websites I’ve consulted herald this as an all purpose oil, for use pre-shampoo, mixed with a hair mask, pre-blowout, post-blowout, and even on hands and skin.

As a Hair Mask.  Because the oil is so light, I find myself applying a lot of it as a hair mask.  The site recommends leaving on for 5 to 15 minutes, but I leave the treatment on for at least an hour.  Although with some oils I feel like I need to shampoo more than once, a single shampoo feels sufficient.  Post-blowout, my hair is soft and smooth.

As a Pre-Blowout Styler.  Again, the oil is super light, so the first time I use it I end up using too much.  My hair turns out greasy and kind of flat.  Next time, I stick to only three to four drops as directed, and the Redken Diamond Oil works as promised.  My hair is shiny but not weighed down, and I’m confident the oil is protecting it.

I’ve not tried the other uses recommended by the website, save for kind of rubbing the oil into my hands after applying it to my hair.  As I enjoy a lighter lotion on my hands, I didn’t like the oily feeling on my hands and tend to wipe it off.  I haven’t felt the need to apply any styling oil post-blowout recently, as my hair is pretty oily to begin with and I want to prolong my blowout as long as I can.  What I may try, however, is mixing a little bit of the oil in with my regular conditioner.  I’ve tried this with other hair oils and loved the result, so I look forward to seeing how Redken fares against MoroccanOil and Enjoy.

Cost and Where to Buy

As I said earlier, I bought my Redken Diamond Oil at a beauty supply store, the likes of which are abundant in Los Angeles.  You can find it online at Target for $28 or Overstock for $30.99. As per usual, eBay lists it for a steeply discounted $9.88, but who knows what you’ll get :).

Summing Up

I’d give Redken Diamond Oil Shatterproof Shine a 7 out of 10.  It’s pretty well priced, more expensive than some oils I’ve seen but less expensive than others.  The oil works well, smells nice, and is a good value for what you pay.

Random Thoughts
Redken Diamond Oil - Big and Mini
Big and mini!

Changing things up a bit here, I’m putting the weirdness at the end of the post instead of the beginning.  The kitten, Petunia, is flourishing.  She has befriended her twin, Mack, the only boy in our house, and they are just the cutest together.  I mean, could you just die?

Also, I booked my ticket today for my semi-annual trip to Ohio.  My grandmother is turning 100 years old this summer, y’all.  100.  She’s amazing and I can’t wait to see her and celebrate her incredible life.  I’ll post photos!

Want me to try a different hair oil?  Like my kitties?  Want to wish my grandmother happy birthday?  Comment below or message me here!

Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation Illuminator

Today’s Thoughts

Today’s review will be for Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation Illuminator.  But before we get there, today’s random thoughts.

The kitten, Petunia, is doing very well.  It is looking increasingly like she will be joining our family.

As per usual, I had a million different thoughts going through my head for this post while I was in the shower.  They have subsequently flown from my brain.  But if you’re reading this, thank you for being here! I got my first two comments today and I’m stoked.

Oh, there’s a thought now.  I saw a BuzzFeed post today entitled, “32 Tweets That Would Have Made No Sense 20 Years Ago.”  Now, not to split hairs here, but…zero Tweets would have made sense 20 years ago because there were no Tweets.  As I remember it, there was barely the Internet.

At that time, I remember barely having a grasp on email.  In college, we were assigned an email on the VAX system, which I would describe if I had any idea what it was.  But it basically looked like an HTML document.  There were no graphics.  Just words.

So if someone had said to me, “Hey, you can communicate with people, but you can only use 140 characters and spaces count,” I probably would have ignored that avenue of communication.  Funny now that that form of communication is a cultural regularity.

But those were simpler times.  I remember having to go to the library and research when writing a paper. Now, I have heard, if kids cite books as sources in their papers, they get points deducted because it’s outdated information.  I cannot even wrap my brain around this.

In college, we used to spend hours in the library.  Mostly we were screwing around, but still, it was a social experience.  In an increasingly technologically advanced world, we’re losing those smaller social joys.  And I’m not blind to the irony of this post, being that a) I’m sitting in my home writing it, not in an office; and that b) I never sit in an office.  I work from home.  I’ve chosen the most isolated route.

Even so, there’s an entire generation coming up in the world that doesn’t remember what life was like before computers, before everything was at our fingertips, and there was never a need to leave the house.  Or express yourself in sentences longer than 140 characters.  I can’t help but think that they’re missing out.

Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation Illuminator Pin

 

Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation Illuminator

But, um, back to the lecture at hand ;).  I found the Koh Gen Do brand while working on a movie called “Band-Aid” with Zoe Lister-Jones, where I worked as her assistant.  She sent me to pick up some foundation by this company from a place called Frends Beauty Supply.  To me, this name sounds like a place where you would find all of the most off-brand stuff ever, but it’s actually an amazing store.

Later that night I Googled Koh Gen Do and found a bunch of their products, and the Aqua Foundation Illuminator caught my eye.  The idea is that you mix this in with your foundation to give your skin a kind of “glow,” much like might see on any red carpet starlet who is described as “dewy.”

First Impressions

The Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation Illuminator comes in three colors: white, beige, and soft pink.  Initially, I went into the store intending to purchase the white, but after chatting with the salesgirl I decided to go with beige.  She pointed out that the Illuminator can be used with or without foundation, and being half Italian I figured slathering white shimmer on my face might look a little unnatural.

Experience

The texture of the Illuminator is light and slippery, pretty much as you’d expect.  I use the Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation Illuminator in two ways.  First, I mix it in with my foundation and a little bit of moisturizer for a fuller coverage effect.  It adds a nice glow to my face and the combo feels like BB cream. Second, I’ll put the Illuminator straight onto my face after applying concealer under my eyes.  I do this if I want a lighter look (like I’m not wearing foundation).

My preference is the second application.  I have gotten some really nice compliments about my skin while wearing the Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation Illuminator, which is nice because I don’t have great skin.  I still break out all the time, as though I’m stuck in some sort of puberty limbo, and wrinkles are now joining the party.  So I take any praise I can get.

Here are some comparisons of me without any makeup, with the Koh Gen Do Illuminator, and with a full face of makeup.  Disclaimer: My mom told me my photos distort my face, so my face looks weird.  Apparently I don’t know how to take a selfie with an iPhone.  Not surprising, since based on this post I’m 105.

Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation Illuminator Side by Side
Left, Bare Face; Middle, Illuminator Only; Right, Full Makeup

So as you can see from the middle photo, the Koh Gen Do Illuminator gives my face a nice sheen.  For the full makeup, I put a layer of loose powder on top, but the Illuminator quickly comes through.  Especially since I’m half Italian so I tend to “glow” anyways. (Translation: I have very oily skin).

Cost and Where to Buy

Koh Gen Do is not a drugstore brand, so it’s a little expensive.  I bought my Illuminator, as I said, at a beauty supply store for around $40.  You can get the Koh Gen Do Aqua Facial Illuminator at Sephora for $39, or at LovelySkin.com for a 20% discount at $31.20.  You might be able to find it at a local beauty supply store, but I would call and check to make sure they carry the products first.

Final Thoughts

I would give the Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation Illuminator a 9.5 out of 10.  I love this stuff.  The only reason I’m not giving 10/10 is the price is a little on the high side.  However, I have had my bottle for a while and I still have a lot left.  Granted, I don’t put on makeup every day, but I still think you can stretch a good few months from one bottle.

Did you try Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation Illuminator?  Tell me what you think! Leave me a comment or message me here.

Amope Pedi Perfect Wet and Dry Electronic Foot File

Randomness

So my original goal was to write this post on Mother’s Day, after a night out with friends during which I had nothing to do except send well wishes to my mama back in Ohio.  But my day went a little differently than I had planned.

My husband decided to go to a thrift store a few blocks away. This isn’t a regular occurrence, but I certainly didn’t find it alarming.  So I settled in to catch up on some BravoTV “Southern Charm” time.  As I was watching the show, the TV kept freezing (dammit, AT&T!), so I was on my phone trying to reboot the box when my husband started calling.

Since I was trying to reboot, I denied the call once.  He called again: denied.  He called a third time and now, annoyed, I picked up the phone.  “What’s up?” I barked. (Not the most tactful person, especially when in the middle of a task that I’m desperately trying to complete so I can get my reality TV fix). “I found a kitten,” he replied.

Teeny Tiny
Petunia - Amope Pedi Perfect Electronic Wet Dry Foot File - Beauty Chaos
This nugget.

Ah, yes.  Those amazing and terrifying four words for any animal lover, especially one that already has a house full of cats (see previous entry). But what can you do?  Huddled inside the upholstery of a discarded armchair, this little nugget had no mama or siblings in sight, just crying her little heart out.

So of course, I told him to bring her home.  We took her to the emergency vet to make sure she was okay (which she is) and brought her home.  She is four weeks old.  Four weeks.  I’ve never cared for anything that young, unless you count the lightning bugs we used to catch and put in jars as kids.  And no, as you’re probably thinking, that never ended well.

Spay and Neuter Your Pets, People

So Petunia, as we have christened her, is the reason there was no post written on Mother’s Day.  We went back again and searched around for a mama and siblings, but it quickly became clear that there were no relatives around.  She loves to be snuggled and we are probably listing her with a local rescue, but kitten season in LA is so bad this year that there are thousands and thousands of kittens in need of homes.

Long story long, we are a five cat household for the time being.  Truth be told, I’m not sure I can see giving this little one up.  I mean, look at that face!

Amope Pedi Perfect Wet and Dry Electronic Foot File Petunia

To the subject of today’s review, the Amope Pedi Perfect Wet and Dry Electronic Foot File.

Background

Truth be told, I’ve been searching for the perfect solution for the calluses on my feet for years.  I took tons of ballet and modern dance classes all through college, and was a lifeguard and a long distance runner.  Needless to say, my feet are usually pretty beaten up.  My feet still suffer, even though it’s been a few years since I’ve taken a dance class, and a good while since I’ve been on a run.

I have tried just about every weird foot-torture device out there.  The good, old fashioned foot file: The Ped-Egg (total waste of money.  Didn’t work at all).  The cheese grater looking thing, that I was later informed by a pedicurist was really, really bad for you and can cause an infection.  My favorite, up until this point, had been the razor — you know, the one that is illegal in some states because it can do crazy damage.  I still own one of those foot razors. Up until I got the Amope I would still pull it out in moments of desperation.

First Impressions

I received the Amope as a gift at Christmas.  Is someone trying to tell me something?  Anyways, I didn’t have very high hopes for this, after my experience with the Ped-Egg (seriously, the worst).  But I thought, why not give it a shot?  The device has two speeds, and there are different file attachments that can be put on depending on the severity of calluses.  I am still using the files that came with the gift set.

Experience

The first time I tried the Amope Pedi Perfect Foot File, I used it on the dry setting.  Well, not setting, per se, but used it dry.  It worked beautifully.  However, my mother recommended using it in the shower after your feet have softened up a bit.  I have to say, her recommendation did not disappoint.  My feet were soft and smooth afterwards, and I’m sure would have been even more beautiful had I put lotion on them.  I didn’t, as I tend to fall down if I put lotion on my feet because I slip on my floors.

I’ve been using the Amope Pedi Perfect pretty consistently over the last five months.  Although my feet still return to their callused, difficult selves, this device prevents the situation from getting totally out of control.  Now, against my better judgment, here’s photos of my feet.

Amope Pedi Perfect Wet and Dry Electronic Foot File Toes

Amope Pedi Perfect Wet and Dry Electronic Foot File Heel

As you can see, there is a vast improvement between the before and after photos.

Cost and Where to Buy

You can find the Amope Pedi Perfect Wet and Dry Electronic Foot File at Walmart for $37.14, at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $59.99, and at Target for $59.99.  As with a lot of products, there are sellers listing for a lot less on eBay, but you don’t really know what you’re getting.  Each package comes with a charging station, a unit, and a couple extra files.  Amope also makes a simple callus remover, if you’re not into the whole wet/dry to do.

Amope Pedi Perfect Wet and Dry Electronic Foot File Pin

Summing Up

I’d give the Amope Pedi Perfect Wet and Dry Electronic Foot File an 8.5 out of 10.  Yes, it’s not perfect, but it does a great job.  I haven’t had to recharge mine yet, though it’s been in my shower for months.  I use it at least once a week.  If your feet need extra care like mine do and you don’t have time or finances to go get biweekly pedicures, this is a great way to keep your feet in at least passable shape.

Have you tried out the Amope File?  Let me know by leaving a comment or contacting me here!

ELF Poreless Face Primer

Random Thoughts

On the docket for today is ELF’s Poreless Face Primer.  But first, some randomness, as promised in my original conception of this blog.  It’s so funny, because while I was in the shower (which is where I always get ideas) I had tons of things to write about.  The trick is getting them all on the computer before they fly out of my head.  Which happens quickly :).

I have four cats living in my home currently.  It’s not like I have wayward cats just stopping by; I say I have four currently because two are foster cats.  So maybe I do have wayward cats.  Bottom line, I have two more than I usually do.

I also have a robot vacuum, a Bobsweep to be precise.  And I love the robot vacuum.  I’m fairly certain about 80% of my life is spent vacuuming when I don’t use the Bob (that’s his name).  Unfortunately, one of the cats got scared of the Bob last time I ran him, and peed on one of the couch cushions.  So now, Bob is just another piece of furniture that I stare at longingly when I’m vacuuming.  With the regular vacuum.

So there’s the random thoughts for today. Onto ELF’s Poreless Face Primer.  Now I, like most women, spent most of my youth not wearing foundation.  In fact, I thought for years that it aged me.  I look back on those days fondly.  With what I would define as starting-to-be-aging skin, foundation definitely makes all the difference in whether I look 27 or 47.

For years, I also did not indulge any thoughts of “primer,” except on special occasions where I was being made up by a makeup artist.  Again, I remember these days fondly, for now I put on primer sometimes when I’m not even putting on foundation.  It offers a nice, even finish to apply loose powder or highlighter or whatever.

ELF Poreless Face Primer Pin

First Impressions

I would like to mention that, even as I’m writing this, one of my cats (the jerk) is tearing at the corner of my shag rug.  I’m sure I’ll talk more about him later.  At first glance, I really like ELF Cosmetics.  The aesthetic of the brand is simple, something akin to MAC, perhaps, very clean with simple black packaging.  I wish it were more mainstream, as I often have to go hunting for it in the drugstore and usually find it on the end of an aisle somewhere.

The consistency of the product is hard to describe.  It almost feels like liquid powder, if that makes any sense.  It’s slippery but light.

More Thoughts

By the time I got around to buying ELF Cosmetics Poreless Primer, I had already tried a few ELF products.  So I kind of knew the caliber of the brand, which I think is good.  ELF always stacks up well in product comparisons that I’ve read on other blogs, so I was optimistic.

Now, I have huge pores.  Cavernous.  Surface of the moon.  And it’s just getting worse as I get older.  I’ve always been envious of those girls with perfect skin.  I have a few girlfriends whose skin looks like its been airbrushed all the time.  I want to kick them, just a little bit.

So here’s me starting out without makeup today.   This gives me a ridiculous amount of anxiety — I hate looking at photos of myself without makeup.  But I think this is something a lot of women struggle with and my new rule is that I have to do things that scare me and be brave.  So here:

I don’t know if that gives an accurate representation of what my pores look like, but I’ll spare everyone the close-up of my nose.  Now, the next photo is me with just the primer on my face, pre-makeup application.

ELF Poreless Face Primer - Beauty Chaos

Still not great, but markedly less shiny.  And my pores aren’t jumping out at me anymore, demanding that someone use them as swimming holes or something.

Better, right? This is me with the primer, undereye concealer, ELF Loose Powder and Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, one coat.  Not going to win any awards, but also not going to scare anyone at the pet store.

Cost and Where to Buy

ELF Cosmetics Poreless Primer can be found on the ELF Cosmetics website for $6, Amazon for $5.99, or at your friendly CVS store for $8.00.

Summing Up

I’d give ELF Cosmetics Poreless Primer an 8 out of 10.  I’m definitely incorporating primer into my makeup routine from now on, and I think this does what it sets out to do.  The price is very good.  My only complaint is that I think sometimes it makes me break out.  But not always.  Yeah, I thought that would end when I left my teens, too.  Surprise!

Want me to try a different primer?  Leave me comment or send me a message!

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

I picked up a tube of Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara over Christmas in Ohio.  It’s funny, I almost just typed “Christmas break” as though I’m not a grown up who hasn’t had a Christmas break in…a long time.  And no, I’m not a teacher so there’s no reason for “Christmas break.”  As a matter of fact, I had gall bladder surgery over this “Christmas break,” so it was more of a chore than a celebration

Anyway, I bought a tube of this in Ohio at Sephora while shopping with my friend Caitlin.  We were there on a post-Christmas shopping trip and I was doing my best not to buy everything in the store.  Mascara displays were everywhere, so I decided mascara would be (one of) my purchases (I have no self control, okay?).

First Impressions

The tube is adorable.  I like pink.  And Caitlin’s eyelashes look amazing, so why not?  I’m a loyal Diorshow addict, but I should step outside of my comfort zone and try new things.

Experience

So I took some photographs so you don’t have to just take my word for it: this mascara is great.  My eyelashes are naturally pretty good; they’re not super thick, but they’re pretty long, so I’m always looking to boost volume.  Here is a photo of my eyes pre-mascara (No judgment please!  I’m wearing no makeup and the lighting is bad.)

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara - Beauty Chaos
I know, my hair looks awesome, too.

So that’s me, pre-mascara.  There are a lot of layers here so bear with me.  In this next photo, I have one coat of mascara on my left eye, but not the right.

Next, I put a second coat on my left eye.  Despite the crudity of my photography skills with my iPhone, I think you can see there’s a definite difference between the two eyes.

This next image is two coats on the left eye, one coat on the right eye.  I told you, I did my due diligence here.  Again, forgive the images.  I see the shadows are annoying.  Sorry 🙂 Finally, two coats on both eyes.

If I were only allowed one item of makeup, it would be mascara.  Or concealer.  Or lip gloss.  Okay, I can’t choose one.  But I will say this: when I run out to the grocery store or whatever, if I put one cosmetic on my face, it’s mascara.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara Pin

Cost and Where to Buy

Like I said earlier, I got Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara at Sephora for $23.  Ulta also carries Too Faced for $23, and lots of department stores such as Macy’s carry Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara for around the same price.  So it’s a little steep, but I think it’s worth it.

Summing Up

Overall, I would rank Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara 9.5 out of 10.  I love it, it’s amazing, but the price is the only gating factor.  I would like to try Too Faced’s other mascara products, like their waterproof mascara and their Better Than False Lashes Extreme! Instant Lash Extension Kit.  Wow, that’s a long name.

Want me to try some crazy makeup?  Message me here!

Seche Vive Gel Effect Top Coat

Seche Vive Gel Top Coat is by far one of my new favorite things.  I love getting gel manicures.  I’m hard on my nails, with all the typing I do, so they’re perfect for me.  Regular manicures usually chip within a day, maybe two if I’m lucky.

However, gel manicures are really hard on my nails.  I found that after a few times of going and getting the nails soaked off, when the new polish was applied and my fingers were put under the UV light, I would feel a very uncomfortable burning sensation.  Not terrible, but definitely not good.

So I decided to forego any more gel manis and do my own nails with regular polish. Getting your nails done is expensive, and with the way I go through regular manicures there’s no point. Plus, I like doing my own nails; it allows me time to catch up on my Netflix or OnDemand queue and take some time for myself!

Fast forward a bit, and gel manicure home kits start appearing all over the place.  But they still use the UV light device and I couldn’t bring myself to face that weird stinging pain again (seriously, it’s almost indescribable.  Almost like nerve pain?  I don’t know.).

Finally, the nail polish companies started putting out these gel top coats that don’t require UV light.  Score! I could barely contain my excitement.  Not only do they not require the light, but you can use these gel top coats over regular polish.  Double score!

Seche Vive Gel Effect Top Coat Pin

First Impressions

So I actually stumbled on this particular product by mistake.  I was at Ross (which is like Marshall’s or TJ Maxx, for those not out west) and I decided to pop in to Sally Beauty Supply next door.  At the time, I was using the new Essie Gel Top Coat (also a good product), and I needed a new bottle.  When I couldn’t find any Essie products, I asked the salesgirl for a suggestion, and she showed me the Seche Vive Gel Top Coat.  The bottle is pretty, and the best part was the price – about half of what I was paying for Essie.

Experience

When I settled down to try the Seche Vive Top Coat, I was pleasantly surprised at the consistency.  While a lot of the new gel top coats have a thick consistency, Seche Vive’s is more akin to regular top coats.  The company suggests putting on a “heavy coat over dry nail polish,” so I really globbed (is that a word?) it on.  It dried almost immediately, which is just a blessing for anyone who has ever experienced giving themselves a four hour manicure while waiting for polish to harden.

Seche Vive has a nice, glossy finish, just like a regular gel manicure.  While my mani with this top coat does not last as long as a salon gel mani, it definitely lasts much longer than a manicure with a regular top coat.

Cost and Where to Buy

The price of the Seche Vive Gel Top Coat is, I think, one of the best things about this product.  I think I got it for around $4 at Sally Beauty Supply.  Beauty Plus Salon currently has it for $2.99 (!), and Amazon has it for $5.81.  Compared to some of the other good gel top coats out there, Seche Vive definitely has one of the best prices.

Summing Up

I would give the Seche Vive Gel Top Coat a 9 out of 10.  I have definitely added it into my regular rotation of beauty products.  Because it doesn’t last quite as long as a regular gel manicure, I can’t give it a 10 out of 10.  But it’s damn close.

Want me to try another top coat?  Message me here!