A beauty-mini quickie: Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation

I’ve wanted to try the Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation for some time because of my love for the brand’s Veil Primer. It was offered as a sample recently on the Sephora website and I decided I may as well go for it. I’ve looked at the shades online and thought that Nude was probably a closest match to my skin anyway.

The foundation is on the thin, liquidy side and dries down to a powder finish. I used a Real Techniques buffing brush to apply it-they also recommend using your fingers. It does set quickly so you need to work fast. I did one layer, then applied a bit more just to the places where I needed it. I think the coverage is a good medium, it definitely evened out my skintone and covered up the redness around my nose. I didn’t want to go with another full layer because it looked like if I did, it was going towards the dry, cakey side really quick. I didn’t feel like it needed to be set with a finishing powder because it really does have a powder-like finish and looks like it too. I think setting it would have been major overkill.

The before and after. I did use the Veil Primer with it.

After the rest of my makeup.

And about 5 hours later.

You can see its worn down around my nose area, but it did help to control my oily T-zone. I’m usually much oiler looking by now. Everywhere else it held up pretty well. By the eighth hour, I definitely needed to powder my nose, it was dark by then and I didn’t bother with a picture.

So I’m glad I got to try this sample because I wasn’t blown away by it and buying a full-size would have cost $55. Not worth it for me, I actually prefer the L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte to this.

Have you tried the Hourglass Immaculate? What did you think?


A beauty mini quickie: MAC False Lashes Mascara

I’m not that into buying high-end mascaras anymore because I’ve never been amazed enough to repurchase any that I’ve owned. But, whenever I get the chance I love trying all the sample size mascaras just incase there is that magical one out there that I’m missing. I got the MAC False Lashes mascara the last time I placed an order from Nordstrom and wanted to share my thoughts in a mini review.

From the MAC website:

Fashionably false in look, but honestly real, this mascara’s key benefits of volume and curl are matched by a dramatic end look. The unique edge: the ultra-thickening formula in combo with the plush-’em-up action of its unique double-lush brush.

This mascara has the typical bristle style brush that I haven’t used in quite some time, all of the drugstore mascaras I’ve used lately have plastic bristles. The brush head is quite large and tapers towards the end and the bristles are definitely dense. The formula is thick and on the drier side and did not smudge too much, surprisingly, for not being waterproof. I actually think the brush was a little too dense, I had a hard time combing the brush through my lashes, especially when adding more coats. I did like that the brush tapered at the end, making it easier to reach the smaller lashes at the inner corners. I liked the formula as well, I felt like it did add good volume after two coats. I didn’t see any significant difference in length. This sample was also not waterproof so my lashes did start to droop after awhile.

Top to bottom: lashes curled; one coat; two coats

But, do I think it gives a ‘false lash’ effect? I’m going to have to say no on this one. While the volume is nice, it’s not enough to give that ‘wow’ factor for me. I much prefer the Maybelline Lash Sensational.


  • adds volume to lashes
  • the formula is nice, not too wet and didn’t smudge much for a non-waterproof formula


  • does not add length
  • doesn’t hold a curl
  • the dense brush made it hard to comb through lashes
  • although the volume was nice, I feel like calling it ‘False Lashes’ is an overstatement


I’m not going to be purchasing the full size of this, especially since it doesn’t hold a curl. It was also just a little annoying trying to maneuver the brush through my lashes, I think I’m finding I do prefer the short plastic bristle mascara brushes. The drugstore mascaras I have work just as well as this one, actually better, and this sample wasn’t enough to convince me to try the waterproof version. I think this would be a good option for someone with naturally long lashes with a curl, it just doesn’t work with my straighter, slightly shorter lashes.

If you have tried the MAC False Lashes, please share what you thought! 🙂

A beauty mini quickie: Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Extra Strength Formula

I’ve had this little mini hanging around in my bathroom drawer for quite some time now because I was kind of scared of it. When I think of a chemical peel, I think of that Sex and the City episode where Samantha gets one before Carrie’s book release party and has to veil her face. And while I know this at-home peel is nothing compared to what you’d get at the dermatologists’ office, the words extra strength made me very hesistant to try this. Last week was not a good one for my skin because of some hormonal breakouts (I’ll let you figure out why) and I just wanted those pesky blemishes gone. I figured there was no better time to give the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Extra Strength Formula a try.

According to the brand (taken from Sephora’s website):

“This more powerful version of the Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel provides higher concentrations of Alpha Beta® Acids—plus new antiaging boosters that deliver a stronger peel without added irritation or recovery time. Especially suited for stubborn skin conditions that have not responded favorably to other antiaging treatments, this peel improves the appearance of fine lines, reduces pores, and treats breakouts. Regular use can visibly improve dark spots and skintone. Easy to apply, simply sweep the pre-soaked cotton towelettes across the face according to the two-step system.” Source

This sample sized box contains 3 of the 2-step packets. They remind me of alcohol wipe pads, but larger.

The directions state:
-Apply Step 1 to clean, dry skin in circular motions from forehead to neck.
-Continue until pad feels dry.
-Wait two minutes before applying Step 2 using same technique as Step 1.
-Do not rinse after either step or use products containing alcohol.

-Sunburn alert: this product contains an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that may increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun and particularly the possibility of sunburn. Use a sunscreen and limit sun exposure while using this product and for a week afterwards.

I used this product over the span of a few days only at night, taking 1-2 days in between uses. I don’t usually like to read reviews before trying a product, but I wasn’t clear as to if I was supposed to use this on subsequent days or if I was supposed to leave a day in between. Most said that it would probably be best for a first time user to leave time between uses. One reviewer also suggested cutting each pad in half to save money on product, which I actually did try. I actually preferred using the whole pad though, so I only tried that once. Although half a pad was enough to cover my face, it just didn’t seem as effective. After washing my face, I skipped the toner and just applied Step 1 all over my face and neck until I felt I’d used every bit of moisture on the pad. After two minutes, I applied Step 2. I skipped my usual nighttime skin treatments and just went straight to moisturizer and eye cream.

I will say that you will feel a burning sensation with both steps, more so with the first. It’s not intolerable and it does start to fade before you even open the packet for Step 2. It did leave my face a bit red, but nothing long-lasting and nothing compared to Samantha. The next morning, my face did appear smoother and my blemishes did appear smaller. I don’t feel like my fine lines were much different and it didn’t fade my acne scarring at all. I already exfoliate regularly so I think that’s why I didn’t see significant differences there.


  • convenient packaging
  • quick and easy for at-home use
  • skin appeared smoother
  • blemishes were reduced


  • may be too irritating for sensitive skin
  • no changes were seen in fine lines and acne scarring
  • make your skin more sun sensitive
  • expensive (5 treatments for $16 to 60 treatments for $148)

Verdict: I didn’t see enough change in my skin to feel like this is worth the investment, I’m guessing I’d need even more than 5 treatments and I’m not willing to pay the expense. It did help with the breakouts I was having which was nice, but the exfoliation and skin treatments I’m using now seem to be effective enough for my skin concerns for the time being.

If you’ve tried this already, please share your experience!

A beauty mini quickie: Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant

I use the Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser every morning, it’s a gentle daily exfoliator that’s not at all harsh on my skin. I still think it’s important to use a stronger exfoliant on a weekly basis, but I haven’t really been consistent with it. I got the Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant in my skincare sample bag from Sephora and finally put it to the test this week.

According to the brand (taken from the Sephora website):

“Get a youthful glow with this microdermabrasion treatment and earn results parallel to a professional, clinical visit. This formula contains pharmaceutical-grade crystals, lactic acid, and soothing botanicals to polish away dead skin cells, provide a radiant, healthy look, and smooth skin’s texture. Watch as the appearance of fine lines, acne marks, and skin discolorations diminish as you achieve maximum results in minimal time.”

The instructions say to massage this into damp skin for 1-2 minutes, avoiding the eye area, then rinse with warm water. It can be used 1-2 times per week, leaving 3 days between applications.

The product comes out of the tube as a white cream and has a lemony scent. I’m not going to lie, when I first started rubbing it onto my face I thought it felt like tiny shards of glass scratching my face. I’ve never used an exfoliator that felt that way. I’m not trying to say it was painful, but the exfoliating particles feel more sharp than any I’ve ever used. Usually it feels more like a fine sand. It wasn’t really that bothersome to me, but you definitely want to massage this gently over your face. After I rinsed with warm water, my skin did look slightly pink from the exfoliating action, but it faded by the time I applied my makeup (probably 10 or 15 minutes later). It also felt super smooth and soft. You don’t need a lot of this either, the amount in the photo was enough for my entire face.

I’ve used this twice over the past two weeks and while I can’t say my acne scars have been effected much, I will say the fine lines around my mouth have faded. I looked for them this morning aren’t as noticeable as before. I was really surprised. I did concentrate on the areas I do have fine lines, around my mouth and between my brows and this has actually helped to reduce them! I have to emphasize that these lines were very fine, not very noticeable unless on close inspection. If you have any deeper lines I can’t say how they’d fare. I’m going to keep using it weekly and if my acne scarring is significantly reduced I will update.


  • pleasant scent
  • effective on fine lines
  • leaves skin feeling soft and smooth


  • may be too abrasive for sensitive skin
  • expensive! $78 for 2 oz.


It depends. If this actually reduces my acne scarring I would consider repurchasing as it’s quite effective on my fine lines as well. Despite the price tag, I feel it would last me a long time because you don’t need that much product.

Have you tried the Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant? What did you think?

A beauty mini quickie: Tarte Lipsurgence Skintuitive Lipgloss


A mini Tarte Lipsurgence Skintuitive Lipgloss

I love those Sephora point perk samples, it’s a great way to find new product loves. It’s actually how I discovered my Kat Von D Tattoo Liner, which I have repurchased over and over again. I got the Tarte Lipsurgence Skintuitive Lipgloss recently and wanted to share my quick thoughts on it.

According to Tarte the lipgloss:

  • has pH technology that allows the gloss to adjust to your own personalized pink lip shade
  • smooths the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while providing intense hydration

L to R: doe foot applicator; initial swatch; swatch after 5 minutes


  • I love the smell (it reminds me of my Korres Jasmine Lip Butter), it was probably the first thing I noticed when putting it on. No taste to it though.
  • The doe-foot applicator is concave and makes application easy.
  • It’s not overly thick and sticky, I like the feel on my lips.
  • It does feel hydrating and has pretty good lasting power.


  • I already have a lot of color to my lips so I noticed no change in color.
  • Is this supposed to smooth fine lines and wrinkles on your lips? I know you can get lines around your mouth, but you wouldn’t be smearing this around your mouth (I hope).

Although the pros outweigh the cons, I’m going to pass on the full size despite the fact that the scent is intoxicating. The main draw of the product is the color adjusting aspect and it didn’t work for me. As you can see in the swatches, the gloss has a hint of pink tint that gets darker with a bit of time. I think my lips are just too pink to show the difference. But, if your lips are lighter, this may work better on you.


L: nothing on my lips; R: several minutes after gloss application

I actually think the shade the gloss turns on my arm is quite pretty, it’s just too bad it doesn’t have the same effect on my lips. If you’ve tried this, please share your thoughts!