A Broken Ankle, Writer’s Block, Beauty and Ice Cream

Exactly two weeks ago I broke my ankle while leaving for my long-anticipated vacation in London. Instead of going to the UK, I ended up at an urgent care facility for x-rays, a cast and crutches. My long weekend was spent in my mother’s apartment watching endless hours of House Hunters International, Property Brothers, BBC America for our anglophile fix since we didn’t get to set foot on British soil, and PBS for the overdose. Thinking my immobility would be a great opportunity to write for the blog, study, and catch up on magazine and book reading,  the only things I’ve accomplished are the book reading, more TV-watching, and discovering Turkey Hill’s Lemon Meringue Pie Ice Cream (the bits of pie crust totally do it for me and take away some of the cloying sweetness)—I’ve been totally at a loss for words to type that would serve any purpose whatsoever! So here I sit during my lunch break, leg propped up on a cushion, mulling over the last two weeks, hoping they haven’t been completely wasted…blog-wise, that is.

Ahhhh! Sifting through my mental files (read: playing with my curls and touching my chin to check for makeup transfer), I am reminded of two, yes two, new beauty finds that are currently changing my life. The first discovery is the Living Proof line of haircare products. I put a sample of their Perfect Hair Day™ 5-in-1 Styling Treatment in my travel bag so I could try it out in London, but I ended up using it at my mom’s place instead.  According to the Sephora website, “Living Proof was founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts by world-class biomedical scientists and leading hair stylists, with the purpose of applying advanced technology to solve beauty’s toughest challenges.” Perfect Hair Day™ 5-in-1 Styling Treatment is “an oil- and silicone-free styling treatment that provides volume, smoothness, conditioning, strength, and polish in one easy step.” Living Proof’s claim to fame is how it eliminates frizz and flyaways without weighing hair down, while nourishing and improving your hair’s condition and texture. So many companies make these claims, however I have yet to find one that lives up to all of them. Thus far, my curls have refused to bow down to any label, so my skepticism was at an all-time high before trying it, especially with Jennifer Anniston as their spokesperson (saying I’m not a fan of hers would be a gross understatement). I was surprised with the results: my hair was completely frizz-free until I washed my hair two days later. My only issue was that my curls weren’t as shiny as I’d hoped they would be; however, the lack of poof in my hair trumped the shine. So impressed with Living Proof was I that I immediately went online (since it’s quite difficult to shop around on crutches) to buy the No Frizz Nourishing Styling Cream because it got an even higher rating the 5-in-1. It “…derives performance from Living Proof’s ‘miracle molecule,’ PolyfluoroEster, to create a weightless shield on hair that blocks humidity absorption, smooths the cuticle, and repels dirt. The PolyfluoroEster shield is established over the first five uses of the No Frizz regimen, so it becomes stronger, the longer you use it—and can be maintained with consistent use of No Frizz products.” On top of that, I also bought Satin Hair Serum to assure the victory of manageability and shine. “Satin Hair Serum is powered by a Sera-Smooth Complex, which offers superior smoothness, eliminates frizz, provides natural movement, leaves hair manageable, and is faster and easier to achieve a desired smooth style. It smooths without the tradeoffs of silicones and oils, doesn’t weigh hair down, and doesn’t create product build-up. Easy to use, lightweight, and long-lasting, it leaves hair grease-free and produces a beautiful, sleek look.” Even though I didn’t buy the entire line of No Frizz products as suggested, I figured the two I purchased should work well enough since the 5-in-1 had already made me a believer.

It’s been quite humid in New York City as of late, and I am shocked at how well my hair has been holding up to the heat and moisture after only a couple of uses of these two wonders. I washed my hair last night and applied the styling cream, my usual coconut oil because my hair is very dry, and lastly the serum. My curls have been staying poof-free and have less shrinkage (my curly girls will know what I’m talking about, so get your mind out of the gutter!). After sleeping on my hair last night (I don’t wrap my hair before I go to sleep, I leave it completely free), walking around on crutches in the humidity this morning, and sweating profusely as a result, here’s a real time pic of me/my hair (please forgive the bad office lighting):

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My hair usually only looks like this after I have just washed it and then fluffs up a couple of hours afterward. It never stays like this overnight and after sweating in humid weather. Almost one whole day later, my hair is still shiny, frizz free, and the curls are keeping their shape. This has never happened to me, and I am not exaggerating. I will take another picture when the day is over to see if the results last after another bout in this heat with my crutches.

8 hours and a switch from a side part to a middle part later:

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Lo and behold, still frizz-free! I am living proof that Living Proof’s No Frizz line works. Corny, I know.

Stay tuned for my next post when I will talk about my second life-changing product!

Until then,
The Vickylicious

One Brand Face: Kat Von D

Sold exclusively at Sephora, Kat Von D’s eponymous makeup line is chock full of bestsellers. From primer to mascara, her products are long-lasting and heavy duty on coverage and color. The website states:

“Created by Kat Von D, tattoo artist, TV star, and owner of High Voltage Tattoo, this inspiring makeup collection exemplifies the fusion of glamorous, old Hollywood and edgy rock ‘n’ roll. Kat’s distinct style and flawlessly crafted face reveals that she is as masterful with a makeup brush as she is with a tattoo machine. Her passion for makeup and self-expression is inked into every product she creates, from the romantic, soulful designs to the rich, highly pigmented and long-lasting formulations. Exclusively at Sephora, Kat Von D’s one-of-a-kind beauty collection allows you to indulge your creativity and unleash your
inner artist.”

After so many claims of how full coverage her foundations and concealers are—enough to cover a tattoo—and how long-lasting all of her other products are as well, I decided to buy everything needed to “flawlessly craft” my own face and see if all of the declarations are true. Below is everything I bought (photos courtesy of sephora.com), in the order in which I applied them.

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First impression: I love that the Lock-It Tattoo Foundation is in a clear pump dispenser (I’m shade M62); you can see how much you have left and the pump is easier and more sanitary than pouring liquid onto your hand and placing your fingers all over the opening. Contact with skin=bacteria. No pump = easy to spill + unsanitary + lack of control. The formula is thick, highly pigmented and full coverage; a little goes a long way, so this is actually a good value at US$34.00 because I only had to use one pump. The same is true for the Lock-It Tattoo Concealer ($US25.00–I’m shade M26) when it comes to texture and coverage. Using these two products in conjunction definitely make for a flawless face in seconds. I used my Real Techniques Buffing Brush and Expert Face Brush, respectively, to apply them. If you need to sheer the products out for less coverage, a damp beauty blender will do the trick wonderfully (I have since tried this method and loved the more natural-looking results). I didn’t use a setting powder this go-round to see how the products last throughout the day. Next, using my Real Techniques Multipurpose Brush, I applied the Everlasting Blush in Essex, a matte cool rose that’s deep enough to show on my complexion. Just in time for this review, I was able to purchase the early release of the Immortal Lash 24-hour Mascara. I wasn’t crazy about the spiral wand at first, but the formula of the mascara and the spoolie really separated and lengthened my lashes. To finish everything, I applied Everlasting Love Liquid Lipstick in Mau5, a.k.a. BauHau5, a deep yet bright raspberry (US$19.00; The Painted Love Lipsticks come in the same colors and are the same price). Let’s see how it looked from the start of my day till the very end, no makeup touchups, photo filters or editing.

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Sitting under the infamously unflattering fluorescent office lighting at 8:00AM (left pic), I loved the way this makeup looked; this speaks volumes! Possibly a little heavy for everyday daytime wear (if a damp sponge/beauty blender isn’t used to sheer it out) the foundation looked amazing, covered all imperfections, was a perfect match for my complexion—and I’m sure many others, due to the large shade range—made me look more awake/brighter than I felt so early in the morning, and didn’t reflect a white cast from flash photography. My skin looked flawless and matte. The blush was just enough color (when applied with a light hand) to provide me with a healthy flush, and the mascara gave my lashes natural yet impactful definition. This liquid lipstick got more compliments than any other colored gloss/lipstick/lip stain I have ever worn in my life—no exaggeration (besides one of my reds)! By midday, my skin was starting to look dewy, borderline shiny, but everything was still in place; even my lips were still vibrant 3 cups of tea, a bowl of cereal, 4 glasses of water and a sandwich later. So far, the results were quite impressive, given that I didn’t use primer, set my foundation with powder or use setting spray. After a long day, all of the products endured humid conditions, my oily skin, long hours and a lot of sweating. There was a bit of foundation transfer, which was to be expected without setting it and being in steam room-like weather, and there was still a flush on my cheeks from the blush. The mascara didn’t flake, smudge or budge from my lashes and there was still a hint of color on my lips after breakfast, lunch, afternoon coffee and dinner!

Although the day started with visible makeup, it became more natural as the day progressed, and that made me happy since I was at work. Kat Von D definitely has a winning line of products for women that desire a fuller coverage (I was recovering from a breakout and no one could tell), a face that’s beat to the gods all day long (yes, please), trustworthy makeup for a special event, or a night on the town with a show-stopping face (again, yes), then this is the line for you. I have since created the same face with setting powder and the results were amazing, so I know I’ll be returning to these babies again and again. As of right now, this is my favorite high end product line with all hits and no misses. Taking it all off with the makeup removing wipes was a breeze and nothing made me break out anew. Thank you, Kat, for being your wonderfully tattooed self and for loving old Hollywood glam with edge, and needing to cover up your ink once in a while, and most of all, for finding the right people to make your vision come true and put it into such pretty packaging. I applaud you all.

Now we can forever give good face.

Crease Lightning

Forever on the search for the perfect under-eye concealer, I have spent a not-so-small fortune and have endured a lot of slipping, sliding, and creasing. There has been one too many false alarms when I think I’ve found the perfect formula, only to find that the concealer has sunken into the folds under my eyes, making it look as if I’ve tried to caulk them like bathroom tiles. Not a good look. From cream formulas to liquid; from waterproof to mineral; from powder to mousse; all have creased on me (even with face primer and/or eyes shadow base), except for MAC Pro Longwear Concealer.

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Although this is my Holy Grail fixer, I go through this tiny vial very quickly and as a result, I end up spending a lot of money–US$18.00 every time really adds up. And honestly, sometimes my dark circles need more coverage than the Pro Longwear provides them (I’m all about the vampire life—I’ll sleep when I’m dead or I’ve achieved world domination, whichever comes first). So on the days when I need a stronger war paint, I’ve been at a loss as to how to combat creasing…until now, that is! After much experimentation, I have amended my application procedure. Let me introduce you to a trusty standby and a new friend, and I’ll show you how I use them both.

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The first step in my new regimen is to layer my eye cream; the more moisture you infuse into your skin, the less lines and creases it will have (common sense). I apply one layer of rich eye cream, put on my face moisturizer, and wait a couple of minutes to let everything sink in. In the meantime, I line up all of my cosmetics onto my sink to cut down on time. Then I apply second layer of eye cream and wait another minute (put my headband on and blow my nose)—this is the new part of my routine, using my trusty standby (I use eye cream every day and night). Next, I use eye shadow primer under my eyes—this is my new friend. Side note: I bought a cheapie for this experiment, just in case, figuring I can invest in a more expensive and/or better primer in the future if this trial actually works. However, if the Ruby Kisses is effective, I might not change at all! From this point on, everything else in my morning regimen is the same. For this experiment, I’m using Kat Von D’s Lock-It Tattoo Concealer because this has creased on me a lot in the past and will therefore be the perfect test product.

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Face primers and eye shadow bases haven’t worked, but eye shadow primer has some kind of magical power that hasn’t allowed this concealer to crease ALL DAY. 10 hours later and the above pic is the end result. I couldn’t be happier, and neither can my dark circles!

*Coincidentally, the makeup artist/guru Wayne Goss just posted about this exact same solution on YouTube not long ago. The saying is true: Great minds definitely think alike. 😉

**UPDATE: Since writing this post, I’ve switched from the Ruby Kisses primer to the Sephora brand and it works even better!

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Home Spa

It’s a rainy Friday night. Zumba class was great, as usual, and I worked up an amazing sweat. I figured I might as well capitalize on all of this by treating myself to a little luxurious pampering.

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After a hot shower that kept  pores open, I applied Remede mineral exfoliant to my clean and damp skin by massaging it all over my face for a few minutes until it started drying up and rolling off my skin–this process was very reminiscent of playing with glue as child. After most of the Remede had rolled into my sink, I rinsed my face with warm water and posted my skin dry with a towel. Yay for fresh and squeaky clean skin! Next, I spread a nice even layer of the famous Glam Glow Super Mud all over, avoiding my eye and mouth area. By the time I finish writing this post, it will be dry and ready to be rinsed of with warn water and a towel. My pores will be tighter and cleaner, and my face will be smoother, clearer, and brighter! However in the meantime, I’ll be sitting on the couch looking like this:

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I just wanted to give you a good laugh/scare, haha. Toodles!

OMG or OHN: Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat

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No smudge-proof, waterproof, water-resistant, claim has stood up to my oily lids. They cause every shadow, liner, and mascara to pool under my eyes so that I look like a zombie within an hour. This product has changed all of that when it comes to mascara! I can now use every single tube that has been collecting dust because I didn’t have the heart to throw them (and my money) down the drain. Not only does it waterproof my lashes, the spoolie also separates and de-clumps. Thank you, Anastasia, I can now wear ANY mascara with confidence!

Final answer: OMG! It’s amazing–a modern day miracle (for me).

Have you tried this product? If so, let me know what you think about it.

OMG or OHN (Oh, Helllll No!)?: A Review

(Yes, there’s a lot of punctuation going on in my title.)

I really like Sephora’s own product line; from their lipsticks to their concealers, I’m a fan. So when the Sephora Collection Instant Radiance Foundation went on sale, it immediately went into my virtual shopping cart. I gave it a test run the day after it came in the mail, I was so excited. Want to see how this foundation stood up to the test? Then keepon reading! (This trial was done without primers, setting spray or powder in order to get an accurate feel for the product.)

First, let’s take a look at the naked face (please refrain from nasty comments, thank you) next to the face with freshly applied Instant Radiance Foundation, side by side, no filters no editing, no PhotoShopping—that would render the experiment pointless. Plus, I don’t use those things anyway.
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The coverage seems pretty natural, and I’d say the formula provides medium, buildable coverage with a semi-dewy finish. Although I prefer matte finishes, I like that this seems fresh and breathable looking. So now let’s see how it all looks after I apply Sephora Collection Perfecting Cover Concealer for my under eyes, and everything else I normally do.
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Much better, yet still natural (to me). My initial reaction to this foundation is that I like it, but I’m not in love with it. After a whole day of wear, I don’t like it one bit. Take a look at the oil slick my face has become:
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Mind you, I didn’t use a mattifying primer, a setting powder and/or spray—but I shouldn’t have to use all of that. There was a lot of transfer, and the formula broke down, visibly separating on the skin. I washedit ofimmediately after I took this picture.

Not wanting to give up hope, I tried this foundation again the next day, using setting powder AND spray. Did anything improve?
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As you can tell by the exasperated expression on my still greasy face, no, there was no improvement whatsoever. It was sliding off of my face, it oxidized and became darker, transferred like crazy, and the formula still broke apart. By the end of the day, the discoloration on my cheeks was starting to show as well. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

I highly recommend all oily/combination skin types to AVOID Sephora Collection Instant Radiance Foundation. Avoid it like it’s your pervy uncle during holiday family picture time.
Final verdict: Oh Hell No!
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