Drugstore Buy of the Week - Maybelline Color Sensation The Buffs Lip Color, Untainted Spice

Many of of us beauty lovers (including me!) almost ALWAYS click on a online link with anything resembling "The 10 Best of Nude Lipstick Colors/Top Nudes Lipstick Shades, etc" on online magazines, Pinterest and of course even this very blog. 

Well. there's a new "Nude" line of lipsticks from Maybelline Color Sensation Lipcolor Buffs(OK, not exactly nude, but "Buff" is the same idea, right?) that I've crazy about since recently discovering them. Not only are they a great price (under $6), but its one of the nicest group of nude shades I've seen at either the mass or prestige level. The line was created with what Maybelline says are "True nude lip color pigments for honest flesh tone color". And I'd have to say they are spot on. 

Purchase Here: Maybelline Color Sensation Lipcolor Buffs, Untainted Spice, .15 oz 

The 10 shade line really takes into account all women's skin tones/lip color - and undertones as well, when creating a flattering, personalized "nude" lip. 

There 4 shades in particular, which will work for olive, medium-brown to dark brown skin tones, which include: Maple Kiss, Touch Taupe (shown, left, is my second favorite when I want a slightly pinker, more neutral mouth), Expresso Expression, and the one I fell in love with, Maybelline Color Sensation Lipcolor Buffs, Untainted Spice, (kind of a strange name, but I love the color!).

Untainted Spice (shown at the top) was the prefect shade to give me the "your lips but better" look. It's a cool brown with a touch of red. While at first glance it looked a lot like other shades I already had, I found it was was quite unique once I applied it. That's because the coolness in the brown, plus the warm red undertone made this look so natural as my own lips do with my skin. I also loved the quality of this lipstick. The texture was creamy, smooth and lightweight, and it kept my lips very hydrated during the day without feeling greasy or heavy. 

This line, and hopefully this SHADE will stay in their lipstick color collection for many years to come. The finish is full creamy coverage with natural shine, and it has no flavor and a minimal, slightly sweet fragrance which dissipated quickly. 

If you LOVE nude lip colors, but don't want to spend an arm and a leg on getting the perfect match, don't hesitate - pick up a few of these.- RLB 

Purchase Here: Maybelline Color Sensation Lipcolor Buffs, Untainted Spice, .15 oz and available at most drugstores nationwide 

Hair Care Find - Miss Jessie's Original DeFrizz Blow Dry Diffuser


If you have curly or wavy hair and have never used a diffuser to dry your hair, this is the perfect time to start.
Miss Jessie's makers of some of my favorite curly girl products, has created their very first hair appliance to quickly dry curly hair and create frizz free, defined curls/waves.  Miss Jessie's Original DeFrizz Blow Dry Diffuser will also work on wavy/straight/relaxed hair when you want more of a textured rather that straighter look from your blow out.
Before I get into how it performed, please note there is something you must know about Miss Jessie's Original DeFrizz Blow Dry Diffuser:
You MAY find at first that your standard hairdryer does not fit into the opening of the diffuser and get frustrated.  However, if you find that the diffuser does not quickly fit into the end of your blow dryer, simply do the following.  1) Place the diffuser with the opening up, stand over it with your blow dryer and push the end of your blow dryer into the diffuser.  You should give it a bit of force, but it will go in.  Once you hear a faint "click" the diffuser has been attached and is secure for you to begin using it. 
If you have very porous hair or thick curls, this dryer will be a dream! Due to the large side of the pronged end of the diffuser, and the deign of the air flow, I found that this cuts dry time down almost in hair (of course your results will also depend on the length and thickness of your hair.).
After washing and adding leave in conditioner, heat protection spray or anti-frizz serum, just turn on your blow dryer and begin drying in your hair in sections. What was also very impressive to me was how smooth and healthy my hair looked afterwards.  This dryer allows you got get defined curls/waves and/or texture, without any frizz whatsoever.
This is the perfect companion product for every girl's blow drying routine. - RLB

Go-->Miss Jessie's Original DeFrizz Blow Dry Diffuser 

*This product was provided courtesy of Miss Jessie's PR for reviewing purposes.

Beauty Find - Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide

Laura Mercier certainly knows how to make just the perfect foundation for the right time.
I'm always amazed at the formulas that Laura Mercier creates - they may all be foundations - but they could not be more different in their texture, effects and finish.
The newest foundation, Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide, is here this summer and is a unique blend of a lightweight (sweat and humidity proof) foundation and a "blurring cream.  What does that mean?  It means it gave me not only amazing, all day coverage no matter how hot and humid it was, but the finish and feel was perfection!
The fluide is just as it is described, it is a very liquid texture, so, as per the instructions, I shook the bottle very well before dispensing the foundation.(Take care with opening the cap up after shaking so that you don't get spillage on to the bottle/hands).  Most of the time I applied it with a foundation brush, and occasionally with a beauty blender sponge. However, I also liked the results with I used it with my fingers as well as a buffing brush. The liquid is very pigmented, so I only used about a dime's worth, which was usually more than enough.
The feel on my skin was creamy, as light as air, smooth, silky and yet it felt like it absorbed so quickly there was nothing on my skin.  However, the proof was in the finish.  My skin tone and texture was instantly evened out, any small discolorations diminished, and yet it still looked completely natural.  I could very easily build up the coverage if I needed to, as well as use a bit more with a concealer brush in my under eye area to have a completely finished look. 
I loved how it wore on my more oily areas like my T-zone, not adding any additional shine during the day.  The finish is matte, and if I finished with a light dusting of powder, I rarely had to blot more than once during the day*. This is a perfect formula for those of you with more oily skin, combination skin or those who need to wear a foundation in hot temperatures. *This also works very well with Laura Mercier's Oil Free primer if you have very oily skin.
Because this fluide does so much, I found it to be a real time saver in the morning. With this one product, I basically got a long wear foundation with oil control, concealer-like coverage, and sweat and humidity protection.
THIS is your summertime foundation solution - make sure you pick this one up.  P.S. There are an impressive number of darker shades in this line, and many correspond with current Laura Mercier foundation shades.  I used Nutmeg, (shown, above) with very good results- RLB

*This product was provided courtesy of Laura Mercier PR for reviewing purposes.

Beauty Find - NARSissist Smokey Eye Compact, Limited Edition

If you're mind is wandering towards new Fall fashion wish lists - then you're probably also ready for a new Fall smokey eye.

For Fall 2014, NARS has introduced the NARSissist Smokey Eye Kit.  It's a limited-edition collection of three must have shades, a mini Via Veneto Larger Than Life eyeliner and a newly designed travel sized wide contour Brush #43 for easy application on the go and for travel.

The three powder shadow shades (shown, above), from left to right include, Madrague, a matte cream, Bali a neutral grey/brown and Mekong, an.Espresso brown with gold shimmer,

Let's go into each of the shades in the kit, shall we?

Madrague was soft, finely milled and blended easily.  It was a great base for my smokey eye and wore very well through the day (even without eye shadow primer). 
Bali is a shade that will work on everyone.  It's matte, also very finely milled with great staying power as well.

Mekong is one of my personal favorite shades. It's a beautiful deep brown with very finely milled gold shimmer.  It's a warm tone and because the brown in matte, the shimmer stands out but is not overwhelming for day.  It was also very soft and smooth, but because of the shimmer, was not quite as blendable as the other two.  I needed to take a bit more time with this shade but it was worth it.  I loved using this all over the top and bottom lash line after using the Via Veneto, which is a classic matte black liner that glided along my lids smoothly.  It has lots of pigment and fantastic staying power of more than 8+ hours on me.

The #43 has a short handle with a fairly large brush. While the brush hairs are slightly scratchy, I still  found it very easy to work with the sharp, flat angled shape to blend my shadows and soften the lines on the lower lash line.

I think this is a great palette for those of you who love a brown-based smokey eye, want all of your core products in one place and have goof-proof shades that will work on everyone, for day or night. - RLB

Go-->NARSissist Smokey Eye Compact, Limited Edition 

*This product was provided courtesy of NARS PR for reviewing purposes.

Drugstore Buy of the Week - Nivea Skin Firming & Smoothing Concentrated Serum

So, as it's product name indicates, Nivea Skin Firming + Smoothing Concentrated Serum
is a product to help with improvement with firmness and smoothness of trouble areas like tummy, thighs, buttocks, and lower legs. 

However, this is does NOT mean it will make your cellulite disappear! This is really important to point out, because I'm a big believer in sharing products with you that work - and telling you what you they can and cannot do and who they're best for.

I stumbled upon this serum after someone telling me about it recently, and thought it might be nice to road test before an upcoming beach vacation to the west coast recently. The product claims that with regular daily use, it can improve skin's firmness in about 10 days. It contains Coenzyme Q10, Natural Lotus extract, and L-Carnitine. 

The texture of the serum is slightly thick and a bit sticky out of the bottle, but smoothed onto my skin very easily. It abosorbed very quickly and left no residue or greasy/sticky feeling. It has a very prominent floral scent, which I happened to like, that dissipated after about a minute or so. (But I do think that an unscented version would be a nice addition to the line for those who don't want or can't have products with fragrance). 

I needed about approximately 1 pump per body area e.g. tummy, and found that this will last me about a month or so with continued daily use. The product hydrated and smoothed my body very nicely, but the proof would be the results after the first two weeks.... 

 What I noticed was very impressive. There was an improvement in the texture of the skin on my thighs/legs, but equally as impressive was the improvement in firmness as well. Any cellulite was "reduced" in appearance due to the smoothing effect, but I was still very pleased. Since the initial two weeks, I have continued to use Nivea Skin Firming + Smoothing Concentrated Serum to maintain the results. 

Bottom Line? Yes, you have to keep up a healthy diet and exercise to really continue the results, but for me, this is worthy of staying in my permanent body care collection - especially in the summer months! - RLB

Go-->Nivea Skin Firming & Smoothing Concentrated Serum, 2.5 fl oz

Body Care Find - MoroccanOil Intense Moisturizing Treatment

Even in the summer months, those will drier skin will many times still have to work through dry cracked heels on feet, elbows and lower legs.

MoroccanOil, (famous for their Moroccan Oil hair treatment), now has a line of body products which cater to those with dry skin.  One of my favorites is the MoroccanOil Intense Moisturizing Treatment.

This is a thick gel/oil texture that is also a tad sticky out of the tube and when spreading it on feet, for example.  But if you're willing to deal with a little stickiness for a second or two, you will be well rewarded.

My feet were baby soft and smooth after using the treatment (especially overnight) and ready for any kind of summer sandal or open toed shoe. The finish is a nice glowing sheen and it soothed my skin instantly.

This is also great for flaking skin on other parts of the foot, like the bottom, to rub on dry elbows and knees before heading outside this summer.  There's no sun protection in the product, but since it's really meant as a spot treatment, I didn't have any issues using a sunscreen over these areas when applying to my body.

This is one of the best products I've tried recently for cracked heels, persistently dry feet. flaking skin and dry elbows/legs. It's also my go-to product to maintain a weekly pedicure by applying it to feet/toes and cuticles. - RLB

*This product was provided courtesy of Moroccan Oil PR for reviewing purposes. 

Beauty Find - Tarte Colored Clay Tinted Brow Gel

When the temps are scorching, the last thing you want is for your perfectly arched and penciled/powdered eyebrows to start...MELTING before you've even completed your morning commute.

Tarte Colored Clay Tinted Brow Gel is ingenious little  product that allowed me to easily and quickly define and fill in my brows and have them stay in place all day long.

Since I have fairly dark brows, I used their darkest shade, Rich Brown.  It looked like it might have been too light when I first took the wand out of the bottle, but it ended up being a perfect match.  It has a extremely lightweight texture and feel, and looked completely natural against my brow hair.  I love how I was able to use it to lightly go over sparser areas like the ends of my brows, and to add some depth to my overall brow.  My brows didn't feel stiff, hard and the gel didn't cake or flake after application or throughout the day.

The is wand is very short and narrow and allows you to basically "paint" little individual hairs on to your brows (Tip: use short, upward strokes). And for those of you who need some grey coverage, Tarte Colored Clay Tinted Brow Gel will also camouflage these little hairs as well.
Since the Brow Gel doesn't migrate, the color will stay on until you wash it off at the end of the day.

Note: This is also going to work best for those of you who have a fair amount of eyebrow hair, as well as a good arch already.  If you really need to fill in/shape completely, or if you want a very dramatic "Kim Kardashian" - type of eyebrow, this gel will not have enough pigment/finish to give you that look.

But for nicely defined and filled-in brows that will look natural (perfect for any daytime/office look), this is the perfect little secret weapon! - RLB
Go-->Tarte Colored Clay Tinted Brow Gel Rich Brown 0.14 oz

*This product was provided courtesy of Tarte PR for reviewing purposes.

Fragrance Find - Strange Invisible Perfumes, Atlantic

Although this is categorized as a Men's scent, it's one that not only I love, but I think many other women will as well.

Like many of Strange Invisible Perfumes, the notes is this fragrance immediately intrigued me for their unique combination, created by founder Alexandra Balahoutis, who practices botanical perfume creation and hand made perfume batches..

The Jamaican Bay Rum and Peppermint notes made this one that I instantly wanted to try for summertime.  But these notes are also anchored by Lavender, Sandalwood, Frankincense and Amber.

Conjuring images of voyages and sea adventures, I can see how Atlantic would work very well for women who want a unique, slightly bracing and spicy scent.  On my skin the notes that opened up first were the rum, lavender and some of the warmer notes like sandalwood.  But I noticed that after the initial opening I got some of those fresh peppermint notes coming through that kept it from getting to heavy or sweet on me.  This made it an ideal summer scent for me on slightly cooler, drier days I wanted something that had a bit more heft to it that wasn't a citrus or white floral mix.

The dry down is a slightly warm and woody, with had excellent staying power (6+ hours on me before touching up).  If you're a woman who likes more complex scents that combine a more bracing feel with with warmer notes, I'd pick this one up - and maybe another for the man in your life too.  

Note: I had my hubby try this and not only did it smell quite different on him, but also much more "masculine". So I definitely think this is a unsung "unisex" scent in the lineup worth exploring for the true fragrance lovers - male or female. - RLB

Fragrance Notes: 
Amber, frankincense, sandalwood, Jamaican bay rum, English peppermint, frankincense.

Go-->Strange Invisible Perfumes, Atlantic 

Body Care Find - The Honest Company Organic Body OIl

I love body care finds that are not only effective and good for your skin - but ones that the WHOLE family can share.

The Honest Company, founded by actress Jessica Alba, is a line of organic and good for the environment skincare, grooming and household cleaning products for babies and families alike.

One of the standout products in the line is the Organic Body Oil.  I was more than impressed with this oil because it preforms and feels better than many products in this natural category. The oil is made from a combination of sustainably grown & certified organic jojoba, tamanu, olive, avocado, and sunflower oils. 

This oil has what I would consider that "perfect" consistency.  It's lightweight and smooth, and once I added it to my skin it moisturized and hydrated instantly while being completely absorbed.  The scent is so lovely as well!  It's a very soft floral with a touch of fresh citrus/grapefruit.  It's a scent that would never be overwhelming for babies/children - or adults.  

This oil works very well either post-shower/bath or adding a few drops into a child's bathtub if they have dry skin. It can also be used for a nice relaxing massage oil which also softens and hydrates skin.

The convenient pump container allowed me to dispense the right amount each time.  A little goes a long way, which also makes this a very good buy. -RLB

These products were provided courtesy of The Honest Company PR for reviewing purposes.

Budget Beauty Buy - 29 by Lydia Mondavi Skincare Replenishing Toner and Pore Purifying Treatment

Last month I shared with you one of my favorite new,budget-friendly (but luxe feeling and performing),skincare lines available at Target, 29.by Lydia Mondavi.  Her 29.by Lydia Mondavi WineBlot Lipbalm SPF 30 is simply amazing!

Now I want to tell you about another winner from the line.

29 by Lydia Mondavi Skincare Replenishing Toner and Pore Purifying Treatment is very gentle, yet very effective for post-cleansing toning and, in particular, keeping the t-zone smooth and clear.

Each pad is the perfect size (about an average sized cookie in circumference) and fairly thick/hefty.  They contain a large dose of toner liquid, so if you don't need to use them every day or 2x day, you can also try cutting them in half.

Like all the products in the 29 line, the toner pads also have the powerful anti-oxidant grape seed extract, as well as rose water, rosemary, lavender, chamomile, white tea, aloe and pomegranate.

My skin didn't feel any stinging or burning, and after using them my skin was smooth, hydrated and glowing.  A few swipes of the pad removed all remaining dirt and grime (especially after a hot, humid day!), yet never irritated or dried out my skin.  If you want to travel with them, I recommend using an ultra mini zip lock and they carry well without drying out.

I loved incorporating these pads into my daily cleansing routine, and like all the products in the line, I think they look very chic/high end in the bathroom/vanity, despite the wallet friendly, Target price! - RLB

Go-->29 by Lydia Mondavi Skincare Replenishing Toner and Pore Purifying 

*This product was provided courtesy of 29 by Lydia Mondavi PR for reviewing purposes.

Hair Care Find - Aveda Smooth Infusion Naturally Straight

Would you like to experience straighter, smooth,  frizz-free hair after just washing it?

If you're anything like me, a chemical free way to tame frizz and have sleeker, smooth hair  - especially in humid temps - sounds good to me!

Aveda smooth infusion naturally straight is a very unique hair system designed for those with curly, wavy, and even relaxed hair to get straighter hair after just 5 washes (with no chemicals treatment)!

The great thing about this line is that is can be used a few ways:  If you have naturally curly or wavy hair and just really want to tame the frizz yet still keep some of your natural texture, you simply use the Smooth Infusion Shampoo, Smooth Infusion Conditioner and Smoothing Infusion Glossing Straightener and then either just air dry or dry with a diffuser.

But if you decide you want to go straighter/sleeker, then after the Smoothing Infusion Glossing Straightener, just blow dry/flat iron as usual. This line also works well on previously relaxed hair. There's no question that I could see and feel a difference with the amount of shine I had when my hair was dry, the way my hair reacted in humid weather and how much better my blow out lasted (this line states 3 days, and I would say if you wash every 3, then you'll more than likely get those results. If you wash just 1x week, then you may see a bit of reverting and frizz until you do the 3 step treatment over again).

The products have a fresh/spicy and slightly floral scent (like most of Aveda's products which smell amazing to me!) and all three of these products are fairly concentrated, so even for longer, thicker hair no more than a silver dollar- sized amount would be necessary.
Curly Girl/Guys - this is your new summer hair solution. - RLB

*These products are provided courtesy of Aveda PR  for reviewing purposes.

Fragrance Find - L'Occitane Frisson Verbena Bath and Body Line, Limited Edition

If you're the kind of person that loves to sip on lemon or lime based ice drinks when the temps get high, I've discovered a new line of bath and body products from L'Occitane that will keep you ultra cool, refreshed and smelling divine this summer! L'Occitane Frisson Verbena is based on a fragrance from the Provence Verbena leaves, which are picked at the peak of summertime. 

These leaves are found near water like rivers ans streams, and the sparkling, zesty Frisson Verbena fragrance in the line blends top notes of lemon and bergamot, with fresh verbena and cucumber. My favorite product to cool down and refresh is the Frisson Verbena Fresh Shower Gel (shown, above). The gel is silky, thick and concentrated and makes wonderful soft foaming lather. 

 What I especially loved is how moisturizing the gel felt on my skin as I was cleansing. After rinsing, the refreshing scent lingered nicely and my skin was soft and hydrated. Another great feature of this gel is because Verbena is a bit more of a traditionally "masculine" citrus note, this is perfect for women AND men -so pick up some for yourself and the man in your life. 

The Frisson Verbena Refreshing Mist (shown, left), is a perfect summer fragrance to layer on after the shower gel. It's alcohol free so the mist also kept my skin soft and supple. It's perfect to add on just pulse points on all over the body/hair for added fragrance. 

I keep mine in the refrigerator for added cooling and refreshing, especially at the end of the day or after a long day outside/beach/pool/workout It's also is a very travel friendly bottle (1.7 oz) perfect for all your summer getaways! Since it's a mist, this does not have the staying power of the Eau de Toilette, but is great for quick scent refreshing, or of course layering with other products in the line- RLB 

The Frisson Verbena line also includes: Frisson Verbena Gel for Legs and Feet (another favorite of my hubby's!), Eau de Toilette, Body Gel, Hand Cream and more. 

Go--> L'Occitane Frisson Verbena Bath and Body Line, Limited Edition  

 *These products were provided courtesy of L'Occitane PR for reviewing purposes.

Beauty Find - Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser Orange Flower & Chamomile, Limited Edition

I must admit, as a lover of the original Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, I didn't think that there was a way to make it better.

But, boy was I wrong - in a good way!

The new, limited edition cleanser is scented with Orange Flower and Chamomile, which gives it a zingy, vitality combined with a softness that is just heavenly to use!  Like the original, it has a beautiful, thick, creamy and silky consistency that was perfect for providing a great cleansing, while also leaving my skin perfectly moisturized.  I used the cleanser on dry skin (which is how it is recommended to be used).  As with the original, my skin was soft, toned and glowing after using it.  With this version  after rinsing,the scent lingers a bit, but it's not overwhelming. 

In the evening I also used it for double duty : makeup removal as well as cleansing/massaging to relax and the end of the day, using it with their accompanying muslin cloth and hot water to remove the cleanser.  In the morning, however, I loved combining the cleanser with my Clarisonic, which I loved for increased exfoliation.  Even with the added fragrance, I didn't experience any outbreaks or skin sensitivity.

If you're a Liz Earle fan, this is the product to buy ASAP for your collection while they last (especially for the beautiful new packaging!), and if you've never experienced Liz Earle skincare before, this is one of the best ways to introduce yourself to the line. - RLB

Go-->Liz Earle Cleanse + Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser Orange Flower +Chamomile, Limited Edition

 *This product was provided courtesy of Liz Earle for reviewing purposes.

Drugstore Buy of the Week - Ban Total Refresh Cooling Body Cloths

Ban Total Refresh Cooling Body Cloths are a unique hybrid between a cleansing wipe that you know and love, and a portable deodorant, which you can use anytime - to help you feel fresh, all while pampering skin. I really loved these clothes, which are about the size of an average facial tissue, very durable, but not rough or scratchy on the skin. 

The cloths come in 3 scented versions Enliven, Refresh and Invigorate (shown, above), which are all very soft, fresh and pleasant (Invigorate was my personal favorite as it was a bit more of a citrus feel). 

Upon contact with the skin, they had a nice, cooling sensation, making them ideal for summer time/hot temps. You can use these wipes anywhere and feel confident that they won't irritate skin. For example, they can be used on the underarms, chest, neck, feet, bikini area, etc. Unlike some wipes that cleanse, my skin didn't feel dry or stripped afterwards. 

The liquid from the cloth dries quickly and leaves behind a subtle layer of hydrating, silky, powdery texture (invisible on the skin) which feels so refreshing. I love that the pack fits so easily into any bag and is perfect for traveling on long flights, or quick touch ups after a gym workout if you don't have time to fully shower. Stock up on these this summer and feel fresh no matter what the temperature or day holds for you! - RLB 

 Go-->Ban Total Refresh Cooling Body Cloths, Invigorate, 10 ea

 *This product was provided courtesy of Ban PR for reviewing purposes.

Beauty Find - Kiehl's Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash

It's not everyday that I'm impressed enough with a foaming face wash to actually say "Wow!" from the moment I squeezed the cleanser into my hand to the moment I rinsed it off- but Kiehl's Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash made me do just that.

First, the texture of this gel cleanser is so silky smooth and concentrated that less than a dime's worth was more than enough to not only provide a thorough cleansing, but also remove makeup as well.  The cleanser forms thick, soft, yet fine suds and while it rinses completely clean, it never made my skin feel the least bit dry or stripped.  My skin felt soft, smooth and toned. I also really loved the scent, which is enhanced by the Calendula Flower, which is a soft, green/floral fragrance.

I loved using this after a long day out in the sun/beach or after a trip to the gym/sauna as well.  It really refreshed and recharged my skin and made it makeup ready without needing a lot of additional products layered on top.

This is a perfect cleanser for combination/normal and even acne prone skin since it does such a great job of cleansing, while being ultra gentle at the same time.

Tip: If you want to really enhance the foaming/cleansing, try pairing this with a Clarisonic, which was pure heaven in the morning for me! - RLB

*This product was provided courtesy of Kiehl's PR for reviewing purposes.

Beauty Find - Laura Mercier Waterproof Mascara

If you're anything like me, it doesn't matter if I'm going to be traveling to/working in/visiting a hot/humid place, (or just working out) - I will not give up my mascara.

And if that sounds like you, then Laura Mercier Waterproof Mascara is the perfect product.

This is a wonderful formula that is truly waterproof - while still creating soft, gentle natural looking healthy lashes. It has a thin/medium weight liquid texture and larger, cone-shaped brush.  The tip of the brush did a great job of getting in my inner/outer corners, as well as my bottom lashes.  The effect of this mascara formula +brush gave me perfectly separated lashes and a deep black finish which I loved.

I found 2-3 coats gave me a great amount of additional length and thickness perfect for day or night. Tip:I waited about 30 sec. before moving on to my eyeliner, as this formula dried a bit slower than some. But once it was set that was it - it did not budge, move, smudge, flake or run - no matter how hot or humid it was.  This even stood the ultimate test - staying on in the pool and at the beach.

While some waterproof mascaras are terribly hard to remove, I found that a oil-based/creamy cleanser did a fantastic job of removing the mascara at the end of the day.  Occasionally, I would go over my lashes quickly with a oil-based eye makeup remover just to finish the job.

This is such a great everyday mascara you'll find yourself reaching for it even when it's not summer! - RLB

*This product was provided courtesy of Laura Mercier PR for reviewing purposes.

Body Care Find - Votre Vu Silk Stockings

While the concept of applying a skin care product that would give your legs the effect of wearing stockings is not new, it's also not easy to pull off.

I've found over the years that some products that promise to improve and enhance the skin on legs are are too heavy, don't have a color that works for all skin tones, is not moisturizing enough or contains too much shimmer/glitter to look natural in daylight.

But I was very pleasantly surprised by Votre Vu's latest body care product, Silk Stockings Leg Lustre.  It's a lightweight, hydrating lotion that gives legs a glow - but not over the top color or shimmer, which is all you really need in the summertime.  

The formula comes out of the bottle a pale, shimmery bronze shade, but once it is applied to skin, it becomes much more transparent, with a slight golden color and light diffusion particles remaining.  It gave me the perfect amount of hydration as well (it's infused with Vit. E, Calendula and Chamomile).  

As directed, I applied about a quarter sized amount of my the Silk Stockings on each of my (dry) legs. Then I waited about a minute to let it set before getting dressed.  Once set, I loved the effect on my brown skin - small imperfections and dark discolorations were slightly diffused, and there was a beautiful, sheer layer of glow across my skin, with just a touch of color that looked completely natural. Note: If you are naturally lighter skinned you will have a subtle "tanned" effect as well.

I see this being a beauty weapon for summer rides-to-be, anyone hitting the red carpet or just for added confidence to wear bare legs at work.  I removed the product very easily in the shower with soap/water but during the day I didn't see any smudging or transfer on to my clothes/furniture, etc. 

Added bonus! This also works on arms and decolletage and makes skin looks just as healthy and glowing. This is a must have for your body care arsenal! - RLB

Drugstore Buy of the Week - Frederic Fekkai Hair Fragrance Mist Rose Fraiche

Long summer days can sometimes make your usually beloved fragrances seem too sweet - or heavy/cloying on your skin. 

But spritzing a lighter fragrance on your hair is a wonderful way to keep fragrance in your life when you feel like you're melting! 

Fekkai Hair Fragrance Mist, Fresh Rose is a lovely find that's available from Drugstore.com, Target as well as many nationwide drugstores. It's such a lovely treat and an affordable luxury at the same time. The mist is a ultra lightweight, soft, slightly powdery, rose scent with just a hint of sparkling citrus and smelled wonderful on my hair. Most importantly, I found it didn't dry it out or make it dull/stiff or sticky during the day. 

The scent is actually based on the rose fragrance in his Frederic Fekkai Technician hair care line, so if you're a big fan of those products, you'll surely love this addition. Fekkai Hair Fragrance Mist, Fresh Rose can be sprayed more heavily first thing in the morning for a continuous fragrance cloud around you, or as I liked to do, a few sprays in the am and more in the pm.to refresh. And yes, if you happen to get some on your wrists/neck etc, :) it will be a very subtle scent, but also smells wonderful on the skin. - RLB 

 Go--> Fekkai Hair Fragrance Mist, Fresh Rose, 1.7 fl oz 

Sneak Peek - 3.1 Phillip Lim for NARS Nail Collection

Summer time doesn't always HAVE to mean either sheer pastels - or bright, juicy nail polish colors either.
Sometimes you might want a moody, rich shade right in the middle of summer.
And Francois Nars is just the man to give it to you with the latest 3.1 Philip Lim for NARS Nail collection.  The two icons, makeup artist Francois Nars and fashion designer Philip Lim, have worked together for over 7 Fashion Week seasons.  The collection is a smart combination of both of their color and beauty philosophies.
The  limited edition nine shade collection is inspired by "colors that exist in the shadows".  They are beautiful jewel tones which span from blues, greens and deep purple shades to several metallic and hybrid colors, along with a few pale shades.
Two standout shades for me are: Insidious (shown, at the top).  This shade is exclusive to NARS Boutiques and narscosmetics.com), and is a unique black-bronze. Once on my nails,  Insidious was stunning with two coats.  It dried to a rich shiny green/bronze/black hybrid (and also looks almost like a shimmery black in certain light)..  

Crossroads (above, left) is a stunning bold and deep Violet shade (this even works for people like me who don't always gravitate towards purple nail shades).   African Violet has a creamy, glossy finish and is true to the shade in the bottle with two coats.
For summer, I think these shades make bold statements on the toes with a pair of beautiful sandals/killer heels. Come Fall, I'll switch up and use the shades on my nails as well.

If you fall in love with the entire collection, treat yourself and pick up the signature Pochette (above, right) which contains all nine shades! - RLB

Go-->3.1 Philip Lim for NARS Nail collection available on narscosmetics.com July 15th.

*These products were provided courtesy of NARS PR for reviewing purposes.

Beauty Innovation - Urban Decay Chill Makeup Setting Spray

On a hot, sweltering summer day - wouldn't you love a makeup setting spray that not only keeps your makeup IN PLACE - but also manages to cool your makeup down so it doesn't ever melt

If you're wondering how on earth this could happen, the genius' at Urban Decay and SKINDINAVIA have created what is probably one of the best all around "heavy duty" makeup setting sprays I've tried. These two companies came together and created an ingenious formula they call "Temperature Control Technology". 

What this means is that Urban Decay Chill Makeup Setting Spray has the ability to actually chill the surface of your makeup.  This which allows you to confidently have fresh looking makeup for up to 12 hours. 

So, to test, on a very hot morning, after applying my makeup, I finished off with a few spritz's of the Urban Decay Chill Makeup Setting Spray. The spray mist was very fine, lightweight and refreshing. It absorbed into and set on my skin within just a few seconds and I was ready to go! 

The real test came on several hot AND humid days I was both outside and inside for the majority of the day - out in the direct sun as well. By afternoon when I checked my makeup on that first day I was very impressed that my foundation/eye makeup/cheek color looked fresh, natural with no fading or melting. 

In particular,Urban Decay Chill Makeup Setting Spray did a great job of keeping my concealer in place, (which is usually the first area to go when I'm perspiring and running around outside). Tip: On days when I knew I would be outdoors the majority of the day or at outdoor events in high temps. I applied this setting spray both before (as a primer) and after I finished my makeup. When I did this my makeup did not budge at all

Also, only about 2-3 pumps are needed (less is more with this spray for best results!) The spray provides continuous hydration, but did not make me feel or look too oily. However, the finish is what I would call slightly dewy/natural - it's not a matte finish. At the end of the night my makeup barely looked any different than it had in the morning. 

 Another great way to use the spray is by putting it in the refrigerator, which enhances the chill/refreshing effect on skin. This is a brilliant product that you should stock up on for summer! - RLB 

Purchase Here: Urban Decay Chill Makeup Setting Spray 4 oz