2014...A Look Back at The Year in Beauty

                                                                                     Photo by: Peter Lippmann. Courtesy of @Stefony 

Well...we've come to the end of another amazing year in beauty!

Thank you all for being regular readers who interact with Palacinka Beauty via this blog, as well as Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

There have been quite a few exciting products that we've shared - like this amazing primer, mascara, sun protecting moisturizer, lipstick, nail polish, conditioner, cleanser, fragrance, body lotion, mask - and even beauty app.

And as always, we found lots of Holiday Gift ideas for the beauty lovers in your life (which you can scoop up for yourself after getting a little Holiday money from Santa or that special someone! :). By the way, if you haven't already, please also take a look at two recent features about Jergens BB Body Skin Perfecting Cream  and 2 new Elizabeth Arden products that will keep you looking glamorous all Holiday season. 

I was also featured in New Jersey Magazine, which was another great highlight and perfect way to end my year.

I hope you've found many great beauty products this year that have worked for you, including lots of our Drugstore Buys.

Please don't hesitate to let us know if you're looking for specific product reviews in the new year.  There's lots more beauty and great projects coming in 2015. Stay tuned!

I'll take a little time off to travel "across the pond", but you can still keep up with my Euro beauty discoveries and updates via Twitter and Instagram.

I wish you all Happy Holidays and a Happy (Beautiful!) New Year.   - RLB

Budget Beauty Buy - e.l.f Studio BB Cream SPF 20

Well, BB Cream is NOT over and it's not dead in 2014 guys. 

e.l.f. has a new BB Cream with SPF 20 that shows that there's still a lot of great innovation in the BB space. 

e.l.f Studio BB Cream SPF 20 has a formula which actually gives you a primer, moisturizer, coverage and sun protection all in one product - for just $6.00. 

This is a great BB Cream option for those of you with drier/very dry skin (naturally or just during the Winter months) - or who are going for a dewy look. 

I was extremely impressed with the texture and coverage of this BB Cream. The texture felt slightly thick but still very smooth and silky when I applied it.  Once on my skin, it instantly melted and absorbed, but with a dewy finish  The coverage is almost that of a foundation - but it still felt very lightweight. I used the Dark shade (shown, above), which was a good match for me, and had the right mix of yellow and orange undertones. 

The hydration lasted all day, which makes this ideal to wear in the cold, winter temps. If you have great skin tone, this will give enough coverage that you probably won't need concealer, but if you have more prominent discoloration, like dark under eye circles, you will need some concealer along with this BB Cream.  Another great feature is the SPF 20, (which is important even in the Winter months).  I also road tested this with a primer and without, (since it states it has a primer in it), and I have to say I was pleased with both.  I'd say if you're really pressed for time in the AM, it's certainly going to still work for you without a primer.

If you're on the search for a reasonably priced all-in-one BB Cream, or need one with more coverage and hydration than you've had in the past - this is the one! - RLB

Go--> e.l.f Studio BB Cream SPF 20   

*This product was provided courtesy of e.l.f. PR for reviewing purposes.

Drugstore Buy of the Week - Nivea Creme

Your Mother, (and maybe even Grandmother!) may have used Nivea Creme faithfully for decades.

And here's why.  Even after all these years, Nivea Creme is one of the best inexpensive all-purpose cremes - and it's now in a convenient Travel Sized tin.

The creme is very thick and doesn't have a lot of "slip" like some modern formulas, but don't let that deter you.  When I applied it, I simply added to the palm of my hand and warmed it up before spreading over the top side of my hands.

Once it warmed up and spread more easily.  Then I was able to use this creme in a lot of ways. I applied in every night as an overnight cuticle treatment, as well as adding to my feet and toes to keep them moisturized and soft as well during cold winter nights!

The creme is very concentrated and even this small 1 oz tin will last you several months with daily use.  Some other ways it can be used are to sooth mild eczema flare ups, to add to dry elbows and other dry patches on the body, as a makeup remover, and on the face/lips on extremely cold days.

Like the classic formula from years ago, this does have a fairly strong scent upon application which is their original, slightly sweet/floral mix.  I like it and find it soothing.  

Pick up a few of these and add to to your office stash, daily bag and gym/travel bag too! - RLB

Go-->Nivea Creme Travel Sized Tin, 1 oz

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

2014 Holiday Beauty Find - Burt's Bees A Bit of Burt's Bees

This beauty gift is the perfect pairing for that beauty lover in your office, your teenager niece or anyone who's a big fan of Burt's Bees.

Burt's Bees A Bit of Burt's Bees comes gift ready in a cute holiday package which has a golden bow and a cut out top just ready for that tree!

The duo contains two of Burt's Bees most famous and "buzz"-worthy products Beeswax Lip Balm, in Replenishing Pomegranate Oil with a travel-friendly Mini Hand Salve Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream.

Not only is Pomegranate one of Burt's Bees best tasting lip balms in my opinion (there are 3 other lip balm flavor gift duos available as well), but it's also fantastic to instantly moisturize and sooth dry/cracked lips, with an all natural formula. 

The Lemon Butter cuticle cream is a must have for at home manicures and those who love the scent of real, authentic lemon.  The can be used on hands, of course, and is also great on the toes.  It makes cuticles instantly soft and with daily use nasty hang nails and split nails are a thing of the past.

With their small sizes, both products can easily be part of your daily bag to use when ever you need them.

At just $4.99 you can make several people happy with this one for this holiday season :) - RLB

Go-->Burt's Bees A Bit of Burt's Bees

2014 Holiday Beauty Gift Find - Sonia Kashuk Holiday Limited Edition Deco Starlet Eye Shadow Palette

I've got 1 more great Sonia Kashuk holiday beauty gift find for that makeup lover in your life.

Sonia Kashuk Holiday Limited Edition Deco Starlet Eye Shadow Palette looks like many eye shadow palettes 3 times the price - but won't set you back nearly that much.

The palette features 4 shades in a glamorously Art-Deco designed compact.  The shades include a: shimmery brown (my favorite shade and very versatile) , matte black, metallic gold and creamy white shadow.

All four shadows work well together and have great pigment, smooth consistency and blend very well. There is a mirror included but no brushes.

This one is so nice as a stocking stuffer you may want to set one aside for yourself too! - RLB

Go--> Available nationwide at Target stores and Target.com.

Beauty Find - Tina K Antioxidant K Brightening Antioxidant Creme

I love when I can end my beauty year with a product that truly impresses me, and you'll love it to.

Tina K Antioxidant K Brightening Antioxidant Creme is from the Los Angeles-based skin care line founded by it's namesake, esthetician, Tina K.  She created her products because she believed strongly in sunscreen, but feared that many of her clients were not getting enough Vitamin D, which occurs naturally from the sun.

So she set about creating a powerful ingredient that could be added to all her products, called Reflect-K. Within her proprietary blend, it acts as both a shield to indoor and outdoor damaging light, helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and also mimics the effects of Vitamin D to smooth, tone and tighten skin. 

At first, I was skeptical as to how this product would feel, with all the shielding properties, but I was pleasantly surprised!

The texture is more like that of a thick, smooth serum.  It felt lightweight and silky on my skin, and upon first applying, it did in fact, feel like I was putting a thin layer of a :mask" on my face - but then, just as suddenly the cream absorbed completely into my skin, with no trace of residue or stickiness. The cream dried completely clear and there was no white or grey cast to my skin. 

My skin felt completely hydrated and baby soft smooth, but my more oily areas were not overly shiny. After several weeks of use, I was very impressed with the tone, texture and evenness in color of my skin..

The finish is semi matte, and there's no major fragrance in it.  I also found it an excellent substitute for a primer, as it left the surface of my skin completely smooth to begin applying my makeup.  This product does have a luxury price tag, but it's quite concentrated (I only needed 1 pump per application), and with the advanced technology behind it, and of course, the results - it's worth it.

If you've never heard of Tina K, don't worry, I suspect you will be hearing a lot more from her and this line.  Make sure you order yours so you can start 2015 with your best skin! - RLB

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

2014 Holiday Beauty Find - SEPHORA COLLECTION All Access Glam Gold and Silver Eye and Face Palette

Calling all eye shadow fans!

This year, indulge all their desires with this SEPHORA COLLECTION All Access Glam Gold and Silver Eye and Face Palette.

This palette has gorgeous metallic shades, along with a highlighter (very flattering warm gold tone) - and 4 blushes.  The eye shadow shades are perfect for creating glamorous eye looks and party looks.  The  Gold and Silver shades can be worn alone, or blended together (which is my personal favorite).

The palette also includes a full sized mirror.  It's small enough for a average day bag, to stash in a office desk drawer and to toss in a travel bag.
The shadows are great quality, with good pigmentation and are smooth and easy to blend.  The shimmer is very pretty and the metallic shades work well for wintertime.  And the Palette is versatile enough to also create more natural looks as there are a several neutral matte shades included in the palette as well.  The blush pans are on the small side, but will work with a smaller or blush brush to pick up a just the right amount of product.

This is a great deal at only $15 and a palette that will get a lot of use! - RLB
*This product was provided courtesy of SEPHORA PR for reviewing purposes.

Beauty App Find - MyTime

If you've ever wished there were an easy way to book appointments for all your favorite beauty services, the new app,
My Time, is just what you need.

Both the app (and their companion site www.mytime.com) allow you to search by your zip code all the beauty 
businesses in your area, access their offerings and service information and then make an appointment in just a few minutes.

For those businesses that are in the directory but not yet signed up with the MyTime service, My Time also offers a concierge
service where they will call up your salon, spa, etc. and make the appointment for you.  All appointments are confirmed via a very handy e-mail system, as well as on the site when you set up an account.

When I road tested the service, I made an manicure appointment with one of my local nail salons, which was not part of the network. The MyTime reps did a fantastic job confirming my appointment and taking care of all the details before I arrived.  They even thew in an extra 10 minute massage! :)

While Health/Beauty appointments are what I focused on when test driving this app, MyTime also allows you to make appointments for many useful every day categories like: Automotive, Home + Garden, Pets, Medical +Dental and Sports +Fitness.

Start of 2015 with all your beauty needs taken care with just a click and a swipe on your smartphone! - RLB


Click to download the iPhone app (also available for Android)

2014 Holiday Beauty Gift Find - Ole Henriksen The Clean Truth Cleansing Duo

Here's a skincare duo from one of my favorite brands, Ole Henriksen, that's a sure fire beauty stocking stuffer hit.

With Ole Henriksen The Clean Truth(TM) Cleansing Duo, for just $10 you get two of Ole Henriksen's best selling products to cleanse and brighten skin.  This is a perfect set to take on a holiday trip or just to introduce the beauty lover in your life to Ole Henriksen's fantastic skincare products.

The due contains: 
10 x The Clean Truth(TM) Cleansing Cloths: Brightening 
1.5 oz African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser

The cleanser is perfect for normal/combination skins, and it rinses clean without making skin feel tight or dry.  The The Clean Truth(TM) Cleansing Cloths are smooth, soft and hold the perfect amount of liquid (no too wet or dry).  The cloths clean well without making skin feel sticky, and can remove all makeup , including waterproof and long wear, easily without having to tug on pull on the skin.

The scent of both products are divine too!  A nice, fresh citrus which is not too strong and smells very authentic. - RLB

2014 Holiday Beauty Gift Find - Flower by Drew Barrymore Luxe n Lacquered Nail Set, Rose Gold

I've just found another great option for the nail polish lover in your life, and it's from none other than actress Drew Barrymore, creator of the Flower Beauty brand available exclusively at Walmart. 

Flower by Drew Barrymore Luxe n Lacquered Nail Set, Rose Gold contains 3 Flower by Drew Barrymore nail lacquers in pretty, soft pink shades that will work for everyone. I was very impressed with the creamy, mid-weight polishes which also contain built in base and top coat. 

There is one lighter, pale pink shade and a darker, more dusky rose shade.The glitter polish in the center is a nice touch, with a combination of gold, pink and rose gold chunky glitter. This allows you more options to top off either of the other pink shades, create nail art or of course, wear on it's own. 

 This set is a great price and a nice entry into the Flower by Dew Barrymore line. - RLB 

Go-->Flower by Drew Barrymore Luxe n Lacquered Nail Set, Rose Gold available at Walmart and Walmart.com.

2014 Holiday Beauty Gift Find - mark. On the Dot Lip Gloss Compact

I've found another great gift for the lip product lover!

mark. On the Dot Lip Gloss Compact contains 9 sheer lip colors in lots of bright, cherry pink, red and coral shades.  For those times when you want a more subdued lip, there's also a very pretty pink-brown nude and a sheer pink.

These lip colors are moisturizing and lightweight.  They are perfect for the woman who wants an easy, goof-proof selection of flattering shades.

The palette includes a small lip brush and mirror.  The compact is thin and very lightweight, so this makes it easy to toss into a travel bag or purse to change up your color from day to night. - RLB

Go--> mark. On the Dot Lip Gloss Compact 

Drugstore Buy of the Week - L'Oreal Color Riche Collection Privee The Perfect Nudes in Liya's Nude

I noticed the L'Oreal Paris Colour Riche Collection in a L'Oreal magazine ad months ago, but only recently stumbled upon the color that's MY nude in the drugstore.

L'Oreal Paris Colour Riche Collection Exclusive Lip Color, Liya's Nude 630 is a great nude that's not a pink based brown,  but more of a brown/rust that looks great on women within the range Liya's brown complexion, like me.  For those of you who may not be familiar with her, Liya Kebede is a beautiful Ethiopian supermodel, and a L'Oreal Spokesperson.

Please note that the color in pictures on many online retailers may appear darker than it is in person.  

This is a brown that gave me the perfect "your lips but better" nude.  If you've been hesitant about buying nude lipsticks for fear they would be too light, too pink or beige, have no fear with this one!

Liya's Nude is a brown that has a medium-sheer finish, and a touch of red/rust to bring the shade to life on the lips against darker skin.  There are tiny shimmer particles which are more evident in the tube than when applied to the lips.  These show up as just a bit of a luminous finish which I loved.

The scent is the classic L'Oreal Paris Colour Riche (which I understand is either a "love it or hate it scent"), but it doesn't linger very long after application anyway.  The staying power is average since it's sheerer finish, but I still got about 3 hours before having to touch up.  If you have very dry lips or will be in cold temps for a longer period of time I do also recommend using a good lip balm underneath

Even if you have a lighter complexion, this would be perfect for a cool or edgy brown/rust red lip look that you might be going for.

And last but not least, I LOVE the packaging.  It's very chic and befitting a special limited edition collection.  The Liya signature and gold band in the center of the tube are two special touches many of you will appreciate when you take it out of your bag for touch ups.  - RLB

2014 Holiday Beauty Gift Find - SEPHORA COLLECTION 24 Karat Gold Mine Brush Set

I've searched through Holiday makeup brush sets for weeks now, and have found another winner perfect for gift giving!  

SEPHORA COLLECTION 24 Karat Gold Mine Brush Set is glam, chic, and most important for that Diva in your life  - 24 Karat Gold .

Not only is the packaging and brush display beautiful for the vanity, but the brushes are extremely high quality and made with actual 24 Karat Gold. 

All 6 brushes included in the set are very soft (with 3 unique shapes) are not only great for a keepsake, but also work with multiple makeup products. The brush heads are very densely packed and they distribute product very well.  Equally as important, they are also a breeze to clean (and no shedding!).

The brushes in the SEPHORA COLLECTION 24 Karat Gold Mine Brush Set include: 

 Natural flush blush  -This can be used for powder or cream blush, as well as bronzer or finishing powder.
- Complexion perfector -This can be used for foundation, BB/CC cream, or primer.
- All over shadow brush (New and exclusive shape)  - This can be used for eye shadow, cream or powder illuminating products, as well as bronzer.
- Dimension crease brush  - Perfect for blending out eye shadows.
- Precision corrector brush (New and exclusive shape) -This is for cleaning up eye shadow mistakes or making a precise smoky eye.
- Soft focus liner brush (New and exclusive shape) -This can be used with powder or gel liners.
- Brush stand 

Looking for a travel makeup brush set gift idea? Read 2014 Holiday Gift Find - Laura Mercier Travel Luxe Brush Set 

While SEPHORA COLLECTION 24 Karat Gold Mine Brush Set is not an on -the go- brush collection (click here for a gift great option for travel brushes), this is for the true makeup lover or makeup artist who really loves to play with makeup, and wants great looking tools to work with. - RLB

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

2014 Holiday Beauty Gift Find - Sonia Kashuk Holiday Limited Edition Decadence Shimmering Body Soufflé


Give the gift of decadent body care this holiday season (that is also sneakily a budget buy!) with Sonia Kashuk Holiday Limited Edition Decadence Shimmering Body Soufflé 

The texture of this cream will really impress you.  It's thick, yet creamy and non greasy.  The cream melted right into my skin leaving a beautiful low-key shimmer and glow that I loved.  

The Body Souffle contains ultra moisturizing Shea Butter, Sweet Almond Protein and White Tea Extract which all help to soften and hydrate skin, as well as protect it from cold, harsh air and lack of moisture.  This cream is unscented, but if you're looking for a great Sonia Kashuk scented product, try this gift idea.

This is the perfect cream to add that special touch of glow for all their glamorous and fun filled holiday events this year! - RLB

Go-->Available exclusively in Target stores and Target.com 

2014 Holiday Beauty Gift Find - Tory Burch Rollerball Cracker

Last year I shared with you the debut fragrance Tory Burch, Tory Burch.

It's a scent that's masculine - and yet has a very sophisticated femininity about it as well.  If you have a fragrance lover in your life that's already a big Tory Burch fan, or just likes to experiment with mature, more complex types of scents, the Tory Burch Tory Burch Rollerball Cracker is a fantastic choice for the holidays.

This beautifully packaged set includes the Tory Burch Tory Burch Rollerball Cracker and Tory Burch signature Tory-Orange printed gift box which you can save for a keepsake and use for storage.

Here's another nice gift tie in or an add on stocking stuffer: Tory Burch Lip + Cheek Tint - Cat's Meow (pictured, left), which is a very flattering, warm sheer pink shade with glamorous, gold packaging.

So put a smile on someone's face this holiday when they open up this cheery orange package from Tory Burch!. - RLB

Fragrance Notes:
Neroli, Grapefruit, Cassis, Bergamot, Peony, Tuberose, Jasmine Sambac, Vetiver, Sandalwood. 

2014 Holiday Beauty Gift Find - Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette

If there's one thing Hourglass does amazingly well, it's take a category - say, in this instance, Blush - and create something altogether unique and flattering.

The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette will be any beauty lover's dream gift this year.  These are not just blushes with various shades baked inside - Hourglass has fused Ambient Lighting Powder, its cutting-edge collection of finishing powders, with an array of vivid cheek colors.

The result are three shades that are not only versatile and work well together, but can also work on all skin tones (as either straight blush or a highlighter for those with very deep skin tones).

The three shades in Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette (shown,above) are Luminous Flush (champagne rose) (l), Incandescent Electra (cool peach)(c), Mood Exposure (soft plum)(r).  

Out of the three, Mood Exposure is the one that will show up with enough pigment on all skin tones, and is actually one of the prettiest shades Hourglass has created.  It is a bit pinker on the skin than true plum and makes skin look healthy and finished - but also quite natural. 

Like the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette, the textures of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette are also creamy smooth, super-finely milled and blend like a dream.  

The effect is color PLUS, beautiful, "lit from within" glow effect on the skin.  There's no glitter, but the finely milled shimmer/mica is part of what gives the illuminating effect as well.

Having the three shades are fantastic for travel as you can get many different looks out of them, and the palette and slim enough to toss into a regular purse or cosmetic bag.

If you're thinking of treating yourself, keep in mind this is a great buy from since a single blush from Hourglass is $35 for .15 oz of product, and this palette has .11oz of each blush for less than double the price of two single blushes.
P.S. I love this palette so much I also recommended it my my recent Dec. 2014 New Jersey Magazine feature! - RLB

2014 Holiday Beauty Gift Find - Hard Candy Cube of Color Nail Collection Nail Polish Set

Have a nail polish fanatic to please this holiday season?

Then there will be nowhere better to look than to Hard Candy.

The Hard Candy Cube of Color Nail Collection Nail Polish Set includes 24 (yes 24!) .08 fl oz nail polishes in a handy cube holding case.

With all of these polishes, there's literally something for everyone and every mood - cremes, shimmer and glitter finishes in pale pastels, bright neons, reds, blues, pinks and edgy, unique metallics too.

Hard Candy has proved that budget friendly nail polish doesn't have to be "cheap" by any means.  These formulas have a smooth, creamy texture, great shine and fantastic color pigmentation. With a good base and top coat they also can last 5+ days before chipping.

This cube is perfect to experiment with new colors you're never tried, to mix and match, do nail art or to change it up from week to week when you get bored!

And with this great price of $14.88 - you can pick up one for yourself or a second friend all for under $30! - RLB

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

2014 Holiday Beauty Gift Find - Peter Thomas Roth 4 Piece Rose Set

This gift pick is for the Rose fans!

Peter Thomas Roth has packaged some of his loveliest skincare in a set, along with a rose printed cosmetic clutch (pictured, above), this holiday season.

The set includes three products which are great to sample for the first time if you're new to the line, or for a special indulgence while traveling this holiday season.

All of the products in the Rose Stem Cell line will work with all skin types, and are perfect to hydrate and protect skin.

The three products are: 
 Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Cleansing Gel (100 ml / 3.3 oz)
• Peter Thomas Roth Pink Bombshell Lip Balm (.40 oz)

The Gel Mask is one of my favorites, as it has a lightweight feel, beautiful fragrance and really works to give skin a touch of glow before  heading out for a big holiday party!  The Cleansing Gel is non-drying and leaves skin soft to the touch.  And the Lip Balm  is a luscious treat for lips with it's lightweight, but creamy texture which absorbs into lips instantly and works well under lip products or on it's own.

This is a skincare set they'll always remember you for. - RLB

2014 Holiday Beauty Gift Find - NARS Modern Future Roman Holiday Lip, Cheek + Nail Set

We all know that special someone in our lives who LIVES for pink makeup.

Now you can indulge their love this holiday with the NARS Modern Future Roman Holiday Lip, Cheek + Nail Set.

All three products feature a very feminine and highly pigmented soft pink shade.  The Nail Polish in particular is so flattering on fingers when you want a unique pink shade.  The blush can be layered softly for paler skin or more strongly for darker skin tones and in either case, just lights up the face.The lipstick glides on lips, has great staying power and gives that fun, candy-pink lip so many love.
All three products are gift-giving ready in a very festive and unique limited edition keepsake box.  

Don't wait to pick this one up! - RLB

Go-->NARS Modern Future Roman Holiday Lip, Cheek + Nail Set 

2014 Holiday Beauty Gift Find - Anna Sui Limited Edition Body Powder Puff

Today's gift pick is for those that love using body powders - and for those that love festive, unique packaging!

Anna Sui Limited Edition Powder Puff not only features a bright, cherry red puff and signature Anna Sui-patterned wand applicator - but it also has the powder already filled inside the puff.

So all you have to do when ever you want a little shimmer before a big night out is just tap the puff and the powder will release gently on your skin.

The shimmer is noticeable, but very fine, and the color is flattering to all skin tones since is a combination of pink and golden pearl powder.

The puff is super fluffy and soft, (and after the powder is finished, you can use as a puff applicator with another powder of your choice).

This is one for a beauty lovers display collection for sure - a true "fairy-like" beauty item :) - RLB

Go-->Anna Sui Limited Edition Body Powder Puff available at b-glowing.com.