Drugstore Buy of the Week - Caress Fine Fragrance Body Wash with 12 HR Fragrance Release

Caress has just changed the body wash game (in an admittedly very crowded product category that just keeps growing).

Their latest Caress Fine Fragrance Body WashesAdore Forever, and Love Forever, are made with new technology which releases their fragrances upon touching the skin for up to 12 hours. They are the world's first body wash with what they call, "Fragrance Release Pearls."

Both versions have a thick and silky texture, and they are floral based scents. Adore Forever was the one I kept reaching for because it's also layered with beautiful spicy and slightly warm, musky notes which lingered beautifully after rinsing it off.

While using the body wash in the shower, it left my skin soft and hydrated, with no residue or film when I rinsed.  

About an hour after my morning shower, I was adjusting my bracelets touching my wrist, when, it a quick flash, the Adore Forever scent came softly wafting up to my nose.  Not a big gust or cloud of scent, but a very nice, direct stream of the fragrance.  

By the evening, touching my skin continued to release more subtle streams of the fragrance.  As a matter of fact, the effects lasted for me until the very next morning.  

I think this also makes a great fragrance product for those who are busy in the AM and don't have time to add a perfume, and for those really hot, summer days when you don't feel like layering additional products that may smell to heavy in the heat.

Give these a try to mix up your morning shower or after gym routine.  I think it would also be fun for Caress to launch a summer fragrance version in a few months too! - RLB

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

Beauty Find - L'Oreal Paris Brow Stylist Plumper Brow Gel Mascara

L'Oreal has been killing it lately with new products that take a common beauty item and tweak it so that it's something all together more brilliant - and useful.

L'Oreal Paris Brow Stylist Plumper Brow Gel Mascara, is a brow gel made for grooming and shaping eyebrows.  But this new version contains tiny fibers, similar to fiber mascaras, which thicken and plump up the hairs of the brows. 

The wand has a cone shaped brush on the end that looks like a tiny mascara applicator.  The formula is thin and lightweight without being drippy or messy.

I used just a few swipes on the inner and outer edges of my brows, which are the only areas that are thinner for me, and was very pleased at the control I had when applying it. 

The gel dried quickly to hold my brows in place and within seconds I could see more visible hairs.  Note: I used the Transparent  version (shown, left), for a more natural, day-to-day look, and the Medium to Dark (shown, top) for a slightly more dramatic finish.

Once the gel dried, it did not flake, gum up (it can also be used in conjunction with your favorite brow pencil if you desire), or cause my brows to be overly stiff.  Both the Transparent and the Medium to Dark version did not smudge, melt  or fade during the day (this is going to be my go-to eye grooming product when it's scorching hot and humid in summer time!).  I found a little went a long way, and for best results, I recommend going in with a very thin layer and then building gradually only in the areas of your brows that need it.

The gel is easy to remove at the end of the day with any regular eye makeup remover or your general cleansing product.

L'Oreal Paris Brow Stylist Plumper Brow Gel Mascara  is perfect for those of you who want groomed natural looking brows, and just need to amp up your current brow shape with more thickness, fullness and texture. It's so easy to use it will become another "I can't live without it" product in your beauty bag! - RLB

Note: There is also a Light to Medium version for those with blond or light brown brows.

Beauty Find - Laura Mercier Paint Wash Liquid Lip Colour

I LOVE hybrid products.

So, it's perfect that Laura Mercier  has just created one of the prettiest kinds - a long wear (hydrating) lip stain - with a glossy finish.

I wanted a nice red, and Laura Mercier Paint Wash Liquid Lip Colour Vermillion Red was perfect.  The gloss is very lightweight yet still creamy - and highly concentrated.

Just a few dabs with the applicator and my lips had the full, rich red in the tube.  It lasted through the morning and several drinks and meals (there was a little transfer on to cups, etc.)

But 5-6 hours in, the rich red was still there as a stain on my lips.  While the initial shine wore down, the finish still looked fresh and dewy (or a demi-matte), with no additional touch ups.

The formula is also very hydrating and the color is buildable if you want just a touch of red for the day, for example, and a really "knock 'em dead" red lip at night.  

Another favorite shade of mine for a natural, every day look is Laura Mercier Paint Wash Liquid Lip Colour Rosewood (shown, above left).  It's the perfect blend of a medium pink with a touch of brown.  

If you've had issues with long wear or lip stain products drying out your lips or looking too matte, Laura Mercier Paint Wash Liquid Lip Colour  solves that problem beautifully! - RLB

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

Beauty Find - Lancome Teint Miracle Foundation

Do you need to wear foundation - but hate feeling like you have any on?

Then Lancome TEINT MIRACLE  is really that- a miracle foundation.

It's lightweight, concentrated, yet it still leaves me with good coverage and a "my skin but better" effect.

I used Suede 520W (shown, above), which was a good match for me now that it's Winter. I only needed a dime's sized amount for medium coverage, and much less for light, weekend coverage. 

Lancome TEINT MIRACLE is very silky and has a thin liquid like texture, but once on the skin, it gave me very good light to medium coverage - with a beautiful, dewy (not oily!) finish. The feel on the skin was completely weightless.  I used a foundation brush to apply, and a smaller brush or beauty blender when I wanted to do spot application, for example under the eyes in lieu of concealer.

For daytime, I often used a bit of pressed powder only on my t-zone, but TEINT MIRACLE still kept a nice fresh, dewy finish.

This is ideal for drier or combination skin. I really felt like it added a nice layer of hydration during the day to drier areas like my cheeks.

Lancome TEINT MIRACLE has SPF 15 (and still manages to not leave any white or grey color to the skin).  The line also has a very full selection of shades to choose from (on Lancome.com), even within the darker tones, which is another great plus. - RLB

*This product was provided courtesy of Lancome for reviewing purposes.

Drugstore Buy of the Week - Biore Charcoal Pore Minimizer

So here's the good news:

If washing your face with charcoal does NOT turn you off, this is one of the most effective ways to exfoliate and tone skin - especially in the t-zone area.

The bad news is that even if using charcoal (natural charcoal has the ability to draw out impurities in skin by the way), doesn't bother you in theory, this is a black foamy product that looks a bit like dirt coming out of the tube.

But boy, does Biore Charcoal Pore Minimizer do the trick!

The product comes in a plastic tube with a pump (Note: you must press the pump several times to activate the product to come out the very first time you use it).  I dampened my face, used one pumps' worth of the pore minimizer and the product turned from the black shade to a white foamy product once I mixed it with water.  

The Biore Charcoal Pore Minimizer micro crystals gives the product a fine, but effective, grit.  It was smooth and slightly gel-like in it's feel, but it really made me feel like it was getting inside my pores and thoroughly cleaning my skin. The product has a great, fresh scent by the way (it doesn't smell like charcoal!), which really perked me up

After rinsing off, I was very impressed with how much "tighter" and smooth the area around my nose and cheeks looked - and felt.  The effect did last through applying my makeup for the day ,etc., so this also makes an ideal product to start your night time pre-party makeup prep. While the effect did go away, each of the 2-3 times a week I used it, I had a same result. My skin was smooth and had the most beautiful sheen and glow.

If you have oily or combination skin, moisturizing afterwards will depend on what you might need that day, but if you have slightly drier skin, I would recommend adding a hydrating serum or moisturizer after the treatment, as it does have a bit of a drying effect as it tightens the skin.  I didn't experience any irritation or breakouts, even with the exfoliating effect.

While a product cannot actually make you pores smaller, Biore Charcoal Pore Minimizer definitely will give you the temporary appearance of a smoother surface by way of the deep cleansing the charcoal provides - all without irritating skin. This is now a MUST have in my skincare collection- RLB

Go-->Biore Charcoal Pore Minimizer, 3.11 Fluid Ounce (Also available at most drugstores and mass merchants nationwide)

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

Body Care Find - Lancome Nutrix Royal BodyCream

Lancome Nutrix Royal Body Cream is about as rich, luxurious and decadent as a body cream can get.

The texture of the body butter was thick and dense in the jar, but remarkably silky and lightweight when I applied it to my skin. There was a bit of oily or "slick" feeling to the cream when it first went on, but within seconds it absorbed into the skin. My skin was immediately hydrated with a beautiful glistening sheen, which was perfect for my drier legs and feet.  Equally as impressive, this cream gave me lasting moisture and relief from dry skin all day long - even in very harsh, cold temperatures.

This cream is scented, and it's a very pleasant fresh floral that could double as a very light fragrance for the day.  The scent lingered softly for a few hours on me but it was not overwhelming.  Another plus:  The jar is huge, and the cream is very concentrated (about a Quarter-sized amount is enough for several areas of the body each). So while this is not an inexpensive product, the quality certainly makes it a value buy, since you'll be indulging with it every day (trust me).

While this is a body cream, I have to say, it also doubled as a intense overnight hand treatment for me, as well as a hand cream during the day when I was at home after hand washings. During this harsh winter, this is the cream that I keep reaching for every day.  It continues to make my skin softer and improve the tone as well.  Lancome Nutrix Royal Body also makes an excellent treat after doing at-home spa treatments. You'll actually feel as pampered as if you'd been to a spa :)

This is, hands down, one of the best luxury creams for dry and very dry skin - and it's worth every penny.  If you want to upgrade your everyday hydrating lotion, with superior performance, look no further than Lancome Nutrix Royal Body Cream - RLB

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

Beauty Find - Hourglass Modernist Eye shadow Palette

When a beauty product just "calls your name"  (even though you might not NEED it at that moment) - that's often the time to indulge.  And I've found that you're rarely disappointed.

Such is the case with Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palette Infinity. With a unique 3-D eye shadow shape and mold, as well as case design, this palette literally looks like a work of art.  The 5 shadows in the Infinity palette (shown, above) are not only a dream to look at, but they are beautiful, highly useful and flattering shades that will work on everyone.  

The shadows are a mix of matte and shimmer finishes, and all have a creamy, fine, silky texture which made them easy to apply and blend.  All of the shadows work well together, and with the Infinity (or Obscura) palettes, they are pretty much goof proof. 

I used the deeper shades for the crease as well as lining the upper and lower lash line. The shimmery shade was stunning in the center of the eye.  There are SO many ways you can use this palette for casual, professional or sexy night time looks.

The wear was very good (with or without eye shadow primer) with no flaking, smudging or fading during the day.The packaging is sleek, lightweight and compact, making this very easy to use for travel or tucking into your day bag for a touch up at the office before going out.

With a beautiful design, out of this wold pigmentation and unique, yet still very wearable shades, the Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palette Infinity.will be a welcome addition to your makeup (or Hourglass!) collection.  

Editor's Note: Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palette Obscura (shown, left), is another great choice for a slightly darker selection of neutrals with two shimmery shades!

There are also 3 other color palettes - so collect the ones your heart desires, and really have fun. :)RLB

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

Drugstore Buy of the Week - Gillette Venus Swirl + Gillette Venus Violet Swirl with a Touch of Olay Shave Gel

Luckily for all us women who shave, Gillette never stops their research and development of better razors and shaving systems.

Gillette Venus Swirl Women's Razor with Flexiball Technology  is a dream razor.  For those of you who usually use cheaper throw away razors, this will be a whole new shaving experience.

Let's start first with the design.  It has a pretty, violet handle and soft to the touch material which made it very easy to grip and shave with.  No matter the angle, I was able to easily turn and move the razor.  If you shave your legs and/or bikini area in particular, this feature will come in very handy!

Now, for those of you who are constantly battling razor cuts, this razor practically eliminates them.  That's because of their new 5 razor blades and  Flexiball Technology, which allows the blades to contour over any rough or uneven spots on the body.  All this, plus a water-activated MoistureGlide Serum surround the blades and provide a smooth glide over any areas.The blades themselves have a thinner, finer edge, which means it more easily adjusts to all the curves and contours of a woman’s body. 

But what really impressed me with the Gillette Venus Swirl Women's Razor was I got out of the shower without any cuts - or irritation/razor bumps. And I was able to shave all the hair much more efficiently.  For most areas, like my underarms, I was able to shave the hair in just a swipe or two of the razor.

The best companion to the Gillette Swirl Razor is the Gillette Venus with a Touch of Olay Shave Gel, Violet Swirl.  It's so rich, creamy, silky and concentrated (and yes,violet).I only needed the smallest amount (I only pressed the nozzle very lightly to get about a dime sized amount out). The shave gel was hydrating and soft barrier perfect for shaving legs, the bikini area and under arms.

After rinsing, my skin was soft, smooth, nick free and best of all - not dry or irritated.  I also found I could go an extra few days before shaving again, because of how close of a shave the razor's blades gave me.

Gillette Venus Swirl  and Shave Gel are now MUST HAVES in my shaving kit. - RLB

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

Health + Wellness Find - The Food Babe Way

Although the major focus of this blog has been beauty/personal care products that WORK, I've also long been a proponent of healthy supplements and healthy foods.

Nothing can boost the performance of any of the great products I feature more than great nutrition.  While I'm not a Vegan or Vegetarian exclusively, over the last few years, I've been consuming a lot more organic fruits/vegetables, Non-Generically Modified grains, hi-fiber and super foods like Goji Berries, Flax, Chia, Spirulina,  

In addition, I've also reduced the amount of refined, processed foods in my diet, as well as my dairy intake (switching to alternatives like Organic Almond and Coconut Milk), When you make these kids of changes in your diet, the effects on skin, nails, hair and even weight are remarkable.

Over the years, I've always made it a point on Palacinka Beauty Blog to feature health/wellness products and natural and organic beauty products as well (and more to come this year by the way!).

That's why I'm so happy to share this amazing new book with all of you, THE FOOD BABE WAY: Break Free from the Hidden Toxins in Your Food and Lose Weight, Look Years Younger, and Get Healthy in Just 21 Days! by Healthy Food Blogger and Food Activist, Vani Hari*.

I became acquainted with Hani's blog, Food Babe her healthy, organic food recipes, as well as her investigations of major food companies about 2 years ago.  

Hari has courageously put the heat on big food companies, getting them to disclose and remove toxic ingredients from many of the products we enjoy and encouraging us to live a clean, organic, healthy lifestyle away from the processed world

Did you know that your typical fast food French fries contain a chemical used in Silly Putty, or that your favorite fruit may have been sprayed heavily with pesticides that could be triggering your body to store fat? 

Here are just 3 tips from the book that, if you only made these changes - would significantly improve how you look and feel:
  • Drinking lemon water in the morning with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper on top: This will jump-start your metabolism as well as cleanse your body of toxins. 
  • Supplementing with 10 Superhero Foods that provide your body with a high ratio of nutrition to calories, making them the most nutritionally dense foods available. Ideas include: kimchi and yogurt; raw cacao, goji berries, chia seeds, spirulina, quinoa, and sprouts. 
  • Detoxing from added sugar by learning how to read food labels and only purchasing products that use organic, unprocessed sweeteners instead of lab-made additives.

Please watch the video below, and visit THE FOOD BABE WAY to learn more about Vani, the book, get FREE bonuses and order yours today!  - RLB

*Vani Hari’s life’s mission is to educate the world in how to live a clean, organic, healthy lifestyle in an overprocessed, contaminated-food world, and how to look and feel fabulous while doing it! With the mobilization of her “Food Babe army,” her successful petitions to companies such as Subway, Kraft, Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, and Anheuser-Busch have resulted in the removal of harmful ingredients from their food, steering them toward more healthful policies.


A copy of this book was provided courtesy of The Food Babe PR for reviewing purposes.

Fragrance Find - Eau de Gaga

Lady Gaga's first unisex fragrance does something that's not easy to do in perfumery (let alone in celebrity fragrances) - and that is, melding sharp, traditionally masculine notes with touches of flower and woods that make for an EXCELLENT fragrance. (Being a lover of Lady Gaga, or her debut fragrance, Fame, is not necessary to fall for this one at all!) 

Not sweet or floral, My first spray released tangy, zesty, crisp and sharp notes.There's LOTS of lime, combined with some musk top notes. It was very similar to the scent of men's aftershave (which I have always liked). While the opening certainly held my attention, it softened within a few minutes. What I discovered, however, is that when it warmed up a few hours later, it became even better. 

There were soft, subtle touches of leather, along with white violet and more soft musk that made it soft and sensual. It's a eau de parfum strength, but with more more staying power than usually found in that fragrance category. After a few spritzes in the morning, I got a full day's worth of the fragrance with no reapplication. What is remarkable about Eau de Gaga is how well balanced it is. Even as it warmed up on me later in the day, I could still get small bursts of sharp citrus, as well as woody and fresh notes. 

This, to me, is what a perfect unisex scent is all about.. Eau de Gaga is a scent that's unique in the celebrity fragrance category for sure, as well as a very well done unisex scent (at any price point). I could see men bringing out the more spicy or sharp notes in this scent, (depending on their body chemistry). For me personally, while I enjoy this in the current winter season, this will really be one I reach for in warmer weather and summer time (because of that fresh lime note!). 

Even though the bottle design and color are not groundbreaking, I do think it's sophisticated and can easily join more expensive perfumes you may have on your vanity, quite nicely. This well done scent is very price friendly, so if you get a bottle for you and your loved one to share for Valentine's Day, you really will have a fragrance you can both love. - RLB 

Go-->Available at most discount mass retailers such as Kohl’s, Walgreens, Sears, and Target. 

Fragrance Notes: White Violet, Sparkling Lime, Instinct Leather

This product was provided courtesy of Eau de Gaga PR for reviewing purposes.

Beauty Find - NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Powder

Only Francois Nars could come up with such a genius product - a pressed powder that mattifies oily areas, gives skin an even appearance and ALSO gives a luminizing finish.

NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder Translucent Crystal is the perfect finish to my makeup.  Just a few swipes across the powder with my brush or the accompanying makeup puff (shown, above), and I had a look I loved. I looked polished and matte in my t zone, but still with a slightly glowy look.

The powder filled in tiny pores on the nose, so the effect was velvety smooth.  I loved also using this as a setting powder under my eyes after concealer as well.

The fact that this powder is completely translucent  is another big plus, especially for women of color.  I had no trace of grey or white finish on my skin, and it worked equally well over my foundation and BB Cream, as well as over bare skin when I just wanted oil control. Even if you're heavy handed with NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder Translucent Crystal, it's amazing that it still doesn't cake up or look heavy.

Speaking of oil control, after applying in the morning, I was amazed at how well it kept my T-zone looking oil-free.  I generally only needed to touch up just once more in the late afternoon - and that's it!  My makeup looked fresh and kept it's color and consistency all day long as well.  It never got dry, flaky or cakey as the day went on.

NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder Translucent Crystal
 is now the only face product I have in my bag for touch ups. It comes with a very nice black NARS satin pouch with a band to hold the case and powder puff, which makes it ideal for travel as well.

NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder Translucent Crystal is the pressed powder that you need - whether you're a makeup artist, makeup lover or casual/occasional makeup wearer - RLB

Purchase Here: NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder Translucent Crystal

Note: When first using NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder Translucent Crystal you will need to swipe through the pan with some pressure a few times with a brush or your fingers to get trough a protective layer on top of the powder.

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

Drugstore Buy of the Week - Nivea In-Shower Hydrating Body Lotion

Recently, I shared with you an effective Face Mask that works while you sleep - the ultimate in lazy girl beauty (lol!)

Now I've got a way for you to moisturize your skin right in the shower - allowing you to (for the most part) skip the lotion post-shower - another lazy girl win!. Nivea In-Shower Body Lotions are activated by water and immediately absorb into the skin while you shower..

Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion Very Dry Skin Nourishing version perfect for dry/very dry body skin like mine.  After showering as usual, I stepped away from the shower head (so I was more damp than drenching wet).and applied the lotion.  Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion  features a flip top cap which made it very easy to get a very large dollar-coin sized amount out in one squeeze.  I would say on average I needed about 2-3 squeezes to cover my skin thoroughly. The fragrance was a fresh, slightly marine, scent which was not overwhelming.

The texture and feel is very similar to a med/thick weight traditional lotion, but there's a bit more liquidity to it.  It felt very smooth and silky going on my skin, and didn't give me a greasy or oily feel as I massaged it in.  After a minute or two, I simply rinsed Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion Nourishing, off.

My skin still felt clean and fresh - but noticeably softer and smoother, with no residue on my skin (or in the shower!).Once I toweled dry, my skin was still hydrated and soft.  

For these very cold, dry days after a morning shower, I still added a bit of traditional lotion to my feet/heels and lower legs, but other than that, the moisture lasted throughout the day. Note:Those of you who have normal to slightly dry skin and use the Very Dry Skin Nourishing, version, will most likely will not have to add any additional lotion post shower.

If you're fighting the clock in the morning and still need to have moisturized skin (or just hate putting on lotion in general), you really can't do much better than  Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion. - RLB