• Beauty,  product review,  skin care

    Product review: Queen Helene Grape Seed Extract Peel Off Masque

    I have oily/combo skin that’s also sensitive to some products, so I’m always on the lookout for a good (and inexpensive!) face masque. Also, what’s more relaxing than a facial? And a good facial leaves you so glowy, you don’t feel the need for makeup.

    (I actually lucked into this particular masque last month while shopping at a local grocery store—go figure, it’s very hard to find Queen Helene products around here, but I’d find it while out for bread and milk.)

    Product: Queen Helene Grape Seed Extract Peel Off Masque
    Price: $4
    Claim: “Clears clogged pores, smooths facial lines, soothes and tones skin.” Contains antioxidants.

    Queen Helene Grape  Seed Masque

    I tried it: This was one of those products that I threw in my cart on a whim—heck, it’s a steal at $4—but didn’t really think much of while it sat on the bathroom counter. I’ve tried peel-off masques before and haven’t been terribly impressed with them, compared to other types of masques, so I wasn’t expecting anything stellar. (Spoiler alert: was I ever in for a surprise!)

    I washed my face first with a salicylic acid scrub to cleanse and open up my pores, then applied the masque. First, be warned: if you don’t like the smell of grapes, you’re not going to enjoy this product. The smell isn’t overpowering, but it’s definitely there.

    The masque had a very thick, gummy, almost glue-like consistency that made it a bit difficult to apply, and definitely had me wondering about the quality of the product. The bottle said to wait ten minutes before peeling off, so I waited…

    …and wow, did my opinion of this product ever change from the moment I first opened the tube. I’ve tried peel-off masques that shred and have to be sloughed off, but this one lifted off almost as one entire piece, and didn’t leave any sticky residue behind. It’s important to wait until the masque has dried fully, or else it won’t peel off in one piece.

    I followed up the masque with another gentle wash with an anti-acne gel cleanser and a warm washcloth, and rinsed very well before patting dry with a towel. (In my experience, a masque can bring a lot of gunk to the surface of your pores; so while I certainly didn’t need to wash away any bits of the masque, it’s a good idea to wash your face afterward anyway to make sure you’re 100% clean.)

    The results: WOW, here’s where my expectations were blown away. I wish my camera had a better macro setting to show you the before-and-after difference on my face, because this grape seed masque left me looking practically poreless. In fact, my skin looked so smooth and clean, I didn’t even feel the need to apply primer or foundation before leaving the house.

    Not only did my pores seem to disappear, my fine lines seemed softened, and my face looked much smoother and quite glowy overall. It felt firm, but not tight—a good sign the skin was thoroughly cleansed, but not left over-dry.

    I’ve used this product multiple times since and every time, I’m impressed by just how wonderful this leaves my skin looking and feeling. I especially like using it before applying self-tanner, to make sure my skin is super-smooth and clean and I won’t have to worry about looking “dirty” or breaking out after a couple of days of using the tanning creme.

    My conclusion: Some facial masques are only so-so, but this one completely exceeded my expectations and is an incredible bargain to boot. It’s definitely earned itself a place at the top of my “favorite products” list. If you’re a big fan of at-home facials or are on the lookout for something to tighten up those pores, then I can’t recommend this grape seed masque highly enough!

  • Beauty,  nail art,  nail polish

    Black and gold glitter mani

    Here’s a very simple, but totally fun manicure idea: a black and gold glitter mani.

    Black and gold glitter mani

    I used a base coat, two coats of black polish for an opaque base, two coats of Wet n Wild Fergie Nail Polish in Glamorous, and a couple of coats of clear top coat for shine and durability.

    I love the rock-n-roll glamour feel of this manicure. As a bonus, all of the topcoat makes it nigh on indestructible for a full week, so your hard work won’t chip away too quickly!

  • color,  Fashion,  shoes

    Get the Look: Victoria Beckham on Glamour’s September issue

    Ay-yi-yi: there’s so much fashion inspiration in the September issue of Glamour, starting with the cover girl, Victoria Beckham. On one of her bonus covers, she rocks a lavishly embellished Balmain mini-dress and teal Nicholas Kirkwood pumps.

    I love this combo of a fierce dress and boldly colored heels: it’s so fun and fashion-forward, and definitely not for the faint of heart. Here are some ideas to get you started on recreating her look:

    Scarf Print Bodycon Dress, $19.80, Forever 21; dress, $34.95, H&M
    L-R: Disco Zebra Body-Con Dress, $19.99; Mixed Print One Shoulder Dress, $24.99; Mixed Print Illusion Dress, $24.99; Charlotte Russe

    And of course, the shoes (which I featured yesterday for Cute Shoe Monday):

    L-R: Sueded Keyhole Platform Pump, $35:50; Sueded Uber Platform Pump, $32.50; Round Toe Sueded Wedge, $35.50; Charlotte Russe

    For her hair, Victoria is wearing a low, messy ponytail. Straighten your hair if it’s wavy, and add a little shine spray. Pull hair back into a low pony, then tousle the ends and pull out a few pieces around your face for an undone finish.

    Complete the look with brown eyeliner and plenty of mascara to define your eyes, flicking the liner up at the outer corners for a subtle cat-eye. Then add a peachy-nude lip color and dark nails for a rocker edge.

    Hard Candy Plumping Serum Fat Pout Lip Gloss in Uptown Girl, $6; Wet n Wild Mega Last Nail Color in 216B Under Your Spell, $3


  • Fashion,  shoes

    Cute Shoe Monday: teal heels! (Three under $36)

    This Monday, I’m torn between these three very cute pairs of teal heels:

    L-R: Sueded Keyhole Platform Pump, $35:50; Sueded Uber Platform Pump, $32.50; Round Toe Sueded Wedge, $35.50; Charlotte Russe

    I’m feeling inspired by the fashion in Glamour magazine’s September issue, and cover girl Victoria Beckham wears a pair of teal peep-toes on one of her bonus covers, which is what got me started on this trend. But if you’re not a fan of peep-toes, the closed-toe pumps or wedges would be equally gorgeous!

    Bonus: Charlotte Russe is currently featuring Buy One, Get One for $12.50 on all pumps…and they have tons of fab new styles in for fall, so look around while you’re there–you might just see another pair you can’t resist!