Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm

Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm

I finally got my hands on a tube of Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Beauty Balm! So excited about it! I avoided reading reviews about UD’s BB cream until I had a chance to try it out for myself without any prejudice.

I used it when I attended our family’s Chinese New Year dinner at Bamboo Garden Chinese Restaurant in Brooklyn and I have to admit I was a little disappointed at first. The texture is really thin and watery, and the color looks nothing like your average BB cream. I actually blinked when I first used it and thought, “How many Oompa Loompas does it take to make a tube of this BB cream?” because it is a somewhat alarming shade of orange.

It’s more orange in person!

Despite the sunset hue, I applied it to my freshly-cleansed face and was surprisingly pleased with the way it disappeared into my skin. Which now makes me wonder if I am an Oompa Loompa…

Seriously, though, the way it blended perfectly into my skin was amazing.  It also dries to a matte finish which makes this greasy-complexioned chick want to dance! I also usually have trouble with face products that contain sunscreen (this BB cream has broad spectrum SPF 20) and break out into massive zits. Not with this product!

Do you see where the UD Naked Skin BB Cream ends and my skin begins?

The biggest down side to Urban Decay Naked Skin BB Cream is that it is very very sheer. Despite the company’s claims, this is just not a universal product and definitely not for someone looking to conceal  troubled or moderate-to-severely blotchy skin; it’s for the person whose complexion is mostly clear and even-toned. Don’t care what UD says, it’s not suitable for the very very fair-skinned.

In the two months or so that I’ve been using this BB cream, I’ve been applying moisturizer to my face before the BB cream. I made the mistake of using an AHA moisturizer and it resulted in some flaking later in the day, so now I stick to my beloved DDF Ultra-Lite Oil-Free Moisturizing Dew. Yeah. Don’t use exfoliating moisturizers underneath your makeup.

Overall I really like Urban Decay Naked Skin BB Cream. Now that the weather is starting to warm up, I have been reaching for it almost every day. It’s easy to apply, it’s so sheer it leaves virtually no demarcation lines, and my skin doesn’t feel like it’s suffocating, especially nice because I’m not only a greasy-faced person, I’m also an overheated one. I can see myself using this during the hot steamy summer days that lie ahead.

My final verdict: DON’T buy this if you are very very fair-skinned or have blemishes or discoloration to conceal. DO buy it if your complexion is mostly clear and you just need a little bit of oomph to your face.


Samplepalooza: Day 2–Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer and Befine Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15

Sorry, sorry, I know I’ve been neglecting you.  Got all caught up in having fun and then time just got away from me.

On Day 2, R gave me her sample tube of Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer because it made her break out and she knew I was going on a beauty sampling bender.

Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer

Love it! I actually like this much more than the over-hyped Urban Decay Eden Primer Potion I bought earlier this year. Easier to apply thanks to its wand applicator, and smoother than the PP. I’m sold on the Smashbox lid primer!

My next sample was Befine Skin Care’s Daily Moisturizer with SPF15.

Befine food skincare Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15

Moisturizers with sunscreen and sunblock in them almost always make me break out in horrible zits, so I approached this product with some trepidation.  In the end, I found this was a little on the heavy side for me, especially since it was still summer at the time, but I can see myself using it in the winter when I need a more oomph in the moisturizing department. I like that it’s a natural, no added fragrance product.

I know I bitch about it all the time but I hate hate hate heavily perfumed facial products.  It’s one thing if a face product is lightly scented as a result of its ingredients but I don’t get why cosmetics companies continue to add perfume to already-scented lotions and potions. I’m looking at YOU, Garnier!

Anyhow, I’m impressed with both of today’s samples.


I’m headed for a week in Rehoboth Beach, DE with my very dear friend R and her family. It’s the perfect time to use up a bunch of product samples that I keep meaning to try but never get around to doing.

I grabbed a handful of samples from my stash and brought them with me. I’m actually a little embarrassed by how much I actually have; some of them come from Birchbox, others are from Sephora, and the rest are from who-knows-where.

Here it is:

I’m going to spend the next week trying out at least two samples out of that box every day. I got a head start tonight with one product, Lancôme’s Génefique Youth Activating Concentrate, which is a serum that goes on after you cleanse your skin but before you put on your moisturizer and sunscreen.

This stuff actually feels pretty nice on. It applies very smoothly and easily, absorbs beautifully, and there’s no obnoxious perfume! The consistency is very much like aloe gel, thin and loose.


I haven’t put any moisturizer on over the Lancôme Génefique Youth Activating Concentrate, and I’m pleased with how soft my skin feels without feeling greasy or sticky. I likey!

Tomorrow, we arrive in Rehoboth Beach!

Clarisonic Mia: A Follow-Up and Rant

So an invisible friend asked about the Clarisonic skin cleansing system and it reminded me that I haven’t given an update on it in a while.

I like it. I admit I was ready to chuck it out the window because of how irritated my skin was getting after only a week. I broke out in bumps which I think was a mild case of folliculitis (inflamed hair follicles) and NOT pimples.

I’ll be frank: I think the salespeople at some of these cosmetics shops are either full of it or don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to the Clarisonic Mia; the term “breaking out” does not mean what they think it means. “Breaking out” refers to actual pimples, either the pustule or papule kind, not mere bumps on one’s skin.

It is NOT normal for one’s skin to do a 180 (e.g. going from freakishly oily to so painfully dry that I needed to buy extra-moisturizing creams that I’d ordinarily never buy because my skin is, you know, freakishly oily) and it is NOT normal for one to “break out” after using this product. It makes no sense to me that I suddenly “broke out” all over my face when I don’t normally get zits on my cheeks.

If I sound annoyed, it’s because I am annoyed. I hate that customers are being misled by sales staff.

I walked into Sephora a few weeks ago to buy replacement heads for my Clarisonic. The salesgirl was very enthusiastic and complimented me on my complexion, but only after she saw what I was buying. I mentioned the bumps I’d gotten and she was all, “Yeah, breakouts are perfectly normal!” I tried to explain that I hadn’t broken out, that my skin was actually really irritated until I changed to a gentler brush head, but I guess the KoolAid she’d had was pretty strong. I really wish companies trained their sales associates better on proper terminology and product knowledge.

Despite my angst, at the end of the day, I do like my Mia a lot. I use it at night with my facial cleanser to take off my makeup after I remove my eye makeup. Before I rinse my face, I gently massage the cleanser over my eyes to remove any lingering bits of liner or shadow, and then splash my face clean. Afterward, I either use glycolic toner and oil free moisturizer or just the ROC Retinol Correxion night cream I talked about a couple of months ago.

For you dry-skinned girls, I obviously can’t speak to your complexion plight, but if it helps, my cousin, who has skin so dry she slaps on alAquaphor or Vaseline as her winter moisturizer, also uses the Clarisonic Mia with Philosophy’s cleansing oil and adores it. Her skin really looks amazing!

Roc Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream

I come from a long line of wrinkle-resistant women.  Don’t tell my mom I told you this but she’s in her late 60s and looks like she’s in her 50s; her sisters are all the same way.  Yes, I’m extremely lucky.  🙂 However, what led me to buy RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream a couple of years ago was not so much the desire to continue my family’s tradition of crease-free skin but to brighten my complexion and soften the roughness. I was also looking for something to use during the winter because my beloved DDF Oil-Free Ultra Lite Moisturizing Dew wasn’t nearly moisturizing enough to battle the winter flakies. I’d heard many good things about ROC and I decided to try it.

WOW! I am extremely impressed by RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream!  I’ve used it on and off over the last couple of years and I notice the difference during my “on” periods.  My skin feels smoother, softer, and brighter.  I keep a tube of it in my gym bag for post-swim showers.   The most awesome thing about this is that my super-oily tempestuous skin hasn’t broken out from it even once, not even in the steamy depths of summer!! I love it!  Along with my usual DDF Ultra-Lite Oil-Free Moisturizing Dew, RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream might actually be best thing since sliced bread!

The only thing I really dislike about this product is its scent- it’s heavily perfumed, and I’ve noticed over the years that a lot of European cosmetics products seem to share this trait.  I once asked my British aunt to pick up some Garnier body lotions and facial moisturizers that weren’t available here in the US and was super excited when she arrived with them.  I liked how moisturizing they were but holy crap, I got a headache every time I applied these lotions.  The perfume was so overwhelming, I was actually able to taste it.  I felt so horrible for making her waste luggage space and money to bring me stuff I couldn’t use and ultimately had to throw away.

Because Roc Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream contains retinol (which stimulates collagen to firm up and it also helps reduce excess pigmentation), it can cause a tingling, maybe even a burning sensation for those with very sensitive skin. If you are among those with sensitive skin, use it every other night for a couple of weeks, then start using it every night.  RoC also makes this product in a sensitive skin formula but I can’t speak to its efficacy since I’ve never used it. Maybe someone who has tried it can leave a comment about his/her experience.

If you’re like me and you use AHA/glycolic, or other retinoid products, use that stuff in the morning and the RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream at night (or vice versa) to avoid major discomfort.

As for me, this moisturizer is a keeper!

NYX Blemish Control Blotting Paper

I went on a forbidden beauty binge at Ulta this past weekend. Forbidden because I can’t really afford to indulge but you know me, I have no self-control!


I came back from my binge with a new NYX product: the NYX Blemish Control Blotting Paper. Blotting sheets are a dime a dozen to me since I go through about four at a time (you thought I was exaggerating about how greasy I get, didn’t you?) so I almost didn’t pick it up. Until I saw that these sheets contain salicylic acid.

Wait, what?


Yep. There’s 0.5% salicylic acid in these babies. I used it for the first time just now. I detected no fragrance and there was no tingling or anything. Aside from feeling more papery than the slightly rubbery blotting sheet I’m used to, it works pretty much the same way. I didn’t get the weird satisfaction I normally feel when I see how much oil a sheet absorbs because it’s not as obvious with NYX’s sheets. Or maybe I’m not so oily today. In any case, it’s nice that there’s an anti-acne component to this product though I don’t know how effective it will really be. For $6.99, it had better be able to absorb Exxon Valdez-like amounts of oil!


LUS Feminine Blush–Rosy Pink

I’ve always admired the gorgeous rosy cheeks of the younger ladies of my acquaintance. The only way I can replicate such a look is after an excruciatingly prolonged exercise session that also has the unfortunate side effect of making my whole face red, not to mention sweaty and gross. Clearly this is not the way to mimic that fresh and youthful glow.

I may have found it in LUS Feminine Blush. It’s not so deeply pigmented that you can’t layer it on, which is exactly what I want. I know a lot of people want to be able to swipe on their blusher and go, but I’d just as soon apply too little than go out in public with too much of everything on. We’ve all seen women like this and I try very hard not to be one of them. For this reason alone, I love that the pigmentation is more subtle than other blushers I’ve tried. Bonus: it has SPF 30!

It even has a little mirror on the cap for quick touchups

LUS Feminine Blush is very finely milled and the puffer top is like a fuzzy, pillowy sponge. So soft and easy to use! I purchased it in Rosy Pink, though it comes in a rosy peach color as well as a pale blue to combat sallowness, yellow for brightening (I think) and a bronze color. It does have a small amount of sparkle in it though it’s very fine and not at all obvious. It’s nowhere near Solid Gold-level shimmer and glitter, but it’s important to know for those who want a matte blusher, which this is not.

The funny thing about this blush is it doesn’t dispense as much product when you stipple it on as it does when you sweep it on. I don’t know if it matters to anyone but me; I sweep it along my cheekbones but also want to give an extra dab on the apples of my cheeks for a subtle emphasis. It’s something to think about if you want to exert more control over your blush application.

Unfortunately, it seems LUS is only available in Asian boutiques (LUS is a Korean cosmetics company), and according to their website, it is most widely available in Orange County in southern California. I don’t think their website is up to date because I found mine at the New World Mall in Flushing, NY for $17. Check your local H-Mart or other Asian shops.

As for keeping the puffer top clean, I removed the top by holding the silver band and unscrewing it, but I’ll be honest, it was a bitch to put back on properly. So I started dousing the surface (I didn’t soak the whole puff) with a little rubbing alcohol, which got rid of a lot of the color buildup and hopefully any bacteria as well.

I think it would be a great product for the inexperienced blush user or someone like me who doesn’t want to look like Alexis Carrington.


Please tell me I am not the only person who lived through the Solid Gold and Dynasty era. Please?