Friday, November 30, 2012

Tom Ford Ultra Shine Lip Gloss: Swatches of ALL Shades!

Here is the second installment of my swatching frenzy at the Tom Ford counter at Neiman Marcus last week.  First, there was all of the shade offerings of the amazing Traceless Foundation Stick, now, we focus our attention on the lips.  

My love for the Tom Ford Ultra Shine Lip Gloss is no secret...Naked is perhaps my most favorite nude gloss ever and I recently received Tawny Pink and Peach Absolute as gifts from my husband (close up images and reviews to come very soon!).  

The formula is so cushiony, extremely moisturizing, fairly opaque and pigmented, low on excessive shimmer, long lasting and has just enough tack (though not overly sticky) that it doesn't pool or migrate.  

The following images reflect every shade option available...Naivete is the most recent release (for the Holiday collection) and all other shades are in the permanent collection.  I hope you find them helpful...don't hesitate to comment or email me directly should you have questions!


--The Beauty Professor

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Crest Whitestrips...If You Aren't Whitening, You're Yellowing!

Above: Crest 3D Whitestrips always enhance my smile!

As a beauty blogger, it is natural for me to seek out products that make my skin look better than it is, make my eyes greener than they are and make my hair fuller than it would be naturally.  Although this pursuit is perfectly understandable (makeup can indeed do wondrous things), if I am not doing everything in my power to preserve and enhance the whiteness of my teeth, no amount of high-end skin care and cosmetics will help! 

To test this theory, I put on a full face of makeup, but temporarily yellowed my teeth (it brushed off immediately!).  My dear husband's reaction was priceless; as soon as I smiled, he took a double-take and then proceeded to very gently ask me if anything was going on with my teeth (hey, at least I know he's honest with me!).  This informal research impressed upon me what I already suspected, beauty is complimented by a great smile and a great smile benefits from white teeth! 

Above: Even two shades of Tom Ford lip color (Pink Dusk and Nude Vanille) could do nothing to help my (artificially) dingy smile!

Above: Crest 3D Professional Effects Whitestrips contain 20 packets (with strips for top and bottom teeth) for use over the course of 20 days...I also like to use them intermittently as maintenance!

I have been using Crest White Strips for years...although I am an avid brusher, I like my teeth to have that "extra glow" so a couple of times a year, I spend a series of consecutive days applying the strips.  It is so bad taste, no uncomfortable tray that impedes speaking and no sensitivity.  Most recently I used the Crest 3D Professional Effects Whitestrips to achieve ultimate whitening.  I like this version because it is gradual (which helps with reducing sensitivity) and great for long-term maintenance.  

Scroll on for the complete process and results...

Above: Each packet (there are 20 included with the kit) contains two strips (for upper and lower teeth).
Above: The upper and lower strips peel off easily (like a sticker).
Above: I like to apply the upper strip first...I just fold half of the strip over the front of my teeth and fold the other half over the back of my teeth.  
Above: Next comes the bottom strip!
Above: Both strips successfully I can go about my morning business (e.g., makeup and hair) without any discomfort or inconvenience.  

Above: The final amount of makeup can replace the radiant effect of bright white teeth!

Bottom Line: The ease and efficacy of Crest Whitestrips is undeniable.  I like to think of them like a necessary part of my beauty routine, right up there with an anti-aging serum, physical sunscreen, perfectly matching foundation and waterproof mascara!

**PR sample provided for review, however, as always, all of my opinions are expressly and unequivocally my own.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Somme Institute 5 Step Regimen Review...One Month in the Making

The Somme Institute packaging is extremely simple...streamlined white boxes with color-coded dots that correspond with each product.
A month or so ago, I had the opportunity to experience the Somme Institute Five Step Regimen, a skincare process designed to cleanse (Nourishing Cleanser), exfoliate (Transport), treat (Serum), nourish (A- Bomb) and protect (Double Defense) with the regular use of five specifically-targeted, vitamin rich products. 

The regimen boasts MDT5 discussed below and courtesey of the Somme Institute website...
The Somme Institute® has circumvented these problems with the development of our Patented Molecular Dispersion Technology (MDT5™), a compound of 5 highly engineered vitamins (A, B3, B5, C and E) attached to specific proteins built to our specifications that target skin cell receptors, allowing these vitamins to go deep within the skin in their active forms at high concentrations. Once in the skin, these MDT5™ active vitamins treat all skin types and most skin conditions.
All in all, the regimen's reported benefits are as follows...

Molecular Dispersion Technology (MDT5™) is a revolutionary vitamin/protein delivery system based on the results of Somme Institute®'s over 10 years of clinical trials. MDT5™ allows highly engineered vitamins (A, B3, B5, C and E) to penetrate deep within the skin to:
  • Significantly improve skin tone, texture, clarity and appearance
  • Repair years of sun damage
  • Visibly lighten discoloration
  • Diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Eliminate blemishes and prevent their occurrence

Because I have extremely sensitive skin, I am always wary of trying a new skincare system for fear of reactions but, upon reading the research and active ingredients of this regimen, I decided to embark on the Somme journey because I have sunspots, am actively embracing an anti-aging techniques and get occasional blemishes. After a month of regular use, couldn't be more pleased with the results.

My first question was, how can I comfortably integrate five products into my daily regimen, both morning and night! Like many, I have a super-limited amount of time to get ready in the morning and have my usual routine pared down to a moisturizing oil (Ladi Avokanto by Sponge) a primer/illuminator (LMdB's Peau Vierge #2) and a physical sunscreen (Koh Gen Do UV Milk SPF 30).  Also, due to the fact that I am allergic to lanolin and a derivitive of lanolin (lanolin alcohol) is one of the Double Defense's listed ingredients, I knew that I would be skipping the final step and sticking with my Peau Vierge.  In turn, in order to make this system work for me, I focused on using four of the five products twice a day...I found that I actually enjoyed the process and that, from start to finish, the whole regimen took me about two minutes total. 

Above: The four Somme Institute products I used in their physical forms...#1 Nourishing Cleanser, #2 Transport pad (folded in to fit in the frame), #3 Serum and #4 A-Bomb.

The first step is the Nourishing Cleanser (retails for $40.00)...this product is silky, gentle and does a great job of making my face squeaky clean without feeling "tight." Since I use a cotton pad with Koh Gen Do Spa Water to cleanse in the morning, I found myself using the Nourishing Cleanser mostly at night in the shower, since rinsing it off was much easier with a solid stream of water.

Above: Directions and ingredients for the Nourishing Cleanser.

The next step is the Transport (retails for $58.00) exfoliating pads...the container comes with 50 very thin, product-soaked pads (with a light citrus scent) and are designed to remove dead skin cells and prepare the skin for the serum and A-Bomb to follow.  These pads are both very gentle yet extremly effective, leaving my skin exceptionally smooth and glowing...most days, I would only use these pads at night since my skin can react to too much exfoliation. 

Above: Directions and ingredients for the Transport pads.

The Serum (which retails for $82) heavily relies upon stabilized Vitamin C to smooth and brighten skin...this product also has a light citrus scent and one pump gives the perfect amount of silky goodness to spread across the entire face.  It absorbs quickly and, upon application, my skin feels balanced and comfortable.  This, along with A-Bomb, is one of my favorite products in the regimen due to is texture and efficacy.  My face truly felt smoother, clearer and more transparent with a month's use (twice a day)!

Above and below: Directions and ingredients for the Serum.

The A-Bomb (which retails for $70.00) is intended to fight fine lines and other signs of aging...this light cream absorbs quickly and feels amazing. My only gripe is that it is in a jar, which could be unhygenic; I, however, always make sure my hands are clean before swiping up a bit of product.  I like to apply A-Bomb over my entire face and also extend it down my next and upper chest...I noticed that since I've been doing this, my skin in those areas is more supple and hydrated!

Above: Directions and ingredients for A-Bomb.

To be fair, I cannot speak to the efficacy of the Double Defense (which retails for 48.00).  As I mentioned at the start of this review, it contains a lanolin derivative (lanolin alcohol) and I am intensely allergic to all forms of lanolin.  In turn, I didn't even try it on my arm.  I replaced this step with Le Metier de Beaute Peau Vierge (which acts like a light moisturizer, illuminator and sunscreen) and, if I was going to be outdoors direct sunlight, followed that with Koh Gen Do UV Milk SPF 30 for extra sun protection.

Above and below: Directions and ingredients for Double Defense.

Above: The Somme Institute five-step regimen as well as the eye cream (to be reviewed separately).

Above: My almost bare skin (only a little RMS Un-concealer in my T zone) refined by the Somme Institute products.  

Personal Results: Since I've been using the Somme Institute 5 Step Regimen (though only 4 steps for me), I have noticed an increase in the smoothness, evenness and overall health of my skin (did I mention smaller pores?).  I did not experience any initial breakouts (which is sometimes common when trying a new skincare line, as the skin "adjusts" to the new ingredients) and really appreciate how quickly the products absorb into my skin, prepping it for the makeup application to come.  I am really excited by the increasing evenness of my skin!

Above: I have noticed that my skin is smoother, more transparent and I have a naturally glowing complexion with smaller pores thanks to the Somme Institute products.  

Bottom Line: The Somme Institute is a respected skincare company, bolstered with 10 years of research and clinical results (see the amazing "before and after" images on their website HERE).  If you are able to afford the set (bought separately the five steps retail for $298 and should last anywhere from 2-3 months (at least in my experience).  While I was content with my previous skincare routine, I like having another option to switch things up when my skin gets too used to the ingredients and builds a tolerance.  I think that I could comfortably get by with the Transport pads (used sporadically as needed), the Serum (used everyday twice a day) and the A-Bomb (used everyday twice a day) and have my basic skincare needs covered (for a total of $222).  The products have truly reduced my fine lines and given me a smoother, more even skin tone.  Recommended!

**PR sample provided for review, however, as always, all of my opinions are expressly and unequivocally my own.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick Shade Swatches

And so begins the first in a series of swatches gathered from my bountiful Thanksgiving trip to San Francisco last week...first up, the Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick, thoroughly reviewed HERE

The warm and generous Joachim (a Tom Ford specialist) and the Beauty Professor commiserating together at the Tom Ford counter at Neiman Marcus, Union Square!

I am still extremely  pleased with the medium to full coverage, impeccable satin finish and stalwart lasting power of this foundation...what a treat to discover!  I hope you find these swatches (all taken in the indoor lighting of Neiman Marcus Union Square) useful; please don't hesitate to comment or email me your questions...


--The Beauty Professor

Swatches on the horizon...Tom Ford Ultra Shine Glosses, Tom Ford Blushes and Tom Ford Traceless Liquid Foundation!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Black Friday Loot Preview!

I bought a few unnecessary yet ever-so-thrilling items yesterday during Black Friday...the following images are a mere preview of some upcoming swatch-intensive posts!  

What did YOU buy on Black Friday?!


--The Beauty Professor

I've been waiting to get the TF Shade and Illuminate compact and blush in Frantic Pink for awhile now...I am having so much fun experimenting with these shades! 

This pink gem is called "Sacura"

I am wearing all three newly procured products here...please check back early next week for official swatches and reviews!

Friday, November 23, 2012

FOTD Thanksgiving Weekend!

I have realized that my makeup routine may differ in terms of the products I use, but the effect is nearly always the same...even skin, lightly bronzed, semi-smokey eye, lots of lashes and pale lips.  For today's FOTD, I am using a foundation I have never tried before...Revlon Colorstay Whipped Creme.  My obsession with foundation runs deep, and, due to ingredients and lasting power, I tend to always gravitate towards high end versions.  Some of my favorite high ends that have been highlighted on this blog countless times include GA Maestro, By Terry Cover Expert, Rouge Bunny Rouge Milk Aquarelle, Koh Gen Do Aqua and, most recently, Tom Ford Traceless Stick Foundation.  

Having had no experience with the original Colorstay, I picked up the whipped version on a whim, lured by (and I wholeheartedly acknowledge that this is insane) the shade name, Warm Golden.  Readers often ask me if I can recommend a worthy drug store foundation, and, up until this point, I could not.  I am happy to say that the Revlon Colorstay Whipped Creme foundation has exceeded all is flawless, has amazing coverage, hasn't aggravated my ultra-sensitive skin and lasts, I kid you not, for at least 15 hours, looking the same as when it was first applied.  I will be doing a post/review (with swatch comparisons) on this foundation soon, but in the meanwhile, let the following images speak to its flawlessness...

1. Revlon Colorstay Whipped Foundation in Warm Golden buffed in with my Sephora Airbrush
2. Rouge Bunny Rouge Bronzer in At Goldcombe Bay brushed into hollows of cheeks for contour
3. Rouge Bunny Rouge blush in Gracilis on apples of cheeks
4. RMS Living Luminizer on upper cheek bones and Cupid's Bow
5. Sulwhasoo Brightening Powder Compact in #2 (brushed onto T-zone)

1. Beauty Is Life eyeshadow in Camel (applied all over lid) and under bottom lashes
2. Rouge Bunny Rouge Ravens Glaze eyeliner on upper lash line
3. Dolce and Gabbana eyeliner in Agave under lower lashes (over the Camel shadow)
4. Guerlain Le 2 Mascara (2 coats on upper and lower lashes)

1. OCC Lip Tar in Interlace (as a pale base)
2. Tom Ford gloss in Peach Absolute as an overcoat of shine and color

I tried to take a semi close up of my face to show how seamlessly this foundation blends into my skin...crazy!

Because it was so humid outside, I used my GHD straightener instead of hot rollers.

OCC Lip Tar in Interlace is a very pale needs the Tom Ford gloss in Peach Absolute to give it some depth and pigment!

The Guerlain Le 2 Mascara is one of most favorite discoveries lately...the lashes it creates are phenomenal!

I am loving the Beauty Is Life  Camel and Rouge Bunny Rouge black Raven's Glaze combo lately.

The Revlon Colorstay Whipped Cream Foundation is truly remarkable...full review soon!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Blessed Thanksgiving to my dear Beauty Professor readers! I am truly thankful for your readership, comments, suggestions and all collectively make writing this blog a true blessing.

Have a wonderful weekend with family and friends!


--The Beauty Professor and Jethro ; )

P.S. What are you thankful for today?!

Above: Jethro and me on our run (that rapidly degraded into a walk!) this morning. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Calista ION Hot Rollers Video Tutorial

A few months back, I did a post on my Calista ION Hot Rollers for long hair.  Since then, I have found myself using these curlers almost every single day of my work week.  They are the quickest way to achieve voluminous soft curls for a polished look...the entire process takes me less than 7 minutes and my curls last all day long!  In turn, I was inspired to do a quick tutorial to demonstrate the lightning fast wonder, otherwise known as Calista...I hope you enjoy it!


--The Beauty Professor


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Burberry Lip Velvet in Pink Apricot...Swatches and Review

Earlier this month, I posted every shade of the newly released Burberry Lip Velvet lip color...I personally selected the lightest shade (of course!), Pink Apricot, a lovely satin matte nude/peach/pink hybrid.  The Burberry Lip Velvet formula is phenomenal; for a matte, it is extremely moisturizing.  It imparts a subtle glow that modernizes the idea of a matte lipstick and possesses formidable pigmentation...full opacity is achieved with a single swipe.  My lips feel protected and comfortable for hours and when it wears off, I am left with a lovely nude stain (but no peeling lips...a rarity indeed).   

Scroll on for images and details...

Above: Retailing for $30, the Burberry Lip Velvet is housed in a matte black metal case with light Burberry plaid accents and a magnetic closure.

Above: #301 Pink Apricot is a neutral shade that is more apricot than pink!

Above and below: Burberry Lip Velvet in Pink Apricot appears as a creamy peach with nude and pink tones.  I love the Burberry plaid accents on the bullet...I had to make sure I took these pictures before I continued to use this lip color and compromised the plaid design!

Above: Pink Apricot is a smooth and creamy hybrid of nude, peach and pink.

Above: A single swipe of Burberry Pink Apricot.

Above: Comparison swatches from left to right...Tom Ford Pink Dusk, Tom Ford Nude Vanille and Burberry Pink Apricot. The Burberry formula is on par with the insane pigmentation of the Tom Ford lip color.

Above: Burberry Lip Velvet #301 Pink Apricot alone on the lips...this was after about two hours of wear.  Absolutely no dryness...quite a miracle for a matte finish!

Bottom Line: The Burberry Lip Velvet lip color is is extremely opaque and hydrating, while imparting a beautiful satin matte finish that is gentle on the lips.  I love Pink Apricot because it is a fabulous neutral for everyday wear...a welcome addition to my pale nude collection and highly recommended!