Beauty Unbiased: December 2011

John Masters Organics Jojoba and Ginseng Cleanser

Made with 11 certified organic ingredients, John Masters Organics Jojoba and Ginseng Exfoliating Facial Cleanser combines the power of jojoba beads to gently exfoliate, refreshing ginseng to revitalize, wheat germ oil to soften skin, and the astringent bearberry to reduce pore size and brighten skin. The results? Well for me, noticeably softer skin after just one use, as well as my face feeling clean and refreshed rather than scrubbed down and telling myself it will all pay off in the end. If I can go organic with a product I'm slathering on sensitive areas knowing my skin will absorb all those ingredients into my body, I will. And you can too- available online here or at retailers worldwide. A comprehensive list of where to find John Masters products available at

My Glam Bag Debut Product Review

The debate between similar beauty product subscription services will be continuing with the debut of the My Glam bag this month. Sure a little competition is a healthy thing, but what will our wallets decide at the end of the day? To help my own wallet choose, I decided to sign up for My Glam bag in order to test out the products myself.

L to R: Mai Couture blush, NYX lip cream in Addis Ababa, Urban Decay in Sin
Featured in this month's debut My Glam bag are products by Mai Couture, NYX, Tarte, and Urban Decay. My favorite product in the bag was the Urban Decay Primer Potion. I've been meaning to try it for awhile but had yet to get around to purchasing the full size product. Paired in the bag with an Urban Decay eyeshadow in Sin, I was able to test out both products today. The Primer Potion was easy to apply, though difficult to unscrew for me. It kept my shadow on all evening for better or worse since I did not fall in love with the pink tones in the Sin shade but I would recommend Urban Decay shadows overall. Another favorite in the bag is the Tarte Lights, Camera, Action mascara for it's simple, clump-free application and lash lengthening.

The NYX lip cream which is "unlike any lip product" you've tried before is a mix between a gloss and matte lipstick, without the stickiness of gloss. It also seemed to be part lip stain to me as it stayed on through drinking and kept my lips a pink tint. While I did not love the shade of pink I received and the lip cream highlighted rather than moisturized the dry parts of my lips, I would be open to trying the NYX lip cream in a different shade as it really did feel unlike any other lip product I'd tried.

Finally the Mai Couture products which appeared quite innovative with the promise of a blush on a paper and blotting paper which would help with breakouts. The blush came lightly off the paper and I had a hard time controlling where I wanted it to blend. Definitely would not be jumping at the chance to purchase the blush in the future. The blotting paper is harder to review in the short run but so far has been similar to other blotting papers I have used. Final thought- I'm curious to see what comes next month, after initially just wanting to try the debut bag. That must mean something, right?   

My Glam Bag- December 2011

Another opportunity to have makeup samples sent to your home for $10 a month has arrived with the debut of My Glam Bag this month. Featuring products by Mai Couture blotting paper and blush, NYX lip cream, Tarte mascara, and Urban Decay eyeshadow and eyeshadow primer potion in a cute makeup bag, this initial My Glam Bag actually sold out on their website. My Glam features interactive reviews, video tutorials and the hope of a community of beauty lovers connecting through their sampling of products. The bag contained good products from companies I already know and trust, aside from the Mai Couture blushing paper. Full My Glam bag product reviews here!

Framing the Soul: My Shobha Eyebrow Threading

If the eyes are the window to the soul, then our eyebrows are the window frames. No one wants to peek through overgrown, shabby window frames no matter how fabulous the inside looks. Clearly I take my eyebrow care seriously. After moving across town this summer, I was forced to search for a new local eyebrow place. After sub-par service and one eyebrow missing a patch of hair, I was forced into eyebrow exile: growing those suckers out. Painful as it was to let them grow wild, it was well worth it.

Photo from
Some time later at the Benefit Cosmetics Girlie Night Out I received a complimentary brow wax. I was quite happy with the nearly painless waxing but was quickly reminded once my brows started growing out again why I made the switch from waxing to threading about five years ago. Cue my favorite way to discover new brands and services: Twitter introduced me to My Shobha. This salon offers only hair removal services (threading, waxing, and sugaring) and have developed their own products to treat post-hair removal sensitivity in a non-toxic and healthy way. What really sold me on My Shobha was the training and mentoring program for their staff. I want my brows in the hands of a trained professional! That's not too much to ask, right?

Photo from
 At the SoHo location I was a bit confused initially by the layout of the large office building on busy, tourist-plagued Broadway. Once I finally found My Shobha I was greeted warmly in their brightly decorated but cozy loft. And by cozy I mean the five available seats were all occupied by other women (and a man!) waiting to be depilated. My wait time was short though and I was whisked into the hands of a trained and mentored eyebrow threader. The main difference between My Shobha and pretty much anywhere else I have gotten my brows waxed or threaded was that my threader took the time to talk to me, explain where she felt my eyebrows needed some correcting and even drew on my brows to explain and help me visualize. She did one brow and then showed me before continuing on to the other. I really felt safe and sure she had a plan and knew what she was doing, talking me through the whole process.

After the threading was done I was more than pleased with the results and even better yet smelt subtlety of rose the rest of the afternoon thanks to the My Shobha rosewater calming gel applied after my service. At $20 a threading it is on the higher end especially compared to my days paying $4 in Queens. But hey, we're talking about framing your soul here. Check them out in SoHo, Midtown East, or Columbus Circle.

Caudalie Once Upon A Vine Gift Set

On the type of chilly autumn morning that makes you feel like a real New Yorker, hugging the curves of Central Park a serene escape can be found at Caudalie Spa at the Plaza Hotel. This particular morning Caudalie Spa provided refuge not only from the cold but from the harsh real world into a fairy tale land where everyone is treated kindly and most importantly, properly moisturized. To celebrate the Caudalie Once Upon A Vine gift set the gracious hosts at Caudalie Spa, including Caudalie founder Mathilde Thomas, took visitors on the journey of each product featured in the Once Upon A Vine gift set. 

From blind scent tests to learn which fragrances are included in the Vine Body Butter to making a fresh ingredient version of the Crushed Cabernet Scrub, the Once Upon A Vine collection came to life for us so we could bring the tale to you. The morning concluded with the decadent French canelé and mimosas for breakfast- a fairy tale ending indeed. Side note: If you've never tried a canelé before (I had my first at Caudalie Spa) you are missing OUT!

More pictures from the event on Caudalie USA's Facebook page
Caudalie Once Upon A Vine gift set review- the limited edition Once Upon A Vine gift set is best started in the shower where brown sugar, crushed grape seeds, honey, and grape seed oil combine to make the Crushed Cabernet Scrub the perfect balance of exfoliation and moisturization.

Honey, grape seeds, brown sugar, grape seed oil equal...(see below)

Fresh ingredient version of Crushed Cabernet Scrub
Immediately after your shower, treat your skin or target rough spots with the rich yet absorbent Vine Body Butter. Scented with sweet Italian orange, peach, and Iris, the body butter is not only paraben free but contains patented Vinolevure, which captures up to 100 times its weight in water resulting in exceptional moisturizing.

Scent testing Vine Body Butter

For on the go moisturizing, the set also features Caudalie's anti-oxidant rich Hand and Nail Cream, and quenching Lip Conditioner. At only $38 ($70 value), the Once Upon A Vine set provides the skin's equivalent to a happy ending. The gift set is available for purchase through Caudalie USA's website or at Sephora and contains:

- 2.1 oz Crushed Cabernet Scrub
- 0.14 oz Lip Conditioner
- 2.5 oz Hand and Nail Cream
- 6.7 oz Vine Body Butter