- MAC Store
- The MAC store has always amazed me because of the vast array of vivid colors present in their product line, not that they don’t have great neutrals. Come to find out those vivid colors are the exact reason the company came to be. The 2 Franks started MAC so that pigments would pop and show up in photos. Because the staff were so helpful and willingly to share their knowledge, I was able to find out about several products. First in the Prep & Prime line, I explored both the Skin and Lip Primers. In both instances, one of the main ingredients is silicone, which acts as a filler of sorts by ensuring an even application of other products. It creates a breathable and silky barrier, thus allowing for longer wear of products applied subsequently, such as lipstick or foundation. Vitamin E was also an included ingredient, which helps to reduce water loss from the skin and also reduces the formation of free radicals. If you’re looking for a longer wearing eye-shadow, you could use the Paint Pots. They can be used alone or as a primer for shadow and supposedly won’t crease and last all day. While in the store, I also found a new lipgloss to try when I receive my MAC Pro Card.
- Aveda Store
- Aveda is a beauty company that aims to connect the environment with beauty. They pride themselves on using plant-based products, instead of chemicals. Their products are paraben-free (no carcinogenic preservatives). Aveda is environmentally responsible in that they use post-recycled packaging and do not perform any testing on animals. They also support fair trade. In the Nourish-Mint lipstick line, you will find pomegranate, which has antioxidants and vitamin B, and is used to repair the epidermis of the lips. It also contains spearmint oil, which according to the salesperson is to keep the lips hydrated, however, other sources indicate that spearmint could be considered an irritant in products. In the Uruku lip pigment line, the uruku plant from Brazil is used for its bright red, naturally derived pigment. It also contains annato oil to add moisture and smoothness. In the Smoothing Body Polish, it contains lavendar extract to soothe and relax and kelp and aloe (water-binding agents) to moisturize. It is meant to reveal smoother skin after use.
- Lush Cosmetics Store
- This was my first time ever hearing of Lush and I found that I was very intrigued with the concept. Like Aveda, Lush is also an environmentally responsible company, but with less of an air of pretentiousness. They take pride in the fact that their products are handmade and even go to the extent of putting the picture of the person who made it on some of the larger packaging (what better way to tell an employee you appreciate them). Lush, based in the UK, was founded by a trichologist and beautician. This store is full of intriguing products, such as the Charity Pot, a hand and body lotion made of cocoa butter and almond oil (for their moisturizing properties), and ylang ylang (to add fragrance). 100% of the purchase price goes toward the Charity Pot fund to help charities around the world. For the first time, I’ve seen powder deodorants. They are aluminum-free and include essential oils and fragrances. They are baking soda based and preservative free. Just remember that they are a tad messy and are not anti-perspirants. I’ll definitely be making a trip back to Lush, especially since I am loving the None of Your Beeswax lip balm.
- Bare Escentuals
- Appearing as an upscale boutique, Bare Escentuals is a line of mineral makeup that is ‘good’ for the skin. The original foundation consisted of only 5 ingredients: bismuth oxychloride (pearlescent compound that adheres to the skin well), titanium dioxide and zinc oxide (sunscreens), iron oxides (provides coloring), and mica (gives sparkle and shine). The Prime Time primer is preservative-free, oil-free, fragrance-free, allergy tested, and dermatology tested. Containing vitamins C and E, it is meant to create a smooth and even surface, on which to apply foundation.
- Carol’s Daughter
- What is there not to like about an African-American owned brand that is being heralded in magazines and by celebrities? This shop has a more cozy feel to it, as if to make you feel right at home. The staff was very knowledgeable and took the time to demonstrate the products. The products that stood out to me the most was the Acai Clarifying Exfoliating Toner and the Almond Cookie Lotion. The toner contains meadowsweet, a plant extract with anti-inflammatory properties to exfoliate the skin, and witch hazel and acai, both antioxidants to tone and reduce the signs of aging, respectively. The lotion contains sweet marzipan, tonka bean, and warm vanilla to create the luscious scent. It also contains vitamin E to protect against aging, coconut and grapeseed oils to balance moisture, and shea and cocoa butters to moisturize.
- All in all, it was a lipgloss junkie’s dream field trip. I came away with great product knowledge, an introduction to a new brand, and still had money in my wallet. Score!
Last stop, Sephora is like the Target of beauty stores (a little more classy than Walmart). It showcases a plethora of high-end cosmetics and skincare lines, in addition to its own product line. It allows the opportunity to comparison shop, you will most likely end up with an array of shades and textures slathered across your arm/hand. Browsing through Sephora takes some time, but it is definitely exciting. I was finally able to touch the Nars Orgasm blush and subsequent line of products. Now I truly understand why its the go-to blush that matches everyone’s skin tone. I was also intrigued by the Multiple by Nars...great concept to have an all in one product that glides on like a cream, but dries like a powder. Lastly, I did check out Sephora’s own lipgloss and was pleasantly surprised at how silky they are in texture and how affordable they are.
the lipgloss junkie
Note: All pictures are from the respective stores websites, thus I didn't grant Bare Escentuals any awards.