Month: August 2013

Tip of the Day 03

Comb a dab of concealer through your brows using a clean mascara wand to lighten them. medianet_width=’600′; medianet_height= ‘250’; medianet_crid=’228266391′;


International Beauties: Rihanna (Barbados)

Rihanna is a very special person. Beyond her pop star fame, she embodies many of the inner qualities that make a person beautiful, like expression, honesty, humor, and the ability to constantly stay true to herself. Her uniqueness is reflected in her lyrics, her attitude, her style, and her appearance. Undeniably, there is a kindness to Rihanna: she was politely candid about her horrible experience with physical abuse, in the hope of helping other young women prevent it by knowing what to look for, and in 2006, she created the Believe Foundation, which aims to help terminally ill children. In February 2008, she also contributed to a clothing line with H&M, as did other celebrities, to raise HIV/AIDS awareness. 
All of this radiant inner beauty is reflected in Rihanna’s cosmetic choices. No stranger to outer beauty, the hair chameleon has three successful fragrances (with a scent named “Rogue,” aimed at males, in the works, as well as a female version), and her RiRi Hearts MAC collection has been so popular, the songstress and the brand are teaming up again for a fall collection, which will hit stores on October 3rd.

RiRi Hearts MAC collection is available in-stores and at
Rihanna’s fragrances, such as Reb’l Fleur, are available at department stores, like Macy’s.

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Shiro Loose Eyeshadow in Divine Justice Review

Image via Shiro Cosmetics

Shiro describes Divine Justice as “tan-brown with strong golden shimmer.” However, that’s not a totally apt description. It’s a warm, medium orange with a warm brown overlay. The golden shimmer is more noticeable when used with a base (I used Urban Decay Primer Potion), but it is visible without one. It doesn’t look much like the photo included above.
Divine Justice is such an unusual color! I noticed that the orange-brown dynamic is not a duochrome. Even though it’s just one shadow, it has a very distinct separation in the colors. It looks like an orange shadow, with brown shadow layered on top of it, then gold shimmer layered on top of that. It’s a pretty cool effect! I just wish the colors were prettier (if they used this formula for something like blue with purple with silver shimmer, I think I’d be in love!). Despite this bizarre “separation”, the color blended well and didn’t have any fallout.
Another great thing about this shade is the wear. It looked flawless and interesting for 8 hours. When used without a base, there was just slight fading around the edges after 4 hours. I experienced no creasing during this time. The “dirtiness” of this hue, as well as the layered effect, remained the entire time, and the gold shimmer was noticeable throughout.
My Shiro order was in the “medium” size. So, the containers for this size are pretty small (a fraction smaller than MAC or Urban Decay pots), made of clear plastic, and have screw-on lids. I noticed that the lids are a little tricky to screw on-they don’t function like bottle caps, where you screw the lid all the way down. With these, you have to firmly press the lid on, then tightly twist it shut once. If you don’t the lid may be uneven or come loose. These shadows do come with sifters, but the sifters, sadly, are also a mixed bag from shadow to shadow. Some of mine are easy to use, and pop off and on easily .Others are so tight they’re impossible to remove, some give too much product, and others gave too little. While these shadow containers are small enough to travel with, I feel the plastic is too fragile to handle any rough treatment or a drop.
Because Shiro is an indie brand, their products are only available from their website. This limited availability is a drawback for those who don’t like online shopping. However, I love online shopping, and was glad to see that the shipping and processing time was considerably quick for an indie brand (it was less than two weeks from my order placement to the package on my doorstep). A “mini” jar (the medium size I got) is $3.50 USD for one. However, Shiro has really good deals, where you can purchase an entire collection and get 10% off. Also, the customer service is top notch-Shiro is very sincere, and a friendly, cruelty-free and vegan company.
Color: 4/5

Wear: 5/5
Formula: 5/5
Packaging: 3/5
Price: 5/5
Wow Factor: 5/5
Overall: 4.5 (A-)
Recommend: Definitely. Divine Justice isn’t a color that’ll work for everyone, but the formula is top-notch and the wear is there. Also, that unique layered effect is that little something extra that makes me fall in love with a product like this!

Shiro products are available at

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Shiro Loose Eyeshadow in Detective Review

Image via Shiro Cosmetics

Shiro describes their first loose eyeshadow in the Notebook Collection, Detective, as “taupe with blue duochrome.” However, despite how it looks in the photo above, this description isn’t very accurate. It’s a cool, iridescent silver with silver glitter. It’s also just a bit sheer, so it makes for a great layering shade. However, there wasn’t the slightest tinge of taupe in the base color. It did look awesome over Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough as Taupe! 

This shade has they type of shimmer and iridescence that makes you say “wow!” Especially over a colored base, a shadow like this really shines. I used it foiled (as is the best way to work with loose shades), and over the base, it had a fantastic Winter Wonderland look. While mostly opaque on it’s own, the base really brings the sparkles to life, creating a really amazing effect. What’s really special is that I experienced no fallout. It blended fine, also.
On the whole, Detective wore decently. At the 3 hour mark, there was a bit of fading around the edges when used with a primer (without a base, this edge fading didn’t occur until 6 hours). By 6 hours (with primer) there was slight fading on the lid, as well as very faint glitter migration. However, the color still looked strong by the 8 hour mark (the fading wasn’t horrendous) and the wandering glitter was only noticeable at certain angles in the light, so it wasn’t a total wreck.
All of my Shiro shadows from the Notebook Collection are in the medium size, which is 1 gram of product in a small, circular plastic container with a screw top lid and a sifter. The sifters were hit-or-miss: some worked well and were able to pop off easily, others were tricky, didn’t give a lot of product, some gave too much, and some didn’t pop off at all. While the packaging in this size is very similar, there is a sticker label on the bottom of each that clarifies what’s what. They’re very small and flat, so they’re easy to store, but I don’t feel the plastic is the most dexterous, so it may crack if dropped or during travel. It could also be small enough to get lost in a travel bag.
One Shiro shadow in this size is a very affordable $3.50 USD. For the quality, I think that’s definitely doable. However, because Shiro is an indie brand, their products can only be purchased from their website. The processing and shipping was not bad at all, though-less than 2 weeks from the order date to my doorstep-and the customer service is impeccable. I received a hand-written note, candy, and 2 free surprise samples with my order. Because the shadows are handmade and independently owned, they’re also cruelty-free and vegan (the ingredients used in each product is listed on their site). Detective is also safe for use on the lips.
Color: 4/5

Wear: 3.5/5
Formula: 3.5/5
Packaging: 3/5
Price: 5/5
Wow Factor: 4/5
Overall: 3.8 (C+)
Recommend: Yes, I think Detective is a fantastic layering shade at a great price. There were some minor issues with the formula and wear time, but it really sings over bases, and can in that regard, it surely can hold it’s own against more costly options.

Shiro Cosmetics are available at

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Get the Look: Emma Roberts’ August 2013 Nylon Cover

Image via JustJaredJr

Emma Roberts looked absolutely fresh-faced and adorable on her cover of Nylon’s August 2013 issue. It makes sense, then, that her makeup artist, Jo Strettel, used Neutrogena products to achieve the look. 
Image via Neutrogena

First, Strettel prepped the skin by applying Shine Control Primer ($12.99 USD).
Image via Neutrogena

Then, she combined 3 shades of Crease Proof Eye Shadow ($8.49 USD each) onto the eyes. The hues used were Lasting Taupe (pictured), Forever Platinum, and Stay Golden.

Image via Neutrogena

For a “Popsicle mouth,” Strettel combined two shades of Moisturesmooth Color Stick ($8.49 USD each). She mixed Juicy Peach and Rich Raisin for this specific look. Then, starting at the center of the lips, she blended the color outwards, so the most color would be stained in the center.
Image via Neutrogena

To complete the look, Strettel combed Healthy Lengths Mascara ($8.49 USD) through Roberts’ lashes.
So there you have it! A perfect, fresh look for the humid, final days of summer. Neutrogena is a bit on the pricey end of drugstore, but you can score all of the products used for less than $70 USD. Or, get creative and mix the items you already own with a few specific picks from this look. Either way, the end result is undeniably gorgeous. 
The August 2013 issue of Nylon is on newsstands now.
Neutrogena products can be purchased at drugstores and at cosmetic retailers like Ulta.

How Things Get Graded

I know, I know, probably the most boring topic ever. But I wanted to address how I reach the conclusions I get when grading a product. The aim of this post is to provide some insight and understanding behind the PV grading system.

All products are assessed in six different categories: Color (or effectiveness, if testing a skincare/hair care product), wear, formula, packaging, price, and wow factor.

Color considers how true to the product description the shade is, as well as how common (and easily dupable) it is. An item can gain points in this category for being really unique, unseen before, or hard to replicate. A product may lose a half point or more if it’s painfully common (there are black liners and red lipsticks at every price and quality, an influx will flood the market and likely end up on the back burner in someone’s stash). A product will never lose points just because I don’t like the way it looks, it’s not flattering on me, or simply because I think it’s ugly! That’d be biased and unfair, and I aim to be as truthful as I can in reviews.

If the item being evaluated is not a cosmetic, but a skincare or hair care product, then color gets replaced with Effectiveness. This is a judge on how well the product does what it says it well, and how quickly results can be seen or achieved.

Pointing out the obvious, but Wear is scored on how long a product wears for. For eyeshadows, liner, mascara, blush, foundation, and concealer, the ideal length is 8 hours. For lipstick, the ideal is 5 hours, and for gloss/balm, the ideal is 3 hours. While some of these times may seem ridiculous-who doesn’t have time to reapply in an 8-hour time frame?-there’s a method to my madness. It’s not to say that you can’t or won’t touch-up, but if one is in a situation where they’d prefer some color and don’t have access to the product (e.g, accidentally leaving the item behind, or running into an unexpected overnight, etc), it’s nice to know how long a product has got you covered. Not to mention there are some women who just loathe reapplying!

The Formula category is where a product can go the most wrong. This is where all the shortcomings get docked: if a product has fallout, goes on sheerly (or more opaque than it claims to), creases, smudges, fades, feathers, bunches, bleeds, dries out the skin, or any other cosmetic disaster, this is where it’ll show up in the rating. A product will have to show no signs of trouble throughout the wear time to achieve a flawless score here.

Packaging is an important factor to consider. Most of us seem to enjoy having our cosmetic stashes organized in some way. This area considers how easy an item is to store, how sturdy it is (hence, less breakable), and how well it can be traveled with. An item can gain points for being slim, sturdy, and relatively small (ok, and if it’s cute!), whereas an item may lose points for being cumbersome, large, wasteful (e.g, lots of unnecessary plastic), poorly functioning or difficult to use, and flimsy/delicate.

The Price score is determined with a mixture of science and subjectivity. I will take the price of the item, determine the price per ounce, and compare it with the industry “average” (usually a MAC product, for reference). This is the objective aspect, and is very functional, as it helps the buyer see how much she is really saving, and determine if an item is worth the splurge. The more subjective part is if I feel you get your “money’s worth.” If a product performs badly but has a marked up price tag, it’s a sure way to lose points in this area, especially if lower cost dupes are readily available.

And finally, Wow Factor is the most subjective of the categories. A cosmetic receives points here by having something that impresses me-a unique color, lots of glitter that doesn’t fall out, incredible wear, and excellent formula, etc. Any variable that makes me gasp when using this product is a way to garner points. However, low quality, blandness, or anything “run of the mill” can lose points. A score of 3 in this category indicates that the item is average-not a disappointment, but nothing special. This is by far the most subjective area of judgement, and should be taken with the largest grain of salt. What wows me might totally bore you! 🙂

Then, the scores of these 6 figures are tallied and averaged to determine the letter grade.
5-4.9 = A+
4.8-4.7 = A
4.6-4.5 = A-
4.4-4.3 = B+
4.2 = B
4.1-4.0 = B-
3.9-3.6 = C+
3.5 = C
3.4-3.0 = C-
2.9-2.6 = D+
2.5 = D
2.4-2.0 = D-
>2 = F

So that is how things get done on PV. I hope you guys found this helpful, and think it’s a rational, fair way to judge things. Stay tuned for future reviews on the blog! Thanks always for reading. 🙂 medianet_width=’600′; medianet_height= ‘250’; medianet_crid=’228266391′;