Beauty Abroad

Marcelle Concealer Palette Review

Remember my lemming for the Marcelle Concealer Palette? Well I decided to act on that lemming and purchased the Marcelle Concealer Palette after very little debate.

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Overall, I actually really loved it aside from one or two rantings!

Read ahead to find out what I loved and what I didn’t!

Marcelle is a Canadian based beauty brand that has an array of affordable cosmetics available within Canada. Actually, “affordable” is the key word of the day. At $15.95 USD the Marcelle Concealer Palette isn’t exactly affordable in the Muse’s humble opinion. Affordable for Canadians yes but affordable in terms of USD? No. Taking into consideration many high end cosmetic brands within the US have a price range of $15 USD to around $25 USD (some higher of course) for a concealer this isn’t really a cheap product. Taking CDN (Canadian Dollar) into consideration than yes indeed this would be cheap. The product is a bit too small to be considered a beauty budget purchase in my opinion as it contains very little product for nearly $16 plus the cost of airmail to have it shipped over makes it equally costly (Marcelle is exclusive to Canada and is not available for purchase within the US). Aside from my rant on the cost I must say it’s a decent product overall.

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The palette contains four shades of concealer in a slim circle compact with a tiny brush for application. Indeed, some may rant that the brush is too small to do anything but I quite liked the brush as it fits quite nicely under my eye, applies and blends the concealer nicely, and fits snugly back into the compact with little fanfare. The concealer shades all work well on me aside from one shade that’s a bit darker but that’s why I have three other shades…just mix a bit of the dark with the light and it’ll work fine! Colors range from a pale light beige, to a darker beige, a yellow corrector with hints of beige, and medium set beige. You can use colors individually or mix them up to create the perfect shade that’s suitable for your dark circles. I simply mix the lighter and medium shade and apply it on top of the yellow corrector. The yellow corrector erases my dark circles and the two beige shades brighten the eye area up.

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The formula of the concealer is nice creamy base that dries to a powder finish. It doesn’t have amazing pigmentation but it’s enough to cover up many of my under eye problems such as dark circles, puffiness, fine lines, and tiredness. I found that the formula was a tiny bit drying since it dries to a powder finish but it’s nothing too bad and my eyes seemed to like the product overall considering it didn’t crease, fade, or cake up.

I probably wouldn’t purchase the product again solely due to it’s price tag as I can find much better at around the same price range. However, I do think it’s not too bad a product and well worth picking up if you have easy access. Remembering that MAC and many other cheaper brands that we take for granted in the US are quite costly within Canada I do think that the Marcelle Concealer Palette is a nice budget friendly option for those who are within Canada. If it was a tad bit cheaper I’d probably pick it up again.

Have you tried Marcelle?

Which are some of your fav products?

Loving this concealer palette?

Tell the Muse!

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Steam Cream Review and Interview

Remember when I told you the solution to life, the universe, and everything was held within a tin of Smith’s Rosebud Salve?

The Muse has decided that although she loves Smith’s Rosebud Salve she might have been wrong about it being the solution to life, the universe, and everything.

In actuality she’s come to the conclusion that the secret and solution to life, the universe, and everything is actually SteamCream.

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Got ya curious now right? Wondering what SteamCream is? Jump ahead you’ll see!

A few months ago the Muse discovered a little product called SteamCream. Steamcream happens to be a multipurpose cream that can be used on your face or your body.

I know, I know you’re screaming in agonizing pain at the idea of using one cream for your face AND your body. How horrifying right? How can one single product be used on the delicate skin of your face plus the rough parts of your body like elbows and knees? Rest assured the Muse promises it’s a miracle in a cute little tin.

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SteamCream is a unique formula that uses pure steam to create a moisturizing treatment that absorbs easily and without any effort leaving behind soft, silky skin that’s instantly soothed and healed. This is currently my staple facial moisturizer as it’s made my face smooth, soft, and flake free. I’ve NEVER in all my years of using skincare came across a moisturizer that absorbs this easily into skin. It literally melts into your skin and absorbs in a snap. Strangely enough the formula is quite thick for something that absorbs so easily. The texture is that of a gel almost with a slightly cool feeling that makes my skin say “ahhhhh” in appreciation once I apply. It’s quite like pouring a cup of cool water onto my skin. I’m absolutely in love with it for my face but it also happens to do an amazing job of soothing my dry, rough elbows and knees and my legs simply love how easily it smooths on and goes to work instantly smoothing and moisturizing. Absolutely zero effort goes into getting this applied as almost on contact with my skin it absorbs. Quite like a magnet really as the skin literally sucks it up.

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The scent of the cream quite reminds me of Lush Dream Cream as it carries an herbal smell that’s quite pleasant. The formula includes good for you ingredients such as soothing oatmeal, orange flower water and healing lavender oil.

Around this time of the year normally the skin on my face has a few problem areas. My cheeks begin to have a patchy dry feeling and the space between my eyebrows normally has gross flaky dry skin. After using Steamcream a single time I noticed an improvement on both areas instantly. My dry patchy cheeks were smooth and soft and the flakes between my eyebrows were gone.

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SteamCream has alot going for it in the ways of being a moisturizing miracle but it also happens to make the Muse happy with it’s uber cute packaging. SteamCream comes packaged in cute little tins that feature various designs. The tins are fun collectible pieces! I actually keep one tin of SteamCream for my body and one for my face as I prefer a pot to be solely for different areas and it’s especially important for me to keep my facial moisturizer away from my body parts…kinda weird to use a body cream and proceed to slather on my face. The cute designs make it easy for me to tell which tin is my body tin and which is for my face. At the price you can honestly afford getting two for the different places you’ll be using the cream! Steamcream introduces new tins every few months which is always particularly fun for a fan of the product. The cream is absolutely a deal at �9.95 per a tin. A little goes a long way so the pot should last you quite a long while. Steamcream’s website kindly ships worldwide and shipping is very reasonable.

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Like Lush, Steamcream has a shelf life of a little over a year so one tin should get you through an entire year for your face and I’d say a tin for your body should last about 5-6 months.

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One of Steamcream’s team players, Allison, was kind enough to answer a few questions for me and I thought I’d past them on here as much of what she said was quite interesting. So sit back, grab your cuppa, and read what Allison and the Muse discussed!

Where did the idea for SteamCream come from? Who’s the man or woman behind the Steamcream idea?

Andrew Gerrie (CEO for Lush) is the man behind the STEAMCREAM idea. For a long time, he wanted to create one cream that uses high quality ingredients, is effective and is honestly priced. A cream that didn’t promise the world but really delivered.

Was the concept for SteamCream born in the UK or Japan? Created by the British or the Japanese?

The cream was formulated in the UK and the tins designed in Japan. Getting onto the shelf was a joint collaboration with our team in Japan.

What sort of process is invovled to create SteamCream?

STEAMCREAM uses hot bubbling steam to fuse ingredients together at a speed that defies most traditional cream making methods. This process produces a beautifully textured, light and glossy cream. The emulsion is held together very loosely and gently, allowing the cream to break down immediately on contact with the skin and nourish the skin more effectively. It is steam process – thus the name!

What sort of skin types can benefit the most using SteamCream? Any skin types that should avoid it?

STEAMCREAM is suitable for all skin types. No skin types need avoid it and all can benefit from it!

Does SteamCream contain parabens? How about mineral oil? (Remember Lush also contains small traces of parabens in their products as well)

No to mineral oil but yes to two parabens – methylparaben and propylparaben.

And to answer any possible questions as to why…? I have taken the liberty to provide a little explanation. Sit back and fasten your seat belt… it’s a little long!

You may already know that Parabens are a group of compounds widely used as anti-microbial preservatives in food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics products. They occur naturally in many plant sources, such as blueberries and carrots. Methyl and propyl parabens are synthetically produced because it would be too expensive to extract them from food, but they are 100% nature – identical molecularly, structurally and biochemically.

STEAMCREAM currently uses two preservatives – propyl paraben and methyl paraben. Propyl paraben and methyl paraben have a long history of safe use and are highly effective. Parabens are some of the oldest of cosmetic preservatives and have been used since the 1920s. They are used globally and are permitted by every world health authority (500 independent safety studies have been carried out over the decades). They are considered safe because of their low toxicity and how our bodies process them when eaten in foods. They don�t accumulate or get stored in the body and are eliminated normally.
A combination of mis-interpretation and flawed studies has caused a lot of worry associated with the use of parabens in cosmetics. The main sound bite often quoted: �parabens were found in breast cancer tissue� comes from a study that has been completely discredited by scientists. No causal link between parabens and cancer has been proven. You may also have heard that parabens show weak oestrogenic (oestrogen = female hormone) activity. This is true, but the effect is so weak that it is not significant. By comparison, whole grains, hops, soy beans and many other common foods show high oestrogenic activity.

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Nevertheless, paraben scare-stories have spread via mass-emails, websites and the media, and several companies have started to sell their products by specifically promoting that they are �paraben-free�. The fact is that methyl paraben and propyl paraben are the safest cosmetic preservatives around � and using alternatives which may not have been proved to be safe or effective could be more dangerous than simply sticking to parabens.

Many companies are promoting �paraben-free� products as if this is a good thing. This demonstrates the danger of companies supporting unsubstantiated rumours. If a cosmetic product that contains water is declared to be �paraben-free� it will contain another preservative.

If it doesn�t contain an effective, proven preservative it is dangerous in itself as it provides a breeding ground for bacteria.

Both Propyl Paraben and Methyl Paraben are used to control the growth of bacteria, yeasts and moulds. We use less than half the maximum permitted level to ensure the product is as mild as possible and the skin�s natural micro flora is not affected. This low level of use also helps with the bio-degradability of our product and any waste material created during manufacture.
We constantly review cosmetic preservatives and consider any good sound scientific evidence. However, we believe that these Parabens are still the safest and mildest we can find. They are safe when used during manufacture and they guarantee the quality and safety of the product we want our customers to enjoy.

We are able to use such low levels of preservatives because:

Our product is made to order with ingredients that are really fresh, of the finest quality, and where possible organic and locally sourced.

We use top quality ingredients, like essential oils and herbs, which have the power to control the quality of the product.

We use minimal amounts of water.

STEAMCREAM has a shelf life of 14 months – considerably shorter than conventional cosmetics which are typically 30 months.

We assessed the need for a preservative by considering many factors. The type of product, its structure, manufacturing process, ingredients and application. Using this information and microbiological tests during the products� development, we then chose an appropriate preservative. At this point , we chose to use Methyl and Propyl Paraben in STEAMCREAM , which in combination increases the protection from microbial growth.

So if you’re still with me, that’s our view on why we use Parabens!

Does SteamCream expire?

Answered Above.

How long has Steamcream been in business? Was it available in Japan first or England?

STEAMCREAM launch in Japan in April 2007 and we launched it in Liberty here in the UK in October 2008

How is it I can use SteamCream not only on rough elbows and knees but also the skin on my face?

STEAMCREAM uses high quality ingredients to provide a long-lasting, effective form of skincare – first and foremost for the face. However, because its unique formula allows the cream to breakdown on contact with the skin it can penetrate the skin where needed – so it works on the face as well as dry, rough elbows. The gentle and loose emulsion works equally effectively as a body cream and because we kept our packaging to a minimum, we were able to invest in high-quality raw materials and still keep our price affordable. I’m sure you’ll agree that many face creams would be lovely on the body too but are just too pricey to use…we wanted to produce one cream that was good enough to use from your head to your toes AND affordable!

SteamCream’s packaging is part of it’s appeal, how often will you release new versions of the SteamCream tins?

Once our sales volume increases we hope to launch at least one new tin per month (on average) – maybe more!. Japan is currently releasing about two per month and we have just released three new tins for Valentines Day/Spring 2009 so we have a total of 12 designs now available in the UK. We’re quite excited though as we only have a few tins of Secret left in the UK which means we would have sold out of our first limited edition design!

Do you consider the tins somewhat collectible? Will some designs be re-released at a later date?

The tins are absolutely collectible as they are limited edition designs. Just recently I had an order from Japan for two designs that have now sold out in Japan!
The plan is to continue to release new designs but maybe one day we will run a retro promotion and bring back a few of the golden oldies. No plans for that just yet though!

Are some tins exclusive to Japan and while others are exclusive to the UK? I noticed a sequined tin was this a special release?

At this stage Japan is designing the tins and we are choosing to release works from their collection. We will be running our own 1st anniversary design competition so if all goes to plan we will have a UK designed tin this year. The sequined tin was a very limited edition tin decorated by a nail artist in Japan using Swarovski crystals. We are currently in discussions with Swarovski to do a promotion of some sort but it is very early days yet…. suffice is to say though we would love to do something with them because the tins look just fantastic. We hope one day to have limited edition designs from artists all over the world.

What is the price per a tin in Japan (yen is fine as I have many Japanese readers)? (I think I read 1500 yen is that right?)

Yes it’s 1500 yen and so follows the original concept of being ‘affordable’ for Japanese customers too.

Do you plan on opening a portal for US shoppers anytime soon (Please keep in mind that SteamCream UK ships worldwide)?

Yes, we’re in very early discussions at the moment so watch this space! Until then though please use our website. for your steamy purchases!

Is Steamcream UK and Steamcream Japan the same entity?

Not entirely as local management in both markets hold shares making it a slightly different entity.

Is there anything more you can tell us about SteamCream that hasn’t been answered in the above questions?

It’s a fairly straight forward product really……one cream, many designs, honest pricing. We hope that customers will try it, realize they can enjoy a high quality product at a sensible price and then come back for more!

Thank you Allison for a great interview and I couldn’t agree more, high quality with an awesome price tag.

Finding out that Andrew was the brain behind SteamCream really made the Muse’s spirits lift as she’s such a big Lushie. Knowing that someone who works with Lush has created a brand new product that’s innovative and unique really pleased me and made me an instant SteamCream fan girl.

I think Allison did a great job of answering pretty much any questions you might have about SteamCream. The Muse thinks it’s simply and amazing and it comes with my highest seal of Muse Approval and recommendation for purchase.

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If you’re looking for a miracle, SteamCream brings it to the table.

Visit SteamCream at www.steamcream.co.uk

All in all the Muse has decided that the solution to life, the universe, and everything is now packaged up in a cute tin and slapped with the SteamCream label!

Loves it! Loves it! Loves it!

What about you?

Tried SteamCream?

Want to?

Tell the Muse, I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this one!

If you have any questions for Allison do let me know and I’ll forward them along.

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Disclosure: The following item was purchased by me for review purposes (and because I like flinging my money at makeup products of any kind) on Musings of a Muse. For further information please see my FTC Guidelines or my Disclosure/Disclaimer posts.

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Jill Stuart Beauty US Debut

September there was quite a roar of excitement at the possibility of Jill Stuart Cosmetics making their way to the US however a recent article in Elle says that may not be the case!

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Jump ahead for the sad news….

According to Emily Hebert of Elle News Blog the Jill Stuart Cosmetic Line will not be launching at a counter near you anytime soon but instead will debut at the Jill Stuart flagship store in Soho.

“……the beauty productswhich were used by makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury at Jill Stuarts spring 2009 showwill debut in late spring/early summer at Stuarts flagship store in Manhattans SoHo district (no exact date is set).”

Well so much for all the excitement that maybe Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks, and other fine department stores would have the makeup collection on sale!

Bummer.

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Valentine’s Day: All About YOU!

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about lovers! Spoil yourself a little bit too!

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Jump ahead for some cheap budget beauty options to make you feel extra special and loved this season!

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Jelly Belly Bath Fizzers 3 (Set Includes Cherry, Tangerine, and Blueberry)
Jelly Belly 7 Day Shower Set 5 (Set Includes Blueberry, Cotton Candy, Watermelon, Tutti- Frutti, Licorice, Tangerine, and Very Cherry)
Jelly Belly Juicy Tubes Lip Gloss Set 3 (Set Includes Cotton Candy, Blueberry, and Very Cherry)

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Rose & Co Bath Fancies Gift Box 5

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Sephora Brand Lip Gloss Pencil $5 USD

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mark Twinklebelle $9 USD

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Bonnie Bell M&M’s Sweet Spring Collection $3.50 USD (Buy 1 Get 1 Free!)

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Milani Runway Eye Shadows $4.99 USD

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NYX Eyeshadow $3.50 USD

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Clio Art Shadow $8.20 USD

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Bath and Body Works Radiant Powder $9.75 USD

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Mr. Bubble Bubble Bath in Wacky Watermelon $2.55 USD

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Lush Luverly Bath Bomb $5.95 USD

The Muse carefully selected little beauty purchases that all had an ickle price tag so you aren’t breaking the bank indulging in a little something sweet for your very sweet self this Valentine’s Day!

What are your favorite small indulgences for yourself?

Tell the Muse!

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Laneige The Snow Eye Palette 01 Review, Swatches and FOTD

Phew still hauling out the Holiday Collections and trying to get them all reviewed! How sad is it that the holidays are fully over and I’m still working my way through the makeup pile trying to pump out reviews?

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Wanna visit Laneige Holiday 2008 with me today?

I’ve already wrote a review on the Laneige The Snow Eye Palette 02 and today I’m bringing you the 01 version. Yes, yes a bit out of sequence there but I was feeling the love for the 02 palette a little more than the 01 version.

02 was a cool, frosty pink looking affair with hints of golden shimmer and 01 is a bit darker, still cool none the less, with blues, golds, and a tiny hint of frosty silver white. I’m not going to go into great detail about the formula of the shadow or the texture as you can gleen most of that from the review I did prior to this on the other palette however I will say that I felt like these shades blended a little bit crummy when compared to the 02 palette. I had a harder time coming up with a good look using the navy blue and ended up just lining my lower lash line with the shade as it was too dark to really do anything else with. I find I like navy blue less and less lately, I’ve never had much of a problem with it in the past but as of late it just makes my eyes look old and tired. For the most part I believe they created the blue to use solely as a liner but I like to be a bit inventive and use the liner as a shadow and in some cases that works out well for me but for the most part I felt like the navy in this palette was just drowning my eyes out.

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The palette is made up of a shimmering silver white shade which is used as a base, a sparkling gold which can be used to contrast the silver, and finally a navy blue liner shade. All the shades have a shimmer finish and are quite lovely however blending is a bit of a pain as the silver and gold just don’t go well together. Two shades I avoid mixing are silver and gold for some reason they seem like apples and oranges to me. I finally decided on using the silver as a base, the gold on my lid, and the blue as a liner for my bottom lash line. As you can see below it didn’t come out too badly but does kind of look messy.

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I’m actually quite pleased with the palette overall so long as I don’t actually have to use the colors together to create a look. I think they’ll look great alone or maybe with other shades in my collection but together I wasn’t feeling the love.

Props for the awesome packaging and snowflake design. I loved the dual flip compact which has the shadows on top and a mirror and a compartment below to house the sponge and brush applicators. I’m also a big lover of the snowflake design which was extra pretty for the Holidays and even for just now during our deep winter.

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All in all I love Laneige and aside from my rants here and there I was happy to add the Laneige The Snow Eye Palettes to my collection.

Love Laneige?

Love these palettes?

Tell the Muse!

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