Friday, December 30, 2011

Review: Montagne Jeunesse Strawberry Souffle Face Mask


PROS:  Creamy consistency, goes on smooth, feels great on skin, smells wonderful, easy to use, stress-relieving, vegetarian friendly (PETA approved)

CONS:  None that I can think of!

I found out a while ago that I would be receiving this product for free to test out in my Holiday VoxBox from Influenster, and I almost jumped out of my seat.  Years ago, when I was probably only about twelve years old, I had used a Cucumber Peel-Off Mask that I absolutely adored.  It had made my skin so smooth and radiant, and I've wanted for a long time to get another one, but I couldn't remember the name of the company that made it to save my life.  When this product was announced as part of the Holiday VoxBox, I recognized the packaging immediately.  Montagne Jeunesse!  That was the company that I had been searching for.  Needless to say, I was thrilled that I would be getting another product from a company that I had adored such a long time ago.  I was not disappointed!

I have literally nothing negative to say about my experience with this product, so let's dive right into the positives.

The mask is easily used in four simple steps, which are clearly demonstrated on the back of the packaging.  First, you need to cleanse your face.  I just used my usual Olay Daily Facial Cloth (that I use as a makeup remover and to clean my face nightly) to quickly scrub my skin, rinsed, and patted my face dry with a towel, leaving it just a bit damp.  Next, you smooth the mask onto your face, making sure to cover all of your skin (don't apply too close to your eyes, and don't put it on your lips). Relax for 15-20 minutes, then rinse off with a washcloth and warm water.

The first thing I noticed about this mask is that it smells heavenly.  I would describe the scent like a pile of strawberries smothered in whipped cream.  If you like strawberries and whipped cream like I do, this is obviously a plus.  I had a really hard time not tasting this mask, to be honest.  I would recommend resisting the temptation (if I can do it, you can too!).

The consistency of the mask is extremely creamy.  As you can see from the picture on the right, it looks and feels a bit like a thick lotion or a body butter.  It has a tiny bit of grit to it that you can only feel as you apply it to your face, which I assume is for an exfoliating purpose.  It spreads very easily, and the trial size that I was sent included more than enough product to cover my entire face.

The picture to the left shows what the mask looks like when it's on the skin.  That particular patch was applied a bit thick, and it isn't necessary to put that much all over your face.  You'll notice that the mask starts to stiffen a bit after it's on for about 5 minutes.  This is not uncomfortable at all, and you just need to keep your face still to avoid having the mask crack (if this happens, it's no big deal, it'll still work).  You get to just relax and let the mask do it's job for the next 15-20 minutes.  Having the mask on my face while I waited for my time to be up was actually really enjoyable.  The scent was still lingering, but it wasn't overpowering;  it was just a light fragrance that kept me happy.  Having this on my face made me feel like I was at the spa... It really is a very relaxing and stress-relieving experience.

Rinsing off the mask was easy, although a little part of me missed the ease of Montagne Jeunesse's peel-off masques.  For this one, I just had to use a warm, wet washcloth to wipe the product off.  After the mask was off, I noticed that my skin was noticeably softer, and looked much fresher and cleaner that it had before I used the mask.

Now that I've rediscovered Montagne Jeunesse, I definitely plan on buying more of their masks.  They make all sorts of different masks in plenty of different scents;  some of their masks are even self-heating for a warming sensation!  They also make different masks for different skin types, so be sure to read up on the masks on their website to find the one that's best for you. The Cucumber Peel-Off Mask that I used years ago and the Strawberry Souffle Mask are both fantastic products, and I can't wait to try more from the Montagne Jeunesse line.

In the U.S., Montagne Jeunesse masks can be purchased at ULTA Beauty, Walgreen's, Claires, Walmart, Kroger, and CVS Pharmacies.  You can also purchase directly from their site at

With such great prices, I see absolutely no reason not to pick up a few Montagne Jeunesse products and enjoy an at-home spa experience for yourself!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Look: Golden Smoky Eye with the Naked Palette

Since I got it a few days ago, I have been totally unable to keep my hands off of my Naked Palette.  Playing with the colors is a blast, and I love being able to create so many different neutral-toned looks.  I was able to create a nice-looking, simple smoky eye this morning, and I thought I would share!  It looks fairly similar to the look created in my Naked Palette review, but if you look closely, you can see that the this one is more shimmery and gold-toned.  Here's the look and how I did it:

Golden Smoky Eye

  1. Prime the eyelid with an eyeshadow primer, liquid foundation, or concealer.
  2. With a flat/c-shaped eyeshadow brush, pat Half-Baked all over the lid.
  3. With a domed/fluffy eyeshadow brush, apply Smog to the crease and lower brow bone, blending upwards.
  4. With the same brush, apply Darkhorse to the crease, then to the outer corner of the eye in a v-shape.
  5. With the brush used in Step 2, lightly blend Half-Baked over the newly created dark crease.
  6. Apply Sin just under the eyebrow and in the inner corner of the lid.
  7. Use a black liner to line the upper lash line and the waterline.  With a small precision or eyeliner brush, use Darkhorse to go over the liner in small, upward-angled strokes.
  8. Line the lower lash line with a dark brown eyeliner.  Use the same brush from Step 7 to smoke up the liner by running Darkhorse over it.
  9. Apply a coat or two of mascara, and you're done!
Be sure to let me know what you think of this look, and what looks you might like to see from me in the future!  Try it out for yourself, and let me know how it goes in the comments!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review/Look: Urban Decay Naked Palette!


PROS:  Beautiful colors, sophisticated packaging, comes with UD Primer Potion and Good Karma Eyeshadow Brush, creates a multitude of looks, includes mattes, shimmers, and glitters, shadows are silky smooth, colors work for almost everyone.

CONS:  Shadows appear best when used with a primer; without a primer, shadows aren't very strong.

Like many other makeup addicts, the Urban Decay Naked Palette is something I've been lusting after for quite a while now.  My college student budget doesn't really allow for $50 makeup splurges, though, so I had to do without... Until, that is, this palette showed up on Christmas.  I had decided to add the original Naked Palette to my wish list this year, even though the Naked 2 had just been released.  The colors in the original palette looked better to me, and it seemed to include a bit more variety.  I think I made a good choice, although I would still love to get my hands on a Naked 2!

The first thing I noticed upon unwrapping my lovely gift was the packaging.  Urban Decay really knows how to make a product look and feel deluxe!  The palette came packed in a purple velvet tray, with the included primer potion next to it.  The palette case itself is also a soft velvet, with gold lettering.  As someone who is used to drugstore cosmetics (and therefore, drugstore packaging), it was a thrill to hold a makeup item in my hands that was clearly in a high-quality package.  The lid on the palette is magnetic, so it will snap closed, protecting the shadows while they're not in use.

The shadows themselves are gorgeous.  The palette ranges from a very light--almost white--color called Virgin, to the darkest grey and black shades, Gunmetal and Creep respectively.  The palette includes two matte shades, Naked and Buck, while the rest are more shimmery.  The range of shades allows for a multitude of looks, all with a beautiful neutral theme.  I wanted to swatch the colors for this post, but due to my extremely pale winter skin, about half of the shadows didn't even show up on my arm (although they show up beautifully on my lids!).  To see some great swatches, check out this blog.

The shadows can be picked up very easily with a brush;  a light sweep over the pan will pick up enough color to pat over the majority of the lid.  The colors are striking, especially when used with the included primer potion.  The UD Primer Potion is rather expensive, though, and there are other alternatives to this.  Foundation or concealer applied to the eyelid will produce a similar effect, and ELF makes an eyeshadow primer for only about $3 (see here).  Without a primer, the colors are much more sheer and don't show up quite as well.  With a primer to cling to, the shades really pop and provide incredible color, and they last all day with no problems.

The thing I love the most about these shadows is that they actually feel nice to wear.  They are silky and soft, and putting them on is quite the pleasant experience.

I'm no makeup artist, but I was pretty proud of the look I was able to accomplish the first time I used the Naked palette.  The pictures below were taken in the evening, after I wore the look for an entire day, which shows off the shadows' staying power.  I went for a lighter, smoky bronze look, and here are the results:

(My apologies for the shadow from my finger on the first photo!)

Here's how I created this look:

  1. Prime the lid with UD Primer potion (or equivalent, see above).
  2. With a flat/c-shaped eyeshadow brush, pat Toasted all over the lid.
  3. With a domed/fluffy eyeshadow brush, apply Buck to the crease, and blend up onto the lower brow bone.
  4. With the same brush, take Hustle and apply it directly into the crease and the outer corner of the lid.
  5. With a smaller precision brush, apply Creep to the outer corner of the eyelid in a V-shape.  Blend it in with the brush used to apply Buck.
  6. Apply Virgin just under the brow and to the inner corner of the eye.
  7. Line the upper lash line with a black liner.  For a smokier look, go over the liner with Hustle, or Creep for a darker look, blending very slightly upwards.
  8. Apply a black or black/brown liner to the lower lash line and waterline.  Smoke it up a bit by applying Hustle to over the liner under the lower lashes.
  9. If the look turned out dark for your tastes, you can add a bit of a highlight by dabbing on Sin to the middle of the lid.
  10. Mascara!
It may seem like a lot of steps, but it's really very simple, and creates a nice look for everyday wear that can easily transition into the evening.  

Overall, if you're a person who likes wearing neutral shades, I'd say this palette is a must-have.  You can create looks with it for all situations, and the looks will last all day.  This is a fantastic palette that is well worth the splurge!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Review: X-Out Wash-In Treatment


PROS: Deep Cleans, Exfoliates, Leaves Skin Super-Smooth, Fights Acne, 3 Different Uses

CONS:  A Bit Rough, Cooling Effect May Be Too Strong

This is another product that I received for free to test out through Influenster's VoxBox program.  I was really excited to try it out as soon as I saw it in the package;  I'd been hearing quite a bit about it, and wanted to see what all the hype was about.

X-Out is a new acne treatment from the makers of Proactiv, and is marketed mainly to teens (you can tell this right away because of the packaging, as well as some of the language used on their website).  X-Out claims to be a more simple solution to traditional acne treatments, requiring just two minutes, twice a day so that it fits better into your busy schedule.  X-Out also comes with a QR code right on the bottle that you can scan with your smartphone, which will take you to X-Out's Daily Distraction, a two-minute media clip for you to watch while using X-Out to ensure proper washing time.

The coolest thing, in my opinion, about this product is that it can be used a total of three different ways--as a wash, a mask, and a spot treatment.  To use it as a wash, you just need to apply to damp skin and wash it in for two minutes, twice a day.  To use it as a mask, which will provide a deeper clean, you can apply the product all over to damp skin, leave it on for ten minutes, then rinse with warm water.  For use as a spot treatment, just apply to trouble areas, and head to bed, letting the product do its job overnight.  I think this is a really great aspect of the product, because it allows for different degrees of treatment, and also for different time spans to fit around your schedule.

I consider myself extremely lucky, as I have never had problem skin.  Throughout my teens and even now, I haven't struggled with acne.  I still wanted to try X-Out, though, and I'm very glad I did!  You don't have to have a problem with acne to enjoy using this product.  After my initial use (as a wash) I immediately noticed that my skin was softer than it had been in a very long time.  My skin tone was also more even the next morning, which was awesome.  X-Out also has what the makers like to call an "Icy Slap," which hit me about halfway through the two minutes of washing.  It's a fairly powerful cooling effect that makes your skin feel clean and fresh.  I would compare it a bit to using mentholated lip balm, but having that effect spread over the entire face.

The "Icy Slap" was nice while washing, but what I didn't enjoy so much was that it lasted long after I had rinsed the product off of my face.  I suppose that means that the product continued to work even after I had rinsed it off, but it did start to get a bit irritating, especially because of how cold it is already this time of year!  In the summer, this product's cooling effect will be a definite plus.

Another thing to be mindful of is how powerful the exfoliating beads in this wash are.  I wasn't expecting it, so I started off the wash by rubbing the product in pretty hard.  That was a mistake--it felt like I was washing my face with sandpaper!  If your skin is extremely sensitive, be sure to take care to wash lightly, since the exfoliating beads will do their job.  A lighter hand will ensure soft, smooth skin without the irritation.

At this point, I'm unable to attest to the acne-fighting power of X-Out, because my face is acne-free.  If I get a zit anytime soon, though, I'll be sure to update this post with another section about how X-Out handles my breakouts.  I've heard from others that X-Out is wonderful when it comes to fighting acne, especially when used as a spot treatment.

Overall, I think this is a great product for people with or without acne!  I'd recommend X-Out to anyone who is looking to get smoother, more even skin instantly.

If you'd like more information about X-Out or are interested in buying, visit

Friday, December 23, 2011

Video Review: imPRESS Press-on Manicure

My very first video review! I love these nails. Have you ever tried them? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

First Review: ELF Studio 11 Piece Brush Collection


PROS: Soft, Durable, Easy to Hold, Well-Designed, Anti-Bacterial, Vegan-Friendly

CONS:  Set does not include several of ELF's best brushes

I recently found myself in dire need of a new set of makeup brushes.  It was about time for my poor old set to retire--my Mary Kay brushes that I got at the age of 13, when I first started wearing makeup, had started to fray, shed, and become essentially unusable.  Being on the budget of a college student, I was worried about finding a set of quality brushes at an affordable price.  I scoured the internet looking for answers, and I kept coming across the ELF Studio brushes among the recommendations.  I decided to take a look, and to my absolute delight, I found that a complete set of 11 brushes only cost $30!  I decided that I had to jump on the deal, and purchased the set.

Overall, these brushes are a fantastic quality for the price.  The first thing I noticed is that they come in their own little convenient carrying case.  I prefer to keep them in the case they came with for the sake of convenience, but they could all easily fit into my everyday makeup case, too.  They are extremely soft, and the handles are made of durable wood.  So far, I have had absolutely no problems with shedding or fraying, which are the things that were driving me insane with my old Mary Kay brushes.  They pick up and hold makeup well, and smoothly transfer it to the face.  I have found them to be extremely easy to handle, as they are not too long, and fit very well in my hand.

I have been using the brushes for a few months now, and the only negative I ever noticed about the set as a whole was that the brushes had a little bit of a funky smell when they first arrived.  This went away within the first few weeks, and wasn't really that much of a problem anyway.

Now, let's take a look at the individual brushes included in the set.

Eyeshadow "C" Brush
This is the brush that I find myself reaching for the most often in the collection.  The brush is designed wonderfully, and is perfect for applying eyeshadow all over the lid and brow bone.  I have had very little problems with fallout--this brush transfers the pigments nicely and is easy to use.  Definitely my favorite of the set.

Contour Brush
This is another brush that is an incredible steal.  The bristles extend down into the barrel attached to the ferrule, allowing for extremely easy movement.  I prefer to use this brush to apply eyeshadow to my crease and corners of my eyes.

Small Smudge Brush
I don't use this brush as much as some of the other brushes in the set, but it still is a quality brush and does what it's intended to do.  This brush is great for smudging eyeliner for a smoky look, or blending eyeliner and eyeshadow together.

Small Precision Brush
I use this brush significantly more than the Small Smudge Brush.  I think that the shape is more versatile and easier to work with, and therefore can do the job of the smudge brush as well as work wonderfully in other areas.  I like to use this brush for applying liner right under my lower lash line for a highly defined look.  This brush can also be used for precisely applying lip color.

Small Angled Brush
This one is pretty easy.  Bristles are packed tight and don't fray, which makes it perfect for eyeliner application.  A definite no-brainer.

Powder Brush
I use this brush every day without fail.  The flat end of the brush makes it perfect for applying blush or finishing powder, or even for contouring.  The bristles pick up and lock powder in place until application, and any product used with this brush goes on smoothly.  The bristles are so soft, and it actually feels good to use this brush.

Blush Brush
This brush is good for blush application, especially if you are going for a dramatic look around the temple area.  However, for application on the apples of the cheeks, there are definitely better brushes out there.  This one is a little on the small side, and tapered on one side as well.  I wish ELF had made this brush a bit larger and fluffier, although it's still a good brush.

Concealer Brush
This brush is great for spot-treatment of blemishes.  I also use it to conceal under-eye circles.  The size of this brush makes it extremely versatile and easy to use.

Complexion Brush
A big, fluffy brush that is perfect for all-over powder application.  This brush is super-soft and is great for all types of loose and pressed powders.  It can also be used for blush application, if you want a less precise look than the included brush gives.  I personally like to use it for bronzer.

Angled Foundation Brush
This brush is wonderful!  It's flat on the sides like a foundation brush should be, and the angle at the top lets you get closer to the angles and curves of your face for fuller coverage.  This can be used for liquid, cream, or even powder foundation, and gives a flawless finish.

Fan Brush
Honestly, I had no idea how to use a fan brush in relation to makeup until I got this set of brushes.  The fan brush can be used to dust away fallout from eyeshadow, to blend, or to create soft touches of color on the face.  I don't use this very often because I don't get much fallout with the combination of my makeup and these brushes, but when I do use it, it gets the job done.

Overall, these brushes are a no-brainer for someone looking for brushes on a budget.  Of course they wont be quite as nice as higher end brushes such as those found at Sephora or the coveted MAC brushes, but they will certainly do their job and do it well.  My only complaint is that the set does not include two of ELF's better brushes, the Stipple Brush and the Kabuki Brush.  However, when all of the brushes are only $3 apiece, the other brushes can be bought separately without added guilt.

THE BOTTOM LINE:  If you are looking for a set of brushes for a beginner/intermediate user, this is the perfect set at a fantastic price.

All of the brushes mentioned in this post can be found at, and all of the images used in this post come from their site as well.  Please feel free to share your experience with the ELF Studio brushes in the comments, and be sure to ask any questions you may have! 

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Hey there, and welcome to Pretty Much Reviews!  I'm Anna, and this is a brand-new blog designed to bring you reviews on great beauty products.  I'll be reviewing products from all different aspects of beauty, including makeup, hair products, skincare, and more!  I'll bring you reviews about products that I already own and love, new products that I get my hands on, or products that are suggested to me for review.  Really, anything goes!

A little bit about myself--I'm a 20 year old college student, who happens to have a passion for beauty products.  I'm a theatre major, and acting is my main focus.  I also love directing and writing, and am always looking for new creative outlets!  I like to think I also have a bit of talent in photography, and I take photos whenever and wherever I can.

As far as beauty products go, I've always loved testing out new products and recommending my favorites to friends and family, so I figured, why not branch out and share with more people?  I figured I'd start with a blog, and see what I can do with it.  I also plan on making some video reviews in the future!

I'm certainly not the first beauty blogger out there, and I definitely won't be the last, but I like to think that I have some good, honest opinions that you might enjoy hearing.  So, if you have a passion for beauty like I do, I encourage you to follow along with me!  Please feel free to leave comments if there are specific products that you would like to see me review, or if you would just like to say hello!  I'd love to hear from you, and can't wait to get this blog started!