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report by Lisa of the Cosmetic Connection Product Panel

Greetings Cosmetic Junkies! I've been a busy little bee as of late, testing all sorts of interesting products. Considering the arctic-caliber winter we've had, I've been spending lots of time indoors to escape the snow and bitter temperatures. This of course means I've had plenty of time to give everything a solid go-around. Here are my new finds, and what I thought of each of them!

First off, I just have to tell you about a new-ish product from my favorite skin guru, Ole Henriksen. New Beginning Gentle Complexion Scrub (2 oz for $22) is a perfect choice for exfoliation of sensitive skin. Although I've never had a single problem with Ole's regular Apricot Complexion Scrub, I know many people have skin far more sensitive than mine, so I wanted to give it a whirl. Not to mention I like the idea of a gentler option for winter, since my skin really slows down its oil production, and becomes a bit more delicate. As always, Ole does not disappoint. This creamy, luscious-smelling scrub has Jojoba Wax Beads, Citrus Extracts, Avocado oil, Tea Tee Oil and a host of other goodies to polish your skin to perfection very gently, yet thoroughly. With regular use, I find that breakouts are far less frequent, even during the time of month that they seem inevitable. Die-hard fans of Remede's Sensitive Sweep might find that New Beginning Scrub presents some serious competition for the coveted spot of "#1 Scrub."

Thankfully, Ole Henriksen has a website that allows online shopping (olehenriksen.com), which is wonderful because to my knowledge, the now-defunct beautyjungle.com was the only place online that carried Ole's products. New Beginning Scrub is a real gem, so definitely add it to your "must try" list!

I have also become rather enamoured with Joey NY's Calm and Correct line of skincare, which is formulated to combat the redness and discolorations we of the imperfect skin club struggle with. When you have skin as pale as mine, every little red mark, blemish, and broken capillary screams to be noticed (and with our average temperatures this winter hovering in the teens, broken capillaries have been a major problem for me!). I recently tried the cleanser and toner, and am very pleased with both of them. The cleanser is a creamy apricot-scented lotion that does not foam. Normally, cream cleansers are a hard sell on me, because I never feel like my skin is "squeaky clean" after using them. I typically like something that foams because it seems to remove my makeup more easily. However, Calm and Correct Cleanser did a wonderful job of removing all traces of cosmetics (even eye makeup) while leaving my skin soft, smooth, and refreshed.

Since I'm a certified toner lover, I thoroughly enjoyed using the Calm and Correct Toner. While it really isn't necessary to remove excess makeup residue, because the cleanser is so effective, I figured that since both products are formulated to be used together to decrease redness and discoloration, what the heck? This tonic is very gentle, non-drying, and soothing, and removed any little traces of cleanser I might have missed during my "rinse." It does not sting in the least, and can even be gently swabbed under eyes to combat dark circles. All in all, these are two wonderful products that do indeed assist in helping to achieve even color in your complexion. I have not yet tried the Calm and Correct moisturizer or serum, but look forward to doing so. The only possible drawback I've found is that I've only seen these products sold in a set of cleanser, toner, and moisturizer (for $85 at ibeauty.comicon, or wherever Joey NY products are sold) with the serum sold separately. Normally, I go through toner much more quickly than cleanser, so I'm not going to be looking at buying a whole set when all I need is one item. If any of you know where to buy these products separately, please shoot me an email.

I was also fortunate enough to get a preview of some of 5S's spring cosmetic offerings. As many of you know, 5S is a line by Shiseido that is pretty hard to come by. I searched all over the web, and finally found them at five-s.com! Thankfully, I was also provided with some informational literature, which was quite helpful in learning more about their products.

The first product I tried was 5S's Compact Color powder foundation. This foundation is very similar to MAC Studiofix or Urban Decay's Surreal Skin. I really liked the silky texture of this powder. It applied very well both wet and dry (although I prefer to use it dry for a sheerer finish), and can also be used over liquid foundation when you need full coverage. Compact Color also has an SPF 18, which is really a nice bonus when some of your favorite moisturizers don't contain one. This foundation has good staying power (due to their "Hydrophobic Treated Powder;" which reputedly repels moisture, and helps minimize caking and darkening due to perspiration and skin oils) and didn't cause any annoying breakouts. Add those great attributes to the fact that the price is right ($20) and the compact is refillable ($15 for a refill) and we have a winner! The only drawback I see are the available color choices. While they do split the choices into "yellow base" or "pink base" (which I would call more neutral than pink), this makeup is really only suited for women with pale to medium skin, as the darkest shades are still on the light side.

I also tried their Tube Color, which is their stab at the very popular "all-over color" for lips, eyes, and face. I tried Lavender (123), Gray (423), and clear pearl (323). While some of the available colors could possibly be suitable for all over use, I found that the shimmery lavender and shimmery gun-metal gray would really only work as eye makeup. The clear pearl, which is basically a creamy golden hue, could be used about anywhere for a little gloss and highlight, but the formula has strong pigment, and is fairly thick and creamy, so it easily turned into "a little much" for me, personally. However, I found that if I thinned it down with a little moisturizer (I used Aveda's Tourmaline-Charged Hydrating Cream, which I really love) it did add a nice glow to my cheekbones.

But honestly, I just don't understand all the fuss about this particular makeup trend! If the colors were a bit sheerer and more light weight, I could see wanting to use them. But, I would still run into the same problem with these as I do with most other, similar formulas; they travel around your face, crease almost instantly, and settle into any and all fine lines and imperfections! I looked at the directions, and one of their suggestions was to layer powder shadow over the tube color, but that turned into a gloppy mess, as well. Until cosmetic companies figure out how to give us a softly glossy finish without such drastic creasing, I really don't have much desire to "makeup" with something that requires so much maintenance.

Lastly, I tried 5S's Nail Color, which comes in 30 different shades, and costs $10. They have some great color choices, which include "finish changers," to change the look of your favorite polishes with shimmer, glitter, and other neat-o effects. These polishes wore very well, and were actually very gentle and somewhat moisturizing, thanks to their Toulene-free formula, and added macadamia nut oil. If you're ready for some new nail looks for spring, I highly recommend 5S's nailpolish! Pick a beautiful, rosy-golden shade to go with this Spring's trend towards soft and feminine, yet very clean and modern, looks.

And with that, I'll wrap up this little ditty. Please remember to indulge your own inner product diva often, as It tends to take the chill off! May Spring show up on all of our doorsteps very soon.



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