Product Reviews

My Time with LipSense

Recently I was contacted by the daughter of a friend who I went to school with. She kindly asked me if I was interested in trying a brand of cosmetics called LipSense by SeneGence, in particular a 3-piece lip set. Too be honest, I have seen this brand all over social media and wondered if it was a bit too gimmicky. Lip color and gloss that lasts all day? Come on, we all remember the dreadful Revlon Colorstay lip products that were the first of their kind and started a revolution. But being the makeup addict that I am, of course I said yes!

I met with Abigail, who explained the proper procedure for applying the product. I chose the gorgeous shade called Napa, a kind of berry color that I wanted for spring and summer but is definitely wearable all year long. The kit comes with the lip color, lip gloss and the Oops Remover. Starting at the top of your lips and keeping your mouth completely wide open, apply 3 coats of the lip color to clean, dry lips. Let each coat dry completely before applying the next. I should have paid extra attention to that because on my first try, I closed my mouth too early and my lips stuck together. Nothing major, but I learned my lesson, lol! After the third coat dries, apply the gloss. The following are my honest thoughts. I did receive this as a gift, but all opinions are my own and 100% unbiased.

So I kinda cheated after I got home from my meeting with Abigail. I already had my face on for the day, but I decided to apply the Napa on my hand. The same way it was explained to me. Just a little circle of it with some gloss. That circle never budged through hand washing, dishes and laundry, sleeping and holding a baby. I know hands and lips are entirely different body parts, but I was impressed! It lasted two days before I removed it! This beauty blogger will go to extremes to review a product for you ūüôā

The next day I tried it on my lips for the first time. I should have done two things differently, but it had nothing to do with the product, just my first time using it. As I already mentioned, I needed to keep my mouth open wider and the entire time, as it did get sticky on me. I also should have moved quicker, as it dried faster than I anticipated. I was so concerned with getting it even that I let it get “patchy” in some places. But I applied the other two coats, then the gloss and went on with my day. To say I was impressed is an understatement. I ate, drank, talked, kissed nieces, nephews, and cats and it never moved. In the 10+ hours I wore it that first day I think I put the gloss on two or three times. The color never transferred from my lips onto the lip gloss applicator, which I thought was amazing.

lipsense napa

Napa the perfect shade for Summer!

I’ve used Napa about four more times since then and, now that I know how to properly apply it, I absolutely love it! Abigail told me that I might experience a slight tingling sensation, but if you’ve used any Buxom, GlamGlow, or Too Faced Lip Injection products, this won’t bother you at all. It was a non-issue for me, but be aware that you may experience it. I’ve worn this color for anywhere from 8-13 hours a day and I’ve only had to reapply the gloss. I’ve gone for walks in the humid Western Pennsylvania weather, taken naps and just lived my life and it still stays beautiful. You most certainly need the Oops Remover to take it off. For research purposes I tried various makeup removers but it was a waste of time. Only trust the Oops!

The only negative thing I have to report about LipSense lip gloss is that I can’t wear it two days in a row. ¬†Because of the alcohol content, it’s just too drying on my lips. ¬†Otherwise, it’s a fabulous product that lives up to its promise!

SeneGence has more than just the 3-piece lip kit I was lucky enough to receive. They have an entire line of skin care and cosmetics. I cannot wait to try more of the line, especially the foundation and cream eye shadows. I’m up for any long lasting product. I definitely recommend LipSense! It is truly unlike any other lipstick, gloss, stain, or color product I have ever used. It may take you a few tries to get the hang of it and you may experience that tingling sensation, but you will never have to worry about your lip color disappearing on you. Just keep the gloss on you at all times. I forgot to mention there are different gloss formulations too! The 3-piece Lip Collection is $55 but all products can be bought separately.

Check out Abigail’s Facebook page “Abigail’s Alluring Lips” for pictures, testimonials, and special offers. You’ll get to see beautiful faces wearing the lip and other color products in the line. If you have any trouble finding her FB page, please contact me and I’ll get you in contact with her! She can help you with products, colors, or even if you are interested in becoming an Independent Distributor. Just tell her that Lisa aka “DarthLisa” sent you.


Abigail Rieder

PS….I am not sponsored in any way by LipSence and do not receive any kickbacks, products or commissions. I’m just interested in seeing if this blog helps her out in any way!

Abigail Rieder, Independent Distributor for LipSense

Instagram @abigailsalluringlips



Guest Review

We have a guest blogger in the galaxy today. Jennifer is a decades-long friend that also has a healthy obsession with all things beauty. Read on to see what she thinks about L’Oreal’s new shampoo and conditioner duo!¬†

Greetings Dark Side devotees.  The DS Diva and I met many moons ago when we were working together on the Death Star.  Since then we have been the most excellent of friends and fierce allies in the pursuit of the best products in the universe.  My evaluation of L’Oreal’s Extraordinary Clay shampoo and conditioner is as follows. L'Oreal

The Claim:¬† Instantly purifies oily roots while hydrating dry lengths for up to 48 hours.¬† ‚ÄúBeautifully fresh, flowing hair from root to tip.‚ÄĚ

My hair is normal to oily, thick and mostly straight.  It has just enough waviness to make it interesting, or irritating, depending on the weather conditions.  It is currently shoulder-length, layered, and in desperate need of a trim.  Products that are too rich, creamy, or oily tend to weigh my hair down and make it fall flat.  Some products can be too drying and I end up with static-cling.  So I like rotating my products and am always on the lookout for those that meet my unique mix of hair needs.  I’ve tried a few clarifying/degreasing shampoos before but they’ve always been too harsh or too drying.

day 1

Day 1: off to work!

The Mane Event:  On day 1 I started with the L’Oreal Extraordinary Clay shampoo and followed with the conditioner.  Both have a pleasant, clean smell that is fresh without being overpowering.  Because I wanted a true feel for the products, I did not use any of my normal leave-in or styling products afterward.  I dried and styled as usual.  My hair felt soft, manageable, and looked shiny.  A few hours later I noticed a warming sensation on the back of my scalp.  It wasn’t itchy or irritating, it just felt very warm but it resolved later in the day.  My messy, layered style held throughout the day.

When I got up the next morning I noticed something very strange.  My hair looked even better than it had the day before.  The messy layers were gently smoothed down into a more sleek style.  I could have skipped washing my hair, it looked that good.  But my OCD kicked in and I shampooed and conditioned as usual before my 12-hour shift at work.  I didn’t use any other products and my hair styled ok but the ends were a bit staticky.  My scalp was hot again this day but it resolved within a few hours.

day 3

Day 3: Snapchat filtered

By day 3 my wet hair was difficult to comb through.  So I went to my arsenal and grabbed Living Proof Restore Perfecting spray.  I sprayed a few pumps on my hair, combed through, then dried and styled.  After a couple hours my bangs looked limp but it was also 80 degrees and humid in the galaxy that day.  If there is a product that defends your style against the schizophrenic Western PA weather, I haven’t found it yet.

I‚Äôve been using L‚ÄôOreal Extraordinary Clay shampoo and conditioner for two full weeks now.¬† The more I use it the better it works, especially when I layer a leave-in or styling product.¬† This product makes good on its claim ‚Äď it purifies my roots without drying out the rest of my mop.¬† My locks feel soft and stay manageable throughout the day.¬† Today it passed the ultimate test ‚Äď I walked for 1 ¬Ĺ hours this morning, in the rain, with a hat on.¬† Normally such conditions would obliterate my hair, transforming it into a flat, fuzzy blonde nightmare.¬† But other than my bangs getting slightly squashed by a hat, the rest of my hair looks pretty good.¬† I definitely plan on purchasing this dynamic duo again and again!

day 14

Day 14: Humid but holding steady

Dark Side Hall of Shame: Drug Store Edition

In my last blog post, I wrote about 5 high-end beauty products that were busts for me.  Now here are my drug store duds.  Again, no particular order:

Hard Candy Just Glow Baked Illuminating Powder Duo:¬†¬† A long name for garbage.¬† I could use the entirety of this duo and nothing would show up on my face.¬† It didn’t matter what type of makeup brush I used.¬† No illumination, no glow, nothing.¬† I know I have a very fair skin tone, but I should have seen something.¬† Absolutely no pigmentation what so ever.¬† Had I done my due diligence and checked their website, I would have seen a rating of 1.7 out of 5.¬† Enough said!

Wet n Wild Setting Spray:  Wow, a $4 dupe to the Urban Decay formula!! I might as well have used a toxic bug spray on my face.  Sticky, disgusting smell, uneven application, actually took my breath away. A nope, never again, not in a million years product!

LA Colors Matte Liquid Lipstick:  Sometimes you get what you paid for.  And at only $2, this is definitely the case.  These are horribly dreadful, drying, peeling, cracking and offer uneven coverage.  The darker colors are just putrid looking. However, their high shine lip glosses are beautiful and I recommend picking up every color you see!

Almay Black Liquid Eyeliner:¬† I have never been impressed with the Almay line.¬† It’s just never jumped out at me, nothing special or unique about the brand.¬† I decided to try the liquid eyeliner and immediately regretted it.¬† Horrible brush, runny color and takes forever to dry.¬† Blink and you’ll mess up your entire eye look,¬† trust me.¬† ¬†And if you‚Äôre as unlucky as I am,¬†you’ll get a terrible¬†case of conjunctivitis as a bonus.¬† No coupons needed!

Revlon Colorstay 16 Hour Eyeshadow Quad:¬† Chalky, creased on me, color changed throughout the day.¬† I never ended the day with the same¬†colors that I started with.¬† I had the quad called “Decadent”,¬†pinky, nude, mauve¬†¬†shades.¬† A lot of fallout, hard to blend.¬† A disappointment of “Decadent” proportions.

Thankfully, I have had¬†many more passes than fails in my lifetime of beauty products.¬† I will give any and all a chance, but sometimes things just don‚Äôt work out.¬† Have you had any bad luck with products?¬† Or a major beauty fail?¬† What products would be on your Hall of Shame?¬† Comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

Dark Side Hall of Shame: High-End Edition

This is a painful post for me to write.¬† I have to admit that there are certain high-end¬†and drug store beauty products that were complete fails for me.¬† Please don’t think I’m crazy!¬† I gave these products a great try, but to no avail.¬† So today, I focus on the high-end beauties that get a thumbs-down from the diva.¬† In no unfortunate order they are:

Happy fragrance by Clinique: ¬†A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was a beauty advisor for Clinique and we were expected to wear Happy.¬† Every.¬† Damn.¬† Day.¬† I can still remember the top notes without looking them up:¬† red grapefruit, boysenberry, bergamot, and mimosa.¬† A migraine-inducing, citrus exploding scent of horrendous proportions. ¬†When combined with my body chemistry, it turned completely rancid.¬† To this day I can still smell this perfume from a mile away.¬† And I most certainly am not “Happy” about it!

Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme Cream: ¬†Not so long ago, I was also a beauty advisor for Lauder.¬† Therefore, I was a test subject for this anti-aging, collagen-boosting cream. ¬†It not only failed to live up to those claims,¬†it also clogged my pores and turned my face into a shiny, greasy mess.¬† Imagine your face covered in frosting mixed with baby oil.¬† That’s exactly how I felt, even without makeup on.¬† A “Supreme” fail to say the least.

Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara by Tarte:¬† Messy, clumping, and disgusting.¬† And that’s just the wand.¬† I had such hopes for this mascara, as it has quite a cult following.¬† It claims to lengthen, curl, add volume, and condition.¬†All it did for me was run, smudge, and make a tremendous mess.¬† My lashes never looked any¬†different at all.¬† In full disclosure, I have not tried the waterproof version. And in all honesty, I never will.

Josie Maran Vibrancy Argan Oil Foundation:¬†¬†I absolutely love Josie’s line.¬†Well, 99% of it.¬† This¬†foundation is the 1% that does not¬†work for me.¬† It claims to be a lightweight, medium to full coverage product.¬† I used the lightest shade called Dynamic and¬†it just wasn’t fair enough¬†for my¬†skin tone.¬† I could never even get it to a medium coverage¬†and it was so oily on me.¬† That surprised me because I can use all¬†her other¬†Argan Oil products without any problems. I will continue to use her line because the products are cruelty free, made of all organic ingredients, and are made in recyclable containers.¬†I truly wish this foundation would have worked for me!

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer:¬†¬†I’m probably going to get grief over this one, but I absolutely despise this primer.¬† It claims to be lightweight and blur pores.¬†Unfortunately it did the opposite on me.¬† It made my pores embarrassingly exaggerated no matter what foundation I used or how much of the product I used.¬† With or without makeup on,¬†using this primer makes my face look atrocious.¬† And for $36 a tube, that’s a major disappointment.

Unfortunately, these high end beauty bombs will never see the dark side of my vanity. They had a fighting chance, but as with all things beauty, brand name and price sometimes cannot save a product.

Check out my next post where I discuss the 5 drug store products that caused me major grief!

Dark Side Hall of Fame

Having spent almost 5 decades on the Dark Side, I’ve used and tried thousands of skin, hair, and cosmetic products, both high and low end. What do I consider to be my top 10 of all time? Read on, you may be surprised by the range of items I adore!

TRESOR¬†¬†I’ve been wearing this classic Lanc√īme fragrance since 1990. It was the second “grown up” perfume that I bought myself (Calvin Klein’s Obsession was the first).¬† It has notes of rose, apricot, and iris and is simply beautiful.¬† I’ve been followed around department stores by women wanting to know what my perfume is because I smell so nice!

CLINIQUE DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT MOISURIZING LOTION¬†¬†This has been a skincare staple of mine since 1988.¬† It’s remarkably simple, nothing fancy.¬† Everyone recognizes the signature yellow lotion that is lightweight and very effective.¬† It provides me with all-day hydration while strengthening the skin‚Äôs natural moisture barrier.¬† I use it twice a day, after cleansing my skin¬†but before any other skincare.¬†¬†For those of you that need¬†a lighter or heavier¬†product, it now comes in an oil-free gel or a rich cream formula.

LANC√ĒME DEFINICILS MASCARA¬†¬†I’ve tried almost every mascara out on the market, but I always come back to the classic from Lanc√īme.¬† It gives me loner, fuller, perfectly separated lashes that look like I’m wearing falsies.¬† It doesn’t smudge or irritate my eyes, and has what I think to be the best wand out there.¬† And the Deep Black shade is the perfect inky black, dramatic color.

CARMEX CLASSIC LIP BALM¬†¬†You’re all familiar with the yellow and red tube of lip balm.¬† You can get it for $1 and I have tubes everywhere ‚Äď in my purse, on my nightstand, in my car.¬† It’s medicated, soothes and protects your lips, and ¬†has a SPF of 15.¬† I started out with the jar and moved to the easier to apply tube.¬† Best of all, Carmex does not test on animals!

COVER GIRL CLEAN POWDER FOUNDATION¬†¬†I started using this when it was known as “Simply Powder Foundation”.¬† CG changed the name and packaging, but not the formulation.¬† It covers like a liquid¬†but feels like a powder.¬† I use it on its own or on top of my liquid foundation when I need a heavier coverage.¬† It stays all day, is convenient to toss in my makeup bag, and costs around $7.

ESTEE LAUDER ADVANCED NIGHT REPAIR SYNCHRONIZED RECOVERY COMPLEX¬†II¬†¬†Otherwise known to Estee Lauder fans simply as ANR, it is the #1 repair serum on the market.¬† It helps fight the key signs of aging to help reveal a smoother, more radiant, younger-looking face.¬† I’ve definitely¬†noticed a decrease in dryness, dehydration, wrinkles and dullness.¬† When I try something less expensive, my face pays for it and the signs show! ANR is oil and fragrance free and will not clog pores.¬† While¬†it’s best known as a nightly product, I use it twice daily.¬† All over my face and neck and a trick that an Estee Lauder coworker taught me is to use it on the back of your neck where signs of aging show sooner because of sun damage!

IVORY SOAP   I will never have a shower or bath without this 130 year old classic bar of soap!  It provides a simple, effective clean, is free of dyes and heavy perfumes, and is 99.44% pure. I adore this product and its mild scent.  And it’s still made in the USA!

AUSSIE MOIST 3 MINUTE MIRACLE¬†¬†Every gal has used Aussie products at least once in her lifetime. The familiar purple bottles and that instantly-recognizable fragrance that takes you back to 8th grade ‚Äď it was awesome until you got caught in the rain and the smell intensified.¬† ¬†And if your friends had used it too‚Ķ¬† Anyways, it hydrates and deep conditions my old, wavy, war-torn hair, making it smooth, soft, shiny, and frizz-free.¬† I use it a couple times a week as a deep conditioner.¬† For $3, it’s a steal!

CETAPHIL DAILY CLEANSER  This has been effectively cleansing my face for years.  The mild, non-irritating formula gently removes excess oil.  However, it does not remove makeup, so if you have a full face on you will have to use a makeup remover first.  But sunscreens, dirt, and environmental crud wash away like a dream.

REVLON COLOR SILK PERMANENT HAIR COLOR¬†¬†This may or may not come as a surprise to some, but the Dark Side Diva has been coloring her hair since she turned gray at 16.¬† That’s 30+ years of being just about every color in the rainbow (and then some). This formula completely covers my gray roots, is ammonia-fre, long lasting, and doesn’t¬†fry my hair. It’s very easy to use and costs around $3-5 a box, conditioner included.

So that’s my Dark Side Beauty Hall of Fame.¬† I could have added some red lipstick, cleansing conditioners and facial masks, but that’s for another time.¬† Stay tuned to see what products end up on the Death Star‚Äôs Hall of Shame!