Book Review: Lawrence Zarian’s 10 Commandments For A Perfect Wardrobe

lawrence zarian's 10 commandments for a perfect wardrobe

Name: Lawrence Zarian’s 10 Commandments For A Perfect Wardrobe
Brand: Lawrence Zarian
Pages: 252
Price: Kindle $9.01, Hardcover $19.25

Synopsis:
Lawrence Zarian’s 10 Commandments for a Perfect Wardrobe is an informative and entertaining, step-by-step guide to looking and feeling your best. Written by a renowned fashion/lifestyle expert and TV personality, this book highlights affordable and creative ways for both women and men to hone their fashion instincts and build a stylish, multi-purpose wardrobe, regardless of budget or body shape. As a family member on Live with Kelly and Michael, Steve Harvey, Rachael Ray and The Doctors, LZ (as he’s known), is probably one of the most sought after on-camera personalities today when it comes to fashion. He truly understands that part of looking fabulous is feeling fabulous. In the book he’s also very candid about his personal journey, opening up about his own 15 year struggle with weight, self-image, and self-acceptance. His honesty will inspire readers to love themselves, inside and out. The book includes before and after photos from some of his miraculous makeovers, detailed illustrations, inspirational anecdotes and exclusive tips from some of the biggest names in fashion, beauty and fitness. There’s also an illustrated fashion glossary, so you’ll no longer have to wonder about fashion lingo. With LZ’s 10 Commandments for a Perfect Wardrobe, you’ll feel as if Lawrence Zarian is your own personal stylist! There’s never been a better time to #GetURGlamOn

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Well, you shouldn’t judge it by its title either. Take Lawrence Zarian’s 10 Commandments For A Perfect Wardrobe for instance. When I picked it up, I thought it would simply teach you how to build and organize your wardrobe, but once I started reading it, I realised that I got more than I bargained for. A lot more.

Zarian doesn’t simply teach you how to shop for clothes that fit your body shape, but he also acts as a friendly counsellor to help you learn to love yourself. The first commandment, in fact, is “Thou Shalt Look In The Mirror And Love What You See”. Zarian believes that, it doesn’t matter how beautiful and expensive your clothes are, if you don’t feel good about yourself, you will never look good.

So, in the first chapter, he encourages you to confront your demons and the issues you have with your body. Easier said than done, I know. But Zarian has been there too. He too had lots of insecurities about his body, and openly shares them with you. What he recommends is what worked for him, and if you follow his tips, you too will learn to feel good about yourself no matter what size or shape you are.

Zarian is not one of those people who believes you have to be a size zero and 20-something to be pretty and fashionable. His book offers tips to make every woman feel her absolute best. And for that, you also need to be healthy. That’s why Zarian also stresses the importance of eating a balanced diet and working out regularly.

And, of course, there are also quite a lot of fashion tips. Zarian believes that the foundation of every look is shapewear and properly fitting underwear. He explains what you need to look for when shopping for them, and shares his favourite brands at all price points. He also teaches you what styles suit different body shapes, how to use accessories to spice up your outfits, and why you should dress as though every day was a special occasion.

There are also chapters about how to dress your man and make his shopping experience as pleasant (and short) as possible so that he won’t complain too much when you hit the stores together, how to do your makeup, and how to decorate your closet so that it will be both well-organized and stylish. That way, when you open it, you won’t be overwhelmed by the mess it used to be, but will be inspired to put together beautiful outfits that reflect your personality and flatters your body shape.

Zarian writes in a very entertaining, witty, and colloquial manner that makes you feel like he’s talking directly to you. It’s like he were in the room with you, giving you tips on how to always look fabulous. Plus, the book features cute illustrations, pictures of before and after makeovers so you can see how Zarian worked his magic on women of every age and size, as well as shot of Zarian with his family, which add a lovely personal touch.

If you already lead a healthy lifestyle and your self-esteem is pretty high, you may not find enough information about fashion in this book to justify its purchase. Those who are looking for a quick fix and think that to look great you just have to buy this or that piece of clothing and do no work at all on improving your bad habits and low self-esteem will also be disappointed. But for all those who want to look their best, both inside and out, and are ready to do the work it takes to get there, this is an informative, honest and inspirational read. I highly recommend it.

Available at: amazon

Summary
Written in a colloquial and entertaining way, Lawrence Zarian’s 10 Commandments For A Perfect Wardrobe provides tips to feel good both on the inside and out. Zarian doesn’t only teach you how to choose, and accessorize, the most flattering outfits for your shape, but also encourages you to improve your self-esteem and lifestyle.

Rating: 4/5

Disclosure: this item was sent by PR for consideration. The review is based on my own personal and honest experience with the product. In addition, the review contains an affiliate link, which means we get a commission when you purchase the item from this link. By doing so, you’ll be helping to support Beautiful with Brains. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

Product Review: Jordana Glitters In Magenta Magic

jordana glitters magenta magic 01

Name: Glitters in Magenta Magic
Brand: Jordana
Size: 15ml
Price: €2,28

From Jordana’s website:
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend…
but Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald & Amethyst are a family of jewels nails will adore
Multi-Shaped, Multi-Sized, Multi-Colored Glitter
Use Alone Or Over Your Favorite Nail Polish

What I liked:
- pretty fuchsia glitters make nails sparkle when hit by light
- nice texture, easy to apply
- glitters stick well to the nails even without a top coat
- the packaging

What I didn’t like:
- you need to swirl the brush in the bottle well to pick up the chunkier glitters

Does applying glitters on top of your nail polish count as nail art? Well, I hope so, cos that’s the only way I know how to decorate my nails. My hands are too unsteady to do anything else! ;)

One of my favourite glittery nail polishes is Jordana Glitters in Magenta Magic, sent me by my friend Annabella (thanks hun!). The cute bottle contains both tiny and chunkier magenta and fuchsia glitters in a clear base. The glitters look quite dark and a bit flat on the nails, until the lights hit them. Then, they become brighter and sparkle beautifully. I wish my camera had been able to capture the effect, but it is absolutely stunning, trust me!
jordana glitters magenta magic 02

Because the base is clear, I prefer to apply Magenta Magic on top of other nail polishes, to give them that sparkling touch. In the swatch above, I’m using Layla Ceramic Effect n.21, a pretty Barbie pink, and no top coat. I find the glitters stick well to the nails for days even without one.

Instead, it takes some effort, at least at the beginning, to dispense the chunkier glitters evenly on the nails. And you need to swirl the brush well in the tube, if you want it to pick those up too. If you don’t, only the tiniest glitters, and the odd chunkier one, will end up on your nails. But maybe you prefer that effect?

Available at: Cherry Culture and Jordana Cosmetics EU

Summary
Jordana Glitters in Magenta Magic contains tiny and chunky magenta and fuchsia glitters in a clear base. The glitters stick to the nails well, but you need to swirl the brush in the tube carefully to pick up the chunkier ones.

Rating: 4/5

Disclaimer: this product was sent me by a friend. The review is based on my own personal and honest experience with the product. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

Product Review: Alberta Ferretti Eau De Parfum

alberta ferretti eau de parfum

Name: Alberta Ferretti Eau De Parfum
Brand: Alberta Ferretti
Size: 75ml
Price: €89,00

What I liked:
- light floral scent with a woody-ambery base
- elegant and well-crafted
- stays close to the skin
- the packaging

What I didn’t like:
- not very original
- staying power is only average

I’m always surprised when I like a designer perfume. Although this time I should have seen it coming. Alberta Ferretti is one of my favourite designers, after all. Her creations are feminine, romantic, and dreamy. She knows how to make a woman feel special.

The fragrance, simply called Alberta Ferretti Eau De Parfum, is, instead, not particularly special, or creative, but it is very elegant and well-crafted. It opens with a zesty burst of bergamot enriched by just a touch of freesia. The heart is a floral bouquet too. It is composed of ylang ylang and lily, which give off a tame and soft aroma.

In the drydown, patchouli and amber intertwine, giving the scent a deeper, more sensual vibe. But it never gets too strong or overpowering. This is a good thing because it means the scent can be worn anytime, anywhere, and on any occasion, without bothering your friends or colleagues. On the other hand, it impacts its staying power. On my skin, it lasts only 6 hours, which is not bad, but not impressive either.

Still, in the the world of designer perfumes, dominated by tacky, generic, overly sweet and sugary concoctions that often smell synthetic, Alberti Ferretti Eau De Parfum stands out as an elegant and feminine creation that every woman, of every age, would love to wear.

Available at: Cosmesi Italia

Summary
Alberti Ferretti Eau De Parfum is an inoffensive, well-crafted and elegant light floral scent with a woody-ambery base that can be worn by any woman, anywhere. However, it is not particularly original, and staying power is just average.

Rating: 3.5/5

Disclaimer: I got a sample of this product at my local beauty shop. The review is based on my own personal and honest experience with the product. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

Can You Use Neosporin To Treat Acne?

neosporin

If you suffer from acne, or even just from the occasional pimple (which always rears its ugly head at the worst possible moment, argh!), you may be tempted to try Neosporin. The popular antibiotic cream your mom used to rub on your skin every time you scraped it is touted to be an effective anti-acne treatment. After all, if acne is caused by a bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes, then an antibacterial ointment will be able to cure it, won’t it? Not this particular one. Here’s why:

Full Ingredient List

Polymyxin B Sulfate, Bacitracin Zinc, Neomycin, Cocoa Butter, Cottonseed Oil, Olive Oil, Sodium Pyruvate, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), White Petrolatum.

ingredient Analysis

neomycin

Polymyxin B Sulfate, Bacitracin Zinc, & Neomycin

The three active ingredients in Neosporin are Polymyxin B Sulfate, Bacitracin Zinc, and Neomycin. Polymyxin B Sulfate and Neomycin can only kill gram-negative bacteria (their cell wall is composed of a thin layer of peptidoglycan covered by a membrane made up of lipoproteins and lipopolysaccharides). But P. Acnes is a gram-positive bacteria (it has a thicker layer of peptidoglycan and no outer membrane). Therefore, they can’t kill it.

Worse, they can cause problems for the skin. Gram-negative bacteria are one of the main causes of infections in wounds after surgery. And they can adapt to become resistant to antibiotics. So, if you use these ingredients regularly for acne, when you’ll need them to heal wounds, they won’t work anymore! In addition, Neomycin can cause irritations and allergies. If these occur, they could worsen your acne.

Bacitracin Zinc can kill gram-positive bacteria, but only S aureus and streptococci. Besides, it can’t really penetrate deep into the skin, so, even if it could kill P. Acnes, it’s unlikely that it would be able to reach it. But isn’t Zinc good for acne, I hear you ask? When taken orally yes. But, when topically applied, studies have found it is no better than the placebo treatment it was compared to!

cocoa butter

Cocoa Butter, Cottonseed Oil and Olive Oil

Cocoa Butter, Cottonseed Oil and Olive Oil are all very moisturizing ingredients, but they can also clog pores. Therefore, if you suffer from acne, you’d want to stay away from them, not slather them all over the affected area!

jar vaseline

White Petrolatum

White Petrolatum, on its own, doesn’t clog pores. However, this very moisturizing ingredient works by creating a protective barrier on the skin that prevents water from evaporating.  But, by doing so, it also traps comedogenic ingredients (and this ointment contains quite a few of them) underneath. And that could exacerbate breakouts.

Final considerations on the formula

Not only Neosporin doesn’t contain anti-bacterial agents that can kill the bacteria that causes acne, but it also includes comedogenic ingredients that could make it worse. And yet, some people have seen an improvement after using Neosporin. How is that possible? Well, its wound-healing and moisturizing ingredients can help heal not acne, but the skin. They can repair the skin’s natural protective barrier, which was damaged but acne, and even improve the appearance of scars. Still, considering the potential side effects of Neosporin on the skin, it’s much better to use a product properly formulated to treat acne.

The Bottom Line

Neosporin is great at healing wounds, but it can’t treat acne. Worse, due to the comedogenic and irritating ingredients it contains, it can exacerbate it. Not to mention that prolonged use to antibacterial agents, especially when unnecessary, can make bacteria become resistant to them. So keep Neosporin away from your acne and pimples and, instead, use products that are properly formulated to treat this condition without side effects.

Have you ever used Neosporin to treat acne or get rid of a pimple?

Product Review: Mememe Eye Line Eye Pencil In Coal

mememe eye line eye pencil coal 01
Name: Eye Line Eye Pencil in Coal
Brand: Mememe
Price: £4.99

From Mememe’s website:
These extra soft, glide on pencil kohl liners guarantee definition and precision with long-lasting intense colour. Kohl pencils are ideal for Smokey eyes and have the added advantage of being wearable on both the inside of the eyelid and along the base of the lashes.

What I liked:
- intense black shade; great colour payoff
- smooth texture glides smoothly and easily on the lids
- can easily be smudged for smokey looks
- good staying power
- the packaging
- the price

What I didn’t like:
- it needs to be reapplied every two hours on the waterline
- not smudge-proof

Although I sometimes flirt with gel or liquid eyeliners, I always go back to my true love: pencil eyeliners. I love how easy they are to use and, because they usually provide a softer line of colour, they are more appropriate for the daytime.

mememe eye line eye pencil coal 02

Mememe Eye Line Eye Pencil in Coal, though, delivers pretty dramatic results in just one swipe. Aptly named, Coal is a true, rich, intense black that can be used to create thin or thick lines to define your eyes, or smudged for smokey looks. The smooth texture glides smoothly on the lids, with no tugging nor pulling.

Mememe Eye Liner Eye Pencil can be used both  along the lashlines and on the waterline, where, however, it lasts only a couple of hours. After that, it’s almost completely faded, so reapplication is necessary. But I was quite impressed because usually most kohl liners last considerably less on my waterline.

mememe eye line eye pencil coal 03

Along the lashline, though, it lasts a lot longer. About 8 hours if applied on slightly oily, bare lids. After that, the colour starts to slowly fade. But I do recommend you use it on top of a primer if you have very oily lids or plan to spend more than 8 hours outside the house, so that you won’t need to retouch it.

Available at: Mememe Cosmetics

Summary
Mememe Eye Line Eye Pencil in Coal is an intense and rich black shade with great colour payoff, a smooth texture that glides easily on the skin, and good staying power. However, it’s not smudge-proof and needs to be reapplied every couple of hours on the waterline.

Rating: 4/5

Disclaimer: the item was purchased by me for both personal and review purposes. The review is based on my own personal and honest experience with the product. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

5 Best Drugstore Eyeshadows

best drugstore eyeshadows

A lot of drugstore brands have upped their games lately, providing pigmented, velvety-smooth, and longlasting products at very competitive prices. But there’s an area where they are still often lacking quality: eyeshadows.

As tempting as they look in their little pans, drusgtore eyeshadows are often hit or miss. Actually, more miss than hit. I’ve lost count of how many turned out to be sheer, powdery and chalky. But, luckily, during the past few years, I’ve also come across some gems. Here they are:

1. Sleek Makeup I-Divine Eyeshadow Palette
Who’s surprised to see these at the top of the list? No one? Guess not, as I’ve been regularly raving about these palettes since I first tried them in 2008. You’ve probably sick of it by now, but these are truly some of the best drugstore eyeshadows ever. Each palette contains 12 smooth and very pigmented shades in different finishes (they still need to work a bit on their matte formula, but the rest is amazing!). They are currently available in 16 variants, with new, limited edition ones being released all the time. My favourites are Lagoon (wearable brights), Original (a mix of bright and neutral shades), and Storm (a mix of natural and smokey hues). Available at Sleekmakeup.com.

2. Wet n Wild Color Icon Collection Eyeshadow Set
These palettes contain eight shades, each of which is named after the area where it should be placed (such as browbone, crease, etc), which is very handy for newbies. But, of course, you can use them however, and wherever, you like. All eight shades are super pigmented, with a very soft and velvety texture that, however, produces some fallout. Nothing major, though. The one I have, Comfort Zone, also features a duochrome shade. How cool is that? Available at amazon.com and drugstore.com.

3. Maybelline Color Tattoo 24HR Cream Eyeshadows
I’m not a big fan of cream eyeshadows because they usually tend to crease and fade within a couple of hours on my somewhat oily lids. But not these. These have amazing staying power, even without a primer. Plus, they have great colour payoff and apply smoothly on the lids. What’s not to like? Their newer metal formula is very nice too. Available at boots.com and ulta.com.

4. Layla Sparkle Eyeshadows
Like the name suggests, these are very, very sparkly. And very, very pigmented too. Definitely not something for the faint of earth. These are bold and demand attention. And did I mention they have a very soft and smooth texture that blends like a dream? But there’s a catch. You’ll have to use them with a primer if you want them to last all day without creasing. Available at shoplaylacosmetics.it.

5. Barry M Dazzle Dusts
If you’re a fan of loose eyeshadows, you must try these. These shimmery eyeshadows can be applied sheerly for a soft wash of colour, or built up for a more intense look. Their soft texture is easy to blend, too. There are more than 70 colourful and neutral shades to choose from, so everyone will be able to find a few they love. Some of them can also be used on the lips, face and nails! Available at boots.com and superdrug.com.

What are your favourite drugstore eyeshadows? Have you tried any of these?

Product Review: Ungaro By Emanuel Ungaro Perfume

ungaro by emanuel ungaro perfume

Name: Ungaro
Brand: Emanuel Ungaro
Size: 1.oz
Price: $65.00

What I liked:
- lovely radiant ambery-floral scent
- good sillage and staying power
- pretty packaging

What I didn’t like:
- there’s nothing mysterious or remarkable about it
- doesn’t change much throughout the day

Ungaro by Emanuel Ungaro is described as a “floral spicy amber perfume” ideal for women who are “dark and totally feminine…, Chic yet utterly shameless…, and Mysterious and radiant…”. All these statements have one thing in common: they are only half true. Ungaro is a floral scent, but my nose couldn’t detect any spicy notes. Not even a whiff of them. That’s a shame, because I love me some spiciness.

Ungaro is also feminine, chic, and radiant. But dark? Shameless? Mysterious? Nope. It’s a happy, youthful scent done well enough to smell elegant and be appropriate for any occasion, be it a work meeting at the office, a shopping spree with a girlfriend, or a casual date with friends or family. It’s lovely. But if you’re looking for something sexy, daring or mysterious, you won’t find it here.

Ungaro opens with a sweet burst of berries that, doesn’t, thankfully, make the opening smell like candy. It’s not gourmand, just cheerful. Soon, they are joined by a bouquet of white florals. Jasmine is the most prominent, but, like its floral companions, it doesn’t smell heady or intoxicating. It’s quite tame. And so is the ambery base.

Ungaro doesn’t really change much throughout the day. It’s just a simple, inoffensive fragrance that’s particularly suitable for the warm months ahead. Once applied, it easily lasts for about 8 hours. Sillage depends on how much you spray on. Just one spritz will make the scent stay very close to the skin. Two will intensify it, but not so much that it will bother your friends or colleagues.

Available at: amazon

Summary
Ungaro EDP by Emanuel Ungaro is a radiant, simple and inoffensive ambery floral scent that doesn’t change much as the hours pass. Both sillage and staying power are ok.

Rating: 3.5/5

Disclaimer: I got a sample of this product at my local beauty shop. The review is based on my own personal and honest experience with the product. In addition, the review contains an affiliate link, which means we get a commission when you purchase the item from this link. By doing so, you’ll be helping to support Beautiful with Brains. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

Product Review: Sunsilk Azione Termo-Attiva Shampoo

sunsilk azione termo attiva shampoo

Name: Azione Termo-Attiva Shampoo
Brand: Sunsilk
Size: 250ml
Price: €1,65

From the packaging:
The innovative Thermoactive technology protects and repairs hair from the damage caused by blowdryer and heat styling tools. It acts both from outside and within the hair shaft, leaving hair soft, shiny, and manageable.

What I liked:
- nice consistency, spreads easily over the hair
- cleanses hair well, without drying it out
- gorgeous sweet scent
- the packaging
- the price

What I didn’t like:
- heat protection properties are disappointing

Heat can damage hair. The more often you use heat styling tools or blowdry your hair, the drier and more brittle your locks will become. But we can’t exactly do without them, can we? Especially in the cold winter months, when hair takes ages to airdry. So, what’s a girl to do? Use heat protection hair products.

Celebrity hairstylist Thomas Taw, in collaboration with Sunsilk, has created a range of hair care products – which includes a shampoo, a conditioner and a styling spray – that promises to protect your hair from heat damage. It’s called Azione Termo-Attiva (Thermo-Active Action).

Today, I’m reviewing the shampoo. I was a bit sceptical about the ability of a rinse-off product to protect hair from heat and, after trying it, I’m still on the fence. The shampoo contains a bunch of silicones, such as Amodimethicone and Dimethiconol, that coat hair, creating a protective barrier, plus a few conditioning agents, such as Hydrolyzed Keratin, but not enough is left on hair after washing. When I later blow-dried my hair, I didn’t find it any softer or smoother than usual.

However, the purpose of a shampoo is to cleanse hair. And that’s something this shampoo, thanks to its gentle blend of surfactants (Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Cocamidopropyl Betaine) does really well. It removed excess oil and dirt from my hair without drying it out nor causing any irritation.

The consistency is lovely. Not too thick, but not too thick, it spreads nicely over the hair and is easily rinsed off. The pearly white colour is very pretty too. And the scent It’s sweet and reminds me of cherries. Delicious! And longlasting. It stays with you for most of the day.

Ingredients
Aqua, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Trehalose, Gluconolactone, Adipic Acid, Sodium Sulfate, Oleic Acid, Heliantus Annuus Seed Oil, Lysine HCI, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Amodimethicone, Dimethiconol, Parfum, Sodium Chloride, TEA-Dodecybenzenesulfonate, Trideceth-12, Tin Oxide, Cetrimoniun Chloride, Disodium EDTA, Carbomer, Glycol Distearate, PPG-12, Magnesium Chloride, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Magnesium Nitrate, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Benzyl Alcohol, Butylphenyl Methylproponial, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Limonene

Available at: supermarkets and beauty shops

Summary
Sunsilk Azione Termo-Attiva Shampoo cleanses hair well without drying it out. It also leaves it smelling gorgeous for hours. However, its heat protectant properties are disappointing.

Rating: 4/5

Disclaimer: the item was purchased by me for both personal and review purposes. The review is based on my own personal and honest experience with the product. For more information, please see my disclaimer.