Monday, September 14, 2009

Smooth Operator


Aveda has been aggressively marketing their Smooth Infusion line, so since I was up for some new shampoo and conditioner, I decided to try it. I purchased the full-sized Shampoo (8.5 ounce) and Conditioner (6.7 ounce), which retailed for $21 apiece, so they are not cheap, even by Aveda standards. The sales person also gave me samples of the Style Prep Smoother ($24 for 3.4 ounces) and the Glossing Straightener ($21 for 4.2 ounces.) You can also purchase a starter kit (pictured above) for $87, which includes the four products plus a comb.

The premise of this line is that it moisturizes the hair and reduces frizz through plant-based ingredients such as aloe, maize and guar. Since I've been highlighting my hair for almost a year, and just decided to go darker for the fall, my hair definitely needed the moisturization. Everything in this line has a light, natural scent, cited as "a fresh spicy citrus-floral featuring certified organic bergamot, certified organic palmarosa, Bulgarian rose and Australian sandalwood." It's not at all cloying or over-powering. The shampoo lathers up quite well, and when I rinsed it out, my hair did feel softer. When I followed with the conditioner, my hair felt softer and silkier than it had in a long time.

The first two times I used this, I used it without the Style Prep Smoother and the Glossing Straightener, and I found it did have a relaxing quality to my naturally wavy hair, but definitely didn't make it look like I'd used a flatiron or anything, so I decided to try the other two items.

The Style Prep Smoother has a lotion-y sort of consistency, and its active ingredients are tapioca and wheat protein, to protect against humidity as well as protect the hair from heat styling. I applied this from root to tip on towel dried hair, and combed through. The Glossing Straightener is more clear-looking, and has more of a gel-like consistency, I think due in part to its main ingredient of cellulose. I used this on the bottom 3/4 of my hair, after the Style Prep Smoother, to my damp hair.

After blow-drying, I did find that my hair was incredibly smooth, glossy, and quite straight, like I had quickly run through the lengths with a flatiron. I've never had any effects like this, even with my beloved Phytodefrisant, so I do have to commend Aveda on this line.

Unfortunately, as per Aveda's promise, this effect is only guaranteed for 12 hours. Because I only wash my hair every other day, I do find that my hair kind of goes back to normal after the first day. I do feel a little bit like Cinderella after the clock strikes midnight, when all of the magic effects disappear.

That's my only call-out so far. I haven't had any other issues, and my hair doesn't feel built-up, heavy, or weird. I think this is definitely worth a try if you are super lazy like I am, but like having straight hair.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The 5 Faces of Dolce & Gabbana


I admit I was intrigued by the raciness of these print ads--orgy, or just 5 naked beautiful people who happened to be sitting in the same room? Ha! The ads feature Claudia Schiffer, Eva Herzigova, Naomi Campbell, Fernando Fernandes, Noah Mills and Tyson Ballou, all in the buff.

The "anthology" consists of five fragrances:

1. Le Bateleur (cedarwood and vetiver)

3. L'Imperatrice (watermelon, kiwi, pink cyclamen with a musky base)

6. L'Amoureux (bergamot, juniper, pink pepper, cardamom, birch leaf and sensual wood and musk base)

10. La Roue de la Fortune (tuberose, gardenia and jasmine, benzoin and patchouli base)

18. La Lune (lily and tuberose heart with a sandalwood base)

Mssrs. Dolce and Gabbana do not bill these as unisex fragrances, but rather say that anyone can wear any of them depending on the mood. However, I think Le Bateleur and L'Amoreux are definitely on the more masculine side. The only one that I think could go either way is La Roue de la Fortune, because it is both flowery and spicy. It actually makes me think of a more patchouli-heavy version of Viktor & Rolf's Flowerbomb.

Of the two more "feminine" fragrances, I prefer La Lune over L'Imperatrice. Unfortunately, the L'Imperatrice smells very citrusy and grapefruit-y on me, whereas La Lune is more of a light floriental. I really like La Lune a lot, and find it quite suitable for a workday or every day.

These retail for $65 each, which is rather cheap for a 3.3 ounce bottle... granted they are eau de toilettes rather than eau de parfums. The bottle is simple, yet substantial, and while not super-girly, it is attractive to be displayed.

This is a fun concept, and I recommend trying these.

Monday, August 24, 2009

TOP PICK: Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner

I adore these eyeliners... adore! They are, by far, the most long-lasting eyeliners that I have ever used, and far superior to MAC Fluidlines and Stila Smudgepots. It's better than MAC because they aren't as slippery, and therefore you have more control when applying. It's better than the Stila because the finish is not as matte and flat. And, of course, the Bobbi surpasses both in longevity.
This is available in 17 colors, in varying shades and in metallic or regular finishes. The two that I swear by are Espresso and Caviar. Espresso is a coffee color with no hints of red at all, and is enough to define my dark brown eyes. (I usually cannot wear brown liners because I need a lot of eye definition.) Caviar is an even darker brown, almost black... so pretty!

$21 for a little pot seems a little expensive, but even with daily use, I've still had my Espresso one for like 6 months, which is way longer than some pencils. I'll probably throw it out within the year, though, just because the idea of dipping a brush in there every day seems very bacteria-ridden. (I am also the girl who throws her mascara away exactly at 3 months, if not sooner!)

Definitely try this! You're guaranteed to find a color you like, and you will be pleased with the lasting power and results!

Bobbi Brown Metallic Long-Wear Cream Shadow


These shadows were just recently released, so of course, I had to check them out! It comes in a total of 8 colors, and the container is a cute little plastic pot with a twist-off top. You have to use either your fingertip or a brush to apply, and the texture is quite mousse-y, similar to the way the old Stila shadow pots were.

My only complaint with these is that they are not too pigmented -- meaning, you will get mostly glitter/sparkle and not too much of the actual underlying color pay-off, even though it looks very colorful in the actual container. For $22, I do expect a little more. I got the color Antique Gold, which is described on the Bobbi site as a "deep gold sparkle," but it really is more of like a tarnished brass color, if that makes sense, because it has a green-y undertone. (I think the color in the pic above is actually the Antique Gold... see how densely pigmented it looks?)

Aside from that, these are very long-lasting, and do not crease. The glitter does not fall off into the eyes, which is great. I think they would be very pretty patted over top a darker eyeshadow for a clubby look, or to intensify the color, but for every day, this does add a nice amount of sparkle to the lids.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Breakdown for My Profile Pic (bigger pic inside)


This pic was part of a series of different makeup looks I did for a "photoshoot" that Jarrett wanted to do. This looks was supposed to be glowy, very neutral, sort of reminiscent of a Calvin Klein ad. Here, I am wearing:


FACE

Cle de Peau Concealer in Ivoire (which I've reviewed before)

CARGO Liquid Powder in Beige

I got this some time ago as part of a value set from Sephora, but never used it much. When purchased by itself, it retails for $22, which is not cheap. The premise of Liquid Powder is as a multi-tasking product -- a primer, a setting "powder," or as a touch-up "powder." It has an interesting texture, because even though it is a liquid format, it applies with a powdery finish. The finish is matte, but it has lots of shimmer in it (which you can kind of see in this pic) to give the skin some dimension.

Unfortunately, if you are allergic or sensitive to silicones, this may not be for you. Even though this product is oil-free, it has lots of -cones to give it a good amount of slip.

Chanel Bronzer (from the Summer 2009 collection, which I have reviewed before.) This has 4 different colors that you can mix to create darker or peachier shades.


EYES

MAC Eyeshadow in Omega (which I've reviewed before) to fill in the brows. I made the brows a lot thicker than they naturally are.

Bobbi Brown Nude Eye Palette

This palette contains 6 "nude" colors and retails for $60. What's great about her new palettes and packaging is that everything is interchangeable and refillable. My confidence in BB was restored when I purchased this, as I stopped using her brand some time ago which just didn't seem that interesting to me anymore.

The colors n this palette are:

Navajo (matte bone), Pebble (metallic silvery-taupe), Chino (matte grayish-taupe), Beige Linen (light shimmer khaki beige), Maple Sugar (metallic honey-bronze), Caviar (matte dark, deep brown-black).

The textures are all very smooth, even the metallic ones, and I think this palette is versatile enough to create lots of different work looks and also take those looks into a smokier, night-time look.

Here, I am wearing the Maple Sugar color from lashline to crease, and then under the lower lashlines. I really packed it on, and as you can see, this does not look orangey at all. I also used the Caviar to line the upper and lower lashlines.

Estee Lauder Turbolash Mascara (one of my HG mascaras, which I've reviewed already.)


LIPS

I wanted a really nude lip, but nothing too matte or washed-out looking, and I didn't want to use a gloss. Here, I blended two MAC lipsticks in order to get the effect that I wanted.

MAC Satin Lipstick in Myth

This applies fairly matte, and like other MAC Satin finish lipsticks, can be a bit drying on its own. Myth is an opaque, light peachy-beige color. It's sort of a peachier version of a concealer color, to be quite honest. I like the look, but it shows every little imperfection or line in your lip, which can be frustrating.

MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in Creme D'Nude

The Cremesheens are quite soft in texture, and the finish is glossier than the Lustre finishes. However, I do find it is less long-lasting on the lips than the Lustres, and there is the same sort of issue where is shows every little imperfection in the lip. Creme d'Nude in tone is pinker than Myth, and is described by MAC as a "pale muted peach beige." In fact, it's quite similar to Myth, just different texture and opacity.


This was fun, and I think definitely a look that I might wear to work.

"My" Smokey Classics


I'm quite a big fan of Lauren Luke's, so when I had the opportunity to take a look at her palettes a few weeks ago at Sephora, I decided to buy one. The one that attracted me the most was the "My Smokey Classics."


It contains:
- 2 Eyeshadow Primers ("dark" and "light")
- 1 Small Eyeshadow in Antique Pewter (pearly black with silver glitter and sparkles)
- 1 Small Eyeshadow in Cashmere Cream (pearly pinky-cream color)
- 1 Large Eyeshadow in Twilight Ash (shimmery purple-taupe... if you're familiar with MAC, this makes me think of a lighter version of Shale married with Satin Taupe... to me, this is the tour de force in this palette!)
- 1 Cream Eyeliner in Raven Black (creamy black)
- 1 Blush in Peach Glow (warm-toned rose with some slight shimmer)
- 2 Lippies (Plumberry - midtone warm pink; Cranberry Stain - pretty berry color)

The price is reasonable ($32.50USD), and the palette contains everything you need for multiple looks, ranging from natural to playful, to sultry. You can really work with the colors to make it your own (hence the title of this post.) It also has a large mirror, so it's great for travel. Here in the pic above, I am at work, so I'm wearing a very natural look... dark primer all over the eye... Twilight Ash on the lid... Cashmere Cream on the browbones... Antique Pewter in the outer corners... Raven Black to line.

I am not, however, wearing either of the lippies. I didn't want to carry the entire palette with me today, or carry a lip brush. The lipstick formulations are quite nice, though -- go on smoothly. Everything in this palette is very pigmented and pretty high quality. The only thing that I don't love so much is the eyeshadow base, as I do find that it does make the shadow crease a little bit.

To purchase this palette, please visit:


or Sephora.com.


Aside from Lauren's palette, I am wearing:


FACE

Lancome Dual Finish in Matte Linen I (which I have reviewed previously)

Cle de Peau Concealer in Ivoire (which I have already reviewed)


EYES

Guerlain Le 2 Mascara (reviewed previously)

Dior Smoky Jazz (brow color only) (reviewed before)


LIPS

Dolce & Gabbana The Shine Lipstick in Soiree (previously reviewed)


Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Estee Lauder Private Collection Jasmine White Moss


Jasmine White Moss is the third offering in Lauder's "Private Collection" series. The premise of these is that they were Estee Lauder's personal original formulas that Aerin Lauder has added to and introduced to the mass market.
This is categorized as a green floral chypre. There is something about it that reminds me of Estee Lauder's Beautiful, which I guess makes sense, since they are both florals. However, Jasmine White Moss is more complex. According to the Estee Lauder website:

Top Notes: fresh, sparkling
Black Currant Bud Absolute
Galbanum Absolute
Bergamot Absolute

Middle Notes: elegantly complex
Aerin's Jasmine Sambac Absolute
Estée's Ylang Ylang Absolute
Estée's Jasmine Absolute
Violet
Orange Flower Absolute
Orris

Base Notes: warm and modern
Patchouli Heart Absolute
Vetiver Absolute
White Moss Mist Absolute (an Estée Lauder exclusive)

On me, the jasmine, violet and patchouli notes are most prominent. I think this is a very pretty fragrance -- special, but not overly-daring, forward but not intrusive. The lasting power is quite good, as well. This would be a good scent for the office and for every day, and there is a certain elegance to it that I think true ladies would appreciate.

This retails for $80 for a 1.0 ounce EDP, or $135 for 2.5 ounce, which is quite pricey, but well worth it. The bottle, even for the EDP (and not the parfum) is substantial and lovely.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dual Finish... or not?


Lancome's Dual Finish powder foundation gives me some fond makeup memories. This was one of my first "real" makeup purchases, and I still remember being at Parisian (the department store chain) with my mom. This was the mid-90's, and the color offerings of Lancome weren't quite to the extent that they are now. At that point in time, the SA had matched me with Matte Porcelain d'Ivoire 1, which was slightly too pale and too peachy for me.

When I went to exchange my Photogenic Lumessence compact (reviewed previously), I decided to give this old-timer another shot. After much deliberation and trying on about 5 different colors, the SA and I agreed that Matte Linen 1 was a good match. Currently, this is available in about 35 colors (in the non-fragrance-free line), so finding something that works is easier.

Dual Finish retails for $35.50 now, which is not too bad for a powder foundation. It comes with a puff (for touch-ups) and with a thick sponge that is intended for wet application of this foundation. With these options, you're supposed to be able to get a sheer to heavy coverage. Unfortunately, I find that the wet application yields a slightly streaky finish, and the puff application on its own is too sheer. I find the perfect application method for me is to use the sponge, but dry.

Annoyingly, Lancome has not updated the compact to be able to simultaneously house the puff and the sponge. I took the puff out of mine and kind of shoved the sponge in, but there's really not enough room inside, and I have a feeling the compact will pop open soon. *sigh*

Also, as mentioned before, this is available in a fragrance-free version; however, the colors are not as extensive. I heard that the fragrance-free version is being discontinued? (Don't know for a fact, as it is still available online.) There is a very slight floral scent (kind of similar to the Shiseido Powdery Foundation) that fades away soon after application.

I do like this better than, say, MAC Studio Fix (less cakey), but do have to note that it accentuates any dry patches you may have, so be sure to exfoliate before applying. As for oil control, this does control oil quite well... I only got slightly dewy in the T-zone on a hot summer day, and that was without a primer underneath.

Overall, I would repurchase, but my fave ever powder foundation is still Dior Forever.

Lancome Photogenic Lumessence Compact (so right, yet so wrong!)

This is a fairly new offering from Lancome, and uses the "optical" technology that Photogenic has always employed. This is supposed to diffuse light and make the skin look luminous and beautiful.
The compact is quite nice, with a separate compartment for the sponge, and retails for $42. It is available in 11 colors, which is a decent range, but nothing for very, very pale people or very, very dark-skinned gals. For example, I am light-medium, and I was matched with Buff-2W. This foundation does have SPF18, which is great for the extra protection.

The texture is soft and lightweight, and sort of glides across the face. The coverage is about medium; I still needed concealer, but it really evened out my skin tone. It really blends in well into the skin, and feels quite natural. Even though it is oil-free, unfortunately, since it is really intended for Normal-to-Dry skin, it didn't work well for my Combination skin. It literally melted off of my T-zone, even when I used primer, and by mid-day, I had streaks all over my forehead.

Quite sad... but if you have dry skin, do try this out. This is quite a beautiful foundation for anyone who doesn't have an oil problem.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

L'Oreal Extra Volume Collagen Mascara


As far as drugstore mascaras go, L'Oreal and Maybelline are sort of my go-to's. Since L'Oreal's Voluminous has been one of my favorite drugstore mascaras, I decided to try Volume Collagen, which is like an amped-up version of Voluminous.

It was not originally offered in the U.S., and I got my first tube from my dear friend Aurelie (thank you!) L'Oreal claims that this gives up to 12X the volume, and that it also moisturizes and cares for the lashes.

Packaging/Brush
The packaging of this is quite elegant. It is a sleek, black plastic tube that is quite substantial. It is a bit wider/thicker than a regular mascara -- similar to the fat tube of Cover Girl Lashblast (except much chicer) and has a large teddy bear brush. The brush is thick and cushy -- almost the size of Benefit Bad Gal or DiorShow, but not as tapered at the tip as either.

Formula/Performance
I had this in the Black color, but L'Oreal also offers this in a Blackest Black color, and a Brown/Black, I believe. The Black is pretty deep, and it dries to a shiny finish.

The formula is slightly "sticky," if that makes sense. It feels a little bit more waxy/gluey than a regular mascara, which I'm not sure why, since this is not a tubing mascara. It does leave the lashes quite soft after application, but is no good at holding the curl, unfortunately.

As for the "12X Volume," well... the good thing is that this did not turn into a huge, clumpy mess. (like some volumizing mascaras go) -- but at the same time, I didn't get more volumization than, say, Maybelline Full 'n Soft. It was a very natural effect, and I had to apply several coats to get volumization. It also did not provide any lengthening (not that I was expecting any.)

There was a very subtle chemical scent, but not too unpleasant, and it faded soon upon application.

Verdict
Overall, this is a decent mascara, and if you can get a good price (ie. it's available at Target for under $7), you should try it. It's quite moisturizing to the lashes. However, I do think that for volumizing, Maybelline Colossal and Cover Girl Lash Blast as far superior in terms of drugstore brands, and I would recommend those 2 over Volume Collagen.

Rimmel Sexy Curves Mascara (Non-Waterproof)


This review is for the original Sexy Curves mascara, the one in the metallic purple tube. It is now also available in Waterproof, which I've not tried.

Rimmel is one of my more preferred drugstore brands. They offer a wide array of products at a decent pricepoint, and are always up-to-date with the trends and technologies that girls are seeking in cosmetics. For a long time, the brand was hard to find in the U.S., but now it is readily available at Target and CVS. I actually purchased this mascara at Walgreens, but did not see anything else from Rimmel available there (at least not when I was there.)

I got this for less than $7, since it was on sale, and I was attracted by the cute package.


Packaging/Brush
The brush is a flexible, plastic-bristle variety, with 3 little "ball" formations from the curve of the bristles. According to Rimmel, the curve "in" is to volumize, and the curve "out" is to curl and de-clump. The promise by the company is for curled, plumped, and defined lashes. Quite a loaded promise, no?

Formula
The black color is so-so... I didn't expect the carbon black that L'Oreal offers, so it was no surprise that this wasn't a deep, dark black. The formula dries pretty quickly, so you don't have to worry about smudging, and you can apply coats back to back. However, the volumization was quite disappointing for me. With 1 coat, I looked like I had just a lash tint on my lashes. I had to use 3 coats to get a similar look to that which my higher-end mascaras can do in 1 coat.

And I say similar, because though this promised curl, I definitely had to use a separate lash curler to create any sort of curve. Additionally, my lashes felt sort of crunchy after the mascara dried. I didn't notice any flaking, though, which was a plus. Also, there was no scent or irritation to my eye.

Verdict
This mascara is pretty decent for a drugstore brand, so if you're pinched for cash, this is one of the better ones to buy. You'll just have to work harder and apply several coats to get a more dramatic effect. Stacked against a higher-end mascara, though, I would much prefer any of the more expensive ones to Rimmel Sexy Curves.

Guerlain Le 2 Mascara


I am a definitely mascara-holic, as you can see from my reviews. I just raved about the Givenchy Phenomen'eyes, which I adore, but I am also very fickle and like to try new things. So, when I returned the Phenomen'Eyes Effet Extension, I actually picked up another tube of Guerlain Le 2.

This is actually my second time purchasing this mascara. The first time was about 1 1/2 years ago, when Saks had it in a Marc Jacobs beauty bag with some other items from YSL, Dior, and Giorgio Armani. I'd had no interest in this mascara, mostly because I am lazy and don't usually see the value in using 2 different steps, and also because of the prohibitive price of $35.

Packaging
This is in a gorgeous, undulating gold tube (yeah - I used undulating - LOL.) I forget who designed the tube, but I believe he won (or was nominated) for some design award. So if you're looking to spruce up your makeup bag, then this fits the bill. Unfortunately, it's also quite long -- significantly moreso than regular mascara and lipgloss tubes -- and does not fit in my Sephora train case.

Brush
The main brush is one of those flexible plastic cylindrical brushes. The bristles are quite dense, and longer than the ones in Chanel Inimitable (which I have also purchased a few times), so they can better separate each of the lashes. Also, the tip of the brush is tapered, so you can reach into the inner and outer corners and also use the tip to cover the bottom lashes comfortably (unlike, say, Cover Girl Lashblast or the YSL rubber bristle one.)

The small brush is a regular fiber brush, but it is teeny tiny, and is slightly bent at an angle. The brush actually reminds me a bit of Maybelline Lash Discovery (a mascara that I do like), except the angle makes it more conducive to getting those inner and outer corners more carefully.

Essentially, with these 2 brushes, you should be able to coat every single lash easily and without smudging on the lid or the skin around the eye.

Formula/Performance
The black is a deep, glossy black - doesn't look gray or faded. Additionally, it volumizes quite well, and it also lengthens decently. It also curls a bit (though for perfect, fanned out lashes, I still have to use a lash curler) and holds the curl while keeping the lashes soft all day. I hate crunchy lashes, and you will not have them with this mascara. Also, it is not waterproof, but I do think it's water resistant, as it does stay on all day without flaking until you use makeup remover to take it off.

Verdict
Overall, this is one of my favorite mascaras. While I wouldn't purchase it every time I need a new mascara, I do think it is a great one, and appreciate it quite a bit. Available at Sephora and Guerlain counters.

Givenchy Phenomen'eyes vs. Phenomen'eyes Effet Extension


When the original Phenomen'Eyes mascara was released last year, I was eager to try it. Givenchy was the first to implement this very strange brush, and I was curious to see what the impact of it was. The little sphere with spikes all over makes it look like some sort of medieval torture instrument, but it's really not that scary, and is actually quite ergonomic.

Because of the shape, you can really get to all of the inner and outer eyelashes easily. For me, the best way to apply was sweeping in from the outer corners of the top lashes in the inner, and then working from the inner corner of the lower lashes to the outer corner. This was quite efficient, and I was very pleased with Phenomen'Eyes' efficiency at coating all of the lashes and making them fanned out.

When the updated "extension" version came out in July, I just had to try it. Can you really take something so good and make it better? Here is how the two stack up:

Brush/Applicator
Both Original and Extension have the same exact brush and come in the same container. The only differentiation is that the Extension has a silver band across the outside of the tube.

Formula
I tried the Black color in both of them, and both were a rich, deep black (very important to me!) The Original is a very "wet" formula, which took a long time to dry. For someone like me, though, who takes a long time to apply mascara and likes the chance to manipulate it on the lashes, this is good. I imagine for most people, though, this could be annoying. The Extension touts a fast-drying formula, which I think most people would like. Neither of them are water-proof, though I think the Original is harder to remove. Neither has a scent or fragrance, so those with sensitive eyes will not be bothered.

Performance
One of my favorite things about the Original is its great volumization abilities and the awesome ability for it to curl my lashes without a lash curler. I only needed one coat for pretty, fanned-out lashes. The curling ability, to me, was truly phenomenal, because I unfortunately have straight lashes. The only other mascara that curls without a lash curler is Estee Lauder Turbolash (which I reviewed earlier this year.)

Unfortunately, this quality did not carry over to the Extension. I had to push my lashes up with my finger to try to get a curl. As per its name, the Extension does lengthen the lashes a bit, but does not really volumize them at all. I had to use 2 coats to get the volumization that the Original gave. And -since there is a quick-drying formula, I had to do this quickly to avoid clumping.

Verdict
Overall, I far prefer the Original (which I have pictured above.) I ended up returning the Extension one -- thank goodness for Sephora's good return policy. For $28, I'd rather have the Original, and think it's a better bang for your buck. If you have naturally thick lashes and just need some length, then try the Extension... but for me, I'll stick with the Original!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Do Mondays Deserve a Smile?


Man, I'm tired today! I didn't get much sleep, so don't mind the bags under my eyes in this horrid pic! I've already had a giant Dunkin' Donuts coffee and a can of Diet Dr. Pepper, and I am still exhausted!

Yesterday, I had the chance to explore the Dolce & Gabbana makeup that was released earlier this year. Currently, it is only available in 2 Saks stores in the US -- Beverly Hills and NYC, so I thought I would check it out. I walked away with 2 eyeshadow duos, an eyeliner, and a lipstick. In this pic, I am wearing some of the items.

For the full line of D&G's products, please see their official website at:


The line is manufactured by P&G Prestige (yes, good ol' Proctor & Gamble), who also makes their fragrances and also does SK-II. The talented Pat McGrath is the beauty consultant on this line as well. Everything is packaged in elegant gold.


FACE

Cle de Peau Concealer in Ivory (reviewed before - my holy grail concealer!)

Chanel Double Perfection Compact in Soft Beige 1.0
Chanel expanded their color offerings in this about a year ago, as well as changed the formula. It used to be a lot more powdery, and immediately after application, you had to wait for it to meld in with your skin.

The new formulation is better -- it is quite finely milled, but offers about medium coverage. The finish is matte with a slight radiance, if that makes sense. It only offers SPF 10, so you will still have to wear sunscreen underneath. It's not as heavy as, say, MAC Studio Fix, so if you're used to that level of coverage, you may find the Double Perfection to be too sheer.

However, this is one of the few powder foundations that look like skin. The only reasons that I would recommend the Dior Forever compact over the Chanel are that the Dior controls oil better, and that I can personally find a better color match in Dior.

The Chanel compact is offered in 13 different shades, but some of them are kind of strange (like too peach or too pink.) The Soft Beige 1.0 is a new color, and is a warm-toned light beige. However, it is like half a shade too dark for me. The next color down is too light.

This retails for $50, which is pricey, but it does last a long time. Also, they now make separate refills that are available for $40.

Chanel Joues Contraste in Narcisse (Have reviewed this previously.)


EYES

Dior JazzClub Palette -- Only using the brow powder (Have reviewed the palette previously.)

Dolce & Gabbana Smooth Eye Color Duo in Stromboli
Retails for $36. This duo is really beautiful. It consists of a peachy-nude with shimmer and a dark pearly grayish-black with silver and gold sparkles. The peach color is a little warmer than my skintone, and is like a peachier, prettier version of MAC Naked Lunch, or a mix between the dark and light colors of NARS All About Eve duo. It looks really pretty as a base color, but I think it could also be lovely on the browbones. The dark gray color can be used as a crease or liner color, or also smoked out all over the lid.

Here, I did a very natural looking eye, with the peach from lashline to crease, and then the dark gray along the lashline. However, for more drama (and outside of the office!) -- it can easily be brought to a more dramatic effect by using more of the dark color. I will probably do that one of these weekends. You can also use them wet for a more metallic effect.

The texture of these shadows is just lovely -- very silky, and also quite pigmented. I've experienced no creasing or fading, and I'm not even using a shadow base.

Dolce & Gabbana Crayon Intense Eyeliner in Stromboli
Retails for $29. Stromboli is quite a unique color. It is a dark gray-black flecked with gold glitter. I have to wear dark eyeliner to define my eyes, so this is dark enough to do that, but the harshness of gray or black is tempered by the glitter. In this pic, I didn't apply a lot of liner, just a thin line along the lashlines, but if you were to use a thicker line and use the smudger tip to blend, you could really get the glitter to show up.

I haven't used liners with glitter since college, when Hard Candy had a pretty black one with silver glitter, but Stromboli is definitely mature enough that you can wear it as an adult.

The texture is quite blendable, which means that you will see a bit of smudging towards the afternoon, unfortunately, It's not super creamy, so you won't get a raccoon effect, but it's no Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner, either!

Givenchy Phenomen'Eyes Effet Extension Mascara (reviewed previously)

LIPS

Dolce & Gabbana Shine Lipstick in Soiree
Retails for $30. Pretty hefty pricetag for a lipstick... the only other 2 lippies that I've owned which are near that pricepoint are Chanel Rouge Allure and YSL Rouge Volupte. Compared to those 2, I do prefer the D&G.

There are 2 formulations of D&G lipstick - Shine and Classic. I've tried colors in both ranges, and am pleased with the lasting power, the fragrance, and the creamy consistency of both.

Previously, I'd strayed away from any "shine" lipsticks because the lasting power was always a joke, but I have to say that D&G has hit the nail on the head with these.

The Shine lippies are available in 12 colors. Soiree is supposedly one of the most popular. In the tube, it looks like a flamingo-ish pink with a bit of glitter, but on the lips, it is a soft peach-pink color with a semi-glossy finish. There is a light, flowery scent, but nothing offensive or strong. And it is long-lasting and also moisturizing. I don't use lipsticks too often because they dry out my lips, but I think this lippie has changed my mind!


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Can't wait for the Fall collection to come out! More reviews to come...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

MAC Daddy


I've greatly reduced the amount of MAC makeup that I own, but there are a few things that I've kept. This eye look is a modified version of an old shadow look that I used to wear in college. (Ahh, the college days...)

I am wearing:

FACE

MAC Face & Body Foundation in C3
This was the first MAC foundation I ever purchased, except the first time I purchased this (about 8 years ago), the sales associate had directed me to C2, which is too pale for me. Since then, I've purchased it in C3. Even though it looks dark when you squeeze it out, it would match NC25-NC35 skin tones.
Face & Body is very reasonably priced, at $32 for a big 4 ounce plastic squeeze bottle, and is available in 11 colors. It is sold exclusively at MAC Pro stores and on the website. It is supposed to be waterproof and transfer-resistant, and can be used on the face or body (hence its name.)

It is water-based, and the consistency actually feels very watery. The coverage is sheer to medium, like maybe a step up from a tinted moisturizer. You don't need to use powder to set it, but just note that the finish is very dewy -- there is no shimmer (unlike Hyper Real), but it does look very realistic-skin... maybe too much so for someone like me who has a super-oily t-zone.

I don't love this foundation, but it's pretty good for daily use and when you don't need a lot of coverage, and you can quickly apply it with your fingers. I've tried using on my legs before, but it does rub off onto clothes, unfortunately.

MAC Studio Sculpt Concealer in NC20
This retails for $16.50 for a 0.19 ounce glass pot. The container is kind of cumbersome, and the twist-off lid can be annoying if you're used to the convenience of a flip-top lid.
As for the actual concealer, the consistency is very creamy, but not as cakey as the Studio Finish. The coverage is heavy, and can be used on dark undereye circles or on blemishes. It is supposed to be water-resistant and long-wearing, but I do find it can slip around a bit, especially the undereye, if you don't set with powder. Also, for best results, apply with a brush.

MAC Frost Blush in Margin
This blush now retails for $18.50, but I got it at the company outlet for $12.75, which is a more appropriate price, I think.

Margin is a warm-toned peach with golden shimmer. On me, it's a more golden-tawny version of NARS Orgasm. MAC's frost blushes are all kind of too frosty, and this one is no exception. Also, unlike the NARS blushes, or Chanel, they are not as blendable or finely milled.

It's a decent blush, and if you can find it for a good price, I would recommend getting it, especially if you do like peaches. This would be flattering on anyone with a golden undertone, though for darker skintones, it may show up more goldish.


EYES
MAC Matte Eyeshadow in Omega (Used on brows. I have reviewed this already.)

MAC Paint in Bare Canvas
I love using this as a primer. It is a matte, creamy beige color that is slightly lighter than my skintone. The container is annoying (like a tube of oil paint) and messy, but the product inside is great. It really evens out the skin and creates a good surface for shadow.

MAC Satin Eyeshadow in Shale
Retails for $14.50. This is a mauve-plum with just a bit of shimmer. I am wearing it all over the lid. This shadow is pretty versatile, because you can use it on the lid for a soft, smokey effect, or in the crease when paired with a lighter shade. Also, this is really pretty on girls with hazel or green eyes. Like other MAC Satin shadows, it is fairly blendable, and decently pigmented.

MAC Satin Eyeshadow in Shroom
Retails for $14.50. I've purchased this many, many times because it is just so versatile. It is a soft creamy beige with some slight shimmer. In this pic, I am using it on the browbone, but I've used it before in the inner corners, all over the lid as a wash, or even as a highlighter for the cheekbones. As mentioned in the Omega review, it also looks pretty paired with Omega.

MAC Velvet Eyeshadow in Black Tied
Retails for $14.50. I got this in one of the smokey eye holiday palettes a few years ago. It's a black with silver sparkle/glitter. Unfortunately, the glitter doesn't really show up much, and the black of this is not as pigmented as MAC Carbon eyeshadow (which I prefer, but no longer own.) Also, I have to note that if you have sensitive eyes or wear contacts, you will get some glitter fall-out if you use too much of this. In this pic, I am wearing in outer corners and blended along the lashlines.

MAC Frost Eyeshadow in Vex
Retails for $14.50. One of my favorite MAC shadows, because it is so unique. In the pan, it looks like a silvery-beige, but it has a duochrome effect of pink and green pearl. In this pic, I am wearing just a touch in the inner corners to brighten the eyes, but I also love it on the browbone or all over the lid. Two of my favorite looks are: (1) Vex from lashline to browbone and Club - another very original frost shadow - in the crease; (2) Club on the lid, Satin Taupe - another MAC mainstay frost shadow in the crease, and Vex on the browbone and inner corners. Vex works well with greens, plums, and browns.

MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack
Retails for $15.00. One of the first "gel" eyeliners, Blacktrack applies very smoothly, and is a deep, rich black. The finish is somewhat shiny, akin to a liquid eyeliner. I apply with the MAC #266 angled brush, which works pretty well. My only complaint with this is that it is a little *too* slippery, so you need to have good control when applying. Also, I do find that it does smudge a bit on the lower lashlines. As far as gel liners go, I prefer Bobbi Brown's.

Givenchy Phenomen'Eyes Mascara (reviewed yesterday) Not MAC, but I didn't have a MAC mascara.


LIPS

MAC Lip Pencil in Subculture (reviewed before - one of my fave nude liners)

MAC Lipglass in Prrr
Retails for $14. This lipgloss gained infamy by purportedly being the favorite of Paris Hilton, but I've been using it off and on for almost 10 years, so she's got nothing on me. It is a light peachy-pink with an icy shimmer. I like pairing it with heavier eye makeup, but it has enough pink in it not to look too washed out with lighter/neutral eyes. As with all other MAC lipglasses, this has a doe-foot wand applicator, and is very sticky/tacky. It *will* give you that dreaded white ring around the mouth effect after a few hours, but overall, it is fairly long-lasting.
If you like light pinks and peaches, definitely give this a try.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Yay - Got to Meet Lauren Luke!!


Yesterday (July 31) was the grand opening of the second Times Square Sephora store, and I went for the ribbon cutting at 9:00AM.

I had the opportunity to meet the lovely Lauren Luke, who was there to promote her new makeup line, By Lauren Luke. I've followed her Youtube videos, so it was really awesome to see her in person. I was actually surprised that not more people recognized her, since she's had like 9 million hits on her videos, according to a recent issue of ELLE magazine.

She was rocking a gorgeous emerald green eye, and is just as personable as she is in her videos. Just an overall very sweet lady! I am wearing very minimal makeup, and this Blackberry pic makes me look washed out. But, here I am with her!




Where There's Smoke...


While I was at Sephora yesterday, I picked up some new items that are out on the market. I am wearing all 3 of my new purchases here in the pic.
In this face of the day, I am wearing:


FACE
YSL Matt Touch Primer (which I have reviewed previously)

YSL Perfect Touch Foundation in #5
This is one of my holy grail foundations. It is on the expensive side (retail of $55USD for 1.3 ounces), but well worth it, in my opinion. I have purchased it 3 times already. I initially purchased it in the #4, which I found was a tad too pink and pale for me. I think if you're like NW20 in MAC, then #4 would work perfectly. For me, the #5 (light beige) works well, but I have also been able to use #6 (golden beige) when I have had a bit more sun exposure. This is available in a total of 14 colors, and those with very pale skin will be able to easily find a match.

One of the things that I appreciate most about this is the built-in brush. I know some people have had issues with it, but I find that if I squeeze a bit of the foundation on the back of my hand, and then dab the brush into the foundation and apply that way, it works really well. That way, you can control how much goes onto the face. The brush is wide, but flat, so you can turn it sideways to really get into the inner corners of the eyes or the sides of the nose. As for sanitary concerns, I usually wipe off the brush after each application, and then wash it once every two weeks. I've not had any problems that way.

As for the finish, it is a demi-matte... so not fully matte, but definitely not dewy or anything. If you're familiar with Touche Eclat, and the gentle light diffusing qualities of it, this foundation is meant to emulate it. There are no weird shimmers, but it has pigments that work to give you radiance. YSL calls it "baby skin" complex, and I have to agree that my skin looks flawless with this. The coverage is medium without being heavy. It will minimize any discolorations, scars, or undereye circles, but will not completely cover them, so you will still need concealer.

This does not have SPF that I'm aware of, though it does claim to give UVB filters, which I'm not sure how to validate, since I do not see key sunblock ingredients.

Perfect Touch would work well for those with normal to dry or normal to oily skintypes. If you're super oily, this won't control your oil. Also, for those who are sensitive to fragrance, this does have a very light, cucumber-y scent, but it does fade soon after application. It has never bothered my skin. This is a definite repurchase for me!


YSL Touche Eclat in #2, Luminous Ivory
Where do I start with this product? I have been using it for years and years, even when I couldn't afford it, and I just simply adore it. This is super pricey, currently at $40USD (it's increased about $1 each year since I've started using it!) for a 0.1 ounce click pen.

Through the years, many imitation products have come out from competitors, but I don't think there is anything that could supplant Touche Eclat's place in my makeup bag, and that is saying a lot. When it initially came out, it was only available in one color, #1, which had a pink undertone (meant to counteract dark blue undereye shadows), but it is now available in 4 colors to complement a wider array of skintones.

This is not meant as a high-coverage concealer. Even compared to my other holy grail product, Dior Skinflash (which I've reviewed earlier), it has far less coverage. Rather, it brightens and subtley highlights under the eyes, around the bow of the lips, on the bridge of the nose, etc. It really helps me to look like I got 8 hours of sleep (which I sure didn't in this picture!) and works so well in conjunction with the Perfect Touch foundation.

When used every day, I can stretch this out to about 6 months of use, which is not bad. Like the Dior Skinflash, however, the container is elegant, but is opaque, so you can't exactly tell when you're going to run out. That is the only con. Aside from that, I adore it!

Mally Beauty Shimmer Shape and Glow in In the Pink, Lighter
This was one of the first products that Mally Roncal introduced with the launch of her makeup line. It features a light tan contouring powder, a peachy-beige shimmer powder, and a light pink blush with some shimmer to it. This kit is available in 5 different shade variations which you can purchase based on your skintone and if you're looking for a pink or peach blush. It retails for $40USD, and you can purchase it on the Mally Beauty website or QVC.

Though the idea behind this kit is good, I don't think the actual quality of product is that great. I find the powders sort of hard and not that pigmented. I have to really rub my brush in to pick up enough to get it to show up on my face. But, aside from that, it does a decent job of helping to define the cheekbones, and it's convenient to have these items all in one compact.


EYES
MAC Shadestick in Beige-ing
I like these shadesticks to use as shadow bases. It really helps the shadow to adhere, and also brings out the pigment and adds longevity to the wearing time of the shadow.

Beige-ing is one of my staples, and is a light beige with golden undertones and shimmer. It works well one anyone with golden undertones, I think, because it kind of just blends into the skin. My only complaint with the Shadesticks is that they are sort of hard, and you have to soften them by warming in your hand in order to get them to apply to the lid.

Dior JazzClub - Total Eyelook Makeup Clutch
This was one of my purchases from yesterday's Sephora haul, and I love it! It is a limited-edition item introduced for Fall. I think it's perfect for travelling, because it contains everything you need for the perfect eye (except for mascara!), and when you're done with the products inside, you can actually pop out the compact and use the container as a wallet or mirror.

For $60USD, you get:

1. Black Cream Eyeliner -- this goes on very smoothly, and is quite long-lasting on the eyes. It dries to a powder effect, which means no smudges or racoon effect!

2. Taupe Brow Powder -- this works really well for me now that my hair is lighter, but I could see it working for anyone with blonde to medium brown hair.

3. Matte Dark Brown Eyeshadow -- great for lining, but also really good for defining the crease or creating that "V" in the outer corner. (I used in the outer corners here.)

4. Shimmery Khaki Eyeshadow -- this has olivey undertones, but is not green. I imagine it would really look hot on someone with green or hazel eyes, but it plays up my boring brown eyes, too. (I used it in the crease here.)

5. Shimmery Silvery-Taupe Eyeshadow -- if you like cool-toned taupes, then this would be a staple for you. It's neutral enough to wear to work, but the sparkles make it really special. (I used it on the lid here.)

6. Ultra-shimmery White Eyeshadow -- sounds scary, but on the browbones, or even patted over-top on the sockets of the eyelid, it really helps make the eyes pop. Also, this one has a creamy texture, which makes it unique from regular eyeshadows. (I used it on browbones and inner corners here.)

Also, I must note that this palette comes with a dual-ended sponge-tip applicator, as well as a dual-ended brush that has a slant tip (for eyeliner application or for use on the brows) and a smudgey brush tip.

Givenchy Phenomen'Eyes Effet Extension Mascara in #1 Extension Black
I'm a huge fan of the original Phenomen'Eyes mascara (which I will review under separate cover so I can go more into detail about application techniques, comparisons, etc.) -- so I just had to try this new version, since I am a mascara junkie. I was happy to find it at Sephora yesterday, for the lovely price of $28USD. Expensive for a mascara, but still cheaper than the Lauder Turbolash that I like.

This has the unique round ball brush which looks like a medieval torture instrument. Once you can get past the unconventional look, you'll find that the shape of the brush is actually quite useful. It can reach into the very inner and outer corners of the top and bottom lashes.

But, does it do its job? It does lengthen quite nicely, and also adds some volume, which I appreciate. It dries more quickly than its original sister, so if you want to add more than one coat, you have to do it back to back. It also fans out the lashes and makes them look fluttery. My only complaint with this version is that it does not curl as well as the original... which means that after I apply, I have to use my index finger to gently push up my lashes to create a curve. But, because the mascara formulation is so awesome (flexible polymer) - the curl holds - hooray!

No weird scent, no flaking, and the black is a deep, dark black. Just lovely!

Givenchy Gloss Interdit Ultra-Shiny Color Plumping Effect in #2 Impertinent Nude
Another Sephora purchase from yesterday. I wasn't looking for another lipgloss, but the display just looked so pretty, with every color in stock... and there is quite a color range! Fifteen (15) in total, ranging from pale to bright to dark. I didn't have time to play with all of the testers, but #2 caught my eye the most, since I love nude-pink lips.

This is a light, neutral pink with gorgeous pearl, glitter, and multi-dimensional shimmers. It reminds me a bit of Chanel's glossimer in Jaipur, but I actually like this Givenchy gloss a bit better.

It's pricey, at $24.50 for 0.21 ounce. The applicator is a stiff brush, which helps give precision (and hopefully, the firmness of the brush will keep it from splaying.) The scent is very special and pleasant, sort of fruity yet floral. Apparently, it is quite a special fragrance. If you are sensitive to scents, it does fade after an hour or so.

And yes, I did say after an hour or so... this gloss is super long-lasting, even though it is not at all tacky or sticky. I would say it lasts for a good 4 hours, even if you drink water. It does fade a bit and become less glossy, but it stays! So pretty!

As for the "plumping" effect, there is no tingling or burning, so if you're looking for something like Duwop Lip Venom, this isn't it. The plumping is more of a visual effect, because of the multi-faceted pigments. Very nice, and I must go check out more!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lazy Sunday


This is a good basic work look, with some neutral colors. I am wearing:


FACE

Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk Foundation in #5
I haven't purchased this foundation yet, but got a sample from the GA counter on Saturday. I have had good experiences with the Luminous Silk, but was attracted to the Lasting Silk because of its purported lasting power as well as the SPF20 content.
The color spectrum of this is quite nice, and I think it has many options for pale ladies. Though there aren't too many colors in the range (only 8) -- they are all quite wearable and skin tone colored. I normally wear a 4.5 in Luminous, but the Lasting runs darker, so I think the 5 is a decent match. The packaging is similar to the Luminous, except instead of a matte glass bottle, it is in a plastic bottle. However, it does have a pump, which is very sanitary and useful.
The finish is sort of a satin-matte -- not dead or flat matte like Revlon Colorstay -- so it looks pretty natural. I did have some oily breakthrough on my nose after a few hours (as you can kind of see in the pic), but it wasn't too terrible. It did last for the whole day, too. I applied with the GA foundation brush (which I find works quite well with the GA foundations), and didn't have to use much to give a medium coverage. I did still have to use concealer on my undereye circles, but this did cover the redness on my nose while still allowing my freckles to show through.
Overall, for the price of $58, I do think it's worth it, but I will probably wait until I use up my YSL Perfect Touch before I purchase another high-end liquid foundation.


Dior Skinflash Radiance Booster Pen in #002 Candle Light
This is sort of my holy grail concealer/highlighter product, and I have purchased this many times and was also fortunate enough to receive one gratis from my last Dior Diva VIP gift. This is available in 3 colors, and I have the 2nd color. It's a bit lighter than my skin tone, but works very well on the undereye because it is blendable and sort of lightens that area. I also like to use it around my nose and on my chin. It offers a decent amount of coverage (don't use on blemishes, though, as it will just highlight them!) -- and the texture is creamy and blendable, but long-lasting. I sometimes use this as a shadow-base, too. There is no glitter/shimmer, so you don't end up with a reverse raccoon effect. The only disadvantage to this product is the pricepoint ($34USD for 0.05oz.) and the fact that the container, though sleek and silvery, is completely opaque, and therefore you are completely unable to see when you will run out. Aside from that, I do love this and hope Dior never discontinues.

Chanel Joues Contraste in Narcisse
Narcisse looks like a scary, bright Barbie pink in the pan, but it actually goes on quite beautifully and is very flattering. The Joues Contraste retail for about $40USD, so they are very pricey for a blush, but as an owner of 3 different ones, these are totally worth it. Like the other Joues Contrastes, this applies very smoothly and evenly, and the powder is very finely milled. There is a slight floral fragrance to it, but nothing too overpowering, and the scent does fade away after an hour or so.
It does come in a black plastic compact with mirror that is the same size as the eyeshadow quads, so it can be slightly confusing unless you look at the bottom of the container to see the color, or open up the compact. It also comes with a small brush, which, while I don't like to use regularly, it does work quite well on the apples in a pinch.
Narcisse has some very slight pearl to it, but the overall effect is just very glowy. It works well with cool-toned eye makeup, and I think it is pigmented enough to work on everyone from Nicole Kidman-esque fair to a Halle Berry-ish light caramel skintone. For reference, this was also the blush used by Natalie Portman at the 2009 Oscars earlier this year.


EYES

MAC Satin Eyeshadow in Omega (on Brows)
This is a very basic, light cool-toned taupe brown. It is a Satin finish, so not too matte, and fairly easy to blend. I actually like using this shadow as a shadow... for a quick, polished look, I used MAC Shroom all over the lid and up to the browbone, and then blend Omega into the crease. The effect is very professional, while still offering some definition. As a brow filler, the color works is not too dark, and it does last the entire day.

Giorgio Armani Maestro Eyeshadow Quad in #4
I've always stayed away from the GA shadow quads, mainly because of prohibitive price ($58USD), and also in part because the colors are not as bright and pigmented as Dior.
The Quad#4 is aptly named "Stone" and contains (as per the GA website) four shades in "limestone, graphite, granite, and marble." The colors are all individually very pretty, have some slight shimmer, and are versatile enough to be used for a work day or smoked out for a night out.
Here, I am wearing the limestone shade from lashline to brow, the graphite on the lid, the granite in the crease, and marble on the browbones. As you can see, the colors are not super-intense, and are instead a sheer-ish wash. I think this goes along with GA's minimalist sensibility, but for the price, I do expect a little more.
I admit the shadows are very blendable and go on smoothly (thanks to its patented "micro-fil" technology that GA powder products have) -- but the intensity is not there. I think I may have to try them wet for a more wild look. I will also try these with shadow primer to see if that brings out the intensity of the shades.


YSL Dessin du Regard Haute Tenue (longlasting eye pencil) in #1 - Intense Black
I got a mini version of this last year as part of a GWP, and as far as pencil eyeliners go, this is one of my favorites. The black color is fairly dark... not carbon black, but not gray-ish, either. It is also available in an array of other colors if black isn't your thing. The pencil itself is firm, and you can really draw a defined lined with this, and it is also blendable at the same time, which is a super plus in my book. And -- the best thing about it? No raccoon eyes in the afternoon! This definitely stays on without flaking or smudging. It doesn't stay on all day if you line the inner rim/waterline, though (have yet to find a pencil that does that.) It also removes easily at the end of the day.
The only caveat? The price... it is $28USD for an eyeliner, which is pricey!


YSL Effet Faux Cils Mascara in #1 - High Density Black
Faux Cils is one of my gold standards, and not just because it comes in a pretty gold tube. It offers beautiful volumization, good lengthening, and really just fans the lashes out. Using one coat is enough to give a pretty, fluttery lash effect. It also leaves the lashes soft to the touch while it's on, and even when you remove it, the lashes still feel very soft and conditioned.
My only complaints with this mascara are that you have to follow the instructions to clean the brush once a week (by wiping it down on a paper towel)... because the bristles are so soft, they have a tendency to get gunked up with product. With that in mind, note that the shelf life of this mascara is only like a month for me... maybe two months max. It seems to get dried out faster than other mascaras, which I used for the full 3 months. In that respect, it may not be worth the money ($28.50USD) for those that are already blessed with beautiful lashes. But for me, I will continue to buy, because I love the effect, the pretty floral scent, and the perfect packaging.


LIPS

MAC Lipliner in Subculture
This is a decent, basic neutral lipliner. I don't like to use brown-toned liners because my lips are so pink, and brown-y colors have a tendency to look orange or dirty on me. Subculture is a good alternative for when I use nude lipsticks or when I want some definition to my lips. My only gripe with it is that it's a bit hard, and you also have to sharpen all of the time. Other than that, it's a must-have for me.

Chanel Glossimer in Pink Ribbon
I think was a limited edition color. In the tube, it is a light, warm-toned pink with lots of silver and light pink glitter. On the lips, it applies very sheer, almost clear, so it works best over a pink lip liner or lipstick to add dimension to the lips. For a non-limited alternative, you could also try the glossimer in Pailletes, which is more cool-toned and has more silver glitter.
My favorite thing about the glossimers is the texture - gel-like, but super moisturizing and quite long-lasting. They are also odorless/scentless, and most are sheer enough that you can apply over top of lipstick or on their own for some color. The finishes are glossy without being over the top or sticky. The price is high, however (approx. $26USD), so be sure to try before you buy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hump Day!


Once again, I didn't do any exciting looks, but here is what I am wearing in the picture:


FACE

Cle de Peau Concealer (reviewed before)

MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation in C2.

I have a love-hate relationship with this one. Even though it is reasonably priced at $26USD, I don't really think it's the perfect product for me. It comes with a sponge, and applies quite thick and powdery, so you kind of have to wait for it to "settle" into your face and mesh with your skin. Additionally, I've never been able to find a perfect match in MAC, despite the numerous colors they offer. The C2 is a tad too light for me, but the C3 is too dark and yellow. I've also tried the NC20, NC25, NC30, and NC35 (depending on how tan I was), and for some reason, with the NC line, I had issues with it turning a bit orange on the skin as the day went on. Even when I tried it with the MAC Prep & Prime primer, I had this issue.

That being said, this is a decent powder foundation. It offers ample coverage, you can apply it quickly in the morning, and you can also use it to touch up during the day if necessary. It does not control oilies, so I still have to blot mid-day, but I didn't have issues with breakouts with this, which was good. Overall, I do prefer some of my higher-end powder foundations, but this is an acceptable alternative.

YSL Jaipur Highlighting Powder

This one is way old... I think it came out in like 2006 (can't remember exactly.) It was one of the limited edition highlighting/bronzing powders that was released. The base color is a peachy shimmery bronze, and then there is a paisley pattern of gold and pink interlaced. The overall color blended is a soft golden-peach. In this picture, it is hardly noticeable, but in person, it just gives the skin a subtle lift. It's not a must-have, and for a more dramatic effect, I do prefer the MAC Mineralize Skin Finishes, but the packaging and design of this compact is quite appealing.


EYES

Stila Browset (reviewed before)

DiorShow Blackout Mascara (reviewed before)

Bourjois Effet Duochrome Eyeliner Pencil - I forget the color, but it is a dark blue.

I got this eyeliner from my dear friend Aurelie, as it seems that we are no longer able to purchase Bourjois stateside, since Sephora US stopped carrying the brand. This is a really pretty eyeliner -- again, it's hard to see in the picture, but it's a dark blue with a violet-y duochrome to it. It's dark enough to define the eye, but colorful enough to give it some pop. I don't use it in the waterline or inner eye, because I'm not sure if it would irritate my eye, but along my lashline, this does last all day with minimal smudging, and it applies very smoothly. Overall, I really like this a lot and can't wait to use the plum one that Aurelie has given me also.


LIPS

MAC Lustreglass in Love Nectar

The MAC Lustreglasses are some of my favorite glosses. I like these better than the lipglasses because the consistency is thinner, and it has a brush applicator (vs. a doe foot) for more precise application. Love Nectar is a light, peachy-apricot color with some gold shimmer and glitter. It's quite sheer, so it lets your natural lip color shine through, and in my case, it warms the natural pink tone in my lip and blends to a nice peachy-pink color. I find the shine and shimmer also make my lips look sort of juicy and plump. It's great to wear on its own or over top a lipliner. For about $14USD, this is not a bad deal.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday, Plain and Simple


I worked out yesterday for the first time in a week, so I was sooooo tired this morning! I didn't bother to wear much makeup today, so this is what I look like at least 2 work days a week!


Also, for some reason, I have a really bad lens glare from the sun in this pic, which is annoying!


I am wearing...


FACE

Cle de Peau concealer (which I've reviewed previously)


Shiseido Powdery Foundation in I20 Natural Light Ivory.

The name makes it seem like it would be very "powdery," but it actually applies quite naturally and doesn't make your face look like it's dipped in flour. It comes in 10 colors, none of which are super-dark, unfortunately, but for the most part, the colors are decent and not too pink or orange. It also has SPF 15, which is great for that extra protection. The finish is sort of a soft, radiant matte. It doesn't offer a huge amount of coverage, but it's definitely enough for the day, and you could always layer it on top of a liquid foundation. I think you can use this wet or dry, but I prefer to use it dry. I do get oily breakthrough by lunchtime, so it isn't super-effective for controlling oil, but I think it does make it quite versatile for skintypes ranging from dry to normal to combination.

The compact is refillable, which is quite environmentally friendly. When you buy the powder refills, it also comes with a new sponge, which is helpful. The compact has a mirror and a separate compartment for the sponge, and it retails for $8USD. The powder is $29.50, which is quite reasonable, all things considered.

Overall, this is quite a nice foundation, and I would repurchase again. To those who are sensitive to scents, there is initially a floral scent, but it fades away shortly after application.


CARGO Blush in Topeka

These blushes have since been discontinued by CARGO, which is quite a shame, because I think they had a good selection of blushes. Like other CARGO blushes, this goes on quite smoothly, though I feel it is a little less pigmented. In the pan, Topeka is a neutral plum-mauve color, sort of like a cooler-toned bronzer, and has some light shimmer to it. It's not my favorite color, but it is quite neutral and goes well with smokey eyes or just when you don't want to emphasize your cheeks. These used to retail for $24, which is rather pricey for a blush, but the containers are pretty large and last a long time.


EYES

Stila Browset (which I reviewed yesterday.)

Urban Decay 24/7 Pencil in Zero (reviewed yesterday.)

L'Oreal Volume Collagene Mascara (I will review this later this week.)


LIPS

MAC Lipglass in Virgin Kiss (Which I have reviewed previously.)


So there you go... my 5-minute face!

Monday, July 13, 2009

On a Monday Morning...


I decided to try a new format for my reviews. I think I'm going to create the look with the makeup, and then review the individual items below. I hope one day to become technically-savvy enough to be able to have a roll-over menu so if you hold the mouse over a certain part of my face, the item I used on it will pop up, along with the review. But, alas, we start where we start... and in my case, it's the middle ages!


I took this picture with my Blackberry, so it pretty much sucks. Between that and the ginormous bags under my eyes from only 3-hrs of sleep, I'm not looking the best, but I promise to put up some better pictures going forward!


On to the fun stuff...


FACE

Chanel Mat Lumiere liquid foundation in Ivoire 0.8.

This is a decent foundation, with medium coverage and a soft-matte finish. It is supposed to be long-lasting (according to Chanel, up to 12 hrs) and have a lightweight and natural look.

PROS: It offers SPF15, and has a sanitary pump dispenser. The finish is quite natural-looking, not at all heavy or cakey. This is offered in 11 colors, though I think the very, very fair-skinned or the very, very dark-skinned may have trouble finding a match. Everyone in-between should be able to find a decent match, as they offer both neutral and golden undertones.

CONS: Like all Chanel products, this is pricey... Mat Lumiere is $54USD. Additionally, it comes in a heavy glass bottle, which travellers may find cumbersome. If you are really oily, this probably will not help hold back the oilies on its own. For me, my nose gets shiny by lunchtime.

Cle de Peau Concealer in Ivoire (which I have reviewed previously.) I've obviously forgotten to put some on my pimple!

Dior Bronze Harmonie de Blush in #001 Rose Brazilia.

I like this a lot, since it is a blend of blush and bronzer, which you can use separately or blended together. The Rose Brazilia has a pretty, bright peach color in the center, a tan bronze at the edges, and is flanked by a light pink border and a plummy border. All of the colors have some fine shimmer, but nothing too shiny. When you initially buy this, it has a gold overlay on top, but after you use it for the first time, the gold goes away.

I use this with the MAC 187 brush, pick up all the colors, and then buff into the cheeks. It blends to a really pretty, glowy peach for me. I like the versatility of this because honestly, it's like several cheek/face products in one, so for the $42 price-tag, it's quite worth it.


EYES

Stila Browset

I have this powder duo in "Dark" for when I used to have dark hair, but it comes with a lighter taupe color that I use now. The powder is pretty easy to work with (not too dry, not too soft) - and goes on quite well. I use the MAC #209 brush (small angled) to apply.

Guerlain Ombre Eclat 4 Couleurs Fleur De Feu eyeshadow quad.

This is from a year ago, limited-edition, and has really pretty colors, all with subtle shimmer: a light pinkish ivory color, a warm pinky-rose, a light cool-toned gray with some blue to it (this is my favorite shade), and a deep plummy-purple.

Here, I am only wearing the light pink-ivory color all over, and then a little of the plummy-purple along the lashline. This quad is quite unique, but I have to say the colors are not as pigmented as I would like.

Diorshow BlackOut Mascara

I got this mascara for free as part of my Dior Diva VIP gift. I've purchased it before, but I wouldn't say that it is my favorite of the Diorshows. The formula is very wet, and it doesn't thicken or lengthen as well as the original or the Iconic. It features the giant brush that Diorshow usually has, but the bristles are shorter and more spiral-y than the original. My favorite thing about it is that it leaves the lashes soft, and the color truly is a beautiful, kohl black. But, for $24USD, it may not be worth it to purchase this.

Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner Pencil in Zero.

This is one of my favorite pencil eyeliners. The Zero color is a rich, dark black, and it glides onto the eyelid and lashline without tugging. Now, I do have to note that it does smudge on the lower lashline by the afternoon, so this pencil is by no means perfect. But, for a pencil liner, this is one my favorites. It retails for $16USD, is available at Sephora (which means if you hate it, you can return it, no questions asked!) -- and is also offered in 19 beautiful colors, ranging from brights to metallics, to deeps.


LIPS

NARS Lipgloss in Sweet Revenge.

The NARS color names crack me up! This is a really pretty, sheer mid-tone rose with no shimmer or pearl. On my pink-pigmented lips, it just accentuates my lip color and makes the lips look plumper. It's sort of a "no-fail, no mirror" gloss that I can just slap on on a lazy day. It is pretty pricey, at $24USD for a little tube, but I think of all my lipglosses, I reach for this the most frequently during the week just because it's so easy. Like all other NARS non-shimmery glosses, this is fairly slick and decently long-lasting, and doesn't leave that embarrassing white ring around your mouth when it gets dried up. It just sort of fades away. The shine is not over the top or plasticky at all. I like the doe-foot applicator as well. My only complaint (as with all NARS lip products) is the chemical smell of it. I don't think NARS adds any perfume or fragrance to their lip products, so they have a waxy smell and taste to them.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

YSL Matt Touch Primer


My skin is quite oily, especially in the T-zone, and now that the weather is warmer, I've noticed that I look like a light bulb -- not hot! I've tried a lot of different things, and since I heard good stuff about the YSL Matt Touch oil-free primer, I decided to give it a shot.

This retails for $42USD for a 1-ounce tube, which is really quite pricey, considering the other primers that I have used in the past (NARS and MAC) are significantly cheaper. It's quite worth the money, though. I only apply it to my T-zone, since I was forewarned that this can dry out your skin if you have normal-dry skin. I use about a pea-size amount, so given the somewhat small size of the tube, I can still see one tube lasting me a whole year. It's quite "siliconey" feeling, and it basically mattifies on contact. There is a fresh scent to it (I always love the YSL fragrances that they use in their cosmetics) -- but it fades away after a little while, and does not irritate my sensitive skin. I was also worried that it would clog my pores, but I haven't had any issue with that.

The mattification lasts for about 7 hours max with a liquid foundation on top, so I definitely still have to blot by the afternoon, but it does keep me from my dreaded light bulb effect for the bulk of the day. I do have to note that this works better with liquid foundations than with powder ones. If you apply powder directly atop this, it does look a bit cakey and not as smooth. My favorite foundation to use on top of this is YSL's Perfect Touch (which I will review later.)

Overall, a good purchase for me, and a mainstay in my daily routine.
Ingredients:
Cyclopentasiloxane, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Cyclomethicone, Isododecane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Polyvinylalcohol Crosspolymer, Ci 77019 (Mica), Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydroxyapatite, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Fragrance, Polydodecanamideaminium Triazadiphenylethenesulfonate, Zinc Oxide

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Maybelline Pulse Perfection Mascara

Some of you have been asking me whether the Estee Lauder Turbolash is worth it, and I've always answered, yes - worth every penny. But, alas, now that the "technology" has been passed along to the mass market, I was curious to try it and see how it compared to its higher-end cousin.

The Maybelline Pulse Perfection retails for about $15USD, which is less than half the price of the Estee Lauder or the Lancome vibrating mascaras. It is available in a few colors: Blackest Black, Very Black and Soft Black. I picked up the Blackest Black; that is actually one of the things I like about L'Oreal and Maybelline mascaras -- that they offer a really intense, deep black color. This mascara is also available in regular or waterproof. Since I don't have the best of luck with waterproof mascaras (I find them drying, and the the formulas are usually thinner) -- I decided to stick with the regular.

The brush is the same as the Define-a-Lash that Maybelline offers -- an hourglass shaped plastic bristle brush. The bristles are thin, and the overall brush is a bit flopsy. I think it's supposed to be more pliable so that it can better conform to the lashes, but I personally have always found that a bit annoying. I do like the Lauder brush better, since it's a traditional bushy brush. In order to get the wand to vibrate, you have to push down a button on the top and hold it down while you are applying. For someone like myself who takes a while to apply mascara, this can attribute to a very tired thumb muscle. :( In that respect, I do prefer the Lauder again.

As for the results... Maybelline makes big promises: 1. Thickness; 2. Length; 3. Separation; 4. Intense Color; 5. Curve; 6. Luster; 7. No clumps. Wow, sounds like a magic bullet, right? I think it does address all of these factors, but is not outstanding on any of them. On a scale of 1 to 5 for each of these "must-haves" I would give it a 3.5 or 4 in each. So, overall, a good result, but definitely not holy grail material. However, for the pricepoint, it does perform better than some department store mascaras, so for that, I do commend Maybelline. If you're looking to try the Lancome oscillation mascara (in which you also have to hold down the button) -- you should try this Maybelline one first to see if you like the technology.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Like a "Virgin Kiss"ed for the Very First Time...

I can't get Madonna's "Like a Virgin" out of my head! I think the cute name is what initially attracted me to MAC's Virgin Kiss lipglass, since I actually don't favor MAC glosses too much. This one is from the most recent Rose Romance collection which came out a couple of weeks ago. Honestly, from everything in the collection, this was the only thing that captured my attention.

Virgin Kiss is a light, peachy-pink color with silver microglitter. It goes on quite sheer, and really just enhances the lip color. For me, since I have rather pink pigmented lips, this works quite well, because it doesn't brighten my lips too much. My only complaint is that the glitter/shimmer can look really silvery-icy in fluorescent light, which is not always too attractive. Also, like other MAC lipglasses, this has a tendency to be a bit sticky and tacky, unfortunately.

If you do like glosses without too much color, then do try this. If you're looking for something that you could wear over another lipstick to accentuate it, then you should also try this. It would look great over any light pink/nude-ish lippies, I think. This retails for $14.00USD. For a cheaper alternative, I have been told that Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush lipgloss in Mango Madness is a close dupe. I haven't tried it personally, though!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Laura Mercier Lip Glace


I held off on buying this gloss for the longest time, because in the old format, it had a noxious scent (similar to the NARS Lip Lacquers) -- very plasticky, and sort of like an "off" lipstick. However, Laura changed her packaging and formulations a bit in the latter part of 2008, so I decided to revisit these glosses.

They retail for $22USD for 0.159 ounces, which is kind of pricey, but well worth it. These glosses come in 16 different colors, all of which are quite neutral, as per the rest of Laura's makeup collection. Some are more sheer than others, and there are glosses with shimmer and pearl and others that have no pearl. The finish is shiny, but not mirror-like -- more like a natural shine finish, if that makes sense. The texture applies quite smoothly and isn't too thick or too watery. It's also pretty long-lasting, and stays comfortable and moisturizing for a couple of hours. There is a pleasant vanilla cake batter scent, but no taste.

The two colors that I purchased were Bare Beige, which is a light neutral beige brown without any pearl. The coverage is medium -- it does show up on my pink pigmented lips without being too opaque, and can be paired with smokey eyes or neutral makeup. The other color that I purchased was Violet, which is a cool-toned violet pink with pearl and shimmer and a medium coverage. It goes well with purple eyeshadows.

I will definitely be trying some more colors. These glosses are available at Sephora, Saks, Nordstrom, Neiman's/Bergdorf's, and of course, on Laura Mercier's website.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Laneige Snow Crystal Dual Foundation SPF22


I'd never tried Laneige products before, as they are not too readily available in the US except at Korean boutiques and marts. I picked mine up at HMart in Atlanta for $38USD, which is very reasonable for a foundation and concealer.

The foundation has an interesting and sanitary push pump dispenser which you compress to dispense the liquid foundation. The cream concealer sits atop inside of the lid, with a flip top, which is great for portability. Everything is plastic, and the container is transparent, so you can see how much product you have left. Also, it's convenient to have a concealer and foundation housed altogether. I use one full pump to cover my whole face, and then follow with the concealer.

They did not have the full color range at HMart, so I got #21, which is the second color in the range. It looked pretty dark in the container, but matches pretty well with my NC20-25 light beige skin. It really blends in well, and has a lightweight texture that surprisingly covers effectively. The sales pitch for this foundation is that it "melts away like snow" into the skin. Interesting advertising concept, but the effect is quite natural. It has a semi-matte finish, but still looks like real skin.

I have combo skin, and did have some breakthrough shine in the t-zone which I did have to blot about mid-day and add some powder. The concealer feels a bit sticky to the touch, but it applies matte. It is quite opaque, and can be used to cover some blemishes and the mild sunspots I have been trying to fade with the Tri-Luma. I did not have any troubles with it being too dry for the undereye area, though I did use an eye cream underneath. The combo makes my skin look perfect and healthy, and I am happy with it. Also, an added bonus is that is has SPF22, which, though I still wear sunscreen underneath, is a perk.

Overall, I am satisfied with this foundation, am glad I took a chance, and would definitely repurchase. I may go pay a visit to some of the boutiques in K-Town just to explore more of the Laneige products, as well as other brands owned by Amorepacific.