Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lazy Sunday

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


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.


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.


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:


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.


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.


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...


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.


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.)


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...


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.


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.


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.
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.