Sunday, November 6, 2011

Chanel Perfection Lumiere SPF 10 - Review

Almost every day since the beginning of March, I've been wearing the Tarte Amazonian Clay Balancing foundation. While I like the foundation, the color has never been just right - it's always been just a touch too dark. Blended out, it's fine, but with fall and winter stealing the sun away, it's been harder for me to blend enough, and I'm a foundation ho, so commitment is hard.

I've used Mat Lumiere from Chanel in the past and loved it (so much that I finished the bottle completely), I set out to repurchase it (flush with overtime money). At my Macy's Chanel counter, I was met with a somewhat sour faced girl who recommended their newest foundation, Perfect Lumiere, instead. I'm fairly certain she was just trying to sell a bottle of it, but I agreed to get color matched. Within a few minutes, she'd removed my foundation and applied Perfection Lumiere (using whatever Chanel's equivalent of a MAC 190 brush is). She, of course, applied powder and blush (after trying to tell me I wouldn't need to set it with anything - yeah, right). I liked the coverage, and knew I could always return it if things went sour, so I bought a bottle.

Chanel says:
Effortless to apply, with seamless blendability for a naturally flawless effect, this breakthrough foundation is the ideal all-day, everyday formula – suitable for all skin types in a diverse range of 20 shades.
Packaged in Chanel's standard fair for foundations, you get 1 fluid ounce of foundation in a frosted glass bottle for $55. The over cap comes off to reveal a pump (yay!). This is a liquid foundation that's a bit on the thin side, and I need to use one full pump to cover my face. This has a strange but pleasant florally-tea scent. I love it, though. More than Mat Lumiere, which had a border-line cloying rose scent.

Chanel touts this foundation as long wearing, and I agree. It lasts all day, and for the most part, stays in place. Because I have oily skin (and I've been experimenting with primers), I end up a little shiny by the end of my day. This causes the foundation to transfer somewhat easily, but I can't fault the product for my skin's own short comings. When first applied, my skin appears matte but luminous, smooth, and eventoned. The redness in my cheeks is greatly diminished (with help from MUFE's green primer). I've used the huge brush that came with the Amazonian clay foundation, and my Sephora 55 Airbrush brush; both work equally well. 

From left: Tarte Amazonain Clay foundation in Light, MAC Matchmaster in 1.0, Maybelline Fit Me in 115, Chanel Perfection Lumiere in 12 Beige Rosee, MAC Select MoistureCover in NC15 - with flash
The color match, as previous mentioned, is amazing. I've never, EVER, been matched to a pink-toned foundation. In MAC terms, I usually wear NC15 in the foundations that run a bit light (Studio Stick [DC'd], Studio Sculpt). In Bare Escentuals, I wear Golden Fair in the original formula, and I can't find a match in the Matte version (Golden Fair Matte is a hair dark). In Matte Lumiere, I work 02 Porcelain, Intensity 0.5, which was a touch pink. In MUFE's HD foundation, I've worn 110, which was a bit light, and a tinsy bit pink.
From left: Tarte Amazonain Clay foundation in Light, MAC Matchmaster in 1.0, Maybelline Fit Me in 115, Chanel Perfection Lumiere in 12 Beige Rosee, MAC Select MoistureCover in NC15 - without flash
Overall, I really, really like this foundation. I've heard others say it caused breakouts (none for me, after using it daily for almost a month now). I wash my face, and use my Clarisonic every night, though, so I know my skin is super clean. After a normal face washing, however, I don't notice a ton of makeup on my Clarisonic. I'm curious to see how long the bottle will last me, since I didn't need to use as much Mat Lumiere. At this time, I'd definitely repurchase!

Friday, November 4, 2011


I've been neglecting this blog because I've been working overtime for the last, oh, 2 months or so. It's been tiring, but, now that those overtime paychecks have been rolling in... I've been taking advantage of my free money!

The stuff pictured above is all from QVC. It's what's left from the last Tarte TSV kits I received (including the 8th Wonder set [which had the Amazonian Clay foundation], and the Glow Your Way to Gorgeous set [which had the Maracuja Oil Concealer]). I kept only a few pieces, opting to sell off the pieces I wouldn't use. I kept the bronze Amazonian clay eyeliner, the Shimmering Moss Amazonian Clay Waterproof eyeshadow, the quad (which will make a great neutral eye look!), and the make up bag from the Glow Your Way to Gorgeous set. The rest sold on eBay last week, and I was able to clear enough to pay for two kits. I also picked up the next Bare Escentuals TSV (which will be promoted on 11/18/2011), because it included one of their Ready 2.0 eyeshadow duos, and their Round the Clock eye liner pencils. I'll do a review of these pieces later.

These items came from Macy's and Nordstrom. I needed a new foundation, because I was finding the Tarte foundation to be a little on the dark side (apparently, I had picked up a touch of color over the summer - who knew?). I decided to get two (I can't live with just one!), so from Macy's, I picked Chanel's Perfection Lumiere in the shade 12 Beige Rosee (which is an awesome match,) and because I'm a weak person, I also got the Illusion d'Ombre in Illusoire. From Nordstrom, I picked up Matchmaster in 1.0, and then preordered (and subsequently retrieved) a few items from Glitter & Ice, the holiday collection. I decided on the a Dazzleglass in Dressed to Dazzle, the lighter of the two nudes. I also got the beauty powder in Snowglobe, the Mineralized Eyeshadow in Snow Season, and a paint pot in Morning Frost.

I swatched everything from Glitter & Ice, and honestly, nothing else grabbed me. I had 2 of the Dazzleglasses already (and really didn't like She-Zam! at all - it was way to cool-toned for me). The other two paint pots were super thick-almost-sticky in texture, a lot like Blackground. The other beauty powder didn't wow me at all, and Snow Season was the only MES that I honestly loved. The others were not pigmented, or super cool-toned (which makes sense - who's hear of warm ice?). I can't buy any more lipsticks, since I never wear them, and hate Technikohl liners - they fade almost immediately, or, smudge themselves away. I'm super happy with what I got from Glitter & Ice, though!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Burt's Bees Natural Skin Solutions Sensitive Facial Cleanser - Review

BzzAgent was nice enough to send me a full sized tube of Burt's Bees newest cream cleanser, with cotton extract, just like the moisturizer reviewed here. Like with the moisturizer, while I received this product for free, I'm not being compensated in any way to say only positive things about it, although, I do like it.

Burt's Bees says:
This soap-free cream cleanser is clinically proven to moisturize sensitive skin while gently cleansing away dirt, oil and make-up without over drying or causing redness. Distinctly formulated with softening Cotton Extract to help skin replenish its outer layer and minimize the effects of potential irritants such as harsh soaps or cleansers, it also moisturizes with Rice Extract and soothes with Aloe. Naturally gentle and skin-friendly for daily use, it’s what every sensitive product should be.
  • Softens and helps replenish skin's outer layer with Cotton Extract
  • Gently removes dirt, oil and make-up without over drying or causing redness
  • Formulated with Quillaja and Yucca Extracts to help remove impurities without stripping essential moisture
  • Fragrance-free and hypo-allergenic
  • Allergy-tested and dermatologist-tested

For $10 (the MSRP), you get a 6 oz tube of creamy, moisturizing face wash. I was a little surprised that there were no suds from this cleanser, and yet, it manages to remove my face make up relative easily, using a minimal amount. I remove my eye makeup separately, however. 
It really reminds me of sweetened condensed milk - thick, creamy, semi-transparent but not really.The amount shown above is enough for my face. My skin doesn't sting or tingle when using this cleanser, and feels softer after I've rinsed my face. I was relieved to find this cleanser rinsed very cleanly, since I'm not used to cream cleansers. 

The scent is... interesting. It's sort of medicinal, herbal, and floral mix. It's not unpleasant, and doesn't seem to last. 

Overall, I like this cleanser. I like others better, but, if you're in the market, and have a coupon or find Burt's Bees on sale somewhere, I'd recommend this one!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Burt's Bees Natural Skin Solutions Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream - Review

I'm currently on the prowl for a new moisturizer, and, as luck would have it, Bzz Agent offered me an opportunity to try a new product from Burt's Bees, their Daily Moisturizing Cream. While I received a full size for free, I am not compensated in any way for using the product, nor providing any sort of positive, or negative, feedback regarding the product.

The cream comes attractively packaged in a white cylindrical pump-top tube. The full size is 1.8 fluid ounces. The MSRP is $15.00, which seems high for a drugstore brand, but, since coupons are available for this brand, you may not have to pay full price. The big draw to this cream, it seems, is that it includes cotton extract, which is an extract I had never heard anything about. A quick googling of "cotton extract gave me more information than I needed. Here are some of the highlights:

Anyway, Burt's Bees uses the extract to improve the skin's repair mechanism. Here's the word from Burt's Bees:
Clinically proven to moisturize sensitive skin all day without causing redness or irritation, this nourishing day cream is formulated with softening Cotton Extract to help skin replenish its outer layer and minimize the effects of potential irritants such as harsh soaps or cleansers. All while Rice Extract moisturizes and Aloe soothes your skin. Naturally gentle for daily use, it’s what your sensitive skin has been waiting for. 
    Softens and helps replenish skin's outer layer with Cotton Extract
    Moisturizes with Rice Extract
    Does not cause redness or irritation
    All day formula
    Fragrance-free and hypo-allergenic
    Allergy-tested and dermatologist-tested
I've used this cream for 2 straight weeks now, so I've had a great chance to see how I like it. And, well, it's sort of meh. It moisturizes okay, I guess. It doesn't irritate my skin, has no real noticeable scent (to me). I felt that 1 full pump was a bit too much for me - I always had a little too much, so I'd just use whatever was left on my neck. I didn't feel this moisturizer left me greasy, which is a plus for my oily T-zone, but I also didn't notice a difference in my skin day to day. Once I removed my makeup, my skin still felt the same as it did if I skipped this moisturizer. I guess I could've been removing it with the rest of whatever I was wearing but, still, I would've liked to have my skin feel different, otherwise, what's the point of this product? The surface redness on my cheeks was not diminished in anyway after using this product (but, honestly, nothing except MUFE's HD Microperfecting primer does).

It did absorb nicely into my skin, not leaving me shiny (which is a plus). 

So, would I buy this? Probably not. It's nice, and I may find I like it later on when the air starts to get dry inside from being heated by fireplaces or furnaces, but right now, it's a bottle of meh to me. I think if you have dry skin, though, you may really like it, since it didn't leave me oily. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sleek Pout Polish Pink Cadillac - Review

I miss MAC Tendertones. They were the best lip gloss/balm ever. The flavor/scent was great, the colors were beautiful (although, sort of pointless, since very few had any pigment at all. *sigh* Why did they stop bringing them out in favor of those terrible Sun Tint things?

I'm happy to say, however, I believe I've found an adequate replacement from Sleek - their Pout Polishes are pretty darn good. I've used Pink Cadillac almost every day for the past 2 weeks, and I'm really digging it.

Sleek says:
A tinted lip conditioning balm formulated with natural oils such as Almond Oil, Shea Butter, Avocado Extract and Vitamin A, C and E to help condition the lips and lock in moisture.

It also includes SPF15 to help protect the lips from sun exposure.

Using a lip brush or fingers, apply a small amount to the upper and lower lips for a sheer wash of colour and gloss.

Pink Cadillac is a scary-bright pink in the tube, and even on the lips you can definitely see the color, but it's softer, almost a jelly-type finish, that's sheer. No sparkle, and it's not super glossy, either. This shade produces enough shine to catch the light, but that's about it, which is refreshing. The texture is thin (although you could totally build the product up, if you wanted, but why?). These aren't really sticky, although I would say they're a tiny bit tacky, and they don't last forever on the lips, either. I get about 2 - 3 hours wear, without eating and minimal talking, with this. I haven't really experienced any stain-effect from the balm, so as it wears off, the color appears to go with it.

The lasting effects of the moisturizers, though, is great. My lips feel soft, smooth and moisturized (just like a Tendertone!). The scent is sort of blah - a creme brulee-type scent. There's a touch of something sort of unpleasant there, though. Most likely, it's the SPF interfering with whatever flavor Sleek put in these.

Overall, I really, really like this. I believe all of the available shades would like work for pretty much anyone who wanted to try them, because they're sheer. The SPF inclusion is pretty awesome, too. Those of us that are not lucky enough to live in England can buy these direct from for $6.50 (plus a slightly unreasonable $10 or so for shipping). 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Benefit They're REAL Mascara - Review

I think a lot of us are always looking for the next best mascara, never minding the umpteen mascaras we've already tried, and the countless good, great, and perfect mascaras we've already tried. So many of us don't have the time or talent to apply false lashes everyday, so we are seeking the one mascara that looks like falsies without the required time. I believe that's why any new mascara that promises false-lash effects are so popular and instantly wanted - and makeup companies know and feed upon this (because, you know, they want us to buy their products and whatnot).

Benefit's They're REAL mascara makes bold claims, and uses a nifty, if not obvious double entendre, in the marketing campaign supporting it's release. My husband is a big fan of the promotional image, a woman with low cut dress and Christina Hendricks-sized breasts that look like they would be painful to the woman they're attached to, yet he doesn't wear makeup, and is likely not the demographic Benefit hopes to attract (I think). The packaging is rather spiffy, though - a gun metal tube in a curvy shape.

Regardless, here are the claims, per Sephora:

This mascara features an exclusive brush specially designed to maximize the performance of the long-wearing, glossy formula revealing lashes you never knew you had! Staggered bristles grab close to the root, boosting length and volume beyond belief. The precision bristles on the custom-domed tip lift, define, and curl even your tiniest lashes. The end result is luxurious, silky lashes that won't smudge, clump, or dry out.
Research results:-94% saw dramatic length and volume*
-90% saw base-to-tip curl*
-94% saw visible lift*
-100% saw long-wearing results*

I think the formula isn't really the star of the show in terms of lengthening and definition, the brush is. It's a hybrid of the rubberized-bristle brush I dislike, and the Givenchy Phemonen'eyes medieval-mace style wand. The tip of the brush has bristles that fan over it's crown, that you're supposed to use to apply and "fan" out your lashes. This is how you're supposed to apply the Phenomen'eyes mascara, as well, and why I loved that particular product - the definition you get from this application technique is simply astounding. The rest of Benefit's brush is pretty good, too, for the type of brush that it is. 

The formula it's self isn't bad, though. It's not water resistant at all (I managed to cry it off my lower lashes relatively quickly, due to some crappiness at work [note: surprisingly, it's not really easy to get off - and I use a eye makeup remover prior to washing my face!]). It's build-able, to an extent, which is why the brush and application technique works - a super thick formula would clump like no one's business before you had chance to apply it properly. It can over-volumize, however, which leads to clumping. It doesn't flake or smudge, and seems to set within a reasonable amount of time. My lashes still feel soft, not crunchy, once the mascara has set.

What I'd be remiss to not discuss, however, is how long it takes to apply. Because you're essentially doing multiple coats (which is probably normal for most people), you wouldn't expect this mascara to be any different than whatever you're currently using. What I failed to consider was how long it would take to use the tip of the wand to apply mascara, comb my lashes, and fan them out a bit. That takes a while. I usually don't do all of my lashes, just the outer third or so, but I if I were to attempt to do all of my lashes, I might drive myself crazy. I don't bother using the tip to go over my bottom lashes, since, you know... who wears falsies on their lower lashline?

Over all, I like this mascara. It's $22, though, which is spendy. I'll be very curious to see how this formula works as it dries out, over time. I have a feeling it may get clumpy as more air is introduced in the tube. Due to this one nagging fact, I can't say I'd repurchase today. I may need to wait until I've used the mascara for more than a month to be sure it'll work out for me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Inglot Eyeshadows - Overview

As noted in my last haul, I had an amazing run of swaps. One of my best swaps was for a complete 10 pan palette of Inglot's neutral shadows. I've been playing with them for the past 3 or so weeks, and have finally decided they're pretty awesome.

Let's first review the palette it's self. It's extremely well made, heavy, and thick. MAC's palettes feel flimsy when compared to this, and very cheap. The top, or lid, of the palette is held in place by very strong magnets, one in each corner, and several palettes can be stacked together, and held together by the same magnets. Pretty nifty. My only beef here is how hard it is to remove shadows from the palette. I had to use a thumbtack to leverage the shadows out of their cells.

With regards to the shadows... I'm extremely impressed. MAC may need to step up their game. 9 of the 10 shadows I have are pigmented, creamy, blendable, etc. The only one I have issues with is Matte 378, and those are minor (it's a touch chalky). Pearls seem to be my favorite finish. I wish they shadows had names, but, with a seemingly endless number of shadows, I can appreciate the simplicity of numbers in this case. I also find Inglot's website to be a little... irritating. I couldn't find a description on their website for some of their proprietary finishes... like "Double SP" and "AMC." At least MAC describes what veluxe pearl means.

Color descriptions! Yay! I took pictures of each set of swatches with and without flash, because the pearl finish is like the veluxe pearl finish from MAC - metallic and beautiful. Shine 110 is a lot like Shroom on me - not visible, but the effect is lovely. A soft, sheer, slightly golden glow. Pearl 430 is a very true gold. Pearl 406 is a bronze with a touch (a very light touch) of taupe. Double SP 460 is a slightly chalky purple-brown. Pearl 423 is a shimmery version of Double SP 460. Here they are with the flash:

Pearl 393 reminds me of MACs Nylon shadow, only not as pigmented (which is good for me). It's an orangey highlight. Pearl 405 is a peached or rose gold. Matte 360 is like a more pigmented version of MAC's Wedge eyeshadow. Matte 378 is a little chalky on the swatch, darker, cooler version of Matte 360. AMC 53 is a satiny brown. In the pan, the sparkles looks sort of blue, but that does not translate. Here they are with the flash:

Pricing on these is all sorts of awesome. No, really. Buying potted eyeshadows means you'll have to pay $12. Buying them as part of the "Freedom System," what Inglot calls their palette system, is a much better deal. Eyeshadows like what I have are $5 each. Yes. $5. The palettes range in price from $6 for a 2-pan palette, to $35 for a 40-pan palette. MAC, for comparison, asks for $15 for a potted shadow, and $11.50 for a propan, plus $7 for a 4-pan palette, or $16 for a 15-pan palette (gah, when was the last time I bought a palette? I don't think I've ever paid more than $12 for one!).  

Rereading this review, it seems I used the word "awesome" so much that it needs a vacation. But, honestly, these shadows are worth the hype. They're cheap, the quality overall is great (and even those I noted as chalky are absolutely workable). Their texture is divine, and their color selection cannot be beat. I'm sold on them. Am I swapping away my abundance of MAC shadows? No, but I don't forsee buying any MAC colors that are not unique to my collection. Inglot's minimum for free shipping is rather high ($150), but their standard shipping fees aren't outrageous ($7 - $10 to me). They current sell online to the US, the UK, and Australia. They also have a handful of stores in the US, including a counter in a New York Macy's. I assume they're more plentiful in Europe, especially in Poland, where the brand originated.

Overall, these are worth it. If you're trying to find a variety of finishes, shades, and like the idea of palette systems, Inglot is definitely the way to go.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sleek Suede Blush - Review

I've been waiting to try Sleek Cosmetics for a long time. Makeupalley has repeatedly discussed this brand, and their releases, for what seems like an eternity. When I had the chance to swap for the highly anticipated "Nude" collection, I jumped on it.

Sleek is a UK-exclusive brand, however, the rest of us can order from their website with quasi-reasonable shipping prices, currently $10 to the US at this time. Blushes retail for $6.50, and there are currently 13 shades available. I have two, but today I'll discuss the newest color, Suede.

Sleek uses a combination of MAC and NARS packaging styles, with a little flair of their own - it's typically black, with minimal decoration. Some colors or palettes do have special designs on them, though, if they're part of a collection. The Nude  is a collection with a nude-toned decoration/flower thingie on all three pieces of the collection.  

The back has a list of ingredients, the name of the color, and the usual fair. These blushes come with a clear plastic wrap around them, which is why they have this information printed on them, unlike brands that utilize boxes or other types of outer packaging. To look at the packaging, you may assume it's very similar to NARS, but it's not so rounded, and it's not made from that obnoxiously weird rubberized stuff. It's smooth black plastic, like MAC. 
Each compact comes with mirror, and, of course, a pressed blush. Suede is a neutral nude-pink. It's pigmented, not exactly soft, and a great, true, neutral with a matte finish. Pink blushes often look a little off on me, because I'm a warm toned gal, and pink seems to always lean cool, but I find this wearable. I've heard a few people say this blush is similar to NARS' Douceur. Any thoughts? I need to get to Sephora to see what I think... Douceur is on my wishlist.

I'm sort of glad this blush isn't particularly soft. Virtually no powder is kicked up by my brush, which is great. My only issue is it can take some pressure on the brush to pick up the blush. Maybe this blush was over pressed or something. I'll need to see if my other Sleek blush is the same (no, I haven't used it yet... I wanted to try this one so bad, I've been using it for the last 2 or so weeks, since my swap partner received her part of our deal!).

So far, I've been pleased with this blush. It's wearable, it lasts 12 plus hours on my face, and looks natural. What's not to love? If possible, I'd strongly recommend this blush, or others from the range.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Sonia Kashuk Beautifying Blush in Melon - Review

I can admit when I have a problem - I love peachy-pink blushes. Love. As in, I must own them all. Must. Somewhere during my travels, I believe I had read that a dupe for MAC's very popular Ripe Peach blush ombre was available at Target, as part of Sonia Kashuk's line. Naturally, I couldn't remember the name of the Sonia Kashuk product, but this blush caught my eye while I was searching. After mulling it over for a grand total of 30 seconds, this blush found it's way into my basket.

One thing that's always deterred me from buying Sonia Kashuk's products is their price. They're not cheap, for example, this blush retails for $8.99. Now, I can live with elevated drug store prices, because they go on sale regularly, right? Well, not Sonia Kashuk. The best deal you're going to find is 10%, sporadically. Because Target is the exclusive retailer of this product, they have no reason to put it on sale the same way they need to occasionally have Revlon on sale, or Cover Girl products. Even those are usually on "sale" for 10% off. ..::end rant::..

Anyway, this blush delivers what I wanted. Peachy-pink goodness. It's matte, which is great since I don't need to be shimmery all the time, and lasts a reasonable amount of time. It's decently pigmented, so I don't need to pack on a ton of product. Melon blends well, too, which is always a plus. It seems a bit small, though. Especially for $9. There's 0.15 oz (or 4.2 grams) of Melon in a pan, compared to 0.21 oz (or 6 grams) in a MAC frost finish blush (just one that I grabbed, not a particular shade). For another comparison, however, Smashbox's blushes are 0.07 oz (or 2.04 grams) - gah. What a rip off. They're nice, though. Back to Sonia Kashuk's blushes though. Of these 3 options (Sonia Kashuk, MAC, and Smashbox), SK is a better deal. Maybe they're just physically small?
Blushes are packaged in a slim, white compact with a silver band. This blush states it's made in the US, which is kind of neat (seriously, when was the last time you bought something made in the states?). The compact doesn't feel cheap, but is light, which makes sense. It's completely plastic. The top of the compact is clear, so you can see the color of the product. No mirror is included.

Would I repurchase? I dunno. I'm leaning towards no, only because of the price (never mind the fact I have yet to use a blush). It's a solid product, and performs well, but I would rather not support a company that doesn't put things on sale. (Totally kidding). I am truly conflicted, though. Melon isn't really a unique color, you know? And the formula is as nice as any other blush I own.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Etsy Find: Brazen Cosmetics Tree Hugger Trio - Review

I will fully admit to loving a good deal. I mean, who doesn't? So, when Brazen Cosmetics was a deal on Heartsy, I snapped up a voucher and ran to Brazen's shop. I love green and neutral eyeshadows (and pretty much every eyeshadow I've laid my eyes on), and really liked the look of this collection, so I picked it up. 

This set is comprised of 3 shadows, Terra Nova (a shimmery gold highlight), World Peace (a shimmery olive/tree-green) and Tree Hugger (a "Dusty coffee brown shimmers with hims [sic] of olive green and gold," but in real life, it's a shimmery deep brown with maybe a hint of green. Maybe.).

I've used Brazen's shadows before, and my experience with this trio sums up all of my other experiences: when they're good, they're sooooo good. When they're "meh," they're.. well... meh. Terra Nova and World Peace are beautiful. I love them, and can see myself wearing them daily. They're creamy, blend beautifully, and are a pleasure to work with. Tree Hugger was the meh part of the trio. Most mineral brands I've used can't seem to nail the deep tones very well. It applies a little patchy, chalky, and almost sheerly in my crease. Interestingly, Tree Hugger swatches well. Maybe I should use my finger to apply it?

Brazen shadows are packaged in 5 gram jars, and come with sifters (which I obviously removed). The bottom of each jar has the company name, color name, and ingredients (I love it when brands do this!). The jars are packed full, and are usually range in price from $4.99 -$5.49 single, or collections can be bought for a small discount.

Currently, only Tree Hugger is still available. This is a limited edition set, but I thought sharing swatches. While I like Brazen Cosmetics, I always spend way more than I should. My order totals are usually close to $30. I also think that Sandi, the owner, takes a page from MAC's controversial book of limited editions - small quantities, with lots of hype. Brazen makes solid shadows (and the perfumes are pretty damn good, too), but you have to be on it to get them, sometimes. If you have any interest at all in their limited edition shades, you essentially have to stalk their Facebook page (for whatever reason, I'm not a big Facebook person), and hope you have the money the moment a listing goes live. This annoys me a bit.

Would I recommend Brazen? Yes, absolutely. Do I like recommend Brazen? Eh, yes and no. Maybe I'm bitter about missing out on other limited edition items, so take that into consideration. At the end of the day, though, the shadows are overall awesome, with hits (and misses), like any other line. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Essence Gel Eyeliner London Baby - Review

I have to own up to the fact that I let Makeupalley's message boards carry me away sometimes. Whenever people post raves about a product, I start feeling that my life will not be complete without it. Rarely, however, have I found whatever that item is to be the be-all-end-all product I thought it would be. Usually, it's a mediocre product for me, or just doesn't suit my skin type or coloring. Sometimes, however, the product is really all they promised. This is one of those products. Kind of.

I picked up this liner at the same time I got the Stay with Me gloss I reviewed here. MUA had been just raving about how life-changing this liner is that when I saw it, I swear, it was a shiny bauble and I was a crazed crow, snatching it up and running to the cash register.

Ulta's website says:
It's ultra-smooth gel formula allows an accurate application similar to liquid eyeliner. The range offers various effects, such as matte or shimmering. Simply dip the special Essence Gel Eyeliner Brush into the pot and effortlessly paint a perfect quick drying line. You're left with an ultra long-lasting, smudge and waterproof look! Available in three colors.
The bolded sentence above is what bothers me. Only 3 colors. Black, purple, and this grey-taupe color. That's it. Give me brown, gold, green, something more than 3. These are new, so I can hope they come out with more, which I hope they do. I also would like someone at Essence to grab a clue and seal their products, because out of the 3 jars my Fred Meyer had out, 2 had been molested. Since I'm fairly certain Essence has to eat that loss, it'd behoove them to invest in a shrink wrap system.
London Baby is a shimmery, deep charcoal with the slightest hint of brown, making it a taupe shade. On my lash line, it might as well be grey. It's very pretty. It looks pigmented, but I've found that it doesn't really apply in a pigmented fashion. I usually have to go over the liner at least once to achieve opacity. Not a huge deal, but it's worth mentioning. The shimmer appears to be multi-colored, and is very fine. It's enough to soften the liner, but it's not going to really pop.

The texture of this is interesting. It's very... airy, I suppose. It's really easy for me to get too much product on my brush, and thus need to remove some before I go to apply it. Again, not a huge deal. I wonder if the texture affects the way the liner applies, though.

One thing I can attest to is how long these wear: All. Day. Seriously. My "all day" at this moment in time runs from about 4:00 AM - 6:00 PM or so, maybe a smidge more, if I'm feeling particularly lazy. These retail for $3.49, and wear as well as my Fluidlines and Long Wear Gel liners. They remove easily, as well, which is very nice. 

I am impressed by the product, but I like the idea of being able to buy someone and not have to wonder if someone's stuck their finger in it. I'm almost positive that the MAC SA's at Nordstrom don't stick their fingers in the Fluidlines when they're bored. Almost. But, what about those tween-age girls who seem to be confused about whether it's okay to sample a product before buying it at the drugstore? Please carefully check your liner before you buy it! I know I have!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Haul! Woooo!

Okay, so this isn't the smallest haul, and it isn't the largest. It's medium sized, I suppose, in terms of monetary investment on my part. Almost all of this haul was collecting through swapping, which is awesome for my bank account!

My Fred Meyer still had the Wet'n'Wild summer trios! I couldn't believe it, so I grabbed two (I think a giveaway may be in order!), along with two of the Fantasy Makers nail polishes, Black Magic and Purple Potion. I also picked up a few things from Essence, one of the "holographic" (their word, not mine) nail polishes in Blue Ray, and a gel liner in Berlin Rocks. I finally managed to swap for Deborah Lippman's Across the Universe and MAC's Studio Tech creme foundation in NC15 (I think it's too dark, but I'll try it anyway). While perusing Etsy, I found a relatively new shop called Muse Minerals, and I picked up a few samples as well as 3 larger sized eyeshadows.

Missha had an amazing offer available through Facebook to buy their Cho Bo Yang BB Cream for $9.99, where the "normal" price is $45.99 or so. Because I registered with the site, and this was my first purchase, they also sent a full size of their Perfect Cover BB Cream in shade No. 23, which is a bit too dark for me, but again, I can at least try it around the house to see what I think. I also chose the Tea Tree Sheet Mask, mostly to try it out (and it's $1.99!). Finally, they included a nice selection of samples.

I've been dying to try Inglot, and was very lucky to set up a swap for a complete 10-pan Freedom palette (I'll add the color names in my full review later on). And, I was able to work MAC's Pro Longlash mascara in the deal! In a separate swap, I was also able to get a new in box They're Real! mascara from Benefit! So excited to try these... which mascara to try first, though?
Finally, the swap I'm probably the most excited about! My swap partner has not yet received her end, but I can't help but be super excited about this.... Sleek! The entire nude collection include Bare Minimum pout polish, Suede blush and Au Naturel palette. She also picked Life's a Peach blush, Pink Cadillac pout polish and the Oh So Special palette... and Cadbury chocolates! I hope my package arrives soon!

So... all in all... yeah. I have a lot new stuff to try. Out of pocket, this wasn't too bad at all, because a lot of it was swaps. What've you recently added to your stash? What would you most like to see reviews of?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

NOTD - Chanel Particuliere

I love this polish. It's my new favorite neutral polish. It's a clean, on-trend, taupe-mushroom color. I've found that it wears well on me - this is 3 days after it was applied. It's pigmented, too. With a super careful application, I can get away with one coat, but I prefer two, because the color becomes a bit deeper after that second coat. I know some people complain about Chanel's polishes and their application, but this one's a winner! In case anyone is wondering, I used 1 coat of Orly Bonder, then two coats of Particuliere, and topped everything off with Sally Hansen's Instra-Dri Anti-Chip top coat (the base and top coats seem to work like magic for me!).

Saturday, September 17, 2011

MAC Blue Storm Pigment - Review

I went through a blue eyeshadow phase at the same time I had come down with a case of "must have all MAC pigments!" disease. I had a chance to snag Blue Storm Pigment a while ago, so I thought I'd discuss my feelings as it's being re-released as part of the MAC Fall Colour collection

The jar I have is from the Zoom Lash collection of 2005. MAC described it as "marine blue with red/violet pigment," (now it's a "rich metallic blue".) I think it's more of a deep royal blue color, because there's a definite purple tone to it. Applied wet, I think the metallic nature shines through, but that's really true of almost any pigment. I can easily see this being used in a smokey eye look, because it's a rich jewel tone. Some of you may recall an eyeshadow called Blue Storm, from the Blue Storm Collection of 2007, which was described as "royal blue with blue and silver pearl." For the sake of comparison:

The texture of this pigment is... interesting. As you will see in the pictures below, it kind of "balls up" (blue.. balls... oh jeez, my mind has found it's way in to the gutter), and feels a bit creamy. Like most pigments, I get the best wear using MAC's Mixing Medium. Honestly, Mixing Medium is awesome, way better than Fix+ could ever hope to be. Anyway, two drops and enough pigment to make a paste is enough for both eye lids.

MAC pigments are still something I collect, so for me, this was a no-brainer. And think purple fans will find a use for this pigment. Those of you who prefer neutrals, however, may not find a ton of uses, although this makes a fantastic liner. I'm hoping to score a sample of the new version, to see how it compares to the older version. Blue Storm will be available for purchase on 09/29/2011 at counters and instores. Online, look for it 09/27/2011.
No Flash

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Essence Stay With Me Longlasting Lipgloss - Review

One day, I went a little crazy at my local Fred Meyer and bought a bunch of Essence stuff, because it's cheap. Being able to pick up 4 things for less than $20 feels pretty good when you're pining away for one things that's over $40, you know? I fell in love with the color of this gloss, and for $2.29, I figured "Why not?" (I should know by now there's plenty of reasons why not to buy yet another gloss, but that's between me, myself, and I). I selected Candy Bar, a bright coral with a pink bent. This is a non-shimmery, non-glittery gloss.

According to Essence:

the name of this lipgloss could not be more appropriate: if you try it once, you'll never want to give it up again! the color-intensive texture is so wonderfully creamy and durable – without leaving a sticky feeling behind, that it's simply irresistible. the special shape of the precision applicator allows an effortless application.

These glosses come in a somewhat short, fat tube. The doe-foot/sponge applicator is interesting, because it's curvy. Really. It has an hourglass shape to it, and I'm not sure if that's a purely style-driven choice, or if there's a benefit to this style of applicator. It applies nicely, perhaps a little too thick in some areas, due to the pigmentation. In some ways, the packaging is sort of childlike, but with a price point of less than $5 for almost anything in the line, I'm probably not their target demographic. Which leads me to my next point - these don't come sealed. Very little, actually, is sold sealed. So, I had to check each tube to find one that I was positive hadn't been tested. It took 3 tubes before I found one. That's a big problem to me.

Honestly, I just liked the color of this gloss. I wasn't expecting much for my money, so I was pleasantly surprised. It does last longer than I thought it would, and it's not really sticky. For example, I applied this gloss this morning at about 4:00 (yes, 4:00 AM... ugh). I almost immediately ate breakfast, brushed my teeth, and went to work.. I could still "feel" the gloss at 10:00 AM. It felt thin, but I could tell I had applied it, and that it was still on my lips, after all of the other things I had done. It leaves a slight stain on the lips, as well - on me it's a gorgeous pink-peach. The stain lasts all day, too. It was still on my lips at 4:30 PM.... 12 and half hours after a single application!

The texture, as mentioned previously, is pretty nice - it's not very sticky. It's also not gritty (which makes sense, of course, since it's not shimmery in any way). I really like thick, cushy feeling glosses, and this is not one of those - it's sort of thin, but thick enough to feel rather nice, if that makes sense.

The range of colors this gloss is available in is rather small. A total of seven shades are available, ranging from a berry to a nude, however, if I recall correctly, the nude looked sort of dark in the tube. The only color that really appealed to me was Candy Bar. I wonder if Essence plans to release more shades? Then again, I'd rather they invest the money in sealing their products. Both of those gripes in mind, I don't know if I'll repurchase. It's hard to want to buy something that could easily be tampered with.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara - Review

I think I love testing mascaras because it's pretty hard to have a bad reaction to them. A mascara is not likely to cause a break out (not like I break out often, though), I don't have to worry about the color not really "going with" whatever else I'm wearing, so I can wear it every day for weeks, and I don't have to worry about the color not working with my skin tone. I've tried samples of Smashbox mascaras before, and they tend to be middle-of-the-road in terms of performance. With my last order from, I selected a deluxe sample of their newest mascara, Full Exposure.

According to Smashbox:

Inspired by the on-set technique of layering a lengthening fiber mascara over a volumizing formula, our new studio-tested mascara exposes your longest, fullest lashes. No clumps, no flakes. Just maximum-impact, scene-stealing lashes. • 104% increase in lash volume • 32% increase in lash length • 34-degree increase in lash curl Go on set at Smashbox the day Full Exposure came to life.
For $19, you get a shiny black tube that has the name of the product in white, with a red "x" on it, as an accent. The packaging is fairly standard, nothing terribly excited or depressing about it. Since I only have a sample tube, however, mine is small. The brush is a fiber-type, which I greatly prefer, and seems huge in my sample tube. I'm certain the brush head is full size. Because it's so big, it's hard to maneuver - I usually need to remove the excess mascara that manages to make its way onto my eye lid or under eye area. Not a huge deal, but it's an annoyance, and requires an extra step.

I don't curl my lashes, and I don't particularly notice this mascara making my lashes appear more curled. I can say this mascara seems to add length, and a bit of volume. I find the percentages given by Smashbox to be a bit laughable, though. I don't see 104% increased volume in my lashes. And 32% length? How's that measured, exactly? My lashes certainly appeared longer, but I don't know if they really are a third longer with the mascara than without.

This mascara doesn't wear particularly well on me. I have oily lids, and have found this mascara can begin to melt off a bit, and irritate my eyes. This only occurs during super warm days, where I've been wearing makeup for 12 or more hours though.

This mascara removes very easily, which I really like. Sounds silly, but I'd rather not have to use a ton of eye makeup remover, or have to really scrub my eyes to remove mascara. My eye makeup remover removes this very easily.

Overall, this is a mediocre mascara. It's not amazing, but it's not trash, either. It's merely a decent, average, mascara. If it didn't migrate or flake into my eyes, I'd like it more. As it is, though, it's not bad.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rock & Republic Skintight Eyeshadow - Review

I was sort of shocked when I finished MAC's Shroom eyeshadow. As in, I looked at the shiny silver pan, devoid of any shadow, and wondered "What happened? Where'd it all go?" After a few moments of silence, I had to ask the ever-sensitive question "Do I need to go buy another one?" I had to answer that with a "Not right now, I think." Having a massive collection of eyeshadows, I don't really need to buy any more, ever, period. But, Shroom was my favorite highlight shade ever. It was glowy without being glittery, barely-there light. Perfection in a pot. I dug through my eyeshadow drawer and found this, Rock & Republic's Skintight eyeshadow, a failed purchase (it was not what I wanted it to be at the time - I wanted a my-lid-but-better matte nude color), and decided to give it shot at being my Shroom replacement.

Rock & Republic is very, very good at many things. Their cosmetics line is amazing, but launched at precisely the wrong time, I think. Packaged in a luxe, rather large compact, Skintight is packaged like every other Rock & Republic product (minus the glosses) - impressively. Shiny silver with black accents, these look and feel weighty, which I always like when I'm paying through the nose (okay, $28) for a single eyeshadow. Granted, these are about twice the size of the standard MAC eyeshadow, and cost a bit less than double MAC's $15 price tag. Inside the lid is a mirror, which is relatively useless to me, but it's roughly the size of the pot, so it may be useful to someone, just not me

The shadow is both creamy and powdery. My brush can kick up a bit of excess powder, which is a little annoying, but I'll live. To the fingertip, however, it feels great.

Skintight is a pale, soft golden color. Like Shroom, it gives that lighted look without frostiness. It's the perfect brow-bone and inner corner highlight, I think. It could easily be used as a lid color, because it's pigmented, but using a fluffy brush, it's really easy to blend to that candle-lit glow I love.

I can't rave enough about this shadow. I still like Shroom, but I don't need to worry about replacing it. I have Skintight, and I love it. Current Rock & Republic seems to be in a stasis - their website is a splash page. The company did file bankruptcy earlier this year, and their cosmetics (and everything else, not that I can wear anything they make, sadly) have been Haute Look and Gilt Groupe fodder. Great for people on a budget, but bad news for anyone who loves their products (what'll I do when I finish this?!). Regardless, if you find this, and need a beautiful shadow, pick it up!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Smashbox Photofinish Light Primer - Review

Are there any products that you feel are so hyped that they must be garbage? That everyone associates with a brand, and they promote the crap out of it, and the brand pays of it wins magazine awards? Well, Smashbox's Photofinish primer is like that to me. I don't want to like it, because I can't believe it's any good. Good products stand on their own, right? A brand doesn't need to convince us to buy it, if it really works - we'll find it, buy it, and recommend it to friends on our own.

Rant aside, I am drowning in Smashbox samples (seriously, if you haven't ordered from their website, you are missing out - 1 free deluxe sized sample with each order, 1 more if you're a Pretty Points Member, and there's Let's Do Lunch for Pretty Points Member... freebie overload!). I decided, after finishing my Korres silicone free primer, I should give these a shot, so I picked the one I felt would best suit my needs - a light-weight, nongreasy primer that will improve the wear-time of my foundation, and help prevent my oily skin from defeating my makeup by the end of the day. Here's what Smashbox says about Photofinish Light:

Our latest primer innovation! Our new oil-free, 60% water based primer is ideal for oily, acne-prone or sensitive skin. This silky blend of vitamins and antioxidants helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores for visibly softer skin and can be worn alone or under foundation to increase its longevity. The revolutionary formula has oil absorbers for a smooth matte finish all day, light diffusers to minimize the appearance of imperfections, and vitamin C and peptides to help even skin tone and promote collagen production for a flawless future.
I long to have a nice, luminous-yet-matte, finish. My skin, however, has other aspirations. My pores, like most people who share my oily skin type, are large, especially on my nose, and chin. I'd like to have a primer that helps minimize them. I can't really say that Photofinish Light does this. I believe it does help control oil a little, but I'm not completely matte at the end of the day. I'm pleased to see my foundation is still present on my face, and it hasn't migrated.

Photofinish Light is a white gel-textured primer that blends to clear. It does not offer any SPF value.

This primer doesn't cause my foundation to "stick" to my skin, though. It will still transfer onto my phone, hand, etc, which is sort of annoying. Photofinish Light leaves that silicone-y feel on my skin, and doesn't seem to cling to any dry areas.

A full sized tube is $36 for 1 ounce. Occasionally, QVC or Sephora will offer a larger size at a value price ($49 for 2 ounces at I like this well enough to consider purchasing it, once I've run out of options (which will probably take forever). I don't know if I'd run out now to buy it, though.


Water (Aqua), Cyclopentasiloxane, Polysilicone-11, Butylene Glycol, Ethylene/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Carbomer, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Triethanolamine, Decyl Glucoside, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Hexylene Glycol, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Oligopeptide-10.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner - Review

I love the concept of a gel liner, I just don't reach for them terribly often, because my technique is pretty terrible. I'm usually saved by using a pencil brush when I'm in hurry, because they smudge things so nicely. Anyway, I've been curious to try Maybelline's new-ish gel liners, which were recently on sale at my local Fred Meyer as a buy-one-get-one half price. I decided to try two of the limited edition colors, Forrest and Sapphire.
These liners seem to be priced around $10, which isn't all that much less than MAC Fluidlines, which come in at $15. They're packaged in glass pots, with black lids and the brand name, and product, printed in silver. They have a sticker on the bottom with the color name, batch information, and the normal company information. The glass jars and the lids do not have the same outer radius, which in some ways is annoying, but what're you going to do? Maybelline has included a brush with these, and has favorable reviews. I sort of wish the product was less expensive, and that the brush was sold separately - now I have two of the darn things, and I don't really need two (not that I needed one to begin with... brushes are about the last thing I need). 

Anyway, the two colors I have are from the Fashion Week Fall 2011 collection. Forrest is a blackened/blued green (not quite teal, but headed towards teal-country). Sapphire is a blackened blue. Both are reasonably pigmented, and shimmery. I do find that I need go over each of them at least once to get enough opacity for my taste, more if I wish to smudge them a bit. I was really hoping that Forrest would be an evergreen type color, but it's not. There's enough blue in it to make it not very wearable for me. Sapphire is gorgeous, and makes me think of MAC's Siahi from Mickey Contractor. 

The wear time on these is excellent, in fact, it's almost too good. I have trouble removing them, honestly. Either Lancome's Bi-Facil isn't strong enough, or these things are made of steel. I'm not sure which it is. They don't seem to migrate at all, or smudge on their own.

Overall, I'm very impressed. I would be willing to buy future colors, should they be unique in my collection. Other colors available include black, brown, eggplant (a purple shade), and charcoal (a gray).