Friday, April 29, 2011

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Shadow Pencil in Rehab - Review

I still love the 24/7 Shadow Pencil in Sin. I've been forcing myself to use the other pencil I have from this line, Rehab, and have been a bit disappointed in this particular shade. You can find my previous post, about Sin, here.

The color is gorgeous! A warm-ish brown taupe. I really wanted this to work for me like Sin did. The pencil applied like a dream, gliding smoothly over my lid, and I had time to smudge if I wanted to, although I had to work quickly. Because this color is not a flesh-tone, I felt I had to be a bit more precise when applying this shadow pencil.

Things just didn't work out, regrettably. I don't really know what the deal is, but this pencil always creases on me. I've tried it over UDPP, without UDPP (terrible!), with pressed eyeshadow, with loose eyeshadow applied dry, wet, and wet then set lightly with dry. To be fair, Sin creased on me if I didn't have UDPP under it. I've tried it sheer, I've tried it heavily applied, and nothing worked. Within 5 hours, I had creasing. Within 7 hours, things started to fade.

Because Rehad didn't work for me, I can't recommend it. Maybe if you have normal, non-oily, eyelids, you may have more success with this pencil. This does make me concerned about the rest of the shadow pencils.

Cover Girl Natureluxe Silk Foundation - Review

I don't know what's wrong with me. I seem to always go through a phase where I am craving a new foundation. When I found out that BzzAgent was offering a new Cover Girl campaign, I was hoping I'd get a chance to be part of it. I ended up having to use a Golden Key (annoying) to get into the campaign, but who cares? I got to try out this product, which I was extremely curious about.

Cover Girl's website says:
"Redefine natural beauty with our lightweight silk foundation. With a touch of cucumber water and a hint of jojoba and rose hip extracts, our light yet luxurious formula takes heavy weight out of your polished finish."
I think, again, Cover Girl's staff knows what adjectives like "touch," and "hint" mean. While Cucumber is fairly close to the top of the ingredient list, Jojoba isn't:
"Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide (2.6%), Octinoxate (2%) Inactive Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Water, Cucumis Sativus Fruit (Cucumber), Glycerin, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Sodium Chloride, Diethylhexyl Carbonate, Talc, Propylene Glycol, PEG/PPG 18/18 Dimethicone, Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Wax (Jojoba), Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruit Juice, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Allantoin (Comfrey Root), Dimethicone, Methicone, Aluminum Hydroxide, Fragrance, Trideceth 9, Bisabolol, Lactic Acid, PEG 10 Dimethicone Crosspolymer, PEG 10, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, May Contain (+/-): Iron Oxides"

This foundation is packaged in a squeeze tube (nice), and it's pretty - pearlized soft green with darker green... squiggles? I guess? They make me think of those old school Windows screensavers, with the lines that change color as they move around the screen. The tube makes it super easy to control the amount of product you get out. This retails for $10-$13, depending upon where you purchase it. You get 1 fluid ounce for your money.

Moving on from that, this foundation feels like a silicon-heavy primer to me. It does make my skin feel like silk - the kind of washed silk you might find at Sears, that is. Or, if you've tried Benefit's POREfessional, or philosophy's The Present, it gives the skin that feeling.

Coverage is sheer. I received a tube of this foundation in shade 310, Flax, the second lightest shade offered. My normal color matches are Chanel Mat Lumiere in Porcelain, or a quarter shade lighter than MAC NC15. The color was a touch too dark, but due to the sheerness, it blended fairly well. Until it oxidized. Badly. It went from nearly invisible to orange after about 4 hours. Plus, I was extremely greasy looking, even with powder, but this foundation does not claim to be an oil-controlling or long wearing foundation, so I can't fault it for that.

All in all, I'm really glad I was able to try this foundation. Although the color match wasn't great, I was able to determine the formula was just not that good for me. I can see this working on normal or normal/dry skin. I think if you have dry/patchy skin, however, this may not work too well for you. You would also want to skip this if you need more coverage.

**I received this from BzzAgent for free. I wasn't paid to say nice things about this product, and the ramblings above are my own opinions. Any questions? Please ask!

Friday, April 22, 2011

NOTD - China Glaze Sugar Plums

My nails were naked for a long, long time. I just didn't have time to do much with them. Not so now, though! I lusted after this polish the moment I saw swatches on Scrangie's blog, and knew I had to have. Unfortunately, I was on a no-buy when China Glaze's holiday 2010 collection was out in stores, so I couldn't buy it then. And, swapping for it always failed for me. So, when I had a bit of spare cash, I picked this beauty up on eBay for a nice price. Love it!

Shimmery mulberry/cranberry with red and holo glimmers (I can't call it glitter). I noticed this polish went on a little bumpy, though. Almost like there were bubbles that couldn't quite get it together to become true bubbles, so instead, they made the polish uneven? I don't know. And, although most China Glaze polishes play well with Diamont for me, I think Sugar Plums doesn't like it. Oh well. I'm almost out of it, anyway! If you like warm berry colors, this is a must have!

Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base - Review

I'm an oily-skinned girl who loves a matte yet slightly luminous look. No matter what I try (with one exception), if a foundation as the word "luminous" on the bottle or tube, I'm screwed. Apparently, to most makeup formulators, oily gals don't want luminous - they want a greasy face! And, "natural" finishes translate to... OILY! (although, that's sort of poetic justice - I mean, my face is naturally oily, so a "natural" finish for my face... yeah).

So, I've given up on finding a foundation that can stand up to oily skin. Instead, I've turned my focus away from foundations and towards primers. I've tried several, and the one that I'm working with now I love (except the price kinda stinks). A couple of weeks ago, I went to a Bobbi Brown event at one of my local Nordstrom's. The artist who did my makeup had several skincare recommendations for me (of course, they were all Bobbi Brown and uber pricey), and didn't really talk up this little gem. I asked for a sample (since it's $50 for a jar, more on that later). She gave me a generous sample in a 5 gram jar. I've been using that sample daily, under the Maybelline Fit Me and Tarte Amazonian Full Coverage Balancing Foundation, as well as a to-be-reviewed Estee Lauder Doublewear Light. I've never been more impressed with a primer!

It doesn't claim to be oil-controlling, or mattifying, which are typically the two terms I seek on a primer's label. Instead, it claims:
"Rich in feel, but never greasy, this advanced oil-free, face formula, with Shea Butter, instantly hydrates, softens, and cushions skin. Carrot Extract and Vitamin A Complex help minimize the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamins C and E help protect against environmental damage. Grapefruit and Geranium fragrances leave a light, uplifting scent on skin. With daily use, skin looks and feels its best."
Usually, I'd call a foul and say "Really? You want me to believe all of this? C'mon!" And I can't speak to the wrinkle/fine line claims. I can say, however, I love the way my skin feels after applying this product. It feels soft, smooth, and happy. I don't use a daily moisturizer under this product, for the most part (some mornings, I've used Bobbi's EXTRA Face Oil, another thing I'd like to review), because I don't really feel it necessary.

I really believe Face Base has made a difference in the way my makeup wears. Every foundation I've applied on top of it has lasted all day. I still get oily, but the fact that there's still foundation on my forehead at the end of the day is almost unprecedented. Setting with a good powder (still looking for a holy grail powder, though) helps the look last, but previous primers, like Murad's Oil Control lotion (which doesn't live up to it's name), or MAC's P+P with SPF, can't hold a candle to this primer.

This is fragranced. I mean, it does contain a lot of essential oils. Carrot is, apparently, very... uhh... overpowering. This smells delish, a soft citrus with maybe a hint of floral. Even my husband thought it smelled nice, and that's truly saying something. The fragrance isn't apparent on the skin, but if you're someone who is sensitive to scents, you are forewarned!

This product costs $50. That's a bit much, especially since I balked at paying $30 for MAC's Prep + Prime with SPF primer (the first two tubes I had were ah-maz-ing, the third... not so much). I was able to purchase this during Bobbi's last Friends and Family sale for $45, which I felt was still a bit much, until I realized how much product is in the jar. 1.7 fluid ounces. Most primers (and foundations, for that matter) are sold in 1 fluid ounce jars/tubes/whatevers. Additionally, I don't use very much of this. The amount shown above? Enough for my face. Seriously. As I mentioned, I've been using a 5 gram jar that was fairly well filled for 3+ weeks, and I'm not done with it yet! I didn't feel so cheated, after looking at it this way.

Overall, I love this product. I really, truly do. It's expensive, so, I'd recommend a sample first (to make sure you like it), and then start scouring your CCO! Regrettably, I haven't found anything similar.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Stila Smudge Stick in Lionfish - Review

I'll admit that my eye looks are almost the same everyday. Unless I get something new, I'll typically wear the same 3 shadows 5 days week. And I used to reach for the same eyeliner each and every day.... MAC's Teddy Eye Kohl. Gah, a beautiful bronzey-brown that brought the green out of my eyes, wore all day, and I could smudge it if I wanted to. I love it. I love it so much, that I have about an inch left of the pencil. But, alas, why rebuy something I know I love, when I could spend more and find something I may just "like?" (Don't answer that!). Anyway, when stalking through my Ulta, I found one of their exclusive Stila palettes for some awards show. For $25, I was able to get a palette of 6 eyeshadows, a convertible color (in an honestly gross color), a powder highlighter, and a Smudge Stick in Lionfish. I had been very curious about Smudge Sticks, and most of the palette looked good (save the aforementioned ugly convertible color), so I picked it up.

Smudge Sticks are regularly $20. These are automatic liners, meaning you "twist" the pencil to get access to more product. According to Ulta's website:

"Smudge Sticks are what every woman has been looking for in a eye liner! There is a high content of volatile silicones and modern wax oil combinations that make this very comfortable and confident. It will be available in a mechanical pencil no sharpening needed. There is a Vitamin C and E, which will moisturize and act as an antioxidant to help against skin aging. Paraben Free, Not Animal Tested."
They come in 8 colors currently, most of which are named for fish. This liner applies very smooth and evenly, and it doesn't tug on my lid or lashline. I've tried it on my waterline and had the usual (for me) results - looked great for about an hour, then it vanished. On my lashline, however, it lasts all day! Once the liner has "set," it does not move at all, even through crying or watery eyes (I have a slight hay-fever issue). This means, however, if I decide to go for a smudgey-liner look, I have to work very, very quickly.

Lionfish is described as a "Deep bronze sheen," but, we can call it a bronzey-brown. Compared to Teddy, it's a dead-on dupe on my skin, and is also quite similar to Clinique's Creamshaper for Eyes pencil in Chocolate Luster.

I've never found water to be a good solvent for makeup, especially long-wearing makeup. I really have to use an oil-type or dual-phase remover (currently using a sample of Lancome's Bi-Facil). With this type of remover, the liner comes off with ease.

I'm extremely pleased with the Smudge Stick I have. While I don't particularly care for the price (only because I've been able to purchase Stila items so cheaply in the past), I would love to get my hands on more of these liners!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Noella Beauty Works - Giveaway!

Who doesn't like free stuff? I don't know of anyone - so... visit Jackie's blog to find out how YOU can win 7 full sized jars of her eyeshadows!

If you do win, check out my overview of the shades I have - swatches always help enable you :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Shadow Pencil in Sin - Review

After I was awarded with unexpected bonus at work, I ran to Ulta (it's much more convenient to get to than Sephora, and I craved immediate satisfaction). Unfortunately, I had lemmings. So I wandered around a bit, and happened upon the 24/7 Shadow Pencils that are new this year. I had read other reviews and seen swatches, but wasn't grabbed by them, mostly because I thought (as many have noted), they're just uber expensive dupes of the NYX Jumbo Eyeshadow Pencils. I swatched a couple on my arm and found myself enamored with Sin and Rehab, which I ended up purchasing. I'll review Rehab in a bit (I need to use it more), but I can safely say this: for my eyelids, the 24/7 Shadow Pencils seem to be totally worth $20.

Sin is a warmish champange shade, a great "My lid but better" type of color that makes it a fabulous base for pretty much any nude look for my NC15 lids. I find that shadows, including those from Linnaeus Cosmetics and other loose shadows, last all day without creasing or fading when worn over Sin. Because it's a nude-type color, it doesn't compete under neutral eyeshadows.

Urban Decay was right to include "Glide on" in the name of this product - they really do glide on to the skin. I found the NYX version to be a little rough on the skin (which can be especially annoying since my eyelids, like yours, do not appreciate being tugged on or scratched). Both Sin and Rehab apply very smoothly. I don't find these to be especially blendable, though. That may be why I like Sin as much as I do - I don't have to blend it, because it's ultimately going to be covered by whatever eyeshadow I'll be wearing that day. I can wear Sin over UDPP alone, but it does tend to crease a bit on it's own (that's after a 12-hour stint on my lids, though).

I always start with UDPP on my lids. I did try to skip that step, and was not surprised that my eye of the day was a little sad looking by the end of the day. I doubt these pencils can withstand oily lids alone. Not much really can, in my experience, so I don't hold it against this product.

Overall, I'm really impressed with Sin. It's been incorporated into my daily regimen because it's so easy to use and works beyond my expectations.

Etsy Find- Linnaeus Cosmetics

I'll admit it - I love haul videos on Youtube. I love seeing what other people buy (what people will spend their money on is fascinating, although anymore, the people I watch seem to get most things for free). Anyway, when watching one of Pinkiecharm's haul videos, she mentioned she received some shadows from an Etsy shop called Linnaeus Cosmetics. Having taken my share of biology classes, I had an idea of who Linnaeus was, and was definitely intrigued.

I have made 2 purchases from Marin's shop. Full size shadows are packaged in our good friend the 5 gram jar, with sifters. Marin includes the ingredients for each shade on the bottom of the jar, which is pretty nifty. Full size jars are $5.00 (reasonable), however, entire collections, like this one, are $12.00 (which is a great price!). Shipping is currently $2.50 for your first item, then $0.10 for each additional item - which is, frankly, awesome. I can't begin to discuss how many Etsy shop owners make huge profits on shipping due to their pricing and shipping structures. Each purchase I've made was packed carefully, and Marin was quick to update me on the status of my order each time.

I wanted to review this particular collection, the Brush Tailed Wallaby collection, because it's absolutely my favorite set. It features 3 colors: Sprightly, Cliff Line, and Zippy. If you're unsure of what to purchase, and love neutrals, you must buy this collection!

Sprightly is a warm mid-toned brown with tonal shimmer. Cliff Line is a neutral-toward-cool shimmery taupe (super shimmery). Zippy is a warm brown with a copper shimmery. Above swatches are on dry, bare skin. They have decent pigment, and seem to last all day on me (which can't be said of other Etsy lines). I would love to see all 3 of these colors done in a matte finish (hint, hint).

The names and colors were inspired by the brush tailed wallaby, a species indigenous to Australia. What I love about Linnaeus Cosmetics is how complete the branding is. Marin's attention to detail is fantastic. Although this collection is inspired by a cute, fuzzy animal (seriously cute!), Marin has other collections based on less cuddly animals, like lizards, birds, and frogs (although the frog is cute, too!). Marin includes a short description of the animal, description and ingredients for each shadow (and how that name fits the animal). Her shipping packaging is also detail laden:

Non-bleached cotton canvas bags, with animals stamped on them? Cute! Non-bleached paper tag with application tips and tied with raffia? Cute! Even the out bubble mailer (which I've already reused, so I can't show you) has an animal stamped on it. Her invoices are also printed on non-bleached paper, which demonstrates how committed she is to her brand identity.

Since I've already purchased twice, it's apparent I like the company, and Marin's product. Her customer service is top notch (she's so friendly in convo's!), the products are fantastic, and the attention to detail, I think, is great. I would highly recommend checking out her shop!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Did you know...

...That Cover Girl is celebrating 50 years of bringing affordable, quality products to women everywhere? Yay!

Pretty nifty, eh? And to reward customers, you can win free, fullsize products from Cover Girl on Facebook by clicking on the "My Cover Girl" tab! Please note - this link does not reward me in any way - I'm simply sharing a good deal for those of you who love Cover Girl and the opportunity to win a free product!

While Cover Girl isn't a brand I use everyday, I have a few favorites from the line - like LashBlast! I'm also looking forward to getting my next Bzzagent kit (a PR firm representing Cover Girl) - featuring Cover Girl's Natureluxe foundation and lip balms (which I've already reviewed... how does a giveaway sound?)

** I am a Bzzagent, and part of the 50th Anniversary campaign for Cover Girl. I am not paid or compensated in anyway by Cover Girl, Bzzagent, etc. The thoughts above are my own. Any questions? Feel free to ask!