Tuesday, May 31, 2011

NOTD - China Glaze 108 Degrees

I love shimmery hot pink nail polishes. I really love shimmery (not glittery) polishes in general, and China Glaze makes amazing shimmers. So pretty and sparkling. It really reminds me of Zoya Astra, one of their uber-glitter polishes. I probably don't need both, but I love this type of color for summer. This is two coats and 1 coat of Diamont, and even though I just did this mani last night (and haven't done anything strenuous since), I've already got a few minor chips. What's up with that?

As a side note, I recently bought the entire Summer 2011 China Glaze collection, Island Escape, on eBay from a relatively new seller (she had 2 feedback). Normally, I have no issue with purchasing from new sellers, but I can't recommend this seller. Mostly, because the 6 polishes were sent in a small flat rate Priority box with NO PACKAGING MATERIALS, save those thin-walled boxes polishes arrive in from Trans-Design. Seriously. Amazingly, only one polish broke (one that I was super interested in, too, Cha Cha Cha. This explains why there's green polish on the bottle of 108 Degrees). I was dissatisfied with how the seller decided to resolve the issue - either a refund of what the polish was "worth," based on the final auction price (which was a bit over $3.00), or she could try to source another one, and I'd have to pay shipping for her to send it. I took the refund, and still have not left feedback. Note to would-be or current eBay sellers, per FTC regulations it is YOUR responsibility to make sure your buyer gets exactly what they ordered in the condition they ordered it in. I'm looking at you, Sparkling*Nails (also sent a polish that got broken when shipped, and has forever lost my business for not making it right) and friedpickles63 (latest seller).

Maybelline Volum' ExpressOne by One Mascara - Review

Despite being on a mascara no-buy for the last 18 months as I used all of the sample tubes I'd accumulated, I had been having so much luck with Maybelline products over the last 3 months or so, that I was excited to try their newest mascara, One by One. I picked up a tube in "Blackest Black."

From the Maybelline website:

Finally, bold volume without any of the bulk.
• Patented Lash Catcher™ brush has 3 bristles per lash to make every lash count
• Catches, coats and de-clumps each lash to make them all fatter and flirtier
• Instant clump-free volume
• Contact lens safe and ophthalmologist-tested
• Washable, also available in Waterproof formula
Sweep brush upwards from root to tip to add volume to each lash. Continue building lashes until you reach your desired look. Do not let dry between coats. Removes easily with soap and water or Expert Eyes® 100% Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover.

The brush, like many brushes, seems massive, and has those rubbery bristles which I tend to dislike. I've been using this mascara for 3 weeks now, and have finally figured out how to best apply this to get the application down in a way to make the formula do what I like. I don't follow the well-meaning "For Best Results" information above, rather, I have found if I "roll" the mascara on to my lashes, I get great results. I prefer volumizing mascaras, that offer a little boost to definition and length. I recall liking MAC Plushlash and Dazzlelash (but, it's been almost 2 years since I last used either of these mascaras), as a reference point. If I don't roll the mascara wand, this mascara looks and acts like any other "regular" mascara, ie, "my lashes but black." This sort of defeats the purpose of a volumizing mascara, no?

I liked that the bristles at the tip of the wand taper, so I don't end up with mascara in the inner corner of my eye after getting those lashes. In all honesty, I found this mascara pretty easy to apply cleanly, meaning, I didn't have to clean up after applying it.

I don't curl my lashes, and I can't speak to how well this mascara holds a curl. I can say it doesn't melt or flake off my lashes, and it coats very well. It also removes very easily with a makeup remover, like Lancome's Bifacil or Clinique's Take off the Day, which I greatly appreciate. 

Overall, I've been very pleased with this purchase. Drugstore mascaras have really stepped up their game over the last several years. I always had a bad taste in my mouth regarding Maybelline's mascaras since using Great Lash in high school, but this formula is pretty good, provided I apply it using my rolling method. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

MAC Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder - Review

Being an oily-skinned gal, I'm always looking for a good mattifying powder. Because I have large pores, I also want a powder that will help disguise or minimize them. I've had reasonable luck with MAC face products, and when they released their finishing powder, which is supposed to help with both of these concerns.

From MAC's website:

A silky finishing powder that provides an invisible way to set makeup. Reduces shine while optically minimizing the look of pores, lines, imperfections. Available in one universal colour that suits all shades. Wear over makeup or on bare, moisturized skin.

That sounds all fine and dandy. For $23, you get 8 grams of white powder that applies without color. The jar is short, and very sleek, like most of MAC's packaging. This powder is very silky feeling, and moves/flows very nicely. Unlike the Makeup For Ever HD powder, this powder doesn't leave any sort of white cast to the skin, which is awesome. It also didn't cling to any dry areas.

Regrettably, it doesn't do anything for me. I've tried over, and under my foundation. I've tried using it over and under my foundation at the same time, too. My face ended up looking greasy within hours of first applying. Yes, I can blot, and many people do, but I don't want to. I'm the kind of person who wants to apply and then forget about, my make up. While some people may not mind touching up, I just don't want to. With regards to my pores, well, they still looked huge. In no way did they appear smaller or diffused.

I really wanted to like this powder, but, it doesn't work for me. I won't repurchase, and can't recommend this to girls who, like me, struggle with oiliness.

Smashbox Soft Effects Powder Eyeliner - Review

I'm a girl who loves her brown liner. Really. I wear brown liner every. single. day. Being pale, black often looks way to harsh, and most the shadows I wear look better with brown liner. I like deep brown liners, because they provide better definition than lighter browns. I don't mine matte liners, but I tend to like some sparkle.

After spending years ignoring Smashbox, I finally gave the line a try about 2 years ago, and I'm fairly impressed with the products they offer. Now that they're part of Estee Lauder's cosmetics empire, I'll be curious to see what changes will be made to their formulas. Anyway, I've been lusting after their Soft Effects Powder Eyeliners since they debuted in Smashbox's Spring 2011 collection, and finally had the $22 to plunk down (and got a nice Let's do Lunch freebie). After some hemming, I decided on the shade named "Brown." Smashbox's description of this product is:
The prettiest eyes nowadays are defined by diffused, never-harsh lines of color. Our unique powder formula makes application easy by mimicking the effect of a soft-focus lens.

This liner comes in a long, cone-shaped package. The applicator is similar to that of Guerlain's Kohl Liners, except it's a sponge tip, not plastic. It's... uhh.. interesting. The sponge-tipped proboscis is stored in a super tiny jar of liner powder. The problem that comes with this product is this: it's fallout prone. I really struggled with applying this liner without getting liner on the tops of my cheeks, and it think it was because I found it sort of hard to shake off enough powder before taking this product to my lid. I did find, however, the length of the applicator made it easy-peasy to make a winged-out liner look.

That'd almost be a saving grace for the Soft Effects liner, except I also noted this product isn't extremely pigmented, nor is it long-lasting on my lids (after the fallout issues, I didn't feel wearing this on my lower lashline was an option. I tried it. Once. I learned very quick it wouldn't work for me). About half way through my day, this liner had faded substantially. By the end of my day, it was gone.

Overall, I really wanted to like this product. It just didn't work, and it extremely expensive for something that doesn't last all day.

Boron Nitride, Silica, Dimethicone, Polyethylene, Pentylene Glycol, Pumice, Kaolin, Dimethiconol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Phenoxyethanol, Dehydroacetic Acid. May Contain: Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Mica (CI 77019).

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bobbi Brown Corrector - Review

For a long time, I was on a search for the best under eye concealer. I had given up on drug store brands, most likely because my first encounter at the tender age of 13 had soured me to them. It took several months of scouring recommendations on Makeupalley before I decided to bite the bullet and try Bobbi Brown's Corrector.

While in the strictest sense, this is not a concealer, it can boost the abilities of any true concealer (and, of course, Bobbi recommends using her own Creamy Concealer over this) for correcting discoloration. The only place I use this product is under my eyes. If I stay up too late, or don't use an eye cream, or don't sleep well, I have purpley-blue circles under my eyes. When I bought this, I was using MAC's Select Moisturecover concealer (shade NC15) to try to cover up these circles, and it wasn't working (I purchased this concealer on the advisement of an excellent MAC sales person at my local Nordstrom). When Bobbi Brown had a Friends and Family sale, I jumped online and picked up her corrector in Porcelain Bisque, the lightest shade available, without really know if the color would be right for me.

For $22.00, you get 0.05 oz of very creamy, fairly thick-feeling (really, very close to a paste-like consistency) corrector. The pot has a itty-bitty mirror in the lid, and is about the same diameter as a MAC eyeshadow. I was extremely unimpressed by the amount of product when I first opened the box. It's extremely pigmented, though, and you don't need to use much. I believe I've had this pot for over 2 years now, and yet, I haven't finished it.

I usually apply this with my MAC 242 brush, and then buff with my MAC 224 (which makes an awesome application brush for liquid concealers!). On it's own, it's not flesh-toned on me at all. It looks almost white under my eyes, and while I am on the fair side of skin tones, I'm not that pale. I'd wager fairer skin tones could use this as a concealer, if they wished.

It blends in beautifully, however, and doesn't settle into the lines under my eyes. It wears extremely well (although, my under-eye skin is the only "normal" skin I have on my face, so that's not saying much). It doesn't really crease or fail if a liquid or powder concealer is used over it. I've used the Creamy Concealer Bobbi offers as a complementary product to this, and they work well together, but they do not require one another. I find this is superfluous, however, if I'm use the Maybelline FitMe concealer (I love that stuff!), and would imagine if you are using a full-coverage concealer, you may not find any benefit to owning or using this product.

If, however, you are using a light-coverage concealer, or have discoloration on your skin that your foundation cannot manage, I'd recommend this product.

NOTD - OPI Ali's Big Break

I never really wear red nail polish, unless there's something special about the red. This is a special red, I think. It's from OPI's Burlesque collection, released for holiday, 2010. It's a fairly neutral red cream with tonal red glitter. The depth the glitter gives is really spectacular! This color isn't wearing the best on me (this is day #2 for this mani, and you may note it's already chipped once). Then again, I do type all day at my job... and here.... maybe it's not OPI's fault? This is two coats (and the second coat wasn't entirely necessary, yay!) under 1 coat of Diamont.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Light Foundation - Review

Apparently, I need more than 1 foundation (no, I'm not insane), which is why I picked up the deal that Estee Lauder was offering where you could purchase a full size tube of DoubleWear Light, a deluxe mini-size concealer, mini foundation brush (like the MAC 190), a smaller-sized Spotlight Skin Perfecter, and a DVD to tell me how to use these products (gee, thanks Estee!), all for a little bit more than the cost of the foundation alone.

Double Wear Light is available in 6 shades, because EL apparently believes this is a sheer to medium coverage foundation. It's not, but more on that a bit later. It comes packaged in an opaque squeeze tube that is not color coded, meaning you don't know what shade the foundation is until you open it and squeeze some out. This vexes me for a few reasons - 1) this product is usually in stock at my CCO, but I have to look at each tube to find out which shade it is (annoying, but I'll live), and 2) I can't see how much product is left. I don't mind squeeze tubes, but I want to be able to see the color when I'm shopping. The foundation itself is very thin in texture (maybe that's what EL meant when they used the word "sheer?"), but covers better than any other thin foundation I have used.

I selected "Intensity 1.0," the lightest shade. It's fairly neutral, but would probably equate to a dark NC15 or light NC20 (meaning, too dark for the likes of me) that leans to the neutral side. I can sort of cheat a bit, and blend very well to wear it, but... that's a bit too much work (yeah, I'm that lazy). I think it may also oxidize a touch on me, as well, since by the end of the day it's almost always obvious that I'm not wearing the best shade for me.

I will say, though, this foundation lasts all day. Yes, I still get oily and need to blot, but when a foundation lasts all day despite oils, that says something. It also removes very easily with a regular facial soap, which is always a plus! No real noticeable fragrance, either.

Overall, I really wanted to like this foundation. The color matching issue is really the only thing that's holding me back, and my concerns regarding oxidation aren't a good sign (especially since oxidation always gets worse as it gets warmer). I was hoping to find a match in this line, and I just can't, apparently. Next on my list to try (when I get around to buying or sample it), is the maximum coverage foundation (color match, anyone?.