Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Updated Blog Sale!

Click on the "Blog Sale" tab to see the newness I added to the sale! I need to clear these things out, so please take a minute to look things over and find stuff to take off my hands! Thanks :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Neutrogena Nourishing Eyeliner - Review

The last thing included in my BzzKit for Neutrogena was an eyeliner. While I certainly didn't need another eyeliner, I was still game to give this one a try.

Neutrogena says:
Neutrogena® Nourishing Eyeliner defines and brightens eyes with luminous color. Subtle light diffusers make the whites of eyes appear whiter, while rich color nourishes skin with Olive Oil and Rainforest Shea Butter. The built-in sharpener gives precise definition and the contoured smudger softens and blends for a variety of looks.

- Infused with olive oil and rainforest shea butter to condition the delicate skin around your lashes
- Creamy automatic pencil glides on smoothly, then transforms into long-lasting finish that won't budge
-Built-in sharpener and smudger allow to create the perfect look--from precise definition to smoky effect
Packaged in a super-slim twist-up pencil, this liner is very similar in looks to most other eyeliners of this kind. The smudger is the same as any other smudger, and works like any other one you have probably used in the past. I like the inclusion of a sharpener, because often eyeliners like this get dull and then you can't get a super fine line. The upper part of the barrel is color coded to match the color of the liner, which is a nice touch. This liner has an MSRP of $7.49, however, my local stores seem to have it below $7.

Cosmic Black isn't a super harsh black, which is a good thing for people like me - a little to fair to pull of black eyeliner everyday. It has very fine shimmer in it, as well, to help reflect light. It smudges fairly easily immediately after application, and yet wears incredibly well on my lash line. For tightlining, it doesn't hold up as well (but, nothing really does for me, so take that for what it's worth.

The liner glides on with decent opacity at one stroke. The swatch above is 3 passes, as is Feline, for reference. It also removes nicely, which I appreciate.

I was intrigued by the skincare claims - specifically, how well can an eyeliner moisturize? And, how can you tell that it's moisturized such a small area effectively, if at all? I have to chalk this up to marketing. I'm sure the shea butter certainly provides a little something to this liner's feel, but honestly, who has dry enough skin to need a moisturizing eye liner?

Overall, this isn't a bad liner. On my oily lids, it lasted all day with ease, but came off when I was washing my face. I don't think I'll repurchase, only because I don't use black eyeliner all that often. When I do, I'm usually going for a more dramatic look, which would require a deeper, more pigmented black.

Please know, this product was sent to me for review by BzzAgent. The thoughts above are my own, and I was not paid to say anything complementary or otherwise.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Neutrogena Revitalizing Lip Balm - Review

I've been making my own lip balm for several months now (almost a year, in fact), and haven't bought a huge amount since embarking on the USS I-Don't-Need-More-Hobbies. Like the Brightening Eye Perfector, however, I received several Revitalizing Lip Balms from Neutrogena, and was pretty happy to see they include an SPF - if you've ever sunburned your lips, you know how painful it can be.

These balms retail for $8.99, and come in the standard 0.15 ounce size. They're packaged in oval-shaped tubes (like what I use - they don't roll away from you!), and are black, which in a way makes them stand out, but can also make them harder to see in a dark purse.

Neutrogena says:
Revitalizing Lip Balm helps make lips softer, rosier and healthier-looking, even after you take it off! This sheer tinted balm with exclusive ion2complex™ instantly moisturizes lips, leaving them looking fuller and more defined. In just one week, it helps improve lips' texture and restores the look of rosiness. SPF 20 helps protect lips and keeps them looking healthy. 
I have three colors, Sunny Berry, Petal Glow, and Healthy Blush, and there are three additional shades in the line: Sheer Shimmer, Healthy Blush, and Soft Caramel. Although Neutrogena describes these as sheer, I was taken by surprise at how pigmented they were. They're not full coverage, but they're not like the Cover Girl balms - they show up pretty well on me! Some of the colors aren't what I would pick for myself, but that's okay. Of what I have, I like Petal Glow the best right now.

Petal Glow is a very pretty peachy-glowy color. Healthy Blush is a pinked-nude. Sunny Berry is a lighter berry tone.

It seems my lips feel different than they did before using these balms - but that's a hard thing to really know for sure (placebo effect and all that). I can say my lips are less prone to flaking for a few days after wearing the balm for several days in a row, but after the 3rd or 4th day of not using it, things are back to "normal" for me.

Scent wise, these are interesting. They don't really have a taste, and smell like tea, I think. I can't say that confidently, because it's sort of hard to know for sure what they're supposed to smell like. Maybe a little fruity, but a strong tea note is definitely there.

I love the fact that there's an SPF value. LOVE. And, you don't really smell it. I think I've tasted it, though, after wearing the lip balm for a while. There's a very small hint of a medicinal/chemical something, but it's nothing terrible.

Please know, this product was sent to me for review by BzzAgent. The thoughts above are my own, and I was not paid to say anything complementary or otherwise.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Brightening Eye Perfector - Review

Although I've been loving my Maybelline Fit Me concealer, I tend to be a bit of a makeup ho - I can't just settle for something that's great, I have to keep trying new products. BzzAgent has an ongoing campaign featuring a suite of Neutrogena products, and one of them is their new click-pen eye brightener, with skincare benefits.
Packaged in a shiny, chubby silver pen, you get 0.17 ounces of concealer for around $10 (the MSRP is $11.99, but the stores I've found this in have for a bit less at regular price). Packed with skin loving ingredients, and boasting a broad-spectrum SPF of 25, this concealer has the makings to be the best thing ever for your eye-area, right?

Neutrogena says:
Discover a do-it-all product that not only brightens and conceals with a patented blend of anti-oxidants including Vitamin E, wild chamomile and soy, but is also clinically shown to de-puff and treat the appearance of dark under eye circles. A flow-through brush perfectly applies the Brightening Eye Perfector for on-the-go flawless coverage anytime. 
We'll talk about the packaging, first. I don't like "flow-through" brushes. They're not sanitary, unless you clean it, and then you lose a fair amount of product. They also tend not to blend well, which is true for the Brightening   Eye Perfector (I end up using my finger or MAC 224 to really blend the product in). I like that the cap snaps tightly shut, though. And, after the seemingly endless number of "clicks" to bring the product up into the brush, two clicks is more than enough for both of my eyes.

I selected the shade "Fair," which is a touch too dark. This ends up being fine, though, because the product is not very pigmented. It needs a coverage boost from a thicker concealer, or corrector (like Bobbi Brown's, or even Cover Girl's). That said, however, it does seem to bring some amount of light to my eyes, which is what I would consider to be the essential function of an eye brightener. It is a fairly thin liquid, which is likely why it doesn't provide a ton of coverage.

It wears well, lasting all day without creasing. After using this for about a week, I haven't noted any real changes to my skin, but I'm not really a believer in products that make makeup and skincare claims. It doesn't appear to dry my skin out, or cause breakouts, however.

If you do not need heavy-duty coverage, this is a great product for you. If you need coverage, you may wish to skip this product. It's not for everyone who, like me, needs a real concealer for their under eye area.

Please know, this product was sent to me for review by BzzAgent. The thoughts above are my own, and I was not paid to say anything complementary or otherwise.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Makeup Forever Aqua Shadow - Review

I like shadow pencils. In all honesty, I actually like eyeshadows in general, but I really like shadow pencils, because they're awesome color bases and seem to be more creamy than potted cream shadows. When I discovered MUFE's Aqua Shadow pencils, I had to have one. After much internal debate, I decided upon an easy to wear neutral, 20E.
Aqua Shadows are a chubby pencil cream shadow. They are cased in black plastic, with a color coded cap and end, so you can easily tell which color you're reaching for. They retail for $20 on Sephora's website, and contain 0.14 ounces of shadow. Urban Decay's version is also $20, and contains only 0.1 ounces. From Sephora's website:
Aqua Shadow’s intensely pigmented, waterproof formula provides immediate, rich color that will not smudge, crease, or fade. Created with silica powder, its ultra creamy texture glides effortlessly on the eyelid and blends easily for an even result. Incredibly simple to use, Aqua Shadow quickly creates a multitude of dynamic and colorful looks.

I'm not totally convinced the shade I selected, 20E, is "intensely pigmented." It is pigmented, but no more or less than the UD 24/7 shadows I have. 20E is described as a "pearly taupe." It's a bit deeper than UD Sin, but lighter than Juju or Rehab. It's shimmery, rather than pearly to me. As a base, it's a great substitute for Sin, but they are different.

20E performs almost identically to Sin - it lasts a long time on my lids, blends well enough with my finger, and enhances the color of the powder shadow I put over it. The shadows appear a touch more rich and saturated, without any creasing after an 8 - 10 hour day.

Overall, I really like this pencil. They're a better value than the Urban Decay, and have a pretty good color range. If only there were multiple sources for them (as Sephora is the exclusive U.S. retailer for MUFE, where Urban Decay can be found in a multitude of stores). I also wish they'd give their colors names rather than numbers only, but I can live without, I suppose.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bobbi Brown Moisturizing Cream Compact Foundation - Review

Sometime last year, I had the opportunity to have a national makeup artist for Bobbi Brown's line give me a makeover, through one o f my local counters. Of course, this means they wanted me to buy huge, and I didn't (I should've declined the invitation, but c'mon... a makeover? For a line that I wanted to use more of at that time? I couldn't say no!)

I bought two things that day, and this was one of them. I never consider foundations labelled as "moisturizing," because that usually correlates to a glowy, dewy or not matte. As I prefer a matte finish, because my skin produces it's own glow (and lots of it), I was surprised when the makeup artist recommended it. She stated (keep in mind, she's supposed to sell me on it) that this foundation was formulated for all skin types, and would help camouflage my pores. She said the moisturizing aspect would be helpful for my "dehydrated" forehead (huh? It's oily. Never heard anyone say that oily skin is also dehydrated before, but I suppose....). She was pushing Bobbi's skincare line pretty hard, but I took it all with a grain of salt.  
Interestingly, this product is not listed on Bobbi's or Sephora's website. It's available at Macy's and Nordstrom (at least, on their websites). Nordstrom appears to have the all shades available, while Macy's has a limited, mostly deeper, shades listed. A cursory look around the internet doesn't tell me if this is discontinued, and I didn't see it at my CCO a few weeks ago. Anyway, here's what Macy's and Nordstrom have to say:
This unique emollient compact formula provides all-day wear and all-day moisturization, as it instantly softens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and delivers a soft, radiant finish. Formulated for normal to dry skin, this foundation is blended with ingredients that prevent dehydration such as Jojoba Oil and Avocado Oil, both moisturize and condition skin. This creamy product provides medium to full coverage, and is a portable alternative to your liquid foundation and a more moisturizing alternative to traditional compact foundations.
The packaging is typical for Bobbi Brown - black, shiny, sleek, etc. This is a fairly thin compact, considering that it's a foundation. The product sits in a pan that can be lifted to reveal a home for a sponge applicator (my toddler seemed to have love it, when he saw it in my makeup room and took it with him). Vents are around the base of the compact, so the sponge can dry after use. A mirror lives in the lid of the compact. The base has a sticker with the shade name, number, and name of the product.

I was matched to Porcelain, which is the second lightest shade. One thing I admire about Bobbi's line is how accommodating she seems to be for us pale people. It's rare for me to be the second lightest in a line, and I know I'm not the palest person out there. Porcelain is a great match for me, possibly one of the best I've had.

I've tried this foundation over several primers, and all seem to play nicely with it. It doesn't oxidize, meltdown, or slide around on my face. It does collect a little on the parts of my glasses that rest on my nose, but so does everything else. I would agree this foundation provides medium coverage, and I suppose you could build it up, but I'd be concerned with the foundation appearing cakey. It evens the appearance of my skin tone nicely with one "coat." When first applied in a specific manner, it does help reduce the appearance of my pores.

The way I apply this is similar to how the makeup artist did on me. She used the sponge it came with, wrapped around her finger "like a taco," (her words, not mine), creating a round sponge-surface. She used the sponge dry, and rolled it across my skin. The coverage was impressive, and my pores disappeared in front of me when she did. I've used that technique (and of course, it didn't work nearly as well, but, c'est la vie, non?) and I've used the Sonia Kashuk Beautyblender dupe, with about the same success. I also wet the sponge a touch with Fix+ or Clinique's Moisture Surge Face Spray. I prefer a lightly damp sponge, because it seems to use less product. 
This leads me to my only real issue with this product: you get so little for a lot of money. This foundation costs $42, which is fairly average for a higher end foundation. But, you get 8 grams of foundation. MAC gives you 10 grams of their Studio Tech cream foundation for $30. Now, I'm willing to pay a slightly higher price for a great match, but really? I've hit pan on this foundation, as you can see above, and used it about 15 - 20 times. A bottle of foundation from Chanel or anyone else usually lasts me about a year, maybe a touch less. This compact won't last me 6 months of continuous use.

It also turns a bit sticky if you put a spray (makeup setting or otherwise) over it, like Fix+ or the aforementioned Clinique. And it stays sticky, which is kind of weird. Just an odd thing I noted with this foundation. I've never experienced that before, either.

I really like this foundation. I do. I don't like the price. I wonder if it is being discontinued, as it's availability is limited. If you find it at your CCO, I would recommend picking it up. I'm oily and it lasts all day looking relatively fresh, which is a rare thing. I don't know if it's worth full price, however, considering how much you get.