Saturday, February 22, 2014

Beauty Tag: Colors of the Rainbow

Lip Swatch on Top Right Taken from BeautyLish (where I purchased it)
Color-Accurate Photo of Fyrinnae "Cuddlefish"
I was tagged by one of my favorite beauty bloggers Nicci, of A Different Face. She's a much more dependable blogger than me and has definitely inspired more than a few purchases (why must you tempt me with more Tom Ford quads!?).

Red: Guerlain Rouge G in "Garconne"
My favorite red product is sadly not one that I use a lot just because I tend to wear more neutral-toned lipsticks. I love the Rouge G formula, it's creamy, opaque and wears well on my lizard-prone lips.

Orange: Tangle Teezer
Until a couple weeks ago, this would have been an obvious choice. While I still think this brush does a good job of getting out surface tangles it would struggle to get through all of my hair. Also, I can't even count the number of times it's slipped out of my hands and ended up at the opposite end of my bathroom. I prefer the Wet Brush to the Tangle Teezer, but there are plenty of people who feel differently.

Yellow: Emma Hardie Amazing Face Lift and Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm
I'm coming to the end of my second tub and just ordered a new one this week from Bath & Unwind (free shipping to the U.S.!). I don't think there's anything I could say about this blogger-favorite that hasn't already been said. Suffice it to say, it's my absolute favorite morning cleanser. End of.

Green: Fyrinnae Loose Eye Shadow in "Bitey Tyrannosaur" (self-pressed)
Honestly, how could I not choose this?! It's a vibrant green color that I use traced next to a black liner or along the lower lash line. Not exactly a daily look but something that's fun on occasion.

Blue: Inglot AMC Lipgloss in "541"
This gloss is one of my all-time favorite makeup items. I don't know what it is about iridescent/prismatic/holographic things but I'm just drawn to them. Maybe I was a raver in another life? The gloss itself is really comfortable, not very sticky, and hydrating. The color can be topped over just about any other lip product to add a subtle, cool effect. I plan on doing a My Favorite Things post and I'll include lip swatches. In the swatch it appears really purple but on your lips it takes on a blue cast that is really flattering for teeth and makes them appear whiter. The only possible down-side would be that it can collect in lip lines if you apply too much and it has an artificial cherry smell-- confirmed by my significant other.

Indigo: Fyrinnae Loose Eye Shadow in "Cuddlefish" (self-pressed)
The pictures on their website are incredibly misleading... This one is described as a purple on the website but I find it has more blue than purple in it. Enough for me to consider it an indigo. For whatever reason this color was impossible for me to get a color accurate picture of. The pictures kept capturing it as more of a true blue, which it's not. This shadow takes a little more layering than than others to be opaque but it's so worth it. I use it as a top coat on other shadows to add a little complexity but wouldn't recommend it as a stand-alone eyeshadow.

Violet: Velour Lashes "Are Those Real"
I've never really "loved" fake lashes before but in an attempt to find my "wedding lashes" I decided to give these mink lashes a go. I actually hauled these here. I've worn them a handful of times and really love them. The band is a little thicker than I'm used to but shockingly, it's not noticeable to me at all. They look really natural and my friends were actually surprised when I brought up that I was wearing fake lashes... They're more expensive but provide 25 uses. Putting the cost-per-wear below the much-loved Ardel lashes. I ordered some lashes from Esquido to try, so I'll let you know how the two mink lashes compare.

By now you've probably started to question my ability to see color... looking back I'm questioning it a little myself. But everything I included I love and would recommend whole-heartedly.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Philip B. Review

I purchased a gift set from Gilt that contained all three products from the Amber Imperial line. I'd heard a lot about it, primarily how expensive it is. As the name suggests, all three products smell strongly of amber. It actually reminds me a lot of the body spray from Victoria's Secret called "Amber Romance". 

Philip B. Russian Amber Imperial Shampoo (full size is $140 from BeautyBar): Somewhat of a cult classic, this definitely seems to get the most attention. It's supposed to be suitable for all hair types but especially those with color-treated/damaged hair. It appears almost identical to honey, except that this suds up (very little) and loses it's stickiness when wet. It's taken a bit of experimentation to get to the point where I enjoy using this. I found I could get through the roots of my hair with about a tablespoon of product, one pea-sized amount at a time. I lather it up in my hands (as much as possible) before working it into my hair. The directions on the bottle recommended leaving it in for 3-5 minutes for "best results". I found that it did leave my hair feeling a little cleaner when I did. Basically, if you use too little product you won't get through your hair (Captain Obvious, here). But if you use to much your hair doesn't ever really feel clean. In fact, it felt weighed down and like it had too much leftover product. The amber scent in this is really strong and lasts all day on my hair (especially when I follow with the rest of the line). The shampoo promises to:
  • Reconstructing shampoo formula
  • Repairs hair on a cellular level
  • Moisturizes for weightless hydration
  • Increases hair elasticity and strength
I haven't noticed any visible changes in my hair but this is a good shampoo that cleansed without stripping my hair. Dare I say, it actually was kind of hydrating. I found that I still needed to use a clarifying shampoo once a week but this definitely grew on me. Paraben and phthalates free.

Philip B. Russian Amber Imperial Conditioning Creme (full size is $150 from BeautyBar): My least favorite item in the kit. It's not nearly hydrating enough for my dry, thick, coarse (somewhat horse-like) hair. No matter how long I left it in (the label recommends up to 5 minutes)... it just did little-to-nothing. It's not as strongly scented as the shampoo/dry shampoo but still, there's no mistaking the fact that you're using an amber-scented conditioner. 

Russian Amber Imperial Dry Shampoo (full size is $40 from Philip B): Not the best dry shampoo, but not the worst either. It did freshen my hair but it really only gave me one to two extra days of wear, unlike my favorite dry shampoo, Blow Pro Faux Dry, which can get me through 4+ days (Don't worry Mom, I still bathe between hair washes). It's similar in formula to other aerosol dry shampoos. It's a white powder that leaves a slight cast on darker hair (not as badly as some though). I appreciate that this doesn't leave my hair feeling "gritty" like Big Sexy Hair Volumizing Dry Shampoo or some of the other volumizing powders.

Philip B Lasting Shine & BounceCleansing Conditioner with Oud Essence: I think this has since been discontinued and replaced with this. This was also purchased from Gilt (still available) for almost 50% off of the 7.4 fl oz size. This caught my attention because it's basically a more expensive version of a shampoo/conditioner hybrid. It's advertised as a "6-in-1 formula [that] acts as a shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner/masque, detangler, leave-in conditioner and shine spray". This also is supposed to be suitable for all hair types. I found that it was a much better shampoo than conditioner. It's easy to use and suds up about as much as newer sulfate-free shampoos. It didn't strip my hair but I didn't notice it making it look better either. It smells like a mix of a Glade plug-in (I can't place which one) and a very mature perfume. As unflattering as that description sounds, I actually liked this... just not as much as my Pureology Hydrate Shampoo. Free of sulfates, phthalates, paragons, formaldehyde (aren't all shampoos free of this), propylene glycol, and sodium chloride.

I would definitely recommend trying the sampler pack from Gilt if possible. Not only because of how expensive these products are, but also because the formula is unique and won't appeal to everyone. Ultimately, I prefer my current haircare products from Pureology's Hydrate line and don't plan on repurchasing any of the Philip B products I reviewed. 

*No affiliate links

Sunday, February 2, 2014

So Hauler: Japan

If I could only get makeup and brushes from one country... I'd choose Japan. I'm sure a big part of the allure is the exclusivity of it, but mostly, I just love the unique textures and complex (often shimmery) colors. So when someone offered to pick somethings up from Japan while they were visiting I jumped at the chance. Makeup and brush shopping in Japan is definitely on my Bucket List... and yes, I know that sounds really a little crazy to the general population.

The Z-Series as a whole is definitely lust-worthy. The practical side of me knew I shouldn't spend 71,610 yen for the complete set so I settled on two, Z-2 & Z-8. To be honest, I'm already plotting my next purchase (MK-2 & Z-1) but I'm holding out for now. I'd debated whether or not to do a full review on this, but in all honestly, I don't think I could do them justice. However, Sonia of Sweet Makeup Temptations has an amazing review here and here... just be prepared to apply for a new credit card. Suffice it to say both brushes I purchased are absolutely dreamy. Essentially, the Z-2 is a sharper, more luxurious & expensive version of the Wayne Goss 02 or the Hakuhodo J5521. I use it for contouring, highlighting, and sometimes even blush. The Z-8 is actually smaller than I imaged it would be but just as soft as I'd hoped. I don't think it's as soft as the LE Koyudo Red Squirrel, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Addiction by Ayako
Kohl Eyeliner in "Night Dive": This is the only powder eyeliner I own. I've got mixed feelings on it. Yes, I like it, but it takes a few passes for it to become opaque, especially with the black shade. I have other black eyeshadows that I would imagine would work the same. That said, both shades in this duo are densely-packed powders with a bit of complex shimmer running through it.
Eyeshadow in "Rigoletto" (ME): In the few shadows I've tried of Addiction, they definitely excel at those with metallic (ME) finishes. This shade is no exception. It's complex, pigmented, and densely packed. One of my all-time favorite eyeshadow formulas.
Eyeliner Pencil in "Sugar Blond": This came highly recommended by one of my all-time favorite bloggers. It's a more yellow, flesh-toned pencil that I plan on using on my waterline. It has a very fine amount of shimmer in it, just enough to give it more of a satin-like finish. I know some people use this for highlighting their cupids bow as well. I'm anticipating this will be very long-wearing as it required a makeup cleanser to remove the small swatch on my arm.

Flash Performance Eyeliner in "07 Eye Doll": Definitely check out the review by Kate of Drivel About Frivol for an in-depth review and swatches. 
Eyeshadow Duo in 01 "Love Fascination": So THREE's line of duos is all about layering a powder over a cream. The results is a beautiful, complex color. Again, I'd recommend checking out Kate's post on a few other shades from the line. In this duo, the black shade is full of complex sparkle. In terms of formula, the black is a a silky, powdery, cream (not really moist/emollient). The lighter shade is a silky powder that's a sheer, somewhat complex taupe. When the powder is applied over the cream, the color is somewhat reminiscent of the THREE liner in 07... no complaints here. I'm actually scouting out the other colors from the same line, especially 03 and 06.
The dark shade broke a little. I'll see if it's able to be re-pressed with alcohol... wish me luck.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

So Hauler: U.K. & U.S.

So Becky of Cosmetic Debris, enabler extraordinaire, messaged me a couple weeks ago hinting at doing another swap. Of course, I already had a mental list of things I "needed" from the U.K. so within a day we'd pretty much settled on what we'd be picking up for each other.

RMK "Strawberry Pink" MT-03
Suqqu Creamy Eyeliner in "04 Brown"
Velour Lashes in "Are Those Real?"
Suqqu Creamy Glow Moist Lipstick in "02"
Makeup Atelier Paris HD Airbrush Foundation in "Air2B Clear Beige" (For reference, I'm an NW20/25 in MAC.
Philip Kinglsey Elasticizer
Shu Uemura Silk Cushion Eye Shadow from the Bijoux Collection in "Amber Brown"
Wayne Goss 06 (Purchased on Beautylish)
Z-Palette: (Inside) Row 1-Addiction Eyeshadows in "Fudge", "Flash Back", & "Sand Dune", Unknown Shiseido Shadow. Row-2- Nakedology Pixie Blush in "Amber Sky", Stila "Kitten", LMDB (counterfeit) "Lapis" & "Tamarack", and last but not least, LMDB "Corinthian".

A little more info on the two counterfeit shadows: I purchased "Lapis" from Ebay seller luxunadidi and "Tamarack" from what_a_wonderful_day. Both sellers advertised their products as "authentic" but unfortunately, neither were. Ebay has so far been good about resolving the issue but in the future I don't think I'll be purchasing much makeup from Ebay. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review: By Terry Ombre Blackstar "Color Fix" Cream Eyeshadow Review

(L-R: BT Blonde Opal, M Barely Branded, BT Bronze Moon, M Bad to the Bronze)  
(Left: Sephora Collection "Taupe",  Right: BT "Bronze Moon")
Cream shadows are some of my favorite makeup items to buy. There are so many options out there, but none of which were able to tame my wandering eye until By Terry Ombre Blackstar "Color Fix" Cream Eyeshadows ($43 from BeautyBar). Are there more cost-effective alternatives? Yes, but I truly believe that in this case, you get what you pay for. My only complaint would be the limited shade selection but they seem to be expanding the range seasonally.

There are two things I love about this line; the wear and the texture. I've used this without an eye primer for 14 hours without any creasing or fading... which is unheard of for me. As for the texture, it almost "melts" into the skin and once it sets, it won't budge. It's like butter, but with more slip initially. You can apply these with even the lightest touch... and feel so light, I can't even feel that I'm wearing anything. The biggest complaint I've seen, is that these are too shimmery/glittery. All the shades I own are quite shimmery (borderline sparkly) but not at all gritty.

Shade Reviews
Blonde Opal: This is a metallic-looking champagne color and isn't glittery/shimmery like the two shades mentioned above. This reminds me so much of Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo in "Barely Branded" or Est√©e Lauder's Shadow Paint in "Halo" (which I hated).  Unfortunately, I've found that the Color Tattoo's and Shadow Paints all crease on my lid at some point while the Ombre Blackstars do not. Also, the two alternatives also give my eyelid a weird uneven, almost bumpy texture. "Blonde Opal" is more opaque than "Frozen Quartz, but not as much as "Misty Rock" or "Bronze Moon".
Frozen Quartz: This shade is the most sheer of the bunch. I still really love it, but it isn't opaque enough to cover eyelid discoloration, so I prefer this overtop of MAC's "Painterly" Paint Pot.
Misty Rock: My favorite cream shadow shade, ever. It's more purple than I was expecting, nearly opaque, borderline sparkly and gorgeous. I use this as an all over lid color and if I'm feeling fancy I'll add something matte in the crease. This is definitely the most "shimmery" of the lot, but I don't experience any flaking, creasing, or fall-out. The Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Color in "Amethyst" ($26) is almost identical in color. Unfortuantely, the Caviar Sticks are quite heavy/thick and they crease halfway through the day.
Bronze Moon: The closest "dupe" is definitely the Maybelline Color Tattoo in "On and On Bronze"/"Bad to the Bronze". In rub and water tests, "Bad to the Bronze" actually held up better but again, it inevitably will start to crease after 6 hours while "Bronze Moon" stays put until I take it off... even in the waterline. Another "dupe" could be the Sephora Collection Jumbo Liner 12HR Wear Waterproof  Shadow in "04 Taupe" ($14). This is slightly lighter and (without a primer) creases after a few hours.
If the price point doesn't deter you, I think you would be better off passing on the cheaper alternatives and diving right in to the Ombre Blackstars. The texture and wear-time are unparalleled to other options I've tried and I've since given some of my Color Tattoo's and Caviar Sticks away, as I didn't see the need to have both. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Not Even Slightly Beauty Related...

Our Olde English Bulldogge had 5 puppies last month and they've been keeping me pretty busy! Here's a few pictures of two of them at 6 weeks old. They'll be going to their homes at the end of the month after which, I hope to come back to the blog in full swing. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Contour Crazy

Top Row L-R: Hollow, Tough as Taupe, Bronzing Primer, Hoola, Taupe
Bottom Row L-R: Delicata, Shade & Illuminate I, RCMA (top 2 shades), At Goldcombe Bay
Illamasqua Cream Pigment in "Hollow" ($26 from Sephora): Accurately described as a "matte toffee"  this cream pigment works best for me in the winter when I'm have an exceptionally pasty complexion (MAC NW 20)... Unfortunately, during the summer when I'm an NW25, it can be a little too light. In my mind, it has the perfect amount of coolness to create a believable shadow. It's a unique shade too and I don't really have anything that comes close it a "dupe".

Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in "Tough As Taupe" ($6.99 at Ulta): At the risk of sounding like a broken record, these Color Tattoos are such a great drugstore beauty product. The formula of this particular shade is a little thicker and drier than the others in the collection. It reminds me a lot of clay. Once I started using this to contour, I rarely use it on my eyes. It's extremely cool-toned and has a fair amount of purple in it, so I recommend using it sparingly, but it does create a great shadowy-effect, particularly on lighter skin tones.  It lasts all day and has never broken me out. I prefer to apply it with my fingers and blend out with a dense face brush.

Bourjois Bronzing Primer ($11.57 on ASOS):  I really loved this initially and were it not for the fact that it breaks me out, I still would. I'm still coming to terms with the fact that my skin hates silicone-based face products... such is life. That said, I think this is a good product. It's more similar in tone to Tom Ford's Shade & Illuminate and even though it's on the warmer side, when used lightly, it still is able to create the illusion of shadow. As the name would suggest, it also is a great cream bronzer.

Benefit Cosmetics "Hoola" Bronzer ($28 from Sephora): This is cool-toned for a bronzer, but not as a stand-alone product. Especially if you compare it to some of the other products in this post. Still, I love it. It's quite a dry powder but it packs a good amount of pigmentation and gets the job done. I think this was the first product I bought with the intent of contouring and it's one that I frequently return to. I almost always use this to set Shade & Illuminate which makes it last longer and also makes S & I less warm-toned.

NYX Blush in "Taupe" ($5.50 on Cherry Culture): This little gem was a little hard to track down as well. It was sold out everywhere at the time but I ended up picking it up on Cherry Culture. This almost has a purple-tinge, which if not applied carefully, has a tendency to make me look ill. However, when I apply it right, it also is able to create the illusion of much better cheekbones. I really like to apply this with an angled contour brush, like the Tanseido WH14.

Rouge Bunny Rouge blush in "Delicata" ($28 on Beauty Habit): Technically, a blush but it doesn't add any pink color to me. It's described as a nude/beige/rose. I find it far more nude/beige than rosy.  It actually does a great job at creating a very subtle contour. There's a small amount of pearl in it, and it just makes my skin glow. Not an attribute you'd associate with a contour product but somehow it creates a shadow yet keeps skin looking luminous. Easily one of my favorites.

Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate in "Intensity 1" ($75 at Saks): This was a little bit of a hassle to get ahold of. They were sold out or backordered from every retailer I could find online and there aren't any counters near me. I called a few in neighboring states but they were sold out as well. On a whim, I called the counter at the flagship Saks Fifth Avenue in New York and they quickly had it sent out to me the following day and even included some amazing samples. Despite what some of the reviews said, this is actually quite warm-toned. Still, if I use it sparingly it does a great job of creating shadows. I also really enjoy using this as a bronzer. I will say that this doesn't last all day unless I set it with powder. A great product, but for the price, I think it should preform better. Again, I prefer to apply it with my fingers and blend out with a dense face brush.

RCMA Highlight & Contouring Palette ($30 from RCMA): This great cream palette would be perfect for a makeup artist kit as it has colors that would work on a multitude of skin tones. I personally prefer the lighter of the two contouring shades, which is essentially a cream version of Benefit's "Hoola" Bronzer. This lasts longer than Shade & Illuminate but not quite as long as the Color Tattoo.

Rouge Bunny Rouge Bronzing Glow Powder in "At Goldcombe Bay" ($39 on Beauty Habit): Very accurately described as a "satin finish natural beige brown with goldfish pearls".  They also recommend it as an eyeshadow or highlighter (for darker complexions, I'm guessing). Natalie from Flowerbomb31 on YouTube recommended this as one of her Rouge Bunny Rouge must-have products and compared it the the Tom Ford Bronzer (which I've been eyeballing). I asked her which she preferred and she said this, so of course I had to pick it up. The first ingredient in this is talc and I think that's pretty evident in it's texture. It's a dry powder, pigmented, but slightly dry. I like it but it's not my favorite formulation.

Not to further complicate your lives, but I can't pick an absolute favorite. My top three picks would be "Hollow", RCMA's lighter contouring shade, and "Delicata". If I want a more dramatic and long-wearing product, I reach for "Tough as Taupe". During the summer, I use "At Goldcombe Bay" and "Hoola" the most. And of course, if I'm in the mood for a good skin break out, I grab the Bourjois Bronzing Primer.