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.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Tanseido Brush Review

                (L-R: WH 14, YCQ 12S, YWQ  9, YWQ 7)
Tanseido is a brand that's relatively new to me. They're hand crafted in Japan and are a little bit of a hassle to get ahold of outside of Japan... but totally worth it. The pricing is fairly comparable to Hakuhodo but there isn't nearly as large of product range. From what I've gathered, most Tanseido brushes aren't particularly dense but they're incrdibly soft and efficient. These brushes are easily some of the softest and most flexible goat hair I've used yet. Of the brushes I purchased, all are made of goat hair excpet for YCQ 12S (which is made of squirrel). I really appreciate the longer handle length (a relatively unusual feature in Japanese brushes). Additionally, most brushes allow you to choose the color of the handle (red, blue, or black). Tanseido also offers the option of customizing your brushes with an enscription of your choice. As with many Japanese brushes, these don't have the name of the brush anywhere on them so I usually opt to make my own with a label-maker.
Brush Reviews
WH14: This is the only face brush I purchased but I couldn't have been more impressed. My thoughts upon first touching it was that it was too soft lacked the density needed to pack on product. I was so wrong. I don't know how this brush does it, but it's able to build up however much intensity I want. I prefer this to apply powder contour, but it's able to essentially do so much more.
YCQ 12S: Again, amazing soft and shockingly efficient. It's not a densely packed brush but it is able to really pack on color. Perhaps not quite as much as the MAC 239 but it is infinitely softer and with just a little more work, can get you equal color intensity. In my opinion, it's far superior to any other similar brushes I own. I've also had good luck using this to blend, applying shadow to the brow bone, smudging liner, and placing shadow near the lower lash line.
YWQ 9: This brush is strikingly similar to the Hakuhodo 242G. I like both brushes, but I don't know why I felt the need to get a near duplicate for a brush I don't use very frequently. That said, this brush is also great for packing on color, smudging, and more detailed work. 
YWQ 7: Aside from the hair, this one is very similar to the Hakuhodo K005 (Weasel). I mostly use the K005 for tight-lining with gel liners but I prefer to use the YWQ 7 for when I use cake/powder liner along the lash line. While you can use this for cream-based products (Ex. gel liner), goat hair isn't quite as "tough" as weasel. It's much softer than the K005 and slightly longer. A nice brush to have, but not necessarily a must-have for me. However, if you prefer to use powder liners, this might be perfect for you. 
How I Purchased
Admittedly, this can be a little bit of a hassle to get ahold of but it was totally worth it and I look forward to doing it again. There are a few ways to go about getting Japanese products but the easiest way (in my opinion) is to use a private forwarding service. I used Tommy of who can pretty much connect you to almost any Japanese brand. You email her a list of what you're interested in and she quickly responds with what it will cost you.
After I sent my PayPal payment she ordered the items. Once she had received my items she sent a picture to ensure everything was correct. She charges a percentage of your order total ranging from 5-10%. This percentage depends on how much your order is and whether it was an online or in-store purchase. She ships everything EMS with tracking so I received my order 3 days after they were shipped from Japan. The whole process is dangerously easy and Tommy was such a pleasure to work with... I highly recommend her! I'm in the process of getting a Chikuhodo and Addiction order together. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hourglass Visionaire Eye Shadow Duo in "Gypsy"

Price: $38 for 2 x 0.10 oz. from Sephora
The Hourglass eyeshadow formula is another one of my favorites. It has everything I want in a powder shadow-- buttery, opaque, creamy, blendable, pigmented, and luxurious. This applies evenly and easily with brushes or fingers, lasts all day, and doesn't crease (I use a primer, as always). I can use one duo for my whole eye look... I'm in love! I really wish there was a bigger shade range as this was really the only duo that I felt I would get daily use out of although both "Suede" and "Exhibition" look tempting. Hourglass does have a larger, 6-shade palette (5 matte, 1 shimmer) for sale at SpaceNK and Barneys for $58, making it a much better value, however, I'm only a fan of the lighter shades. If you want to see an amazing post on it, check out this mini review on SweetMakeupTemptations (one of my favorite blogs). 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Suqqu (11) Wakagi 若樹 Review & Swatches

Indoors (No Flash)
Outdoors/With Flash
The swatches on this blog pushed me to buy "Wakagi" and I couldn't be happier. For the life of me though, I haven't been able replicate the colors she created through layering. In terms of formula, everything I said in this post, remains true. The colors are sheer yet pigmented, silky, buildable, blendable, and unique. The lasting power of Suqqu's formula is really impressive as well.

"Wakagi" is even more beautiful when layered and I've had a lot of fun experimenting with it. This palette is even more shimmery than "Ryoushun" so I prefer to mix this with some of my matte shades for a complete eye look. For that reason, I definitely reach for "Ryoushun" more but I really like them both. They both wear >8 hours with a primer without creasing (which makes Suqqu one of the longest-lasting shadow lines I've used).

Shade I: A shimmery, sheer, slightly blue-tinged white.
Shade II: With Suqqu, the second shade almost always seems to be the most complex and it's true again. In the pan, this looks like your standard silver. In the sun or with flash though, it transforms into a very green-tinged/taupe/silver shimmer. It's also the most opaque from the quad and the a shade I frequently reach for as an allover lid color.
Shade III: This dark shade has a staining effect and will last all day. In the pan, it looks like a semi matte navy but when swatched in direct light you can see a fair amount of almost holographic shimmer and a slight green tinge.
Shade IV: It's my understanding that this is supposed to be a "base" shadow. It's a sheer color that to me, is very similar to the first shade, except for it doesn't have quite the same blue undertone.
I really like the formula of Suqqu's eyeshadows and wouldn't hesitate to purchase more in the future. The complexity of some of their shades is second to none and I completely understand why many people consider the formula Holy Grail (HG). Ultimately though, my favorite shadows are opaque, buttery, and largely matte. I find that I'm happiest with Suqqu's shadows when I only use them on the lid and inner corner than bring matte shades from other brands to complete the look. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Suqqu (Ex-07) Ryoushun 涼春 Review & Swatches

Swatched Clockwise from Top Left

Suqqu is the one of many brands that I've heard so many good things about but never tried. The brand gets a lot of attention for their impossibly soft makeup brushes as well as their cosmetics. Lisa Eldridge also seems to be a huge fan of the brand-- she uses their eyebrow pen in nearly every video. I've read time and time again how Suqqu's eyeshadow formulas among blogger's favorite but hadn't really been able to understand why.

Unfortunately, Suqqu is not easily available in the United States. However, muablogsales came through again and connected me with someone who had over a dozen quads for sale. I had such a hard time deciding which palette to purchase, especially because not many reviews are in English and Google Chrome's translation feature (while nice) isn't able to keep up and a lot of things are lost in translation. I ended up choosing "Ryoushun" & "Wakagi" and I have been completely blown away.

Suqqu described "Ryoushun" as a collection of warm browns and lilac. According to Nutsaboutmakeup, this palette came out in 2010 as a limited edition anniversary release specifically for the UK. While shopping, I wasn't able to find any swatches of the "Ryoushun" palette so I ordered it in good faith. I've mentioned before how I prefer shadows that are buttery, pigmented, and creamy feeling. While that hasn't changed, I do have a deeper appreciation for more subtle eyeshadow formulas like Suqqu. Unlike my experience with Koh Gen Do, these shadows blend beautifully without becoming a muddy mess or just completely lost.

Suqqu has managed to make shimmer look sophisticated and I can imagine wearing this just as often 20 years from now. Not only do the colors coordinate well together but they were designed to be layered, which is definitely a new concept for me. Granted, you can layer other shadows on top of each other but the results are usually pretty disappointing and a garbled mess. I always wear some sort of primer which does intensify the color slightly. Also, I don't notice any fading or creasing throughout the day, like I do with many shadows (even with a primer). I'm betting that's largely because of the light formula. The texture is unbelievably silky, to the point where your eyelids feel softer with the shadows on-- which is amazing! It's rare to come across a formula that's so hard to compare to anything else.

Shade I: I think this is a pearlescent very slightly pink color rather than "lilac" as Suqqu's description would suggest. Compared to the stock photo, it is much less pink.
Shade II: This is a shimmery, golden tan. It's still a complex shade with flecks that reflect, pink, blue and green. It almost gives a glowing effect. I love this shade so much. I've used the most amount of this out of the whole quad as it compliments so many different looks.
Shade III: Definitely the most pigmented in the quad, I like this for the outer v and upper/lower lash lines. It's has a fair amount of complex shimmer running through it without being unwearable. I really like the color as well. I'd describe it as a warm, shimmery brown with burgundy undertones. I found that it was more purple/brown than the stock image portrays and almost leaves behind a stain.
Shade IV: It's my understanding that this is supposed to be a "base" shadow with the faintest of yellow undertones. While I understand the concept, this is too sheer to even out your lid color. Mostly, it just adds a subtle shimmer which I like in the inner corner and inner lid. In terms of texture, it's silky, light, and gorgeous.
As much as I can appreciate the uniqueness of the formula and the complexity of some of the colors I wouldn't say that it's my favorite eyeshadow formula. I prefer more opaque, buttery shadows... it's all a matter of preference I suppose. Suqqu is a brand I would love to spend more time experimenting with and learning about. I've been on somewhat of a makeup brush bender lately and at some point I'd love to try out Suqqu's brushes as well.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Wayne Goss Brush Review: 03 & 04

Top to Bottom: Wayne Goss 04, Wayne Goss 03, Hakuhodo G5527, Hakuhodo J5523
Left to Right: Hakuhodo J5523, Wayne Goss 03, Wayne Goss 04, Hakuhodo G5527
Shadow Deposited w/ Brushes
I haven't mentioned it much (I think only once, here) but I absolutely love makeup brushes, particularly ones made in Japan. The craftsmanship really is truly outstanding and uncomparable to any other brushes I've tried. Some of my favorite brands include the following: Koyudo, Chikuhodo, Tanseido, Tom Ford, Houkodou, and Hakuhodo. So when I heard Wayne Goss of YouTube was releasing a brush line hand-crafted in Japan, I started stalking him on various social media sites for updates. Finally, this week they were released for individual sale in the USA via Beautylish (or Love Make Up for the rest of the world). Sadly, work interferes with my shopping habits and by the time I was able to go online to purchase, brushes 02 & 06 had already sold out... thankfully I was able to purchase 03 & 04.
They're both really nice brushes and soft enough to use comfortably on my eye. I'd say they're softer than my Hakuhodo J5523 but not as soft as the Hakuhodo G5527. Still, there's more to brushes than the softness,  some of my softest brushes aren't necessarily my favorite as I feel they deposit all the color on the first place you touch down and often times struggle to blend effectively. The handles are about the same length as my MAC eye brushes which is somewhat hard to come by in Japanese brushes (usually they're much shorter). They hair on the brushes is fairly long and flexible and of medium density. In the second picture you can kind of see there are a few hairs that kind splay out a little, especially when compared to the perfection of the G5527.

Still, they did a good job of blending. I thought it was interesting that the hair color on the 04 brush is more brown than the 03. As far as I can tell, they're both equally soft and appear to be made of the same hair but the color variance makes me wonder. In terms of weight, Goss brushes are really light (compared to the the Hakuhodo's I have pictured). 

Individual Review
03 ($32 on Beautylish): I'd say I have a medium-sized crease and this fits perfectly. It doesn't blend as strongly as a MAC 217 but sometimes that's not what I'm after. It's soft enough to push directly on your eyelid without feeling any scratchiness or the individual bristles. It's more dense and fluffy than 04 and so I prefer it for bleding. Wayne also recommended using it for the following: Applying lid color, applying crease color, blending eyeshadow, highlighting, and nose contouring. Although, I feel it really excels at applying and blending eyeshadow through the crease.

04 ($28 on Beautylish): Kind of similar to 03 but allows for more precision. It's not as fluffy but also has the same longer hair length that allows for a good amount of flexibility (still not as much as the grey squirrel brushes from Koyudo). I like this for doing more detailed crease work although it does a good job of depositing color (I'd say it does so more effectively than the 04). Wayne recommended using this brush for crease work on hooded eyes,  covering under-eye circles with powder, and for pretty much everything that the 03 brush can do.
Final Thoughts
At this point, I see myself getting more use out of the 03 but I need to spend more time with both and I'll update this post accordingly. In my honest opinion. these aren't mind-blowingly soft when compared to some other brushes (like those listed at the beginning) but they're comfortable to use, effective, multipurpose, and worth the price. I will definitely be purchasing more from the line when they become available.
Did you get any of the brushes from his line? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by!

Tags: Goss brush review 03, Wayne Goss brush review, makeup brush review, goss makeup brush review, Goss brush review 04, goss #4, goss #3

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Review: Hourglass Femme Nude Lip Stylo in "Nude No. 6"

Price: $30 from Sephora

First of all, I really love Hourglass. Some of their offerings are definitely in my short list of holy grail products. So when I heard about their summer launch of nude lipsticks, I was definitely interested. The Femme Nude Lip Stylo's claim to be full-coverage, satin lipsticks with a "nude for every mood" and skin-tone.

There are six shades in the range with the basic principal of "the darker the shade, the darker the skin-tone". Many of the reviews on Sephora recommended that everyone (even those with fair skin) should go for the darker shades to avoid looking dead. So, I decided to pick the darkest of the lot--which I can now admit was a stupid choice. No. 6 is described as a "deep mauve nude". I found it to be quite a brown mauve which I'm sure would look good on someone, but that person just isn't me. I would describe it as an unflattering "my lips but browner" shade that makes my teeth look yellow. But again, I definitely picked the wrong shade.

In terms of the formula, it's alright. I totally agree that it has a satin finish, lasts for about 4 hours, isn't drying or especially hydrating, and doesn't overly emphasize lines or textural problems on the lips. What I really can't stand is the smell. It smells like expired/cheap lipstick. I have a few Estee Lauder lipsticks that I've kept for sentimental reasons, which were a hand-me-down from my mom (circa 1997) that smell the exact same. I don't believe there's any added fragrance in the Hourglass lipstick, but it's just so off-putting it totally negates the expensive-feeling packaging.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Eyeshadow Pencil SmackDown: MAC "Painterly" Paint Pot's $4 Dupe?

(Before Rubbing & Water Test) Left: "Continuous Almond", Right: "Painterly"
(After Rubbing & Water Test) Left: "Continuous Almond", Right: "Painterly"
MAC Paint Pot in "Painterly" vs. Jordana 12HR Made to Last Eyeshadow Pencil in "04 Continuous Almond"

MAC Paint Pot in "Painterly" ($20 from MAC): I've never done a dedicated review of "Painterly" because the web is full of them and I didn't think that there was anything left to be said about it. It's a great makeup staple and I love it. However, I hate that by the end of the day there's a faint amount of creasing. At the price point, I think it's fair to expect better. I also thought that shadow didn't cling to it as well as with other bases... so in summary, it's good but there's definitely room for improvement.

Jordana 12HR Made to Last Eyeshadow Pencil in "04 Continuous Almond"($3.99 on Jordana/Walgreens): This is far more yellow-toned and is a closer dupe for the Paint Pot in "Soft Ochre" which I don't own. I think that "Painterly" is a much closer match to my skin color but ultimately it doesn't matter much when you're only using it as a shadow base. The texture of the MAC and the Jordana is identical as far as I can tell. "Continuous Almond" takes a little longer to set (around a minute). While you wait for it to set I recommend keeping your eyes closed as it can cause your lid and stick together. "Continuous Almond" was a little more resistant to rubbing and water but didn't wear off as evenly. Both are matte and I'm tempted to say that "Continuious Almond" is actually a little more pigmented. Both "Continuous Almond" and "Painterly" allowed shadows to be more vibrant and true-to-color and wear longer. 
Ultimately, the test came down to how these two wore. "Painterly" does a better job of getting eyeshadows to stick but it does crease on me after only a few hours. "Continuous Almond" resisted creasing for about 6 hours but the shadow faded after only a few hours. 

(If Used Alone) Winner: 
Jordana 12HR Made to Last Eyeshadow Pencil in "02 Continuous Almond" 

(As a Base) Winner:
MAC Paint Pot in "Painterly"

Monday, September 2, 2013

Big Talkers: IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness (Neutralizing Correcting Cream)

Left Half: Bare Skin, Right Half: Spot Concealed with B.B.R. (No Other Face Makeup)
IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness (Neutralizing Correcting Cream) ($32 from Birchbox)

What it Claims: Based on the names, IT Cosmetics has a lot of faith in their products. Like the Brow Power Pencil, this too claims to be a universal shade. In addition, it's supposedly full of skin care ingredients like peptides and collagen that with continued use, should reduce redness even when you're not wearing this product. This also claims to hydrate and to last all day.

What it Does: Basically, this is a pigmented, creamy concealer that would work for most light/medium skin tones. It's slightly more beige/yellow-toned than my other face makeup but somehow manages to blend in well. When I apply it to parts of my face that are lighter (like my neck), I can see that it doesn't match. For that reason, I wouldn't recommend it for those with fair skin (NW/NC 10-15). I don't find it hydrating or drying but it has enough initial slip to blend evenly and easily. It kind of clings to dryness, however still less so than other high-coverage products. It sets to a matte finish in under a minute and lasts about 8 hours before it starts to fade. 

Bottom Line: I genuinely do enjoy it and would definitely repurchase. I feel it does a better job at hiding redness than my concealers and it only takes a rice-sized amount to spot cover any trouble areas.

For Reference: I'm an NW25 in MAC & "Rose Ivory" in Laura Mercier

Eyeshadow Pencil SmackDown: NYX vs. Jordana

Left: NYX "Milk", Right: Jordana "Eternal White"
(Before Rubbing & Water Test) Left: "Milk", Right: "Eternal White"
(After Rubbing & Water Test) Left: "Milk", Right: "Eternal White"
MAC "Club" Eyeshadow from L-R: No Base, "Milk", "Eternal White"
MAC "Club" Eyeshadow from L-R: No Base, "Milk", "Eternal White" 
(After Wash/Rub Test) MAC "Club" Eyeshadow from L-R: No Base, "Milk", "Eternal White"
 NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in "Milk" vs. Jordana 12HR Made to Last Eyeshadow Pencil in "01 Eternal White"

The NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in "Milk" ($4.49 at Ulta): This is somewhat of a blogger classic and for the last year, it's been one of my favorites as well. I did a post comparing it to several other eyeshadow primers and it performed better than some that are actually marketed as a primer. No matter how long you wait for "Milk" to set, it will smear as soon as you run your finger over it. As much as I love the "Milk" pencil, it does crease and fade throughout the day so I mostly just reserve it for lightening the brow bone, cupids bow, and inner corner.

Jordana 12HR Made to Last Eyeshadow Pencil in "01 Eternal White" ($3.99 on Jordana/Walgreens): Jordana launched this line last month. Unlike with NYX, these claim to be long-lasting and water resistant as well as matte and highly pigmented. I found that it was less tacky/sticky than "Milk" and after it sets, it becomes matte. "Eternal White" sets in a little under a minute and then becomes budge-proof. Both "Milk" and "Eternal White" extended wear time and allowed shadows to be more vibrant and true-to-color but I think that NYX did a better job at keeping the shadow more bright. Jordana's pencil is more water-resistant but initially slightly less pigmented and doesn't hold on to shadows as well as "Milk" or other primers however it only shows faint signs of creasing after wearing for 7+ hours. "Milk" on the other hand, creases after a few hours.

(If Used Alone) Winner: 
Jordana 12HR Made to Last Eyeshadow Pencil in "01 Eternal White" 

(As a Base) Winner:
The NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in "Milk"

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Big Talkers: IT Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Brow Pencil Review

IT Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Brow Pencil: Truly Universal?
Almost every product makes some sort of claim-- waterproof, long-wearing, crease-proof, color correcting, tone correcting, hydrating, anti-aging, etc., etc... Testing products against their promises could make for a blog in itself but I figured it would be entertaining, both for you and me, to test just a few products and see if they actually can do what they promise. What do you think of this becoming a series on the blog?

Cost: $24 from Birchbox
What it Claims: This pencil claims to be waterproof and non-smudging. However, the biggest claim is that this pencil is a universal shade that, depending on the amount of pressure used when applying it, will work for everyone. IT Cosmetics states that using it with light pressure will suit light hair, medium pressure will suit medium hair, and firm pressure will suit dark hair.
Questions: First, is this brow pencil truly universal? Second, could the principal of firmer pressures for darker hair colors be applied to any other pencil-- would the results be the same? Lastly, is it waterproof and non-smudging?
Results: Honestly, no, this isn't a universal shade. If everyones eyebrows were the same tone, then yes, this would be universal. Fortunately (or unfortunately for IT Cosmetics), we all are different and not everyone has cool-toned eyebrows. If you have really dark brows I think it would be uncomfortable to apply this because of the amount of pressure it would take to get the desired intensity. Also, I noticed that it did get a little "chunky" when I used really firm pressure. So unless you want eyebrow dingleberries, this might be best to avoid. That said, this pencil does seem to suit a good portion of the people I tested it on. I think those with clearly warm-toned eyebrows would struggle to make this work. It does last all day on my with only a small amount of fading or smearing. To be fair, I have bangs which tend to move eyebrows around a little bit. I wouldn't call this waterproof, but it is water-resistant, more so that the Lancôme Le Crayon Poudre that I've mentioned before in a monthly favorites posting. It doesn't last as long on me as the Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow (which is also more water-resistant) and I think it smudges more than the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz.
Conclusion: I wouldn't buy it again but I don't consider it a waste of money either. If I were to recommend one brow product it would definitely be the Anastasia Brow Wiz. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Rouge Bunny Rouge Long-lasting Eye Shadow in Abyssinian Catbird

Left: Refill Packaging, Right Upper: RBR Abyssinian Catbird, Right Lower: MAC Woodwinked
Left to Right: RBR Abyssinian Catbird, MAC Woodwinked
Primed Lid with MAC Paint Pot in "Painterly", Abyssinian Catbird All Over Lid/Crease, & MAC Vanilla Pigment in Inner Corner
Lid After 8 Hours of Wear
Price for Refill: $19.04 + Shipping on Rouge Bunny Rouge or $23.00 on BeautyBay (Free Shipping)

I'm on a never-ending search for the "perfect" eyeshadow formula, if such a thing even exists. To me, it means a creamy, buttery, blendable, finely-milled, pigmented, and long-wearing shadow that can be worn day/night without battling fall-out. To find a single shadow that's complex enough to use by itself is an added bonus. I really love this shadow. I was afraid it would be too green for my taste, but as you can (hopefully) see, it's actually a fairly neutral shadow. The creasing I noticed after 8 hours has more to do with the MAC Paint Pot (of which I have a love/hate relationship with) than the eyeshadow. I love how when blended in the crease, this shadow becomes a little more brown and matte. This formula, thus far, is definitely in my top 3 shadow formulas.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Drugstore Dupes for YSL Rouge Volupté Shine in Fuchsia in Rage (19)

(Left to Right: Revlon "Lovesick", Maybelline "Hot Plum", YSL "Fuchsia in Rage")
While taking pictures of the YSL Rouge Volupté Shine in Fuchsia in Rage (19) I couldn't help but notice how similar it is to two other fuchsia lip products that I own. I'm definitely kicking myself for not picking up a more unique color from YSL but such is the life of a beauty blogger. While the colors are similar I think the formula of the YSL far surpasses that of both the Maybelline and the Revlon. However, I'm not sure that's enough to justify the price difference. If I were to only pick one to keep it would definitely be the YSL but to finish all of them I'd have to rock fuchsia lips consistently for the next few years.

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in "Lovesick": This un-balmy "balm" is the only one of the bunch with noticeable shimmer (that makes it feel the tiniest bit gritty). The shimmer wears off after a couple hours and leaves behind the longest lasting stain of the bunch (around 7 hours on me). It has a strong minty scent and is $8.99 from Ulta.
Maybelline Vivid in "Hot Plum": The most opaque, least glossy, and heaviest feeling of the bunch. It's also the only one of the bunch that is unscented. At $7.49 from Ulta, it's also the cheapest. Like the others, it leaves behind a lip stain that lasted around five hours on me. On the downside, I found that this is the only one the accentuated any lip dryness.
YSL Rouge Volupté Shine in Fuchsia in Rage (19): This is definitely my favorite of the lot and I genuinely feel that you get what you pay for both in product and in packaging. It's comfortable, smooth, glossy, and the stain it leaves wears around 4-5 hours. Full review here.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Give Me Lip: Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupté Shine in Fuchsia in Rage (19)

(Applied Very Lightly Directly From Tube)
Price: $34.00 from Sephora

Is it Worth It Let Me Work It: I'll admit, roughly 50% of the reason I buy YSL products is for the packaging... Well that, and my desire to form some sort of connection to anything French. And yes, I know a good junk of the price is related to the packaging, but it is so worth it. Apparently the Rouge Volupté Shine line is formulated with hyaluronic acid (hello, hydration), antioxidants (via pomegranate & rosemary extracts), and candellila resin (to lock in moisture), and mineral pigments. While Sephora states it can hydrate for up to eight hours... I'm unconvinced. However, this is one of my favorite lip product formulas. 
"Fuchsia in Rage" is a high-shine formula and despite the lip swatch picture, there's no noticeable glitter/shimmer. It's totally smooth, sheer, semi-hydrating, non-sticky, and this particular shade is really pigmented. In the tube, it looks a little alarming but some sort of magic happens when you apply a light layer on your lips. It lasted as pictured for about 2 hours but after the glossy top layer wore off, I was left with a light stain that lasted 4-5 hours. 

If you want to watch this lipstick in action, check out Lisa Eldridge's beautifully executed video, Fuchsia-licious Bright Lip Makeup Tutorial.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Birchbox August 2013 (USA)

I couldn't be bothered to wait for the Ipsy bag to arrive before posting so I'll just be reviewing Birchbox and Ipsy boxes separately this month. 

Jasmine Seven Fresh Feet Wipes: Not exactly something I would expect in a beauty box, however, these came in really handy. I was SO tempted to say they came in "feety"... but alas, I have a little self-control. Anyways, wearing sandals in the summer seems to be synonymous with having dirty feet. I don't think these are worth $25.95 but I'm glad I tried them out.

It's a 10 Miracle Leave-in Product: I really love this stuff and use it every time after washing my hair. I don't know that it does too much, but it does cut down on some frizz and I'd like to think it is an effective heat protectant.

Dr. Jart Premium BB Cream: I've tried several of the BB creams in the Dr. Jart line... this was about as good as any of them. I don't think it's as good as the Smashbox Photo Ready BB Cream but this is perfect for traveling.

Anne Taylor Coupons: If you enter the promotional code  "Birchbox" online at you can get 20% off one item or 30% off of two items. Definitely one of the more useful coupons I've received from Birchbox.

TanTowel Classic Formula Self-Tan Towelettes: This was ok. I've seen it around but never had much of a desire to purchase. I was worried that it would take more than one towel to cover my entire body. I found that the one towel covered both my legs evenly but I don't like the color as much I do the Xen-Tan line... the TanTowel was a little too orange and had a stronger self-tanner smell.

ModelCo Party Proof Matte Lipstick in "Kitty": This isn't matte by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it's both glossy and shimmery. That said, the formula on this is alright. I can feel the shimmer particles when I rub my lips together and it has an artificial cherry scent. It's pretty sheer as well, which likely has something to do with the color (which I actually really like).

I loved the mix of products in this month's box! While I didn't fall head-over-heels in love with anything new, I didn't get any "duds".

Gettin' Swappy with It (Again): UK Beauty Swap

After an amazing first swap with Becky of Cosmetic Debris it didn't take long to compile a list of a few more things I'd like to try from across the pond. Granted, I may have played on her affection for Tarte products but the end justified the means... I am deeply in love with every single item!
Included Items:
Hydraluron from Indeed Labs
& Other Stories Lipstick in "Melon Sunset"
MUA Lipstick in 13
MUA Lipstick in "Nectar" (16)
MUA Lipstick in 3
Rimmel Apocalips in "Luna"
Bourjois Bronzing Primer
MUA Eyeshadow Palette in "Heaven & Earth"
Pixi Glow Tonic
Soap & Glory Supercat Eyeliner in "Carbon Black Extreme"
*Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer in "Light 2"
*Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation in "Vanilla" (52)
*I forgot to include two things in the video (because I've been using them like crazy and they were with the rest of my makeup)
Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer in "Light 2": In our first swap, Becky sent this in "Light 1" which I love for brightening up my under-eyes, but acted like a spotlight when I applied it to any spots. "Light 2" is the perfect shade for me with any spots. I do think that NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer is a bit more pigmented but I really love this.
Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation in "Vanilla" (52): This is probably on of my top three foundations. The bottle states that is has light coverage, however, I think it's nearly medium. The scent of it reminds me a lot of Soap & Glory's Righteous Butter and it's hydrating enough to feel like a tinted moisturizer. There are so many positive reviews on this so I won't bang on about it more, but I will absolutely try and get this again when I use it up.

If you want to see what I sent Becky, check out her blogpost here.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Koh Gen Do Mineral Eyeshadow Palette (302) Review

(Indoors & No Primer)
(Indoors) Left 4 with Urban Decay Primer Potion, Right 4 without Primer
(Outdoors) Left 4 with Urban Decay Primer Potion, Right 4 without Primer
I first heard of this eyeshadow from donnashorts1 on YouTube. She absolutely raved about it, saying that it was one of her favorite powder eyeshadow formulas of all time. As soon I read that, I quickly ordered it in 302 from Barneys for $59 (free shipping) and have since been trying, somewhat desperately, to fall in love with it.

What it Does: It blends really well and gives a diffused, sheer effect. All the colors compliment each other and the texture of the shadows are all very silky
What it Doesn't: It won't give you a "strong" eye look. It doesn't feel very pigmented or creamy (two features that I love in an eyeshadow).

The yellow is my favorite color in the palette but it's also the least pigmented. These shadows almost blend a little too well, so much so that if I use more than two colors from the palette my eye starts to look a little muddy. However, when I used this palette on more mature lids, I was a lot happier with the results. It doesn't crease or settle in to fine lines, and the colors really are gorgeous. All the colors have a very fine amount of shimmer (not glitter) that I think is flattering on every age. Koh Gen Do also make a 301 palette, which at this point I don't see myself purchasing.

Ultimately, this isn't my favorite formula of shadow, however, there are clearly some people who adore it. Because if it's sheerness it's nearly fool-proof (unless you try to overdo it). I'm glad I purchased it, as I don't own anything I would consider similar, but I don't see myself buying it again.

If you are interested in this, or any other Koh Gen Doh products, I just saw that they're on Hautelook (only ship to the US). This shadow's on sale for $29.50. And yes, I'm kicking myself for paying way more for it :(