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 :(

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Benefit Brow Zings Review (Medium)

(Indoor) Left to Right: Wax only, Powder only, Wax/Powder mix, Wax with Powder on Top
(Outdoor) Left to Right: Wax only, Powder only, Wax/Powder mix, Wax with Powder on Top
I purchased the Benefit Brow Zings in "Medium" last week with the Ulta 20% off coupon. Normally though, this kit is $30. It includes a brow wax (left), powder (right), mini Benefit tweezers (which are terrible), mini angled brush, and mini blending brush. At first I was leaning more towards the shade "Light", but the sales associate (SA) recommended Medium. The "Light" shade was definitely lighter than it appeared and took more product and time to get results, so I went with "Medium".

The color of the brow wax in the kit is nearly perfect for me and thankfully not too warm-toned. The SA recommended dipping the brush in the wax and powder then applying it to your brows. However, the mix of wax/powder just seems too dark for me. So I guess the first reason this doesn't work for me is the shade. I wish their shade range included something between the "Light" and "Medium". The other reason for my inevitable split with Brow Zings is the longevity of wear. I'm not an especially sweaty Betty but after 4-5 hours this has faded significantly, especially over the part of my brow that has a small scar. When I applied the wax with powder overtop it lasted 5-6 hours which was longer than any other method. Ultimately, I won't repurchase this and wouldn't recommend it for people that need a long-wearing brow product or for those that need to fill in sparse/bare areas.