Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tutorial: Brown Smoky Eyes - Perfect For Monolids & Asian Eyes


As someone with monolids it can be extremely frustrating to see beautiful eye makeup looks on other people and to know that I can never achieve the same effect no matte how much I practice. I learned everything I know about makeup from the internet along with trial and error so it definitely wasn't easy at first to apply eyeliner much less a billion eyeshadows. Since then I know my eye shape much better and subtle smoky eyes are one of the most foolproof makeup looks that someone with single lids and small eyes can pull off.

The photo above makes my browbone highlight look extremely obvious and quite scary but in real life it was a lot more subtle.... I chose to use brown for this tutorial because it is the eyeshadow color I use most often. That doesn't mean it has to be boring because there are so many types of brown eyeshadows out there! Warm tones, cool tones, taupes, mattes, shimmers, metallics... the possibilities are endless! I was determined to find a way to use Mac's Patina eyeshadow because I wasn't too impressed with it as an all over lid color. I used it as my blending color for this look and I actually quite like it.

To see how I do a quick, basic smokey eye check out the video below!

For any of you who are reading this who have atypical eye shapes and who can't seem to find a flattering makeup technique, don't fret and have fun experimenting with different techniques. Makeup is a lot more fun when taken less seriously and if you're just starting out, don't be too hard on yourself. It takes time to not only learn about products and techniques but also to learn about your own features and how to go about enhancing what you have.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Too Faced's Got Something For The Wild Side In Us

Too Faced is one of those makeup brands that definitely appeals to the kid in me. They have outrageously adorable packaging and fun product concepts. The Leopard Love Palette highlights Too Faced's brand concept well with the sleek pink, travel friendly packaging and leopard emblazoned powders. I scored this for about $12 at Nordstrom Rack but you can also purchase this in a set from Sephora for around $26 with some other goodies included.

Too Faced can be childish which is not a look I normally go for but for those of you who love cute, this is perfect. If you're looking for a beauty gift for a younger friend, family member, or whoever, Too Faced might have what you need!

The Leopard Love palette comes with three powders: a bronzer, a blush, and a highlighter. The back of the palette comes with instructions to easily guide beginners on where they might want to apply each product. I'm not sure if I would apply my blush to my temples though.

The bronzer is the least shimmery powder and has more of a satin sheen type of finish. I tend to like matte or satin  bronzers so this was a nice surprise. The blush is very frosty and light. I am not sure if this would show up on medium to dark skintones as well as it does on lighter skin. The highlight, pink leopard, is a cult favorite and now I see why. This highlight, or brightener as Too Faced calls it, is buttery and highly reflective. In the swatch you can see how it almost looks like a cream product. I can see this being a lovely highlight for more tan skintones so I'm excited to use this in the summer.

All in all, if you like cute makeup and you don't mind shimmer and shine, this is a nice palette to have on hand if you tend to travel with makeup.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Nars Does Neutrals: Kalahari Eyeshadow Duo

I'm not sure how they do it but Nars makes me wants to collect all of the little rubberized compacts that they offer. The first eyeshadow duo that I purchased to start off my (eventual) Nars eyeshadow obsession is Kalahari, a neutral duo of brown shadows.

For $34 you receive 2 grams of each color which is not too bad. Mac shadows in pot form cost $300 per ounce whereas Nars duo shadows cost about $243 per ounce. So you see these duos are actually not as expensive per ounce compared to other high end brands.

To tell you the truth, upon initial swatching, I was not blown away by the pigmentation. I was slightly disappointed that I had thrown down $34 for two average eyeshadows. But after using the shadows a couple of times and swatching again, the shadows picked up excellently. I think it may have been that the shadows had some sort of layer over them (perhaps I picked up an older product?) but after a few uses I can see it's true beauty. The left shade is a super shimmery taupe brown shadow with golden undertones. It truly is amazing and I do not have anything quite like it in my collection yet. The shade on the right looks pretty shimmery in the swatch but it has more of a shimmer/satin finish in real life. It's a tad darker than the other shade and has more of a purple undertone. This color is perfect for the crease.

Kalahari is a nice eyeshadow duo to have, especially if you can't get enough of neutral, office appropriate eyeshadows. I am happy with my purchase and hope to try some other Nars eyeshadows in the near future!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Top 5: Drugstore Neutral Eyeshadows

Eyeshadows used to be my favorite type of makeup product (now I like almost every product just as much which is totally not good for my bank account) so naturally I have a lot of drugstore shadows since that was what I could afford at the time. To be quite honest, eyeshadows are the one type of makeup product that you can definitely buy at the drugstore and still be able to achieve the same effect you can get with higher end shadows. I was tempted to make this my top 10 neutral drugstore eyeshadows but I wanted to keep to the "My Top 5" theme. I also decided to choose a single shadow from the palettes because choosing the whole palette would be kind of cheating. However, you would need to buy the whole palette to  get my favorite shade anyway so I'm not sure where my logic was going with that idea. Without further ado, these are my five most used and loved neutral eyeshadows from the drugstore and the ones I would recommend in a heartbeat.

Everyone needs a light, pink leaning champagne color to brighten up the inner corners of the eyes or as an easy wash of color over the lids. Physician's Formula Baked Trio in Baked Sugar has a beautiful champagne color with buttery pigmentation and smooth application to give you that doe eyed look for tired days.

Revlon's Satin Single Eyeshadow in Nude Slip is a brown champagne shade that is perfect for those of you who can't be bothered to apply five shadows every morning. I like to use Nude Slip as an all over lid color because it has a super reflective shine while delivering amazing pigmentation.

For all you taupe lovers, the taupe from L'oreal's HIP Duo in Sassy has got you covered. Sassy is a rich brown taupe with subtle purple undertones, making it reminiscent of Mac's Satin Taupe. Sassy looks great all over the lid for a subtle smokey eye or just in the crease and outer corner for definition.

My all time favorite shimmery dark brown that beats out high end dark browns is the crease color from Maybelline's Natural Smokes Quad. The shadow is not as smooth as the others but the pigmentation is out of this world and the finish is beautifully metallic. This dark brown has complex burgandy undertones and looks beautiful when applied to the outer corner. Mac's Carbonized which was limited edition from last year's Mac Me Over collection looks similar but I prefer the Maybelline shadow for some reason. On another note, I'm sad that Maybelline changed the design of their eyeshadow quads because I liked having pans of equal sizes.

Lastly, the only matte shadow that I use on a regular basis is the light matte brown from Maybelline's Chai Latte Quad. I can go months without using a matte eyeshadow but sometimes I use one everyday in my nonexistent crease to blend out my lid color. It's a strange thing that I find myself doing often but whenever I'm in my matte crease mood, I reach for Maybelline's Chai Latte. The pigmentation is not amazingly rich or in your face but that's one of the biggest reasons why I like it. I want my matte contour shadows to blend out other shadows seamlessly and an overly pigmented or powdery shadow will not do that as nicely. I like that there are some cool tones in the shadow as I don't like very warm crease colors either (I'm already yellow enough!). The darker matte brown is also lovely in this quad so if you like mattes and you're on a budget, get this quad!

Check out the video below for my swatches and raves of my top 5 neutral drugstore eyeshadows!

So there you have it, my favorite neutral drugstore shadows out of my ridiculously excessive collection. I really don't think I'll ever come close to finishing the shadows I have at the moment so I don't think I can allow myself to explore the newer drugstore shadow offerings for awhile. Do you buy drugstore eyeshadows? Let me know which ones are your favorite!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sample Stash Success!

Back in November you might remember that I acknowledged that I had a problem with hoarding beauty samples. If you're interested in seeing what my sample stash looked like at it's prime, check it out HERE. Since doing that post, I had a revelation where I realized I had to start using my samples up before they expired. I am happy to report that I have cut down majorly in my sample stash (keep in mind I keep my deluxe samples elsewhere because I have yet to fully control my skincare sample binges).

Tada! You can see how few samples I have left compared to before. I did include backup products like mascaras, eyeliners, powders, and perfumes which I have yet to open in the picture. But you can see how much I have reduced the number of sample packets that I used to treasure for no reason at all.

Have you got a problem with sample hoarding? If so, what are your justifications and reasoning for it?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Mac's Pink Swoon: Flamingo Pink Cheeks

Mac is one of those brands I'm scared of loving because they have an infinite array of permanent and monthly limited edition collections. My poor wallet can't afford my beauty lusts! I finally caved and bought my first permanent Mac blush (see my first Mac blush purchase HERE) in Pink Swoon, as per the makeup artist's recommendation.

Pink Swoon is a sheertone blush which means it's matte and like the name suggests, sheer. The price of a Mac blush now stands at $20 and contains 6 grams which is less expensive than many other high end cosmetic brand blushers.

Pink Swoon was on my wishlist but it definitely wasn't one of my top picks. I went to the shop intending to purchase a cream blush but they were out of stock of the few I wanted so I just asked the makeup artist to pick a blush for me. She chose Pink Swoon and applied it heavily to the apples of my cheeks which left a pretty, albeit more intense than how I usually wear my blush, pop of color.

In the swatch above, the left swatch is one swipe and the right swatch is about 3 swipes. You can definitely build up the color on your cheeks with your brush although this could potentially look ashy on darker skin tones.

Whilst digging through my blush collection I happened upon a very similar looking blush called Pink Passion from E.L.F's studio line which only costs a mere $3. They look like spot on dupes, don't they?

I was surprised to find that swatched side by side, the two blushes actually look quite different. The Mac blush is noticeably smoother in texture while the E.L.F blush has some tiny bumps in the pan. Pink Swoon is warmer and a tad darker than Pink Passion as well. I can see Pink Swoon being more forgiving and wearable for light to medium skinnned gals whereas Pink Passion is perfect for the fairest of skin tones.

Overall, I am pleased with my first Mac blush and I can't wait to add more to my collection! I'm interested in seeing how I like the other finishes like the sheertone shimmers and frosts! The first few on my wishlist at the moment include Fleur Power, Melba, and Dame (notice how I say first few...). What are your favorite Mac blushes?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My First Birchbox: Teen Vogue March 2012

Believe it or not this is my first Birchbox and I seem to be the last person in the beauty blogging community to jump on the beauty box bandwagon. For those of you who might not know, Birchbox is a monthly subscription service that delivers 4-5 beauty related products to your door for only $10 a month. When Birchbox first launched, I passed because I was strapped for cash but when I had enough money, they did not have enough boxes to offer. Last month Birchbox stepped up their game and was able to meet the demands of the beauty loving folks out there and this was the lovely box that arrived for March.

This month you could choose to receive a special Teen Vogue edition of Birchbox. Eva Chen, the beauty editor of Teen Vogue, apparently helped pick the products for this box so I was super excited to see what I received.

On the other side of the description card there is a helpful list of the product names, descriptions and prices of the full sized products. All of the products are available for purchase on Birchbox's website which makes purchasing the products you enjoy a lot easier.

The bright packaging and presentation of the Birchbox really makes the experience all the more worthwhile. I was initially ecstatic because both the Essie nail polish and Tarte LipSurgence Lip Pencil are full sized products. These two products alone are worth $32 which already exceeds the box's $10 price tag. The perfume sample, hair oil sample, and hair tie were nice bonuses.

Here is a closer look at the products. I am not fussy about my hair (which probably explains why it looks horrible 95% of the time) but I am willing to test out the hair oil to see if it does anything. The Essie polish is in the shade As Gold As It Gets which is beautiful (swatches will be posted of this shortly!). I own Shine of the Times which is also from the LuxEffects Collection which I reviewed HERE. The Tarte lip pencil is in the color Lucky and is a matte formulation. This shade is permanent and available at Tarte retailers such as Sephora as well. I reviewed the five Tarte Lip Surgence Lip Pencils that I already own HERE but none of those were matte. Lucky is a beautiful bright yellow toned pink which will be perfect for spring. Unfortunately the formula is not moisturizing on my lips and after a few hours the color sinks into my lip lines and builds up in certain areas. I am not a huge fan of overly matte lips and my lips tend to dry out easily so perhaps this wasn't the best product for me. That is not Birchbox's fault though and I am happy to add this lip color to my collection because it is not a shade I would normally purchase on my own. The hair tie is a bit random but at least I know I can use it.

I am pleased with my first Birchbox and will be continuing my subscription for the next few months. I like the idea of getting a surprise assortment of beauty products every month for an affordable price. Yes, $10 adds up but since I am going on a beauty buying ban, $10 is a small price to pay to satiate my beauty appetite. If you think about it in terms of food, a Birchbox is equivalent to about 3 Starbucks drinks which is not bad at all (I rarely ever drink things like Starbucks but I just wanted to frame a point of reference). Are you subscribed to Birchbox? If you are, what did you receive this month and did you like the products? If you aren't subscribed to Birchbox, check it out HERE.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Nearly Spring Travel OOTD

I can't remember off the top of my head when I last posted an outfit of the day which probably means it's been too long. Frankly I'm usually not one to go to class all glammed up and I tend to wear the same few pieces over and over for convenience. The inner fashionista (I'm using this term oh so lightly) in me hates wearing hoodies and Toms but for comfort's sake, I can deal with it.

The weather has been shaping up nicely in the past week and New York has been experiencing highs in the 70s. This is the outfit I wore for a mini weekend getaway (but I had class first so I still had to be comfortable). I am in love with this Calvin Klein denim tunic I picked up from the outlets for a mere $22. The coat is from H&M. The belt and black leggings are from Forever21. I almost always travel in leggings because they are much more comfortable than regular jeans or pants. I accessorized with one of my favorite scarves from American Eagle. The small teal cross body purse is also from American Eagle and I love carrying it whenever I travel because I can keep my wallet, cellphone and camera handy instead of throwing it into the abyss of luggage. I wore my Toms for maximum comfort. I left my face completely bare and didn't bother with contacts as it was a relaxing, bummy type of weekend getaway.

If my plans for the next few months go accordingly I should have much more free time to shop, plan outfits, photograph, and blog! 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My Top 5: Blushes

Blushes are becoming one of my new favorite beauty products to purchase but I tend to reach for a select few when I'm doing my makeup. Choosing my top five blushes wasn't very difficult because I chose the ones I reach for most often and would highly recommend to my friends and readers. The blushes I chose were (starting from top left clockwise) Hard Candy Smooth Talker, Nars Deep Throat, Illamasqua Rude, Rimmel Santa Rose, and Milani Luminous.

Hard Candy Smooth Talker is one of those "my cheeks but better" blushes that I reach for when I want a natural, subtle sheen on my cheeks. I swirl my blush brush through all four quadrants of color which ends up looking like a peachy neutral shade.

Nars Deep Throat is the perfect peachy pink shade for that glowy, healthy look. I love using this blush when I'm keeping my eye makeup very simple so that my cheeks can stand out a bit. You can see a swatch of this blush HERE. The lasting power on this blush is amazing; I can wear it for more than 12 hours and it's still visible at the end of the day on my oily skin.

Illamasqua Rude is a cream blush, the only cream blush I own at the moment. The color is beautifully bright yet subtle on the cheeks once it's blended in. The finish is natural and despite being a cream, it does not make my oily skin even more shiny.

Rimmel Santa Rose is hands down, my most used blush because it looks great with any look. This blush is the epitome of the kind of beauty products that look rather uninspiring in the pan but transform into a beauty once applied. You can see it compared to a few other similar drugstore blushes HERE.

Milani Luminous is one of those Nars Orgasm dupes and although I cannot attest to that claim, Luminous is a great blush in its own right. The powder is very finely milled and tightly packed which means a light tap with a blush brush is all you need. This is similar to Deep Throat in that you get a lovely, radiant cheek with minimal effort.

The swatches above do not do justice to Santa Rose, Smooth Talker, or Deep Throat. Believe me, you can see the colors much better in real life. You can see how I tend to favor peachy pink blushes that give the skin just a hint of color. I find these the easiest to pull off for my skin tone but I love experimenting with all types of colors. You may be wondering what a Too Faced swatch it doing there.

The above blush is part of the Too Faced Glamour To Go Palette which was released in 2009 for the holidays. This blush is one of my favorite shades but there is no shade name to be found and the palette was limited edition. I did not want to include this blush in my top five picks but felt it deserved a shout out. The powder is super finely milled and the color is just bright enough to render it dear to my collection. I desperately want to find a dupe for this so any suggestion will be appreciated! I have a feeling Mac's Fleur Power might be similar.

Check out the video below for more swatches and thoughts!

What are your favorite blushes? I'm always open to suggestions and recommendations!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bobbi Brown's Galaxy: Multidimensional Tauped Pewter Goodness!

When I think of Bobbi Brown, I think of no-fuss, basic beauty fit for all women. That description can sometimes boil down to "boring". Thankfully, Bobbi Brown's Long Wear Cream Shadow in Galaxy is everything but boring!

Like with almost all high end beauty products, Bobbi Brown's Long Wear Cream Shadow is contained in sleek, functional packaging. The container is made of heavy glass and the black top screws on tightly to prevent the cream from drying out too quickly.

Galaxy is a gray taupe with purple undertones. The shimmer in this product is very rich and multifaceted. My camera really cannot do this product justice.

My camera was having a lot of difficulty focusing on the swatches but hopefully you can see how reflective this shadow is. The color is quite sheer once blended out but you can layer the product until you get a semi opaque look.

Besides the unique color, the texture of this cream shadow is of nothing I have used before. This product becomes very creamy when I dip my finger into the jar to pick up some product. It seems like the warmth of my finger tips helps the cream glide onto my eyelids much easier than even the Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadows which I also like. After about 30 seconds to a  minute, the cream shadow will set and stay put on primed eyelids for the entire day. I always wear eyeshadow primer so I am not sure how crease resistant this is by itself.

A potential con to this product is that it does not make a good base layer for powder eyeshadows. I find that trying to apply powder over Galaxy, once it has set, results in a slightly patchy finish. I cannot get even coverage on the middle of my lid. I have successfully used this all over the lid and added a bit of a darker shadow on the outer edge of my eyes to contour.

This product is great for lazy, simple makeup days when you want some shimmer to your eyes. Galaxy shows up like a lavender gray on my eyes so with a bit of black liner, I can achieve an easy purple smokey eye in seconds. Galaxy is a permanent product and retails for $24, not inexpensive by any stretch of the imagination but definitely a worthwhile investment if you like low maintenance makeup.

Have you tried any of Bobbi Brown's cream eyeshadows? Let me know what Bobbi Brown products you've tried, liked, hated, etc.!

Friday, March 9, 2012

New Nars Addi(c)tion: Oasis Blush

I have to say I'm pretty proud of what I did there with the title.... It's true, I'm going to be a total Nars junkie when I actually have a real job and a real income. For now, I will have to settle with a few calculated purchases to satisfy my Nars lemmings. My most recent addition to my Nars blush collection is Oasis. Oasis blush is a dusty rose blush injected with tons of gold glitter and shimmers.

Nars recently increased the price of several of their products, blush included. Now a single blush costs $28. Ounce for ounce, this puts Nars in the same price bracket of many luxury makeup brands including Chanel and Dior. Nonetheless, it will take me years to finish up a single blush so the price is justifiable.

Oasis is smooth and pigmented, something one should come to expect from Nars. The matte dusty rose base is beautiful and natural when blended out. This kind of color gives my complexion a more sophisticated air that my favorite peachy pink blushes cannot. The one downfall of Oasis would be the glitter or shimmer. At first I did not realize how many light reflecting particles were loaded into this blush. But sure enough, Oasis is packed with glitter which translates onto the cheeks. I have to be careful when applying this because I risk looking like a disco ball if I do not dust off excess glitter with a powder brush. If you do not like shimmer or glitter, skip this blush and opt for another Nars blush instead. Although I'm glad I have Oasis in my collection, I don't reach for it as often as other blushes due to the glitter.

Oasis is the second Nars blush I own and I hope to purchase quite a few more in the future.... Have you tried Nars blushes? What are your favorite shades?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

January and February 2012 Empties

I am quite happy with the latest bits and bobs which I have managed to use up in the last two months. As usual, lots of skincare and samples but progress nonetheless! As usual I will link off reviews for the products I have blogged about previously and sum up my thoughts on the rest.

Equate Facial Cleansing Towelettes - I used to use makeup remover wipes to remove my base makeup for the first year or two of wearing makeup. Now I prefer using cleansing oil or some liquid kind of cleanser because the daily tugging from the cloths seems like an inefficient way of removing impurities and a sure fire way to encourage early wrinkles. I like to use these to clean my fingers after applying foundation, concealer, or eye primer in the mornings. I have another pack of these to use up (bought them as two packs of 60 wipes each for about $6 I believe) and will not repurchase.

Target Up&Up Eye Makeup Remover - I talked about these in previous empties posts and my thoughts are the same: effective, inexpensive eye makeup remover. This is something I can see myself repurchasing until the end of time....

Shiseido The Skincare Cleanser, Toner, Night Moisturizer (samples) - The cleanser is amazing because it foams up into fluffy goodness but the toner and night moisturizer are misses. The toner does absolutely nothing and the night moisturizer left me with some minor breakouts. All three products have the same pleasant fragrance which some will hate but I personally like. I will probably not repurchase any of these and perhaps hope to get the cleanser again in a gift with purchase or other offer.

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion - So glad I am finally done with this as it wasn't doing much good for my skin. I have normally oily skin so I can only use this in the driest times (i.e. winter). This is nothing special and definitely no match for La Roche Posay Toleriane (I really can't stop raving about Toleriane...).

Bath and Body Works Shea Cashmere Moonlight Path Hand Cream - This was part of a gift last year from a friend. I dislike Bath and Body Works because they have low quality products made from low grade ingredients. The only reason for their popularity can be attributed to their bright, somewhat attractive packaging and endless sales. Effective mass marketing aside, this hand cream does nothing but coat your hands in silicone and light reflecting mica. The smooth feeling is not from "shea cashmere" (last time I checked cashmere was goat hair so no idea how they thought they could use it in skincare) but from things like dimethicone.

Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets - These are really the best oil blotting sheets ever. The Boscia ones I am currently using come no where close and I would definitely repurchase these when I run out.

Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara (sample) - This is good but nothing I can't get from my favorite (and drugstore) mascara which is Maybelline's Colossal Waterproof.

Clinique Happy and YSL Parisienne Perfume (samples) - Perfume samples take me eons to use up and I guess that can be a good thing when you like the scents. I actually like both of these and own the full size of Parisienne. For some reason I liked how the sample smelled more than the full bottle....

Dr. Jart Premium BB Cream (sample) - I talked about this in my natural makeup routine post HERE and demonstrated how I apply this. At first I was not all that impressed because sometimes it would look cakey but then I realized I had to apply this with my fingers on freshly moisturized skin. This blends seamlessly into fair skin when the moisturizer has not fully absorbed. I have another sample of this to use but after that's done I do not think I will repurchase because there are so many options out there. This is also quite expensive for a BB cream since most Westerners don't realize how inexpensive most BB creams are in Asia. This has gotten me curious about other BB creams which I've known about since I first became interested in beauty products (circa 2009?) like the Missha Perfect Cover.

Nars Pro Prime Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base (sample) - I can barely tell a difference between this, Urban Decay Primer Potion, and Too Faced Shadow Insurance in terms of performance. The Nars primer is white rather than skin tone but they all blend out into nothing. I have a bunch of eyeshadow primers to use up and when I do, I probably will not purchase the Nars primer because it is a few dollars pricier than UDPP and TFSI.

Softlips Vanilla Lipbalm - Softlips is one of my favorite lip balm brands. The smooth consistency and nice scents always have me buying backups.

E.L.F Cream Liner in Coffee - I didn't finish this product. In fact, I probably didn't manage to use up a third of this because it dried out on me. The color is beautiful which is why this was actually features in my July 2011 Favorites. Unfortunately the product dried up quickly, probably due to the plastic packaging which was not air tight. That being said, I will not repurchase any of the E.L.F Cream Liners because of the faulty packaging.

Check out the video below to get a better look at each product!!

What beauty items have you finished or chucked from your stash recently?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

HG Status?! La Roche Posay's Toleriane Makes The Cut!

I belong to that group of beauty bloggers who can never seem to settle for a product because there can always potentially be a better one. HGs, or holy grails, are rare and highly coveted because they are deemed the best of the best, the crème de la crème of a blogger's vanity. I present to you, quite possible the first HG product I have ever found for my skin: La Roche Posay Toleriane Soothing Protective Skincare.

La Roche Posay is a French pharmaceutical skincare brand that has taken the online beauty community by storm and can be found at American drugstores such as CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid. I feel that it is interesting to note that L'oreal owns La Roche Posay. Amongst the brand's claims to fame are their Effaclar line, suited for acne prone skin, and generally their no frills approach to skincare. By no frills I mean no fragrances, no preservatives, and the use of thermal spring water from a French village called La Roche Posay. Okay, maybe the claims about the amazing powers of spring water are frills but you can't blame them for trying.

A month or two ago, my normally oily, acne prone skin was suffering from redness and irritation. I attributed it to the winter cold air sucking all the moisture out of my skin and turned to Toleriane to solve this problem. I believe I first heard of this product from Sandra of 15 steps, then a beauty blog who I absolutely adore. Toleriane is geared towards combination, sensitive skin which sounded like just what I have. La Roche Posay has a few other versions of this product for different skin types, Ultra for dry skin and Toleriane Fluid for less moisture.

It is almost always crucial for a company to list their ingredients for me to even consider purchasing or repurchasing a product. There are a lot of ingredients which I can not comprehend to be honest but I know squalane is good for locking moisture. I try to avoid any skincare with denatured alcohol as it can irritate skin but I am not sure if cetyl alcohol has similar effects. Dimethicone is another ingredient I try to stay away from because it mimics the appearance of smooth skin but doe not actually deliver long lasting benefits. Not to mention, dinmethicone laden products tend to break me out.

The consistency of the moisturizer is a light, milky fluid which is easy to spread over the skin. The amount shown above is typically how much I would apply to my skin. Sometimes I am a little generous with how much I apply if my skin is feeling extra dry and temperamental.

As you can see, the fluid blends out easily and absorbs quickly. I have no sticky residue on my skin after patting the fluid evenly over my entire face.

The only minor negative associated with this product is that it gets used up quickly. I have been using this for a little over a month and there seems to be only enough product to last two more weeks. Costing close to $30 a tube (I bought mine when CVS emailed me a 25% coupon!), this product is not entirely wallet friendly. That being said, I use this day and night whereas I typically use a different moisturizer for each time of the day so everything seem to last longer. The fact that I can use this product up so quickly means that my skin adores it and that justifies the cost.

I will definitely repurchase this moisturizer next year when the colder months approach again. I highly recommend Toleriane to those of you who have oily, acne prone, sensitive skin because it has been the single most effective product I have used on my skin... ever!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Last Haul Before The Ban

I said I was going to put myself on a makeup splurging ban in my last haul but I promise this is it. Really. Most of these goodies were purchased with giftcards I saved up from my birthday and Christmas so I don't feel too guilty. I wanted to use up these giftcards so they wouldn't be tempting me to shop while I was on my ban. I will be reviewing these products separately soon so I'll just list off the product names below. If you want to see swatches and my initial impressions, check out the video below!

The Goods:
Korres Pomegranate Regimen Set
Korres Pomegranate Mattifying Treatment Sample
Philosophy Hope In A Jar Moisturizer (100 Point Perk!)
Nars Blush in Oasis
Nars Eyeshadow Duo in Kalahari
Too Faced Leopard Love Palette ($12 at Nordstrom Rack!)
Mac Eyeshadows in Patina and Satin Taupe & 4 Pan Palette
Mac Blush in Pink Swoon
Mac Face and Body Foundation Sample
Nivea Soft Cream (freebie from CVS)

As you can probably tell, I am gearing my makeup collection towards more high end products. I have a lot of drugstore makeup and I will always have a special place in my beauty routine for inexpensive finds. But overall, I love the quality and aesthetic of higher end items (although not every expensive item is worth the price!) and they will be products I will use for a long time.