Thursday, August 30, 2012

July and August 2012 Empties

It's time again for another empties post and I have amassed a number of used up products to quickly review today. Silly me forgot to take a group photo of all the products but the pile is quite large. As usual, the majority is skincare but I assure you sooner or later the makeup products will show up!

I finished off a number of facial cleansing products these past two months. The Sonia Kashuk Eye Makeup Remover is highly raved about so I thought I would give it a try. I think it does the same job as Target's Up and Up eye makeup remover and I'd rather purchase Target's version as it is cheaper. Both are effective at removing all traces of eye makeup but the price difference is the only reason I prefer Target's. The Clinique Mild Liquid Facial Soap was part of the three step skincare which I used years ago. Whilst I hate the three step system, the mild cleanser is decent. It's not drying and is a no frills cleanser. I really like the pump dispenser as it makes morning cleansing a breeze. The Lancome Creme Radiance Cleanser was part of a gift with purchase and I used it for my skin a few times before it became my brush cleanser. The thing that bothered me the most about this cleanser is the strong fragrance. Usually I can stand fragrances but this fragrance, while pleasant, was extremely perfume-like and I couldn't help but think that I was damaging my skin in some horrible way. This worked very well as brush cleanser as most foaming products do. I also used up my Softymo White Cleansing Oil which effectively removed all my face makeup but is not a repurchase as the scent was bothersome. There was a slight tinge of citrus in the scent but the underlying notes of oil, chemicals, or what have you, were unpleasant. This oil is quite thick and I prefer more watery cleansing oils.

I also went through quite a few moisturizer samples which were mostly lackluster. The Philosophy Hope in a Jar was an extreme disappointment and if you read my previous review, you know that I hate it. It has the most foul odor I have ever smelled in a skincare product and it made my normally oily skin flaky and dehydrated. I highly urge you to stay away from the product. The Body Shop's Seaweed Mattifying Day Cream is a decent product, not amazing but not bad. The Murad Oil Control Mattifer SPF 15 has a glue like consistency and smells like tea tree oil. It's a great product when used on it's own for no makeup days. I did not try it under makeup as the consistency made it difficult to smooth onto the skin. The Willa Clear Face Moisturizer has a liquid texture, making it great for oily skin. It absorbs easily and the scent is reminiscent to a natural or organic product. I would recommend the Willa moisturizer to young people looking for a basic product to hydrate the skin.

Recently I've been taking better care of my hair and the Kerastase Elixir K Ultime hair oil definitely helped moisturize my locks. The price for the full size is hefty and the bottle is huge so I think I'll be sticking to Josie Maran Argan Oil instead. The Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion For Face and Body SPF 60 PA+++ (what a mouthful!) traveled with me on multiple trips and lasted me many uses despite the small size. This sunscreen has a liquid consistency and sinks into the skin beautifully. I absolutely love this sunscreen as much as the Shiseido Extra Smooth Sun Protection Cream and highly recommend both. The Boscia Luminizing Black Mask was an okay product that I don't think did much for my skin. It merely peeled off the surface layer of my skin and some small hairs. Exfoliators do a more effective and gentle job in my opinion. The Lancome Visionnaire serum was a product I didn't see myself loving at first but I enjoyed using it. It made my skin plumper and brighter but I think the brightening can be attributed to the iridescent shimmers in the formula. Due to the presence of light reflecting particles, I don't think my skin is actually benefiting enough for me to shell out the retail price for this serum.

The Bath and Body Works True Blue Spa Paraffin Hand Lotion smelled amazing but as some of you might know, I'm not a fan of the brand and no longer set foot in the store. Considering the ingredients they use, the prices are too high and their cult following is due to their marketing strategies. The Dirt. Sow + Reap Luxe Salt Scrub was a super teeny sample but I absolutely loved the scent and texture of the scrub. It was very nourishing and the oils did a great job at moisturizing my body. If the price was lower, I would definitely indulge in the full size. I made a body scrub out of fresh lemon juice and sugar and it's working very well for me so financially I'm not ready to shell out for a pricey body scrub. The Philosophy Vanilla Birthday Cake Shower Gel was last year's Sephora Beauty Insider birthday gift so most of you probably have tried it. I'm not a big fan of sugary sweet smells so this was just an average product for me. It was nothing special and so far I'm not impressed with Philosophy's products. Again, a whole lot of marketing for subpar products! The one makeup-ish product I have to share is the Lancome Cils Booster XL mascara base which separated my lashes nicely but failed to hold a curl. It is paramount that mascaras hold my curls since I have such short lashes so this primer was a failure. The YuBe Moisturizing Skin Cream was another product that failed to meet my expectations. It is greenish yellow, thick cream that has a strong Asian medicinal scent that just didn't 'wow' me enough to consider buying the full size. Lastly I finally finished up a Burt's Bees Lipbalm which, as you can see from the tatty packaging, has been in my possession for years. It is a good, no frills and inexpensive lipbalm that soothes the lips. I like it but I prefer Softlips since it has the SPF 15 in the formula.

Check out the video below to hear more of my thoughts on each of these products!

Have you tried any of these products? What are some of the products you finished recently?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint: Before and After

A lightweight and moisturizing tint that evens out imperfections, evens out fine lines, and nourishes skin to provide radiance? Count me in. Jouer's Luminizing Skin Tint is a product I have wanted to try since The Beauty Bite reviewed it. I obtained a few samples of the tint in the shades golden, glow (not shown), and bronzed to see if I would like this tint. As you can see I like to keep the little pots that sample eye creams and products come in so that I can decant packet samples for easy access.

The packaging of the full sized product is a dark brown squeeze tube that contains 1.7 ounces or 50 ml and retails for $38. The shade selection is comprised of six shades: opal, pearl, golden, glow, bronzed, and deep bronze. I think darker skinned people will not be able to find their shade but the very light coverage is forgiving. The tint claims to be oil free, hypoallergenic, fragrance free, water resistant, perfect for all skin types and boast an SPF of 20.

Here I've done a side by side before and after shot to better show the effect of Jouer's Luminizing Moisture Tint (click to enlarge!). Just to be clear, I have not altered the photos in any way aside from cropping. I never digitally enhance my photos for foundation and before and after comparisons because it would defeat the purpose of the post.

In the before photo I have a bit of concealer under my eyes, around my nose and on some spots but it was a very light concealer and you can see many of my imperfections quite well. In the after photo I used my fingers to apply bronzed to the outer parts of my face and golden on the inner parts to give my skin more dimension. I dotted small amounts of the product around my face and used my fingers to blend everything into my skin. The cream dries to a satin, almost matte finish.

You can see that my skin is more illuminated and bright after applying the tint. There are shimmer particles in the tint that I only noticed after applying onto my skin and they are pretty evident up close. From far away my skin looks very natural though.

While I do not have many active breakouts at the moment, I always have residual scarring, especially on the outer regions of my face. The tint did little to cover the scars and you can still some of my capillaries. If you have good skin and just want a more radiant complexion, this is a nice product but I prefer just a little bit more coverage.

In terms of wear I thought the tint was very comfortable to wear and it did not make my already oily skin oilier. After setting my face with a powder, the glow was still noticeable and the longevity improved.

Jouer's Luminizing Moisture Tint fell short of my expectations or rather surprised me with the shimmer particles, which I was not entirely in love with. If the coverage was a tiny bit higher and the shimmer more refined to the point where it was undetectable up close, this might have been a winner. Over a very high coverage concealer, this looks quite nice to further even out the skin. If you have blemish free skin and want a bit of glow to your face, this will be great for you.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Korres' Pomegranate Deep Cleansing Scrub

Another treatment that was included in the Korres Pomegranate Kit was their Pomegranate Deep Cleansing Scrub. I love a good exfoliant and am constantly on a quest to find the next best one. The full sized scrub contains 1.35 oz for $21 which is quite reasonable for a high end skincare brand.

The back description of this sample sized scrub is identical to the sample sized pomegranate mask from the same line which I reviewed HERE. The full ingredients list for the scrub is easily accessible via Sephora and reads as follows:

Aqua (Water), Olea Europaea (Olive) Seed, C12-20 Acid PEG-8 Ester, Hexyldecanol, Hexyldecyl Laurate, Glycerin, Isodecyl Laurate, Glyceryl Stearate, Isopropyl Myristate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Octyldodecanol, Polyisoprene, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Arginine, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Benzyl Alcohol, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Lecithin, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Extract, Parfum (Fragrance), Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Punica Granatum Fruit Extract, Tocopherol, Xanthan Gum.

The long list of hard to pronounce ingredients makes me more skeptical about Korres' natural branding. Like the cleansing mask and moisturizer from the pomegranate line, the scrub has a distinct fragrance which smells anything but natural. It's not an unpleasant scent but it's noticeable and can be potentially irritating for some people.

The scrub has the consistency of cinnamon sugar suspended in melted ice cream and spreads easily. The creamy base of the scrub feels almost moisturizing on the skin and the granules vary in size and shape to give the skin a good scrub. I apply very little pressure when using this scrub because the exfoliating particles can be harsh if rubbed into the skin. After usage my skin feels soft and my oily skin seems to be calmer. The effects are temporary however and I've come to prefer more finely milled exfoliants and chemical exfoliators.

Like the Korres pomegranate mask, the pomegranate scrub did little to WOW me. The scrub is not bad but nothing fancy and not something I would purchase in the full size. You can probably find an equally effective facial scrub for less money without all the fancy marketing claims.

Friday, August 24, 2012

My Boyfriend Does My Makeup!

After weeks of convincing, my boyfriend finally succumbed and agreed to do the "boyfriend does my makeup" tag! Long time readers of my blog will probably have seen Dennis before (although I've never mentioned his name). We had a lot of fun doing this video and the poor boy was really nervous about messing up. I had over 45 minutes worth of footage and it was hard to cut it down so the video is a bit lengthy.

I highly encourage anyone with a boyfriend or guy friend to do this tag even if it's just between the two of you. My boyfriend now has an entirely new level of respect for people who apply makeup as it was a lot harder than he thought it would be. This will definitely be something we will both look back on in ten years and laugh about.

Have you ever let your significant other apply makeup on you? How did it turn out?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Jouer Birchbox Pink Lipgloss: Most Wearable Fuchsia Lip!

Fuchsia lips are one of those beauty trends that I've always admired on other women but never thought it could work on me. While I haven't the courage to rock an opaque fuchsia lip color (yet), Jouer's Moisturizing Lipgloss in Birchbox Pink is the perfect sheer bright pink to get me to that level.

The 7ml container of lipgloss goodness retails for $20 and can be found only on Birchbox's shop. The doe foot applicator is pretty standard and applies the gloss well. I can easily trace the outline of my lips and spread the product evenly across my lips. Birchbox Pink is a cream finish with no shimmer at all, my favorite kind of glosses. Jouer has numerous other shades, many of them much more natural and my-lips-but-better.

This lipgloss claims to be highly nourishing and ingredients such as vitamin E, shea butter, and jojoba seed oil are supposed to be beneficial to the lips. This lipgloss is paraben free which is good news all around.

I always commend companies who disclose a full ingredients list in plain sight on product packaging. It can be so frustrating when one must become Sherlock Holmes to find out what a beauty product contains.

The sleek clear plastic tube is not only pretty but functional as well. Many of Jouer's products clip together to form a custom palette which makes getting ready a whole lot easier. The pieces of makeup become like legos and make storage easy as well. The one fault I can find about the lipgloss is that the corners of the packaging are quite sharp and if I'm not careful, I can scratch myself by accident.

Finally, the lip swatch of Birchbox Pink. The color is sheer enough to look natural but it has enough brightness to add a pink tint to the lips. The gloss is incredibly lightweight and is not sticky in the slightest. The shine is noticeable but the lightweight consistency means my hair doesn't get stuck to my lips and drag gloss all over my face. My lips feel very comfortable with this gloss on and even after it fades two to three hours later, my lips are soft and moisturized. Sometimes I get the dreaded white line where my lips meet each other while wearing this gloss but it's a lot less noticeable than with other glosses. Other than that, my lips do not peel or have any other adverse reaction to this gloss.

I am absolutely head over heels with the Jouer lipgloss formulation and Birchbox Pink is a unique color to my collection. I am definitely going to purchase more Jouer glosses in different shades and I'm curious to see if I like any of their shimmery colors. Have you tried any Jouer cosmetics? What's your favorite lipgloss shade?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Korres' Pomegranate Purifying Natural Clay Mask

Months ago I purchased a set of Korres skincare products as I thought it would be a great way to learn more about the brand and to test out their pomegranate line which is marketed towards oily combination skin. One of the products I was most excited about was the Pomegranate Mask which apparently is called the Pomegranate Purifying Natural Clay Mask. The full size is 1.35 oz for $27 which is standard for a high end skincare mask.

The primary ingredient is water and after that, kaolin, which is responsible for the deep cleansing properties. The mask is mineral oil, silicone, propylene glycol, and ethanolamine free for any of you who are concerned about any of those ingredients. Korres takes pride in its Greek roots and natural beauty products. Am I convinced? Not quite. Here is the full ingredients list from Sephora:

Water (eau), Kaolin, Glycerin, C12-20 Acid PEG-8 Ester, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Isodecyl Salicylate, Isodecyl Laurate, Butylene Glycol, Titanium Dioxide, Benzyl Alcohol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Zinc PCA, Xanthan Gum, Fragrance (parfum), Allantoin, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Punica Granatum Extract, Sodium Phytate, Lactic Acid. 

Pomegranate extract is the second to last ingredient in the list and most of the primary ingredients are the usual suspects in a cleansing mask. The addition of the signature pomegranate fragrance can be quite bothersome to those with sensitive skin.

The mask is a white cream with a similar consistency to Greek yogurt. As you can see, a clear liquid tends to separate from the cream which can be messy and it makes the product seem less "fresh". The mask is easy to apply all over the skin and it dries in about fifteen minutes. This mask is less intense than say the Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask and there is no intense cooling sensation or anything of the sort. The Korres mask rinses away easily and my skin has not had any negative reactions such as breakouts or irritation. However, I have not seen any benefits from using this mask and I do not think it is worth the $27 for a full size. Perhaps it soaks up a bit of the oil on my skin but I do not think it draws out impurities very well. I am glad I bought the sample tube as part of the set as I think it's quite a lackluster mask.

Have you tried skincare from Korres? How were your experiences?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mini Birchbox Haul featuring Jouer and Klorane

I made my first Birchbox shop purchase last week because I had $20 worth of points to redeem, a 20% off coupon code for my 6th month anniversary with Birchbox, and 15% of the proceeds from all Birchbox shop purchases go towards Pencils of Promise to help build a school. Good reasons, eh? I had been eyeing a few items for ages and I thought it was a good time to take the plunge so I bit the bullet and $13.77 (tax was about $3 so technically the two products only costed me $10!) and two days after submitting my order, my loves were here!

Aside from my wonderful ordering experience, the products are amazing so far. On the left is the Jouer lipgloss in Birchbox Pink, which retails for $20. On the right is the Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk, which retails for $18. I have been interested in trying Jouer for about a year now I think and I first heard of the brand from missglamorazzi (AKA Ingrid) on Youtube. I have a few Jouer reviews coming up on the blog so stay tuned if you're interested in their products. This is also my first time trying a dry shampoo and a product from Klorane, a French hair care company (which also dabbles in skincare). School and my new internship start in about a week so dry shampoo is a must for keeping my locks looking presentable!

Check out the video below to see the products a bit better and to hear my preliminary thoughts on them!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer: For the Brightest Complexion You'll Ever Need

TheBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer has been gaining quite a track record for being one of the most pigmented and highly raved about highlighters on the market, and for good reason. I've had Mary-Lou Manizer on my radar for months but I already had several highlighters to use up. To my great fortune, my pin-up makeup tutorial was chosen to be featured on the Birchbox blog and they sent me Mary-Lou Manizer as a prize.

TheBalm is always generous with the amount of product and their price point is not too high so the value for money is fantastic. For $24 you get a whopping 8.5 grams or .3 ounces in the Mary-Lou Manizer compact. For comparison, a Nars blush contains 4.5 grams or .16 ounces which is about half. Coupled with the amazing pigmentation which you'll see below, Mary-Lou Manizer will last you a lifetime, if not more.

Mary-Lou Manizer has a warm golden sheen and the tiniest swipe yields intense shimmery goodness. There are no glitter particles and the powder is very finely milled.

On the left you can see a full on swipe of the product which is definitely not what you want on your skin. This color would look great on the eyes as an all over wash or an inner corner brightener though. On the right the product is blended out a bit so it looks like my skin is naturally glowing from within. As you can see I've gotten quite tan this summer (five hours of rafting does what no self tanner can do!) so Mary-Lou Manizer looks extremely stark on my skin. Due to the insane pigmentation of this highlighter, it is paramount that you use a light hand and take care in blending out the product. That is probably the one reason why I can't use this everyday because I'm just not too keen on concentrating too much when applying my highlight.

Mary-Lou Manizer lives up to the hype and for the price it definitely rivals more expensive highlighters. But for my personal preference, I'd probably only reach for this on days that I have more time to get ready so it won't be a fixture in my usual morning routines. Have you tried theBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer? What do you think?

Friday, August 17, 2012

My Top 5: Must Have Nail Polishes

In the last few months my nail polish collection really took off and now I have about 40 bottles of polish with not enough room to store them. Many other beauty fanatics have even more polish and in all honestly I can't even fathom when 40 bottles will get used up. An ordinary woman needs only a few polishes to last a lifetime and I chose a few staples that I always reach for when I'm not feeling adventurous.

Red nails never go out of style and I think they show confidence, much like a red lip. One of my favorite red polishes is Spoiled Lox-y Lady. I absolutely love the cream finishes by Spoiled and the $2 price tag is unmatched. Lox-y Lady has a tinge of pink in the formula but it looks predominantly red on the nails.

I love metallic nails to offset my usually somber and neutral outfits or as an accent color to complement a nude mani. Orly Rage is a highly raved about rose gold metallic shade. The formula could be a teeny bit more long wearing but it is a dream to apply. This really shines on the nails and draws a bit of attention.

Unlike those horrendous shattered polishes, I think flaky polish is a trend that will be here to stay. Essie Shine of the Times is a beautiful flaky that reflects green, gold, and copper under different lighting conditions. This easily transforms dark colored cream polishes into glittery goodness!

For a dark neutral I love Rimmel Steel Grey; if this was an eyeshadow shade, it would be mine in a heartbeat. This mauve, eggplant grey looks especially nice for fall and winter. The cream finish instantly makes my nails look chic and sophisticated.

Last but not least, a sheer nude pink is in order when you want your nails to appear clean but not like you tried too hard. Lilladylife did a whole post comparing various popular sheer "my nails but better" colors so check that out if you're into the natural nail look. I don't have any of the shades she mentioned but I have a tiny polish that was in one of the limited edition Sephora by OPI sets called Dear Diary which works just fine for me. The set was limited edition but you can still buy the full size of Dear Diary at Sephora.

Unless you're a nail polish fanatic who loves to try all the latest shades and trends, I think a basic line up of go-to shades is all you need. If you had to narrow your nail polish collection to just five shades, which would you choose?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Caudalie's Take on Cleansing Water

Thanks to the helpful people at Birchbox, I was able to get the Caudalie samples that I missed out on at the Birchbox and Caudalie event that I blogged about in my July Wrap Up. Three lovely samples were included in the event Birchbox and the Caudalie Cleansing Water was one of them. This product is along the same lines as Bioderma or Mandom Cleansing Express and I was excited to try it out (because what skincare product am I not excited to try out?).

Caudalie's instructions suggest that this is a facial cleanser but I prefer to use this as a makeup remover at night. I take a cotton pad and soak it in the cleansing water and proceed to wipe my makeup off. This is very similar to Mandom's cleansing water and I'm beginning to think most cleansing waters are made equal. You can take a gander at the ingredients list in the above photo which may be comparable to other cleansing waters. While Caudalie's cleansing water is good at removing face makeup (two cotton pads gets the job done), it is useless at removing waterproof mascara.

This cleansing water has a light fragrance that I think is synonymous with almost all Caudalie products. From the mini facial treatments I received at the Birchbox event to the other samples that were distributed, they all have a distinct herbal scent. It's a relaxing and sophisticated scent that I personally quite like but it might not be everyone's cup of tea.

The full size of this cleanser is 200 ml and runs for $26, not exactly wallet friendly considering the amount you have to use per wash. Caudalie is on the higher end of the skincare spectrum so the price tag is expected. Will I purchase the full size? No, I probably won't simply because I prefer cleansing oils to cleansing waters. Is this a good cleansing water? Sure, it is and I can imagine it being nice for refreshing the skin in the morning if you want to avoid a foaming cleanser.

Have you tried this product from Caudalie? What are some of your favorites from the brand?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Beauty School Birchbox: August 2012

The August Birchbox tries to get subscribers excited for the start of the school year with some nifty little beauty products and a non-profit pledge to boot. I love the concept and execution of the box and the Pencils of Promise partnership is great. The only downside for me this month? The actual products.

Instead of the usual placard written in letter format, there is fold out manual giving beauty advice. Some of it is very basic, beginner tips like what a eyeshadow brush is for but the label information was quite interesting. The design of the card is very well done and high quality. One of the things I really appreciate about Birchbox is their design and aesthetic.

I believe that beauty and fashion brands should always find a way to get involved with a non-profit cause and Pencils of Promise is just that. I think I might just place an order this month!

The only downer for me is the products I received in my box. The C.O. Bigelow Lip Shine is full sized but I already have a million and one lip balms to use and I'm not a huge fan of squeeze tube lip shines. This is not Birchbox's fault but just a personal preference. Now the Eye Rock eyeliner strips I'm having trouble comprehending. Am I the only one who has no desire to bother with cutting up little adhesive strips to put on my eyes? I'm incredibly wary of this product because my single eyelids might not work well at all with these strips. Eyeliner is really not that hard to do, it just takes practice. The Juice Beauty moisturizer is nice for travel although the size is a bit small for my liking. I wish the size would have been switched with the lip shine! Viva La Juicy La Fleur is nice but nothing exceptional. I actually wouldn't mind perfume samples as much if they were from more exclusive brands such as Jo Malone or Diptyque. Lastly a Shick Hydrosilk Razor was included in every single Birchbox which was a nice bonus. Honestly, I'm not fussy about my shaving products so I wasn't too excited about this Birchbox Find.

All in all, technically the $10 value is there but for my taste, this box was one of my least favorites out of the six I've received thus far. What did you get in your beauty subscription box this month?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

5 Minute Makeup Challenge

You won't find me rustling through my makeup bag and curling my lashes on the subway; I don't like feeling rushed. I often allow myself about 20 minutes in the morning to get ready for the day and I take my time making sure my eyeliner is properly winged out and that my foundation is fully blended. When I get ready, the whole process helps me relax and it gives me time to gather myself for the day.

A few months ago I saw Xteeener do the five minute makeup challenge and I was intrigued. Could I do an entire face of makeup in five minutes? I picked out some fail proof makeup products from my vanity and set to face the challenge.

First I quickly concealed my under eye circles, redness around the nose and mouth, as well as any spots with Milani's HD Advanced Concealer in Light. Over top I added a layer of Clinique's Moisture Sheer Tint in Medium to even out my skin. For the eyes I kept things simple by skipping primer and using Benefit's Creaseless Cream Shadow in RSVP as an all over brightening lid color. Then I lined my eyes with Milani Liquif'Eye Pencil in Brown. I forgot to include my lash curler and Maybelline One By One Waterproof Mascara in the photo above but I finished off the eyes with them. Right before hitting the five minute mark I filled in my eyebrows with NYX's Eyeshadows in Suede and Chocolate.

I did a decent job within five minutes as cheek color and lip color is not an absolute must in my opinion. For years I rarely wore blush or lip products. But for the sake of finishing the look I dusted on a bit of Becca's Flowerchild Blush which has a bit of shimmer to give a highlighting effect. To give my lips a bit of color I added Korres' Lip Butter in Jasmine which is a nude with a semi glossy finish. After applying Jasmine I realized how unflattering the shade looks on my quite tanned skin but at least my lips were moisturized.

Watch me scramble to do my makeup in five minutes in the video below!

How long does it usually take you to apply your makeup on a regular day? Do you think you could do an entire face of makeup in five minutes?

P.S. If you follow me on Twitter, you will have seen my inner conflict regarding whether or not I should continue to watermark my photos. As you can tell by this post, I have decided that I will no longer watermark my photos. I'm not exactly sure the relevance of me stating this but I felt that it should be mentioned.

Friday, August 10, 2012

L'oreal's Gilded Bronze: An Amazing Drugstore Copper Shadow

Bronze eyeshadow is a staple in my makeup wardrobe; it can be worn day or night and looks amazing on any eye color and skin tone. From my experience many makeup manufacturers have gotten the formula of their bronze shimmery shadows to a T. Some of my favorites are Mac's Tempting, Urban Decay's Smog, and now L'oreal's Gilded Bronze is joining their ranks.

Gilded Bronze is part of the Studio Secrets Professional line of eyeshadows and retails for about $5. A generous .1 ounce of shadow is encased in a plastic flip compact that feels a bit flimsy, typical for drugstore shadows. The quilted imprint looks quite pretty and does not affect the performance of the shadow. I picked this shadow up on a whim because I had to reach a $15 threshold to get some Rite Aid Rewards and I browsed through the whole shadow line up. Just looking at the shadow I could tell it was going to be pigmented and amazing. Something about the shimmery, almost metallic finish was evident.

My instincts were right and one swipe yields beautiful color pay off. Gilded Bronze is reflective yet not glittery and is as smooth as higher end shadows. If your makeup collection is lacking a brilliant bronze shadow, look no further than your local drugstore.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

La Roche Posay Toleriane Fluid: HG Summer Moisturizer

If you frequently read my blog or watch my Youtube videos, you're probably tired of hearing me rave about La Roche Posay Toleriane. At this point I think this review is hardly necessary given how many times I have talked about this product. But seriously, it's amazing stuff. The original Toleriane Soothing Protective Skincare is ideal for my combination oily skin in the cooler, drier months. For the summer Toleriane Fluide is my preferred day and night moisturizer.

Like all of La Roche Posay's other wares, Toleriane Fluide is fragrance free and preservative free. This formula is made in France as is the original moisturizer. However, some of La Roche Posay's products are made in the United States like Effaclar Duo.

Unlike the original Toleriane moisturizer, the fluide is packaged in a pump bottle which probably explains the slightly more expensive price tag. The 40 ml bottle retails for $29.90 which can be a bit pricey for some. I wait for CVS to send me 25% or 30% coupons before stocking up on my La Roche Posay bits.

The consistency of Toleriane fluide is light and milky. It hydrates the skin without causing oiliness and the product seeps into the skin quickly. I find that two pumps suffice for the morning, under sunscreen of course, and one pump in the nighttime after serum is perfect.

Honestly I cannot find a fault with this product and I love it to bits. I am incredibly hard to please in terms of skincare because I'm always looking for the next best thing. But I think my face moisturizing needs can be met with just this fluide for the summer and the original Toleriane for the winter.

Have you tried any of the Toleriane moisturizers from La Roche Posay? If not and you have yet to find a moisturizer you love, I highly urge you to give this a try!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Recent Favorites // August 2012

Month after month it seems that my attitude towards beauty products is more about simple products that work time and time again. I don't want to have to try 15 different application techniques to get something to look "okay". It has to look good and I dole out money for a high quality product. These are products that have been staples on my vanity because they look gorgeous with minimal hassle and I think they would work on anyone!

Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo - I picked two bottles of this up when CVS was doing a promotion because I was looking for a once-a-week shampoo to really deep clean my hair. Reviews for this very inexpensive product are mostly positive but I was honestly wary because of the cheap price tag. Luckily this has only done good things for my hair! My parents and I have gone through the first bottle already and I can see myself repurchasing this. It cleanses very well and my hair feels especially airy and light after use. I always make sure to use a good conditioner afterward to ensure my hair is not stripped.

Revlon Quick Dry Base & Top Coats - I reviewed these before and compared the top coat to Seche Vite. This base coat and top coat keep most of my nail polishes on my nails for a week without chips. It's a great product from the drugstore that I will be repurchasing time and time again.

La Roche Posay Toleriane Fluide - You might already know that I love the original Toleriane formula and this one is no different. This has a slightly more watery texture but it's perfect for the summer. At this point I'm ready to declare La Roche Posay Toleriane moisturizers as my all time favorites and use them for the rest of my life.... 

Melvita Rose Water - I've been obsessed with rose scented beauty products and this organic rose floral water is a great toner and makeup refresher. This tiny spray bottle was in my June Birchbox and is the perfect size to fit in my daily makeup bag. When my skin is feeling dry or my makeup is looking a bit cakey I spray a bit of this and I'm good as new.

Rosebud Salve Strawberry Lipbalm - This is one of those products I'll use everyday for a few months then never reach for it for the next few months. I actually featured this in my January favorites but some time between then and now I neglected this again. I mostly use this right before bed to keep my lips hydrated throughout the night.

Illamasqua Cream Blush in Rude - Coincidentally, this was also featured in my January favorites. I knew it was going to be a winning product for the summer and I was right. This is one of my top 5 blushes for good reason. It's a breeze to apply it gives the most natural coral flush. This looks wonderful on sunkissed skin and I highly recommend it to everyone. 

Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in RSVP - Ah, the champagne cream shadow, a staple in every busy gal's collection. RSVP is an oldie but a goodie; it's been in my collection since 2010. Recently I've been smothering this in the inner half and middle part of my eye when I'm only wearing a wee bit of liner and mascara. This is not creaseproof without an eyeshadow base but it's still a good product.

Maybelline Color Tattoo Eyestudio in Bad To The Bronze - Everyone and their mothers has named this a favorite in recent months. I only recently succumbed to the hype (I really do NOT need anymore makeup and certainly no more cream shadows) but I understand the love for this product. It's a universally flattering shade of brown and actually looks quite light on my skin. I prefer to build this up a bit so I can use it as an eyeshadow base for a daytime smokey eye. My favorite way to use this is in conjunction with my next favorite product....

Nars Eyeshadow Duo in Kalahari - To be honest this is not the smoothest, most pigmented eyeshadow out there. For the hefty price tag, I really expected more. I found that layering the more shimmery shade in the duo over Bad To The Bronze really makes both products "pop" and I get a metallic finish on my lids. I blend a bit of the satin shade in the duo in the crease to get some definition.

Stila In The Light Palette - When I saw this sample in my July Birchbox I wasn't expecting to love this as much as I do, afterall I already own the infamous Urban Decay Naked Palette which I barely reach for. But I took the top row of shadows in my travel makeup bag and I was really impressed by the shades. The shadows are highly complementary and the quality is good too.

Eyeko Skinny Eyeliner - Looking back the June Birchbox was actually a great box because I ended up liking most of the products. I was so excited to receive this liner because I have always been horrible at applying liquid liner in the traditional tubes. This pen style makes liquid liner infinitely easier. The formula is jet black and totally smudge-proof. My faith in liquid liner is restored.

Maybelline One By One Waterproof Mascara - I've raved about this mascara time and time again because it is one of the best mascaras I have ever used. Whilst it doesn't deliver as much volume as I would prefer, the lengthening, separating, and curling abilities make up for it. This holds my curl far better than any mascara I have tried before and I can build up multiple layer without clumps. My short lashes are actually visible when I use this mascara and that's a big deal.

You can see neutrals are dominating my favorites as usual! Check out the video below for more swatches!

Have you tried any of these products? What are your favorites at the moment?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Recent Mani's A La Instagram 2

I quite like this Instagram compilation of nails of the days so this is the second installment! Check out my first batch HERE

What I'm wearing (from top row left to right then bottom row left to right):

1) Spoiled Correction Tape - I am obsessed with Spoiled nail polishes but Correction Tape is my least favorite of the six shades I own so far. I love the clean, mod look of opaque white nails but Correction Tape separated from where I my top coat didn't cover and chipped within a few days. 

2) Spoiled Lox-y Lady - This is one of my favorite nail colors in my collection right now. It's the perfect strawberry red. With all of the cream finish Spoiled polishes, you only really need one coat to get opaque coverage. I usually use two coats just to even everything out. Oh, and that shine? That's thanks to Revlon's Quick Dry Top Coat! Drugstore loves!

3) Spoiled Deeper Dive - My Spoiled polish love continues! This is a glitter infused teal with all types of iridescent shimmer suspended in the teal base. I think I needed about three coats for this to reach a decent opacity. I don't love this mani as much as the others simply because I don't really like how deep blue polishes look on me.  

4) Spoiled Correction Tape with dots of Sally Hansen Mint Sorbet - I named this my dinosaur egg mani because of the spots. Does that even make sense? I thought it was quite fun and different pastel dots on each nail would have been a cute mani as well.

5) Color Club Clambake Coral and Essie Need a Vacation with Essie Gold as it Gets over top - Clambake Coral is one of the best spring and summer nail polishes and Need a Vacation is a longtime member of my polish collection. I liked how the two of them juxtaposed one another, neon meet neutral! The gold glitter overlay just added an extra oomph factor. 

6) Milani Paradise Pink - What a coincidence, this pink shade was used in the last notd of the first Instagram set! I guess I have a way with rotating my nail polishes. Paradise Pink is somewhat difficult to work with in that it is quite a thick polish. But I do my nails often enough to be able to color within the confines of my nail beds so there's no real cleaning up to do. This is one of my "safe" nail colors in that it's feminine and clean, perfect for school, work, play, whatever. 

What's your favorite nail polish at the moment?