Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Smudgy Grunge Perfection: Make Up Store's Chocolate Cheesecake Metallic Eyeliner

As much as I appreciate a deep, dark and long lasting eyeliner that I can do a killer cat eye with, I will always have a soft spot for smudged out, just-got-out-of-bed liner. If you're into the whole morning-after-makeup look, the Make Up Store eyeliner in Chocolate Cheesecake will give you just that. The soft brown pencil is the creamiest eyeliner I have ever used and glides onto your lids like butter.

Make Up Store originated in Sweden and has free standing stores throughout the world but strangely only one location in Denver for us in the states. I purchased my Make Up Store goodies whilst in Amsterdam and the entire store was 40% off. Make Up Store's price point is a tad higher than Mac's prices for reference. This eyeliner retails for €15.50 ($21.40). For an eyeliner, that is quite a pretty penny to pay and I have lots of drugstore eyeliners which I love that are way cheaper.

Chocolate Cheesecake is a medium brown that has fine shimmers running throughout it. The color is pigmented but not super dark. This liner is not great for precise wings or detailed work but nice for smudging along the lashline. Even with primer and eyeshadow to set it, the lasting power is not phenomenal. The liner smudges on my uneven lids by the end of the work day.

While I can see myself using up Chocolate Cheesecake, it's definitely a repurchase. I wish the lasting power was better and I would prefer the color to be a teensy bit darker. It's nice to have a creamy pencil for smokey eyes but not a must have for me. Do you prefer precise cat eyes or smudged out liner?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wantable October 2013 Beauty Box

I love the idea of finding surprise packages every month filled with beauty goodies so it's no wonder beauty subscription boxes are quite a temptation for me. A few weeks ago, Wantable contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing one of their subscription boxes and I happily accepted. Perhaps the most difficult part was deciding which box I wanted to try. Wantable makes a makeup box, lingerie box and accessories box. In the end I chose the makeup box, simply because I was curious about what brands they would offer.

I filled out a short but comprehensive survey about what kinds of makeup products I like or dislike including information about colors and finishes. The product I was most excited to see in my box was the Lise Water OmbrĂ© SoufflĂ© Supreme in Tartan Magique, a gorgeous teal mousse shadow. I was interested in trying this product, albeit not in this shade, for awhile after seeing it on other beauty blogs. There were also two small samples of two other shades from the same line. Another product I was really happy to see was the Japonesque Travel Eye Smudge Brush which will be great for smoking out liner or adding shadow close to the lashline. The bristles on the brush are very soft and sturdy so I won't have to worry about scratching my skin or shedding hairs. The Michael Marcus Eyeshadow in Flawless was a product I had never heard of but the cream matte shade is perfect for highlighting under the brow bone and will surely be useful. Lastly was the Face Stockholm Lipstick in Pleasant, a product I was so excited about until I saw that the finish was frosty. I despise frosty lipsticks and this shade just looked plain bad on me. Face Stockholm is a reputable brand that was keen on trying and the packaging of the lipstick is great but the shade is just bleh. I passed the lipstick on to a friend so hopefully they can enjoy it more.

Wantable delivered an impressive four full sized products and three out of the four I could see myself using often. One box costs $40 whereas a monthly subscription costs $36 per month, making this one of the more expensive beauty boxes out there. If you love all the products in your box, you'll be saving yourself a significant amount of money as the retail prices of the items add up to way more than $40. But if you have some misses in your box, the price may be steep.

Watch the video below to see more of the products in my Wantable box, including swatches!


Personally, I will not be subscribing to Wantable because I have way too much makeup and I can't afford to accumulate products I don't absolutely love. If you're adventurous with your makeup and open to trying new things, I think Wantable is a beauty box that can satisfy your beauty cravings. What do you think of beauty subscription boxes?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Graze Box: Healthy Snacks Delivered to Your Doorstep

I love the idea of subscription boxes because it feels like Christmas every time I come home to surprise packages waiting for me. I've been keen on trying a non-beauty subscription box and came across graze on a lot of UK blogs. For now, graze isn't open to the general public but you can sign up to be on their waiting list which is what I did. I entered my email months ago and actually forgot all about it but recently they got back to me and said they finally had room for me to join the fun. The first box is free so it's nice that you get to try out the service before committing. 

The graze box consists of four "healthy" snacks packaged in a cute cardboard box. I like that there's not much packaging and the cardboard is easily recyclable but still sturdy enough to protect the snacks. The box is usually $6 and you can choose how often you would like a box. You can choose to get a box every week, every two weeks or once a month. You can also postpone getting your boxes.

There are two choices of boxes, the nibblebox or the lightbox. If you opt for the nibblebox, there are over 90 snacks that can make their way to your mailbox while the lightbox has over 50 snacks between 50 and 150 calories. I chose the lightbox just for kicks and was happy with the taste of my snacks. You can browse the entire selection of treats on the website and rate them so you're more likely to get the things you want to try and even flat out opt out of certain snacks. Out of the snacks I received, the Cinnamon Pretzel and Herby Breadbasket were the winners. The cinnamon honey almonds were delicious and the Herby Breadbasket was savory and very flavorful. The Shangri-la and Boston Baguettes were good as well but not as good as the other two.

Unfortunately, I don't think the snacks are unique enough to warrant the subscription. Also, the boxes are tiny. This is obviously good for portion control and I definitely feel satisfied after eating one of these snacks. However, cost wise I can get a lot more with $6 at Trader Joe's by buying a bag of something and splitting it up myself.

A tiny pamphlet accompanies your snacks and lays out all the nutrition facts. Graze makes snacking fun and allows you to try various flavors and foods that you might not have had before. The snacks are supposed to be nutritious and somewhat healthy which is another bonus for healthy foodies out there. If you're at a loss for what to pack with your lunch everyday and can't be bothered portioning your snacks, graze might suit you very well. While I thought it was fun to try out the box, I didn't think it was worth the price for the amount and the snacks weren't as unique as I would have liked. What do you think about food subscription boxes? Which subscription boxes are your favorites?

Monday, October 21, 2013

My Beauty Diary Sake Yeast Mask: Instant Brightening Boost

Sheet masks are essential skin pampering bits that are common in many East Asian countries but haven't gained momentum in the West yet. Whilst in Asia I picked up a bunch of different masks to try as they are usually really affordable and just what I need at the end of a long, stressful day. My Beauty Diary is one of the most famous sheet masks brands and hails from Taiwan. I bought a box of the Sake Yeast Mask, meant to whiten and moisturize, with not much in terms of expectations but I'm happy to report it's one of my favorite masks of all time!

The first time I used this mask was on the plane ride home and while my friends snickered at my funny mask face, I could not have been happier with the results of the mask. The dry air on the plane was sucking my skin of all it's moisture but the mask helped calm my skin and prevent it from being parched. The mask is quite thin but soft and dripping with thin essence. The thinness of the mask makes it comfortable to wear but also prone to tearing so you have to be careful when unwrapping it. The sheet mask is really cooling and refreshing, perfect for when your skin is feeling overheated or you're super tired. Just pop on the mask for 20 minutes, remove and pat in any remaining serum before hopping under the sheets!

I bought a box of 10 masks for about $7 which is incredibly affordable. Unfortunately the price is pretty much doubled online and Sasa is currently out of stock of the box sets. I should have stocked up on this whilst in Hong Kong but sadly did not know how good it was until I was en-route back to New York. 

Rice Ferment Filtrate (Sake) is actually the sixth ingredient on the list of ingredients which is not too shabby for such an inexpensive mask. The highly coveted (and incredibly pricey) SKII Facial Treatment Essence's main ingredient is derived from sake as well, making it a popular ingredient in Asian skincare. 

The My Beauty Diary Sake Yeast Mask is a winner in my books. I have baby smooth skin in the morning after applying the mask and call me crazy but I actually think this mask helps reduce my acne scarring. My skin appears brighter and clearer overall. I gave away some sheets to friends and only have two more in my stash which means I'll be hoarding them until Sasa restocks. You can win one of the Sake Yeast masks to try for yourself by entering my giveaway HERE!

Have you tried sheet masks before? Which are your favorites?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream: The Woes of Over Marketing

By now the term "BB cream" has been beaten into your beauty brains as some kind of magical all-in-one skin fixer-upper that everyone needs to run out and buy. The Western market turned the popular Asian (mostly Korean) beauty balm into a generic tinted moisturizer, tacking on euphemisms and claiming far too many benefits than actually delivering them. That  being said, every product marketed as a BB cream doesn't have to be necessarily bad; they usually just fall short of their own expectations and under perform. That's exactly what the Maybelline Dream Fresh BB 8-in-1 Beauty Balm Skin Perfector (what a mouth full) does.

This is by no means a negative review. I purchased the Maybelline BB cream at the end of last year and brought it with me when I studied abroad as my everyday makeup base. I used it almost everyday that I wore makeup and find it a very easy base to slap on for day to day. The main issue with this product is the exaggerated claims it makes. Out of the eight benefits it touts, I only sort of agree with four. It does brighten by adding luminosity to the skin and evens skin tone. Interestingly enough, on the packaging Maybelline writes "adjusts to skin tone" but on their website they state "evens skin tone" instead. What's the deal with that? The product sort of "enhances the skin" in that my skin clearly looks better when it's applied than when I'm bare faced (duh?). I can't really argue with the SPF factor even though I use a separate sunscreen anyway and the added SPF is unnecessary. 

This BB cream comes in five shades which is atypical of traditional Asian BB creams which are notorious for having very limited shades which are often very light and gray tinted. I have the lightest shade of the Maybelline version in "light". I am not very light skinned which means many girls who are paler than me will not be able to pull this off unless they fake tan. The darkest shade will probably only suit someone with deep medium skin.

For most of the year, this BB cream works fine on my skin in terms of color although it can look a bit pink when I'm a tad too tan. But the color isn't the main issue I have with this product. It's the lack of oil control and the heaviness that occurs on my skin after four to five hours of wear. Freshly applied, I actually really enjoy the formula. My skin looks enhanced but still natural and there's a healthy glow emanating from under the matte setting powder I applied. But my oily to combination skin breaks down this foundation by noon and I have to blot or else I'll look like a greasy mess. But the end of the work day, I can't wait to go home to wash my face because I can feel the product on my skin. It's just plain uncomfortable. Perhaps people with normal skin would fare better with this product.

My preferred method of application is with a flat top foundation brush, namely the Sigma F80. You can see how the BB cream blends into the skin and how much it covers in the quick review below.

In general, I'm quite torn over the Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream. I love how it applies and looks for the first few hours but by the end of the day I can't help but wish for better oil control.  I'll be using this tube up but not be making a repurchase. I have to say that this is one of the most consistently reached for bases in my collection which says a lot coming from someone who rarely finishes any makeup! The price is good for what you get, even if not all the amazing claims are actually true. If you're on a budget and looking for a light coverage tinted moisturizer to even out of your skintone and give you a dewy finish, this is probably a nice option. If you're oily skinned and dislike the feeling of makeup sinking into your pores, you should probably pass on this.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Giveaway: Asian Sheet Masks and a Mish Mash of Goodies!

Giveaways aren't a common thing on my blog but I have a bunch of sheet masks at my disposal and I thought it would be nice if a lucky reader could win a few to pamper themselves with.

I looked through my backup stash and I had some unnecessary doubles so I'm including those in this small giveaway as well. The NYC lipgloss came in a recent VoxBox that I got sent for free but I didn't need another pink lipgloss and figured someone else could enjoy it.

Included in the Prize Pack:
Silk Whitia Anti-Oxidant Whitening Mask
My Scheming 2-in-1 Hyaluronic Acid Mask
Sasatinnie Platinum White Truffle Brightening Silky Mask
My Beauty Diary Natto Mask
My Beauty Diary Sake Yeast Mask (my personal favorite!)
Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Moisturizing Stick
NYC Big Bold Lipgloss in Pleasantly Plump Pink
Covergirl Liquiline Blast Eyeliner in Black (my favorite drugstore black eyeliner!)
Clean and Clear Limited Edition Pink Grapefruit Oil Blotting Sheets
Biore Nose Pore Strip (Asian black edition)
Samples from Bumble and Bumble, Ahava, Too Faced, Bare Minerals and Maybelline

Everything is brand new and most of these products I have used already and quite enjoyed them. The giveaway is open internationally so there's no reason not to enter! The giveaway will close a month from today on November 16. I will email the winner directly and make an announcement on Twitter so make sure you enter with an active email address and be sure to follow me on Twitter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Fortnight Face #6: All About Lips

The last two weeks I had a lot of no makeup days so I didn't really make much progress with the last fornight face. This week I want to explore more of my bright and bold lip options so I kept the rest of the face really neutral but glowy. Besides the lip products, most of the picks for this fornight are tried and true favorites so I don't think I'll have a difficult time thinking of looks. 

I picked a variety of strong colored lip glosses and lipsticks as last week I went quite nude and my-lips-but-better. None of these lip products really match each other so I plan to wear everything separately. Firstly I have the Etude House Color Pop Lipgloss in Sunny Pop, a bright tangerine that appears quite similar to the L'oreal Shine Caresse Lipglosses I love so much. I've missed wearing red lips so I have the Wet n' Wild Mega Last Lipstick in Red Velvet to satisfy my matte red lip craving. I've had this lipstick in my collection for a long time but have probably only worn it once and never got around to reviewing it. Expect a swatch and review on the blog in upcoming weeks! Next is the Jouer Lipgloss in Birchbox Pink, a sheer hot pink that I love. The most fall appropriate lip color is the Lancome Color Design Lipstick in All Done Up, one of my favorite deeper lip shades.

For cheeks I chose two nude shades, Rimmel's Powder Blush in Santa Rose and NYX's Stick Blush in Hibiscus. If I'm using the cream blush and wanting a bit of highlighting action, I'll have theBalm's Mary Loumanizer to help me out. I've been using my Mac MSF Natural in Medium Deep in the contours of my face as an extremely subtle bronzer since my skin is lightening up for the winter time.

For the eyes I chose two neutral eyeshadow palettes that I always want to reach for, put on my vanity, and then neglect and promptly store them away again. The Physician's Formula Shimmer Strips in Bronzed Hazel Eyes has a lovely array of champagnes, golds and bronze taupes and the Pixi Winter Makeup Eyes Palette has a few mattes I will be taking advantage of. For eyeliner I have the Milani Liquif'Eye Pencil Liner in Brown and the Covergirl Liquiline Blast in Black, two standard drugstore pencil liners that get the job done. Finally I included the Kiko Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow in 06 Golden Brown, a bronze shade, for extra lazy days when I just want to swipe on a cream shadow. I stupidly forgot to take the cap off the pencil to show you the color but you can refer to my previous review to see more photos and swatches.

I'm happy to report that I've definitely stuck with my Fortnight Face series and it doesn't even feel like I'm  being forced to use certain products (which was my original worry). Perhaps after a few more weeks I'll give myself a little two week break in which I can have a free for all fortnight face where I can change up products on the daily like I used to. We shall see.... Do you prefer having a set makeup routine for long periods of time or do you rotate products often?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask

Innisfree is a Korean cosmetics brand that focuses on using "natural" ingredients that are good for you. It's similar in price range and aesthetic appeal to brands such as Missha, The Face Shop, and Nature Republic, just to name a few. I was excited when I found out there was an Innisfree store in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong and actually visited the store twice. One of the most popular products from Innisfree is their Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask which retails for about $15 (in Hong Kong). There was an offer at the store where you get some free pore strips and sheet masks when you buy two so my friend and I each bought one and split the GWP. In Korea, the price is probably around $10, making it very affordable.

The mask comes in a very basic hard plastic tub with a screw cap lid. The mask is quite dense so I can understand why they didn't package this in a squeeze tube. If you're worried about germs and contamination, using a disinfected spoon or scoop would be a good idea. The mask has no scent and does not burn or sting on the skin. I apply a thin layer of the mask all over my skin once a week or if I'm breaking out more than usual I might apply the mask on the worst areas every third day for that week. 

The mask dries within 10 minutes and does not tighten too much to the point where my face feels uncomfortable. After rinsing the mask off with warm water, my face feels somewhat cleaner and the oil is definitely reduced but the effects are not long lasting. A benefit is that my skin is not too dried out after using this because it is quite mild. There is a "super" variant of this product and I suppose the formula is more intense and suitable for oily skin types.

While the Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask is nice for my oily, combination skin in the fall and winter, my super oily summer skin will probably fair better with the Origins Clear Improvement Mask which is stronger. If you have sensitive and normal skin that is mildly congested, check out the Innisfree mask as it will probably suit you very well. Have you tried any Innisfree products? What are your favorite detoxing, pore unclogging masks?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

MUA Undress Me Too: Urban Decay Naked2 Dupe?

As much as I love Urban Decay eyeshadows and their palettes, I simply don't use the orginal Naked palette I own already to justify shelling out $50 for the Naked2. While I was in London several moons ago, I was on a mission to locate MUA because I knew their Undress Me Too palette was a proposed dupe for the Naked2. In the UK you can find MUA at Superdrug and for the rest of the world, you can get your hands on the brand through their website

The palette retails for a mere £4.00 in the UK and I bought this during a 3-for-2 offer so I paid even less! On the website, the costs translates to about $6.50 plus a hefty shipping fee. Either way you cut it, you're getting a decent price for 12 eyeshadows. The plastic compact is not glamorous by any stretch of the imagination but I like that the cover is clear so you can easily see what the shades are. The back offers a description of the product as well as the names of all the shadows. I really love having names to refer to shades in palettes as it can be a bit repetitive to call everything "that really pretty taupe-ish brown".

There are three matte shadows and the rest are shimmery to metallic finishes. I like the inclusion of a basic cream and true black because they are pretty much standard mattes that a person of any skin color can use. Lavish, a cool toned grey-brown, is a unique matte that compares to nothing else in my collection. The rest of the shades vary from red bronze (Fiery) to white champagne (Reveal). The shadows are soft, smooth and nicely pigmented. The formula feels almost creamy and is similar to the Sleek eyeshadows, albeit a tad less pigmented.

On the downside, there are two disappointments that should be addressed. Some of the shades do not swatch or apply true to pan. Pretty much all of the shades swatch lighter than how they appear in the pan which was somewhat frustrating the first few times I used the palette. Wink and Obsessed look like deep plummy taupes in the palette but when swatched they look much more muted and light. They're still beautiful shades but not what I was expecting. The lasting power of these shadows is average and nothing to write home about. By the end of the day, my eye makeup has noticeably faded and worn away when I use this palette. Using an eyeshadow base over eyeshadow primer will help this problem.

The MUA Undress Me Too palette is a good alternative for those on a budget who want a cool toned eyeshadow palette. It won't break the bank and the formula is very nice for a drugstore brand. Some of the shades are quite unique and my personal favorites are Devotion, Lavish, Dreamy, Tranquil and Wink. But I wish the colors applied more like how they appear in the pan and that the staying power was improved. Do you think it's worth the extra money for a stellar eyeshadow palette or would you settle with a drugstore dupe?

Monday, October 7, 2013

An Escape From the City: Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow

As much as I love living in New York City and feel lucky to be born and raised in a place full of opportunities waiting to be unlocked, I need a breather from the harsh environment every now and again. After hopping around a few international cities throughout the past year, I now want to refocus and discover the amazing views, communities and food that can be found in the rest of the state of New York and the surrounding United States. 

With a bit of online searching and Google mapping, I figured out a relaxed itinerary for Saturday afternoon. My boyfriend drove us to Tarrytown and it took about an hour from my home in Queens. The drive was incredibly easy and actually a short distance from where we went to high school. Two tolls each way totaled $17.50 altogether which stung a bit but I'd say it was worth the cost. Those living in the city who don't have cars can easily get to Tarrytown and various Hudson River Valley towns via the Metro North railroad.   

We started off our afternoon by having brunch at Sweet Grass Grill on Main Street. Sweet Grass prides itself in serving local and seasonal foods and just about everything on the menu sounds delicious. A lot of the dishes were remixes of classic favorites with a variety of options for vegans. The homey decor and polite servers were icing on the cake. Dennis ordered the Farmer's Breakfast Bowl which consisted of grits with chorizo, cheese and roasted pepper topped with a fried egg. I had a bite and the chorizo added such a nice smoky flavor to the creamy grits.  

I always crave carbs so I was deciding between the pancakes or french toast. I'm more of a pancakes gal at heart so I went with that option even though the menu didn't provide much detail as to what the pancakes were made of. I am so glad I went with the pancakes because they were amazing. They were hands down the best pancakes I have ever had in my life. The syrup was also delicious and the fruit was fresh. I finished all three pancakes (more like two and a half because Dennis ate some) and could not have been more at peace after that meal. 

Originally I had planned to eat at Sweet Grass Grill for dinner (we ended up eating at a Peruvian place back at home) and I would gladly make the trip back up just to dine there again. The price was also below Manhattan averages as my pancakes were a mere $10 and Dennis' dish was $12. So. Worth. It. 

We walked about Main Street a bit and decided to head over to Hudson River to walk off our filling lunch. The weather has been unusually hot for this time of year and the sun was searing to the point of it being too nice. There's a nice little walkway with various shrubs and plants that line the banks facing the Tappan Zee Bridge. We spent some time sitting on a rock by the water, people watching and soaking up the last few rays of sun. 

After it became unbearably hot in the sun, we trekked back uphill to Main Street and came across some more interesting plants. I've never seen berries in such vibrant shades of teal and purple before!

The crab apples were a gorgeous, vibrant red and brought out the healthy green tones of the leaves. Also, could the sky in the background be anymore perfect?

To cool off from our little walk, we headed to Coffee Labs Roasters, a popular coffee place across the street from Sweet Grass Grill. The owners of the coffee shop have three labradors (not at the coffee shop) and dog friends are welcome!

I'm not typically a coffee drinker because I can't take the bitterness and don't want to become hooked on caffeine but Dennis drinks a cup everyday. To suit my taste buds he chose the build-your-own caramel frozen drink which was the perfect amount of sweetness. I couldn't stop hogging the cup because it was really tasty and refreshing.

As someone usually surrounded by corporate owned shops and restaurants, it was so refreshing to see a truly indie establishment that felt authentic. Coffee Labs had a bunch of Halloween decor already as it's a big holiday in the area and even the bathroom was an interesting experience because they have press clippings framed up on the wall. It's really inspiring to see small businesses that people have worked hard to build and nurture.

After catching our breath at Coffee Labs, we drove to Sleepy Hollow to visit the Old Dutch Church and Cemetary, one of the oldest in the country. The town was settled by the Dutch in 1640, something I can't quite wrap my head around.

It's incredibly how old a lot of the tombstones are and that most are still in very good shape and legible. There were many American Revolution veterans and many of the original town farmers are buried in the neighborhood. The graves were marked with dates ranging from the 17th century to present day which surprised me. We only had about 20 minutes to browse the grounds before the cemetery closed for the day so I wish we could have gone further in.

As the sun dipped under the rolling hills on the West, we drove back down to the Tarrytown Lakes Park and explored a bit on foot. In a few weeks, the trees will definitely be more orange and red but the view was spectacular nonetheless.

A tranquil afternoon spent in two lovely neighboring towns with my best friend was just what I needed to refuel me for the beginning of a new week. I can't wait to go back and explore more of the Hudson River Valley as this was only the very tip of the region. Bear Mountain, a little further up and on the other side of the river, is probably my next destination as I've been there previously but haven't really explored the place as much as I would like. 

Where do you go to unwind? Do you prefer travelling locally or across great distances? 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

My Simple, No-Frills Hair Care Routine

Unlike makeup and skincare, I generally do not hoard hair care products and do not rotate through many things at the same time. I buy a bottle of something, use it up, then repurchase or try something new. But no harm in sharing my pared down hair care routine and providing some insight on the products I've been using. 

Generally my hair is non-fussy aside from the odd case of major frizz on an especially humid summer day. I used to color my hair in high school but it was only a few times (maybe three?). I also did permanent straightening and a wavy perm during those years as well. Almost three years ago I chopped my long hair into a bob and let it grow out to a healthy state. I rarely straighten or curl my hair and can't even remember the last time I've used any of those tools. I rarely use a hard dryer either and prefer to air dry my hair (mostly out of laziness). 

I was my hair every two or three days with the Phyto Soothing Treatment Shampoo which I picked up at City Pharma in Paris. I wanted to try a Phyto product because it's a high end product sold in Sephora in the states but a drugstore priced brand in France. I figured it was probably pretty good and the soothing formula sounded gentle for my scalp. The shampoo comes in an awkward metal bottle and has a poorly designed flip top opening that gives you very little control over how much product comes out. I wish it had a pump dispenser instead. The shampoo is brown colored and smells strongly of men's body wash to me. It hardly foams but somehow leaves your hair feeling cleaner. It's a decent shampoo but not something I would buy again, especially not for Sephora prices. 

For conditioner I've been using the L'Oreal Elvive Total Repair 5 Hair Mask which I raved about in my May favorites. I used to use this as a hair mask about once a week but have since made it my usual conditioner as a little goes a long way and it doesn't over moisturize my hair. I bought this mask while in Amsterdam so I'm not sure what the American equivalent is but I will probably look into more L'oreal brand hair care products in the future. 

After washing my hair, I like to put a tiny bit of treatment into damp hair to lock in the moisture and give my locks a bit of a boost. Lately I've been using a sample of the Alterna Bamboo Silk-Sleek Brilliance Cream. This generous sample has lasted me a few washes already and I have many more to go. I like to transfer the product from these sample sachets into empty skincare travel tubs for convenience and cleanliness. This cream is supposed to provide moisture and shine to the hair which I can't exactly vouch for. It's not a bad product by any means but doesn't make a noticeable difference to me. At least it doesn't make my hair feel or look worse, right? As the whether gets cooler I'll definitely be using hair oils to condition my hair instead. 

I'm a big fan of dry shampoo since I don't wash my hair daily and right now I'm mainly using a mini of the Oscar Blandi Pronto Invisible Voluminizing Dry Shampoo Spray. This is not a bad dry shampoo by any means but I prefer the Klorane Dry Shampoo which was in my October favorites last year. The Oscar Blandi version has a pleasant lemon scent but doesn't have enough strength to banish grease and keep it at bay as long as Klorane's. I find that my hair gets greasy again by the around 5 p.m if I sprayed the Oscar Blandi dry shampoo on in the morning. 

That's about as complex as my daily hair care gets! There's the odd day that I feel like testing out a sample of something in my stash but generally I don't experiment too much. I'm itching to dye my hair soon and possibly get a blunt fringe because my hair's been in the same state for too long. We'll see how that pans out in the upcoming weeks.... What hair care products do you swear by? Recommend me some of your favorites!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Fortnight Face #5: A Tempting Gaze

The title of this fortnight face refers to Mac's Tempting eyeshadow which makes an appearance in my little unloved Mac quad but the overall look also channels a sultry autumn feel that longs for attention. Warm tones dominate this look as I consider them my safety blanket but a select few products inject enough coolness to signal the upcoming chill. 

For cheeks I've scouted out two nude rose blushes, Catrice's Defining Blush in Toffee Fairy and NYX's Rouge Cream Blush in Tea Rose. These pinky brown cheek products add warmth to the complexion and remind me the gorgeous fall leaves. If I fancy adding a touch of highlight, I'll opt for the Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Illuminating Serum which I believe is now discontinued.

The eye makeup consists of the eyeshadows in my Mac quad, Satin Taupe, Patina, Tempting and Carbonized (LE). I plan on mostly using these shades all over the lid and perhaps Carbonized in the outer corner for a easy smokey eye looks. I also threw in the L'Oreal Color Infallible Eyeshadow in Sahara Treasure (Europe exclusive) if I want to do a shimmery inner corner highlight or all over lid color. I added L'Oreal's HIP Color Chrome Eyeliner in Gold Charge to the mix in case I want to use it as a base. I think it would pair really well with Patina which is not as pigmented or reflective as I had hoped. To line the eyes I have MakeUpStore's Metallic Eyeliner in Chocolate Cheesecake, a cool toned brown pencil.

Nothing crazy is happening with the lips as I've chosen very "safe" peach and mauve shades to complement the rosy and brown tones of the cheeks and eyes. I wanted to show Revlon's Colorburst Lipgloss in Peony some love because I haven't reached for it in months. Same goes with Revlon's Colorburst Lipstick in Petal which used to be one of my favorites. I really enjoyed using Maybelline's Color Sensational Lipgloss in Mirrored Mauve in January and thought it would look lovely for this fortnight. I threw in Tarte's LipSurgence in Glitzy (LE) for good measure in case I want an easy tinted shimmery nude lip. 

New York (and pretty much the rest of the country) has been experiencing abnormally warm weather for the past few days and upcoming week so it's put a bit of a damper on my fall spirit. I always welcome the fall months because it's optimum strolling weather and I love fall fashion. Let's hope by week two of this fortnight I can really match my makeup to the season!