Monday, September 29, 2014

Recent Favorites: September 2014

My makeup collection has seen an influx of new goodies but I've been trying to get back into using forgotten favorites instead. This month I've cemented my love for a few products I've neglected in the past and found new ways to use things I didn't love at first sight previously.

I briefly mentioned the Laura Geller Spackle Under Make-Up Primer in my Six Product Face post and I truly have been using this primer every time I wear makeup as it helps my foundation and concealer stay on. It doesn't feel greasy or pore-clogging which is a huge plus and a little goes a long way. I used to not like using primers because they felt like an extra step with no noticeable results but when I forgot to use this one day, I could definitely see a difference by the end of the day.

To set my makeup I've been relying on the Ben Nye Luxury Powder in Banana. The best thing about this powder is that it never looks cakey or overdone. It blurs out my pores and keeps my face mattified for several hours. If you're looking for a budget powder, this is a great one.

Onto the more exciting color makeup.... I've been layering two nude peach blushes to get a subtle hint of pink on my pale cheeks. I dug out Becca's Beach Tint in Fig and I love how easy it is to apply. The color is subtle and sheers out a lot so you can't really go wrong. I apply a thin layer of Fig on the general area of my cheek and to highlight and further define the color, I brush some of the Hard Candy Blush Crush Baked Blush in Pin Up onto the upper portion of my cheekbones. I never really used this blush even though I've had it for years because it just appeared too shimmery to be a blush and too pink to be a highlighter. This combination of the cream base and using only a bit of the shimmery blush is a beaute though. 

For the eyes I've been quite lazy and just donning a bit of brown pencil liner. I usually do a more dramatic wing but the past few days I've wanted to keep it minimal. The Make Up Store Eyeliner in Chocolate Cheesecake is a beautiful brown liner with a hint of micro shimmer. The formula is ultra smooth and glides onto the lashline with no problems. 

On my lips I've discovered a wearable baby pink lip combo that doesn't look too awkward on my yellow skin. First I apply a thin layer of the Clé de Peau Beauté Enriched Lip Luminizer in 224* all over my lips. This lipstick is quite sheer but the very pale color washes me out and makes me look ill. That's why I have to top it with a brighter shade like the Dior Addict Lipstick in Dior Kiss. Together these two lipsticks give me a subtle pink hue and feel ultra comfortable on my lips.

What have you been loving this past month? Any rediscovered products or new purchases?

* The Clé de Peau Beauté lipstick was provided for free by PR for consideration. All thoughts are my own and 100% honest.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Start of My Jouer Palette (With Swatches!)

I'm always drawn to beauty palettes because they are often an amazing value and so convenient when you need to have everything in one handy case. The downside to palettes is when some shades are gorgeous but others are repeats in your collection or just plain... blah. This is why the Jouer interlocking compacts are genius and a godsend for people who can be a bit picky. 

I've had the Jouer Lipgloss in Birchbox Pink for over two years now but I've never had any other compacts to attach it to. Recently I was given their Powder Eyeshadow in Caramel and the Powder Blush in Peach Bouquet* to finally expand my little palette. As you can see from the photo above, the compacts can click together side by side or back to back. The interlocking mechanism is easy to use and pretty sturdy so you don't have to worry about anything breaking off. However, the one caveat I found is that if you have two mini squares clicked onto the back of a longer compact, you cannot open both of the small squares at the same time because there isn't enough room for the lids. 

Here is what the products look like separately in case you want to only bring one piece with you on the go. The little ridges on the sides of the compacts aren't too obtrusive or unappealing. The dark brown plastic casing feels substantial and is a nice contrast to the usual black casing. 

The texture of Jouer powder makeup is very smooth and soft. The colors are perfect for those who like subtle makeup and great for ladies (or gentlemen) who work in conservative environments. The pigmentation is certainly on par but you won't get the extra buttery goodness that you might find with Urban Decay or Nars. Jouer powders blend easily, almost a tad too easily, so use a light hand when sheering out color. I really love the color of Peach Bouquet and think it's the perfect everyday color for most light to tan skintones. Caramel swatched a lot more gold than I thought it would because it seemed more like a mid tone brown in the pan. The fine shimmer in this shadow makes the eyelids glow and I love this all over the lid for a quick look. The color does translate a bit warm so it can look almost orange in a not-so-flattering way but I can easily counteract that by adding in a cool matte brown to the outer corners of my eyes.

I have been wanting to try Jouer's products for several years now and their formulas do not disappoint. I love the build-your-own concept and look forward to adding maybe a matte eyeshadow and cream tint and highlight to my palette. I also briefly met Christina Zilber, the founder of Jouer, at a Birchbox event and she was really sweet as well. Bonus points for down to earth founders! Have you tried any Jouer products? What are your favorite makeup palette brands?

*The blush and eyeshadow were given to me as gratis for my work at Birchbox. I bought the lipgloss two years ago with Birchbox points I had accumulated from my subscription that I paid for myself. All opinions are 100% my own honest thoughts. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Classic Yet Modern Dress for Fall

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have already seen the newest addition to my fall wardrobe, a beautiful teal dress that I'm already thinking about wearing to a few upcoming events. I was contacted by eShakti to review one of their pieces so I chose something I could wear to work or for a night out. The dress I chose was the Mesh Inserts Poplin Dress* which they also have in a beautiful eggplant color.

The beauty behind eShakti is that they offer customization for the style and fit of each piece. They do not stock sizes and actually make every piece as the orders roll in. You can enter your measurements for the perfect fit or simply choose your regular size (XS to 6X). I couldn't find a tape measure in my apartment so I just went for my usual size small. The dress fits true to size on me and it surprisingly hugs the contours of my body very well. This particular cut is very flattering for those with very straight, flat bodies like mine!

You can also customize the length of your dress (mini to ankle length) and whether or not you want pockets. I went with the mini length and I love having pockets so that was a nice feature. When I first took this dress out of the packaging, I thought the length was a bit long for a mini but I realized it's due to the cut out mesh feature that makes this seem much longer. I personally really love the mesh detail because it takes a very classic silhouette and gives it an edge.

In terms of the construction of the dress, the proportions are great but the material itself could be higher quality considering this retails for $69.95. There is a side zipper to help with getting the dress on and off but even with the dress unzipped, it was a tight squeeze to get this piece on.... I swear I heard a slight rip when I put the dress on for the first time and had a mini panic attack. I think the prices on the website are definitely on the higher side but they frequently have promotions and discounts that even out the price.

I was pleasantly surprised by my eShakti order and would recommend the site if you have trouble finding clothes that fit your individual body type. They have a wide variety of styles and I think the ones they seem to do best are the vintage-looking ones akin to something from the 1960s.

If you're interested in ordering something from the site, you can use the code 'ANGELICBB' for 10% off your total. The coupon expires October 22, 2014 and can be combined with any other offer on the site (unless explicitly stated on the other promotion). The coupon code is not valid on clearance or sale, gift cards and overstock categories.

*I was provided this piece for free by eShakti for review purposes. All opinions stated are my own honest views. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Mini "Essential" Sephora Haul

Do you ever buy beauty products and get more excited about the free samples than the actual things you bought? This is one of those hauls.

I'm running low on the MUFE setting spray which I like but don't love. The MUFE nozzle doesn't dispense as fine a mist as the Urban Decay spray. Sephora is stocking the Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray Duo Pack which only costs $39 when one bottle goes for $30 normally. In my excitement I somehow thought that the duo consisted of one of the De-Slick Spray and the other being the All Nighter Spray. I really enjoyed the De-Slick mini so I'm hoping I like the All Nighter just as much since I now have two whopping bottles of it.

I was also running out of bar soap so I picked up the Fresh Sugar Lychee Soap which I had smelled in the store and really enjoyed but never tried. Each bar is pretty pricey but the size is quite big so it will last awhile. If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you'll probably know that I love a good hunk of lathery soap rather than a simple body wash.

I used the promotion code FIGHTACNE (which is still active) to pick two deluxe samples out of a few good skincare items. I settled on the new Bare Minerals Blemish Ready Acne-Clearing Foundation and the Kate Somerville HydraClear Hydrating Acne Gel. Both are great travel sizes that I'll probably bring on my next overnight trip. The Bare Minerals sample looks small but I had a sample in the same size of their matte foundation a long time ago and it lasted many uses.

For my three free packet samples I chose the Kate Somerville Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment which I've had before and like to have on hand for overnight trips. I also picked the Josie Maran Argan Infinity Lip and Cheek Creamy Oil in Limitless Pink because it's an interesting product concept but one I definitely want to try on my face before buying. I had heard good things about the Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black Fragrance so that was my final sample choice.

Do you love samples as much as I do? What fun things have you hauled recently?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Face Shop's Volcanic Clay Blackhead Charcoal Nose Strips

Not everyone will agree but I think doing a peel off nose strip helps remove build up and cleans the grease and dirt that regular washing and exfoliating doesn't get rid of. The ones I'm using at the moment are particularly good and they are Volcanic Clay Blackhead Charcoal Nose Strips from The Face Shop. 

The black strips are great because you can see the gunk so much better than when you use a white strip. You use these the same way you would any other typical peel off strip: dappen the face, apply the dry strip to the nose and press to secure. I like to do this right out of a shower because the steam opens the pores and helps the strip grab onto more clumps of sebum. It takes about ten minutes for the mask to dry fully and harden which is when you know to rip it off. 

I use a strip generally once every two weeks as it takes a few weeks for my nose pores to get clogged and especially enlarged. Using the strips too often might irritate the skin as well. I like strips with a good amount of grip and it personally does not hurt. I know some people have more sensitive skins and noses so it's all personal preference.

Here is a picture of a strip post application. You can see it pulled out some rather giant bits of build up. After removing the mask, I rinse my face with warm water because there tends to be some leftover glue from the strip. Then I'll spritz my face with some toner to seal my pores. 

I can't remember exactly how much these strips cost but I'm pretty sure the box was under $10 for seven strips. I purchased these at a local The Face Shop store but I'm sure you can find these online if you don't have access to this brand. What do you think of peel off nose masks? How do you remove blackheads, whiteheads and other build up from that area?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Five Fall Blush and Lip Picks

This morning I stepped outside in a faux leather jacket and circle scarf combo which was perfect for the fifty degree weather. Fall is right around the corner and I'm happy to trade in my shimmery corals and turquoise liners for mauve lipglosses and plum nude blushes.

Nars Oasis Blush is a dusty rose blush with tons of golden shimmer. I use this blush pretty much exclusively in the fall and winter because it looks great on pale skin. I could do without all the shimmer because it can highlight pores so I tap my brush quite a lot before placing the color on my face. 

Catrice Rosewood Forest Blush is the matte, drugstore version of Oasis. You can find Catrice in Europe and some other countries such as Singapore. Their blushes are housed in sturdy clear acrylic and the quality of the product itself is great. Oasis and Rosewood Forest are my-cheeks-but-better shades that naturally sculpt the face without looking too harsh.

To be perfectly honest, I've never worn the Innisfree Color Glow Lipstick in 05 Plum Burgundy besides the one time I swatched the shade at home. I'm determined to wear this bright berry red outside this season. The formula is enriched with camelia oil and is meant to be creamy and comfortable to wear. Expect to see a full review and swatch of this lippie in the near future!

I've talked about the Shiseido Rouge Lacquers before but I haven't reviewed the shade, RS727 Rose Grey*, a relatively new release that was part of the Fall-Winter 2014 collection. Rose Grey is a perfect descriptor for this muted pink shade that nudes out my lips ever so slightly without looking too pale. 

Maybelline's Colorsensational Lipgloss in Mirrored Mauve is probably my favorite drugstore lipgloss and it's especially fitting for fall. The cream formula is comfortable and the color is the easiest plummy brown for any skin tone. I'll probably reach for this gloss the most in the upcoming months because it's so low maintenance.  

What are your fall makeup picks? Do you tend to change your makeup routine with the seasons?

* This product was provided by PR for consideration. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Makeup Purge: September 2014

It's high time I take a cold, hard look at my makeup collection and toss out a few bits that have expired or things that I know I won't use. There are many neglected items in my possession but I just don't have the heart to pass them along just yet. For now, I'm proud of myself for being able to purge these few pieces.

Let's take a trip down memory lane with the Revlon Illuminance Creme Shadows. I reviewed these four years ago in September 2010 but I bought them before that. These palettes are some of the first pieces of makeup I ever owned so they will always hold a special place in my heart. They weren't particularly good but they made decent color bases over a regular eyeshadow primer. I hit pan on three of the shades in the Skinlights quad so at least I used them a bit. At this point I think they're just too old to use so in the trash they go.

The Too Faced Glamour Gloss in Pillow Talk is a favorite but I acquired this during the 2010 Holiday season and it's starting to separate. The color is the perfect nude and the cooling sensation is really nice. I would love to get another one of these glosses in a Too Faced value set in the future.

The Cargo Lipgloss in Morocco was another go-to for putting on top of nude lippies that I added to my collection in the fall of 2011. The formula was non-sticky and the shimmers were finely milled. This has also started to separate just a bit so better safe than sorry. I used this lipgloss many times and even though it's a sample mini, I barely made a dent in it....

I have a few Catrice eyeshadow products that I bought whilst in Amsterdam that I just don't reach for. I'll be passing these along to my little cousins who might get more use out of these shades. I have the Made to Stay Long Lasting Cream Eyeshadows in Metall of Honor (there are two l's) and Romans Gone Bad which are nice but I rarely do smokey looks. The quad in Never Let Me Go! (yes, the ! is part of the shade name) is not the most pigmented and the peach shade is super chalky. There is really no point in keeping these in my collection when I have so many more shadows that I do like.

It is so convenient to be able to go back in my blog and reference when I bought various products based on hauls and reviews. How do you keep track of what's gone bad in your makeup collection? Do you routinely toss out products you don't use or give them away? How do you deal with the makeup clutter?!

Monday, September 8, 2014

New In: Dainty Metals

Let's take a beauty break to talk about some pretty little acquisitions that I can't stop wearing at the moment. I'm not much of a jewelry wearer because I just can't be fussed to mix and match pieces to fit my usually boring attire. Gone are my days of fast fashion and buying cheap, scratchy necklaces from Forever21. From here on out I'm looking for high quality pieces I can treasure for years.

I've been looking for affordable gold studs and this pair from Madewell fit the bill nicely, especially since they were on sale for less than $11 with free shipping. Nothing particularly special about these earrings but they'll do for now until I save up for some real gold earrings.

Now for the more exciting purchase, my first additions to my Catbird collection. Catbird is a popular Brooklyn jeweler and I've had their skinny midi rings on my mind for more than two years. Last week I finally made it a point to drop by their boutique and treat myself to some rings I could wear everyday. I'm not really a ring wearer and have never been properly sized so I wanted to go to Brooklyn instead of ordering online. I believe the name of the girl who helped me at the shop was Leo and she was very helpful and patient as I tried on various sizes to find the perfect fit.

Ultimately I chose the large hammered memory ring (size 6.5, $74) in 14k yellow gold and the small hammered memory ring (size 1, $28) in sterling silver to start off my stack. I love the hammered detailing because it reflects light better than the regular rings to give my fingers a little extra glint. Catbird also does rose gold rings so I plan on getting one of those next. Since these little guys can get pretty pricey, I'll probably wait for a special occasion to add a few more to my fingers.

I'm late to the midi ring and stacking trend and Catbird is pretty mainstream at this point but that doesn't mean I love my new trinkets any less. Would love to see any recommendations for any great jewelers that you have had good experience with! What do you think of understated, dainty jewelry?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

How I: Get Instantly Glowy Skin

Fall is quickly approaching but that doesn't mean we have to give up the glow we spent the whole summer striving for. These are five of my favorite skincare and makeup products that can bring back the vitality of long summer days in a jiffy.

The easiest way to perk up your skin is to use a brightening sheet mask and my favorite is the Leaders Insolution Vita Bright Skin Renewal Mask. The Leaders Insolution masks are super soft and the perfect thickness to adhere to your face without feeling heavy. The Vita Bright mask is meant to brighten the skin and correct discoloration and I can see a slight brightness in my skin the next morning. With repeated use, I strongly believe this mask helps other brightening skincare products work more effectively.

The Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel for Sensitive Skin is my current favorite exfoliant and resurfaces my skin in a matter of minutes. Being that this is an exfoliant which uses glycolic acid to chemically treat the skin, there are no scrubby particles in this product. I apply a very thin layer of this gel onto my face until I feel a slight heating and tingling sensation. Then I'll wash off the gel and I have instantly radiant, albeit a little red, skin.

The Skin Food Salmon Brightening Eye Cream is my daytime eye cream which I use around my eye area and on the tops of my cheekbones before I apply any makeup. This light reflecting cream provides some moisture and a very fine pearlescent sheen that lifts my features ever so slightly.

As for makeup, the Marcelle Golden Glow BB Cream was my favorite fuss-free base discovery this summer. The one-shade-fits-all color might not suit everyone but if it does, you're in luck. The subtle golden glimmers brighten the face but never look glittery or obvious. The cream blends into the skin seamlessly and looks like your skin but better.

I always powder to set my makeup since I have oily skin so to revive the glow, I use a makeup setting spray. Right now I'm testing the Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix which does nicely to revive the dewy look pre-powder while still helping my makeup last throughout the day.

Do you embrace the glow or do you prefer a more matte look? What are your favorite products for achieving a brightened complexion?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Canadian Budget Beauty: Marcelle Bronzer and Blush

I love trying out beauty products from other countries but I rarely think of looking to our neighboring North American country, Canada. Marcelle is a popular drugstore brand that was originally established in Chicago but moved across the border where it really took off. I love the Golden Glow BB Cream by Marcelle so I was hoping for two more winners in the form of the Monochromatic Bronzer* and Quad Blush in Ultimate Pinks*.

First off, the Monochromatic Bronzer is huge, weighing in at 13.2 grams for $20. If you happen to love this bronzer, it will last you a very long time so it's worth the price. It’s free of parabens, perfumes, gluten, and preservatives—not to mention hypoallergenic as well. The bronzer only comes in one shade. The Quad Blushes are smaller at 4.5 grams and cost $16. Aloe leaf extract is the first ingredient which I thought was interesting and uncommon. There are three blush shades to choose from: Ultimate Pinks, Ultimate Corals and Ultimate Nudes. I believe Marcelle is considered a high-end drugstore brand if that makes sense. It's pricey compared to the likes of Maybelline and Revlon but it's not expensive enough to qualify as a non-drugstore brand in my mind. Canadians, feel free to correct me on this.... 

Both the bronzer and blush are smooth mattes that have sheer to medium pigmentation. You don't have to worry about going overboard with these because the color payoff is light. The bronzer is a warm milk chocolate brown that does not lean too orange. I like the bronzer for warming up my complexion when my foundation is too light for my summer coloring. The pink will look best on fair skintones as it can pull chalky on deeper skin. The blush can be powdery so I advise swirling your brush in the compact and tapping off the excess before applying to the face.

I like the Marcelle Monochromatic Bronzer enough to recommend it to those who like a warm, natural bronzer. The blush would be good for those who are very light skinned and want a very subtle coloring but it's nothing special. Have you tried any products from Marcelle? 

*The products mentioned in this post were samples provided by Birchbox for job training and are in no way related to this blog. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

July and August 2014 Empties

It feels like a long time since I've recounted my empties although in reality it's only been the standard two months. I used up a few big tubs of products and countless sample packets recently as I diligently stick to my basics and weave in a few samples here and there during sleepovers and the like. 

I'm feeling less and less inclined to delve into every single product I use up these days. I go through quite a lot and most things are just "meh" so no use going on and on saying things like "this was okay". The hits from this batch of empties that I would repurchase are the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, Bioderma Crealine H20, Biore Kao Cleansing Oil (Asia exclusive) and Urban Decay De-Slick Makeup Setting Spray

Monika recommended the CeraVe moisturizer when I told her about the chronically dry skin on my body. Throughout the year, but especially in the winter and early spring months, my skin is so dry it flakes and itches. The CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is thick and emollient without being tacky and uncomfortable. My skin drinks it up and it instantly soothes the itchiness. Love! I like using Bioderma to take off my makeup when I'm wearing just some concealer and powder or a very light BB cream. I have another 500ml bottle that I'm starting to use now so it'll last me a long time. The Biore Cleansing Oil smells great and takes off my face makeup very effectively (although I have yet to try a cleansing oil which has not done a good job). I mostly like this one for the consistency and scent and would consider repurchasing it. The Urban Decay De-Slick Makeup Setting Spray extends the wear time of my makeup, takes away the powdery look and somehow makes my completely foundation-ed up face look more natural. The fine misting mechanism is a winner and right now I'm trying the MUFE Setting Spray but the nozzle is nowhere near as good as the Urban Decay one. 

Nothing too exciting to report on the makeup front. I used to have a thing for pale baby pink lips so Mac's Cremesheen Glass in Fashion Whim was a favorite. The last couple of years I've embraced brighter lip colors and Fashion Whim didn't sit well with me anymore so it got neglected. I've had this lipgloss for several years now and it's starting to separate so it's going into my small Back to Mac collection. I tried out the Maybelline The Rocket Waterproof Mascara for the first time and it's decent but not as good Colossal or The Falsies. I used up the dark brown shade from the Physician's Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Gel Cream Liner trio for Brown Eyes. It's a decent affordable gel liner but I wish the lasting power was a bit better. I think I'll be purchasing one of the Mac or Bobbi Brown gel liners once I use up the black gel liner that I still have from Physician's Formula. Lastly I finished a sample of the Korres Quercetin and Oak AntiAging Eye Primer which was fine but nothing special.

I finished too many single-use sachets to count but a few notable ones include the Urban Decay Naked Beauty Balm and the Aesop Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Masque. I liked the Urban Decay Beauty Balm for low key days when I still wanted something on my face. But the scent really bothered me and smelled strongly of chemicals so I won't buy the full size. The Aesop mask will be on my mind when I finally use up all the cleansing masks I have already. Another notable mention goes to the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose Dry Oil, my favorite body oil for it's light fragrance and non-greasy feel.

What have you finished up recently? Do you enjoy seeing what products others have used up? I'm all about documenting products I have tried and tested but it's getting to be a bit of a chore to write these posts if I'm being really honest. How do you keep track of what goes in and out of your collection?