Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lancome Kissed By Gold Color Design Eyeshadow Palette

I always look forward to Lancome gift with purchases because they always include decent sized samples that are of the same high quality as their full size products. Recently I acquired a mini Color Design eyeshadow palette in Kissed By Gold and I was excited to add one of these newer five pan minis to my Lancome eyeshadow palette collection. The Color Design eyeshadows were reformulated a year or two ago and they are incredibly buttery and a dream to work with.

All of the shades in this warm toned palette are super pigmented and almost creamy to the touch. There are four shimmers that borderline on being metallic and one matte midtone brown which is perfect for completing a look. This sample palette contains .07 ounces of product whereas a full size quad has .14 ounces and retails for $50. This gift with purchase is exactly half the amount of product and has a value of $25! Kissed By Gold seems to be a permanent palette on the Ulta and Lancome sites although this particular palette is not sold on Sephora.

I did not even need a primer to get intense color payoff from these shadows although I would suggest using a base to minimize any fall out from the shimmery shades. These warm tones pair together beautifully and I like the range of light to dark colors. The bronze shade is my favorite because it almost looks like a cream because it is so buttery and opaque. This will definitely be a go-to in my summer makeup travel bag.

If you're not keen on shelling out $50 for an eyeshadow palette, I highly urge you to look into the Lancome gift with purchases offerings. They come around every few months at department stores and directly on the Lancome website. You can usually score a bag of deluxe sized samples with a purchase of $50 or so which is quite easy to achieve. What do you think of this gift with purchase palette? Have you tried the Lancome Color Design Quints?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Haul: Mac, L'Oreal and Milani

I can't say I'm entirely disappointed in myself for buying all this makeup because I needed to restock on some staples. I say "need" loosely of course because one look at my room and you'd know I don't need any more makeup for years to come. Let's just settle with the fact that I restocked on my necessities and then some. Just a warning that this post is a bit longer because I break down the prices I paid for the drugstore products. If you're into drugstore couponing, this is the post for you!

I always buy my favorite Maybelline waterproof mascaras in bulk when there's a 40% off sale and I just opened my last fresh tube. Rite Aid was having 40% off all L'Oreal cosmetics so I thought I'd give a few of their new mascaras a try. I picked up the Voluminous Million Lashes, Voluminous Butterfly and Voluminous Butterfly Intenza all in waterproof formulas. I usually open one mascara at a time (not including sample ones) so I won't be buying mascara for awhile.

I also picked up two of the relatively new Colour Riche Eyeshadow Quads in Perpetual Nude and Absolute Taupe. I really don't need eyeshadow but I haven't tried any new drugstore formulas in awhile and these looked a lot like Japanese drugstore shadows. I actually quite like the gold reflect casing and these look perfect for traveling. Expect a full review with swatches of these soon! On top of the 40% off, if you spent $20 on L'Oreal products, you got $5 in +UP Rewards. So I just bought the three mascaras and the Perpetual Nude eyeshadow palette which equaled about $23 including tax. Then I swatched the shadow palette before deciding I liked it enough to grab a second one the next day (you can't use +UP rewards the same day you earn them). So I got the second palette for only $1 since it is normally $10 (minus $4 from the 40% off and my $5 in +UP rewards). In total I got five products for about $25 with tax included so I think I did a pretty good job! I could have saved a bit more if I had printed the $1 off coupons from L'Oreal's website but I was too lazy to turn on my printer (I know, the irony...) so I didn't save $2 (one dollar for each separate purchase).

It's not even November yet my skin is already parched from the cold weather. My favorite drugstore body lotion is the Cerave Moisturizing Cream which I get from CVS when a good coupon pops up in my inbox. I just so happened to receive a 30% off coupon and I had two $2 bonus Extrabuck specials so I had a reason to browse a bit longer than necessary.... Seriously, the CVS ExtraCare Rewards Card is awesome! I've never owned a lip liner but with all the bold lipsticks I've been sporting and wanting to wear throughout the winter, I think I need to invest in a basic one. I settled on the Milani Anti-Feather Lipliner because it's clear so I can wear it with any shade. I quickly searched for some reviews to make sure this wasn't completely rubbish and judging from a handful of blogs, these seems to be a decent lipliner. I also haven't bought eyeshadow primer in years since I had so many from Urban Decay and Too Faced eyeshadow palettes. But I tossed out my super old shadow primers and my Too Faced Shadow Insurance is starting to get old so I looked into some drugstore alternatives. I read many rave reviews about the Milani Eyeshadow Primer which I had never thought of buying before so that went into my basket as well. With the 30% off and my $4 in random Extrabucks, I ended up paying about $16 and change including tax so it's like I got the Milani products for free!

Finally, I bought some basics from Mac. I don't often shop at Mac but the prices are affordable for a mid-tier brand and I've been curious about some of their products for a long time. I am proud to say I did not pick up any superfluous color products like eyeshadows or blushes. I opted for a Select Cover-Up Concealer in NW20, a Pro Longwear Waterproof Brow Set in Quiet Brunette and the classic Fluidline Eye-Liner Gel in Blacktrack. I have never tried Mac concealers and I'm always down to try new bases so I picked Select Cover-Up because it looked like a nice liquid concealer for under the eyes and spots. I talked about my sad brows in my eye brow routine post so I wanted to try a tinted brow gel to see if it would save me some time. I'm making good progress on my tiny Physician's Formula black cream liner so I thought I'd just get the Blacktrack Fluidline as a backup. I've never tried a high-end gel liner so I'm hoping Blacktrack lives up to the hype. Mac never does sales but a family friend works at Bloomingdales so she was able to get me 20% off on top of an additional 20% for Friends and Family so that was how I justified these purchases!

Hope you guys enjoyed this rambly little post! Let me know if you've tried any of these products and how you like them!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Stila Convertible Color in Peony: The Most Natural Cheek Color

When I don't know what blush to wear with a purple smokey eye or a bold red lip, chances are I'll pick up my Stila Convertible Color in Peony. It's the perfect nude blush that goes great with any look whether you prefer barely-there makeup or an edgy look for a night out. The Stila Convertible Colors are a great cream blush and Peony is the best selling shade in the line for good reason. 

The Stila Convertible Color is meant for a person who's always on the go and the creamy product can be used on the lips and cheeks. Personally I don't use cream blushes as lip products but you could do that if you're in a pinch and wanting a MLBB tint. The super slim compact is very handy and perfect for travel. I like the packaging a lot because it feels sturdy and the plastic case color matches the shade of blush. Each compact holds .15 ounces of product which is quite a lot given the tiny look of it. For reference, Make Up For Ever's HD Cream Blushes are a measly .09 ounces and Bobbi Brown's Pot Rouges are .13 ounces.

The formula of this cream blush is simply perfect. This may sound dramatic but you really can't mess up with the pigmented yet not too melty texture. I like to use a brush to get the most seamless blend but you can certainly use your fingers without making a huge mess. The cream doesn't feel sticky or uncomfortable on my usually oily skin and it lasts throughout the long work day. You can also use this as a base for powder cheek colors as well. The color is warm but it is definitely a pink rose so any light to medium skintone can pull this off. Peony enhances my cheeks without making them look ruddy or dirty like some brown toned blushes can. 

All around, I'm loving the Stila Convertible Color in Peony and highly recommend it to everyone with a skintone light enough for this to show up. You can definitely build the color up if you've got a deeper coloring than me. Stila often releases sets with Peony included so definitely check out this shade as the holiday sets are rolling out! 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

My Basic Eyebrow Routine: Shape and Fill

My brows have never been my favorite facial feature. My brow hairs insist on growing all over the place in the middle of my brow and then they stop extending at the tail so I'm left with sad half-brows. I've settled with the fact that I will probably never have power brows and I'm perfectly fine with having unobtrusive brows that blend into my overall look. Here are the handful of tools that I have been relying on recently to groom my brows.

To get rid of excess hair above the top part of my brows, I rely on an eyebrow razor because it is much less painful than tweezing and quicker as well. I purchased my eyebrow razors in a pack of three at a local Asian drugstore and they were only a few bucks. For stray hairs under my brow, I will pluck them with my trusty mini Tweezerman tweezers. I believe these Harajuku Lovers ones were on sale years ago at Sephora and they work great. I don't use stencils and kind of wing it so my brows never look quite the same when I shape them. Just the other day I was trying to shape the top of my right brow a little differently and shaved a bit too much hair so now I have a super flat brow....

But that's what we have eyebrow pencils for! I use the Innisfree Eyebrow Pencil most days. I bought this handy little pencil for less than $4 and I barely have to use any product to get the look I want. The angled edge makes it easy to draw on my brows and the spoolie on the other end is really convenient.

Recently I got a sample of the Anastasia Clear Brow Gel and have been using it after I fill in my brows to set the pencil and to keep hairs in place. I don't have many brow hairs to begin with so this step isn't necessary for me. I like that the formula doesn't make my brows feel crunchy or dry.

My brow routine is very basic and far from perfect. But I just bought a new product to play with so I'm excited to review it once I've tested it out a couple of times. Hopefully I can step up my brow game in the future because it's definitely one of my weakest features. What do you use to groom and fill your brows?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Four New Red Lipsticks: MAKE, Marcelle and LAQA & Co.

I've been collecting a few lipsticks in my collection because I haven't had the heart to use new products with so many unloved pieces already open. But I figured it was about time I swatched and gave my first impressions on these pretties because they all happen to be beautiful red shades that I especially love now that we're heading into chillier months. I'm simply going to give you my first impressions of these lipsticks since I wore them one after the other just to see how they swatch so I can't comment on things like lasting power and comfortability over time.

I have two shades of MAKE Silk Cream Lipsticks in Hudson Red and Maraschino Cherry. A few months ago I received the Marcelle Rouge Xpression Lipstick in Amour and decided to finally swatch it for this comparison post. Lastly is the LAQA & Co. Lil' Lip in Ring of Fire which I chose for my October Build Your Own Birchbox.

MAKE's Hudson Red is the deepest red out of the bunch and it's looking a bit brighter on my lip swatch than it does in real life. I picked up this shade because I wanted a deeper, sultry red that I could wear with darker eye makeup for the fall. The formula is creamy and the lipstick felt nice on my lips for the short amount of time I had it on. I actually tried this lipstick on last which is why I seem to have migrating lipstick stains around the edges of my lips. Don't worry, this lipstick didn't seem to bleed but I would probably want to buy a lip liner just so I could define my lips before wearing this out.

Maraschino Cherry was a shade I was very excited to wear because it looks like the perfect vibrant red in the tube. However, it pulled quite pink on my lips and borders on looking garish. On top of that, this formula is not moisturizing and much drier than Hudson Red even though they are part of the same line. Strange.... The jury is out on this one.

Marcelle really blew me away with Amour because I wasn't expecting the formula to be as opaque and creamy as it is. The packaging turned me away and I honestly would never have thought to purchase this on my own but I'm so glad I was given this as gratis. This particular shade is stunning and the perfect classic retro-red. The lipstick glided on like butter and the shade instantly brightened my complexion. Love this!

Lastly is LAQA's Ring of Fire which looks more like a fuchsia on my lips. The chubby pencil is easy to apply but it is quite difficult to define the edges of the lips given the rounded tip. The pencil has great color payoff and is buildable. The formula is very light so product does not settle into lines. This is one of the better lip pencils I've had the pleasure of trying.

I can't wait to sport these fun lipsticks all fall and winter long. The Marcelle lipstick is amazing and I look forward to testing it out some more. The MAKE lipsticks were okay but given the $25 price tag, they could have been a lot better. The LAQA & Co. mini is pretty good but I would probably want to use a lip brush to help me get a really even application. Which is your favorite shade out of the four? Have you tried any of these brands?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

W3LL PEOPLE Elitist Mineral Eyeshadow in Sparkling Salmon

W3LL PEOPLE is a brand I had not heard of prior to seeing them on Birchbox's website. The premise of W3LL PEOPLE is that makeup is applied onto the skin and the ingredients are absorbed by our bodies and thus, affect our health. Three people got together, a dermatologist, a makeup artist and a marketer with a passion for the environment to start the company and the rest is history. I placed an order on Birchbox recently and with a $35 purchase you can get a free full-size W3LL PEOPLE mineral eyeshadow in Sparking Salmon with code WPSHADOW. Even though I work for Birchbox, I technically bought this with my own money and highly recommend checking out this gift with purchase!

It's honestly hard to tell on Birchbox's site what color Sparkling Salmon is. The stock photo makes it look like a flat beige but in reality it is a beautiful shimmery coral. The shadow comes packaged in a simple plastic jar with a screw top lid. Everything is clearly labeled on a sticker on the top of the lid. The full size jar contains .05 ounces of product and retails for $16. This is exactly the same price per ounce for a Mac eyeshadow so I would categorize this as a mid-end product. I do think you would use up this loose shadow faster than a pressed shadow though. Compared to other indie mineral eyeshadows, this is quite pricey.

Sparkling Salmon is a very flattering golden coral which a beautiful sheen. I love this shadow all over the inner and middle portion of the eyelid with a matte brown in the crease. I highly recommend using an eyeshadow base and cream under this product to minimize fallout. When I swatched this shadow on bare skin, I found it was a bit too easy to blend the product away. I wish there was a bit more grip to this shadow so it would adhere to the skin better. 

W3LL PEOPLE prides itself on using natural ingredients and staying away from parabens, petrochemicals, silicones, glycols and sulphates. Above is the short ingredients list for those who are interested.

I am really pleased with the W3LL PEOPLE Elists Mineral Eyeshadow as a gift with purchase but I probably wouldn't spend $16 for another one. The loose eyeshadow format makes it a bit messier to use, especially when I'm fumbling around at seven in the morning before work. If you're into natural products and don't mind the extra effort, this is worthy of a look due to the beautiful color!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Wet n Wild Color Icon Blusher: Rediscovered Drugstore Gem

Every once in awhile I go through my collection to pull items I've had for awhile and try them out again. I recently remembered I had these two Color Icon Blushers from Wet n Wild and after going through my archives, I realized I never properly swatched or reviewed these. I haven't been buying a lot of drugstore makeup recently but after swatching these again, I remembered the great quality that some bargain brands offer. The formula of these blushes are on par, if not better, than many of my high-end blushes but cost only $3!

The two shades I have are Berry Shimmer and Mellow Wine. Berry Shimmer looks just as the name would suggest, a berry pink with golden micro-shimmer. Mellow Wine is a rose nude shade that looks like a natural flush. Both shades are ultra-pigmented at first swipe and are smooth and easily blended out. Unlike the Wet n' Wild eyeshadows which can kick up quick a bit of powder when you dip your brush in, the blushes do less of that.

Here is an up-close look at Berry Shimmer so you can see the luminosity it gives the skin. Obviously you wouldn't wear such a heavy swatch on a daily basis but you can see the multidimensional glimmer it provides the skin. The shimmer does not accentuate pores and is not glittery. Mellow Wine is a beautiful matte shade and I'm glad Wet n Wild has two matte blushes because they can be hard to find at the drugstore. 

I highly recommend checking these blushes out, especially if you're on a budget. There are a total of four shades in this line and after writing this post I think I should go out and purchase the other two I don't have. Pearlescent Pink is a shimmery pink and Heather Silk is a matte mid-tone pink. I hope Wet n Wild expands this line in the future as the formula is just that good! Have you tried Wet n Wild blushes? What is your favorite drugstore blush?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Innisfree Color Glow Lipstick in Plum Burgundy

I vowed last month in my Five Fall Blush and Lip Picks post to finally use the Innisfree Color Glow Lipstick in Plum Burgundy which I purchased early this year in South Korea. After stashing this beauty in my everyday makeup bag and wearing it numerous times, I can't believe I didn't grab more shades during my trip.... This lipstick is the perfect blend of pigment, glossiness and comfortability.

The packaging of Innisfree products is very clean and sophisticated. When I think of brands best suited for office ladies, Innisfree is one of the first to pop into my head. I like that there is a little color marker at the end of the tube so you can easily identify which shade you are grabbing if you own more than one of these. When I bought these in South Korea, they retailed for ₩10,000 which is a little under $10 (tax included!). The look and feel of this lipstick makes it seem a lot more expensive than it actually is.

The beauty of this lipstick is that you can wear it sheer or bold. One swipe on the left shows how subtle it can be and a heavier application results in opaque color. This lipstick is meant to be glossy but you can also blot off the shine with a tissue and have a more long lasting stain.

I love the color of this lipstick as it has a slight tinge of burgundy but not so much that it's hard to wear during the daytime. The color is very brightening and youthful but still glamorous. The moisturizing formula is easy to apply, never dries out my lips and fades nicely throughout the day. I never have issues reapplying this lipstick and it does not bleed or move around too easily.

All in all, the Innisfree Color Glow Lipstick formula is spot on for drier months and Plum Burgundy is one of my favorite shades to wear at the moment. What do you think of this lipstick? What are your favorite burgundy red lippies?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Marcelle BB Roll-On Concealer: Hit or Miss

The reason I haven't been posting that often lately and why I need a good undereye concealer are one and the same: work. My under eye area has never been a major concern for me until recently. There are some people who can function perfectly with five hours of sleep regularly. I am not one of them. I need a full seven and a half to eight (more than that and I feel plain groggy, though) hours to be at my best. Sometimes I just can't put away my laptop at 12AM though so the next morning I have to fake some brighter under eyes. Thus, under eye pens are quickly becoming my favorite makeup products to try and fake some rest. 

The Marcelle BB Roll-On Concealer is meant to depuff and brighten the under eye. The metal roller ball feels cooling on the skin and feels quite nice in the morning. You simply click to dispense a small amount of product and roll away. One click is enough to cover both my under eyes for two applications. You don't want to go click-crazy or else you'll run out of product relatively fast. The formula is hypoallergenic, gluten-free, and perfume-free.

Marcelle claims this is a multitasking concealer which hydrates, treats and protects. I have to say this is not a hydrating product at all. You definitely need to moisturize well under the eyes before applying this or it will look ashy. I don't know how this treats and protects either. The claims are a bit vague and I would strictly consider this a makeup product. This only comes in two shades, light to medium and medium to dark. I use the light to medium shade. This product retails for $21 which is pricey if you consider Marcelle a drugstore brand but relatively inexpensive compared to more popular under eye concealer pens.

You can see the coverage that the Marcelle BB Roll-On Concealer provides in the above photo. On the left I have no makeup on and on the right is only one swipe of the concealer blended in. The concealer covers up most of the darkness around my eye and helps a lot. I like to blend this concealer in my fingers because it isn't the most hydrating formula and the warmth of my finger helps this sink in better. Sometimes this concealer cakes up and looks really dry under my eyes which is very unflattering. But other times it looks decent and it stays put for ten hours. It's nowhere near as good as my current favorite under eye concealer pen, the Shiseido Sheer Eye Zone Corrector

Overall, the Marcelle BB Roll-On Concealer is not my favorite. You really need to prep your under eyes before applying and for me, the whole point of a concealer pen is simplicity and ease. The price isn't inexpensive either. I'd say save up $9 and just get the Shiseido corrector because it feels creamy and hydrating without being heavy at all. I'm eyeing a few other under eye concealer pens at the moment. Which ones are your favorite?

*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.