Saturday, November 29, 2014

TEMPTU Airbrush Makeup System: Pros and Cons

Airbrush makeup is one of those things I had never thought of owning because it always seemed like something I should leave up to the pros. I had seen and heard of the TEMPTU and it looked intriguing but I never looked into it further. A few months ago I received the TEMPTU Airbrush Makeup System and a few pods as gratis from work and had the chance to finally try my hand at professional grade makeup. So is it worth the hype?

Let's start off with the prices and nitty gritty details. The airbrush system by itself costs $125 with a one year warranty and 45 day money back guarantee. There are foundation, blush, bronzer and highlighter pods that work with the airbrush system that vary in size and price. The foundation pods contain 12ml or .41 fl oz and cost $45. This is less than half the standard size of one fluid ounce of foundation and one fluid ounce would cost about $110. That is incredibly expensive and honestly outrageous considering you must purchase a TEMPTU pod to use with the machine. The blush pods are $30 while the bronzer and highlighters are $35. The blushes, bronzers and highlighters are 8ml or .28 fl oz. 

In terms of usability, the TEMPTU is really easy to use and apply on others and yourself. You are meant to use the foundation alone so you can skip primer, concealer and powder. I have tested the foundation out with other combinations of products and have found that for my oily skin, it helps to set everything with a very light layer of powder. The foundation is very buildable so you can achieve a very light layer of makeup that evens out redness and enlarged pores and add more product to scars and breakouts to cover them up. The TEMPTU is supposed to eliminate the need for makeup brushes but I find a Beautyblender is great to have on hand to blend away any excess product. 

The benefit of the TEMPTU is clearly the luminous yet natural finish it imparts. After using this, I can see why airbrushed results are the hallmark traits of a beautiful makeup look. I tend to get many more compliments on my skin when I use my TEMPTU. It takes very little time to actually apply the product once you have the system plugged in and ready to go. The foundation is very comfortable to wear and feels lightweight and breathable. The lasting power is very good and can last me a whole day with maybe just a blot and powder to control my oily skin. The foundation tends not to cake on me although there have been instances where it has (I'll touch upon that in the next paragraph). The TEMPTU foundation photographs beautifully in both natural lighting and with flash, making this perfect for special occasions. 

My drawbacks concerning the TEMPTU are rather minor things that I hope can be improved on for the future. The first issue is that the TEMPTU must always be plugged into an outlet when in use. This is difficult for me because I don't have a convenient power outlet where my vanity is. I wish there was an internal battery that could be charged like the Clarisonic. Another issue that has nothing to do with the makeup application but still peeves me is the loud noise the motor of the system makes. The engine sound is quite loud and not pleasant at all when applying makeup. Going back to the issue I had with caking, I found that the foundation looks awful when applied to dehydrated or dry skin. This is especially an issue if you had normal skin in the morning and your skin gets increasingly dry throughout the day. I've had the foundation separate and accentuate flakes on my skin before which was very unappealing. Just make sure to moisturize well beforehand and if needed, apply a small amount of moisturizing primer to prevent flakes. Also, be sure to close your eyes when applying any of the products close to your eyes because many a time have I sprayed foundation or highlighter without closing my entire eyelid and found irritating residue on my contact lenses. 

Above is a before and after of just the TEMPTU foundation on my skin. Click on the photo or open it in a new window to get a closer look at my pores in all their glory. The finish looks matte in the photo but in real life it definitely looks more glowy. Pretty much all my redness is gone and if I went in with another layer around my acne marks, they would be mostly covered up. 

That sums up most of my thoughts on the TEMPTU airbrush makeup system. Watch the video below to see a demo and to get a better idea of how the foundation applies and looks on the skin.

What do you think about the TEMPTU airbrush makeup system? Would you splurge on this technology? Or are you happy with the way your normal foundation looks? Feel free to ask me about anything I might have missed in my review!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

How To Banish Flakey Winter Skin

Frigid temperatures wreck havoc on my normally oily, combination skin by throwing some dry patches and red bumps to the mix. One day last week I woke up with several hormonal cystic acne bumps and I made the mistake of putting on makeup to try and cover up the blemishes. Throughout the day my makeup started caking and I could see flakes of skin coming loose and meshing with the makeup. Red bumps started forming on my jawline and lower cheeks which really freaked me out since that never really happens to me. It. Was. Awful. I couldn't wait to go home and do some damage control. 

After removing my makeup with the usual suspects, I used the Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator, a dual action exfoliant that has micro crystals and papya enzymes. This scrub is effective yet surprisingly gentle. You can see how fine the exfoliating crystals are in the photo below (bottom swatch). Despite having irritated skin, my skin was not more red or painful after using this exfoliant. Afterwards, I spritzed on some of my usual Lush Breath of Fresh Air Toner and slapped on the Leaders Insolution AC-Dressing Mask. I've raved about the Leaders Insolution masks before and the AC-Dressing version does exactly what it claims. My skin was instantly soothed within minutes of plopping this soft sheet mask over my freshly exfoliated skin. I use sheet m asks right before bed and let the excess serum sink in while I sleep. I woke up with soft and balanced skin the next morning and my makeup did not cake or crease. 

As for makeup tips for dry weather, I suggest using a hydrating base prior to applying concealers, foundations and powders. I like the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm for days I want a healthy glow. I don't use this everyday because I believe it's not meant to be used daily but it's perfect for more special days when you want to shine without looking greasy. You can see the texture of the balm in the above photo. It has a slight pink tint and a gorgeous powdery scent. 

Lately I've been enjoying the Beautyblender Sponge for applying and blending my foundations and BB creams because it is more gentle than buffing with a dense brush. When I first tried one of these baubles I felt they were overrated and nothing special. But I've grown to appreciate the Beautyblender because it gives a very natural finish to my skin and prevents any exfoliation from using a brush. 

The Nars Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder is another favorite for dry skin days because it sets makeup and takes down shine without being completely matte. The powder is extremely fine and a tiny bit is able to cover your whole face. It's really a foolproof product that blurs imperfections and adds a real life filter to your skin. 

What are your tips for managing winter skin? Nourishing skincare? Moisturizing foundations? I'd love to hear your tips!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

L'Oreal Colour Riche Ombre Eyeshadow Quad in Perpetual Nude

Judging by my recent acquisitions and posts, I've been a bit of a brand snob lately. I love a good drugstore peruse and you can often score the best deals at your local CVS or Rite Aid which makes beauty shopping all the more fun. The L'Oreal Colour Riche Ombre Eyeshadow Quads caught my attention because the finish of them looked a lot like what one might find in a Japanese drugstore. The pearly, soft colors are illuminating without being overly glittery and crumbly. Perpetual Nude is a perfect everyday eyeshadow quad for those of you who like your neutral beiges and taupes. 

Let's briefly recap the price and logistics of this quad. Each quad retails for about $10 which is quite pricey for a drugstore shadow. I purchased this when Rite Aid had 40% off all L'Oreal products so I would wait for one of those sales to pick this up. Each quad contains 3.5 grams of shadow. The packaging is lightweight plastic with a reflective metallic, gold cover. I actually quite like the gold exterior but it harbors scratches easily. The shadows are arranged in a rather unique configuration which I personally find quite pretty. If the cover didn't scratch so easily and the packaging was a bit heavier, I could mistake this for a higher end palette.

Like they appear in the pan, the shadows swatch smoothly and provide a delicate shimmer effect. The darkest shade is a brown taupe with a tinge of purple, one of my favorite kind of colors to wear on the eyes. These shadows wear much better over an eyeshadow primer and perform even better over a cream shadow to help them adhere. While the shadows are smooth and pigmented enough, they lack the buttery and rich texture that I have come to enjoy from higher end shadows. 

If you love neutral eyeshadows and like subtle shimmer on the eyelids, you'll probably get a lot of use out of the Perpetual Nude quad. This is a great work day eyeshadow palette and is simply foolproof. What do you think of this quad? Do you tend to splurge on pricey shadows or stick to gems from the drugstore?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Getting Serious About Undereye Skincare

My skin concerns have always included everything from excessive oiliness to acne and hyperpigmentation but I've always been thankful that my undereyes were relatively untroubled. Lately I've been thinking I could use a bit of extra TLC for the thin skin under my tired eyes and acquired a few new products that I wanted to touch on briefly.

Evening time seems to be the best time to relax wrinkly eyes and plump up the surrounding skin with moisture. I splurged on the Sunday Riley Start Over Active Eye Cream because I tried the formula on the back of my hand and liked the lightweight yet hydrating feel. It doesn't feel like it's loaded with silicone or anything of the sort and smoothes onto the skin nicely. The main ingredient blend in this eye cream is Sunday Riley's signature NV-5 Ageless Complex, a concoction of prickly pear extract, blue agave extract, lady's slipper orchid extract, opuntia tuna fruit, opuntia cactus extract, aloe barbadensis leaf extract and yeast extract. Honestly, besides the calming effects of aloe, I couldn't tell you much more about those other extracts. Besides the formula, the packaging is gorgeous and I love an eye cream that comes with a pump. You get a full one ounce as opposed to the typical half an ounce so the $85 price tag isn't bad at all. I haven't seen dramatic results yet but then again my under eyes aren't in need of dire help so this is more of a preventative measure.

Another eye cream I have been using on some mornings when I have the time is the StriVectin-EV Get Even Dark Circle Corrector which I received as gratis from Birchbox. I received this just after I placed my order for the Sunday Riley which is why I have two eye creams. However, I consider the Stri-Vectin a morning eye cream since it has a tiny bit of microshimmer to artificially brighten the under eyes. I don't like to use skincare products with shimmer in the evening because it simply doesn't make sense to put on glitter when all I'm doing is sleeping. The StriVectin eye cream is a lightweight cream that spreads out evenly and doesn't have too much shine. It's a lot nicer than the popular Origins Ginzing Eye Cream which I personally dislike due to it looking more like a highlighter than an eye cream. I like that this eye cream gives me a bit of extra hydration under my eyes before I wear concealer since the weather has been so dry lately.

The Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels are more of a luxurious treat that offer temporary results but I bought them anyway because you need an at-home spa night every once in awhile. These individually wrapped eye masks have a gel patch that instantly feels cooling on the skin. The feeling fades after a minute or two. The masks are not wet at all which I found odd and I would prefer some essence just so I feel like I'm delivering nutrition to my skin. The ingredients include olive fruit oil and angelica root water along with jojoba seed oil and cranberry seed oil. Honestly, you don't feel any indication of those ingredients when you have this on. After using this mask, my skin looked slightly tighter in the sense that any super fine lines that I have are relaxed. This treatment is probably best used in conjunction with another face mask or all over treatment. These would be great to pack in a carry-on pouch for traveling!

Here's to hoping that this regimen will help prevent premature undereye sagging due to my long hours staring at a computer and other bad lifestyle habits. What do you do to maintain smooth, plump undereyes?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Esqido's 'Unforgettable' Mink Lashes

False lashes can transform even the most simple eye makeup looks into a glam and gorgeous spectacle. I watch a lot of Youtube folk who don falsies regularly in their videos and always long for those full lashes that make their eyes look brighter and bigger. But falsies are more often than not a pain in the butt to apply and keep on throughout the day. I just don't have five extra minutes to wait for glue to dry and carefully place a thin strip of hair on my lashline. So falsies are reserved for more special occasions. Since I don't wear lashes all that often, I thought it would be a good idea to invest in the Esqido mink lashes which are pricey but are supposed to last up to 25 uses. These retail for $43 but are on promotion on the Esqido website for $36. I purchased the most natural pair called Unforgettable at IMATS for $20. Twenty bucks for false lashes is pretty pricey but if I can wear these 25 times, that's not a bad deal at all....

The Unforgettable lashes are a stunning set of criss cross lashes that taper to fine, natural wisps. Since my eyes are pretty small and my natural lashes are sparse, I tend to go for more natural false lashes. The lash band on these are made of cotton and are supposed to be very soft and flexible. The lashes have a very nice curl to them which I can further enhance when curling my natural and false lashes together. Although this is one of Esqido's most natural lashes, I still found them to be quite dramatic on my eyes. You can definitely tell I am wearing lashes, which I don't personally think is a negative. 

The lash band is quite long so I had to trim off a bit of the ends so that these would fit on my lash line. The first time I wore these, I hadn't trimmed the lash enough so the inner corner of my eye was very irritated. After about two hours of being outside, my eyes hurt a lot and I couldn't stand the irritation anymore so I had to take these off. The second time around, I cut the lashes a bit more and the fit was definitely better. But I still had some issues with the inner corner of the lash irritating one of my eyes. This is probably user error but I've worn other lashes without these issues in the past. 

Besides how beautiful these lashes looked in the box, the other main selling point was the fact that you can wear these up to 25 times. "Up to" is definitely the key word here because I don't think these will last past five uses for me. Each time I've taken off these lashes, I've had maybe five to seven individual hairs fall off the band. I am quite careful when removing and cleaning these lashes as well. They still look normal and reusable but I think after a few more uses, the gaps in the lash will become much more apparent. For reference, I use Revlon's lash glue which I find a lot easier to use than Duo and the lasting power is better. I found Duo very difficult to remove as well.

To be frank, my experience with these Esqido lashes were not what I had envisioned. I was very excited to wear these lashes but they just didn't feel as comfortable or durable as they should be for the price. I've definitely gotten five uses from $5 Ardell lashes before so to barely get that mileage with lashes that retail for $34 is ludicrous. Hopefully I can squeeze a few more tries with these guys because they do look very pretty. Have you tried Esqido lashes? Do you have any tips on how to care for mink lashes?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sneak Peek: Shiseido Spring 2015 Releases

Tonight I had the pleasure of attending Shiseido's Spring 2015 preview event at the AIRE Ancient Baths, a Soho spa that I've read about for years and always yearned to experience. I'm always up to try new skincare innovations, especially by Shiseido, so I was looking forward to this event for weeks. The specifics behind this launch are still hush hush at the moment but I asked permission to give you all a high level overview and glimpse of what is to come early next year!

Since this is a spring launch, it makes sense that Shiseido would debut a new suncare line. I'm a big fan of Shiseido sunscreens because they are lightweight, easily absorbed and pleasantly scented. There are two new additions, a lotion and a cream, that have advanced technology that will get you through humid and damp conditions. 

There are a handful of other skincare extensions to the existing Bio-Performance, White Lucent and Ibuki lines. All three lines are targeted at different skin concerns so there is a new product that will suit various skin types and needs.

Of course we can't forget about the color cosmetics. Shiseido will debut several brand new products for the lips and face as well as an extension of existing shades of their eye colors. I swatched a few of the lipsticks and the lightweight feel and shine are sure to make these favorites.

I can't offer too many details at the moment but I received a very generous selection of the new releases so expect to see in-depth reviews and swatches early in the new year. I can't believe 2015 is almost upon us already! My first impressions of the new launches are that Shiseido is aways on top of the latest skincare technology and the first to push out revolutionary ways in thinking about skin health. I think the sunscreens will be excellent for warmer months and am quite sad knowing I don't have a beach holiday penciled into my planner yet. The makeup products are intriguing as well and I think the eye color additions will be especially popular.

What do you think of Shiseido skincare and makeup? Which of these new products are you most excited to learn more about?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

KIKO Soft Touch Blush and Thoughts on KIKO in NYC

KIKO is a semi-well known brand in Europe but it doesn't quite have brand recognition in the states yet. I had seen the Italian company's products on blogs years ago but had my first look at the brand last year when I picked up their Soft Touch Blush in Portugal. To be honest, this is one of those things I was really excited for when I first bought it but neglected it for most of the time I've had it. The Soft Touch Blushes are great but they've definitely not had enough love. I finally dug it out recently and started using it again so I could review it and also provide a short review of the new KIKO store in Queens Center Mall in New York.

I don't remember how much I purchased the Soft Touch Blush in 108 Orange Coral for but I think it was something around $10. KIKO is a relatively inexpensive makeup line and they have a very extensive range of shades and products. The packaging of the blushes is a matte black casing that looks chic. Each compact contains .17 ounces of product which is standard for blushes.  

Shade 108 is a matte coral that looks great for an everyday makeup look. The powder is pigmented and tightly packed so you won't get a lot of fall out when you dip your brush into the pan. I like that this blush is buildable so I can control how bold my cheeks are. I think this shade would look beautiful on a variety of skin tones and is worth a try if you ever stumble across KIKO. 

I was looking at KIKO's website a few weeks ago just to see what new products they had and I realized they opened a free standing store in Queens Center Mall. I used to go to this mall with my mom all the time when I was a kid so I was pretty stoked that KIKO was finally available near me! I texted Monika and we were prepared to swatch our money away. While the product lineup is essentially identical to what you will find at a European KIKO store, the prices are a bit higher. The single shadows are $6 and then ones that come in the Clics system are $8. The eyeshadow sticks that I love are $12 whereas they are around $9 in Europe. The prices are still good considering the quality is good and KIKO regularly does promotions. However, the thing I found the most frustrating was the unrelenting staff at the store. I hesitate to even call them a team because there was absolutely no communication between the workers. Monika and I were in the store for maybe half an hour tops and we were approached at least half a dozen times by several sales girls in an empty store. We made it abundantly clear we were just looking around and we were familiar with the products but we were pretty much harassed anyway. It was not a very pleasant experience and it made me leave empty handed. While I'm happy I have access to KIKO in my home borough, I'll be sure to make my future visits relatively short.

What do you think of KIKO? Have you tried any of the products before?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Laura Mercier Mini Caviar Stick Collection: Christmas Came Early

'Tis the season for beauty bargains and value bundles! Today I'll be showcasing the Laura Mercier Mini Caviar Stick Collection, an assortment of six shades of creamy eyeshadow goodness. Right off the bat I'm going to let you know that this is a first impressions post and not so much of an in-depth review simply because I haven't had a chance to actually wear these beauties on my eyelids yet. 

I saw the quartet version of these shadow pencils in Sephora last week and couldn't stop thinking about how pretty Moonlight and Amethyst were. I checked online and couldn't find the set on Sephora and ended up finding the set with six shadow pencils on Nordstrom for $55 with a 10% price match discount. I debated internally for a good hour or so before entering in my credit card details and hitting the order button.... But for six luxurious shadow pencils that I will probably never finish, $50 is a decent value. Each full size Caviar Stick retails for $28 and judging by how long the KIKO Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadows last, it's more worth it for me to get a variety of shades in mini sizes.

The six shades included in this set are Rose Gold, Amethyst, Moonlight, Copper, Khaki and Cocoa. Each stick is .03 ounces whereas a full size stick is .05 ounces. Calculating the price per ounce, this set is valued at $100.80! I thought a 50% discount was too good to pass up....

Here is one of the eyeshadow sticks swiveled all the way up. It seems like very little product but a single swipe yields pigmented color. One shadow stick will last a long time and I rarely use the same eyeshadow daily. The packaging on these is exactly like the full size and feels sturdy although lightweight. Stick eyeshadows are my favorite for traveling because they take up no room at all and you can get a pretty wash of color with just one shade. 

Here are the beautiful swatches! The order is the same as how they come in the package: Rose Gold, Amethyst, Moonlight, Copper, Khaki and Cocoa. Rose Gold looks more like a champagne in my opinion and has quite refined shimmer. Amethyst is a very pretty light purple that I think will be very flattering against my brown eyes. Moonlight is another favorite because it is a light golden taupe with a metallic finish. This swatch does not capture the magnificence of Moonlight at all. Copper is a very warm gold that would look pretty in the summer. Khaki and Cocoa have little to no shimmer and would work well for a smokey eye.

While I definitely didn't need this set, I'm very pleased with the shades and textures so far. No definitive word yet on lasting power yet but I will say it was a bit difficult to remove these swatches with just water after a couple of minutes. I have high hopes that these creams will last the entire day once they set just like my KIKO shadow sticks. In comparison to the KIKO shadow sticks, these are even creamier and lighter. The shimmers of the Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks are also more refined and multi-dimensional. In sunlight or a spotlight, the shimmery shades really shine and look stunning. Have you tried the Laura Mercier Caviar Eyeshadow Sticks? What do you think of this set?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

September and October 2014 Empties

Can you believe this is the second to last empties of the year? Looking at this pile of products it doesn't look like I used up much the past two months but I think it's because I have quite a few bottles and jars on their last legs that will fall into the November and December roundup. Let's see delve into what I used up recently!

CleanWell Hand Sanitizer - This is the second tube that I've finished of this spray sanitizer and I need to get another bottle because it's really great. It makes my hands feel cleaner without the use of alcohol and the bottle lasts quite a while. Would definitely recommend this over a gel based hand sanitizer!

Whish Exfoliating Body Wash in Coconut Milk (sample) - I chose this sample for one my Build-Your-Own Birchboxes and it was okay but nothing special. The exfoliating granules were gentle and the coconut scent is nice for summer but this isn't something I would purchase.

CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion - I feel like I finished this up ages ago so it was probably early September when this was tossed into the empties pile. I like CeraVe moisturizers but for my dry skin, the moisturizing cream is a better fit. 

Egyptian Magic Healing Cream (sample) - This highly raved about cream is basically olive oil in solid form. A little goes a long way and I used this tiny sample as a body and hand cream. It's good and I can see why people like this but I don't think I would splurge on the full size just because I prefer the feel of a cream moisturizer for everyday.

The Body Shop Brazil Nut Beautifying Oil - This is an affordable body oil that has a super sweet scent. The oil is lightweight and it would make for a nice massage oil but it didn't leave a dry oil feeling which I prefer. The scent was a bit too sweet for my taste and I couldn't wait to finish this up.

Whish Body Butter in Blueberry - I received this as part of Birchbox gratis and while it moisturized decently, it isn't heavy enough for my super dry skin. The scent can be overwhelming and I prefer unscented or lightly scented body moisturizers. I really like the clear pump packaging that ensures you get every last bit of product!

Innisfree Soybean Energy Essence (sample) - This is the second sample vial I have used of this essence. It has a rather unusual slippery consistency and almost feels like mucus (gross, I know). I don't feel like it does anything to my skin but it's quite a popular product in Asia. Perhaps with long term use this fares better.

Origins Super Spot Remover - I think this is the second or third one I've used up and I'm already on my next one. I always restock on this when Origins has an offer because it's great for shrinking massive cystic pimples.

Lush Breath of Fresh Air Toner - I like this toner quite a bit as it's perfectly refreshing and calming. I already repurchased another bottle and can see myself coming back to this again and again.

Lush Catastrophe Cosmetic Face Mask - This is another repurchase and a fantastic mask for blemish prone skin. I like that it mattifies my skin without over stripping it. The scent is also quite mild and makes for a nice treat at the end of a long day.

Clarins Multi Active Day Moisturizer - My boyfriend's mom bought this for me as a gift and it is a really luxurious face cream. It's not quite right for my skin type as it's more for drier skin while I have oily, combination skin. I used most of this as a night cream because my skin does get dehydrated sometimes. It has a pleasant although somewhat strong scent. Towards the end of the jar I just got tired of it and used it up as a hand and body cream. I am interested in other Clarins skincare products more suited for my needs so will definitely circle back to the brand once I'm running low on some of my current skincare stash.

Shiseido Perfect Whip Cleanser - This is a very popular drugstore cleanser in Asia and it's a great night time foaming cleanser for oily, combination skin. I like using this as my second cleanse after removing my makeup because it removes any residue. A little goes a long way so this tube lasted ages.

Za True White Emulsion - I did not like this lightweight moisturizer as the scent was a bit strong and the moisturizing properties were too weak. This is alcohol-laden and it didn't seem to brighten my skin considerably either. All in all, I did not enjoy using this at all and ended up finishing the last third as a body lotion.

Caudalie Deep Cleansing Exfoliator - This is another lack luster product. This exfoliator has scrubby particles that buff the skin but I felt it was a bit harsh for my face so I used it mostly as a body scrub. I don't think there is anything special about this product and wouldn't recommend it.

Bumble and Bumble Thickening Shampoo (sample) - I don't have much to say about this shampoo other than it gets the hair clean and does its job. I guess it gives a bit of texture to the hair by not making it overly soft and silky so that's where you get the thickening bit. The scent of this shampoo reminds me of traveling because I had brought another sample bottle of this during some of my trips last year. Even though I don't particularly love this product, I don't dislike it either and the scent will probably always bring back fond memories.

E.L.F Mineral Eyeshadow Primer - I'm tossing this because I've had it for quite a few years and I hardly ever reach for it. The cap is broken so sometimes it is hard to open and it's really not worth the extra effort. It's actually a surprisingly decent shadow primer considering it costs $3.

Maybelline Mega Plush Waterproof Mascara - I liked this mascara but it wasn't my favorite Maybelline mascara. Not bad but not one I'd repurchase. I still like The Falsies and Colossal the best!

Dior Addict Mascara (sample) - I got this sample from purchasing something from a Sephora store which was a nice surprise. For some reason the brush was really difficult for me to use and it constantly poked my eyes. I have the same problem with Benefit's They're Real....

Lancome Definicils Mascara (sample) - I've used many samples of this mascara in the past and it's a nice mascara if you have naturally nice lashes. This lengthens well and separates each lash but it doesn't build much volume and doesn't hold a curl.

Lancome Cils Booster XL Mascara Base (sample) - This is a white mascara base that gives extra length and separates the lashes very well. Unfortunately I felt that it weighed down my lashes so it made my lashes stick straight and even droopy.

Lioele Waterdrop BB Cream (sample) - Foundation samples always last me ages and BB creams are no different. I purchased this BB cream in a set of Lioele products and I really enjoyed this. This is one of my favorite BB creams because I love how it blends into the skin seamlessly and lasts for an entire work day.

Sephora by OPI Nail Polish in Dear Diary (sample) - Back in 2012 I named this one of my must have nail polish shades and I've used up most of the teeny tiny bottle. A sheer baby pink polish is always nice to have in your collection for any day of the year.

I've been plowing through samples lately and here are a few that I managed to save. I often take sample packets when I have sleepovers and sometimes I forget to save the empty foil packets so there are usually more used samples that aren't shown.

Nexxus Color Assure Primer, Shampoo and Conditioner (samples) - I recently dyed my hair back to dark brown because my natural hair color was clashing with the remnants of my light brown dye job. I don't see the point of the primer but the shampoo and conditioner were quite nice. The ingredients of these products aren't anything to write home about so I won't be purchasing these in full sizes.

Dr. Jart+ Pore Minimalist Sheet Mask - I usually don't talk about sheet masks in empties posts because the ones I use are mostly unavailable in the US. Dr. Jart+ is a Korean brand that you can find easily here so I thought I'd chime in about this sheet mask. This is geared toward oily, acne prone skin types and the mask is entirely black in color. I felt the mask could have been more saturated in serum and the mask itself wasn't the softest. It wasn't irritating to my skin but I didn't see any dramatic results.

Antica Farmacista Hand Cream in Bergamotto Ocean Aria (sample) - I got this sample in one of my Birchbox orders and it was a nicely scented lotion. The texture was a bit too slippery for my liking though and it didn't sink in as well as I had hoped.

Dermologica Daily Microfoliant (sample) - This powder exfoliant mixes with a bit of water to form a light exfoliating wash. This was a decent gentle exfoliant but not something I would use daily. Some of the granules would not dissolve in water and this was not something enjoyable to use. It felt more like a skincare chore than a relaxing experience.

Tatcha Gentle Rice Enzyme Powder (sample) - The Tatcha exfoliant is similar in concept to the Dermologica exfoliant but way more refined and gentle. I loved this sample so much. One packet lasted me about four uses actually and I treasured each second. The powder is pink and super finely milled. I couldn't even feel any exfoliating action but once I rinsed my face, my skin was instantly softer. This is a complete joy to use and I have my eye on purchasing this when I finish up some other skincare cleansers.

Tatcha Deep Brightening Serum (sample) - I have to use serums for at least two weeks to gauge my thoughts so this packet was a bit useless. The texture of this serum is lightweight and pleasant but this didn't blow me away. Considering the price, I probably will stick to the Shiseido White Lucent Serum I like so much.

Tatcha Ageless Revitalizing Eye Cream (sample) - This was another amazing sample from Tatcha. With eye cream samples I always transfer the contents to a small sample jar or sanitized contact lens case so I can get more uses. This eye cream immediately softens the under eye and plumps up the skin. I really enjoyed the results of this eye cream and a little goes a super long way so the high cost is justifiable.

Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Eye Gel (sample) - Unlike the Tatcha eye cream, this one by Bliss was not so good. First off, the scent of this gel was very off-putting and it smelled of strong chemicals. The gel sunk in decently but it didn't feel as hydrating as a regular cream. Perhaps it was because I was testing this around the same time as the Tatcha eye cream but this product was really lack luster.

Tada! That wraps up my September and October empties. My fingers are rather tired now from typing all this so I'll cut the conclusion short. I hope these succinct summaries are helpful and I'll be happy to elaborate if you have any questions in the comments section!