Thursday, December 31, 2015

November and December 2015 Empties

It's the end of another year and it's always both shocking and gratifying when I look through my empties posts from the last 12 months. I didn't finish up a whole lot in November and December but that probably means January and February's pile will be bigger. I don't want to sit here and talk about every little thing I used up so I'll just say a few words about things that stood out to me, for better or worse. 

There weren't a lot of noteworthy full size empties this time around. Of course there's the usual skincare, bodycare and haircare that I'm trying to get through. Sad to see my mini Klorane Dry Shampoo bite the dust because it's so handy for work. I'm happy that I finally finished a 1 ounce tube of the Laura Geller Spackle Under Makeup Primer because I was getting tired of using it and I've found some primers I like more. I've already repurchased and have backups of the Shiseido Cotton Pads, La Roche Posay Toleriane Moisturizer and Up & Up Eye Makeup Remover

I've been more diligent about using up my skincare samples - I've accumulated so many this year. I really like how my skin looks after using Sunday Riley's Good Genes Treatment but I abhor the scent. It smells like really toxic chemicals to me.... The Kiehl's Super Multi-Corrective Cream really surprised me. It was hydrating yet not overly so and I loved using it under makeup for daytime. I really disliked the scent of the Fresh Seaberry Face Oil so I don't think I can even give a fair assessment of it because I really didn't look forward to putting it on my face in the evenings.

This pile is a combination of things that I used up and stuff that's expired. I always go through the Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets because they're my favorite; same for the Softlips. The Revlon Lash Adhesive is good but this one's dried up after not a whole lot of use. I repurchased the dark tone version and I like it so I'll probably just stick to that one from now on. I love, love, love the L'oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Waterproof Mascara. It's my favorite mascara ever so I'm sure I'll repurchase it in the future. 

I didn't really care for the Skin Food Egg White Pore Mask that I bought in Korea at the beginning of 2014. It's expired now so time to chuck it in the trash. I'm being more mindful of masks and skincare going forward since I have so many samples and it's unreasonable to think I can use up several full sized jars in a few months. The StiVectin-EV Get Even Dark Circle Corrector is a good day time eye cream which I received as gratis but after using about two thirds of the tub, the consistency seems thicker and I figured I'd be better off tossing this. I've had the Jouer Lipgloss in Birchbox Pink for a couple of years and I don't feel like it's a good idea to be putting it on my lips so into the trash it goes. 

It feels good to recycle a bunch of empty bottles at the end of the year and clear out the junk that's bee accumulating in my room. I think I'll do a beauty product purge in the beginning of 2016 to further examine what I like in my collection and what I don't need. Hope everyone is having a great end to 2015 and looking forward to 2016!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Travel Makeup Bag: NOLA Edition

Tonight I'll be setting off for New Orleans with my boyfriend for what will hopefully be four, fun-filled days exploring a city we've never been to. In my early days of packing for travel, I'd give myself a couple of blush options and bring upwards of five lip products but after many trips, I've gotten really good at packing things that I will almost certainly use. 

It'll be a pretty quick jaunt so I thought now would be a good time to try out a couple of small samples like the Make Up For Ever High Definition Primer and Skin Equalizer Primer. Instead of bringing an eyebrow pencil I'm taking a paper sample of the Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Dark Brown. I've had one of these in the past and these paper samples surprisingly provide a couple of uses. For my base I'm sticking with my tried and true Laneige Cushion Concealer* and Laneige BB Cushion. I like to bring my Innisfree No-Sebum Mineral Powder to set my makeup because it's really compact. Of course I've packed eye makeup necessities like the Lorac Behind The Scenes Eye PrimerPhysician's Formula Eye Booster Liquid Liner, Cynthia Rowley Black EyelinerMaybelline Lash Sensational Waterproof Mascara, and Shiseido Lash Curler

For color makeup I tried to switch it up a bit this time instead of bringing the same old things I normally grab for. An exception is the KIKO Long Lasting Eyeshadow Stick Eyeshadow in 06 which I bring with me on travels more often than not because it's so easy to swipe on. I'm also bringing the lovely Shu Uemura RTW Palette in Warm Brown which has the perfect matte browns to complement a warm or cool look. For a fun pop of shimmer, I'm bringing the small Lancome Kissed By Gold Palette which was a GWP I raved about last year.

By bringing the Becca Beach Tint Shimmer Soufflé in Fig, I can skip the highlighting step. I purchased this blush on Black Friday when Ulta had these for 50% off. I adore the regular Beach Tint in Fig so much and the Shimmer Soufflé is a nice one to have if you like a glowy cheek. To add warmth to my face and slim down my cheeks which will be inevitably stuffed with seafood, fried chicken and Southern noms, I'm bringing a sample of the Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Medium/Deep Matte Bronzer.

For the lips I'm keeping things simple with a MLBB shade in the form of the Tarte LipSurgence Lip Crème in Stunning as well as Chanel's Rouge Coco Shine in Bohème, a glossy reddish pink. Of course I'll also have a lipbalm or two in my everyday makeup bag as well as a heavy duty nighttime balm in my skincare bag.

I'm taking everything in my Muji makeup bag which is probably my favorite carryall makeup bag but one I haven't used in some time. I'm allowing myself a generous number of brushes for this trip and taking a variety of Zoeva and other inexpensive options. I haven't been able to muster up the courage to pack my Japanese-made brushes for travel, lest they get smushed or damaged. 

That's a peek into my makeup routine for the next couple of days! I'm looking forward to this little adventure and I'll certainly do a travel blog post recapping it for you when I'm back!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Luxurious Lipbalms to Wish For from Dior, YSL and Clarins

Merry Christmas Eve! While today's blogpost has nothing to do with the holidays, consider it inspiration for post-Christmas shopping after you've unwrapped those giftcards. I dug through my high-end lipstick stash recently and while there were some great reds and hot pinks, I didn't have any nude shades that I could wear everyday to work or for casual days out. This realization spurred the purchase of three indulgent, balmy lip products that give a hint of color and shine while being super comfortable on the lips. I bought these a few weeks ago before I realized we would be having a 70° Christmas and a very mild December. Well, if we experience normal winter temps next month, my lips will be thankful for these three new additions!

I didn't bother swatching Dior's Creme de Rose Smoothing Plumping Lip Balm because it's a clear balm that leaves a sheen on the lips. This purchase was inspired by my fondness for the Dior Addict Lip Maximizer and Lip Glow. I apply a bit of this rose-scented balm on my lips along with my morning skincare routine to prep my lips for the day. Since it's a potted formula, I don't bring this outside because it's too much trouble to wash my hands every time I want to apply it. This isn't a hydrating as I thought it would be; the balm is quite firm and you really have to warm it up with your finger to pick up the product. The online description says it has SPF 10, which is a plus, but no where on the packaging is that stated. I'll just assume there is some sun protection.

A couple of years ago the YSL Volupté Sheer Candy Glossy Balms were really popular and I've never stopped lemming for one. They just seemed so perfect and easy to throw in your purse to apply throughout the day. I chose a really natural pink shade, #12 Tasty Raspberry. It's a subdued pink with a cool tint with very fine micro shimmers. These feel less like a balm and more like a lipgloss in solid form. They really impart a very wet look to the lips and have a translucent quality. I think people either love or hate this product because it is very sheer for a $36 lippie. I'm happy to have one of these in a natural color because I know I'll be able to use it often but I probably won't collect a bunch. One thing to note is that the smell of these is sickeningly sweet which is not the same as the perfumed scent of the YSL Rouge Pur Coutures. I'm not a big fan of either scent but between the two, I can tolerate the Rouge Pur Couture scent more.

Last but certainly not least is the Clarins Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector in the shade 01 Rose. This is a cream coral balmy lipstick with the most delightful caramel scent. I love the scent of this so much and it's a joy to apply. While the YSL Sheer Candy is more of a gloss balm, this is more of a buttery balm that feels nourishing and lovely on the lips. The shade is warmer and suits my skintone better as well. At $24, this is the most affordable product of the three I've shown today but the net weight is half that of the YSL Sheer Candy so keep in mind you'll likely go through this one quicker. Nonetheless, I already have my eyes on a few more shades of the Clarins Instant Light Lip Balm.

Have you treated yourself to any luxurious lip products this holiday season? What are your favorite lipstick balms?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Three Drugstore Products Worth Getting Backups Of

I've seen people get backups of hot pink lipstick because it was limited edition or three bottles of their favorite foundation because it's been discontinued. I try not to hoard backups because I hardly finish beauty products and I like to try new things all the time so it's rare I repurchase something to begin with. After several years of experimenting with beauty products I'm glad to say I've found a few tried and true products that I think are pretty stellar and worth buying backups of though. These are three things that I've bought before and will continue to stock up on. The best part? They're all from the drugstore!

I've used up countless tubes of Softlips. It's my favorite affordable lipbalm with sunscreen and it's just the perfect lipbalm all around. The slim tube is ultra portable and the formula glides on clear so your lips are prepped for anything. The scents are always nice although lately it's hard to find anything other than Vanilla. I wish these were more widely available as I can only seem to find Softlips at Target nowadays.

The La Roche Posay Toleriane is my favorite moisturizer. I actually named this my HG moisturizer back in 2012 and I still love it as much as I did then. They make several different version from the Toleriane Fluide to the Riche version but my favorite is the normal one. This French drugstore offering is fragrance, paraben and preservative free and just supplies moisture without irritating the skin at all. It is quite pricey for a drugstore skincare product at $30 so I try to stock up on this whenever CVS has a promotion. I go through these tubes relatively quick because I enjoy using this so much. I think I'm up to my fifth tube of this moisturizer (including the Fuide and Riche versions I've tried) and I think I'll always come back to this when I'm fed up trying other skincare products.

The Physician's Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum is actually a new repurchase. I've had my first one for so long that I can't remember when I purchased it but it's still going strong! I struggled for a long time with liquid liner and this is one of the few that I'm able to draw an even wing with. I really love the thin brush tip and the color is very black but not shiny at all which is a good thing in my book. The only way this could be improved is if the formula was waterproof but unless I'm dunking my face in water or am sweating a lot in the heat of summer, this doesn't smudge. I almost always travel with this eyeliner because I don't need to bring a separate brush or powder eyeshadow to set it. All Physician's Formula eye products are BOGO this week at Rite Aid so I picked up two more of these eyeliners for my backup stash. Something I noticed this time around that I didn't initially pick up on is that these eyeliners are made in Japan. I've heard so many raves about Japanese liquid liners by brands like Dollywink so I think you should give the Physician's Formula a shot if you like those.

I'm not someone who usually advocates for beauty backups but I think it's acceptable when it's something you know you love and there's a good sale going on. If you're going to buy something sooner or later when the one you're using runs out, might as well get it at a discount. Will I buy five liquid eyeliners and stash them away? No. But having an extra one on hand for when one suddenly runs dry isn't a bad idea either. Do you buy backups? What are the products you must have on hand at all times?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

New Trend Alert: Foaming Deep Cleansing Masks

For the last two weeks my skin has been a mess. I'm prone to breakouts but this time I had clusters of pimples on pretty much all of my face (gross, I know) and on top of all that my skin felt sensitive as well. I usually prefer strong clay masks to suck out all the impurities when my face is breaking out but I've been turning to two recent acquisitions that are a bit more gentle. 

During the recent Sephora $20 VIB giftcard event I purchased the Dr. Jart Dermaclear Trans-Foam Clay in White because it sounded really intriguing and it was only $15. What's unique about this clay mask is that it transforms into a foaming cleanser once you add water. The mask doesn't dry down completely so I just leave it on for about five minutes before rinsing it off. This white version is supposed to be calming and I find it gentle enough to not inflame my skin. I like the hygienic squeeze tube packaging and think the price is very reasonable. 

The other mask that's a bit more fun to use is the Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask* which Memebox kindly sent to me to try. This charcoal mask is used on dry, uncleansed skin and quickly starts foaming up from simply being exposed to the air. The bubbles on your skin are very small but thick and a little goes a long way. The top layer of my tub is already aerated but it has a thick, yet lightweight, cream consistency. It reminds me a lot of melted marshmallow actually. This mask is also very affordable at $14 but Memebox regularly does promotions that lower the price. I think this is a really fun mask to use and it makes my skin feel clean without drying it out which is great. 

I haven't heard many people talking about foaming face masks like these but I think they're pretty nifty. I like that both of these are gentle enough to use on acne-prone skin although some who are sensitive to foaming agents might not agree. Have you tried a foaming deep cleansing mask? 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Bite Beauty Fall Nude Favs and Best Beauty Rewind

Bite Beauty is a brand that sticks to producing only lip products and boy, do they do them well. I've been liking these three shades that I think are especially pretty for fall if you're not into dark plums and burgundy reds. 

I purchased the mini Fig and Date Luminous Creme Lipstick Duo a long time ago but only recently allowed myself to use it. Unfortunately I don't believe you can find this online anymore but there are several other shades from the limited edition Bite Mix and Mingle range. Fig is a permanent shade but I don't believe Date is available in the full size. Getting onto the actual shades themselves, they are both wearable nude lipsticks. Fig is a slightly cool toned pink and Date is a burnt beige.

The mini Matte Creme Lip Crayon in Torte is from the currently out of stock Best Bite Rewind set. It's a limited edition shade which is unfortunate because it's a really great plummy pink. I didn't think I could pull off but I actually think it looks quite lovely for this time of year and I have no issues wearing this with most of my everyday makeup looks.

The Luminous Creme Lipstick formula is buttery and smooth. I think Date suits my skintone better but Fig is a really dainty baby pink on my lips that I can't bring myself to not like. This duo is very small and therefore ultra-portable so I've been keeping it in my everyday makeup bag.

Torte is much more bright compared to Fig and Date but it's still very wearable. It perks up my complexion and I just feel more put together when I have this on. This is a creamy matte that is not very drying or uncomfortable to wear. It's not as creamy and emollient as the Luminous Creme Lipsticks but it's definitely not a chalky matte. Reapplying throughout the day was easy and my lips didn't look or feel chapped. 

I thought I might as well show you the rest of the four shades that come in the Best Beauty Rewind Set. Bite releases a sampler of lippies every holiday season for a good price and this was the first time I treated myself to it. I'm very happy with my purchase as the formula is good and the variety of shades is nice. For $25 I think this is well worth the money and I hope this comes back into stock so you can get a hold of this if you haven't already.

All of these shades are limited edition except Aubergine which is part of the permanent line. I wish Torte and Coulis were permanent as well because I can see myself getting a lot of use out of them. Cafe is the only one I have some trouble pulling off because it is quite light and salmony pink. I think I could make it more wearable if I layered a shimmery gloss over top.

Two huge thumbs up to Bite for crafting some wonderful lippies and releasing minis that I can actually see myself using up! Are you a fan of Bite Beauty? What are your favorite formulas and shades from the line?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

When Less is More: Rethinking Fashion Consumption

Over the last few months I've been slowly weeding out makeup but also clothing and accessories that I no longer want. In doing so, I saw how much money I wasted on things I wore only a handful of times. For 2015 I had told myself that I would limit myself to only 10 clothing and accessory purchases and I was sticking to it relatively well for a couple of months but by now I've lost count of what I've bought. I definitely purged more than I purchased though and I think that's a start.

Yesterday was Black Friday, the most consumer-driven, materialistic day of the year. I looked for sale codes and pinned the things I wanted well in advance. But somewhere in the span of the last week I became inundated with offers and promotions telling me to BUY BUY BUY. Seeing all these brands vying for my attention and money made me anxious.

In the end, I only purchased one thing I've been wanting for a very long time that I will use for years to come: the Larsson & Jennings Liten Chain Metal Watch in Silver. This purchase was inspired by Erica Choi, aka Egg Canvas, whose Instagram I adore. The brand rarely has sales so I was stoked to see they were having 15% off yesterday and after looking around on Instagram, I realized they just recently opened a store in Soho. I popped into the small boutique, chatted with the friendly sales staff at Larsson & Jennings and purchased my new everyday essential.

Going forward, I'm not giving myself numerical limits on purchases or even instituting strict budgets. I'm already good at saving and I never follow the outlines I set out for myself so there's no point in that. My guidelines will be simple and they will be not only be temporary fixes but lifelong beliefs. Focus on fewer, better things to lead a more happy and meaningful life. Yes, it's pretty much what Cuyana's mission statement is. But I'm okay with that.

For some reason turning away from fashion sales are a lot easier than ignoring beauty offers for me. I'm going to be honest and let you know I made an Ulta order on Thanksgiving evening which I'm slightly ashamed about. But I'm still excited about what I got! As I declutter my closet and my life in general, I think I'll eventually get my beauty buying habits under control.

How are you approaching the holiday sales? Are you thinking of any spending resolutions for the year ahead?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Tarte Gift or Get Set: First Impressions and Swatches

First off, happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans! I have so much to be thankful for and I hope you all are having a great day. I debated writing this post today as I hope everyone is spending lots of time with family and friends instead of combing through blogs. But I have some time on my hands and Tarte is having a 25% off promotion through tomorrow so I thought this might be helpful.

A few weeks ago Tarte had a Gift or Get Set promotion: six full size items, a cosmetics bag and a mini lip creme and foil packet sample for $59 + tax. What drew me in was that you could choose from a variety of shades in each category as well as the brush. I've had my eye on the Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation and the accompanying Airbuki brush which are normally $36 and $28 respectively. So I thought it was a good deal that i was essentially getting both of them in addition to four full sized products.

I wasn't impressed by Tarte's holiday blush palette so I was curious about how I'd like their full sized blushes that are manufactured in the U.S. instead of China. I chose the shade Peaceful which is a very shimmery coral. On Tarte's website Peaceful is described as a soft nude peach and the stock picture has no shimmer but the one I received has tons of golden shimmer. These retail for $28 which I think is a lot for a midrange brand like Tarte. Just my two cents.... The blush is pigmented and if I tap off my brush I can minimize the amount of shimmer on my cheeks. It's not the most blendable blush and this shade is definitely not a "soft nude". I'm still not entirely sold on these blushes so I won't be getting more of these in the future.

I chose the shade Fair-Light Neutral for the powder foundation and it matches me well. I've been trying to minimize my everyday makeup routine and this gives me enough coverage to minimize redness and discoloration in one step. I wouldn't bill this as a full coverage foundation and it can highlight dry patches. You definitely want t moisturize well beforehand and I still prefer to use concealer under my eyes and on blemishes. I really like the unique mesh packaging because it prevents powder from flying everywhere and it works perfectly with the Airbuki brush.

The Airbuki brush works great with the packaging of the Amazonian Clay Foundation but it's not worth $28. It's a reasonably soft and very dense synthetic brush but not anywhere close in softness to natural fibered Japanese brushes. The Airbuki works well for buffing loose powder in small circular motions but the short bristles and density make it hard to blend out large areas quickly.

For the full sized LipSurgence Lip Tint I chose the shade Grateful, a natural nude that I can wear with anything. I like the Tarte LipSurgence Lip Tints but not the glittery nor matte ones. The complimentary mini is a LipSurgence Lip Creme in Stunning which is also a nude but with much more pigmentation as you'll see in the swatches.

I was excited to see that one of the mascara options was the Lights, Camera Splash Waterproof Mascara as I only use waterproof formulas. Unfortunately I tried this once and found it wasn't good at holding a curl and didn't provide much volume or length. I've already passed this on to my cousin and am making a mental note to just stick to my beloved L'oreal Voluminous Waterproof Mascara. Lastly there was a choice of a few SmolderEyes eyeliners. I chose the Golden Black shade because I thought the pencil was the size of a regular eyeliner but it's actually more like a chubby eyeshadow crayon. I'm going to try using it to do a smudgy smokey eye but if it doesn't work out I'll be passing this on. I will give credit to Tarte for including a sharpener with the pencil which is always helpful.

Here are the swatches of all the products. From left to right is the foundation, blush, lip tint, lip creme and eyeliner. The foundation pulls a bit pink but once on my face and blended out, it matches well. The blush swatch is obviously a heavy swatch but it's still rather bright on my skintone. The two lip products look similar from the tube but once swatched you can see the tint is a sheer nude whereas the lip creme looks like a pink lipstick. The eyeliner is loaded with glitter but could be fun for nights out (not like I have many of those).

All in all, I like the foundation enough to not be disappointed in this purchase but I'm still not blown away by Tarte. There's a lot of hype around the brand on social media and I admit their palettes are very tempting. But given the price point, I think I'll be holding off on adding anymore Tarte to my collection for the time being. What do you think about Tarte? Do you have any favorites from the brand?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

My Only Purchase From Sephora's VIB Sale

This was my first year making the Sephora VIB cut so I was looking forward to the 20% sale, making my list and checking it twice. I went back and forth several times thinking about what I wanted, what I needed and caused myself a lot of unnecessary stress. When the thought of spending money on beauty products causes you stress, it's probably a sign you need a new hobby. That's what I told myself and in the end I just chose one luxurious brush to use my 20% discount on: the Surratt Artistique Sculpting Brush.

Surratt brushes aren't highly talked about but they're hand made in Japan like the popular Hakuhodo, Chikuhodo, Wayne Goss and Suqqu brushes. The Artistique Sculpting Brush is made of natural hairs which I presume are blue squirrel as it is oh-so-soft. This is the least expensive face brush in the Surratt line, priced at $90. Yes, it is remarkably expensive but if you're looking for an incredibly silky, soft brush and are willing to take care of your tools, this is a brush you should consider.

The brush handle is lightweight and the overall length of the brush is on the short side. It's about the same height as my Chikuhodo brushes. I prefer brushes of this size as they're easy to hold and are good for traveling (although I rarely take my pricey brushes on trips with me). The black handle fades into a shimmery purple and teal shade which is rather unique.

Compared to other angled face brushes in my collection, the Surratt brush is the smallest. It's also definitely the most soft and high quality without a doubt. The middle brush is by Zoeva and the one on the right is one from Walmart. While the other two brushes are a bit fluffy and fan out, the Surratt brush holds together better so you can get more precise powder placement.

I plan on using this brush mostly with bronzers and contour powders but perhaps blush as well. It's a bit too large to use for highlight but I can see this working with something like the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders since they're not straight-up sparkle. So far I'm beyond pleased by this brush and I'm so happy that Sephora stocks the Surratt line. I've felt all the brushes at Barneys and can confirm they all feel wonderful. I already have plans to purchase several more of the brushes but am biding my time....

Monday, November 16, 2015

September and October 2015 Empties

Did you think I forgot about my September and October empties? Comprehensive reviews of each product are really tedious to write but I still like to document what I've used up. If anything these posts serve as a personal reminder of what I've tried, liked and disliked. If you spot something interesting, leave a comment and I'll try to be as helpful as I can in answering any questions. 

Out of that pile of products, these are the ones that left a very good impression on me. Most of these are items I've used the full sized of or have repurchased. The Alba Botanica Hawaiian Body Scrub is an awesome budget buy. The Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate makes my skin look incredibly glowy and smooth when I use it once or twice a week. The small sample lasts me ages. The Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate improves my skin texture and has a very pleasant formula. Shiseido's White Lucent Serum is the best brightening skincare product I've ever used to fade dark spots. The Number 4 Volumizing Condition smells awesome and smooths my hair without weighing it down. Recommended to me by Monika, INM Out the Door is my top coat of choice

These are all makeup empties or things that have gotten so old I'm worried to put them on my face. Most of the products fall into the latter category.... I have a couple of high-end mascara samples that I used once or twice before I realized I simply don't need high-end mascara. I just need a waterproof mascara to hold a curl. If it's not waterproof, there's no point in using it. I had a few high-end mascaras in my backup stash and I just gave them to Monika because there's no point in me trying them out. 

As for things I did use up, I finished the sample of Benefit's Porefessional and really liked it. It didn't clog my pores like I had thought it would and my pores really did seem to disappear. I also pretty much used up the Laneige BB Cushion which is a firm favorite in my base makeup stash. I have a refill of that which I'm using at the moment. I wore the Ruffian Nail Polish in Naked about four manicures in a row because I loved the color. It's a smaller than average bottle which meant it dried up a lot faster unfortunately. I used more than half of the bottle though. As for all the lip products, they're mostly all ones I enjoyed using. But they're just quite old and the texture of some had changed so much that I didn't feel safe applying the product onto my lips. 

One more empties post to look forward to before the end of the year! I always like seeing all my empties posts from the past 12 months at the end of the year. It's almost as satisfying as looking through my haul posts if not more so!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Dior Addict Lip Maximizer and Lip Glow: My Lips But 10 Times Better

I was pretty excited that Sephora recently had samples of the Dior Addict Lip Maximizer and Dior Addict Lip Glow at checkout because I had always wanted to try these out. The little foil pods contain enough product for about four or five applications each which is pretty nice. The Dior Addict Lip Glow is essentially a $33 tinted lip balm and the Dior Addict Lip Maximizer is a $33 clear lipgloss. If you bought both you'd be spending over $70 including tax which is kind of mind boggling.

The Dior Addict Lip Glow is an interesting product because it transforms from a very pale pink to a brighter pink once it touches your skin. I believe it reacts to the warmth of your skin to create a very pleasant pink shade. The balmy texture feels moisturizing and comfortable and I like that there is SPF 10 in the formula. I really loved layering nude lipstick over this because the pink color and shine could still shine through. The balm has a distinct minty scent which surprised me since the Dior Addict lipsticks don't have a scent. I can definitely imagine this being a handbag staple because it is so easy to use and nice on the lips.

The Dior Addict Lip Maximizer is a plumping lipgloss with a minty tingle which I personally love. I don't find it to be sticky but you won't forget you're wearing it due to the tingling sensation. Unlike the Lip Glow, this has no color at all. If you look closely you can see some iridescent specks but on the lips you won't notice any shimmer. I don't think my lips need to be any fuller than they already are but the gloss does fill out my lip lines slightly and makes everything look even and plump. The gloss is super shiny and very comfortable to wear. My lips feel very moisturized when I wear this gloss so I'd even go so far as to call it a lip balm in lipgloss form.

I really enjoyed trying the Dior Addict Lip Glow and Dior Addict Lip Maximizer and am actually quite sad that they're so pricey. They're definitely on my wishlist as I can see myself getting a lot of wear out of both of these lippies. I can see why these are cult favorite products that have been around for quite some time. Have you tried either of these products? Should I bite the bullet and buy them?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Haircare, Skincare and Makeup Declutter

Despite what Marie Kondo says, I'm not someone who wants to let go of all my unwanted belongings in one go. I'm getting into the habit of decluttering in waves and while that is probably not a very effective way to downsize, it's working for me so far. I mentioned in my last post that I'm most successful in parting with things late at night. I'll open all my drawers and pluck unloved items from their place and toss them into a shopping bag for my cousins to rummage through.

I'm not going through each product because I'm too lazy to type out all these words that nobody has time to read. I'm getting rid of a slew of hair products I never really use because I'm generally very low maintenance with my hair. All of those hair products were gift with purchase samples, gratis or something that was sent to me.

The amount of skincare clutter on my vanity is alarming and I had quite a few things I never reached for. It was time to pass on some unloved eye creams before they went bad.

I'm getting rid of a lot of makeup that isn't bad but it's stuff I never reach for because I simply have so much. I've raved about some of these things before like the NYX Stick Blushes and the Stila Palettes in Merry & Bright and Sensational in Sydney but I have so many similar products that it's not worth keeping these. My younger cousins who have less makeup can appreciate these things more than me.

I'll probably do another declutter before the end of the year. Let me know if you think these posts are interesting!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

My Introduction to Burberry Beauty

Since its launch, I've had my heart set out on Burberry's beauty line. All the reviews were superb and every detail from the packaging to the shades was carefully thought out. I was ecstatic when Sephora began carrying Burberry beauty earlier this year. Sephora and Burberry put together a wonderful set of miniatures from their permanent line which I was fortunate enough to nab before it went out of stock. Hopefully they'll bring it back at some point because it's a great way to try out a few brand favorites for $32.

The reason I felt compelled to purchase this set was because of the mini Burberry Light Glow Natural Blush in Earthy. I've wanted this blush for ages because it's apparently a wonderful contour shade for fair skin. I can attest to the fact that is in fact a beautiful shade in the hollows of the cheeks. It has a hint of pink to it so I blend this onto the apples of my cheeks ever so slightly and I can skip a more blushier blush altogether. The blush is packaged the way Burberry eyeshadows are, magnetic closure and all, and you get 2.5 grams. This is a shade you can definitely use in the crease for blending which I'm very happy about. I love multi-use makeup products!

You get a mini Burberry Kisses Hydrating Lip Colour in Military Red as well. I love the embossed details on the bullet but unfortunately the packaging is not magnetic like the full sized lipsticks. More on the formula and wear later on in the post....

Here I've swatched Burberry's Earthy along with some bronzers and eyeshadows in my collection. As you can see, nothing comes quite close to Earthy. It's a rather unique shade because it's not really a bronzer but not a blush nor your typical brown eyeshadow. The powder is very soft and almost creamy to the touch.

Now let's get back to the lipstick! Burberry has two lipstick formulas and the Kisses formula is the sheer and hydrating one. As you can see, with one swipe Military Red is rather sheer and looks more like a tinted balm. But it builds up nicely and you can get good color payoff along with the comfortability of a moisturizing lipstick. The shade is a classic red that isn't anything special but it's lovely nonetheless.

I wore this lipstick for an entire day and was pleased with the wear time and comfortability. I had to reapply after every meal but my lips didn't feel dry or irritated at all. The lipstick isn't creamy to the point where it slides around so I didn't have to worry much about getting smudges all over my face.

The Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base in Nude Radiance is one of the best multitasking liquid highlighters I've had the pleasure of trying. A tiny drop is all you need to have dewy cheekbones. Other liquid highlights tend to accentuate dry skin or look overly glittery. Not this one. This fluid is very easy to blend with the fingertips and is simply foolproof. I didn't think I would like this as much as I do!

The last thing in the Beauty Box is a mini kabuki brush which, to be totally honest, is simply okay. It's usable but definitely not a high quality brush by any means. It's a bit scratchy on the face but it'll get the job done if you're on the go. I calculated the value of all of the products based on the amount you get and the retail value of the full sizes and the mini blush, lipstick and highlight come out to pretty much $32. So you're essentially getting the brush as a free add-on. Considering the fact that I rarely ever finish makeup, I'm happy to pay $32 for minis rather than $123 for the full sized blush, lipstick and highlight.

I was pleased with my first dabble into Burberry beauty and I'm carefully considering my wishlist for this upcoming Sephora VIB sale....

Sunday, November 1, 2015

My Take On: To Quit or Not to Quit Blogging

Hey guys, it's been awhile. I haven't posted in two weeks which is one of the longest hiatuses I've taken from blogging. I could tell you that I was busy with "real" life because that's a major part of my absence. I changed jobs three weeks ago and have been spending more of my time doing non-blog related things. But that's not the sole reason why I haven't been blogging.

For the last few months or so I've been in a blogging funk. I had trouble finding inspiration for content and I was relying on a formulaic process. Blogging became more of an obligation rather than a passion. It felt like work more than a hobby. I hesitated to write this post because I don't have an image to post with it.... But I figured this kind of thinking is part of the problem. Instead of forcing myself to crank out posts I wasn't totally happy with, I decided to take a short break and reevaluate why I blog and what about beauty blogging brings me joy.

I've said it before but I'll say it again. The most rewarding thing has been the friendships I have made in the beauty blogging community. I've met up with several New York City based bloggers and formed lasting friendships with them. I chat with others who are farther away on Twitter. Some of my blogging friends know me better than people I've known longer in real life. If I stop blogging, will it be more difficult to communicate with other bloggers?

Many bloggers have taken long breaks from blogging or have stopped altogether. I understand their reasons and I've definitely thought about when I should throw in the towel. That being said, I don't plan on quitting my blog right now. It's brought me more joy than negativity and I still have a lot of opinions I want to share. I plan on scaling back my posts as to not feel burdened with having to post a certain number of times a week.

Bloggers, have you ever contemplated quitting? How do you find inspiration to continue blogging? In relation to your "real" life, how much time and thought does your blog occupy?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Why I Returned the Tarte Bling It On Blush Palette

It's rare that I ever return anything - especially when it comes to beauty. I was also supremely excited to get my hands on the Tarte Bling It On Blush Palette which is limited edition for this holiday season. As you can tell by the title of this post, I was so disappointed with this palette that I felt mad at myself if I had kept it. 

The Tarte Bling It On Palette retails for $44 and contains five pans of blush, each weighing in at .15 ounces. These are decent sized pans at three quarters of the regular blushes which cost $28. Side note, when did Tarte raise their blush prices to $28?! That's almost the price of a $30 Nars blush.... Anyway, the Bling It On Palette seems like a good value because you're getting $105 worth of product in a convenient case. 

The case itself is a sparkly black cardboard package that sheds flakes of glitter. I'm not a fan of the packaging but it's better than bulkier palettes. It was while I was inspecting the packaging that I noticed the little sticker on the back of the palette that stated this was manufactured in China. I was very taken aback that this palette is made in China because I know Tarte has prided itself on being cruelty free and eco-conscious. Tarte was acquired by Japanese beauty giant Kose last year so perhaps that plays a role in this. After a bit of googling, I've found that several of Tarte's limited edition palettes have been manufactured in China. This is quite alarming because you're simply not getting the same quality that you would be with the regular line. I find that deceitful on Tarte's part because there is no indication anywhere on their website or the websites of their retail partners of where the products are made. 

As far as I know, Tarte's regular full size blushes are still made in the USA. I don't own any of their full sized blushes so I can't compare the quality for you. But I'm pretty sure the regular blushes are much better than the blushes in this palette. The product in the Bling It On Palette is what I would expect from a budget brand like NYX. The blushes kick up a lot of powder when you tap a brush into them and they apply patchy. The lightest shade in this palette, beaming, barely swatches at all and quickly developed a hard pan "crust" after I tried swatching it the second time. That is not the quality I expect from a brand like Tarte. I felt that I paid $44 for what should have been a $10 palette from the drugstore. 

While I still harbor a bit of guilt for "wasting" resources as the returned palette will inevitably end up in the garbage, I'm thinking of this as a lesson to almost always swatch something in person before purchasing. What do you think of the Tarte limited edition palettes? When do you feel it is necessary to return a beauty product?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Secret Key Lemon D-Toc Peeling Gel Review + Memebox Coupon Code!

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Memebox to be a part of their Memebox Ambassador program and I happily accepted as I had heard about the company a lot over the last year or so. They sent me the Secret Key Lemon D-Toc Peeling Gel to try out which I've been using a few times a week for about two weeks. I honestly wasn't expecting to like this product much since I didn't have a great experience with the IOPE Moisture Skin Soft Peeling Gel which I reviewed last year. But I was surprised to see that the Secret Key version seems to be more gentle, effective and a third of the price of IOPE's. 

Peeling gels are gentle exfoliants that are used on dry skin before cleansing. Squeeze about a quarter sized dollop and massage the gel gently on the skin to remove dead skin cells. The Secret Key Lemon D-Toc Peeling Gel has a very lightweight texture so it's very easy to spread onto the skin. A minor downside is that I have accidentally squeezed out too much product due to the very liquid consistency.

After massaging for about 30 seconds, the gel will dry and start to ball up into little flakes which is somewhat disturbing yet satisfying at the same time. Then just rinse off the flakes with warm water. I tend to use this at night on days when I haven't worn makeup. Usually I opt for a foaming cleanser but I don't feel the need to cleanse my skin again after using this peeling gel. 

The Secret Key Lemon D-Toc feels more mild than the IOPE version because the IOPE one would slightly sting at times. I also find that I get more flakes when using the Secret Key peeling gel and my skin actually does look and feel cleaner. The Secret Key Lemon D-Toc Peeling Gel is only $10 on Memebox's website so it's a rather affordable product. 

I was pleasantly surprised by this peeling gel and was glad I got to try it after being underwhelmed by the IOPE version. If you've been curious about peeling gels, I'd recommend this one as it's a budget friendly option that does the job nicely. Unfortunately, it seems that the Secret Key Lemon D-Toc Peeling Gel is quite popular on Memebox's website so it's currently out of stock but when it restocks, you can use the coupon code "KARYI20" to take 20% off your first purchase on the site. The code will expire at the end of the month. I'm personally eyeing a bunch of their lip products so don't be surprised if you see a review on some of those i the future....

* This product was sent to me for free for consideration. This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my honest opinions.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Recent Makeup Purge Pile

After a few rounds of decluttering my makeup collection, I've noticed that I tend to get into the purging "zone" late at night when I'm feeling antsy. I'm slowly getting better at recognizing which products I really have no attachment to and am finding it easier to pass them onto others. Luckily I have a few cousins who routinely inquire about any unwanted makeup (since they know I have far too much) so my unloved items often find a new home.

I've added a few highend highlighters to my collection recently and love them dearly so I found it easy to rummage through my drugstore ones and pull out a few I never use. I really liked the Revlon Colorstay Mineral Finishing Powder in Brighten and the Hard Candy Blush in Pin Up at one point but now I rarely pull them out of the drawer. I never got on with the Soap & Glory Solar Powder because the bronzer is not pigmented enough to make a noticeable difference on my skintone. The Marcelle Bronzer is good but nothing special and I have several highend bronzers I like better. I only purchased the Wet n' Wild Blush in Amber Glow because people said it was a dupe for a limited edition Mac MSF but I find it annoying to use loose powder blushes so I hardly reached for this.

I have so many eyeshadows that there is no excuse to keep ones I don't love. One of my cousins is just learning to apply eyeshadow so I thought these might be good for her to practice with. I weeded out two Lancome GWP quads that have a mix of warm and cool shades in addition to several finishes. I was rather disappointed in the Maybelline The Blushed Nudes Palette but there are four redeeming shadows in that palette which are usable. I am finally letting go of the limited edition Maybelline Best in Brown Eyeshadow Trio. The two darker shades are nice for a smokey eye but the lightest shade is a flaky mess. Lastly is the Physician's Formula Eye Candy Palette for Hazel Eyes which is perfect for gray smokey eyes but unfortunately gray eyeshadow doesn't suit me very well.

Black and brown eyeliner is really all I need for everyday so I am passing on these three colorful eyeliner shades. The Revlon Grow Luscious Eyeliner in Emerald is a very pretty sparkly green that I wore for the holidays last year but I don't see myself reaching for it at all in he future. Same goes for the L'Oreal HIP Color Chrome Eyeliner in Gold Charge. The formula is ultra smooth and pigmented but I never wear gold eyeliner. The Physician's Formula Gel Liner Trio for Brown Eyes came with an eggplant shade that I simply don't use. I tried to use it as a base under eyeshadows once but that's about it. Hopefully my cousins will have more use for these shades.

I've been purchasing a few makeup products here and there and plan on getting a few more bits during the holidays. I'm not exactly enforcing a one-in-one-out policy but hoping that my decluttering efforts will allow me to keep my makeup collection slightly under control. I'll probably do another declutter at the beginning of 2016 so stay tuned for that!