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!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

My Current Five Step Morning Skincare Routine

Decluttering is all the rage these days and while I'm not ready to purge 75 percent of my belongings, I see the sense in simplifying. I'm all about layering skincare products but for most mornings I'd rather sleep in and have time eating breakfast rather than slathering on several serums. This is my current five step morning skincare routine which I'm pretty satisfied with.

I start by cleansing my face with the Lierac Purifying Cleansing Gel* to wash off skincare residue from the night before as well as any oil and dirt. This gel cleanser foams up into a light froth and is ideal for oily combination skin. It cleanses well and doesn't make my skin feel dry. One thing that could be improved is that the fragrance is too strong. I'd rather this have no scent. 

I've gone back to Thayer's Rose Petal Witch Hazel as my toner because it's gentle, refreshing and inexpensive. I decant it into a small Muji spray bottle so it's easy to travel with as well. I've been through at least three bottles of Thayer's Witch Hazel and think I'm going to stick to it for awhile. 

I declared the La Roche Posay Toleriane Moisturizers as my HGs back in 2012 but I took a break from them for the past three years. Since then I've used countless moisturizers that didn't come close in terms of fuss-free results. I decided enough was enough and added the Toleriane Fluid back into my routine. It's ultra lightweight and comfortable on the skin while still providing enough moisture.

Since I don't use a rich cream all over my face in the morning, I like to use an eye cream under my eyes so that my concealer goes on smoothly. The Shiseido Bio Performance Glow Revival Eye Treatment* has been my daytime eye cream of choice because it contains very fine micro shimmer that reflects light and makes the skin around my eyes slightly brighter. The formula is moisturizing enough to provide a base for my concealer but it's not greasy or slippery at all. The applicator is a unique plastic tip that I use to massage and de-puff my under eye area. 

The last step of my morning routine is one of the most important, sunscreen. I've been using the Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen SPF 35* which has been a firm favorite for many bloggers. The cream has a slightly pink tone and a trace of ultra fine shimmer which brightens the skin without making me look ghostly. The sunscreen seems to form a light protective layer on the skin and I feel why it claims to be a good makeup base. This sunscreen claims to be weightless and I've read reviews that agree but I can still feel something on my skin after I put this on. Luckily, it doesn't make me greasy and wears nicely throughout the day on my skin. I can't say that this sunscreen has permanently reduced the size of my pores but they do look less noticeable while I'm wearing this.

This regimen will likely take me through the winter and spring. I'll have to swap in the regular La Roche Posay Toleriane Moisturizer instead of the fluid when the air gets colder and drier though. What does your morning skincare routine consist of?

*Products marked with an asterisk were provided by PR for consideration. All opinions are 100% honest. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Maybelline The Blushed Nudes Palette: A Drugstore Disappointment

Years ago I raved about the Maybelline Expert Wear Eyeshadow Quads and collected half a dozen of them. They were a popular drugstore staple and I remember just about everyone had at least one of the smokey quads. It's been awhile since I've purchased any of the Maybelline shadows and they've reformulated quite a couple of times so I was looking forward to trying the relatively new The Blushed Nudes Palette*. 

The palette is reminiscent of the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette which consists of pink toned shades. The top row of the Maybelline palette is made up of peaches and pinks whereas the bottom row has smokey taupes and purples. I've noted with asterisks the shades that are pigmented enough to show up nicely on the skin without a ton of effort.

Out of all 12 shades, only four are ones I would consider nice. They're not great, nor the best shadows from the drugstore, but they're pretty good. All four are shimmer shades and the other finishes are unfortunately lacking pigmentation and evenness.

Here are all 12 shadows swatched on bare skin. As you can see, the top row barely shows up on me whereas the bottom row fares better but not by much. I'm disappointed to see Maybelline take a few steps back on their eyeshadow formula because I definitely experienced better quality from their older palettes.

While the few nice shades are very pretty, I can't justify keeping this palette in my stash because I have so many better shadows to play with. I'm passing this on to a friend who's starting out with eyeshadow and who probably would want to start with some sheerer shades for now. Have you tried any of the Maybelline eyeshadow palettes lately?

*I received this product for free from a StyleHaul event and all opinions are my 100% honest views. This is not a sponsored post and I was not obligated to review this product.