Sunday, January 24, 2016

Eyeshadow Organizing and Some Rediscoveries

What's a makeup hoarder to do when she's snowed in for the weekend? Reorganize her eyeshadow collection, of course. I got out my ZPalette and Make Up For Ever freestyle palette and decided to switch it up and condense most of my depotted shadows into the ZPalette in an effort to use them more often. Previously, my ZPalette mostly held my depotted drugstore shadows and my Make Up For Ever palette contained depotted Urban Decay and Too Faced shadows.

I have other shadows that are in my smaller ZPalette and Make Up For Ever palettes that I didn't include here but you get the idea. I'm much happier with the way these are organized now. I left the blues and greens in the large Make Up For Ever palette because I don't really reach for them much and they obviously could't fit into this ZPalette.

Last night I went through my stash and swatched a bunch of shadows to remind myself of the beautiful shades I already own (to quell my insatiable desire to purchase more eyelid dust). I plucked out a bunch of cool toned, taupe and purple shadows that I always think "I'll use this in the winter". Well, clearly it's winter now so if I don't reach for these now, I don't know when they'll get any love. Just thought I'd share some swatches with you even though I've swatched many of these already. I did re-swatch the Laura Mercier Artist's Palette but the photos didn't come out so great so you can refer to my original review and swatch here.

I honestly can't remember ever using the Physician's Formula Shimmer Strips in Smoky Hazel Eyes despite having swatched it half a dozen times. The variations of purples and taupes are stunning and the formula of these shadows is really nice. I used to have four of these palettes because I used to always get them during BOGO and 40% Physician's Formula sales. I've since given up two that I never use so I need to make it a point to use the two I've kept.

I swatched a couple of the shades that looked appealing in the pan above. That middle taupe shade is absolute all-over-the-lid perfection. I love that these shadows are pigmented and dense enough to adhere on the skin with no fallout. The shimmer is really refined and complex which is hard to get at the drugstore. My love for this is renewed and I really want to use this palette soon. 

Here are a few more shades in the same color family. I had lemmed after the Rouge Bunny Rouge shadows for so long and have only used Bohemian Waxwing (left shade) a handful of times. Delicate Hummingbird (right shade) is equally as pretty and I want to incorporate it into a work appropriate look. I purchased the Yves Rocher Duo in Prune and Powdery Taupe (what unfortunate names) when I studied in Amsterdam and rarely reach for these even though they are the perfect winter shadows. Finally, I found the neglected Etude House Sweet Potato Latte eyeshadow which was part of a gifted Beauteque bag. It's the type of shade that's been really popular lately but not one I'm totally sure I can pull off. I need to experiment with this one. 

Above are swatches of Delicate Hummingbird, the Yves Rocher duo and the Etude House single. Quite similar to the Physician's Formula palette, right?

This post is probably more for my benefit than anyone else's because I'm trying to find some inspiration in playing with makeup rather than relying on tried and true looks. Yes, it's great to have favorites and sticking to the same looks will inevitably allow me to finish up some makeup eventually. But with the size and scope of my collection, I really could be doing some more interesting looks and I feel like I'm missing out by not taking small makeup "risks". I hope my rambling is making some sense.

In addition to staring at colorful powders this weekend, I also went through my Bloglovin' feed and unsubscribed to dozens of inactive blogs and ones that I no longer am interested in. I regularly subscribe to new blogs so my feed builds up and gets so long that it's a pain to scroll through. While I was looking through the list of blogs, I realized just how many bloggers I loved reading daily have stopped blogging entirely. I miss those blogs and I wonder what the people behind them are up to now. Are they still into beauty as much as they used to be? Do they still read blogs? Hm, just some thoughts I had today.

Here's to hoping we won't get too much more snow this winter. Instead of hibernating indoors and combing through my collection, I want to be outside wearing the makeup!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Sephora's Intimidating Gray Contour Is Anything But

I purchased the Sephora contour powder in Tranquil months ago but only broke it out to use in the last week because I thought it would look best when I'm at my fairest coloring. I remember seeing a lot of bloggers obsess over a limited edition Chanel contour called Notorious years ago and this reminded me of it. This contour powder is part of the Sephora Colorful Face Powders line and if all the other shades are like this one, I'd be pretty impressed!

For only $14, you get .12 ounces of product in a sleek compact. An added bonus is that there's a little nook which makes it super easy to pop out the magnetized pan so you can put this in a freestyle palette. This affordable contour is made in France which was a nice surprise.

Temptalia gave Tranquil a C rating and said it was very powdery but I didn't have that experience at all. I found the powder nicely packed and it doesn't kick up much powder when I dip a brush into it. The powder is smooth and very blendable. I don't have any issues applying this at all. I imagine you can also use this as an eyeshadow as well. 

The color of the powder is clearly gray with a strong purple, taro tinge. The first photo is very true to color whereas the comparison shot above makes Tranquil look more dark. I pulled out a bunch of bronzers and contours from my collection and you can see how different Tranquil is. Seeing that it's like nothing I've ever contoured with, I was a bit intimidated. What if my face looks muddy?! Thankfully, this is one of the most fool-proof contours I've ever had the pleasure of using. It just looks like a natural shadow. 

In this before and after I've blended Tranquil into the hollows of my cheeks. You can clearly see it added dimension and definition (hello cheekbones!) but it doesn't look stark nor ashy. I'm super impressed by the subtlety of this contour powder.

Sephora's Face Powder in Tranquil gets two thumbs up from me. It's an affordable and unique contouring product that performs great and has functional packaging. What more could I ask for? Have you tried any of Sephora's Colorful Face Powders?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

What I Got In My Beautylish Lucky Bag 2016

After Christmas I was umm-ing and ahh-ing over whether or not to pre-order the Beautylish Lucky Bag, a once-yearly mystery grab bag of beauty goodies. I remember seeing the bags from last year and being generally unimpressed but my curiosity was still piqued so I placed the $75 (+$5 shipping) order and crossed my fingers for good luck.

Beautylish is based in California and ship out of San Francisco so being a New Yorker, I had to wait a whole week for my bag. I was actively stalking the #Beautylish and #LuckyBag2016 hashtags on Instagram to see what other people were unwrapping. I was generally impressed by the bags I saw on social media. There were Viseart palettes, $20 giftcards and Charlotte Tilbury Bronze & Glow palettes, to name a few of the things I would have liked. Some extra lucky bags even had a full set of Chikuhodo brushes! There were some things that I was hoping I would not find in my bag like the Too Faced Sugar Pop Palette and the Anastasia Beverly Hills Self Made Palette (nothing wrong with the shadows but the colors in those particular palettes just don't suit me). I think it was a little weird for Beautylish to make some bags "extra lucky" because it makes those who got meh bags feel bad. Actually, now that I'm looking at all the bags on Instagram, they all seem to have at least six items whereas mine only had five.... 

Well, I ended up getting a decent bag. I can't complain. I'm happy to report I can use all the products in this bag and the total retail value is $178.95. Let's take a look at the price breakdown.  

Wayne Goss Brow Set $55
Becca Ombré Rouge Eye Palette $40
Kevyn Aucoin The Matte Bronzing Veil in Desert Days $48
IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Powder $29
Bioderma Sébium H2O (100 ml) $6.95

I love me some Japanese crafted makeup brushes and Wayne Goss is a great person and brand. But $55 for three brow brushes?! I think the price for this is insane and I would have never bought this set on my own. I don't really care too much about my brows but I'm trying to work on that so I guess this set will be useful. Not the most exciting part of my bag but a useful one nonetheless.

Kevyn Aucoin is another stellar high-end beauty brand and I was excited to see a cheek product. This is supposed to be a bronzer but it's so warm and orange that there's no way this would look good on my skin tone as a bronzer. I'll try using this as a blush and see how that fares. The powder itself is smooth and easily blendable so the formulation is spot on.

The highlight of the box was the Becca eyeshadow palette. I've had my eye on this palette and think it's a pretty awesome travel companion because you have all your neutral beiges and browns in one place. This is the warmer and redder of the two palettes Becca does. I would have preferred the neutral toned palette but I think this one will be just fine on the eyelids. The shadows are pigmented but kind of crumbling in an odd way. When I dipped my finger in to swatch these, the powder kind of balled up. That's not something that I usually experience but I'm not particularly upset about it.

The last two products are a translucent powder from It Cosmetics, which is not exciting but certainly something I'll save in my stash for when I finish a powder, and a mini bottle of Bioderma Sébium. I love the regular Bioderma Crealine in the red bottle so I'm interested to see if this one is noticeably different. I'll probably save it for use in the summer when my skin is more oily. 

I think my $80 was decently spent but my bag didn't knock my socks off. The waiting and hoping for good items caused more stress than I would like to admit. For the simple reason that I can't keep my cool and am an overly anxious person, I won't be participating in mystery bags like these. There is too much of a chance that I'll get something I already have or something I won't use at all. Here's to spending money on the things I know I will love and use! 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Products I've Been Loving Lately

So I guess you can say this is my first favorites post of 2016. I don't do regular favorite roundups because you'd be hearing about the same things over and over again and I don't want to force myself to find a favorite just to do a post. As I alluded to in my last post, I'm all about letting things happen organically when it comes to my beauty preferences.

I haven't been wearing much makeup at all for the past week. In fact, I've worn none aside for copious amounts of lipbalm due to the freezing weather. I've been getting dry patches and flakiness on my nose so I turned to the Laneige Firming Sleeping Mask* which I smooth a thin layer on and leave overnight for my skin to drink up. The mask has the same "bouncy" gel consistency as the Shiseido Ibuki Multi Solution Gel. Although many Laneige products have an overwhelming fragrance, the scent of this sleeping mask is more toned down and soothing. It keeps my skin from drying out overnight but it doesn't feel heavy or pore-clogging at all.

When I first found out about the Hakuhodo + Sephora collaboration months before the release, I was psyched. But when the reviews started pouring in, people weren't in love with these synthetic brushes and preferred the regular Hakuhodo brushes. The brushes at Sephora probably weren't selling very well because they made them all buy-one-get-one, something that rarely ever happens on Sephora. I nabbed the Wedge Sloping Powder Brush and the Large Teardrop Pointed Powder Brush (pictured here). I'm really happy with the Large Teardrop Pointed Powder Brush because it's unique to my collection, a very soft and well-made brush as I've come to expect from a Japanese brush company. I'm really glad I held out on purchasing these and got the BOGO deal. The deal is still valid online so I'd hurry and get a couple of these before they sell out! I'm going back and forth about purchasing the two smaller cheek brushes but I think I'll restrain myself.

Speaking of brushes, I've found my HG brush cleanser: the BeautyBlender BlenderCleanser Solid. Bleh, typing out that product name made me realize how lame it sounds but it really is a good brush cleanser. It's essentially a solid block of soap and it comes with a pink plastic insert that you can swirl your brush on. This cleanser removes everything from dried foundation to gel eyeliner from my brushes very easily. It also leaves my brushes feeling softer than they usually do after washing and they dry faster as well. I know I'll be repurchasing this cleanser over and over again and am surprised I haven't really heard much hype about this despite the major love for the Beauty Blender sponge.

Now I've only had the Clarins Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector in Rose for a couple of weeks but I already have to tell you it's one of my favorite lip products ever. I reviewed and swatched it in a recent post so I won't go on and on about it but I wanted to make my fondness for it official. The scent is a yummy sugary scent and the creamy texture is divine. The only downside is that I have to constantly reapply this and the emollient texture is prone to melting. I've been using it everyday for the past week and I think I'm already a quarter done with this tube. That's pretty alarming considering these are $24!

I think I'll be emerging from my no-makeup slump in the next couple of days. I'm looking forward to rediscovering some great products from my stash and unboxing a bunch of new things I hadn't had the heart to use previously.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Starting 2016 with a Declutter

While many are declaring their resolutions for the year, I'm jumping straight into decluttering unloved beauty bits from my stash. I'm no good at resolutions and I'm simply awful at Project Pans, Project Make a Dents and those types of challenges. I love reading about other peoples' experiences with that and it's so gratifying to see other peoples' progress. But for me? Nope. Instead of making promises that I can't keep and dooming myself to failure, I'm just going to wing it.

Above are a mish mash of things I simply don't reach for. Most of these aren't new to my collection at all but I've found that I'm much better at decluttering in waves rather than all at once. Things that are too old will get tossed and my friends and family can pick out anything they want from the rest.

Here are some things I want to jot down as reminders for the rest of the year and beyond:

Avoid hoarding - This should be a general rule of thumb but it can be broken down further. I tend to hoard new-in-box lip products and base makeup with the intention of opening something when I've used up something else. But I rarely use up anything so my brand new stash of never used products grows and grows. I need to stop this behavior and cut down on new things that are added to the new-in-box stash. Another issue I've had in the past was stockpiling sheet masks. At one point I probably had over 60 and since then I've wittled it down to less than five. I hope to keep it this way and have less than 20 sheet masks at any given time.

Don't be afraid of using something I really like - One of the reasons I'm really not cut out for Project Pans is that I find myself trying really hard to use products I don't love for the sake of getting my money's worth. Well, it's simply silly to use meh makeup while things I really like sit forgotten in the depths of my collection. I'm sometimes hesitant to use things that I can't easily get my hands on like this Kate eyeshadow trio. But honestly, it'll take me awhile to get through an eyeshadow and I can always order another online if I really can't be without it.

Have fun and be brave - I find myself stuck in a "safe" makeup rut and wearing makeup to conform to a social setting. I need to get back into the mentality of wearing makeup for me and not caring if someone finds my lipstick too bright. Makeup should never be a chore but a fun experience.

Do you have any beauty goals or advice for 2016?