Friday, March 25, 2016

Clarins Instant Light Gloss & Perfect Trio Love

A couple of weeks ago I spotted a trio of full-size Clarins lip products from their Instant Light line and happened to have a giftcard I was saving for a good deal so I quickly nabbed the set. I believe the Clarins Instant Light Gloss & Perfect Trio was released during the holiday because the box packaging is holiday-esque but the products inside are all part of the regular, permanent range. They must have brought it back to get rid of extra stock but unfortunately it looks like it's sold out everywhere at the moment. The set was $42 but considering each 

I love the Clarins Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector in 01 Rose and have heard raves for their Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors for years so I had high hopes for these. Let's just say they didn't disappoint!

Within this set you get two of the Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors in 01 Rose Shimmer and 06 Rosewood Shimmer as well as the Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector in 03 My Pink. These are all available individually for $25 each. I like the simple and elegant but lightweight packaging. The lip balm is especially makeup bag friendly and perfect to throw in a clutch. Both the Clarins Instant Light Balms and Natural Perfectors have a sweet confectionary smell that I absolutely love and both formulas are made in France.

The Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors are sheer, moisturizing glosses and you get 12 ml or .35 oz of product which is about double the amount you usually get with a lip gloss so I think they're worth the money. The Instant Light Lip Balm Perfectors are also sheer and moisturizing but you only get .06 oz of product which is about half the size of a standard lipstick so I do think these are really expensive for what is essentially a tinted lip balm. The Lip Balm Perfectors are also very emollient so it's easy to use them up.


The Lip Balm Perfector in 03 My Pink is one of those lippies that looks like a semi-translucent baby pink in the tube but transforms into a brightening pink shade when it warms up on your lips. It's essentially the same concept of the Dior Addict Lip Glow but I like the texture of the Clarins one more as it's sheerer and more glossy. I actually like My Pink a lot more than I thought I would. It's the perfect everyday color that you can throw on and forget about. The sheen fades away but it slightly tints your lips pink and perks up your overall complexion. Good stuff all around! 

The Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors are well-known blogger favorites and I now see why. The shades are sheer yet deposit a noticeable hint of color that just makes the lips look healthy. Rosewood Shimmer looks intimidating out of the tube because it's essentially a muddy brown. But it sheers out into a peachy nude. Rose Shimmer is a touch brighter and pinker but not so much so that it clashes with my yellow skin tone. Despite both having "shimmer" in their names, I didn't detect shimmer on my lips which is a plus in my book. I can wear these without applying lip balm beforehand and my lips feel super comfortable.

If you like moisturizing tinted balms and glosses, I highly recommend the Clarins Insight Light line. So far, all four lippies I have from this collection are fantastic, everyday formulas and shades. I am seriously tempted to collect all the shades of the lip balms.... I highly recommend picking these up in a set or when there's a sale! Have you tried the Clarins Instant Light lip products? Which are your favorite?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Low Down on Shiseido's Revamped White Lucent Line

Shiseido recently updated their White Lucent line to include a few new products as well as a revamped White Lucent MicroTargeting Spot Corrector Serum. I've used the old Shiseido White Lucent Total Brightening Serum in the past and really saw a difference in my skin so I was really excited to try this new formulation. I was generously gifted the new products to test out and have been using them for the last two months to see if my skin would indeed become more luminous and bright.

I'll give my thoughts on these products in the order I would apply them to my face. After cleansing and toning with Thayer's rose water, I will pat one pump of the White Lucent Luminizing Infuser Softener* (150ml / $50) onto my damp skin. Softeners are more viscous toners that are popular in Asian skincare regimens to enhance the effectiveness of your other skincare products. The White Lucent Luminizing Infuser Softener feels nice on the skin but for the price, I don't think it's a necessity by any means.

For me, the star of the line is the White Lucent MicroTargeting Spot Corrector Serum* (30ml / $130) which I apply right after the softener. This serum is supposed to target both highly visible dark spots to less noticeable and scattered areas of hyper pigmentation. The serum has a hint of milkyness to it and sinks into the skin nicely without leaving any residue. I've had really finicky skin for the past few months so I'm constantly seeing new acne scars but I do believe this serum has helped my skin repair itself more quickly.

After serum, I'll apply the White Lucent Luminizing Surge Emulsion* (75ml / $60) in the morning. This alcohol-free lotion feels very lightweight and spreads out easily on the skin. Yet, I sometimes find it feeling tacky on my skin throughout the day if I'm not wearing makeup over it. I don't particularly find this emulsion to be anything particularly special and would not be purchasing this in the future.

At night, instead of the emulsion, I apply the White Lucent MultiBright Night Cream* (50ml / $90) after the serum. Night cream is a bit of a misnomer for this because it's a gel consistency. Those with combination-oily skin will likely enjoy this product. It's not heavy like a typical night cream but it envelopes your skin in moisture. Unfortunately, my skin didn't find this moisturizing enough during the winter as I had some flakey skin on my cheeks that this couldn't alleviate. I'm thinking this would fare a lot better for me in the summer months when my skin is less parched.

Overall, I think the Shiseido White Lucent MicroTargeting Spot Corrector Serum is the product you should splurge on if you're looking to fade pesky hyperpigmentation. The other products are nice to have to complement the serum but I previously saw just as good results using the original White Lucent serum in conjuction with other non-brightening products. Let me know if you're tried these new White Lucent products or if you're interested in checking them out!

* These products were provided by PR for consideration. This is not a sponsored post and my opinions are 100% honest and my own.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Ode to My Favorite Discontinued Drugstore Eyeshadows

It's exciting when brands come out with new products with (hopefully) better formulations but it's disappointing when they discontinue great products to make shelf space. Some of my favorite drugstore eyeshadows have gotten the axe and I'd like to find dupes for these shades if I ever manage to use these up. Looking back at my top drugstore eyeshadow favorites from 2012, four of those shades are now discontinued. Even though you can't purchase these shades anymore, I wanted to share swatches anyway. Perhaps you can let me know if you know any possible dupes.

The L'oreal HIP Eyeshadow Duos were awesome eyeshadows, rivaling the quality of highend shadows. The duo in Sassy has a stunning purple taupe that I thought would be a dupe of Mac's Satin Taupe. But I've found that it's even better than Satin Taupe. The L'oreal shadow feels richer and the color is more complex than Satin Taupe. I haven't been able to find another shadow that's a spot on dupe in terms of color. What a pity that it's not available anymore. The Electrified duo from the same HIP line is another unique combination, although I admittedly don't reach for it much.

Back when I purchased the Revlon Satin Single Eyeshadows for $5 a pop, I thought that $5 was pricey considering Maybelline quads were about the same price. Clearly that was a long time ago because I wouldn't bat an eyelash to repurchase these again for $5. These shadows are a buttery delight and the shimmer is perfectly refined. Nude Slip has just a hint of rose that makes it stand out from other nude shadows and I'd love to find a permanent shadow in this color.

I used to talk about the Maybelline Expertwear Eyeshadow Quads all the time and I collected at least half a dozen of these at some point. I've since destashed most of them but I've kept a few favorites. Natural Smokes and Chai Latte are my most loved quads that I used to reach for a lot. The shimmers are complex and the mattes are the perfect tone. After taking the photos for this post, I depotted these two palettes so that I would get more use out of these. Maybelline actually didn't discontinue the Expertwear quads but they reformulated the shadows and altered some of the shades. The darkest brown in the Chai Latte quad is no longer matte which is a shame.

Looking around my stash and swatching loved, but forgotten products brings me down memory lane and it's interesting to see how my perception of things has changed or stayed the same. I haven't been drawn to drugstore products as much lately but I'm really glad to have these handful of shadows in my collection.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Makeup Removers on Rotation: Gel, Oil, Water and Balm

The first thing I do when I get home after a long day at work is thoroughly remove my makeup and cleanse my skin. At the moment I have four different types of makeup removers on rotation, all from different brands and price points. While you certainly don't need four different kinds of makeup remover and I do plan on paring it down to only one or two in the future, it's nice to have a variety. 

The Shiseido Benefique Hot Cleansing Gel* is a very unique formula. It's a thick floral-scented gel that warms upon contact with the skin. I rub a generous dollop of gel on dry skin, avoiding the eye area, and then proceed to rinse with water. It doesn't feel like it removes makeup but it does a good job of taking off my base. It's easy to wash off with just water and it doesn't leave any residue on the skin. It's a good product but not easily accessible because I believe you can only purchase this at Shiseido boutiques. 

Cleansing oils will always be my favorite type of remover for when I'm wearing a lot of makeup. Shu Uemura's cleansing oils are one of their star products and I was naturally curious about them for years. The Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil is supposedly an advanced version of their original cleansing oil. This oil gets every smidge of makeup off when massaged onto dry skin and emulsifies into a luxuriously milky liquid when mixed with water. One thing I don't love about this oil is the scent. It has a very distinct herbal scent that I don't quite like. That being said, I've used many cleansing oils with lower price points that I feel do just as good of a job at removing makeup so I probably won't rush to repurchase a Shu Uemura oil soon.

The Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water is my latest purchase and one I was really excited about due to all the rave reviews I had been reading. I'm a big fan of Bioderma's Micellar Water and wouldn't it be nice to have an inexpensive and easily accessible cleansing water? I'm happy to report that the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water is very good. I like using this on days when I wear light makeup and don't feel like slathering on a heavy oil to remove my makeup. My skin feels clean after using this and it doesn't feel dry or stripped. Surprisingly I can even remove my waterproof mascara with this cleansing water, though I prefer using my usual bi-phase eye makeup remover for that. Overall, Garnier has made a great budget makeup remover that I'm quite certain I'll repurchase in the future. 

Cleansing balms are essentially cleansing oils in solid form but a nice pampering choice for winter months. I'm currently using the Nooni Snowflake Cleanser from Memebox*. It reminds me a lot of The Body Shop's Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter. It has a pleasant fragrance and the balm easily melts into oil when massaged onto skin. It does take a couple of rinses with water to totally emulsify the oil and rinse off completely. At $16 (and Memebox regularly does sales to make this even easier on the wallet), this is an affordable cleansing balm that gets the job done. 

I would definitely consider repurchasing the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water again and will likely always have a cleansing oil in my bathroom cabinet. While I like the Shiseido Benefique Hot Cleansing Gel and the Nooni Snowflake Cleanser, I don't love them enough to repurchase. I'm curious about the Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm and I'm always down to try a new cleansing oil. Let me know what makeup removers I should try out!