Sunday, October 30, 2016

September and October 2016 Empties

My empties from the last two months were a mix of favorites that I've repurchased several times over as well as some disappointments. Let's go through a quick rundown of the highs and lows in no particular order.

The First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads and Beauty Blender Cleanser Solid are in the love category and I've purchased both of them many times. I also really enjoy the Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation moisturizer and have a couple of jars of that in various sample and gift with purchase sizes. The IOPE Bio Essence is something I love having in my skincare routine and I'm currently using the full size. The Glam Glow Thirsty Mud Hydrating Treatment was a surprise favorite - it smells delicious and it really plumps up the skin. I think it would be perfect for long flights. I am a huge fan of the Clarins Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector and finished the one in 01 Rose. These are really emollient sheer tinted lip balms so it's easy to finish it up. I don't often like perfumes but I Dior J'adore is one I always look forward to having a sample of.

Now for the disappointments.... Everyone but me seems to love the Nuxe Reve De Miel Lipbalm. It's a waxy balm that goes on the lips quite matte and doesn't seem to deeply hydrate them. It didn't give me a bad reaction or anything but I just don't get the hype. The Shiseido Ibuki Quick Fix Mist* had a strange watery gel consistency and the spritzer wasn't fine enough. Every time I used this I had globs of moisture on my face which did nothing for me. The Lierac Luminescence Illuminating Cream Complexion Perfector is supposed to be a brightening moisturizer but it was very unpleasant to use on the face. I ended up throwing most of this out because I've had it for close to two years. The moisturizer is heavy, thick and loaded with shimmer. I love the Fresh Sugar Lip Balms so I was excited to try the Fresh Sugar Lip Serum Advanced Therapy but it really fell flat - it was way too thin and not moisturizing enough in the slightest. It felt like I was putting face serum on my lips and I would often end up eating it (and it didn't taste good). The 100% Pure Honey Almond Whipped Body Butter was only a disappointment because the tub was smaller than I expected for the price. I'd recommend The Body Shop's body butters over these as they're less expensive and the scent lingers for longer.

It's always good to finish up products and bid farewell to the things that didn't quite work out. At the same time it's interesting to see what products I purchase over and over again and use up fully. I've been picking out products I want to get rid of from my collection so expect a decluttering post before the year is over!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Couple of Underrated Makeup Bits You Should Check Out

As a beauty blogger, I love it when I find amazing products that haven't been hyped up to the point where there's little point in adding my own thoughts. Recently I've been reaching a lot for a couple of things that have performed exceptionally well for me and I wanted to share them with you. 

I talked about the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Eyeliner in my July Favorites but I want to give it another shout out because it really blows my mind that I've never seen anyone talk about this liner. I prefer this over the famed Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Pencils because the Bobbi Brown liner lasts much longer. There's minimal smudging at the end of a long work day sans primer which is no easy feat on my oily skin. Bobbi Brown's Gel Eyeliners are one of her best sellers so these pencils probably get overlooked because of that. If you prefer pencil format liners over gel, definitely pick up one of these. 

Speaking of gel liners, the L'Oreal Infallible Gel Lacquer Liner is a great one from the drugstore that's less than $10. I have the shade Espresso which is a rich dark brown. The formula for this gel liner is perfect; smooth, pigmented and creamy. I can't remember exactly how long I've had this eyeliner but it's well over a year old and it hasn't dried out at all. Even without eyeshadow primer, this liner stays on for a full 12 hours with very minimal transfer. It looks almost exactly the same as when I applied it in the morning. There's no need to run out and purchase the more expensive and well known gel liners like Mac's Fluidline or even the Bobbi Brown ones because this is just as good. 

Everyone raves about the Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder Highlight and while I'm sure it's a beautiful highlighter, the bronzers in the same line are worthy of some love too. I got this travel size compact as part of a Sephora 500 point perk and after swatching it for the blog, promptly retired this to the depths of my makeup collection. I brought this out a few weeks ago after shopping my stash and it's been in constant use since then. It's a really great warm bronzer that doesn't look too orange on the face. The baked powder is ultra smooth and blendable so it seamlessly melds into the rest of your makeup. 

Mizon is a Korean brand well known for their skincare products but their Correct Jelly Shadow has me convinced their makeup is worth exploring. The shade I have is 01 Pink Beige and it's a really pretty shimmery pink champagne. I love using this as an eyeshadow "topper" right in the center of the lid over deeper matte tones. This shadow isn't really bouncy or gel like - I would describe it as a pressed pigment. It's not as crumbly as the L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadows which I also really like, though the L'oreal ones are more metallic. The only downside is that Peach & Lily stopped stocking the Mizon shadow so you'll probably have to order it from a Korean-based web store. I was lucky enough to get this at a steal for only $3 at Peach & Lily's sample sale so I consider it a very good purchase. 

I'm one of those people that gets put off by products that people are obsessed with so it's always a nice surprise when I fall head over heels for something under the radar. It's like my own little beauty secret (as lame as that may sound). What are some of your current favorite products that don't get enough recognition?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Would You Wear BB Cream to Sleep?

One thing I'm really diligent about is thoroughly removing my makeup and cleansing my skin before sleeping. It doesn't matter if I just had a little tinted sunscreen on or came home at 4 a.m. with a full face of makeup (not that the latter happens often), I will make sure my skin is clean before plopping on my pillow. But when I laid eyes on the Dr. Jart+ Night Beauty Balm, I have to admit I was intrigued. 

Known for their array of BB creams, Dr. Jart+ says this is "a day and night, multifunctional BB to make your skin clean, bright, and hydrated with no need for cleansing". No need for cleansing?! How can this be? One of the central pillars of a Korean skincare routine is double cleansing to ensure skin is thoroughly spotless so serums and moisturizers can be properly absorbed. Despite the claims of the Dr. Jart+ Night BB, I couldn't bring myself to wear this to sleep. Instead, I tested it in the daytime over my usual skincare routine (SPF included). 

This BB cream features a clear gel formula with teeny tiny white capsules of pigment suspended throughout. The capsules "burst" when you blend the BB cream into your skin to supposedly match your skin tone. Unfortunately, this won't actually adjust to your unique skintone; it just turns a light-medium beige color. I wouldn't say this has any kind of coverage but it does give a tint to the skin and helps even out my skintone. This will be slightly problematic for people of light or darker complexions because this product only comes in one shade. I would recommend removing this the same way you would makeup because when I took a cotton pad soaked with cleansing water to my face, it came away covered in pigment. 

Gimmicks aside, I actually really like this product for that no-makeup look. The gel formula is very lightweight and easy to blend seamlessly with my fingers. You need less product than you think so a full size tube will actually last a good number of uses. Although the gel starts out looking very dewy, it has a satin-matte finish once totally blended. Being that I have oily combination skin, I dust a little bit of translucent powder to set this but that's probably not even necessary for most people. This does not get greasy throughout the day and does not melt or pool in my pores either. It not only looks incredibly natural but it feels like nothing. There's no tackiness or pore-clogging sensation. It just feels like your skin which is pretty awesome. 

If you have near-perfect light to medium skin, this actually is a pretty neat skintone corrector. It can take any redness on your skin down a notch and even things out a little, all while feeling really comfortable. But I think it's very misleading to label this as an overnight skin treatment and I would advise against keeping this on your skin without properly removing it after a certain amount of time. This was a fun product to try but not one I'd repurchase just because I tend to go bare-faced or the whole nine yards when it comes to makeup. 

Do you ever wear makeup to sleep (by accident or on purpose)? What are your thoughts on this kind of skincare/makeup hybrid product? 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Getting on the Gelee Highlighter Trend with Laura Geller's Gilded Honey

The highlighting trend has flooded the makeup aisles with new glowy powders, liquids and creams. One of the formulations I've been interested in trying is the gelee type of highlighter which I believe made its debut five years ago in the form of Estee Lauder's Modern Mercury. As many of you probably know already, gelee formulas are a very lightweight pressed powder that impart a strong, almost metallic, sheen.

On a recent trip to the Birchbox store in Soho, I built my own box and chose the Laura Geller Gilded Honey highlighter sample because I'd been eyeing it for awhile. You get to choose five samples from skincare, fragrance, bodycare, makeup and haircare categories for $15 which I think is a really great deal. If you're in the NYC area, they should still have this highlighter sample up for grabs!

I've seen many swatches of Gilded Honey and thought it might look too dark or golden on my skin. Here I've swatched it next to two other popular highlighters in my collection, Becca's Champagne Pop and the Balm's Mary Lou-Manizer. You can see that Gilded Honey is warmer and more of a distinct gold with an intense metallic finish. It does have more of a glittery look than Champagne Pop and Mary Lou-Manizer. Granted, these are heavy finger swatches so on the face it won't look as intense. A little really goes a long way with the gelee formula. You can also definitely use this as an eyeshadow since it is so pigmented.

Here's a look at Gilded Honey on my face. It's a very in-your-face highlighter that illuminates the face with just one swipe. Personally, it's a bit glittery for my everyday look and the metallic finish does accentuate the texture of my skin a bit. It's really important to blend out the edges of this powder once its on your skin or else it will look very stark. Those who are going for that Instagram makeup look will love this whereas those who favor the no-makeup makeup look will not.

After trying Gilded Honey, I'm torn between whether or not the gelee formulation is for me. On the one hand, I think it's a really cool type of powder formula and the pigmentation is great. But the finish is so intense that it doesn't complement my usual look. All that being said, I'm happy to keep the mini Gilded Honey in my collection for when I want a fierce highlight. Have you tried gelee highlighters? Which are your favorites?

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Trusty Exfoliants and My Thoughts on the Foreo Luna Mini

In an effort to streamline my already bulging skincare pouch for my recent week-long trip to the Pacific Northwest, I thought it would be okay to forego an exfoliator. It's only a week, I thought, and loaded up moisturizers, travel-sized shampoo and other beauty bits instead. If you're reading this and shaking your head, you'd be right to do so because my skin definitely needed a good scrub after a cross-country flight into a much drier climate. Lesson learned - I will diligently pack a good exfoliator to slough off dullness and dirt for future trips. 

It's been awhile since I've done a post on exfoliants and that's mostly because I haven't tried anything new that has wow-ed me aside from the Foreo Luna Mini. I guess it's more a cleansing tool than an exfoliator but I feel that it has a similar effect since it's supposed to expel impurities from the skin. I purchased this a couple of months ago during Nordstrom's friends and family sale and wanted to use it for some time before sharing my experiences on here. 

Before I go into the Foreo Luna Mini, I want to give a quick shout out to a few of my favorite chemical exfoliants that I've mentioned on the blog at one point or another. They are the Amore Pacific Treatment Enzyme Peel (sample version shown), Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel for Sensitive Skin (sample version shown) and the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads. I've used up samples of all three in the past and can see myself purchasing the full size of all of them - they're that good. I'm a big fan of these in particular because they are gentle and really easy to use. I rotate between these and a few other exfoliants I have in my stash a few times a week and it really makes a difference in the texture and tone of my skin. 

Now let's talk about the Foreo Luna Mini which is something I've had my eye on for years but wasn't sure if it was worth the money. It's regularly $99 but Nordstrom had it for $75 during their F&F sale and offered new account members $10 off. I'm glad I didn't jump on the Clarisonic bandwagon when everyone else was raving about it because I think it would have been too harsh on my skin. Not to mention the cost of having to replace the brush heads is really expensive. With the Foreo Luna Mini, you don't have to replace anything and it lasts for months on a single charge - I haven't had to charge mine yet!

The silicone brush head uses "T-sonic pulsations" to gently cleanse the skin and this device has two modes depending on what your skin can handle. I only use the Foreo at night and only on the more gentle pulse setting. Even though the silicone nobs aren't really bristles, I find the more intense pulse setting to be too much for my skin. I use this almost every night in the shower with a foaming cleanser. If I am wearing makeup that day, I remove it first with cleansing water or cleansing oil before going in with this tool. The handy little device skips a beat to let you know to move onto another zone of your face so you don't over do it.

I usually don't believe people when they say they experienced immediate results from using a skincare product such as this one. But I did notice a difference in my skin after using the Foreo Luna Mini for only a few nights. It's by no means a life-altering change whereby I don't have acne anymore. I still definitely have breakouts and this hasn't stopped that. But I will say my pores do feel cleaner and my skin quality is ever so slightly better thanks to this little guy. I like that my skin doesn't get red or irritated at all after using this as well.

Does everyone need to run out and get this? No, but it's certainly nice to have if you aren't one for fussy skincare and want something to give you a deeper skin cleanse. It'll cost you a pretty penny but it will last you much longer than serums and moisturizers that cost about the same, or more, if the $99 price tag seems hard to swallow. I'd suggest waiting until Sephora's 20% sale which should be coming up soon to grab this if you're interested in trying it.

Have you tried the Foreo cleansing devices? What are your thoughts on these new fangled skincare devices?