Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dior DreamSkin Perfect Skin Cushion: The $82 Cushion

After hearing major raves about the Dior DreamSkin Perfect Skin Cushion, I wanted to see what all the hype was about for myself. This was no lighthearted purchase because this is is most definitely a luxury-priced cushion. The compact with a refill (two 15 ml cartridges and the casing) is $82. Yes, you read that right! Each individual refill is $42 - you can easily get two cushion refills from other brands at that price point. Given the high price, I obviously had very high expectations for this cushion. 

Dior brands the DreamSkin cushion as "tinted skincare" and claims it will improve the appearance of redness, shine, and pores. While I can't vouch for the skin health benefits this might provide, it does have SPF 50 to give your face a little extra protection. I personally view all tinted face products as more makeup than skincare (because eventually you're going to have to remove it and properly cleanse). 

Packaging-wise, it's a standard cushion compact with plastic casing. The product is made in Korea so I wouldn't be surprised if it was made in the same places as many other brands. The refills for these do not fit into the Laneige compacts (since I get that question quite a lot). This cushion has the same scent as the Dior DreamSkin skincare products, a light floral scent. It's not overpowering and not detectable on my skin after application. As far as I can tell, the applicator puff is the standard kind of puff that comes with every cushion.  

This imparts very light coverage but you can definitely see that it evens out my skin tone and makes my face much brighter and awake. Problem areas like my chin look significantly better and my dark under eyes are diminished. The cushion does not completely erase my redness and you can still see some scars and spots but I don't mind that. I use the shade 020, the second lightest of four total shades and while it's a little on the pink side, it's sheer enough that I don't think the match is too bad.

The DreamSkin Cushion feels weightless on the skin and has surprisingly good lasting power. It doesn't transfer to other surfaces and even after 12 hours it looks pretty good on my combination skin.

My preferred way of applying this is with the included puff because it's so quick. The product blends in seamlessly with just a few pats. For day to day wear, I like to set this with a translucent powder for a natural look. If I want more coverage, this looks really good under a light dusting of the Shiseido Sheer & Perfect Compact Foundation. I've read that other people apply another liquid foundation over this cushion but I haven't felt the need to do that.

I really like this cushion for it's "my skin but better" effect but, alas, the cost is tough to swallow. I don't think this cushion is particularly unique that I need to spend $42 on each refill. I've used this cushion perhaps a dozen times and I already feel like it's starting to run out (but once I flip the sponge, I'm sure I'll be able to get many more applications). If you have the extra cash, are interested in makeup with skincare benefits, and like the no-makeup makeup look, this is worth a look. If you prefer at least medium coverage and don't have $82+ to spend on a product that will last you perhaps two months with daily use, there are other cushions for you.

Have you tried the Dior DreamSkin Cushion? Dior also released a Forever Perfect Cushion in Asia and Europe which has much more coverage and that I'm quite interested in. I have a few international travels planned for later this year so I'll try to scope out that cushion to test out!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

High-End Makeup Declutter: Nars, YSL, Bite, Shiseido

It's been awhile since I poked around my makeup stash looking for unloved products to give away. Since I regularly started doing these declutters and documenting them, it's gotten a lot easier for me to pick out things I never reach for. It took me too long to realize that there's no point in hoarding makeup that doesn't work for me.

A lot of the things from this pile were PR gifts or free samples. Most of these aren't bad products but they just didn't work out for me. Mostly, it's a color issue. Let's go through some of my thought processes.

How often do I wear bright fuchsia lipstick? Pretty much never. How often do I wear glittery purple eyeliner? Almost never. Would I be sad to part with these products? Nope. If I lost this blush would I even notice or care? Not really. Do I have a lot of other stuff that I actually want to use? You bet.

The Nars blush in Oasis is something I bought myself and I've only used it a handful of times. It used to be hard to think about giving away a $30 blush but the shimmers in Oasis and the color just don't flatter me. I know someone else could get a lot more enjoyment out of this blush and I'd rather they have it than let it go to waste just so it can sit with my other Nars compacts. I used to like Nars Albatross a lot and I remember there was a point in time when it was quite popular. I had an E.L.F dupe that I used all the time and funnily enough I used it a lot more than the Nars one. I guess I wanted to "save" the Nars highlighter for special occasions. Now I realize how stupid that way of thinking is. The yellow hues in Albatross aren't to my taste anymore and I have so many more lovely highlighters to choose from now.

As someone who barely wears lipsticks, I think I'll be getting rid of a lot of them in the coming months. Honestly, I could probably give away more than half of what I currently have and not miss them. But let's not get too carried away.

In my next round up, I should go through my eyeshadow stash and pick out what I never reach for anymore. I have a ton of drugstore eyeshadows that I used to collect back in my college days that I've barely touched. I'm not looking forward to confronting that part of my stash but I know I'll feel a lot better after finding those products some new homes (although some probably just need to be chucked into the bin).

Are you decluttering your stash? Do you have an all-in-one-go approach or are you taking it month by month like me? Any tips to share for a recovering makeup hoarder?

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Skincare Standouts: Bar Cleanser, Instant Gratification Masks and A Lovely Face Oil

I don't really have a set skincare routine at the moment - it's been kind of a touch-and-go situation for the past few months. Face feeling dry? Pop on a hydrating sheet mask. Under eyes looking a little blah? Dab on some eye cream and rely on good ole' concealer the next morning. Too tired to bother with skincare after removing my makeup and double cleansing (Yes, I always ALWAYS double cleanse after wearing makeup. I'm not an animal!)? Hit the sack au naturale. Whatever, I'm human. I'm not going to guilt myself about not wearing sunscreen everyday (even though you should a la the Glossier promos that are EVERYWHERE). Moving on....

Despite not being very dedicated to any specific routine, I've found a few skincare bits that I really quite enjoy and that I thought would be worth sharing with you guys.

Let's start with that little block of gray soap. It's actually the Drunk Elephant JuJu Bar, an "ultra-mild, three-in-one bar that deeply cleanses, subtly exfoliates, and heals skin." My combination-slightly oily skin likes this cleanser and I use it a few times per week instead of a regular cleanser to give my skin a deeper cleanse. It probably is gentle enough for daily use but, like I said, I've just been so all over the place with my skincare that I don't have a set routine. I purchased a mini size of this in a set with the Pekee Bar, the more moisturizing cleanser, and I'm excited to try that out after I'm done with JuJu.

Leaders Insolution has been one of my favorite sheet mask brands for a few years (beginning of 2014 if you want to get into specifics) and they've only cemented their place at the top with the 7 Wonders Mediterranean Olive Brightening Mask. I purchased a box of these on a whim from Besfren Beauty, a beauty boutique in Manhattan's K-Town, because they were having a crazy good special on their masks. Something like 3 boxes of 10 for $35. These masks usually retail for $6 a piece at Ulta but the Leaders Insolutions website often has 50% off deals. Anyway, my point about the price is that these are definitely worth a try. The bio-cellulose sheet mask is very thin and comfortable and there is a lot of essence to plump up your skin. I do notice a slight brightening effect with this mask and I just love the way my skin looks after using it. After a stressful day, I usually try to make a point to treat my skin to one of these masks before going to bed.

I'm kind of wary of clay-based masks because my skin tends to feel too tight and dry after using them or the masks are a huge pain to wash off. The Tula Exfoliating Treatment Mask does none of those things and that's why I like it a lot. I got this in the SpaceNK spring GWP (the full size tub is $54 - eek!) and I'm dreading the day is runs out. I like that this mask has biodegradable beads that give you a gentle exfoliation when you're rinsing this off too. After using this, my skin looks more toned and my pores appear smaller. The effects are, sadly, temporary but I like to think of it as giving my pores a hard reset.

The Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Youth Activating Oil is so underrated! I never heard about this face oil until I got a sample of it in a Ole Henriksen GWP (they do an awesome mega-GWP bi-annually). Yes, this oil is bright orange and yes, it will tint your skin ever so slightly right after you put it on if you're really fair. BUT it makes my skin glowy and hydrated immediately after I apply it. If you want instant results, this will give you them. I wake up the next day and my skin is supple without a hint of grease. I'm down to my last few drops of this sample and I'm highly considering buying a full size of this next winter.

Have you guys tried any of these products? What skincare have you been loving? I'm really curious to try The Ordinary which recently debuted on Beautylish and First Aid Beauty has a couple of new chemical exfoliants that look really appealing.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

What's Living on My Vanity A.K.A My Current Makeup Routine

So right after I uploaded these photos into this post I realized I totally forgot to include my loose powder. Oh well, it's just the translucent Nars Light Reflecting Loose Powder that I've mentioned a bunch of times so you're not missing anything too exciting. Let me back up a few steps and start from the beginning....

After several weeks of wearing minimal makeup or not wearing any at all, it seems I've finally gotten back into the beauty groove. It honestly feels so good to be back. There's a very big difference between wearing makeup because you feel like you have to and wearing it because you enjoy playing with colors and textures and giving yourself that extra oomph to tackle the day.

For the last few days this has been my workday makeup routine and, even though it looks like a lot, I've got it pretty down pat. For my current post-tropical vacation skin tone, this warm toned look is very flattering and hard to mess up at the same time.

First up, I always prep my lips with the Dior Baume de Rose which I recently repurchased. I feel like I'm going through this faster than my first one for some reason. On most days, this is the only lip product I wear. It's such a shame because I have so many gorgeous lip products in my collection but I just don't like to fuss to much with my lips. If I have time, I dab a bit of the Shu Uemura Laque Supreme in CR01 on my lips to brighten them up a bit. I got two samples of these Laque Supremes and they remind me a lot of the discontinued L'Oreal Shine Caresse Lipglosses.

For my face makeup i've been really preferring a flawless medium coverage look. The first step that really helps with that is the Benefit The Porefessional primer. The tiniest little bit blurs my pores really well and creates a nice smooth canvas for my foundation and concealer. For concealer I've been using either the Tarte Colored Clay CC Undereye Corrector or the Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid. When I have time I'll use both to get more coverage but on most days I just use one. I've fallen back in love with the Shiseido Synchro Skin Foundation because it gives the most beautiful natural finish and has medium coverage without feeling heavy at all. I've been applying that with my new Artis Oval 7 brush which sheers out the foundation really evenly without any streaking. I waited a while to pick up one of the Artis brushes but I definitely see their appeal. The bristles are super soft and make base makeup application very quick and easy. To set my foundation, I dust a bit of the Nars Light Reflecting Loose Powder all over my face.

I totally get the hype around the Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer. I've been using it nonstop because it gives the perfect amount of warmth and definition. The powder has the faintest sheen to it but it never looks shimmery on the skin. I dug out my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Luminous Flush because it's a beautiful spring and summer shade and it doesn't get enough love from me. This is an incredibly flattering blush and a little goes a long way. The lasting power of this blush it also phenomenal and by the end of the work day I can still see it on my cheeks. I've been consciously reaching for my Dior Nude Air Luminizer Powder in 01 because it's too expensive not to use. It's very shimmery, almost metallic, but also very wearable for every day.

Surprisingly the eyes are probably the easiest part of my routine. I've been putting Buck, the darker of the two matte brown shades in the Urban Decay Naked Palette, all over my lid and blending it out with Naked, the lighter matte brown shade. Then I line my eyes with the Too Cool For School Dinoplatz Highline Eyeliner in Dark Brown and smudge it out with an eyeliner brush and a mix of Dark Horse and Creep from the Urban Decay palette. Then I just curl my lashes and apply my go-to L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Waterproof Mascara which I've repurchased for two and a half years and have yet to find something better.

For once I actually like my brow routine and it's really really easy. I've been filling in my brows with the Pony Effect Sharping (no typo, it's actually Sharping) Brow Definer in Deep Brown which is probably very similar to the Anastasia Brow Wiz but it costs only $13. The super thin pencil allows me to fill in my brows very precisely and the shade is neither too warm or dark. I've also been sitting my brows with the Surratt Expressioniste Brow Pomade which is constantly sold out at Sephora. The pomade has the consistency of Elmer's Glue but the brush makes it really easy to comb through the brows and add a lot of texture. I like how this pomade makes my brows look fuller and keeps them in place for the whole day without making them crispy.

The final step is setting everything with a few spritzes of the Laura Geller Spackle Mist which I don't love or hate. It's a decent enough setting spray but I think everything I use is pretty long lasting on its own. The spray mostly helps meld all the powders together ever so slightly, pulling the look together.

I think my routine is a good mix of old favorites (Naked Palette, L'Oreal mascara, Shiseido Synchro Skin) as well as new additions (Artis Oval 7, Surratt brow pomade, Dior luminizer). Even though I love this look, I know it won't be long before I feel bad for neglecting my other makeup bits and switch everything up. How often do you swap out products on your vanity? Every day? Every week? Never? I'm always fascinated by people who can use the same products until there's literally nothing in the pan!