...

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Aeris Holiday Palette by Natasha Denona

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
I've been curious about Natasha Denona eyeshadows for quite a while, but the exorbitant prices for her palettes has kept me from trying them.  Until now, when the 2017 holiday 5-shadow palettes went on sale at Sephora ($34) last week.
I picked up the warm-toned with a pop of turquoise Aeris, and fortunately it arrived to me intact and pristine.  I say that, as there were lots of comments on Sephora's site that indicated many people received shattered shadows, so apparently these are a bit on the fragile side.  It no doubt does not help that Sepora's idea of packing is to put crumpled paper on top of the box contents....
So many people have raved about the quality of Natasha Denonna shadows, and I've got to say that the matte Burnt Terracotta may be the most pigmented yet easy to work with matte shadow I've tried to date.  Ice Blue is another standout with it's shimmery yet color packed goodness, and Nude gives a high-impact shine that is quite lovely.  Both Red Bronze and Peach Bronze feel more dry and crumbly to the touch, and are what I would consider to be lid toppers over other colors.  They are more sheer and take multiple passes with a finger to build up, but do yield very nice eye looks.
The shelf life of this palette is 12 months, and I have seen reviews that indicate Natasha Denona's shadow formula does go bad and not perform as well once they hit a certain age, which again makes me not want to invest in the larger palettes.  However, the colors and finishes in Aeris, combined with the sale price, makes me happy to have this in my collection.  Surprisingly, I was unable to dupe any of the colors, with the closest contender being Tajin from the limited edition Urban Decay Kaleidoscope palette.  Tajin is a great shadow as well, but Burnt Terracotta is definitely smoother and more pigmented in comparison.
Below I'm wearing Nude and Ice Blue, with Urban Decay's 24/7 eyeliner in Flipside (discontinued) in the water line.  I wore bareMineral's 5-in-1 cream shadow in Candlelit Peach as the base.
In this look I'm wearing Red Bronze, Burnt Terracotta, and Peach Bronze with the yellow shadow Mischief from Colourpop's Yes Please palette (review here).  The eyeliner is Urban Decay's Anatomy from the limited edition Jean-Michel Basquiat collection.  Yes Please is supposed to be a dupe for Natasha Denona's Sunset palette, so there is that...and in another post I'll be showing a compilation of Colourpop shadows from multiple palettes.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Live Your Dharma Jewelry Subscription Box by Yogi Surprise

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
I haven't posted about one of my Yogi Surprise jewelry subscription boxes in a while, but it's not because I haven't been loving them.  I have.  But May's box was extra nice, so I thought I'd write a few words about it. I believe Yogi Surprise is going through a bit of rebranding, as I received an email from them in early May letting me know that future boxes would have a different look and a special free gift would be included to celebrate the new launch.  I'm not really sure which item was the free gift as no information card was included, although I'm guessing it was the pretty gold-tone and purple crystal bracelet.  I like that this one is adjustable - can't say I've seen that with link bracelets before.
I'm super excited about the stainless steel mandala diffuser necklace. It has a nice heft to it and I've got quite the collection of perfume oils, so this will be put to good use. Also included with the necklace were three discs to put oil on and a small plastic suction/dropper to apply oil.  
I thought it was a very nice touch to include the Energizer Wake Up essential oil blend from Sekoia.  I've already used a bit of it in a room diffuser and find the citrus based scent to be pleasant and uplifting. 
The white onyx lotus bracelet beautifully complements the diffuser necklace, and I love the delicate striations in the white beads.  I'll get a lot of wear out of this one, especially during the warmer months with I wear a lot more white.
The sweet treat in May's box was the Double Chocolate Chip Cookie, which is grain and soy free, paleo friendly, and could probably serve as a meal on the go in a pinch.  I've yet to try it as I'm currently trying to restrict my carbs to about 40 grams per day, but I'm looking forward to trying it out.
Overall, I love May's box and continue to look forward to my Yogi Surprise box each month!  The subscription rate is $24.99/month, and they also have a lifestyle box for $44.95/month.  You can find more details here, including how to get 20% off your first box.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Gradient Sunlit Bronzer in Sunrise Waves by BECCA

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
I did not take advantage of the recent Sephora sale with 15% off, opting instead to use Ulta's 20% off for the BECCA Gradient Sunlit Bronzer in Sunrise Waves.  There were hardly any reviews available at the time, so it was largely a blind buy.  After using it for the past few weeks, I've got to say I'm quite pleased with my purchase!
The packaging is the traditional, sturdy compact used by BECCA for most of their power products. Inside is a gradient of three bronzer shades sandwiched between the highlighter in Opal. Quite pretty to look at.
Sunrise Waves is meant for fair to medium skin tones, and contains the Sunlit bronzers in Bali Sands, Capri Coast, and Bronzed Bondi.  There is a version for darker skin tones called Sunset Waves, which features Bronzed Bondi, Ipanema Sun, and Maui Nights sandwiched between the Rose Gold highlighter.  All of the bronzers in Sunrise Waves have some degree of shimmer or glow to them, and I was a bit concerned that combined with Opal, the shimmer finish would be a bit too much for me.
Obviously, you can opt to focus your brush on just the bronzer shades and then use a small brush for Opal as your highlight.  Or, you can swirl them all together to bask in a full shimmery glow.
The swatch on the far left is all of the colors swirled together, and next to it is just the bronzers together.  I think the finish of both is lovely, imparting more of a glow than anything too metallic.  There is quite a bit of powder kick-up, which I tried to capture in the indoor shot below.
I had a full-sized compact of Opal but it went bad on me, so I try to only collect travel sized Becca highlighters now as I know I will never use them up before they go bad. This gradient type of product therefore suits me fine, and I was also able to create a natural looking bronzey eye using the palette as well.
I think I will get a lot of use out of Sunrise Waves this summer and am happy I was able to get it at a discount!  I noticed that when you sign up at BECCA's site you get 20% off your first purchase, so....there is that.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

#365 Days of Samples Vol. 23

Disclaimer: All of these came with purchase.
After a 2 month respite from posting about the samples I've used up (and there has a been a lot, despite the lack of posts), I'm restarting my #365 Days of Samples series. Here are the items chosen for v. 23, and the progress I've made on this batch:
  1. L'Occitane Almond Milk Concentrate body lotion (foil)
  2. Erno Laszlo Sensitive Skin Oil Cleanser and Cleansing Bar travel duo (deluxe samples)
  3. Sol de Janiaro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream (deluxe sample)
  4. Shiseido Benefiance Wrinkleresist24 Intensive Eye Contour Cream (foil)
  5. Lancome Advance Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate (foil)
  6. Matrix Heat Resist Blow Out Tamer (foil)
  7. Dr. Jart+ Premium BB Cream in Light/Medium (foil)
  8. Biolage Color Last Aqua Gel conditioner (deluxe sample)
  9. Chloe Eu de Parfum (vial)
Love the smell of this Almond Milk Concentrate body lotion from L'Occitane, and paired with the body oil from the same line, my skin smelled and felt wonderful all day.  Despite the pleasant experience, I do not plan on purchasing, as I'm flush with body lotions/creams right now.  Plus, I think $50 for a body lotion is a bit excessive.
I was interested to see how this travel duo ($28) from Erno Laszlo performed, as this is a luxury brand I don't have much experience with.  The instructions say to massage a generous amount of oil on dry skin, do not rinse off, and then dampen the cleansing bar and massage the wet bar over your face, using the rounded corners to stimulate circulation.  Weirdly specific, no?  
Bottom line, the duo worked well in removing makeup and cleansing my skin and does have some interesting ingredients, but it does not make me want to replace my holy grail DHC Deep Cleansing Oil.  Plus, did I mention it's expensive?  Like $58 for the full size oil and $38 for the full size cleansing bar.  
I know the Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream is wildly popular, but.....I don't like it. I find the fragrance just too aggressive, and considering fragrance is 6th on the list of ingredients, I get why it's so in my face.
The cream itself was nice and did a good job of hydrating my skin, and if it was a bit lighter in scent, I could get on board. Obviously, I will not be purchasing and I didn't even want to finish the sample.
I was surprised at how rich/borderline oily the Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Intensive Eye Contour Cream (gosh, that's a long name) was until I read the ingredient list, which has mineral oil, glycerin, petrolatum, paraffin and squalane in the first 10 ingredients. Yeah, I'm having a hard time getting on board with some of these ingredients (excluding squalane, which I quite like).  Factoring in the $60 price, I would not consider purchasing this one. 
The Lancome Advanced Genifique is another super expensive ($142 for 2.5 ounces) skincare item that I obviously could not get a real feel for from this small sample.  The main ingredient is Bifida Ferment Lysate (also in Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair), which is supposed to sooth/smooth rough skin. The Genifique does have a 5 star rating on Sephora, but there are plenty of less expensive Korean brands that feature Bifida Ferment Lysate. I can't say I've experienced much of an impact from the products containing Bifida, however, but YMMV.
Th Matrix Total Results Heat Resist Blowout Tamer Shape Enhancing Gel does indeed help hair retain the shape you mold it into, as I found out to my detriment one morning while wearing a headband while putting on my makeup.  I had to re-wet my hair to get the headband dents and weird angles out.  Now I know to use the gel and blow dry immediately.  Good, but not something I feel the need to purchase. 
Chloe's Eau de Parfum is quite appropriate for spring with it's notes of rose, peony, lychee, and freesia.  I found the initial burst of scent to be fresh, followed by a powderiness that my nose translates as soapy. Ultimately, not my kind of scent, but I did make it through 2/3 of the vial (my policy is to try a fragrance sampler a minimum of 3 times before tossing if it's not something I really like). 
The Dr. Jart+ Premium BB Cream in Light to Medium ($39 for 1.5 oz) features an impressive SPF45 and skincare ingredients such as a bio-peptide complex, adenosine, and arbutin.  It gives light to medium coverage and a moderately luminous finish that looked pretty natural. 
Overall, a nice BB cream but I'm happy with my lighter foundation options in the bareMineral's Complexion Rescue and First Aid Beauty's Tinted Moisturizer (reviewed here).
I'm still working on the Matrix Biolage Color Last Aqua Gel conditioner, so will include that with the items selected for the next installment of #365 Days of Samples. Credit for the creation of this series goes to Youtuber Elle S!  Now, for the items I'll be focusing on for the next two weeks:


    1. Biolage Color Last Aqua Gel conditioner (deluxe sample)
    2. Redken Frizz Dismiss Smooth Force (deluxe sample)
    3. DHC Quick Film Smoother (foil)
    4. Kate Sommerville Wrinkle Warrior Plumping Moisturizer and Serum (foil)
    5. Ahava Hydration Cream Mask (foil)
    6. Amore Pacific The Essential Creme Fluid (deluxe sample)
    7. Phyto Express Conditioner (foil)
    8. Tom Ford Black Orchid (deluxe sample)
    9. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Opal (card sample)
    10. The Body Shop Tea Tree Facial Wash (foil)
    11. DERMAdoctor KP duty High Potency Daily Body Peel (foil duo)

    Monday, May 7, 2018

    First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 in Light

    I picked up the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer in Light with a Sephora code in April, and I've got to say that it's worming it's way into my heart.  At first I thought it was going to be a bit too moisturizing/luminous for my taste, as my skins leans on the oily side. Then, there was the sheer coverage that lets all my various imperfections/dark spots peak through. But you know what?  I like it.
    Here's some reasons why. It has a broad spectrum SPF of 30, and the warm temps and sun are back with a vengeance in Mobile so I'm spending more time outside. While I've finally embraced wearing a separate sunscreen every day (it took a few decades, but whatever), having more SPF in my base is welcome as well. This would also work well on days when you are not wearing any other makeup but just want to even out your skin tone or are going for a more "no-makeup" makeup look, while still giving sun protection.
    The texture of the Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer is a mousse like gel, and it is playing nice with my skincare/SPF/primer thus far. The finish is natural and gives a soft glow due to "Finely milled minerals with light-reflecting properties that amplify skin’s natural radiance for a beautifully luminous effect". I do set it with a light coating of powder to help with shine/longevity, and have had no issues with it looking cakey.
    I think my favorite thing about this tinted moisturizer, however, is that at the end of the day my skin still looks good.  Yes, my natural oils are peaking through but this seems to wear down evenly, with nary a sign of patchiness or breaking up in spite of the oil breakthrough. I also like the fragrance of this, which reminds me somewhat of orange blossoms. It's not overwhelming by any means, but it does register each time I apply and I find it a pleasant sensory experience.
    I compared the Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer in Light to the bareMinerals Complexion Rescue in Natural 05, one of my favorite foundations with SPF.  They are both gel like but the Ultra Repair has a slightly more mousse texture, and leans lighter and more yellow in tone with a more luminous finish. I prefer the color of the Complexion Rescue, which makes me think I'd like to try the Ultra Repair in medium before making any decision on purchasing a full size, should I decide to go that route.
    The full size of the Ultra Repair is $28 for 1 ounce versus $30 for the Complexion Rescue's 1.18 ounces, so essentially the same price.  I can't say I like the Ultra Tint more than the Complexion Rescue, but they could possibly run neck and neck!