Tuesday, February 9, 2016

February Julep: The Eyes Have It

February saw the return of Julep's Eyeshadow 101 pencils in new shades, something I've been looking forward to.  The formula on these shadow pencils is really nice, but the original packaging had the issue of the shadow bullets coming loose during shipping and falling out when opened.
I actually had no problems with the one I received prior to the redesign, but my new one?  The bullet flew out when I opened it :-)  Fortunately, no harm was done and I was able to put it back together, but suffice it to say I don't think the redesign worked completely.  The plastic container is lightweight enough to feel a bit on the flimsy side, but the shadow itself?  It's all good.
The polishes this month didn't particularly grab me, but I ended up going with the Bombshell colors:
Jenica is described as a wrought iron metallic, and I'm liking it a lot more than I thought I would.  You'll see more of it on Friday when I post my NOTD.  Finley is navy smoke creme, but it has a teal undertone to me.  Pretty.
I gave my mom a bottle of the What Your Skin Needs Restorative Facial Milk for Christmas and she wanted another bottle, so I added 2 more add-ons in order to get the free gift that comes with 3 add-ons.  The gift was Sienna, which I already own, so that was anti-climatic.  I also picked up the Cleanup Tool and the Flirt Mystery polish, which was the neonesque pink Caitlin.  I like it.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Moody LipSurgence Lip Tint by Tarte

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
I got Tarte's Moody ($24) back in November as part of a customizable set they were offering. I chose it because I thought it would be perfect for the fall season and because I wanted to step outside of the usual peachy pinks I gravitate towards. Turns out it was a great color choice!
Described as a deep berry and definitely a moody cabernet in the tube, Moody applies as more of a sheer berry stain.  It's lightweight but with a nice glaze that leaves my lips a lovely reddish stain.
I find the LipSurgence Lip Tint formula comfortable to wear but not as hydrating as I would like. The lighter formula also means I need to reapply every few hours, but it does not provide enough moisture for me to rely on it solely.  So, there's that.  I also think theses are a tad on the high price side at $24, but considering I paid a fraction that, no complaints here.
Overall though, I'm really enjoying Moody for it's super wearable color!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Combining and Customizing Facial Masks with Clinique, Glam Glow, and Dr. Brandt

Disclaimer:  I purchased these.
I go through phases where I'm really good at using facial masks and other times when I completely forget all about them.  Prior to the new year I was in a  "use them regularly phase", and I'm especially good on holidays, when I've got extra time to lolligag pamper myself. The following was my Thanksgiving facial.
Clinique Meet Your Mask gift set ($29.50)

Before the holidays I picked up a trio of Clinique masks in a limited edition gift set, as that seemed a good way to sample their leave-on mask line.  One them was the Clinique Even Better Brightening Moisture Mask, which is supposed to restore radiance and revitalize dull, dehydrated looking complexions.  
First, a mini-rant:  this mask has some great ingredients in it, so why does Clinique make their ingredient lists so hard to find online?  I threw the box away and it took a bit of digging online to find what is actually in this. Fortunately, beautypedia.com came to the rescue (they give this one 5 stars, incidentally):

Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Isostearyl Neopentanoate, PEG-100 Stearate, Squalane, Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Glyceryl Stearate, Isopropyl Isostearate, PEG-40 Stearate, PEG-8, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Betula Alba (Birch) Bark Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Extract, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Citrus Unshiu Peel Extract, Salicornia Herbacea Extract, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Rosa Roxburghii Fruit Extract, Porphyra Yezoensis (Algae) Extract, Sucrose, Yeast Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Isohexadecane, Caffeine, Nylon-12, Sodium PCA, Oryzanol, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Sodium RNA, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Acetyl Glucosamine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Crosspolymer, Sodium Hydroxide, Polysorbate 80, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Sulfite, Calcium Chloride, Carbomer, Sodium Metabisulfate, Trisodium EDTA, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Titanium Dioxide.

So, this has moisturizing (sweet almond oil, squalane), antioxidant (birch bark, apple fruit, barley, cucumber) and anti-inflammatory (turmeric) ingredients galore. Although my skin is quite oily, I'm now of the mindset that it still needs intense moisture on occasion and non-pore clogging levels of moisture all the time. I'm actually seeing a reduction in the amount of oil my skin produces now that I've upped my efforts in hydration.
For this mask session, I used the Even Better Brightening Moisture Mask on the perimeter of my face plus my chin, Glam Glow's Bright Mud Eye Treatment around my eyes, and Dr. Brandt's Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner on my forehead and nose area.
I think what I liked best about Glam Glow's eye treatment was the holographic packaging. That's not saying much, is it?  I just haven't been that impressed with Glam Glow in general. I find them over priced and think there are better options at more reasonable prices. I did receive one of the BrightMud Eye Treatments as a GWP somewhere along the line though, so I gave it a go.  A full set of 12 will set you back $69, but you could get two treatments from each pack if you enclosed the remainder in a ziplock bag.
According to Sephora's site, this one offers the following ingredients and benefits:

  • Nitroffeine™ 14%: Provides an immediate temporary ‘zing’ sensation; provides awakening and fatigue reduction. 
  • Juvelane™ 2.5%: Designed to activate retinol-like activity without the disadvantages. 
  • Dihydroxymethylchromone: Supports natural collagen synthesis and reduces its breakdown. 
  • Cyclicpeptide: Fights visible signs of aging. 
  • Troxerutin: Supports natural capillary microcirculation. 
  • Ectoin: Repairs and defends. 
  • TEAOXI™ Peppermint Technology: Activates sensory trpm8 cold compression to de-puff eyes; helps skin look noticeably smoother and brighter.

It's okay, but nothing I would lay out that kind of money for.  Online reviews are decidedly mixed, so I'm sure your mileage may vary (YMMV).
Dr. Brandt's Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner ($47) is supposed to be a blackhead and oil extractor, and the deities know that would be wonderful if true. The star ingredients and supposed benefits of this one are:
  • -Silicone Dioxide: Extracts dirt and excess oil and absorbs sebum.
  • -Salicylic Acid: Helps loosen blackheads and unclogs pores.
  • -Glycolic Acid: Exfoliates and softens skin.
  • -Eijitsu Rose: Helps tighten pores.

I personally have never found anything that completely eliminates the blackheads on my nose area, but this one did absorb oil and temporarily tighten my pores.  If I was good about using it regularly, it could have potential. Considering I only have a trial size and $47 is more than I want to pay...
Post-facial + makeup
To wrap up, I really like the Clinique Even Better Brightening Moisture Mask, am neutral/slightly positive about the Dr. Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner, and would pass on the Glam Glow Bright Mud Eye Treatment.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Amber Monochromatic FOTD Featuring Clinique and Makeup Geek

Disclaimer:  I purchased these.
There are certain colors I gravitate towards on a regular basis (hello amber), and occasionally it's nice to do a monochromatic makeup look using variations on one color. Today I'm going to show you a look featuring various products from Clinique, Makeup Geek, Revlon and Estee Lauder.
Clinique Ample Amber shadow stick
Amber shades work particularly well with both my eye color and fair complexion.  Amber is between orange and yellow on the color wheel, and since blue and orange are opposite blue on the color wheel, they are complementary. Clinique's Ample Amber Shadow Stick makes for a super easy wash of color over the id and lower lash line.
The eye liner is Urban Decay's discontinued Lucky (full review here), a gorgeous copper in a blackened base.  So glad I got my hands on one before they disappeared.
For my blush, I combined Makeup Geek's Infatuation with Secret Admirer.  I used the warm terracotta of Infatuation over the entire cheek area and then popped the uber cool-toned Secret Admirer on the center of my cheeks for a bit of pink glow.
Secret Admirer
On my lips I combined the soft reddish brown of Revlon's Brown Sugar Lip Butter with Estee Lauder's Wired Copper lip gloss.  Estee Lauder has some seriously nice glosses, by the way. Love the shimmer in Wired Copper.
Brown Sugar
Bottom:  Wired Copper
Brown Sugar + Wired Copper
So there you go - a warm monochromatic look that works equally well for me in all seasons!  Also, Lily Raisin wanted to say hello with her pink bunny ears :-)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

January Skincare: Manuka Secrets Serum, Night Creme & Exfoliator Review

Disclaimer:  I purchased these.
There are two skincare ingredients I'm currently enamoured with, and Manuka honey is one of them.  Beyond honey's nutritional and immune boosting benefits, it also has antibacterial and skin soothing properties.  Manuka honey has all that on steroids, apparently, as honey from bees that feed on Manuka (or tea tree) bushes have much higher levels of enzymes than regular honey.  These enzymes help create a natural hydrogen peroxide, hence the antibacterial properties. Some strains of Manuka honey also contain methylglyoxal and dihydroxyacetone, making it extra special.
To that end, there is now something called the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) which is a global standard for identifying and measuring the antibacterial strength of Manuka.  To be considered beneficial, Manuka must have a UMF+10 of antibacterial activity in the honey, and Manuka Secrets has a UMF+18.

Genuine UMF Manuka Honey will have these four things:
  • A UMF trademark clearly labeled on the front of the container.
  • It will be from a New Zealand UMF licensed company and labelled in New Zealand.
  • It will have the UMF company’s name and license number on the label.
  • It will have a UMF rating number of 5-16+. If it is labeled without the UMF or without a number, then it is not the genuine article. (Source)
So, when I noticed Manuka Secrets on sale at ulta.com, I bought the serum, night creme, and exfoliant.  After using them for a month I thought I would share my impressions.
First of all, I'm loving that these contain a variety of skin loving ingredients.  Manuka honey is definitely high on the list and is UMF+18, which gives me confidence that it's the star and potent, but I'm happy to see things like CoQ10, aloe vera, rosehip seed, and hyaluronic acid as well.  
Night Creme ingredients
Second, I like that the serum and night creme come in pump containers.  However, I had a glitch with the serum pump, as it stopped working once I was about an inch down the bottle.  Turns out that the bottom is supposed to move up to compress the ingredients and that wasn't happening with the serum.  Turning the bottom upside down is working for now, but that's not optimal and hopefully mine's a fluke as opposed to faulty packaging.  The night creme is working fine.  But that's why you see the serum upside down in these pictures :-)
Based on a month's usage, I'd say the serum and night creme will last 3-4 months.  I use the exfoliant about twice a week so it should last considerably longer.  The serum says to use it 3-4 times a week but I use it daily, sometimes 2x's a day.
The consistency of the serum ($39.99) is thinner than the night creme ($20.99), but both feel relatively light and soak into my skin without leaving a greasy after feel.  I think it's perfect for oily skin in that respect, and I've had no issues with it clogging my pores or causing breakouts.  It also plays nice with my sunscreen and foundation. In fact, my skin likes all three of these a lot
The exfoliant ($18.74) has very fine granules composed of two sizes of bamboo plus jojoba pearl and white clay to gently lift and remove dry flaking skin and assist new skin regeneration. To be honest I wasn't expecting much, but it leaves my skin so soft, no doubt also because of the moisturizing ingredients like coconut oil, cacao butter, glycerine, rice bran oil, flaxseed oil, and shea butter.  
Prices listed are what I paid at ulta.com and I got the exfoliant and night creme on sale, and I'm noticing that only the exfoliant is available now. I'll be sad if they've quit carrying this already, although it looks like drugstore.com and walgreens.com are also distributors, but I'm not seeing the full range there. Now I'm tempted to hoard this stuff, but I'm not going to. I am going to set it aside for a month or so while I test some other items with the second ingredient I'm fixating on (snail goo). Maybe I'll find another purchasing source by then.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Loving Your Unloved v. 6: Estee Lauder 2014 Color Portfolio

For those not familiar, the "Loving Your Unloved" series is where I take an item from my makeup collection that has languished unused for too long and focus on it for a solid month. I thoroughly enjoyed using Estee Lauder's Color Portfolio during the month of January and discovered a few new favorites from among the eyeshadows. I already knew I loved Estte Lauder's blush formula, which remains one of my all time favorites. What I didn't realize was how nice their matte eyeshadow formula is!
Brand spankin' new
After a month of use
I picked up this limited edition Color Portfolio back in October of 2014, even though I had bought the 2013 version as well, which included many of the same eyeshadow colors. However, the price is insanely cheap for what you get, which makes it an economical way for me to get more of the blush colors. So, while I've used some of the eyeshadows in the past, I really had not formed a solid impression on them.
Most used colors
After a month of use, I can say I like'em! The weakest performers are the light colors in the upper portion of the palette and I really could not find a good inner eye shimmer even amongst all the whites/creams available.  Beyond that, I thought all the other colors performed well. These are moderately pigmented for the most part, but I found it easy to build up smooth color.
Amazing Gray 
The stars of the palette IMO and the ones I used on an almost daily basis were the mattes. The neutral colors and formula made for great crease transition shades. I also thought the platinum and gray shades in the palette were standouts.
Okay, on to the lipsticks. This was the section that I strayed from the most during January, as the colors just were not appealing to me for some reason. I did find two shades that I really enjoyed and they were surprises to me:  Beige and Scarlet Siren
Scarlet Siren mattified
Vanilla Truffle + Nectarine

Bois de Rose mattified
I've reviewed Lover's Blush before here so will not go into detail now.  From the quad in the portfolio, my preference of the blushes went in this order:  Lover's Blush, Alluring Rose, and then Mauve Mystique. That's mainly based on my coloring and preference for warmer tones, as the formula on all of them is lovely.
Top left clockwise: Lover's Blush, Alluring Rose, Mauve Mystique, Bronze Goddess
The Bronze Goddess in medium I used almost daily to do light contouring, and I was surprised by how much I like it!
Lover's Blush + Bronze Goddess + Beige lipstick
Mystique Mauve