Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Houndstooth Instain Blush by theBalm

I took advantage of a Birchbox discount code to pick up two more of theBalm Instain blushes recently - Houndstooth and Lace.  Today I have Houndstooth to show you.  As always, theBalm's packaging tickles my aesthetic funny bone with the retro print and efficient design.  Each blush has an outside cover that the cardboard compact slides into.  The compact itself has magnets to keep it closed and a small mirror for on the go application.
Houndstooth is described as a mauve, which is fairly accurate for how it looks in the pan.  Mauve is a rather unassuming color that I've never really been attracted to, yet it translates to a very natural rosy flush on.  I could see Houndstooth being the kind of color that I would turn to when I want a more neutral blush that is not going to compete with a bolder eye or lip look.
All six of the Instain blushes are mattes, but Houndstooth comes closest of the three that I've tried to having a bit of shimmer.  The pigmentation is quite good and I just need to lightly swipe my blush brush once to pick up enough color to apply.  The blush applied smoothly and wear time was 8 hours for me before I started to notice fading.  I've got oily skin and during the summer 8 hours is about as long as I can go before my makeup is noticeably dissolving.  Right now, you can almost swim on dry land here in Mobile due to the humidity!
While I've yet to see any true staining capabilities from the Instain blushes, I do find them to be nicely pigmented powder blushes that wear well.  I've seen some reviews that indicated they were difficult to apply, but I've not experienced that problem.  At $22, they fall in the mid-range price category, until you look at the size (.09 oz) and realize they are actually fairly expensive.  In comparison, an Estee Lauder Pure Color powder blush (my favorite powder blush formula) is $30, but you are getting almost 3x's the amount size wise (.25 oz vs. .09).   It's probably a moot point, however, as I've yet to make it through a pan of blush and probably won't in my lifetime:-)
Overall, I like theBalm Instain blushes and Houndstooth is a workhorse of a color that will see lots of use, especially once fall pushes summer aside.
Disclaimer:  I purchased this.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July Eco Emi: Endless Summer Spa

Although my life is usually relatively low stress, occasionally I get worked up about stuff and have to cajole myself with soothing self talk along the lines of "you have a wonderful life/job/whatever" and "things always work themselves out".  Plus I indulge in lovely smelling lotions, creams, or perfumes for their aromatherapy benefits.  Long walks with the dogs help with destressing as well.
Given that work stress will probably ramp up with the fall semester beginning in a few short weeks, July's Eco Emi featuring 8 eco-friendly solutions for pampering self and relieving the stress of daily life is very timely!

I received:
  • Rose Cleansing Grains by French Girl Organics:  This exfoliating cleanser sounds like it will be perfect for my oily skin, as it is designed to increase circulation and gently exfoliate without disturbing skin's natural pH balance.  It can also be used as a mask by combining with honey, yogurt, or the liquid of your choice.  Lots of intriguing ingredients, including some Ayurvedic botanicals, have me quite excited to try this out!  Sample value is $18.

  • Stress Relief Bath Soak by Eartha Essentials:  This is a bubble bath that will also sooth and soften skin.  Available in 3 scents, Stress Relief uses lavender and ylang ylang essential oils to tranquilize and calm.  I use items like these to soak my feet in when I giving myself a pedicure, as I don't take baths.  One day I'll have a lovely, deep tub to soak and relax in:-) Sample value is $2.00.
  • Lushful Lips Lip Scrub by Eartha Essentials:  I had received an email from Eco Emi alerting me that one of the items in the box was a lip scrub that may have melted and to put it in the refrigerator to resolidify (it's melted below).  Mine had leaked a bit in the box, but fortunately no major damage was done.  Featuring mango butter, coconut oil, raw cane sugar, and essential oils, I like using lip scrubs like these right before I shower.  I received the lemon lip scrub, but coconut lime and coconut creme versions are also available.  Sample value is $2.50.
  • Tangelo Twist Body Spritz by Aubrey Organics:  This body spritzer features a light citrus bouquet swirled with mandarin spice and is the perfect size to carry in my purse for quick refreshers on a hot day.  Using organic essential oils and fruit extracts to provide the fragrance and skin conditioning benefits, this will be the perfect pick me up for the summer doldrums.  Sample value is $2.79.

  • Amend Facial Solar Repair Anti-Aging Serum by Blissoma:  Featuring Pomella trademarked pomegranate extract (as well as a host of other ingredients), this serum is designed to reduce UV ray related cell death and free radicals while fighting inflammation and reducing collagenase activity.   Very interested in this, as I've got sun damaged skin and live in a high risk area.  Sample value is $2.16.
  • Whipped Cream Body Butter in Mother Pucker by Fortune Cookie Soap:  The description on the Fortune Cookie site says it all :-)  "The name sounds dirty but you sure won't be. This scent, with hints of Meyer lemon and garden mint, will leave others wondering who smells so delicious and you can say 'it's me Mother Pucker, it's me.'"  I've read lots of good things about Fortune Cookie Soap products so I'm excited to receive my first sample, valued at $2.19 (estimate).  
I also received a cucumber mint tea sample from Tea Forte (37 cents) and a sleep mask by Limitless Skies ($5.00) to add to the overall pampering experience, bringing the total value of July's box to $35.  Great box and I'm definitely excited about destressing with these products!

Disclaimer:  I subscribe to Eco Emi for $15/month.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mirenesse Glossy Kiss Lip and Cheek Colour in Flirty Kiss

Flirty Kiss by the Australian brand Mirenesse is a lip pencil that can also be used as a blush.  Technically, I guess any lipstick could be used for blush as well, although I typically don't think of them that way.  I know it's not anything new, but sometimes I need things spelled out for me :-)
Flirty Kiss is described as a true red and it does look that way in the swatch.  On my lips and cheeks, however, it takes on a pinkish hue.  It reminds me a bit of Benefit's Benetint in that as a blush it mimics a natural flush.  I never really got the hang of Benetint, however, as a cream works better for me than Benetint's liquid formula.
Flirty Kiss is creamy, intensely pigmented, smooth, and blends out nicely when used as a blush.  I did find that dabbing the pencil directly on my cheek tended to hold that spot of color more intensely, even with vigorous rubbing.  Applying to your hand first and then using a brush to pick up the pigment and apply to cheeks worked well to avoid that potential issue.  I experienced no stickiness and the color wore well throughout the day as a blush.
The look above on my lips shows the color after I've patted it down a bit with my fingers and then applied a clear gloss.  You could get a truly red lip from this pencil easily, but for a more every day look I prefer it a bit more toned down.  As a lip color, I'd say I got a good 4 hours of wear and my lips still looked pink after the gloss had worn away.
I was not familiar with Mirenesse prior to receiving this pencil in my June Birchbox, but I'm a bit intrigued now.  I signed up at their site to receive email and what I can say is that they have regular sales and specials, as I seem to get almost daily emails from them.  They also have a VIP program that is the equivalent of a monthly subscription service, as it is $25/month but you do get a subscription box, a $25 voucher each month, discounts, and free shipping.  The Glossy Kiss pencils are also available on Birchbox's site for $26.55. 
Has anybody tried any of the Mirenesse products?

Disclaimer: I purchased this.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Touch of Rose Cream Blush by The All Natural Face

Touch of Rose is the only shimmer out of the The All Natural Face cream blushes that I've tried so far.  A medium, warm leaning rose with silver shimmer, Touch of Rose gives a nice glimmer to face and lips without veering too far into frostiness.
Touch of Rose powder blush on left, cream on right
I was so eager to use it that I didn't get pictures of the compact in it's pristine, unused state - sorry about that.  These are small compacts and the blush itself is about the size of a silver dollar, but I find a few dabs on each cheek is plenty, which I then blend out with my blush brush.
I can see more shimmer in the powder version than in the cream version on my skin, but on my lips the shimmer is quite evident.  You can especially see it in my lip lines.  A gloss on top will smooth things out nicely and adds shine, however.
As the name of the company would imply, The All Natural Face uses natural ingredients and the vegan cream blushes contain organic jojoba oil, organic argan oil, candelilia wax, mica, titanium dioxide, boron nitride,  and oxides.  The cream blushes are $5.75 each and come in 27 different colors, although I find the color range tends towards warmer, earth toned shades in general.
Disclaimer:  I purchased this.

Friday, July 26, 2013

NOTD: Kennedy and Adele by Julep

Years back, I usually painted my nails a cream or beige color and that was it.  Consequently, I've got so many variations of cream colored nail polishes it's not even funny, and I also have a lingering fondness for cream/beige nail polishes.  So even though I saw several online comments on how 'ugly' Kennedy from the Julep Nantucket Nostalgia collection was, I wasn't put off by it.
Adele, Kennedy
If only the formula would cooperate.  Just like with Bess from the same collection, I found Kennedy a bit difficult to work with.  The first coat was streaky and while the second was better, it wasn't as smooth as I would like.  Yes, it's a bit boring, but sometimes you need a palate cleanser!  That only lasted about a day, however:-)
I was planning on topping Kennedy with Adele anyhow, and Adele is a stunner - a gold looking top coat that actually has many different colors in it's makeup.  From the July California Coast collection, I can see burgundy, purple, and blue in the mix when I look at my nails, even though the overall impression is a gold with a slight greenish cast.  I used 2 coats for the above.
Complex and lovely, plus the formula was easy to work with, finally!  I'm sure Adele is going to look great over lots of different colors - definitely worth a look!

Linking up to the Weekly Nail Files hosted by Well Shut the Front Door!

Disclaimer:  I purchased these.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Origins A Perfect World SPF 25 Age Defense Moisturizer with White Tea

I'm a reluctant and late to the game facial SPF user.  Most leave my already oily skin even more greasy, and some have a white cast that I really don't care for.  However, I realize sun protection is a necessity, so I've been actively searching for one that I can use daily under makeup.  I think I've found it!
A Perfect World SPF 25 is a moisturizer that contains full spectrum UVA/UVB protection in the form of octisalate, avobenzone, and octocrylene.  Even better, this also serves as my daytime moisturizer, as it is full of antioxidants and ingredients such as white tea, maritime pine, squalane, sodium hyaluronate, mango and shea butters, and caffeine to nourish and protect skin.  Origins did conduct an in-vitro study that simulated ground ozone pollution which demonstrated 76-percent less environmental damage when using the moisturizer.
The consistency is between a lotion and cream, and I find that it absorbs nicely into my skin without a greasy after feel.   This does not contain synthetic fragrance, but there is a light scent from the ingredients that is imperceptible after application that I found pleasant.  While an SPF of 25 may not be as high as some would like, I'm just happy to have found one I can use under my makeup that has anti-aging benefits and doesn't leave my face a shiny mess.  Origin's does also carry A Perfect World SPF 35 which is marketed as a protective sunscreen (I'm assuming the ingredient list is different but I don't have them to compare), as well as a non SPF version of the moisturizer which would be good for night time use. 
Silver Tip White Tea is the youngest, most tender bud of the tea plant and offers three times the protective abilities of green tea and over ten times the antioxidant power of one capsule of Vitamin E.  (Source:  The Moody Report)
The container shown on Sephora's online site is a jar, but Origin's site has a note saying that new packaging is being phased in, which I assume would be the tube I have.  I actually prefer the tube, as no dipping of fingers into the jar is required.  Since this is paraben free, I think the tube will help with shelf life and limit cross contamination.  A Perfect World is $39.50 for 1.7 ounces, but given it serves as both a moisturizer and SPF, I can live with that.  I was fortunate to discover mine when I received it as a GWP from beauty.com, but there is also a smaller size in this year's  Sephora Sun Safety kit, if anyone was fortunate enough to snag one of those.

Disclaimer:  This was a gift with purchase.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Shocking Coral ColorSensational Vivids Lip Color by Maybelline

Shocking Coral is the third of the ColorSensational Vivids lip colors that I've acquired.  It reminds me of a flamingo pink, which is a color I'm just inextricably drawn to for some reason.  Of course, there are lots of variation in color with real flamingos, but I've yet to see one that I didn't think was stunningly beautiful!
Photo source:  Smithsonian National Zoological Park
Shocking Coral is quite beautiful as well, and it does provide a pop of pink that can be shocking or muted, depending on how you wear it.  These lip sticks are so incredibly pigmented that they lay down color with just one swipe.  If I want a more muted look I tone them down by using my finger to blend out the color.  They also have a glossy finish and wear comfortably for a good 4-5 hours. 
To me, the color leans a bit more pink when it's on my lips than it looks in the tube or the arm swatch.  I'm sure skin tone and lip pigmentation play a role in that.  Gorgeous color, either way.
Here I'm wearing Shocking Coral on it's own, and while it looks more matte in the face shot, you can see how glossy it is in directly sunlight. 
Below is an example of toning done Shocking Coral with the 2004 Bite Beauty gloss, which is a flesh color.
The ColorSensational Vivids Lip Colors are less than $8, which given the pigmentation and comfortable wear time, make them a steal!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Detox Charcoal Soap by Theraganics

I primarily use bar soaps to wash my hands after I've applied makeup, but occasionally I'll come across one that I really like for facial use, and the Detox Charcoal Soap makes that cut.  Infused with bamboo charcoal, this soap is ideal for oily and acne prone skin, as it helps to detoxify and remove impurities.
It also has antiseptic qualities as well as a lovely aroma from peppermint and tea tree essential oil.  I'm a proponent of the benefits of aromatherapy - or perhaps I just like things that smell good, and this smells really good to me!
I use the soap with my Clarisonic and find that it cleanses without stripping my oily skin.  I do have several cleansers on rotation so the Detox bar probably gets used 3-4 times per week.  A little goes a long way, as I just have to rub the brush head against the soap a few times and it produces a rich lather.  The soap retails for $9, and can be purchased directly from Theraganics.  I received mine in one of my Eco Emi subscription boxes, and out of all the soaps I've sampled via that subscription, this is my favorite!

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.

Monday, July 22, 2013

L'Oreal Infallible Gel Lacquer Liner in Navy

Yes, I bought this L'Oreal navy gel liner over a year ago and am just now posting about it.  Of the three colors from the Infallible 24 Hr gel liners that I purchased, the navy one impressed me the least, although that's not to say it's bad.  It's just a bit more tempermental than the Slate and Bronze ones, which both performed nicely.
On the plus side, the gel has not dried out at all after a year, and I still like the brushes that come with the gel liners.  
Perhaps these swatches will give you an idea, as I found I needed to do a fair amount of reapplying on my eye in order to get an opaque line.  That also means more room for mistakes, as I am far from an expert liquid or gel liner user.  The finished result is not bad, and it wore well all day with no transfer or smudging.
I actually like how it looks with my blue eyes and should remember to wear it more often!  I'm wearing Maybelline's Color Tattoo cream shadow in Waves of White as a base shadow, with 2 mineral eye shadows in shades of gray on top.  Waves of White transformed them with that blue iridescence underneath, which made for a pretty look.  By the end of the day, however, my eye makeup had creased more than usual, which I'm attributing to the slip which is more evident in Waves of White than some of the earlier Color Tattoos. 
The Infallible gel liners are $9.99 and come in five colors.  You can see my reviews of Dark Slate here and Bronze here.  Gel liners are really great for the hot weather months, as I find they last much better than my pencil liners in the heat and humidity.  Do you have a favorite gel liner that you recommend?

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.