Monday, March 31, 2014

Manna Kadar Cosmetics Sheer Glo Shimmer Lotion in Birchbox Love

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
Birchbox occasionally runs flash sales on select items, and Manna Kadar shimmer lotions ($29) were featured recently for half off.  If you're not familiar with the brand, it could be because it's only been around since 2012, but you can read more here.  That's one of the great things about Birchbox - they've definitely introduced me to new brands.  Since I've been on a bit of a luminizer binge, I picked up two of the three available shades, Birchbox Love and Movie Star.  Today we'll be looking at Birchbox Love.
To be honest, a large part of the luminizer lemming was fueled my increasing desire to try out one of the tres expensive Armani Fluid Sheers.  In fact, there is even a comparison chart on the Manna Kadar Cosmetics site that caught my eye.  So hey, I snapped up two of the Sheer Glo Shimmer Lotions for a song, and I've been playing with them ever since. 
Source:  Manna Kadar Cosmetics
And guess what?  I love them.  I've been mixing the light peachy pink hued Birchbox Love with my foundation, although you can use it in a variety of ways.  At first I started with small amounts, fearing a disco ball shimmer, but now I'm using an entire pump amount, as the shimmer particles are so fine that you are not getting a glitter effect.  Here is how Birchbox describes them:
"This liquid illuminator subtly reflects light to make skin look fresh and hydrated. Plus, the extra-fine shimmer particles won’t settle in wrinkles—they actually call attention away from fine lines."
Clinique Pore Minimizing Foundation in Neutral, Birchbox Love Sheer Glo Shimmer Lotion
The effect combined with foundation is very subtle.  I can detect the shimmer bits very close up, but they are virtually undistinguishable otherwise.  I have not noticed any increased oiliness, nor does my skin look shiny.  I think I'd have to say the effect is along the lines of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders in that your skin just looks better.
As to how Manna Kadar Sheer Glo Shimmer Lotions compare to the Armani Fluid Sheers, I'll have to get back to you on that.  I did purchase a Fluid Sheer but haven't tried it out yet, as I've been too busy playing with Birchbox Love and her champagne hued sister Movie Star.  Birchbox Love is exclusive to the Birchbox shop and retails for $29. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Peach Pop Cheek Pop Blush by Clinique

I guess you know by now that Clinique's Cheek Pop blushes have been a huge hit.  From the super appealing daisy design to great performance reports, they've been getting rave reviews.  Peach Pop was my first choice in color of the 4 available, and since I've had it for about a month now, I thought I'd weigh in with my thoughts as well.
I love the daisy design.  Love it.  I feel happy just looking at it.  I also like the clear packaging, as it shows off the daisy, which again makes me feel happy. 
Pigmentation wise, I didn't find Peach Pop to be all that, however.  It takes several applications before I start seeing color built up.  On the plus side, Peach Pop is smooth and very natural looking on, which enough luminescence to keep it from looking flat.  The formula is such that there is zero powder kickup, quite unique.
Outside lighting
Inside lighting
I like Peach Pop, although I wouldn't say I'm in love with it.  I think I was expecting more color intensity.  I don't know, maybe my winter whiteness is washing everything out, kind of like snow does when you take pictures outside.  In case you are wondering what the daisy design looks like after a month of sporadic use, here's a pic for you:
I've also since purchased the darker pink Plum Pop, so we'll see if it tips me over into feelings of love for the Cheek Pop blushes.  I do have to say that looking at the daisy design still makes me happy :-)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wish Me a Rose Lip Liner by Essence

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
While I rarely bother with using lip liners in the traditional sense of outlining my lips, I've recently discovered how great they can be as a base for other lip products.  Wish Me a Rose lip liner by Essence is a budget friendly item ($1.49) that doesn't skimp on quality, and the pretty pink color actually has me using it all on it's on as a lip color as well as under other products.  Well here, let me show you!
A warm leaning semi-matte medium pink, Wish Me a Rose is easy to use as an all over lip color.  I usually top it with a bit of gloss, but it's not uncomfortable all on it's own either. 
Below I'm wearing it topped with Tarina Tarantino's Sparklicity gloss Paiette, which is heavy on the sparkle, as the name would imply :-)
Available in the U.S. at select Walgreens, FredMeyers, H.E.B.,  Ulta stores and ulta.com,  I've been impressed with the few products from the German brand Essence I've tried thus far, and plan on trying out more.  I mean, come on now, $1.49?  That's hard to beat!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Rimmel Show Off Lip Lacquer in Luna

I'm very late in trying out the Rimmel Show Off Lip Lacquers, but better late than never, right?  I did recently pick up two, Luna and Stellar, and they fit in nicely with the peach and pink color scheme I've been gravitating towards lately.  Today I'll be showing you the more neutral peach colored Luna.
My issue with lighter colored lip sticks, or lacquers in this case, is that they more visibly settle into my lip lines.  Luna does indeed have that issue, but I may have found a way to minimize it.  I read that using a lip liner as an all over lip base prior to applying lipstick helps both with wear time and lip line settling.  So, I used Model Co.'s Illusion Nude Lip Liner as my base (you can see it reviewed here), and since it's a nude color, it doesn't really change the color of Luna. 
Luna over nude lip liner as base
The result?  Smoother lips with less noticeable lip lines!  I've also used a light pink lip liner, which turned Luna slightly more coral.  I found Luna comfortable to wear and it lasted not quite 3 hours before wearing off.  I'm happy that Luna leans slightly orange as opposed to beige, as that works better with my complexion.  The Show Off Lip Lacquers are reasonably priced at about $6, and frequent BOGO's make them even easier to snap up for a song.   I look forward to trying out the bold Stellar soon! 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March Birchbox: Spring Forward

Birchbox's March theme was spring forward, and as far as I'm concerned, that couldn't happen fast enough!  Fortunately, it's warmer now, flowers are blooming, and Birchbox sent me several items I'll definitely be using this spring.  So, let's see what they sent me.
Coola's Mineral Sunscreen is touted as a natural BB cream, but it really doesn't provide enough coverage to qualify in that area IMO.  It does, however, work nicely as a sunscreen and I like that it is matte in finish.  Plus, it has organic and good for your skin ingredients such as Rose Hip Oil, Evening Primrose, Gamma-Linolenic Acid and Shea Butter and is supposed to be ideal for normal to oily complexions.  I like!  Sample value is $3.60.

Vasanti's BrightenUp! is an enzymatic exfoliating cleanser designed to mimic the results of professional microdermabrasion, with papaya enzymes to break down dead cells while evening out your skin tone. Featuring dermatologist-approved microderm crystals to fade the appearance of fine lines and acne scars, it also contains aloe vera, coconut, and vitamins B and E to nourish your skin and keep it free of irritation.  I've used it once and thought it was quite nice, just make sure to not over scrub as the granules are very fine.  Sample value is $5.66.
The sole color item this month got me quite excited, as it's a cheek and lip cream from theBalm in the shade Pie, one of the six shades available in the How 'bout Them Apples? palette.  I mean really, how cute is this tiny little thing?  The almost naked guy is a bit cheesy, but the blush itself?  Love the color and finish!
Even though it's small, I had no problem applying with my finger, and think this will actually last me quite a while.  I'd be on board with makeup items being sold in mini's like this, kind of like nail polish, as I'll rarely finish a full sized anything.  I have no idea what this is worth, but I'll estimate $3.
The beauty extra this month was a foil packet of StriVectin's Advanced Retinol Day Treatment SPF30.  I haven't tried it yet, but the only StriVectin product I've tried before was an eye cream that gave me a rash.  Hopefully that won't be the case here.  A full sized one of these will set you back $99, and the foil is worth $1.98.  Pricey.
I also received a dark chocolate square from Ghirardella called Cherry Tango.  As far as I'm concerned, you can send me dark chocolate every month, as I eat it daily.  Not counting the chocolate, the value of this month's box is about $15, slightly more than the $10 subscription fee.  Factoring in Birchbox's review system and points earned for future purchases from the Birchbox shop, each box really costs about $5.  Quite happy with this month's items:-)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Coral Tulip Joli Rouge Brilliant Perfect Shine Sheer Lipstick by Clarins

I have fallen in love with the Joli Rouge Brilliant lipstick formula by Clarins.  Coral Tulip is actually my first venture into makeup by Clarins, and if Coral Tulip is representative of the quality across the board, I'm impressed!
I'm not sure why the French based Clarins flew under the radar for me, but they've got a lot to recommend them.   Founded in 1954 and with a focus on plant based ingredients, they became the top selling luxury skin care brand in France a few decades later.  Get this - they completely abandoned animal based ingredients way back in 1991!  They are also a socially conscious company and support biodiversity projects and various charities.  Again, I'm impressed.  But hey, you can read more about that here.
Coral Tulip is one of 3 new sheer lipstick colors in the Spring 2014 Opalescence collection.  These lipsticks have the gloss and sheer color of lip balms, yet the wear time was an impressive 3-4 hours for me sans eating.  I found Coral Tulip to be as comfortable as my favorite lip balm, with the extra added benefit of a pop of color that enhanced my lips.  I'm really enjoying the high gloss look of Coral Tulip!
Taken with flash

These are $27, but the heft of the silver tube and the niceness of the formula definitely feels like luxury to me.  I had to restrain myself from buying more colors within a few days of wearing Coral Tulip, although I definitely see myself acquiring more! 
I don't know if you can tell in this picture, but I'm not as pasty winter white anymore.  That would be because of another Clarins product I'm crushin' on, more to come about that soon.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spring Has Sprung!

I went to the Festival of Flowers yesterday and wanted to share some pictures of the beautiful arrangements and flowers there.  Spring is finally showing her face!
Three Little Pigs
Floral depiction inspired by the Royal Pavilion
The Festival of Flowers is a yearly event here in Mobile, and this year's theme was "British Gardens in Time".  In addition to all the displays, a variety of vendors set up tents on the grounds.  I usually buy a hanging bougainvillea, and this year I found a gorgeous dark orange variety I haven't seen before. 
Carpet made from Gerbera daisies
It was in the mid-70's, the sun was shining, and if I didn't have seasonal allergies, would have been a perfect day :-)  Happy Spring, everyone! 

Friday, March 21, 2014

NOTD: Audrina by Zoya

Audrina was one of the color cutie mini polishes I got from Zoya last spring, and I'm just now getting around to wearing it.  I think the Pantone Radiant Orchid color of the year brought it back into my consciousness, as it looked to be pretty darn close in color, although Audrina leans a bit more fuschia.
Source:  Zoya.com
 Zoya describes Audrina as
"a very bright funky mix of medium pink and purple with a milky cream finish", whereas Radiant Orchid has been described by color specialist Leatrice Eisemanan as an "enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones". 
Radiant Orchid type shades are not normally ones I'm drawn to nor have much experience wearing, but Audrina does look great on my nails!  The formula was very easy to work with and this is two coats with Zoya's base and top coats.  I love how glossy it is, although unfortunately I did get some sheet creases in it :-(
I wish Zoya would come out with some more mini's, as they are actually my preferred way to accumulate polishes.  I can't envision making it through a complete bottle of polish in my lifetime!

Linking up with The Nail Files hosted by Jennie Shaw!

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A very bright funky mix of medium pink and purple with a milky creme finish - See more at: http://www.zoya.com/content/item/Zoya/Zoya-Nail-Polish-Audrina.html#sthash.JIVWYaZE.dpuf
A very bright funky mix of medium pink and purple with a milky creme finish - See more at: http://www.zoya.com/content/item/Zoya/Zoya-Nail-Polish-Audrina.html#sthash.JIVWYaZE.dpuf
A very bright funky mix of medium pink and purple with a milky creme finish - See more at: http://www.zoya.com/content/item/Zoya/Zoya-Nail-Polish-Audrina.html#sthash.JIVWYaZE.dpuf
A very bright funky mix of medium pink and purple with a milky creme finish - See more at: http://www.zoya.com/content/item/Zoya/Zoya-Nail-Polish-Audrina.html#sthash.JIVWYaZE.dpuf
A very bright funky mix of medium pink and purple with a milky creme finish - See more at: http://www.zoya.com/content/item/Zoya/Zoya-Nail-Polish-Audrina.html#sthash.JIVWYaZE.dpuf