Friday, September 11, 2015

NOTD: Jinx by OPI

I was looking through my polish collection for late summer transitional colors but Jinx was the one that jumped out at me.  Probably more of a spring or early summer color but I had yet to wear it.  Plus, I love how easy and fast drying textured polishes are, so there ya go.
Jinx is a flamingo pink with gold shimmer, and application was a breeze. This is one coat over basecoat, just so easy. Jinx was one of The Bond Girl minis released in the spring of 2013, and the three I've tried so far have all been great..
Jinx made for a nice last summer splash before I start gravitating towards the moodier colors I associate with cool weather.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Rebel Rose Pure Color Blush by Estee Lauder

Estee Lauder's Pure Color blush formula is my absolute favorite, and I've got a lot of blushes.  A lot. I've acquired 8 of the Pure Color blushes now and today I've got Rebel Rose to show you.
Rebel Rose was part of a GWP blush duo compact that also contained Lover's Blush (see full review here).  A medium warm toned rose with a satin finish, Rebel Rose gives me a healthy looking flush that stops just short of looking too ruddy.
One of the reasons I'm such a fan of the Pure Color formula, particularly those with the satin finish, is that these blushes are skin enhancing and they never look flat or chalky.
The other items I'm wearing in this FOTD include Cargo's Santa Fe Essential Lip Color (full review here), which is an uber comfortable and flattering terra cotta.
The eyeshadows are from Le Metier de Beaute's VIP Sexy Eye palette (you can see it here), which I've really been enjoying this summer.  Another favorite was Maybelline's The Falsies Volume Express mascara, perhaps the best drugstore mascara that I've tried in a while
What's your favorite blush formula?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro in #400 (The Red)

Giorgio Armani's Lip Maestro in #400 (The Red) was part of a Sephora gift set available to VIB insiders that I picked up back in June (you can see reviews of Fluid Sheer #2 here and Black Ecstasy mascara here).  It's a classic vampy red and boy is this baby packing serious color!
I do not wear red lips often and this one intimidated the crap out of me.  In fact, I blotted it down several times before I left the house.  Don't get me wrong - it's gorgeous and is a fantastic liquid lipstick formula.  It's just too much for me!
I didn't experience any bleeding but I do think a lip liner is in order with such an intense color (I didn't use one).  After blotting down a few times I was more comfortable with the look, perhaps because intense color+matte makes me feel less like my lips are screaming "look at me, look at me!".  
This is an all day kind of color as it does stain the lips.  I found the formula moderately comfortable, although my lips need some type of balm after wearing anything for 4+ hours.
Thumbs up on the formula but I need a less intense color, like maybe #500 (Blush).  Or I need to get more comfortable outside of my comfort zone, more likely.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
I just finished a full-sized bottle of the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant by Paula's Choice ($28) and wanted to give it it's own review instead of lumping it together with my usual "Empties!" post. I've got mixed emotions regarding the product but in trying to educate myself about BHA exfoliants, I learned quite a few things that I was probably doing wrong when using a BHA, and maybe writing about it will help others avoid the mistakes I made.  Or maybe I'll confuse us all even more, who knows?

So what was I doing wrong?  I'm not sure I was waiting the proper amount of time after applying the BHA liquid before continuing with the other products I use at night.  Why is this even important, you may ask?  Apparently skin has to be in the proper pH range for the BHA to work, and applying serums/lotions/moisturizers right afterwards can alter that pH range.  Or at least that's my understanding, feel free to chime in if I'm wrong.

So, after cleansing I would apply the BHA lotion directly to my face with my hands and then promptly apply my night moisturizer of choice.  The change in my skin was minimal, at best.  I'd been reading reading about BHA's and the reported "skin purging" phenomena that many people experience, but I wasn't. Considering how oily and congested my skin is, you would think there would be some difference, right?

Reading more online, I realized I needed to let the BHA liquid stay on alone for a while (20 minutes or so) before applying the next product of choice.  My skin did then start reacting with the dreaded purge stage, which is when the gunk deeper inside the pores is brought to the surface. For me, that meant more than the normal number of whiteheads.  I typically see a few of those every morning, but I was seeing lots more than a few.  My pores also looked larger and more pitted, which wasn't the effect I was hoping for.  However, after about 7-10 days of this, my skin started looking more smooth and the eruptions calmed down.   Tada.
August empties
So the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant was effective, but I still won't be repurchasing.  I don't like the oily residue feeling I have after using it, which pretty much means I can only use it at night.  Finding good BHA's with the proper pH range in Western brands isn't the easiest, although you do see some options in Asian skincare lines.  I'm going to investigate those a bit more (I'm using a COSRX BHA toner right now), and they have the added attraction of being more reasonably priced.
Ingredients:  Water, Methylpropanediol, Butylene Glycol (slip agents/penetration enhancers), Salicylic Acid (beta hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (anti-irritant/antioxidant), Polysorbate-20 (solubolizing agent), Sodium Hydroxide (pH balancer), Tetrasodium EDTA (chelating agent).

Monday, September 7, 2015

OCC Lip Tars on Sale at Sephora: Get 'em Before They're Gone!

Sephora will no longer being carrying Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC) and currently has their OCC products on sale at 50% off or better.  This mainly consists of the single Lip Tars and a few sets, so if you are a fan now would be the time to stock up.
I'm officially a fan and took advantage of quite a few sales on sets over the past year, including these Pro's Picks Portables set with 12 mini lip tars.  I never posted swatches as it sold out fairly quickly, but if nothing else this will give you an idea of some of the colors available as singles.
One of the main criticisms of lip tars is that they are hard to reapply on the go in their original tube packaging, but the new Lip Tar-RTW ($15) with a doe foot applicator makes it much easier (just remember a little goes a looooong way).  So, another reason to stock up now would be to make your own portable lip tars (you can see how to do that on this post from Portrait of Mai's blog).  I haven't tried it yet, but it looks easy and given my collection (34?) would be a great way to get more use out of them.

I particularly loved that Sephora had so many sets featuring mini-sized lip tars, as I seriously doubt I will ever make it through a full-sized tube in my lifetime.  I'll miss that.
Lip tars come in 3 different finishes:  matte, stained gloss, and metallic.  The mattes are insanely pigmented and take about a pin head size to cover your lips.  The stained gloss ones are indeed glossy with a more translucent finish and I find I need about a pea size of them to cover my lips.  The metallics are dryer in texture and I like them more for mixing with the other two than wearing on their on.  In fact, lip tars are great for mixing and making your own unique colors:
 Please excuse any dog hair stuck to my lips.  It's the reality of life in my 3 dog household.
Cha Cha+Zhora+Grandma
I'm currently debating about picking up a single of the orange beauty Kimber but haven't pulled the trigger yet.  I'm trying t convince myself I can mix my own between the various oranges from OCC I already have, but I don't know....
Cha Cha+Harlot+Androgyne+Grandma
I'm giving myself a few days to decide about Kimber, but will you be picking up any?

Friday, September 4, 2015

Year 3 of Le Métier de Beauté's VIP Begins with a Bang!

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
Year 3 of Le Métier de Beauté's Beauty Vault VIP program began in August, and I continue to enjoy building my collection of these luxury products.  The first month is always exciting as a little something extra is usually included for those renewing their subscriptions, so let's see what I got!
Le Métier de Beauté has started creating items just for the Beauty Vault VIP and those items are marked as such.  This VIP palette contains a leopard print bronzer, a contour shade, a blush, and 3 eyeshadows.  If I was to estimate the value based on how LMdB prices their singles, it would be around $230.  Yeah, I know.  
LMdB eyeshadows have become my favorite, mainly for their ability to be layered seamlessly without any muddying effects.  So, adding 3 new ones to my collection is always nice, especially considering each eyeshadow single costs $30.  I will say that I'm starting to get to the point where it's hard not to get similar colors now, but that's more because I've got so many of the shadows now as opposed to them being true dupes of each other.  There are definitely tonal differences and no two have been the same.
The contour shade is such a welcome addition, as it is definitely a shade that works well as a contour and does not go ruddy on me.  The blush color is not one I would veer towards on my own, but it's pretty and the quality is better than the ones I received in a blush kaleidoscope, as I found them to be just a tad chalky.
The leopard print bronzer is large enough that you could potentially use the shades as eyeshadows as well, but I mainly swirl them together and apply as a bronzer/highlighter.  The resulting finish has a bit of shimmer that complements my skin, and again I like that it does not go orange on me.
The gold and brown shadows lay down soft color that is easy to blend for a very natural eye look, and I used the teal shadow as a liner.  All 3 colors performed well and seem up to the usual LMdB standards. One aspect of the palette that IREALLY like is that you can remove the black foam overlay around the powders and add other tins of color.  Yes, it's got a magnetic backing.  I'm hoping they send other singles for that very purpose. /Wishful thinking.
Here I'm wearing the gold and brown shadows layered together over Maybelline's Bold Gold, which amped up the gold shimmer:
The extra item included for resubscribing was a cream shadow, which I'll be posting about separately just to keep this post from becoming toooooo long :-)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Essence Autumn Peach Silky Touch Blush

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
Essence continues to impress me with their uber inexpensive line of cosmetics, and Autumn Peach did not let me down.  From the pretty stamped design to the color to the performance, this is a great blush that could easily sell for 5 times it's $2.99 price and still be worth it.
For that $3 you are getting a generously sized warm toned peach blush that has just enough shimmer in it to keep the finish from looking flat.  Pigmentation is good and it does not take a lot of effort to build up color, although I don't worry about overdoing it either.
There is a bit of powder kickup but nothing excessive, and the formula wore for a good 8 hours on my oily skin - in the summer no less.  I like Autumn Peach so much that I want more colors, but there are only 4 listed on Ulta and I need more variety!

I'm not sure what makes this an "autumn" peach as opposed to spring  or summer, but here you can see it compared to the Essence Sunkissed Powder I purchased during the same haul (full review here):
I'm seriously getting to the point where I'm wondering what the mid-range/high end brands have on some of drug store offerings these days.  Maybe I'm just getting jaded, or maybe my 3+ years of reviewing items I purchase is showing me high does not necessarily equal better quality. Now, just release some more colors Essence!