Monday, November 30, 2015

Copper Caviar Stick Eye Colour by Laura Mercier

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
Laura Mercier's Caviar Sticks continue to set the bar for me when it comes to eyeshadow pencils for one and done color washes for the eye.  Copper is a color I picked up back in June and it's a lovely new penny metallic copper that complements my blue eyes.
At $28 each these are pricey, but they lay done color so easily on delicate lids and are easy to smudge out before they set for day.  Over primer I can get a good 8-9 hours of crease free wear on my oily lids, and indeed they tend to fade as opposed to crease on me in general.
I'm still wondering if I should have gotten the holiday Matte to Metal Caviar set but I already have two of the colors, so hence the hesitation.  I'll probably just continue to pick up colors selectively here and there.
I did find one product in my collection that is very close in color:  Maybelline's 24/7 Color Tattoo in Caramel Cool, which was a limited edition color.  It also has a very nice formula and if I had realized how close in color it is to Copper, I may have chosen another Caviar stick instead.  C'est la vie.

Friday, November 27, 2015

NOTD: Morning Light by Rescue Beauty Lounge

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
My Rescue Beauty Lounge last ever order arrived and Morning Light was my first choice to wear.  The light blue/gray beauty with a soft gold shimmer is all I was hoping it would be and is perfect for the moodier fall weather Mobile is flirting with.
Sadly, Rescue Beauty Lounge has gone out of business so Morning Light will not easy to find, although I guess blog sales are a remote option.
I'm trying to motivate myself to shampoo my carpet.....not sure it's gonna happen.  Maybe I'll just window shop all the online Black Friday deals while watching PBS cartoons.  I love Peg + Cat.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Sweet Spice 5-in-1 BB Cream Eyeshadow by bareMinerals

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
I've mentioned my extreme fondness for bareMinerals's 5-in-1 BB cream eyeshadows ($18) before here and here, and the romance continues.  I've added a few more to my collection, and since today is Thanksgiving I'm showing the appropriately named Sweet Spice, a light cocoa tan.
If you are not familiar with these cream eyeshadows, they have several selling points for me:
  • SPF 15 - how many eye products have SPF?  I wish more did, as I've got one freckle each on my lids, no doubt from sun exposure.
  • A lovely texture that spreads easily and minimizes texture on my increasingly crepey lids.
  • Long-lasting formula, although my uber oily lids still need a primer underneath.  If your lids are not oil slicks like mine, you probably won't.
  • Nine different neutral tones that work well as shadow bases or on their own, particularly if you like natural looking eyes.
Seriously, there is nothing that I do not like about these babies.  Sweet Spice is one of the darker colors (which is relative, as these are not intense colors to begin with).  It is several shades darker than my skin tone so shows up well on it's own for a one and done type of look, or as a base shadow for more complex looks.

I also really like that these are in tubes as I'm hoping they will last longer than pot cream shadows do.  The doe foot makes it easy to apply and then I use my finger to blend.  There are no harsh edges in sight, just smooth and flattering satin/matte color.  These are not flat at all, as there is a very subtle shimmer in the mix.
I hope those that celebrate Thanksgiving are having a lovely day!  My Thanksgiving meal continues my families' recent trend of non-traditional dishes for this holiday, with Chiles Rellenos on the menu.  I did get a request for my red beans and rice as well, so I guess it's a mashup of Mexican/Cajun this year.  So, adios and soignez vous-autres!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Haulin', Haulin', Haulin': What I Purchased During Sephora's VIB Sale

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
I've been spreading a little too much love amongst various beauty brands/sites lately, so my Sephora VIB purchase this year was modest - in size at least. I decided to focus on a brand I've been curious about for a while but have yet to try, Kevin Aucoin.
I love a good highlighter and Kevyn Aucoin's Celestial Powder in Candlelight ($44) gets good reviews, so why not go all out and get the Contour Book , I asked myself ($65 regularly, $56 with VIB discount)? Plus, the Contour Book actually contains larger sizes of both the Celestial and Sculpting powders and creams than the singles, which is crazy! Crazy good, actually. Here's what you get:
- 0.17 oz The Celestial Powder in Candlelight 
- 0.04 oz The Celestial Powder in Starlight 
- 0.16 oz The Creamy Glow in Candlelight 
- 0.16 oz The Sculpting Cream 
- 0.16 oz The Candlelight Cream 
- 0.14 oz The Sculpting Powder 
- 4 x 0.04 oz Eye shadow in Eye shadow in Brighten (luminous pearl), Starlight (luminous light peach/pink), Cool Tan (light brown), Ruddy Earth (rust) 
- How-to guide
I've just started playing with it so expect a full review in a bit. Initial impressions are positive.
Clinique really went all out with the packaging for their Take the Day Away cleansing balm sample, didn't they? It's larger than the contour book. I'm all for visual presentation but this seems a bit over the top/wasteful considering the size of the actual sample.  
My other 2 sample picks were erborian's Bamboo Waterlock plumping mask and Bobbi Brown's Intensive Skin Concealer or Serum, which I forgot to take a picture of. Honestly, I enjoy choosing samples so much and have walked away from a purchase if the samples were not to my liking. Weird, I know, but they can sway me yay or nay.  

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tarte Haul and Lights, Cameras & Flashes Statement Mascara

Tarte had a deal that I couldn't pass up recently called the Gift or Get Beauty Set ($59). I found it impossible to resist because (a) it was customizable, (b) it contained the airbuki brush, and (c) all of the items were full sized.  The value of of the set was $163, not counting the makeup bag.  Today I'll be showing the Lights, Cameras, & Flashes Statement Mascara ($23).
Dressed in a gold lamé snakeskin jacket, Lights, Camera, and Flashes aims to make a statement with it's ultra-black matte pigment and the supposed ability to increase the volume of lashes by 752%.  That's quite a claim there, gold lamé jacket or not.
The brush has a mixture of short to long rows of spikes which are supposed to deposit (short spikes) and then comb through (long spikes) as you rotate the brush.  The mascara spreads easily enough as it's on the wet side, and the longer spikes did help brush out what would have been lots of clumps otherwise.  My biggest issue was that the large brush and longer spikes tended to deposit color on my eyelid if I'm not rather delicate with my application.  I've got small eyes and that's a problem for me more often than not, but larger brushes are particularly at fault.
I also found the large brush difficult to maneuver on my bottom lashes and  the mascara had a tendency to smudge there anyhow.  However, I liked how black and matte the mascara was on my top lashes, so I can use another mascara for the bottom.  The formula does feature some ingredients to help strengthen lashes, namely:
  • Provitamin B5: vitamin B derivative that helps treat and thicken lashes.
  • Beeswax: a protective barrier between the skin and the environment that has been known to naturally stimulate collagen production.
  • Mineral pigments: soothe and soften lashes.
Bottom line, I'll use it as long as I don't get frustrated with the large brush with it's mess-making potential on my small/narrow eyes.
Fragrance of the day:  Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's Gingerbread Snake with it's gingerbread and exotic Indonesian oils sugared with vanilla.  I needed something that would go well with Bubble & Bee's Sugar and Spice body butter, a favorite of mine for this time of year (full review here), and Gingerbread Snake fit the bill.  It's time for a new Sugar & Spice, which I better get soon as it's only available for a limited time each year.

Song of the day:  We've had our first cold snap and I'm resisting turning my heat on.  It was 56 in my house this morning, but it will be getting back up into the 70's later this week so I think I can tough it out.  Why do I do this?  I do not know.
Cold by Annie Lenox (partial lyrics)
Winter has frozen us 
Let love take hold of us
(Cold cold cold)
Now we are shivering
Blue ice is glittering
(Cold cold cold)
Worth viewing for her purple eye shadow alone, but the song is also fabulous.

Monday, November 23, 2015

From Uber Affordable to Harder on the Wallet: Skin Toners in My Rotation

Disclaimer:  I purchased these.
Toners.  I've been using toners ever since waaaay back in my teens.  I was a big devotee of the skin tingling Sea Breeze "no other clean feels quite like this" (and dubbed the most skin irritating product EVER created by Paula Begoun) before I graduated to Clinique's more expensive Clarifying Lotion 2. Here's a blast from the past for you:
Now I know it's better to not assault my skin, which no doubt only aggravated an already volatile situation.  I'm not gonna lie though, I do miss the tingle that came from the peppermint, clove, and eucalyptus oils in Sea Breeze's original formula and the menthol in Clinique's 1980's blend.  However, here are my better educated choices for gentle but effective toners for my oily skin, starting with the least expensive and finishing with the most. Let's see if more money = a better formula.
Thayer's alcohol-free Rose Petal Witch Hazel (currently $7.99 at drugstore.com) is a gentle toner that I don't mind dousing my cotton pad with due to it's huge size and low cost. I tend to use it more in the morning than evening, as I find the moisturizing aspects of this nice prior to applying my makeup. Featured ingredients are Thayer's proprietary non-distilled extract from the Witch Hazel shrub, which is supposed to have the highest level of therapeutic tannins.   Interestingly, Witch Hazel not only rids skin of excess oil, it also helps eliminate water loss to improve the hydration of the outer layer of skin.

This version of Thayer's also includes hydrating aloe vera and glycerin along with rose flower water, which has a multitude of skin benefits (you can read more about them here) including healing wounds and soothing sunburns. There are a variety of Thayer's Witch Hazel formula's available, making it very easy to customize for your own skin needs.
Thayer's has been around since 1847, making it the oldest US company in the natural products and health food store industry.  I'm not sure what ingredient in the formula makes it bubble when shaken, but it does :-)
CoxRX's AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner ($13) is the newest to my rotation and the one that's been seeing the heaviest use in the past few months.  I purchased it as part of the CosRX Memebox (full review here), and it's a standout with it's gentle skin acids in both AHA and BHA formats. It comes in a spray bottle format and I've used it as both a facial spray and by spraying it on a cotton pad and swiping it all over my face. I've already bought a second bottle, so I'm putting my money where my mouth is.
Next is Kate Somerville's Clarifying Skin Treatment Toner ($26), which is a nicely formulated toner with an interesting application cap that took me longer than it should have to figure out how to use.
The top has a concave disk around the opening where you place your cotton pad and then depress, which dispenses the toner into the disk and wets the cotton.  I kept turning it upside down while depressing, wondering why it dripped when I did that and thinking the whole thing was stupid. Until I figured it out, duh.  You will notice witch hazel, glycerin,  and  aloe vera in this formula (just like Thayer's), along with exfoliating Phytic and Lactic Acids. I tend to use this one more in the evenings after dual cleansing and before serums/moisturizers.  My skin likes it.

Ingredients:  Water/Aqua/Eau, Methyl Gluceth-10, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Bark/Leaf/Twig Extract, Phytic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Water, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Caprylyl Glycol, Lactic Acid, Panthenol, Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Extract, Carbomer, Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid, Oleanolic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Disodium EDTA-Copper, Chlorphenesin 
Last up is luxury brand Le Métier de Beauté's Daily Refresh Tonic ($50), which I received in my July 2014 VIP subscription box and am about to finish up. It's got some unique ingredients, including:
  • Hemolymph Extract: absorbs oxygen from environment and delivers it to skin Peppermint, Cinnamon, Thyme and Geranium Oils: mildly stimulate with a gentle warming effect.
  • Rosemary: gently cleanses skin
  • Cypress Oil: balances the skin with soothing properties
  • Anise Oil: provides a cleansing and warming effects on the skin
  • Vitamins E, A and B: condition and protect
The distinctive bottle works well with it's pump top and the formula does a good job of cleansing without stripping my skin. I find the price cost prohibitive but I'm glad I got to try it out as part of the VIP subscription service.
I've been using Rite Aid's Premium Square Cotton Pads for both toner and to remove my nail polish, as one side is smooth and lint free. They are not particularly thick but do get the job done.
Of these four toners, I've got to say that the less expensive Thayer's and COSRX versions are my favorites.  I'm just not seeing the point of paying big money for a toner when there are some really good formula's out there at much better price points!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

bbrowbar Brow Definer in Cinnamon Spice

My November Birchbox was a bit of a snooze fest for me when I initially opened it, but I've found a sleeper item that I'm really enjoying:  bbrowbar's Brow Definer in Cinnamon Spice ($25 for full size).
When I first saw the name I thought "uh oh, too warm and dark for me", but I was wrong.  It works quite nicely on my fair skin and is the lighter of the two shades listed on Birchbox's site, with the other being Indian Chocolate.
Quick and easy to use, the super slim and extra precise nib is retractable, providing a matte finish. The slim tip covers even the tiniest of gaps in every brow. Waterproof and smudge proof with natural anti-ageing antioxidants, Vitamin E and C. (Source)

My brows are just okay.  On the plus side I don't have to do much tweezing at all.  On the negative, they are not particularly defined and have some sparse areas that definitely benefit from a brow product.  For the past month or so I've been gravitating towards pencils over my usual go to Giorgio Armani Eye & Brow Maestro in Medium Brown (full review here), mainly because they are a bit quicker/easier to apply.
I like the control and preciseness that the small tip gives and find that it lays down smooth color with small strokes (unlike what you see in the swatch picture where I was drawing a long line).  I've got oily skin and this stays where you put it, but to be honest most brow products do that for me.
So, the moral of this story is boring ≠ bad, and I am happy to have received this!

Fragrance of the day:  Rem Reminiscence, a floral aquatic with notes of sea water, rose, lilac, jasmine, fenugreek, patchouli, musk, tonka bean, and vanilla.  I wanted an aquatic to mark all the rain and thunderstorms we were getting.  Sadly, it faded much quicker than the storms did.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Blood and Judgement So Well Commedled Pefume Oil by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
Blood and Judgement So Well Commedled ($23) is part of the Lilith 2015 limited edition perfume oil collection, created to celebrate the birthday of the daughter of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's (BPAL) creative force of nature, Elizabeth Barrial. I say force of of nature mainly because of how prolific she is in creating a myriad of scents that continue to bring me back each year to acquire a few more. BPAL's catalog is truly staggering.
This year I wanted to venture outside of the traditionally Halloween influenced or gourmand scents and expand my horizons, which resulted in taking a chance on Blood and Judgement so Well Commedled. Here is a glimpse of what inspired this particular blend:
This year, Lilith started cultivating a love of Shakespeare, especially Hamlet. Man, this kid loves that play. I assumed, when we started talking about Shakespeare’s works, that she’d love the comedies, particularly Midsummer Night’s Dream and all its attendant fairies. Nope; it’s all about the mopey Prince of Denmark and his teen angst. 
When she started at her Shakespeare summer camp this year, one of her teachers asked which characters she liked best. She replied, “Horatio.”
“Horatio? But he doesn’t have many lines, does he? Why do you like him so much?”
“He’s Hamlet’s best friend, he’s always there for Hamlet, and he’s the only one that doesn’t die.”  A little kid’s interpretation of Hamlet’s BFF. A scent of kindness and devotion, friendship and loyalty.
Lilith watching Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet with her trusty sidekick, Wednesday. (Source)
Notes:  soft brown leather and brushed suede with bourbon vanilla, toasted almond, tonka bean, and amber.

I wasn't really sure what to expect from this one, having not tried any of BPAL's leather scents. I'm a fan of amber and almond seemed fairly safe, so I tossed the dice.  And, I won. This one plays nicely with my skin chemistry and it truly smells like suede to me:  soft, brown, comforting, and unisex.  

I cannot tell individual notes and it does not morph wildly on me, although reviews on BPAL's forum are all over the place. Some people smell gasoline, some cherry almond, and there were more than a few comments on it smelling sharp, but I had none of those issues. There is no accounting for skin chemistry, I guess.  My favorite comment from the BPAL forum:
"There's a touch of sharpness from the bourbon vanilla and/or almond if I get close, but basically I'm trailing a cloud of "I am a good person" smell." -a little too imp-ulsive
I like mixing my BPAL oils with jojoba oil and applying them on still damp skin fresh from the shower, and when I do that I get an all day but soft fragrance. Blood and Lust So Well Commedled does not overwhelm even straight from the bottle and has good longevity but low throw.  I'm very happy I stepped outside of my comfort zone with this one, definitely a nice addition to my collection.