Monday, February 29, 2016

Gwen Stefani Blush Palette by Urban Decay

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
Gah, but I love me some blush palettes. I also like Urban Decay's Afterglow blush formula, and 6 of them for $45? So, when Urban Decay released the Gwen Stefani blush palette, I reached for my wallet immediately. Not so much because I'm a Gwen or No Doubt fan (I was more of a Seattle Grunge fan), but because "blushes!". After using the palette for 3 weeks, here are my impressions.
First, a little background on the palette:  it was developed by Gwen for Gwen, as they reflect the shades she wished she had in her collection.  The color selections therefore represent what someone who is very fair would gravitate towards.  There is a mixture of cool and warm tones, although warm dominates IMO.  All of this works for me, so far so good.
The packaging, also designed by Gwen, is NICE. Substantial and with a nice heft to it, I like the white/gold graphic pattern. 
The pans are a nice size and the formula itself is easy to work with.  These do kick up a fair amount of dust but they apply smoothly.  Taking into account these were developed with the fair complected in mind, I wouldn't call them under pigmented -  but they are light in color.  This has it's pluses and minuses, but for my skin tone it's mostly pluses. 
 The darkest shade Easy is actually the one I will use the least, as it's darker than I usually go when it comes to blush colors.  It's lovely though, and with a light hand it's definitely workable.Cherry is a cool-toned bubblegum pink and was a surprise like for me, as it has a nice glowing quality that is not over the top.
Lo-Fi is a matte tan that can be used as a bronzer and/or contouring shade for the fair complected. It's warm toned without leaning too orange, and it works well to warm up my winter pasty skin without looking obvious - I like it.  Angel's champagne beige shimmer is a lovely highlighting shade that gives a soft glow.  Love.
The other two blushes (Hush, OC) work better as highlighters IMO, as they do not give enough color to work well as blushes on me.  That's okay, because they are really pretty and I'm in a major highlighter phase right now.  I especially like using OC over a cream blush, as it's peach/pink duotone shift works well over so many of the colors that I gravitate towards.  Hush's high shimmer means I have to use it sparingly in order to not emphasis pores, hence regulating it to highlighter status.
If I had to rank them on preference and how much I will use them, it would probably go this way:  OC, Lo-Fi, Angel, Cherry, Hush, Easy.  Bottom line, it's a really good palette if the colors work for your complexion, and for mine they do!
Here I'm wearing OC over a peachy pink cream blush, Lo-Fi as a bronzer, and Angel as a highlighter. Perfect spring colors, and Mobile is having an early spring - it will be approaching 70 degrees several days this week.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Lilac Lust 24/7 Color Tattoo Concentrated Crayon by Maybelline

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
Lilac Lust is one of the two new purple hued Color Tattoo Concentrated Crayons by Maybelline, with Lavish Lavender being the second. Looking at online swatches prior to purchasing, one of them looked slightly warmer in tone and was the one I wanted, but I somehow picked the cooler toned Lilac Lust instead. Oh well, stuff happens. It's still pretty.
The formula of the pencils feels thinner than the pot Color Tattoos, but they are easy to apply color and smudge out. Lilac Lust looks a bit uneven to me but nothing to the point that it was problematic.
I like these for an easy one and done eye look, which is all I have the time for (or energy) on some mornings. Over primer I get a good 8 hours of wear and find them to be fairly smudge proof.
It seems like eye pencil formulas have just been getting better and better, and I'm thrilled to see drugstore versions right there in the midst when it comes to quality. At about $7, I'm liking these quite a bit!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Plumberry Pop of Passion Lip Oil-Balm by bareMinerals

Disclaimer:  This was a GWP.
Wow, Plumberry Pop gives a nice shot of vibrant berry color! I think I was expecting something more sheer based on the "oil-balm" formula, but Plumberry makes quite the impact.  I'm also loving how it feels on my lips, which are feeling the effects of what passes for dryer air here in Mobile.  I swear, I must really thrive in a humid climate because anything below 70% humidity and my lips/sinuses start getting parched.
The oils in this Pop of Passion oil-balm formula are Passion Fruit, jojoba, and sunflower, which makes for a very lip nourishing formula that feels and looks great on.  An added bonus is the slight stain left behind. Mine is a deluxe sample from Sephora but the full-sized version goes for $16 and there are 8 shades available.  I've got my eye on the coral red Punch Pop, which would make a great spring color.
I'm really enjoying the Pop of Passion products I've tried, including the cream blush formula in Natural Passion (review here).  Good stuff!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Pixelated Color Kit by Japonesque

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
The Japonesque Pixelated Color Kit was a set I bought in order to make Ulta's free shipping limit and because I've got a thing for liquid highlighters.  I like mixing them with my foundation to give my skin a bit of glow, so the Radiance Primer and Liquid Light intrigued me. There were no reviews at the time but I decided to take the plunge at their reduced price of $14.
Also included in the kit is a Finishing Powder, although this has enough of a shimmer that I used it more as a highlight.  The powder is pressed firmly and does not kick up much dust, but is easy to build up and gives a subtle light gold shimmer finish.
The Radiance Primer is a cool toned pearl shimmer and the Liquid Light in Shade 1 is a coppery shimmer that worked well as a blush for me.  I mixed the Radiance Primer with my foundation and applied the Liquid Light with a damp Beauty Blend on my cheeks.  The effect is a soft shimmer as opposed to glittery or metallic.
I did not notice the primer extending the wear of my foundation, but on the plus side all of the these played nicely with other products.  While I wouldn't say these wowed me, I will use all three going forward.

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.