Monday, July 31, 2017

#365 Days of Samples Week 18

It's actually been two weeks since my last #365 Days of Samples post, but that's okay as it gives me more time to use up samples and not feel rushed or like I can't use some of my other products when the mood strikes. Plus, life has been HECTIC lately. I had 7 trees removed from my yard this past week, including 6 monster pine trees, plus the day the tree company called saying they wanted to start was also the day I was taking both Maggie and Lily to the vet. Suffice it to say I was basically comatose on Saturday, my first day with no commotion.
But, let's talk about the samples I used up and/or decided to toss without finishing. There was only one item I did not like enough to finish, so let's start there. The It Cosmetics Confidence in a Compact with SPF 50+ ($38) has a lot going for it, at least based on it's claims and ingredient list. It is supposed to provide full coverage, anti-aging benefits and SPF 50+ in it's solid serum formula. It can definitely be built up in coverage and the medium shade was a good match for me, but I just did not like how it looked on my skin.
It swatches really nice but I thought it looked cakey and not as natural as I prefer in a foundation. I do prefer BB/CC creams over full coverage foundations, however, so this just is not for me. I wore it 3 times, which is usually enough for me to get a good feel for a product, but I have no desire to revisit it again.
That's actually too bad, as there is a very generous amount in this deluxe sample size, at least enough for 2 weeks of everyday wear, if not more.  I think one of it's downfalls for me is how many silicones are in the formula - I'm counting five within the first ten ingredients.
Confidence in a Compact SPF50+ in Medium
Now on to the products I did like, although this next one I would not purchase because it costs an unbelievable amount. I'm talking about the Chantecaille La Creme Riche Anti-Age + Biolifting Cream + Aromacologie, which is $342 for 1.7 oz.
This uber expensive facial cream claims to reveal a perfect 3D re-contoured like look to your face with its five extraordinary plant stem cells: Bionymph Stem Cell Extract, Plantago Stem Cell Extract, Caffeine Free Coffee Stem Cell Extract, Daphne Stem Cell Extract and Raspberry Stem Cell Extract. 
Per Bergdorf's web site:
  • Caffeine Free Coffee Stem Cell Extract provides a three-pronged approach that plumps and hydrates skin, helping it appear more supple and beautiful*
  • Plantago Stem Cell Extract reveals denser-looking skin and notably lightens the appearances of age spots*
  • Bionymph Peptide Stem Cell Extract fights the anti-aging process on all fronts, softening the appearance of fine lines*
  • Matrixyl™ 3000 Tripeptide is a unique blend of peptides that helps promote a more toned appearance while lessening the visible appearance of wrinkles*
  • Anti-Wrinkle Hexapeptide softens the look of expression wrinkles*
  • Raspberry Stem Cell Extract is a major anti-oxidant that soothes visible redness. Prevents oxidative damage. Delivers immediate and long-term soothing effects*
  • Daphne Stem Cell extract comes from Winter Daphne, a plant that is known for its ability to thrive in freezing alpine climates. It moisturizes dry skin shielding it from harsh environmental factors such as wind and freezing temperatures. Skin moisturization is increased*
  • Imperata Cylindrica Extract, known for its ability to thrive in arid climates, helps skin retain moisture efficiently – even in the driest weather. Moisturizes the upper layers of the skin for up to 24 hours*
  • Jasmine/Narcissus/Mimosa Flower Waxes are emollient and softening to skin
I will say that you do not need much of the cream at all, and that it is probably the most emollient moisturizer I have ever tried and I found the rose scent pleasant and not overwhelming.  A small pea size was enough to cover my face and neck, and it feels extremely moisturizing. I did not experience any breakouts during the almost one month of use, but I can't say I noticed any extraordinary benefits either. I'm at the age where I'm realistic about what any moisturizer is going to be able to do for me, and am more likely to invest my money in skin actives such as Vitamin C or Retin-A when it comes to expensive skincare items.
Next up is a product that I had zero expectations of and that pleasantly surprised me: Deva Curl's Buildup Buster Micellar Water Cleansing Serum ($28). I know this line is targeted at the curly haired, but it works fine on my stick straight hair as well. 
This is a clear gel-like serum that is supposed to gently cleanse your hair of product buildup using micellar technology, and I thought it did a good job. On the days I used it I did not follow up with shampoo but did use a conditioner and my hair felt clean and soft. The sample is a generous 1 ounce and I got about 4 uses from it. I would consider purchasing.
I've got to admit that some of Ulta's house brand products have been impressing me lately, which has not always been the case.  The nectarine/rose fragrance on this one  ($9.50 for 10 oz.) was surprisingly nice and I was able to make out both the nectarine and the rose, so I thought it was fairly realistic. 
I prefer a more moisturizing/heavy duty body cream, but this was did a good job if you prefer lighter lotions. I'm not in the market for any body lotions and will not purchase, but I would use up more samples for sure. I think Ulta is stepping up their game in general, including the quality of their house brand.
DHC's Deep Cleansing Oil ($28) is my holy grail cleansing oil, and has been for years now. I use other brands periodically just to see if there is something I like more, and to date there isn't. During my birthday month this past year I bought two bottles with the birthday coupon code they sent me, so I'm well stocked up.
Last up of the samples I finished this go-around are Tarte's Pack Your Bags 911 Under Eye Rescue Patches ($22 for 4 pair). This did a good job of plumping and smoothing out my under eye area and I would use any other samples that came my way, but I have no plans to purchase. I do think products like these are great for special events or when you've had a late night/lack of sleep, so they definitely have their place! 
Now, let's see what items I chose from my overflowing sample box for week 18 of my next round of sample use up.
I'll list the newest items first, followed by the samples I am still working on. For the Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm, I pulled a deluxe sample from my collection to go with the foil so that I can get a better idea of the product.
  1. Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Neck Gel (1 neck gel)
  2. Farmhouse Fresh Three Milk Ageless Moisturizer (foil sample)
  3. DHC Dry Skin Care Cream (foil sample)
  4. Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm (foil sample + deluxe sample)
  5. Julep Love Your Bare Face Hydrating Cleansing Oil (foil sample)
  6. Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Lipstick (deluxe sampler, discontinued)
  7. Miu Miu perfume (vial)
  8. Deva Curl Waves Ahead Low-Poo Delight (deluxe sample)
  9. Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Cream (deluxe sample)
  10. It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream (foil)
  11. Ulta Beauty Mattifying Balm (deluxe sample)
  12. Estee Edit Pink Peony Overnight Water Pack (deluxe sample)
  13. Ouidad Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel (foil)
  14. Sunshine Oil by Milk Makeup (deluxe sample)

Monday, July 24, 2017

Golden Sugar 2 Rose Gold Ultra Blush Palette by Makeup Revolution

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
I purchased the Golden Sugar 2 Rose Gold blush palette ($10) by Makeup Revolution last August, so I guess it's about time to give it a review. I mean, a year should be enough time to form a firm impression ;-)
This is my first (and only to date) Makeup Revolution product, so I don't have much experience with the brand. They are one of several brands owned by the parent company Tam Beauty, and an "About Us" section on their website says "we love disrupting the traditional beauty world with innovative and fast, exciting beauty brands."
Factor in the uber reasonable prices, and I can see the appeal. Of course, if the quality isn't there, that's a deal breaker, but plenty of drugstore priced brands are giving more mid to high end range brands a run for their money.
This particular palette has two blushes, one bronzer and 5 shimmery shades that can work as highlighters or eyeshadows, especially in the case of the darker bronze shimmer shade. None of them have names and I've swatched them left to right, starting at the top and ending with the bronzer on the bottom far right.
The least pigmented is the first shade, a pale mauve pink matte blush.  It's pretty and makes for a natural looking blush, but it took the most work to build up color when swatching. The other blush is the 4th shade on top, and it's a matte with micro shimmer, and my favorite of the blushes. I quite like the tan bronzer shade also, as it works well on fair skin and does not lean too orange.
The dark bronze shimmer shade has silver micro-glitter in the mix, and it's the one shade that I never use. I really need to try it as an eye shadow, as it swatched really well.
The highlight shades are all really pretty, with good pigmentation and smooth shimmer that looks nice on the skin. I think the range of colors is quite nice and I've got to say that I reach for this palette frequently. The only drawback for me is that the formula of the pressed powders (blushes and bronzer) contain mineral oil, which I associate with cheap makeup formulas.  The baked powders (which I'm assuming are the shimmers) do not contain mineral oil.
Overall, I think this is a really pretty palette at a great price! I've not been enticed yet to purchase any other Makeup Revolution products, but I've got to say this has definitely been a positive introduction to the brand.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Lipstick Roulette v. 6: What I'm Keeping and What I'm Tossing

Time to review the 7 lip items I randomly selected for v. 6 of my Lipstick Roulette series and see what I'm keeping and what I'm tossing! If you are not familiar with this concept, I learned about it from Elle S on YouTube, and it's where you rotate through your collection with the ultimate goal of decluttering the items that are no longer working for you. I'm finding it quite useful, as I'm revisiting lots of items that have been languishing untouched for quite a while.
  1. True Love Lipsurgence Lip Gloss by Tarte
  2. All Gold E'rything Be Legendary Lip Gloss by Smashbox (LE, discontinued)
  3. Bold Blush 420 Pop Balm by L'Oreal
  4. 523 Flash Lacquer by Giorgio Armani Beauty
  5. Venezia Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick by stila
  6. Miami Lipstick by Buxom (discontinued)
  7. Julie Lip Gloss by Buxom 
True Love
I acquired True Love ($19) by Tarte in a FabFitFun box if I remember correctly, and it's a sheer but nicely pigmented watermelon gloss with shimmer. I like the formula, as it's glossy without being too sticky, and wears comfortably for a good 2-3 hours. True Love is similar to the Armani 523 Lip Lacquer - perhaps not as a glossy. The shimmer is not super obvious but does make it slightly different than 523, and it's a keeper.
All Gold E'rything
All Gold E'rything over Toujours Heureux by Paul & Joe Beaute
All Gold E'rything is a gold shimmer gloss from the Santigolden Age collection from Smashbox, circa 2014. It works best as a topper over lipstick, as on it's own it does not supply much color. I don't have many gold shimmer lip toppers and I like it, so I will be keeping this one.
Bold Blush
Bold Blush with Julie by Buxom
The L'Oreal Pop Balm in Bold Blush (~$6) is a product that looks only so so on it's own, so I typically top it with a gloss. That seems to smooth out the color better, which has a tendency to gather in my lip lines otherwise. Once it's smoothed out with a gloss it's quite pretty, so it gets to stay :-)

523 Flash Lacquer
I think the Giorgio Armani Lip Lacquer in 523 ($32) is stunning with it's juicy watermelon pink glossiness. It has enough color to wear on it's own, although I imagine it could take lipsticks to another level as well. Definitely a keeper.
Venezia Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick by Stila ($22) is a neon bright orange red that definitely makes a statement. I quite like it, although I wasn't crazy about it with the darker eye above. I think a natural eye look with Venezia would be a great hot weather look, and I will be keeping it. The formula was relatively comfortable for a matte liquid lipstick and my lips were none the worse for the wear.
Miami is a discontinued matte lipstick by Buxom, and it's my kind of color. I loved how it looked when freshly applied, but after only a few hours of wear it was a hot mess of patchy, blotchy, faded color. Perhaps it's past it's prime, as it is several years old, and it's getting tossed.
Julie over Nudite lip pencil (Le Metier de Beaute)
Julie by Buxom is a sheer peachy gloss, and I think the one I have is an older version as the current Julie gloss is described as a juicy watermelon and is a vibrant pink.  My version is rather nondescript and works best over lipsticks, and I've paired it with the Nudite lip pencil from Le Metier de Beaute above. I do love the Buxom gloss formula so will be hanging on to Julie, as it is still good despite its age. So, out of these seven items I'm only tossing one!

Now, here are the seven new items I randomly selected for v. 7 of Lipstick Roulette.
  1. Blanche by Buxom (discontinued)
  2. Crowd Pleaser Marvelous Moxie Lip Gloss by bareMinerals
  3. Passion Fruit Luminous Gloss by Chantecaille
  4. Glazed Berry Different Lipstick by Clinique (field casualty)
  5. Scarlet Blaze Color Design Lipstick by Lancome (field casualty)
  6. Sahara Hydra Creme Lipstick by Le Metier de Beaute
  7. Palm Beach by Cargo Cosmetics
  8. Copenhagen Soft Matte Lip Cream by nyx
  9. 400 Lip Maestro by Giorgio Armani
I accidently knocked the table while taking pictures, and Glazed Berry and Scarlet Blaze fell into the dirt. I'm pretty sure I would have tossed both anyhow, although I wore Scarlet Blaze yesterday topped with Blanche and it looked quite pretty, so that one might have made the cut. Sadly, it's now a casualty of my clumsiness. C'est la vie, between the mosquitoes, high humidity that fogs my camera as soon as I step outside, and now this, it's always something :-)
Scarlet Blaze topped with Blanche