Monday, April 23, 2012

Beauty Hassles: Great products I neglect due to laziness

I need my beauty sleep so these are the products I don't reach for in the morning.

MAC Pigments
Pigments are a little scary to begin with, they are packaged in little pots or tubes and we are given no direction as to their use, but their messy disposition is the thing I hate most about them. I have MAC pigments in beautiful colors, they are great quality, and they wear well, I have no problem with the product itself. However If I tried to use these when I am getting ready in the morning it would be disastrous. I have some in the smaller tube-like packaging and the opening is so small its impossible to fit a brush in the container. So are we supposed to dump the product out? Then when you think you got the right amount of product dumped our on your counter, you apply it to your lids and get fallout. Both my bathroom and my face would be a mess if I used these on a daily basis. 

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil
 I love my NARS lip pencils, they are classic smooth matte lip color in a long wearing pencil. I am a classic lipstick kind of girl but these brought me to the 21st century, I don't need glossy or frosted lips, all I need to feel great are these pencils ... and like 20 minutes. The large crayon shape makes it quite difficult to get the precises lines that my lips need, the thick pencil is supposed to make application quicker but it does the opposite. 

Any Liquid Liner
I am particular about my liquid liners, I don't want felt pens, gel liners, and not even you MAC Fluid Line. I have never been satisfied with the results of any liquid liner impostor and I must suffer the consequences. To be simply put, true Liquid liner requires a lot of concentration and a steady hand, things that I just don't have in the morning. 

Some Cream Blushes
It should come as no surprise that I own a few cream blushes, I cant resist a blush. What I like most about cream formulas is they look great in winter, when my skin is dry they give it some life like any blush should but also more radiance than a powder could offer. But unlike their powder counterparts they aren't always so easy to apply. You cant just take a nice fluffy brush and blend it out so easily. I usually apply these with fingers and get a rather streaky application then do some rubbing to compensate which makes getting a precise application very difficult, It usually has an unattractive outcome. Use these without care you can end up with pink smudges and stains all over your cheeks. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Most Disappointing Elf products


Elf's Golden Bronzer seemed like the perfect addition to any bronzer collection. In the pan it looks like the perfect assortment of bronze and golden toned shades, a well rounded palette with enough to satisfy you on a hot sunny day. At just a glance I thought I'd have no problems with this product, however I was immediately disappointed after I tried it on and saw no change in my reflection. 

The problem I have with this product is the colors that look so great in the pan do not look as great on skin.  Above is a swatch of every color in the pan and not even one is dark enough to be a qualified bronzer. They all have a golden tone, which I expected from the name "Golden Bronzer" but there is too much gold and not enough bronze. When mixed together these become a golden champagne color, a shade so light that it can be used as a high-light on skin-tones only slightly darker than mine. As for me this product is not even visible enough on my skin to be used for anything, as I tried out each shade individually I discovered all of them, even the darkest brown, do nothing for me, they just seem to disappear. Oddly enough I wouldn't say its a pigmentation problem, although they don't have the greatest pigmentation in the world it's still decent, however the powder seems too fine, its sort of dusty and doesn't want to stick to the skin. It does a very strange disappearing act that is hard to comprehend but in short, steer clear of this product. 

Tinted lip balms are a staple go-to lip product for any time of year, being casual and convenient they're always in demand for me. I got two beautiful vibrant colors, a coral pink called "Mellow Melon" and a red called "Romantic Rouge", they have great pigmentation for a tinted lip balm, something that was surprising but welcomed. From first glance I had an issue with the packaging, it is way bulkier than necessary and all for a see-through glass cube shape that is not even attractive, I like my lip balms to be sleek and practical for travel, but for these gorgeous colors I could cope. However this story had a more tragic ending than the first, I can't even wear this product if I wanted to because I am highly allergic. Only a few moments after these touch my lips they feel hot and itchy and throb in pain, I must take the product off immediately. I am not usually allergic to cosmetics so I looked at reviews of this product to see if it was a common problem, it seems not to be a huge problem but allergic reactions are more prevalent then anything I've ever researched. Some people seem to think that there is a plumping agent that causes the tingling, but I am certain there is no plumping ingredients in this, that feeling is most likely a mild allergic reaction. I was obviously not able to test the wear of this product, but even with my great first impression since my allergic reaction was so bad I would hesitate to recommend these to anyone. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Best Glitter Nail Polish: Sally Hansen Gem Crush

Sally Hansen gem crush Razzle Dazzler
Update: 2 coats Sally Hansen Gem Crush Razzle Dazzler, no base color no topcoat.
Sally Hansen gem crush Razzle Dazzler
Update: Close up. 

This was an accidental find for me, I wasn't in the market for a glitter nail polish, I already own a few and I am usually unimpressed by the results. I few weeks ago I was at Ulta looking at the OPI Holland collection when I saw these, and honestly I just cant resist shinny things. When I got home I found that I had a similar glitter polish, Sally Hansen's Xtreme Wear in "Strobe Light". I was angry at myself for yet another compulsive buy and I almost returned it, luckily its a long drive to Ulta for me so a $6 return didn't seem worth it.

Sally Hansen's Xtreme Wear "Strobe Light" and Sally Hansen's Gem Crush "Razzle Dazzler" 
With the Xtreme Wear you tend to get very few glitter particles and tons of the clear polish, resulting in gloopy nails that take forever to dry, without much actual glitter payoff, not to mention that uses quite a bit of product up, fast. Its practically impossible to use this on its own and get full coverage. I was accustom to using it with a base color and just getting a hint of glitter on my nails. So like the adventurous spirit that I am, I didn't do any research on the Gem Crush polish, I just dove right into the bottle and slapped way to much product on my nails over a base color that was unnecessary. 
I have come to find out that this polish is advertised as a full coverage glitter, which with about two coats it is (as seen above), however now im just more frustrated with every other glitter polish I own. Since previously I've only owned crappy glitter polishes that have preformed pathetically, I always just assumed that the full coverage technology was beyond us. Im glad this turned out to be a happy accident and not a complete disappointment for me but now it has set a new standard for all glitter nail polishes to come. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Beauty Blender and Cleanser: About, Review, How-To


The Beauty Blender was created by makeup artist Rea Ann Silvia to be the perfect makeup applicator and blending tool, giving a flawless finish and complexion. The shape and texture was designed to softly glide across the face but also fit into the curves of the face. The beauty blender is latex-free, non allergenic, and odor free. The cleanser is lightly scented, dye and skin irritant free, and is soy-based making it environmentally friendly.  You can find beauty blenders online and in some beauty stores, and it comes in packs that include multiple beauty blenders and/or cleanser. Beauty Blenders are also recyclable, find out how to recycle your beauty blender here
A while ago I purchased the package that included two beauty blenders and cleanser, and initially was not incredibly impressed with the product. However over time I realized with every use I began to appreciate what it had to offer, and I was even more impressed when I learned about the brands environmentally friendly ways.  

Dry vs. Wet Beauty Blender
The Beauty Blender
It's more than just a makeup sponge, it doesn't feel or act like the average sponge and the results you get reflect that. When wet the sponge nearly doubles in size, It's springy, soft, and smooth, allowing any method of  contact with your face to be pleasant. The shape is convenient, the larger round bottom can easily stipple product on the larger areas of the face quickly and the pointed tip is perfect for the hard to reach smaller areas of the face. The roundness insures that your makeup will be  perfectly blended and streak free, while the moisture in the sponge gives a natural finish to any foundation. 

  • Soft texture is very comfortable on face
  • Comfortable to hold in hand
  • The shape offers quick, easy, and convenient application
  • Wet texture offers natural finish to makeup 
  • Latex free and non allergenic, insures no skin irritation 

Down Falls: 
  • Very long dry time
  • Dye on sponge fades (due to environmentally friendly dyes) 
  • Absorbs product (about the same as a brush)
  • Expensive for a sponge (a single beauty blender is about $20, my package was about $40, and other packages are between this range) 

5oz bottle of cleanser 

The Blender cleanser 
This cleanser was included with my beauty blenders, however purchase of the cleanser is optional. The cleanser being soy-based and lightly scented is environmentally friendly and doesn't irritate the skin. It is lightly scented but I dislike the smell, which they claim to be lavender, however it doesn't linger on the sponge. The pump on the cleanser is perfectly designed to deposit product onto the beauty blender. Cleansing the beauty blender is quick and easy. However since I have never tried using another cleanser I remain indifferent towards this product.

  • The pump makes cleansing easy 
  • Large amount of product included
  • Cleanses the sponge without leaving residue 
  • Environmentally friendly 
Down Falls:
  • I dislike the smell of this cleanser 
How-to / Tips
  • I recommend always using the Beauty Blender wet. When it is dry it doesn't preform well, its a rough texture and will absorb tons of product. 
  • I find applying your makeup to the skin first then using the Beauty Blender to blend it out gives better results than applying the makeup directly to the sponge.
  • For me the Beauty Blender works best with liquid foundations or blushes, but not so well with cream formulas.
  • When blending, the soft and pliable texture and the round shape will allow you to use any motion such as stippling, rolling, or wiping, without streaking or skin irritation.  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The benefits of Powder Foundation


Recently I realized I needed to pay some respects to powder foundations. A resilient staple in my makeup collection, my first grown-up makeup item, and reflecting on it not a bad product at all. When I was first enticed by the makeup world I tossed my plain old powder foundation aside at the mention of liquid foundations and their array of fancy finishes to choose from, I could be matte, dewy, satiny, natural, anything I want. The possibilities still excite me and I have been dabbling in many different foundations lately, searching for the perfect one (we all know its impossible, but we still try), however I still feel powder foundations are a bit underrated and misunderstood.

People tend to think of powder as something you use to set your foundation, while this is true, not all powders are created equal. Using a powdered foundation to set a foundation is basically just that, setting a foundation with a foundation, double the coverage and it will show. 
Onto the good stuff! In nice, brief, rant-free, bullet form for convenience.  
  • The easiest of all foundations to use, no need to worry about which brush works best, streaking, or uneven application. Just take any big fluffy powder brush or the puffs they come with (although they are not very hygienic) and there is really no thought required for application. 
  • The most "build-able" coverage you can get. No need to wait in between applications for one layer to set, if you want more coverage just sweep on more. 
  • Best for oily skin, it is a powder so it will wear longer, without as many touch-ups as a foundation would require.  
  • Convenient for travel. Nothings more travel friendly than a compact! 
 Brands I like: 
Sephora Mineral Foundation: Finally a mineral foundation in compact form! I am way to clumsy for loose powders which is why I never have tried Bare Minerals. The texture of this powder is really nice, it is soft and satiny, the powder is really fine so it doesnt sit on your skin and look too... powdery. As for the whole mineral claim, I honestly dont know if it really is "better" for your skin than a normal foundation, but it has never cause any skin problems for me and my skin has been known to be quite sensitive at times. It has all the Benefits listed above and is a pretty fair price considering how long it will last you. 
Mac Studio Fix Powder Foundation: This powder is soft and fine but can give a very full coverage. It can give an amazing flawless matte look but unfortunately it also is very easy to overdo and look too powdery. However if you want full coverage, use this powder with MAC's Fix+ spray, I find the spray is very good for taking the cakey powdery finish off the skin but doesnt affect the coverage. Again this has all the benefits listed above and has never caused any skin problems for me. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Oddity that is Maybelline's Color Tattoo Tough as Taupe

I see no need to review Maybelline's color tattoos because from what I have seen, reviews have been overwhelmingly positive and in such great quantity that I am sure everything one needs to know has been said. Except one thing, the shade Tough as Taupe is a completely different color when worn than it is in the pot or even swatches. In the jar it is a true "taupe" color a brownish purpley color, in swatches it leans towards a greyish brownish purpely color, and when applied it is a very cool bluey grey color. It is so strange that it kind of makes me uneasy, I feel like a victim of some sort of witchcraft every time I use it, and like any such victim I feel that no one believes my story, but today I come with proof! 

Brown Taupe in the jar

The swatch is almost that same color but a bit greyer.

Then out of Nowhere, blue grey on my eyes! (Note, that it's not due to the bad photography)

This is a very strange phenomena and although I am less than thrilled that such a lovely taupe is out of my reach, me and grey are old friends, I can make due. This grey is more suited for dramatic smokey eyes than soft spring afternoons and it kind of threw a wrench into my plans for it, so I tried to lighten it up a bit, here is what I used... 

Again "Taupe" In the jar but looks great with MACs Fresh Ice mineralize eyeshadow. 
Complete display of products I used.
To make this softer I used Tough as Taupe on my lids and blended it out with a Sigma E25 blending brush, and to the lower lash-line with a Sephora concealer brush, I used no crease color because I did not want to add anything too dark. Instead I brightened the inner-corner and inner-third with MAC's Fresh Ice mineralize eyeshadow from their Glitter and Ice collection. I am not a fan of harsh black liner for day especially not on the lower lash-line because I feel it closes the eyes off, makes them seem smaller, and can also look messy easily. So I went for MAC's eyeliner in grey utility and only used it on the tight-line, it is not far off from black but it also has a nice blue undertone. Tight-lining can get a bit messy as well if the color transfers to the lower waterline, so to brighten it up I used MAC's Fascinating eyeliner. See swatches for all these products above. Onto the boring stuff, too finish it off of course I applied Mascara, my favorite at the moment is Maybelline's Colassal Volum' Express, and I always curl my eyelashes, it makes not only your lashes look good but also brightens and awakens the eyes. I also always use an undereye concealer, I have dark circles and Maybelline's Instant age rewind Eraser is the best, most brightening, undereye concealer I have ever tried. 

Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush: My Spring Blush Pick

To me spring is just an excuse to buy another blush. It's an anything goes type of season but we all feel the need to brighten up, most likely as a symbol of freedom from winter's clutches. A time where we can embrace color and it will never seem out of place is naturally the time when my blush collection see's the most action. This year I wasn't satisfied with just one new blush, I fell in love with Maybelline's entire line of Dream Bouncy Blushes (For which I mentioned my initial thoughts Here) and ended up with three. 

Pink Frosting (bottom), Fresh Pink(top left), and Orchid Hush (top right)

I was drawn to these by the beautiful fresh color selection, but the cute packaging and my curiosity about the word "bouncy" sealed the deal and I purchased "fresh pink". It was a nice soft yet awake pink, something that every blush collection can benefit from, and upon application it blends into the skin like a dream and gives me a nice natural sweet pink flush. A little too natural... to satisfy my craving for the vibrant hues I got "pink frosting" which is a shade or two darker and is quiet bright on my complexion and "orchid hush" a lavender color for when i'm feeling adventurous.  

Mine are clearly used loved.
As you can see, much like a cream product unattractive fingerprints get left behind, and ruining the perfect little dome shape is always heartbreaking but unavoidable. I have no idea what makes it bouncy but it is a consistency that is as much fun to wear as it is to poke. It is like a cream without the annoyances, no greasiness, no unblendable staining, no stickiness, no smearing, and no (insert any problem here). I believe the reason for this is it is more of a cream to powder consistency than an actual cream. However unlike a powder that can appear chalky, this sinks into the skin like a true cream, offering a natural texture. Many powdered blushes sit on top on the skin and give such a dense coverage that the flush doesn't look natural, leaving blush streaks or clown cheeks (rhyme unintentional), so I appreciate that this formula offers a good color pay off while allowing a bit of skin to show through.

Swatch Time: Orchid Hush, Pink Frosting, Fresh Pink (from left to right)

Here is the big complaint about these blushes, not all of the shades are so fantastically pigmented. The majority of negative reviews I have read only dislike that they do not show up on darker skin tones. Now, I do not have this problem, being still with my winter complexion I can wear even orchid hush (one of the lightest shades) and the brightest I can get away with is Pink Frosting. However I have seen a few shades that are quite bright and I think they will be visible on most skin tones. I just don't find that to be a relevant argument; like most things in makeup one shade is not going to work for everyone, so luckily these come in ten. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

An Alternative to the Clarasonic

Sigma's Cleansing and Polishing Tool

These electric cleansing tools seem to be the beauty connoisseur's latest infatuation. I for one get caught up in all the hype and glamour of the latest beauty gizmo and end up buying things I don't need. Case In Point: Sigma's Cleansing & Polishing tool, it is a product that falls into that category and although it is not a bad product, it is definitely not the revolutionary new skincare miracle that we have been lead to believe. 

Simga's cleansing and polishing tool

I believe Clarasonic is responsible for introducing this product to us and along with that innovation comes a hefty price tag, but now there are more options. This product was made by Sigma and it only costs about $40 and that includes the case, the tool, and three brush heads. All this is a great for the price, the case and all the attachments combined with the "Think pink collection" theme makes the product feel like something luxurious. And luxurious is the word I would use because it is not a necessity, it is not a skincare 'must have'  and it is not something I use daily, it has just become a tool that I take out whenever my skin needs a little extra attention. 

Simga's cleansing and polishing tool

The tool has two speeds and three detachable heads; a soft bristle head (pink), a medium bristle head (pink with white ring), and a firm bristle head (pink with white center). Its great that it comes with all these options but the problem is that the bristles are just too abrasive for everyday use. Even the 'soft' one exfoliates the skin and I don't think even a person with the worst skin should exfoliate daily. I have normal skin but like everyone else's it gets dirty and oily everyday, but this tool over-cleans the skin, your skin should never feel squeaky clean or tight after a cleansing. I prefer to use this with any of the attachments only when my skin needs a deep cleaning. Since the skin on the body is thicker and more tolerant, this tool works best for me as a occasional body exfoliater. 

Simga's cleansing and polishing tool
I do appreciate this tool and get my use-value out of it, and I do not regret buying it. I just view it as something special, not the daily skincare game-changer that it is advertised as. Much like the electric toothbrush that you begged your mom to buy you as a child, promising if you get it you'll brush your teeth twice a day, this product is initially exciting and you convince yourself it'll change your daily routine but after its cool-factor fades you realize it is no better than manual cleansing. 

Details of use: 

This can be used with any non-exfoliating cleanser. The tool has two speeds and spins clockwise only. It is water resistant not water proof (I still use mine in the shower, just don't submerge it in water). It runs off two AA batteries. Should not be used to cleanse a single area for over one minute. A "Spa Solutions" collection is now available, it includes three new attachments: A silicon extra soft brush, A silicon massager head, a pumice exfoliator head. 
See all available attachments for this product Here

Friday, April 6, 2012

Released today: MAC Tres Cheek collection

MAC Tres Cheek Collection

If there is one thing I cannot resist it is a blush. MAC's Tres Cheek collection could not be more perfectly timed, Spring has just arrived and I want my face to be as fresh as the blooming flowers. This collection really delivers that Spring color palette, there is a pink for everyone (subtle neutral toned, mid-toned, blue toned) peachy oranges, and my favorite, a lavender to liven things up. MAC claims that the blushes are "seamlessly sheer, and stay as bright as they appear in the palette" and I want to believe them, there is nothing better than a little skin showing through a vibrant blush, it makes a look feel so light and airy that the fact that you are wearing lavender blush just seems irrelevant. 

MAC Tres Cheek Collection

Note the beautiful color section above are limited edition shades. Dare I say MAC has too many limited edition collections, and im starting to think they just enjoy pulling at our heart strings. Let me not forget to mention some already concerning news, some shades are already sold out Here, on the mac website and they were only released today. As I reminisce about my previous failed attempt to acquire a product from the spectacular Disney Villains collection, I can only hope that MAC stores have stocked up. I cannot imagine this collection not being wildly popular, but that is coming from a blush addict.  

Sunday, April 1, 2012

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A bit of elf sampling


Spring has sent me swirling into a tireless quest, which is becoming a bit obsessive, to achieve a fresh glowing face that is soft yet full of life. Somehow it lead me Here  To the elf website, I have heard many good things about this brand yet never actually tried any of their products, so, convinced by their amazing prices and a Free Shipping offer I decided to take a chance. I fancied the lip and face products the most, and blindly made selections only worrying about my desired spring color palette, I have not had a chance to test any of these products yet but just based on first impressions I am pretty happy with my choices. In time I will post an update on whether this little spur of the moment adventure was a successful endeavor or a lesson on the dangers of internet shopping. 

Elf products

  • Mineral lipstick - Nicely Nude
  • Conditioning Lip Balm - Mellow Melon and Romantic Rouge 
  • Tinted Moisturizer 
  • Bronzer - Golden Bronzer  
  • Blush - Tickled Pink 
  • Tone Correction concealer - Light Beige 
  • All Over Cover Stick - Light Beige