Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tested: NYC Expert Last Nail Polish in Persistent Putty

During my CVS haul, I picked up this polish b/c 1. it's pretty! and 2. it says it will last for 7 days, so I put it to the test (okay, for 5 days at least).  The polish is two coats for a nice creme finish.  I did not use a base coat or top coat in order to test the actual polish.

Retail: $2.49 for .33 ounces
Availability: Part of the Limited Edition 7 day line by NYC
Color: Persistent Putty (that taupey, purpley in some lights color)
Dupe for: Sally Hansen Commander in Chic (seriously, I had them both ready to buy)
Even with that major chipping by day 5, I would still repurchase this polish b/c I think with a top coat, it could last longer.  I also tend to have a lot of wear on my nails b/c I am at my computer 8 hours a day for work, pounding at keys.  The color payoff is great for drugstore.  The polish could be touched up.  I didn't touch up due to testing.  But for $2.49, I would give the other colors a shot.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

CVS Haul and Lip Swatches (Cover Girl Outlast Review)

I had about $22 in Extra Bucks at CVS, so per the usual, I hit the makeup aisle looking for some deals.
Left to right: Revlon Colorburst Lipgloss in Peony, Revlon Super Lustrous Lipgloss in Pink Whisper, Cover Girl Outlast in Coral Satin, and NYC Nail Polish in Persistent Putty (review and swatches soon, testing it's 7 day claim now!)
Peony & Pink Whisper.  Pink whisper is definitely more of that strawberry milk pink

Peony on the lips.  Nice sheer coverage, nice amount of shine without looking glittery.

Here's Cover Girl Outlast in Coral Satin.  It's definitely a deeper coral.  The formula, as with most stain products is drying.  You can see when I'm smiling it settles in lines and it looks like the skin on my top lip is stretching alot.
Here's the same stain (and with extra lighting) with the balm over it.  The balm itself is very moisturizing to help compensate for the drying stain.  One claim I don't agree with is that it lasts 16 hours through eating, drinking, kissing.  I kissed my arm after like 30 minutes and I had the definite kiss mark, so is it a miracle product? No.  But, it does last for a few hours without moving and there wasn't a terrible amount of transfer on my water glass.

I would never purchase this at full price as it was almost $9 at my store.  However, it was part of the new mark downs this week (select shades), so I decided at 50% off, I'd give it a go.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Wearable Golds" Eye using Forever 21 Natural 10 Eyeshadow Palette

For a light wearable golds look, I primed the eye with UD Eden, then applied shadow #6 to the lid, #10 to the inner corner and brow highlight, a mix of #3 and #4 in the crease very lightly and #2 smudged into the lash line (this wasn't very pigmented when applied).

I also used the black eyeliner pencil to tightline and put on the waterline.  If you wanted to add black eyeliner for the top lash line, I do not recommend using the pencil in this palette.  I tried it on the other eye and it pulls and does not apply well.
One of the downsides is that the gold definitely has fall out, as you can see on the top lashes.  Nothing got on my cheeks, but after applying Too Face Lash Injection, any sparkles that fell stood out.

I do like the highlight color in this as it's more of a satin finish, for those who do not like a shimmery highlight

(On the face, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, Eve Pearl Salmon Concealer)
(Because the shadows have no names, I numbered them left to right)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Forever 21 Love & Beauty 10 Natural Eyeshadow Palette - Naked Dupe?

Every time you blink, a new company is coming out with a dupe for Urban Decay's Naked Palette.  Here is one from Forever 21's Love & Beauty Line that focuses more on the browns, bronzes, and golds.  So, if you find you would use creep and gunmetal from UD very seldom, this might be an alternative palette for you.  This retails for $6.80 and contains 10 eyeshadows, a black eyeliner (which is not great and pulls a bit), and a double-ended sponge tip/angle brush applicator.
The colors in the palette have no names and they are all fairly pigmented (the one with the worst pigmentation is the gold). There are a mix of mattes, shimmers, and one that is more of a glitter.

With these shadows, you want to make sure you use a primer.  For the photos, I was using a foundation I don't like as a base.  But in order to get the most wear and color, definitely up for a primer.

Overall, I think this is a good alternative if you cannot afford the naked palette, but love having a palette that can travel with you.  The case comes with a mirror in it and the box is actually a cute leopard pattern. For me, I'd say the quality is a bit less than the wet and wild palettes, but still amazing for the price.

Also, I'll be posting a look with the golden shadow tomorrow and using the black eyeliner, so stay tuned!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Project 10 Pan Complete!

Oh Project 10 Pan, how I loathe you.  But now, I'm done!  And I completely failed.  Basically, you finish 10 items (or some do it as hitting pan, either one) and you are *supposed* to be on a spending ban for new makeup until then.

I completely failed at the not purchasing part, but I did finally use up 10 products...which is a first for me!  I didn't include pics b/c um, I find it weird taking pictures of my garbage...that and it took me 6 months, so I don't have the products anymore unless they are Back-To-MAC.

Here's a quick list of what I finished and a quick note if I would or in fact have already repurchased.
  1. Loreal Fairly Nude Lipstick (would repurchase)
  2. Revlon Skinlights Foundation (now discontinued)
  3. Dove Pro-Age Night Cream (now discontinued)
  4. NYX Mars Lipstick (would not repurchase)
  5. NYX (girls) Whipped Lipgloss (definitely would repurchase)
  6. NYX (girls) Kiss Lipgloss (have repurchased)
  7. Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse Foundation (would repurchase after exhausting my million other foundations)
  8. MAC Innocence, Beware! Lipstick (limited edition, have 1 back-up)
  9. Laura Mercier Mascara (would not repurchase...there are lots of drugstore alternatives that work great.  This was a gift to me, I did not buy it)
  10. Korres Lipgloss (the one with cherry oil) in Light Pink 11 (maybe repurchase...but not immediately)
I'm also about to finish my Korres lip butter in jasmine (use it every night before bed).  I have purchased other shades of this, so it's something that I will most likely keep buying.

Have you ever tried Project 10 Pan?  How did you do?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation (my stop smoking reward)

Confession time...I was an occasional smoker.  I know! It's horrible!  But, I've made the decision to quit and it's been 4 days, so as a reward, I forked over the $45 to try out Chanel's Vitalumiere Aqua Skin Perfecting Makeup.  The catch is, if I buy a pack of cigarettes at all, I have to give away the foundation to either my sister or a friend who is a similar skin tone.  Really, with the amount I would have spent in 3 weeks on smoking, I could have bought the foundation.  So, really, in the long run, my wallet (and lungs!) will thank me. (And by occasional, I meant, um, a regular smoker...I always down-play it).

I picked up the foundation after work today at the counter in Macy's.  There are two sets of shades, either B (beige) or BR (beige rose), each side ranging from 10-50.  I went to get color matched and the MUA matched me as BR20 (tendre).  I never trust lights in the department store, but when I tried it again at home, it was still a good color for me (for some reason MUA's always match me to something orangey...gag).

One key thing to remember about this foundation is to SHAKE it.  If you don't shake it, it will be a watery mess.   It's a water based foundation meant to be applied with your fingers or a foundation brush (no sponges).
I'll be posting a full review once I can try it out for a few weeks, but my initial impression is: what's the hype? Is it nice? Yes. Ultra light? Yes. Does my skin look amazing? No...
(photo wearing only Chanel Vitalumiere)
The key thing to remember is that this is sheer coverage.  If you are looking for coverage, this is not for you.  I picked this up for days that I want something on my skin, but have psoriasis flare ups near my ear.  This is not what I would choose if I was looking to cover blemishes, cover rosacea, or even out very discolored skin.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sephora "Tricks of the Trade" Perfection Primer

What it is: A highlighting make-up base with pearlescent pink particles and soft focus particles.
Cost: $12 (on sale now from $18 in Sephora's Sale Section)
Size: 1 oz.
Not recommended for: People with very oily skin or who don't like the dewy look.
Rating: 3/5

I picked up this primer in Sephora's sale section mostly because I needed to add something to hit my $50 for free shipping.  I've tried the Tarina Tarintino Pearl Glow Primer, but at $32, it's a bit pricey.  Benefit's Girl Meet Pearl is another option, but again it's pricey at $30.  The other two products are a bit more of a liquid primer than this is.  This product is squeezed from the tube and appears thicker at first.
When I first squeezed it out, I thought, where's the glow?  It glows once you blend it into your skin.
Here it is rubbed into the skin a bit more, but heavy enough to show up in a swatch. 

I would recommend this primer for those who are looking for a dewy, glowy look.  It's not anything that is too shimmery or overwhelming when topped with a foundation or even a tinted moisturizer. Also, for those who do not like products with Silica, this does contain Silica.

I don't think that the primer really helped my make-up stay put that much.  It was comparable to the Rimmel Fix & Perfect as far as staying time, but it did supply a nicer glow to the skin.  You can also use this as a highlight lotion on the face, decolletage, etc.

A major downside for me is the packaging.  It's a metalic tube that I don't foresee being very effective towards the end. I'm also not sure if this is on sale because it is being repackaged or discontinued, so if it's a product you fall in love with, you may have to buy a back-up.

Another huge downside, this product does contain Parabens, so if you are trying to avoid Parabens, move on to the next primer.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

What's In My Travel Makeup Bag

I took the day off from work on Friday and headed off for a long weekend to visit my sorority sisters from college.  The plan was backyard barbeque by day and bars at night.  Here's a look at what I take in my makeup bag for travel.  Makeup bag was a free canvas bag from clinique from a few years ago.  It was a set of 3, this being the largest one.  I think they're great for travel.  Next to it is my Sephora Airbrush Brush Set (you can see one of my previous post for pictures of the brushes). 
I recommend taking deluxe samples whenever you can or even the mascaras that are more "trial size" if you use a high end one.  Sephora point perk samples also work wonderfully for travel.
    Products I took:
  1. UD Naked Palette
  2. MUFE Full Cover Concealer
  3. Cosmedicine Night Eye Treatment
  4. Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation in Rose Ivory
  5. Almay black eyeliner (for tightlining)
  6. MUFE Champagne Colored Eyeliner
  7. Benefit Hoola Bronzer (to contour at night)
  8. VS Highlighting Face Trio (used for daytime on cheeks and for the white highlight at night)
  9. Eve Pearl HD Pressed Powder
  10. Eve Pearl Loose Powder (to help blot throughout the day)
  11. Maybelline Lipstick in Plaza Pink
  12. Bare Minerals Lipgloss in Sangria
  13. MAC Marquise D Lipstick
  14. Tweezerman Mini Tweezers
  15. Lash Fusion XL Deluxe sample
  16. Bobbi Brown under eye corrector in Light Bisque
  17. Smashbox Lash DNA Deluxe sample (I layer mascaras sometimes)
  18. Smashbox PhotoFinish Eye Primer Deluxe sample
  19. Too Faced Primed & Poreless Deluxe sample
Even though I had 19 items, the bag still had plenty of room.  I also threw in a bottle of brush cleaner because sometimes I do eyeshadow or blush for friends and if you're sharing, it's good to keep brushes clean.  If this was only a backyard bbq, I wouldn't have brought so much, but for going from day to night looks, I had everything I needed.

I always pack an eyeshadow palette with me and never loose shadows (unless depoted and placed in a palette). I love the Naked palette b/c it's got great daytime shadows that you can kick up for night.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dupe for Too Faced Pink Leopard Bronzing Powder? Victoria Secret Radiant Face Trio

At $28, Too Faced's Pink Leopard Bronzing powder can hit your wallet hard...but Victoria Secret has a line of radiant face trios in multiple colors that are extremely similar and allow you more customization to match your skin tone.

I picked up the VS radiant face trio in Captivate b/c I have lighter skin and some of the shades seemed a bit dark.  It retails for $16, but is 75% off during the VS semi-annual sale (going on now!).

I like the VS powder b/c it contains less shimmer than Too Faced and the colors are equally picked up by the brush.  The Too Faced powder, my brush always picks up more of the pink than the other colors.  I feel like I have to work it more into the golden and bronzey shades.

On the flip side, the Too Faced version applies with more pigmentation and doesn't take as much product to swatch.
(Pink Leopard, left, VS, right)

If you are looking for a more sheer, less shimmery application, I would opt for the VS version and save yourself about $20.  However, if you are looking for more pigmentation, shimmer, and staying power, the Too Faced version may be the better deal for you if you are just going to be building up the other powder or re-applying.

Final Verdict: For me, I would repurchase the VS version over the Too Faced product purely because I don't find myself reaching for it a lot...I prefer less shimmer on my cheeks and feel I could work with the VS version more and I love the variety of colors in the line.  Plus the packaging has an ultra cute zebra print and it's sturdy, so I don't mind tossing it in my bag.

Monday, June 13, 2011

No To Cucumbers

I know a lot of people may disagree with this review, but I'm voting No on Yes To Cucumbers Facial Towelettes.
They retail for about $6-7 at places like Target, Ulta, etc. for 30 towelettes. I got 2 packs buy one, get one 50% off at Ulta.

  • Fresh cucumber scent (well, I guess that's a con if you don't like the smell of cucumber)
  • Packaging locks in moisture.  It has a taped over seal and then the plastic snap.  (Try storing it plastic side down to keep moisture towards the top towelette)
  • Convenient for travel
  • 98.7% natural, biodegradable product
  • Burns my eyes when I wipe over them.  I've never had a facial wipe irritate my eyes, but for some reason, this one drives me crazy.  I even tried opening a different pack. Nothing different.
  • Not so great at removing mascara.  I had to use additional products to remove eye make-up (and no, it wasn't water-proof).  I feel like there are many other wipes on the market that perform both for me.
  • If you are wearing water-proof make-up, forget it.
Overall, this product doesn't convince me to switch from my ELF make-up remover wipes.  They remove a lot more, cost 50% less (more if you buy them during a sale) and they do not irritate my skin or eyes at all.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Birchbox: Hit or Miss?

I have never participated in Birchbox and after seeing it a gazillion time on youtube and blogs, I decided to take my chances for the June Birchbox.
In the box (and yes, it was a pretty pink!):
  1. Kate Spade Twirl sample
  2. Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Facial Lotion (.17 fl oz.)
  3. Sircuit Skin Cosmeceuticals Molecular Mist (8 ml)
  4. Deborah Lippmann Stripper to go (nail lacquer remover, 2 packs)
  5. Laura Geller Baked Blush N' Brighten (.32 oz)
Now, what made me feel okay about paying $10 for the birchbox was receiving the Laura Geller product b/c it was full size and retails for $29.50. Not something I'd normally pick out for myself, but I've never tried her products, so I'm excited to try it out.

What I didn't like was the perfume sample b/c if I order online at Sephora or Ulta, I can get 3 perfume samples with my order.  Plus, Twirl doesn't smell good on me.  I like it in the bottle, but on my skin, ughh. The other products are decent in deluxe sample sizes (think Sephora 100 point perk) and I'll review them once I get to try them out. I'm interested to try out the molecular mist.  I listed in my beauty profile that I had dry skin, so I was happy to receive something that seemed related to my profile.

Now most likely, if I really loved a product, I'd probably purchase off another site than birchbox, but they are a good resource for how to use the product or get reviews.

Here's a few extra swatches of the Blush N' Brighten (in Honey Dipped)

It's similar in look to a MAC MSF.  It does have shimmer (but not too obnoxious).  This will however, be more of a bronzer on me or I may layer it with a different blush, I have to test it out.
So will I sign up to get the July box as well?  You'll just have to wait til July to find out!

Interested in joining? Birchbox

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dealing with Diseases that Affect the Skin - Psoriasis

I know this will be a bit off topic, but I wanted to share something as beauty to me, is also skin and health related.  Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and am posting what works for me. Consult your dermatologist for more information.

The reason for the title diseases that affect the skin is because I do not have a "skin disease".  I have an autoimmune disease that affects my skin.  I have psoriasis.  You may not have been able to tell from pictures, but I have plaque psoriasis and inverse psoriasis (the 2nd being the most rare my roommate used to tell me, it's the only lottery I'm ever going to win!)
Here is Psoriasis of the ear (yes that is my ear!).  In short, your skin may act as if it is fitting an infection or repairing itself, so rather than skin cells generating in weeks, the skin goes into hyper mode and repairs in a matter of days, leaving plagues on the surface (for plaque psoriasis). Inverse psoriasis occurs in skin folds and I will openly admit that I get it under the arms, on the opposite side of the elbow, the sides of the groin, and my thighs.  I'm posting about locations because many people are ashamed of the skin and it can be a bit daunting shedding all your clothes at a derm office, but there are treatments available and it is better to be seen than to suffer with itchiness, discomfort, or pain (depending on locations).

This is my elbow currently.  You can see it looks different than the ear.  I always get circles of it on my elbow...consult your doctor to make sure it is not fungal (ie, ringworm) when seeking treatment.

My tips:
  1. Above all else, see a doctor.  I have prescriptions to aid my outbreaks.  Different prescriptions may be used to treat different areas and in extreme cases, light treatments can be used. Remember, this is a chronic disease, so despite outbreaks, a person will still have psoriasis.
  2. Diet & exercise.  While not proven, many think diet & exercise helps.  I've eliminated a lot of processed foods (but hey, I still love my salt & vinegar chips every now and again!). I've lost about 20 lbs since changing everything and overall, I feel healthier.
  3. Soap.  Try switching to mild, fragrance free hand soaps and body wash.
  4. Laundry detergent.  I recommend the All Free & Clear version.  No fragrance, no dyes. 
  5. Limit alcohol and smoking. Both can be stressors.
  6. Just b/c it says "moisturizing" doesn't make it good.  Fragrances can be killer on the skin.  I used to love Bath & Body Works, but my skin, does not.  For lotions, I recommend Eucerin.  Fragrance free, tested, many derms recommend it (I also have a prescription hand lotion/foam that works very well if you have psoriasis on the hands)
  7. Relax!  Stress is thought to increase outbreaks, so even though we all have stressors, try to get relaxation time in each day whether it's doing yoga, soaking in the bath, or just doing something you enjoy.
  8. Don't be ashamed :) I once had a co-worker look at my arm and ask me if I was attacked by an animal.  Are you kidding?  Sadly, he wasn't. 
I used to cover up plaques with foundation.  Yes, foundation on my arms.  I only aggravated my skin more and made it worse.  Plus, I was doing it to make other people comfortable (and to be clear, I have mild to moderate outbreaks, I am by no means saying that I am an extreme case).

Having skin problems can be devastating, especially in severe cases, but talking to others dealing with the disease, you may find tips/tricks/treatments that you didn't know about.  You can find many sites online to discuss treatments with others.

Sorry for the insanely long post, but I wanted to put this out there for anyone who does deal with psoriasis.  You can always feel free to ask me any questions, I'm open about my experiences. I have been diagnosed for about 7-8 months and have dealt with outbreaks in the past 1.5 years. My sister also has psoriasis and celiac disease (as many people have more than one health problem).  Other than that, my family does not have Psoriasis, so it can be something that people feel like they are going through alone.

With treatments, my skin and outbreaks have diminished significantly.  I've also been healthier as I've made lifestyle changes.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Eve Pearl Face and Swatch Time!

As promised, here is my Eve Pearl face of the day.
Products used:
  • EP Salmon concealer in light
  • EP dual HD foundation in light (applied with sponge)
  • EP dual HD Pressed powder in light (mixed of both shades) applied with puff
  • EP Classic Palette with Bronzer, Blush, and Highlight
  • EP loose setting powder with powder brush (yes, I double powdered! With a thin layer of the regular powder and a light hand with the loose setting powder, you can get a nice satin finish)
  • Lips - EP Pearlicious Lipgloss in Climax
  • Eyes: Kat Von D eye primer, plum smokes Maybelline quad, Stila Topaz liner on waterline, and Almay Dial-Up Mascara. 
I think the foundation photographs very well.  So, if you had an event coming up, it will look great in pics -- especially when you won't be holding a camera as close to your face as I was.  It really makes the skin look flawless and believe me, I don't have flawless skin.
The pressed powder comes with two shades.  I prefer to swirl my brush in both of them, but if you have one that is slightly too dark for you, try using it to contour.

Here's a close-up of the colors on the puff.

I am in love with the highlighter in this palette, but the bronzer, not so much.  Too much shimmer for me, but if you like a lot of shimmer, this may be for you.  I used a very light hand with the bronzer b/c it also shows up a bit darker on my light skin.

The palette is all very soft and they blend easily.  Very pigmented.  I just wish the highlighter was sold separately.

I added a second pic with less of the white-cast on my face from holding the camera so close.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Eve Pearl Haul and Customer Service Review

Back when Eve Pearl had their Black Friday sale, I purchased a couple of items including the HD Dual Foundation in Light.  This retails for $54, so it's expensive.  What I received was apparently from a "new formula" they were trying out.  So the product arrived liquidy and melted.  Um, eww.

I received a follow-up e-mail from the website (without contacting them) explaining the problems and that they would either send me a new foundation right away or I could wait until I ordered again and get a new foundation, plus a free item off the list.  Their products are expensive, so I opted to wait for a reorder.  I only had to write in the comments that I was to receive a free foundation and I also selected the HD Pressed Powder, which is $42.

Now, most companies I feel would just replace the foundation, so I give kudos to Eve Pearl for making it up to their customers, especially without me having to complain.  There customer service is top knotch.

Now for my products...
Picture is the cream foundation, the loose setting powder, Bronzer/Blush/Highlight trio in Classic, Pearlicious Lipgloss in Climax and the infamous salmon concealer in light (you can also get these in two shade pots).  Not pictured is the black eyelash glue that I bought to try out.

I'll be posting swatches and a face pic tomorrow of the products b/c I didn't want this post to be huge, but I also wanted to mention the foundation packaging reminds me of Dior in the sleek packaging in the velour/velvet bags.  It looks like high quality packaging should. 

Here's a swatch of the lipgloss in the shade Climax:

Not great staying power, I will admint, but it smells good and the colors are pretty.  However, this is one product I wouldn't buy at full price.  I don't think it's worth the price.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How to Spot a Fake - Episode 1, Too Faced Natural Eye Palette

When a deal is too good to be true, it probably isn't.
This is the real palette from Sephora, retail $35, comes with 9 shadows, 3 tutorial cards, and a pull out drawer with brush...this is what I got...

Now, there are quite a few obvious differences, but I saw this in Ross (an "authentic designer" store at discount prices) and I recognized the eye right away.  Not having the other product with me, I threw it in my basket b/c it was the last one and hey, it was $5!

While looking at it in line, I looked at the differences:
  1. It doesn't even say Too Faced on the top of the box
  2. The Natural Eye logo on mine is bronze with black lettering (sorry for the camera glare)
  3. The lacy outside pattern is different
  4. The eye is different with the lashes and more eyebrow is showing in mine.
In my box, I also had the cards:
These look very similar to the TF one, so it's hard to tell by that alone.
Inside the box, again, the eye is slightly different, but check out the names of the shadows (yes they are all named correctly).  The names are folding over into the shadow compartments.  If you are buying a $35 palette, they aren't going to sell you this.
The shadows are still incredibly pigmented, but you can see the Nude Beach shade is chipped in the corner (which can happen in transit on high end palettes as well on occasion).
While I only spent $5, it's hard to trust that stores like Ross or Marshalls are selling other legit items.  Example #2: my roommate purchased a Chi flat iron for about $60 there and when we got was a chi box.  With another brand of straightener inside.  That went straight back to the store, but I truly question what it is they are selling.

Take extra care when you aren't sure something is authentic because you never know what is going into the products or how the companies are testing them.  In this case, the palette was actually made by Almar and I explored their website to learn more about what is in the products, etc.

I hope this was helpful.  I know I made a lot of mistakes buying makeup when I first got into it.  This is the first of a series (but don't worry, I'll set them up a week or so apart so you aren't overwhelmed with false products)