Saturday, November 30, 2013

Empties: November 2013

I've managed to accumulate a good number of empties (used up products) so I figured I would share my thoughts before I send them to their respective recycling, trash and Back to MAC futures.

Let's start off with skincare items:

I used up a travel size bottle of the Bioderma (though I have used up a large size before as well) and a Kiehl's creamy eye treatment with avocado. The verdict on both of these is that I won't be repurchasing them. Say what?! How can I not want to repurchase a cult favorite like Bioderma? The problem is that while I find it removes my face makeup extremely well, it irritates my eyes like CRAZY if I try to use it to remove my mascara and eyeliner. I've given this a truly thorough test because I suffered the same experience all the way through my large size and travel size. As for the Kiehl's eye treatment, there's nothing wrong with it, but I also don't feel like it did anything special. I don't think it particularly hydrated my under eyes and there are other eye creams I prefer to it. If you don't have an eye cream you like, it wouldn't hurt to give this a try to see how it works for you.

Moving onto haircare:

Am I the only person who takes forever and a day to use up hair products? One of the only things I actually go through semi-frequently is dry shampoo because I only wash my hair 2-3 times a week. All the other days, I use dry shampoo. I received the New York Streets dry shampoo in a Beauty Army box a while back and was thrilled when I got it. I won't be repurchasing this, but it is a decent dry shampoo. I didn't find it to leave a white cast in my black hair (upon initial spray yes, but a little massaging and there's no trace of it). The reason I won't be buying it again is that I found that if I tried to use it on third day hair, it did absolutely nothing. If you wash your hair every other day, this could still be a great option for you.

And now onto the makeup! Let's start with the face:

I know, that's a lot of MAC. But, let me explain why. Over the summer I always end up interning in the hottest and most humid places. And what I have found over time is that there is really only one foundation and primer combination that truly withstands 100F+ heat and 40% humidity, and that is the MAC Prep and Prime Face Protect  and MAC Studio Fix Fluid. I LOVE the primer, it's incredible and controls oil while packing a 50 SPF punch. Studio Fix isn't my favorite foundation, but it is the only one that can survive long days in the heat and for that reason alone it will be a go-to for the summer for years to come. As for the MAC Matchmaster foundation, I despise it and certainly won't be repurchasing. The color is much too orange (odd since it's supposed to be a neutral foundation) and completely breaks down in my t-zone even in the winter time. Fix + is MAC's setting spray and I like having this around because it can eliminate any extra powder you dust on and save you from looking too cakey. So, yes to repurchasing MAC Prep and Prime Face Protect, Studio Fix Fluid and Fix+. No to MAC Matchmaster foundation.

And lastly, the eye makeup products!

Mascaras and eyeliners, the eye products I go through the most. I know mascaras are kind of boring as an empty, but I do have some strong opinions about the ones I tested. Starting from the left with Bobbi Brown Intensifying Long-Wear mascara. This mascara has a teeny tiny brush and is great for the bottom lashes. I enjoyed it because it was smudge-proof and truly long wearing, however I am undecided about whether I would buy this with my own money (the one I have I got as a sample). Moving on over, we have the Chanel Imitable Intense mascara which I also received as a sample. This mascara is pretty much complete garbage and does nothing special for your lashes. If you are looking for a very subtle "I barely applied anything" eyelash look, then maybe you will like it. I personally really like my mascaras to be volumizing and this just did not make the cut. Lastly, we come to the amazing YSL Babydoll mascara. Oh my goodness, what this does to your lashes. This is probably the very best mascara I have ever tried, which pains me because the price tag on it is sort of insane. I got this sample for free and am unsure whether I will take the splurge and purchase...maybe when Sephora has a 20% sale again in the future. If you want perfectly lengthened and volumized lashes that look out of this world, this is the mascara to pick up. Lastly, my wonderful Jordana liquid eyeliner in brown. This is actually the first liquid eyeliner I have had in brown, and I was so sad when I finished it. At a crazy amazing price point, this liner lasts a long time and is inky dark. The pen point felt tip makes it a breeze to apply. I will definitely be repurchasing this in the future. 

All right, well that ended up being kind of long. I might end up doing more frequent empties posts rather than waiting to accumulate so many since I want to share my thoughts on each product. What do you think?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Haul: Tarina Tarantino

Every now and then Hautelook has flash sales on higher-end makeup and I always seem to miss the Tarina Tarantino sales. But, for once, I actually checked the site on a day when her items were on sale! I only picked up two things from the sale, both of which are palettes.

The first thing I selected was the Dollskin Cheek Palette (3.5g, $45 but I bought it for $24). The palette contains 4 blushes, two pink and two peach. Both of the peach colors are quite satin, while one of the pinks is a demi-matte and the other pink is a shimmer with silver micro glitter. The blushes are quite smooth with good color payoff. I think even beginners could do well with this because you don't have to use a feather light touch in fear of looking like a clown.

The other item I purchased was the Jewel Shadow Palette in Magical (9g, $32 but I bought it for $15). It contains 5 eyeshadows, all of which have a satin finish and follow a purple theme. The website describes the five colors as pearl ash pink, pearl beige, pearl eggplant purple, creamy white shimmer, and pearl soft pink. I'm not normally a fan of palettes which have no mattes in them, but all of these shadows have a very subtle sheen which doesn't look over the top. If you love purple, this could be a great quint to own (I personally wear purples like they are neutrals).

Both palettes are housed in gunmetal reflective packaging and contain generously sized mirrors.

I definitely recommend keeping an eye out for sales on Tarina Tarantino because it's a great way to try them out without paying the normally high price tag.

Photos of Products and Swatches!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Review: Sephora Elemental Energy Eye Shadow Palette

I bought this palette quite a while ago, probably when it first came out but never got a chance to review it. I can say without a doubt, that this is one of my absolute favorite colorful eyeshadow palettes! The palette is part of Sephora's partner project with Pantone and contains 16 colors, all themed around the energy elements. The palette is still available online for $38 with 0.08oz of eyeshadow per pan.

The palette has a magnetic lid, much like that of Inglot and is split up into quadrants based on the corresponding elements. My favorite quad is definitely the Fire, followed by Earth. I love warm colors and the selection in this palette is just wonderful. There's a variety of finishes, everything from matte to glitter. Another unique touch are the lovely patterns corresponding to each element that are embossed into the eyeshadow. The eyeshadows are quite pigmented and fairly creamy feeling to the touch. The weakest color is probably the matte blue in the Water element quad, but it is easily built up so if you are patient you can still get true to pan payoff.

Honestly there isn't much to say about this palette except for that it is absolutely beautiful and if you love color, you need it in your life!

Photos of Products and Swatches Below!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wantable Box: November 2013

I cancelled my Birchbox subscription quite a while ago because I just wasn't getting the kinds of samples which justified the price tag. After canceling I did quite a lot of searching on the internet for other subscription boxes (Glossybox, BeautyArmy, etc) and ended up settling on a Wantable box. I have to say I was a little bit hesitant because of the hefty $36 price tag which could easily equate to a splurge item at Sephora or several items at the drugstore. However, this is my second month of getting the box and I am REALLY pleased with the items I've been getting, so I thought I would share what came in my box and how the process works.

The best thing about the Wantable makeup box is that you can specify what you like and dislike in your profile. If you list something as dislike, you will never receive that kind of product in your box and this is the BEST feature about the whole service. On top of that, there are details in every category (ex: blush) which ask you your finish and color preferences as well. You can also skip any month at any time, which is a good feature as well.

My customized quiz on Wantable (I don't actually dislike nail polish or mascara, I just have plenty so I don't want to receive them through the subscription box)
The eyeshadow quiz, with a ridiculous number of options you can specify
On top of that, you basically always get about 4-5 full sized items and the occasional sample sized item thrown in. 4-5 full size products means you are paying  between 7 and 9 dollars per item if you average it out, which is just like shopping at the drugstore. However, I haven't received any drugstore items in my boxes, and in fact more often than not the items are mid-high end products which make the value of the box quite a bit more than the $36 you pay for it.

So, this month I got the following products:
1. Face Stockholm Contouring Kit: 28g, $32
2. Bella Il Fiore Shine On Lip Gloss in Marie Antoinette: 15ml, $11
3. Starlooks Single Eyeshadow in Conquest: unsure of size but bigger than a MAC shadow, $12
4. Girlactik Beauty Cream Blush in Coral: 2.5g, $18
5. Skiin Instant Skiin Tightener and Line Filler Sample: 3ml, $8 (full size is 15ml for $40)

That brings the value of my box to a grand total of $81. I don't know about you, but that seems pretty ridiculous and awesome to me! As for the products themselves, I've been wanting to try products from Skiin, Face Stockholm and Girlactik for quite a while now but always give up since I'm not sure what I should try first. I think it's great that I could have someone select products from those lines based on my preferences to give me my first taste. I've been playing around with all the products and couldn't be more pleased; I can see all 5 products being incorporated into my makeup routine and I actually think all the items in the box can be used together in one look.

Overall, I am really satisfied so far with this subscription so I think I will be going forward with it for at least a few months. I can't wait to find out what else I can discover through this!

Photos of Products and Swatches Below!

Monday, November 18, 2013

A little something different

I normally post reviews and other such things, but I figured today I'd post something a little bit different. Every now and then I am lucky enough to find friends (and friends of friends) willing to let me experiment on their beautiful faces. I know, I'm very fortunate to be surrounded by lovely naturally beautiful women on a day to day basis, and I thought I would share their beauty with all of you :) Enjoy!

Kaye was awesome enough to let me play with her face just a mere hour before we were headed out to a mutual friend's birthday party. Not only was she a lovely canvas, she also turned out to be a great model in front of the camera!

I won't include a list of products here (unless I get requests for some) mostly because I have them written down somewhere not in close proximity. Anyways, if its requested, I will be happy to provide the products I used on her.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Review: Maybelline Color Elixir

I was browsing the makeup section in Bed Bath and Beyond earlier this week (really quite extensive and always seems to have the newest products with plenty in stock) and came across the Maybelline Color Elixir lip glosses. The display had 20 colors in it, and I ended up getting two of them both of which I really liked for the fall. At Bed Bath and Beyond they retail for $6.49 a piece, and contain 0.15 oz of product. They come in small glass vials, and have the shape of a lipstick if you turn them upside down.

Maybelline claims that they "deliver the color of a lipstick, the care of a balm and the glass shine of a gloss". I think I would agree with the last two statements, but they aren't quite as opaque as a lipstick. For a lip gloss though, they are definitely on the pigmented side and aren't your sheer color. I have a dark spot on my lip which is almost nearly concealed by these glosses, so I would call them semi-opaque. I selected number 50, Caviar Couture and number 70, Intoxicating Spice. Caviar Couture is a deep berry plum shot through with some fine sparkle, but doesn't feel gritty at all going on. Intoxicating spice is a lovely browny-red and is a cream. The applicator for the glosses is a doe-foot with a very pointy tip which I love for precision application. They slide on very smoothly and feel comfortable to wear on the lips. I don't find them particularly sticky and they last 2-3 hours on the lips so long as you aren't doing any heavy eating and drinking. I'm not sure if they truly have the care of a balm, but my lips never feel dried out when wearing these and I don't feel the need to reach for my lip balm in between applications every few hours.

Overall, I am quite pleased with these glosses and love the variety of colors that were available in the display. Perhaps in the spring time I will pick up a few of the brighter colors to add to my collection :)

Photos of Products and Swatches Below!