Thursday, February 18, 2016

Charlotte Tilbury Overview (Sculpt & Highlight, Blush, Pillow Talk Liner and Lipstick)

I caved. After the disaster that was the Charlotte Tilbury Mini Lipstick Charms set (Do you want to read about that? Click here.) that I purchased and subsequently returned, I went out and bought a whole slew of other Charlotte Tilbury items. There has to be a reason this brand is so hyped (uhm yeah, to boost sales?) and seriously, what brand isn't hit or miss? I just wanted to see if there was anything at all that I might like.

Lippies are usually something of a safe bet for me. I also thought I heard someone say/write that her lipsticks are a good place to start. That person may have been referring to the Matte Revolution line but I'm just not a matte lipstick kind of person, you know? And what is it with all these sets? So, off I went to buy a set. Ok, two sets. Granted, these are simply a pair of items in the set instead of the $250 multi-piece kits. I can't remember which one I got first, probably the Filmstar Killer Cheekbones set which includes the Filmstar Bronze & Glow compact and the Powder & Sculpt brush.

Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Killer Cheekbones Set

I admit that it took a few uses before I appreciated this set. That and a few misfires with other brands (see the Kevyn Aucoin one here). After rotating between a few different products and brushes, I gradually grew to appreciate the way this duo looks like on me when applied. I start with the highlight, like I always do, and I find the highlight shade to be subtle and appropriate for my skin tone. It can be overdone. You just need to watch yourself. I like that it isn't glitter or mega-shimmery. As Goldilocks would say, it was just right.

Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow

Then I bronze/sculpt/shape. In the beginning, I did find the sculpting color just a shade too grey. But as I've learned to work with the brush, I found that I could blend it out to the point where it does what it's supposed to do and it doesn't look like dirt, unlike the Kevyn Aucoin one. The brush is indispensable in this case. There is no other brush that I like to use with the Bronze & Glow duo. And although I'm not a fan of all the gold packaging (they get prints and are hard to photograph), I really like the mirrored compact that this comes in.

Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt Brush

What comes next? Blush, of course! So let's make it a Charlotte Tilbury day and grab the 6 Shades of Love lipstick and blusher set in Love Glow. In this set you will find the Bitch Perfect lipstick and the Cheek to Chic blusher in Love Glow. Since I ordered this from the Charlotte Tilbury USA website, with it I received the travel size Wonderglow and two sample shades of K.I.S.S.I.N.G. lipstick. I don't think I'm ever going to use the samples. I tried the Wonderglow though and found it too drying as a primer.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

NARS Blush in Impassioned and Shiseido Blush Brush

NARS Blush in Impassioned

NARS probably makes some of the best blushes in the market. Whenever I find a new one to love, the question I ask myself is, why don't I own more? I think I have three and I remember that when I got each one, it became a favorite. I started with Orgasm and used that as my main blush for years before I got married. This was a period when all my makeup would fit in a large Caboodle. Down the line, I purchased Douceur (posted here). Douceur was a limited edition shade and I'm so glad I have it because I don't think I have ever been able to find anything like it. However, as with most makeup phases, they pass, and while I still like Douceur, I don't use it, or Orgasm, frequently anymore.

Cue the NARS Spring 2016 makeup collection, featuring the new blush in Impassioned. And yes, I am once again, totally in love. This is the pink blush that I have been waiting for. It's the blush that's replaced my Chanel Tweed Rose as the blush to wear when you just don't know what to put on. Actually, save for a few other blushes that I've been trying out lately, this is the one blush that I do wear all the time. I've heard that it's going to be part of the permanent line so I'm looking forward to Impassioned being available as a refill pan. That might push me to finally pick up one of their customizable palettes. That is, if I ever hit pan on Impassioned.

I never hit pan on blush products because I use blush rather sparingly. Perhaps the reason that I don't own more NARS blushes is because I fear that most of them are so highly pigmented that I'm going to have much trouble keeping the shade just right when I put it on. I theorized that it could also be the absence of the right blush brush to get the job done. Many times over, I have contemplated purchasing the Lisa Eldridge-approved Suqqu blush brush. 15,000 yen is a lot of money for a brush. I don't think I have yet spent that much on any one single brush. But availability is also a problem as I live in the US. I'm not one to try eBay and I don't generally purchase from stores outside of the country or from websites that don't have a brick and mortar store. Beautylish is one exception to this general rule and I have bought my newly-beloved Chikuhodo brushes from them. But they do not carry Suqqu. So, when I heard about the Shiseido brushes being possibly comparable to Suqqu, I had to try them out.

Friday, February 12, 2016

TONYMOLY Skincare and Makeup

Let's take a break from all the serious stuff and get a load of all the cute things that South Korean brand TONYMOLY has for us.

I had been collecting a bunch of TONYMOLY items to put in a little goodie bag for my daughter on her last birthday and I made sure to take pictures of each one before handing the bag over to her.

TONYMOLY Peach Hand Cream

I knew that she definitely wanted the lip balms packaged like tiny fruits. I got her the cherry, blueberry and the peach, along with the coordinating peach hand cream. Surprisingly though, upon reading the product packaging/directions, it said not to use if you have eczema. When is hand cream bad for eczema? Anyway, I think she just wanted the items for the fruit packaging. I don't think she used any of them. The little fruits make cute little pretend food for her Beanie Boos.

TONYMOLY Mini Cherry Lip Balm

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Revlon ColorStay Lip Liners

Revlon ColorStay Lip Liners

It's come down to me mentioning lip liners in just about every post I've written in the last few weeks so I thought it was time for me to bust out my favorite lip liners for a quick swatch.

Revlon ColorStay Lip Liners

I like these Revlon ColorStay Lip Liners for their easy application and rich color. Priced under $10 and performs just as well as any other lip liner that I have from vastly more expensive brands, what's not to love? If they had a more varied selection on the lighter shades, I would certainly have more than these six that I've collected over time.

The sharpener removed from the pencil

I find that I don't ever really have to sharpen these lip liners because I tend to apply them with the product on its side. I often feel that if I sharpen them, I will be wasting product. However, if they do get dull, you could use the sharpener at the base of the pencil. Some suggestions when sharpening: pop the pencil in the fridge for a few minutes to cool it and it will be easier to sharpen and twist the sharpener, not the product.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Chanel Rouge Coco Stylo Complete Care Lipshine in 212 Récit and 216 Lettre

Chanel Rouge Coco Stylo Complete Care Lipshine

The name says it all. The Chanel Rouge Coco Stylo Complete Care Lipshine is a pen style lip color with plenty of shine!

Here's how the CHANEL website describes them:

"The intensity of a lipstick, the shine of a lipgloss and the comfort of a lip balm — all in one creamy yet lightweight formula. This innovative formula is enriched with nourishing Apple Seed Extract and hydrating Jojoba Oil and Coconut Oil. Silk Powder, Beeswax and special ingredients help visibly 
smooth, plump and add brilliant 3D shine to the lips. A spectrum of eight irresistible shades features 
pinks, reds, nudes and corals. In a convenient, twist-up ‘stylo’ form to write your colour signature."

I was attracted to the beautiful colors on the display. The testers had a band of color on the outside, which gives you an idea of the color inside. The product for sale does not have this band so I was a little disappointed. I wish it did! The product twists up and down like a typical pen-style product. Do exercise care when twisting and try not to put out too much product. I've found that at times, it doesn't twist back down completely and it can get messy trying to put the lid back on if the lip color doesn't go in all the way down. I'm very particular about keeping things neat, especially with makeup. I definitely notice things like this.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Spring into Pixi - 10% off Cartwheel at Target

If you've been looking to buy some Pixi items at Target, Cartwheel is currently offering 10% off Pixi items when you purchase at the store. The discount is good until Saturday, February 13th and you need to have the cartwheel app on your device to use it.

I have purchased a few items from the brand at various times. My latest acquisition is the H20 Skintint, which I find to be a nice, light coverage sort of tinted moisturizer. I had purchased No. 2 Nude and the No. 3 Warm and find that I could use both on my light to medium skin. I'm more of an NC20 at the moment and the No. 2 shade disappears into my skin. The coverage is very minimal and except for a little evening of the complexion here and there, it doesn't cover much. I actually ended up preferring the No. 3 as it gives my entire face a warmed tint and I could pretend that it was summer instead of winter.

Pixi by Petra H20 Skintint swatches

The texture is very smooth and it is incredibly light. Apply it as you would a regular moisturizer. It feels like a gel and it dries fairly quickly so you need to make sure you have applied it evenly throughout before it sets. I don't think that it requires buffing down although you could probably set it with a foundation powder for more coverage. It's winter so I found that the effect lasted the entire day for me and I don't set it with anything at all.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Guerlain KissKiss 'The Chinese New Year' Creamy Shaping Lip Colour in 344 Sexy Coral

Guerlain Kiss Kiss Creamy Shaping Lip Colour in 344 Sexy Coral

It's the Chinese New Year today and I admit that I've perused all the high-end makeup that came out in commemoration of it. Much of it has been mocked, as I've seen/heard. The red box of the Givenchy Prisme Libre Chinese New Year edition has been touted as cheap. The monkey embossed on the red-lidded Armani Chinese New Year Highlighting Palette has been ridiculed along with the packaging. And it's a whopping $88 for that!

Got $60? Perhaps you'd be more interested in eyeshadow. The YSL Year of the Monkey palette (the Parisienne quint repackaged) might be more your speed. Although I've heard backlash over the "gaudy gold" that one's in. While I haven't seen any of these in person, I tried to simply envision them as regular products. Without the theme, would I be interested? So I finally settled on buying the Guerlain Kiss Kiss in 344 Sexy Coral that was repackaged for the occasion.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Lip Products to Consider at Sephora

I thought it easier to do a blanket post, including all the lip products I have recently purchased from Sephora. There are about 10 items in this post, including several items from Sephora Collection. But I thought I'd start with the Sephora Favorites set Give Me Some Nude Lip, a rather fabulous deal at $28 and includes a full-size NARS lipstick in Dolce Vita and a full-size Nudestix Lip + Cheek Pencil in Whisper.

The entire set comes in the lip-shaped cardbox pictured above. The rest of the items in the set are a sample size Laura Mercier Créme Smooth Lip Colour in Milky Way, Marc Jacobs Poutliner Longwear Lip Liner Pencil in Nude(ist) 300 and the Tarte Tarteist Lip Paint in Namaste. It's a nude lip lover's paradise although I must admit that the shades included seem more directed towards fair to medium skin tones. I'm definitely in that category and many of these colors look downright pasty on me. A clear winner though is NARS Dolce Vita, up close below.

NARS Dolce Vita lipstick

Dolce Vita is described as a dusty rose. I find it to be a peach-leaning beige brown on me. It's not super opaque though, so some of that natural lip color does shine through and changes the way this lippie looks on different people. It can be paired with the Marc Jacobs Lip Pencil, just like everything in this set, although it's not a perfect color match.

Marc Jacobs Poutliner Longwear Lip Liner Pencil in 300

The Marc Jacobs pencil comes in a twist up formula that requires no sharpener. I have no real complaints about it and I don't find it particularly special either. I use a Revlon lipliner from the drugstore that costs about a third of the price of this product in full-size so I can't say I'm impressed enough to splurge on Marc Jacobs. Still, it's nice to have.

Laura Mercier Créme Smooth Lip Colour in Milky Way

On to Laura Mercier with the brownest of the bunch, this Créme Smooth Lip Colour in Milky Way. When I first twisted this up, I thought, no way! It's soooooo brown. Can't wear it. But after I put it on, I realized that, ok I can wear it. It makes a nice base for several gloss products that I have because it keeps the lips that very neutral color, with less of its natural pinkness and it brings out the best in my MAC Huggable Glass in Sweet Persuasion. It's such a pretty combo that I think I will be going back to from time to time. That said, I am in no rush to grab one of these in full-size. As a matter of fact, I probably never will, because I would never conceive of using it by itself.

Nudestix Lip + Cheek Pencil in Whisper

Tarte Tarteist Lip Paint in Namaste

The Nudestix Lip + Cheek Pencil in Whisper looked promising but fell flat once I had applied it on my lips. It literally looked very flat and emphasized my lip lines. If I wanted pasty, this is the item I would grab. I don't think I would ever attempt to use this on my cheeks either. Maybe I just don't get the entire concept of the Nudestix brand but I have yet to determine how much use I'll have for this. After I put it on, I went and grabbed the Tarteist Lip Paint, hoping to salvage the look but I didn't realize that the Lip Paint would also be matte. Not being a fan of the completely matte look, I wasn't happy with how this looked on me. That said, it photographs rather well and the combo wasn't as drying as I thought it would be.

In the swatches I have below, you'll notice I put cafe au lait on the Marc Jacobs lip pencil. I couldn't find the color written anywhere on the item (pardon my geriatric eyesight, or perhaps I didn't check hard enough) so I looked it up on the Sephora website and found this written: Nude(ist) 300 - cafe au lait. I zeroed in on cafe au lait, thinking that was the shade name. But I don't care to revise the photo so... just saying.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

KEVYN AUCOIN Essential Starter Kit and The Contour Book The Art of Sculpting + Defining

The KEVYN AUCOIN brand has undoubtedly reached more people than ever with continued interest in contouring and highlighting. Kevyn Aucoin, in his heyday, was probably the ultimate master of this technique and certainly the most high profile one.

I haven't personally bought much from this brand although I had heard quite the buzz about his makeup brushes. I own several of them, including the large powder brush and a mini brush kit in a brush roll. I must admit though, I haven't touched those brushes in years.

Wanting some kind of reintroduction to the brand, I thought it fitting to purchase the Essential Starter Kit and The Contour Book The Art of Sculpting + Defining from Sephora. I took advantage of discounts when I purchased both items so it didn't hit my wallet quite as badly as it would have if I had purchased them both at regular price. I also bought the contour brush (but separately) since that is the brush recommended for applying the highlighters in The Contour Book.

Instructions in The Contour Book

With the two, trial sizes are all you get. The brand is generally expensive to start with so if you're getting a variety of products for the price of a full-size sculpting powder, I think that the price point is totally understandable. The total content is 0.36 oz for the six powder products in The Contour Book. It's on sale now for $40 so I'd say the price seems to make sense if pitted against, say, 0.11 oz of The Sculpting Powder for $44. There's packaging to consider, I suppose.

The Contour Book

Both The Contour Book and the Essential Starter Kit come with a set of instructions detailing what you're supposed to do with the products. To judge the items for say, a review, I think that one should give the provided instructions a shot.  You can do whatever you want with the product, just bear in mind its recommended use. I feel like you can't really write a review saying the product is horrible if you're using it for a completely different purpose than what was recommended by the manufacturer.

Kevyn Aucoin Essential Starter Kit

A little background. I had been working with the Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzing Makeup Base and BECCA Lowlight/Highlight Perfecting Palette Poured prior to purchasing these KEVYN AUCOIN products. I find that both items that I had been using previously satisfied the lightest bit of contouring that I feel like doing on occasion. I have bronzing powders and highlighters of different kinds at my disposal, including the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow Face Sculpt & Highlight which I purchased at the same time as The Contour Book. I find that the KEVYN AUCOIN items are the ones that I reach for the least, among similarly priced brands. I'm trying to analyze why and here are my thoughts.

Essential Starter Kit items:
Matte Bronzing Veil in Desert Nights on left, The Celestial Powder in Candlelight on right