Friday, March 25, 2016

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer Triangular Brow Pencil

When it comes to brows, I'd like to think I'm pretty low maintenance. There's not a lot of brows to tame, really, and the color isn't particular dark. Brow shaping and waxing aren't services that I tend to get often. I have to admit though that my last appointment at the Benefit Brow Bar went spectacularly. I've never been so happy with the way my brows look and it made me reconsider professional shaping as something more important.

The right brow products, however, I've always thought to be very valuable. Nothing like a pretty pair of brows to frame even the simplest look. What I generally need are a good brow powder, a brow brush and spoolie. The brow gel is optional. Because my brows tend to have that "half-brow" appearance if not filled in, I have turned to Anastasia Beverly Hills products to keep them in check. I'm not a fan of fancy, heavily drawn-in brows or pencil-thin lines and favor a more natural look that more or less just traces what I've already got on my face and darkens the inner part a little to give it the appearance of fullness. I've already accepted the natural symmetry of the brows I've got, that is, that they are not perfectly symmetrical and never will be. And that's ok. Once, I had a makeup artist decide that I would look better if my brows were perfectly symmetrical, even if my eyes aren't. So, he shaved off half my brow on the one side and shaped the other. When filled in, they looked incredibly good, as my high school graduation picture will show. When all the makeup was wiped off, I had worse than the original half-brow appearance. I really did just have half a brow on the one side. Sigh. Never again.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water and Photo Finish Primer Water

I hauled my kids over to Ulta today so I could grab a 3.9 oz bottle of the Photo Finish Primer Water for $16. It's half price today only, as part of their daily beauty steals promotion. While there, I decided to browse some of the Smashbox foundation products and I saw one of the try it kits that had the BB cream, halo powder and a small primer. But as they only had light/medium, and I was afraid that would be too dark, I decided to ask the Smashbox rep if she had a sample of what might be the right shade for me. In the end, I got totally sucked into buying the BB Water, which I was informed, was $25 for the 1 oz bottle (the price is not for this day only but I can't say until when). My shade is Light, by the way.

I have no regrets here, in case you thought I was complaining. It's the nature of the beauty hauler in me, I guess. I can't resist a deal. And a deal it was! For $43 (that's with the tax too), I had a full size primer, foundation and the GWP which included a mini eyeshadow trio that I would totally use, and a sample of their under eye primer and lid primer. I had the rep apply the products on me, to make sure I was getting the correct color and to create a first impression of the Primer Water and BB Water foundation product. So far, I found that I liked both enough and for that price, the only problem there'd be is if I fell in love with them and never again found such a bargain.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Bite Beauty New Lip Lab Experience + Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Radish

One of my best friends had come to New York with her husband for a weeklong holiday and I went up there to spend some time with her and to have a little post-birthday celebration. It's a milestone year for her and many of my friends who will be turning 40 this year. I had 5 hours and made the best of the day by taking her out to eat, do a little shopping and to cap the day, an appointment with the Bite Lip Lab to make us some lipstick!

I seriously advice having a plan whenever you go there. Booking an appointment is the first order of business. You'll have to do this over the phone since the web appointments thing they used to have is not available right now. I feel that interest has died down since they opened shop 3 years ago and I was able to snag a Saturday afternoon appointment when I called the night before. Of course, I could have just gotten lucky. I did notice a party of four come in seemingly without an appointment and they were able to get service. So, you know, whatever works for you.

As my friend discovered, it's hard to decide on what you want at the last minute. My fault for springing this on her just the night before and I don't think she quite understood what it was that we were going to do. This doesn't come naturally to some people, I guess. A typical appointment may take no longer than 20 minutes but I reckon we were in there for a good 40, even with two color therapists working side by side with us.

If you haven't read my previous post about the Bite Lip Lab experience (click here), it describes the process that the appointment takes. I won't go into the same details but I'll try to describe how our appointment went and try to explain better some of the options available.

I had brought along a small sample of one of the lipstick colors from my Guerlain Extra Gold Palette as I adore it and wanted to have a tube of the stuff. But this is what I've discovered. When you put something on or swatch it on your hand or arm, the color can look completely different from when the color therapist takes the exact same color and puts it on a blank white canvas. What I had perceived to be a red raspberry was looking rosy pink against the white. This was disappointing to me because it looked quite a lot like the shade I had made back in January. But then again, that probably saves me some time and money because I already have two tubes of that color and wouldn't have to have it made again for a good long time. Except, what would I have made now?

I'm sure we were annoying the heck out of the color therapists because when another one came to help out my friend and she didn't really know what she wanted, there was a lot of time spent just waiting for us to figure things out. We tried on colors from each other's palettes, hers with the nude pinks and one coral, mine with the rosy pinks and reds. I had them make the color that I wanted in the different finishes available. My original sample had shimmer and I was told that they can only put shimmer in the sheer, glossy formula. After I tried that on, I said that I preferred the look of the matte. Mind you, their matte isn't a full-on matte but rather a softer, sort of matte cream, not much different from the new Amuse Bouche line that Sephora now carries.

My friend was really going for the rosy pinks so I had the color therapist pull out the recipe for the shade I had made back in January and in the end, that was the color that my friend wanted. It wasn't explained to me exactly why it wasn't made in the Luminous Crème formula as the original was. She just kept repeating that she made it in the "cuvée" which on the box says Crème Deluxe. I realize now that the Luminous Crème formula may be discontinued in the Lip Lab as well. I was told that the cuvée would be slightly longer lasting and it does feel slightly dryer and more pigmented than the Luminous Crème formula.

my custom lippies!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Invisible Skin-Fusion Multi-Perfecting Makeup Revisited

In September of 2013, I wrote a post about Guerlain's "new" BB Cream with SPF 30. You can review that post with this link here. I remember seeing only two shades out at the time and I took home samples of both colors from Sephora. The product didn't really work well for me then and the shade offerings weren't the only issue (with just two shades out, one was a little too light and the other too dark). Looking at the date of the post, that was less than 2 weeks before I had a baby so I'm wondering if my skin was acting wonky or if it was just the weather that made it sit oddly on my skin. Or it could have been the sample, which Sephora puts in little jars for you when requested. I always find sample packets work better because the product isn't exposed to air until you open the packet.

I received several newer packets of the product over the course of the last half year. The packets I have now are in the shade BB 3 Natural. Each packet has so much product that I used barely a quarter of it, I think, to cover my entire face.

The texture was silkier than I remember the previous samples to be. With a mere dot on four corners of my face, one on each cheek, the forehead and the chin, I was able to spread it out quite nicely so that the product melted into the skin. This time, it didn't cling to dry, uneven patches and just blended into my moisturized face. I was worried when I initially opened the packet because the color still looked pretty dark and I was already thinking about what moisturizer or face oil I should mix with it to sheer it out. But as I applied it, I found that it was unnecessary to mix anything with it. It already has a runny consistency and it's pretty sheer. It gives my NC-20ish skintone a bit of a tan. I suspect that anyone up to three shades darker than me could wear this color.

Above left: shade Light, above right: shade Medium

Above, shade Natural/Naturel

As a refresher, I reposted the swatches I had previously, followed by the swatch of this shade. Note that the first swatches were allowed to dry down substantially before I took the pictures. The new swatch, of shade 3 Natural, was more or less freshly applied when the photo was taken. However, I did let the sample packet sit for a few hours, already opened, before I was able to take pictures. Barring slight differences in lighting and possible oxidation, it's looking like 3 Natural/Naturel is definitely not as dark as Medium and is closer to the color of shade Light. It is a little darker though if you can see that. They should have come out with this shade sooner and renamed the products, as Natural should be the Medium and the Medium one should be Doré.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Pixi Travel/Trial Size at Target (buy 3, get 1 free)

On a trip to Target yesterday, I chanced upon the travel/trial size minis display and picked up some Pixi skincare products that I had been wanting to try. Target is currently doing a buy 3, get 1 free promotion at the store in my area. It applies to various travel/trial size products from different brands. I should've taken a picture of the display but I wasn't really thinking about doing a blog post on the subject at the time. But here is what I got from that wall:

I'm really zeroing in on Pixi products as this seems to be a current obsession of mine. I had been wanting to have the Pixi Glow Mud Mask on standby for testing and this 15ml/0.5 fl oz size tube is just what I needed. I've had decent success in using the Pixi Glow Tonic which scared me a little at first since a lot of "acids" tend to make my skin react. The 5% glycolic acid content of this product, however, seemed to be just right for my skin. I use it only once a day, as opposed to the recommended twice a day though. I've found that I still get some benefit from it, without adverse effects. As my skin gets accustomed to the product, and when I run out of my Shiseido Balancing Softener, I may attempt twice a day use. Maybe in the summer. I picked up two of the 15ml bottles of the Pixi Glow Tonic in case I wanted it for travel in the coming months. The Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser wasn't on my radar but I grabbed a tube as well. The tubes all have the same amount of product in them. While not a tremendous value compared to full-size, the promotion does put the mini Glow Tonics at par with the regular 3.4 fl oz one that Target sells for $15. They have yet to carry the largest bottle of Glow Tonic ($29-250ml according to the Pixi website) which would be a better value at regular price.

I'm quite excited to try out these new products and then some. I'd gotten some other products from Target here and there. Boots Botanics caught my eye one time at the store and I got the Micellar Water Cleanser although unfortunately, I am not very fond of it so I may skip reviewing that altogether. I also picked up the Boots Botanics Rosewater Spray which I haven't tried, and these Real Techniques brushes which I am loving right now. The other products in the picture below are the Pixi Glow Mist and some Up & Up mini sponges which I fully intend to try out with some new concealers and correctors I have in my stash.

Spring is really upon us now. It's almost a shame because it took me practically all winter to determine what products were working out for my dull, dry, flaky winter skin and now it's time for another switch up. I want to give props to a couple of real lifesavers: Eve Lom cleansers and Nude Skincare's Pro Treatment Oil, both of which have become real staples for me these last few months. I guess that should be the subject of my next post.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Holiday Palette edit (Chanel vs Guerlain, YSL)

I was always a fan of full-face palettes. I have loved a couple of Chanel ones, very much used a few Laura Mercier ones and then there was that Dior box that simply had everything. I used that for years! They don't make them like that anymore. The popularity of the Urban Decay Naked Palettes spawned a whole slew of copycats. 12 eyeshadows in one palette! But I longed for the one that had it all: eyeshadows, blush, powder, lip color, a sturdy, travel-friendly compact with a large mirror that I could actually use.

Over the holidays, I saw a number of those but I zeroed in on two brands that I felt most comfortable with: Chanel and Guerlain. Similar price point (under a hundred) and content, I figured deserved a comparison post. I threw in the YSL Kiss and Love Palette just because it was similarly-priced and contained almost the same items. I considered purchasing the Dolce & Gabbana one except it was about $150 and now out of stock where I would have purchased it. But anyway...

Let's start with the Chanel Destination Travel Palette packaged in a velvet pouch with an elastic to go around and keep it closed. There is a travel-size mascara included and the pouch has a special place for it. Nice touch. It is pretty much your usual black plastic case with the interlocking C's on the outside. There is an ample sized mirror, some applicators including this foldable blush brush, which I thought was a brilliant space-saving design. As per the Chanel website, the actual makeup included are as follows:

Eyeshadow in Mauve Shimmer, Sheer Pink Satin, Pearl Satin, Bronze Shimmer and Espresso Satin. Lipgloss in Coral, Pink and Fuchsia. Lip Colour in Mauve and Berry. Blush in Rose Shimmer. Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour SPF 15 in No. 20. Inimitable Mascara Multi-Dimensionnel in Noir.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Guerlain Météorites Pearls Carousel

I don't know about you but those first few days of March are always tough for me. While this winter hasn't been incredibly bad weather-wise, my skin certainly took a toll. I blame the impending 4-0 as much as the dry indoor air and miserable cold. Today though, I'm seeing another one of those spring-like starts to the day. I hear it's going to be about 70 degrees out later. I think I should take everyone out to get some air.

Everyone's been under the weather in one way or another in this household. If you're a wife and mother, you know you don't get sick days. So if noone is feeling well, guess what? You're still head nurse and head chef. When the box from Nordstrom arrived at my doorstep at 9:15 AM today, I thought, well, that's one bright spot! Time to bring out the head photographer and head writer hat again!

Guerlain Météorites Pearls Carousel

What's in the box is what this post is all about. I ordered a slew of Guerlain products and the centerpiece of that order is the new Météorites Pearls Carousel.

Météorites collectors perk up! There's a new tin out! I've heard that this isn't part of any particular collection but released on its own.