Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Love, Bite Lip Set (bite multistick in Cashew and Gelato, Crème Lip Gloss in Rose Pearl)

Sephora is still currently selling this set from bite beauty called the Love, Bite Lip Set. If you haven't yet sampled their multisticks and lip glosses, this is a good start. The set itself is a good value price-wise. $42 gets you two multisticks and a lip gloss, all full-sized. You get the lot in a tin packaged with a small mirror. Bought alone, the multisticks are $24 apiece and the lip gloss is $22 so think of it as getting one full-sized item as a bonus. I bought this set because I was curious about both products but I'm keeping it on the performance of the multisticks alone, which isn't much of a discount but still works out ok for the price.

Except for the Cashew Multistick, I had a difficult time photographing these products for color accuracy. The swatches tell the story though, so I wouldn't fuss too much about individual product pictures.

The multisticks are basically a cream product with a powder finish. They can be used on lips and cheeks. I think lids too, but I didn't try that because I didn't think the colors would work well for me that way. Normally, I stay away from products like this. I rarely use cream blush because I find that the best way to apply them involves using fingers and my cheeks can be pretty touch-sensitive. And usually, multi-use products means they perform well as one but not the other. In this case, I think this product is perfectly useable as both blush and lip color. Nice surprise!

I've decided to invest in a beauty.blusher by beautyblender. This really helped in blending out the multisticks. I tried applying it by dotting my cheek directly with the product and then sort of spreading it out with fingers and finally blurring the edges with the beautyblender. I also tried just taking a bit of product, warming it with fingers and then dotting my cheek with the warmed up product before finishing with the beautyblender and thought that method actually worked better. It's just a little messier and wastes more product. Both colors can be blended out to a natural effect, which is very nice. I prefer the warm Cashew though. It's a rosier sort of brown compared to Gelato, which has a fair bit of that taupe shining through the mauve. Gelato kind of reminds me of the lipstick in Cava, which worn alone, makes me look like a corpse. So if you like Cava, Gelato is a very complementary shade.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Chanel Ombre Première Eyeshadows: more colors

As promised, I have the rest of the Chanel Ombre Première Eyeshadows photographed and swatched for reference. This is a massive collection and I don't even have half of it but these 7 colors are my picks. I haven't been able to really play with this lot either. I had a really good experience with the first two that I got so I'm pretty excited to show these. I'm going to start with the powder eyeshadows. The three below, from left to right, are Bronze Antique, Talpa and Flesh.

L-R: Bronze Antique, Talpa, Flesh

Right now, I'm not planning to get anymore of the powder eyeshadows. Most of the colors in the collection are permanent so there's no need to rush to get any of them. If something catches your eye, it may be a good idea to hit up a counter and play around a little before making a purchase. You could also wait for more reviews from users/bloggers who got in on the game early.

I really think that singles are making a comeback, after the years long obsession we've had with palettes. Personally, I find anything with more than 4 colors a little overwhelming sometimes. I buy them and they tend to sit in a box for ages before I'm done with whatever I'm playing with and decide to start with a new one. I'll confess, I grabbed one of the Urban Decay Basquiat palettes but it's still sitting on my vanity untouched. I've actually only just started using a Zoeva palette that I've had for a year now. A year! Clearly, I don't need more makeup.

Sometimes we need to be reminded that liquid and cream products tend to have a shorter shelf life than powder products so before you load up on the cream eyeshadows, bear in mind that you've got to use them often enough to warrant the expense. If they have been opened, you've got to start the countdown to the day that you should stop using them. A good rule of thumb, if you really can't recall when you opened something, is simply to use your senses to assess the condition of the product. Look for product separation, change in color, odor and/or texture. Any of those could be a sign of degradation and to be on the safe side, don't put it on your face anymore if you note any of that. This is quite easy on bottles of foundation and cream products in tubs. When in doubt, toss.

I'm personally guilty of keeping many old products but I tend to stop using them in favor of newer products because well, I always find myself getting new products. I do get rid of liquids and creams a lot more than powders. I have more trouble ridding my collection of powders because it's nice to have an archive, and once in awhile, I do go back to old favorites. I just try to scrape off the top layer to reveal what I think to be a fresher layer underneath. And I make sure everything is neatly put away after use. I rarely use my fingers to apply product. If I have to, I would usually pump or scrape a small amount of product from the container to the back of my hand. I wipe off any excess that could drip off the pump of foundation bottles and moisturizers with a clean tissue at every use. Anything leaky that cannot be cleaned is tossed. And so on...

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Chanel Ombre Première Eyeshadows: Noir Pétrole and Bronze Antique

So I've had a week to play with this new stuff: two items from Chanel's Ombre Première collection of eyeshadows. The rest that I've ordered have all arrived and I should be able to go through the pictures soon but I'll start off with the first two that I received and have used repeatedly.

If you're familiar with one of my favorite eye makeup looks, one I always go back to, it's Laura Mercier's Black Gold eyeliner smudged with black powder eyeshadow, topped with gold cream eyeshadow and then layered with a satin peach and taupe for dimension. The peach and taupe are completely optional, and the highlight color I use varies, depending on what's handy. The most integral part of the look is a black/gold base and I thought, well, if Lucia Pica says these items are meant for layering, then let's layer!

Noir Pétrole. So amazing. I bought the eyeliner... three times. I know, I know. Why did I never write a post about it? Well, for starters, I got it really late into the game, when it was basically sold out. See, I didn't really love the Coco Codes collection. I just bought the Élégance blush and thought I'd seen everything I wanted off it. Then I read blog after blog after blog saying Noir Pétrole the eyeliner was IT. I managed to find a store that still sold it, ordered it and then ordered two more when I realized that since I got it, it was the only eyeliner I wanted to use. Mind you, I'm not into ordering backups of anything. I almost never do that. I always say, by the time I use one item up, I'll have a new favorite. There is no point in buying more than one. But with spring allergies at its worst yet again this year, it seemed that Chanel's Stylo Yeux was the only line that didn't irritate my eyes or mess up my contact lenses and it lasted the entire day. I was so psyched to be able to get the same color in a cream eyeshadow.

Left: Noir Pétrole Cream Eyeshadow, Right: Noir Pétrole Eyeliner

So, Noir Pétrole the eyeliner and Noir Pétrole the cream eyeshadow, are they the same? I'd say for the most part, yes. Do you need both? Not sure. I'd say if you would happily wear the eyeliner smudged all over your lid, then you don't. But that's going to get expensive. So if you like the eyeliner that much, I'd say yes yes, get the eyeshadow too!

Chanel Ombre Première Powder Eyeshadow in Bronze Antique

Friday, May 5, 2017

NARS Sunwash Diffusing Bronzer in Seaside + thoughts on MARC JACOBS Bronzer Brush No. 12

Cinco de Mayo and look at all this rain that we have. My basil plant isn't enjoying the lack of sun here. Droopy leaves :( It's the perfect day to sit down and write blog posts though. I owe you my thoughts on the NARS Sunwash Diffusing Bronzer in Seaside and the MARC JACOBS brush that I bought along with it. So here goes...

If you have the regular NARS bronzers, maybe Laguna in a palette here and there, I've heard that the Laguna in this line isn't quite the same. It's possibly better! But I wanted something lighter, less brown than Laguna, so I bought the new shade Seaside. It's definitely lighter than Laguna as I remember, and quite reddish compared. I'm not certain if that was what I was looking for in a new bronzer but there are many ways to try and use it.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Burberry Effortless Brow Definer Brow Shaping Pencil in No. 3 Ash Brown

Grooming the brows and enhancing their shape and color can really improve ones appearance, especially in pictures! In this age of Instagram and Facebook, more and more people are making that effort to look camera-ready each day. For me, making peace with my one droopy eyelid and uneven brows took a few visits to the Benefit Brow Bar and quite a number of eyebrow products. The eyelid itself is one issue but when your one eye sits lower than the other (and of course, nobody is perfectly symmetrical, except maybe Vanessa Williams and Shania Twain), your brows naturally follow suit. 

I'm a fan of natural-looking, clean brows. I prefer not to see the makeup so much. However, I'll be the first to admit that I need the makeup. Otherwise, you'd hardly see my brows. I have more of that half-brow look, where the inner part is markedly lighter than the outer half and this is the main issue that I like to address with brow powder. I can fill in large areas like that with powder, without looking like I've drawn lines. I cannot stand to see lines. I like a light shading. I love the look of powder, but on most days, I think pencil is just faster. Pencils with triangular tips even more so as you can fill in with the wider side quite quickly or you can pencil in with the thin side to mimic the appearance of hairs. (see my post about last year's favorite Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer Triangular Brow Pencil). With a spoolie, you can easily brush everything to a nice blur. But, not all pencils are the same.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look in a Palette Face Palettes

If you've been following, you may know that Charlotte and I didn't exactly get off to a great start. It was that darned Pillow Talk Lip Liner and the mini lipsticks I got for Christmas one time. Nonetheless, I can't name a single brand whose every product I liked. While I'm still not hot about Charlotte Tilbury lip products, these "Instant Look in a Palette" palettes are really nice. I have all three to show you.

The first one out was the Natural Beauty palette and it remains my favorite. It's the one I always pick to bring along whenever I'm going away. For me, there's no wrong color in it. I use every single item in it happily. The eye "brighten" shade on that palette (upper left) is actually the most used item I have in it and it's the one color that I wish all three palettes had. It's because I prefer to use a shade like that for the brow bone area and as a base color, and I prefer mattes over shimmer shades. It's the only matte eye color in all three palettes. I do use all three eye colors in the Natural Beauty palette. I'll admit that they're light. Very light. It suits me fine though, as I'm generally fair and for everyday, I tend to use minimal eye makeup.

The cheek colors are kind of small so I tend to just use the two together, as opposed to doing the whole swish and pop routine. And then I sweep some bronzer on to define the cheekbones a little. I bought this new Wayne Goss brush set and there's this one brush, the no. 14, which I cannot put down. I think it was designed for loose powder but it's the one I use on the blush and bronzer on this palette. The brushes in that new Face Set are small so using it with this palette is totally fine. (Yep, you'll need small face brushes for these palettes.) I don't use the highlighter much though, not on any of the three palettes. I prefer some Guerlain Météorites for that purpose.

The nice thing about these palettes is the size. It's such a good size for travel, with a mirror you can use to put on the rest of your makeup. All you need is some foundation, some eyeliner, mascara, something to groom the brows with and some lipstick. You've got everything for a full face! Any lip color I use goes with it. I can see that it isn't for everyone though. Anyone even a half a shade darker than me might say it won't show up at all. So, maybe the second palette is more your speed...

The Seductive Beauty palette I got came with a mascara sample. I actually really liked the mascara. It's the Legendary Lashes one. Sadly, the box came apart at some point so I had to toss it. I like to keep the boxes whenever possible. The colors in this palette are a little deeper compared to the Natural Beauty one. However, I use them exactly the same way. I get a little more color out of Seductive Beauty and the eye look is more defined using the darker colors but because of that one eyeshadow shade (the "brighten" one), I like the Natural Beauty palette better. The bronzer shade might be the same. They look the same when on anyway. But the highlighter on this one is a little warmer. The Non-Blonde has pictures and swatches of this second palette (the Dolce Vita, as marketed by Nordstrom for the Anniversary Sale last year) if you click here. She also has an amusing review and Face of the Day here. I hope she doesn't mind my linking.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Burberry Lip Colour Contour

I bought three shades of the Burberry Lip Colour Contour on the strength of such fantastic reviews on the Nordstrom website. First, I ordered Medium No. 3 because in the swatch provided by Nordstrom, it looked like it would be pink. But when it arrived, it was really, really brown. I didn't want to use it.

Light No. 2 came back in stock and so I ordered that one, hoping that it would be a lighter brown since the "swatch" pictured looked like a light tan/beige. It arrived and it too was brown and not much less so than the Medium No. 3. I was left scratching my head...

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sephora VIB Sale Purchases

As all Sephora shoppers probably know, it's that time of year when Sephora offers a 10-15% discount coupon for Beauty Insiders. This coupon is valid on pretty much everything in the store and online. There may be exclusions, but it hasn't yet failed me. The sale runs until April 24.

This year is a little bit different for me as I've come to realize that there really wasn't all that much that I wanted to buy. In part, it's a desire to trim down purchases to necessary things. However, I do treat myself and I'm still lured by new product launches so this "haul" is a combination of all that. I refuse to entitle the post a "haul" as I really rather dislike that word. I don't think people should be "hauling" makeup. There's just something fundamentally wrong about hoarding perishable products. There's nothing right about hoarding anything really. I can understand the need to save money. But rather than buying in bulk, sometimes, it's better to buy just what you need. You may find you'll spend less in the long run.

So, here's what I've purchased so far...

The Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver is the one thing I buy whenever Sephora has a coupon. My children have eczema and my 10 year old daughter had a really bad bout of contact dermatitis on her face last December. It set me on a quest for a product that works to bring moisture back to her skin and helps lessen itching, is non-steroidal and very pleasant to use. This has come out as a real standout among the items that we tried. She loves it and that makes her actually use it so I will probably be buying this several times a year for the rest of my life. Because it's a bit expensive ($48/4 oz.), she really only uses it on areas that are prone to sensitivity, like her hands and wrists, as opposed to the entire body (we rotate various creams and lotions for that purpose, depending on the season). It can also be used on the face! Right now, she is finishing up a jar of Tatcha Indigo Soothing Triple Recovery Cream for her face but as that is really expensive and the Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver performs equally well, I guess we will be going with Kate from now on.

The other "necessity" in this purchase is the bareMinerals Stroke of Light Eye Brightener. I got a tube of this in September last year, I think. I've found that it's the one product I keep going back to now, when I am trying to camouflage some dark skin under the eyes. Make no mistake, this is not a concealer. I still love my Givenchy Mister Light Instant Light Corrective Pen for that purpose but as I've gotten older, I realize that I have no patience waiting for any of these pens to pump out liquid. It really is easier to pull out a wand and have the product there. And it seems I haven't got as much to conceal anyway that an eye brightener and some translucent powder is enough to even out my under eye area. Plus, this one doesn't really sink into fine lines that badly. Anything that does is easily tamped out by doing a light press with the ring finger. So, this is my new go-to. If $23 for 0.18 oz. is a bit much for you, I've found some success with the Sephora Collection Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer. It's comparable, I'd say. At $14, it conceals more and I've come to use it to cover up a pimple mark here and there. I use the shade Palmier and for bareMinerals, I use Luminous 2.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Sephora Collection Sweet Balm (Pink, Coral and Violet)

I walked into Sephora the other day looking for some cheap thrills. I usually have a list when we go shopping in Delaware (tax-free) but I really didn't have anything in mind to buy then. At checkout, I found these tinted lip balms and decided to grab all the shades that I could find. You know, in case I loved them and wanted them all. They only had one tester and I wasn't about to put that on my lips so I figured, at $6 a pop, it wouldn't hurt to just grab them all now.

I couldn't unwrap that thing fast enough when I left the store. What was it that enticed me so much? It was the nostalgic packaging. Sliding that button down to bring up the product always calls to mind awesome times in the 90s, grabbing lipstick at the drugstore in San Francisco with my cousin when she was taking classes at Berkeley.

Sweet Coral was a pleasant surprise. I'm always trying to avoid orange lips and I was so happy that this actually looked coral on me. It had enough pink not to look so orange and the pigment was perfect. It's got more oomph than your average Chapstick and it's made in Italy. I find the synthetic vanilla scent comforting. It reminds me of the old MAC lip conditioner that came in a pot. They don't make those anymore but I loved those for the way they smelled.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Benefit Cosmetics new stuff! (Dandelion Twinkle, Hoola Lite and They're Real! Double the Lip Lipstick & Liner in One - Lusty Rose)

I feel like I just typed the longest ever post title. I should have kept it at new stuff but I try to put the actual products in the post as part of the title so it's easier for me to sort through them when I need the info. Yey, Benefit has some new things for us...

I ordered the box of Dandelion Twinkle from Sephora over the weekend and got the lipstick for free (a $10 value!). Score! The item I received as a GWP is available for purchase and I'm glad I didn't pull the trigger right when I saw it. Dandelion Twinkle is noted as a Sephora exclusive and Hoola Lite is now available for purchase as well. I got my box of Hoola Lite over the weekend at an Ulta store. I think they got it first since I had seen it available on their website well before Sephora had it.

My initial use of the products has left me underwhelmed. I don't know what I was expecting of Dandelion Twinkle but I was disappointed. Below, the swatch on a sheet of Kleenex. It doesn't look shimmery and it seems like it would have good pigmentation but it's completely deceptive. It's a shimmery powder highlighter. On the box it says "nude-pink powder highlighter & luminizer" so that should level any expectations. I would only use it on the highpoints of the face since it's too shimmery for allover use. Without foundation on, I also felt like it emphasized some of the texture on my cheeks. But it works well on the bridge of the nose.

Hoola Lite was more my speed. I never thought myself ridiculously fair, but the original Hoola always did feel a little bit too dark for my needs. Hoola Lite is much easier for me to use. In a way, it's like a too dark face powder and I could probably buff it over my entire face with a large, super fluffy brush, similar to how I would use the Chanel Les Beiges powder. The box describes it as a "light powder bronzer for face" and that is exactly what it is.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Bobbi Brown Luxe Lip Color in Hibiscus

One of the last few new releases before Bobbi Brown's departure from her namesake brand is the Luxe Lip Color line. I tried one of them at the store when I had a few minutes with the Bobbi Brown rep at Sephora and I liked it a lot but I did not purchase a tube at the time because I felt like I didn't need another neutral pink lipstick. The next time I went back in, to purposely look at the line, I plucked Hibiscus from the shelf and simply crossed my fingers that I would like the color.

Sephora's website describes Hibiscus as a plum wine. I thought it more a plum brown. But over and above the color, what's worth mentioning here is how richly and beautifully this lipstick applies. You get full on color in one swipe. It's moisturizing and long lasting too. That's a combination that you don't normally hear often. It's so comfortable to wear and looks fabulous on.