Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lush Catastrophe Cosmetic Fresh Face Mask: Deep Cleansing Goodness


It's hard to believe that the first (and last) time I tried a Lush Fresh Face Mask was three years ago to a T. I reviewed the Cupcake Fresh Face Mask exactly three years ago (minus a day) and while I hoped the popular mud mask would help reduce my acne, it actually broke me out and made my skin a lot worse. So you can see why I was a bit hesitant to try a face mask from Lush again. But I'm glad I took back five black pots to redeem a free face mask because I'm totally liking Catastrophe Cosmetic!

Lush makes nine fresh face masks which are preservative free and must be refrigerated so you cannot order them online. They are delivered weekly to the store and have a shelf life of around three weeks after they are made so you might want to ask your Lush shop when their shipment comes in. Each of the masks has a different concoction of ingredients that will suit different skin needs. The pots contain 2.1 ounces and cost $6.95 which translates to about 10 mask sessions for me. You only need to apply a thin layer of this mask so a little goes a long way.

Catastrophe Cosmetic is the blueberry and calamine mask meant to calm and cleanse the skin. It also contains moisturizing almond, rose, chamomile, and sweet wild orange oils. This is one of three of the vegan fresh face masks as well. The scent is a pleasant blueberry powdery smell and I don't find it too overpowering.

This mask dries quickly and Lush does not recommend you let the mask dry completely so you can't really do much with this mask on. I find that applying this mask for about five minutes is enough time for it to smooth my skin and leave it feeling more matte but not dry. I was surprised to find that this mask did help with redness and my skin looked a bit brighter and more healthy after each application. While these effects are temporary, it is a nice treat to balance and refresh your skin every couple of days.

I am very happy with Catastrophe Cosmetic and think it's a nice mask especially for the upcoming summer months. I would repurchase this mask in the future and have enough pots to get another free face mask. I have my eye on Brazened Honey next because it seems like a step up for cleansing oily skin and I definitely need that come June!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Zoya Tinsley: Electric Pink Gold for Summer


I stopped wearing nail polish for the last few months because the dry winter made my nails brittle and chipped. I'm glad the temperature has been hitting the 60°F mark and I've been trying out some summery polishes to celebrate. I actually took a mini break from all the Zoya polishes that I was sent to enjoy the other shades in my collection but I have no idea how I skipped over Tinsley* from the Summer 2013 Irresistible Collection. This is one of the most stunning shimmery pinks I have laid eyes on!


Two coats of Tinsley gives you a rich, deep shade of magenta-pink with golden shimmers that glimmer in the sunlight. I don't have anything else like Tinsley in my collection. Tinsley is a bold polish without being hard to wear and intimidating. It's definitely a color I can see myself wearing multiple times throughout spring and summer. The color also lasted for about five days before major chipping which is a plus.

What do you think of Tinsley? What are your favorite polish shades to wear in the spring and summer?

* This product was given to me by Zoya for consideration. All opinions are my own.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Bellabe: Time to Retire the Tweezers?


Facial hair isn't something I would normally address on here because, well, it's just not a pleasant subject. But like my naturally unruly and unkept eyebrows, my upper lip hairs are something I must tame every few days. I normally rely on my trusty Tweezerman tweezers but a few weeks ago Obsessed Canada contacted me and asked me if I would like to try the Bellabe Facial Hair Remover. I remember seeing girls use this spring like contraption years ago and thought it looked promising so I figured, why not?

To use the Bellabe, you simply bend the spring like above, holding each of the plastic coated ends with both hands, and then place it where you have unwanted hair. Then you bring both ends upward so that the contraption is straight again. This will cause the coil to come together and pinch off the hair. It seems easy in theory but in practice this is actually quite challenging. I had difficulty pinpointing hairs and think this would only work well for more uniform areas of hair. Perhaps if you have never plucked facial hair, this might be something for you. But for me, I'd rather stick to my tweezers. In terms of pain, this did not hurt much and feels less painful than tweezing since you pull out more than one hair at a time.

Although I can't wholeheartedly recommend the Bellabe, I browsed the Obsessed Canada website and think it's actually a pretty neat site for Canadians. They offer free shipping for all orders within Canada and offer brands such as Lime Crime. If you factor in the cost of shipping from the Lime Crime website, it actually works out to be cheaper if you order from Obsessed Canada. For us Americans, an order over $50 qualifies for free shipping while a $12 fee (ouch) is tacked on if your order is under $50.

What do you think of the Bellabe? How do you remove your facial hairs (assuming you have any to remove)?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

IMATS NY 2014 Haul: Hakuhodo, Wayne Goss, Bdellium, Alcone & Esqido


Looking at all my IMATS loot in one picture makes it look like a pretty modest haul. While I feel proud of my self restraint, my wallet still took quite a hit and I guess that's what happens when you go for quality over quantity. So far I'm happy with everything I bought and this is one of the most exciting haul posts I've ever had the pleasure of writing. 


At Hakuhodo I splurged on the Yachiyo Large Pointed Brush ($48). I chose this brush because it is totally unique from anything I have in my collection so far and the shape is brilliant for applying product to the cheek area. The handle is made of cane and the hairs actually go all the way down to the tip of the brush. I washed the brush after taking this photo and the hairs fluff out a lot more after washing to produce an almost round shape. I slightly regret not stocking up on more Hakuhodo brushes because they were so well crafted and luxuriously soft but I would have spent all my IMATS allowance at the first booth....

From Beautylish I bought the Wayne Goss #4 Brush ($28) which is a tapered blending brush. This brush is very narrow and unbelievably soft. I plan on using this brush to place colors in the crease and to lightly blend colors around the eye area. 


Bdellium Tools had one of the best deals of the day and I picked up three face brushes. I have a mini tapered foundation brush from Ecotools and I wanted to give another a try so I got the 949 Pointed Foundation Brush ($8). I was looking for a fluffy contour brush to apply bronzer with and the associate recommended the 990 Angled Face Brush ($11) for a quick fix. I was really drawn to the short handles of the green bristled brushes so I also purchased the 953 Duet Fiber Foundation Brush ($8) which I plan to use with cream cheek products. All of the Bdellium brushes were super soft to the touch and well made. Again, I now regret not purchasing more!


Next up, I bought a few goodies at Alcone. The only actual makeup item I bought was a tiny tub of the Ben Nye Luxury Powder in Banana ($10), a cult favorite for those who like the look of a somewhat stark undereye highlight. I'm keen on trying more brands that cater towards professional makeup artists so this is an exciting addition to my growing powder stash. I picked up a Z-Palette Pro ($18) and Z-Palette Small ($10) because I have had these on my wishlish for ages and they will come in handy if I ever buy compact-less products. Monika and I split a double pack of Beauty Blenders ($22/2) because she had never tried them and the one I have is ready to be binned. 


Finally one of my most exciting purchases is a pair of mink lashes by Esqido. I opted for the most natural lash called Unforgettable ($20). I have never worn mink lashes and am honestly a tad clumsy with false lash application but I really like the way certain lashes open up my eyes. I can't wait to try out this pair and see if it actually holds up for 25 uses!


Lastly these are the freebies and samples that I picked up. Monika and I picked up some Sigma shopping bags and intended to purchase some brushes but the line was insanely long. It probably would have taken an hour or two before we could make a purchase so we ended up passing. It was a nice surprise to see a bunch of cool samples in the Sigma bags like travel versions of the E25 blending brush and E05 eyeliner brush. We stopped by Dermalogica and the kind associate gave me a trio of skincare sample sachets for my oily skin to try. 

Watch the video below to see the products I bought and to hear more about my IMATS trip!


I can't wait to play with all these goodies and share my thoughts with you on whether they live up to my expectations. Going to IMATS definitely made my wishlist grow exponentially and I can't say for sure if I can hold up to my yearlong makeup ban.... Which products look the most interesting to you?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

IMATS NY 2014: The Experience


If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Youtube, you'll know that I went to IMATS for the first time with Monika and it was a fun morning and afternoon of swatching, chatting and hauling. This post will be about the actual event and how our day went and my next post will be all about what I purchased. 

The doors opened at 10AM but I knew we would want to be early so we arrived at the line at around 9:15AM and secured a spot in what would be the first third of the loooong line. If you want to have a productive time at IMATS, be prepared to go early, make a list, know what products cost at retail prices and look at the floor plan. 


The first person we saw when we made it through the front door was Marlena of MakeupGeek! She was so sweet and beautiful in person and I wish there was a MakeupGeek booth at IMATS NY because I definitely would have bought some eyeshadows. IMATS LA had a MakeupGeek booth and many more brands than NY so if you're traveling from the middle of the country for IMATS, I'd probably suggest LA.


Hakuhodo was probably the booth Monika and I were most excited about so we scrambled there first. The Japanese associates were very helpful and answered any questions we had about the brushes. We felt numerous brushes and they were all incredibly soft and high quality. I only bought one brush from Hakuhodo but now I wish I had bought more. There was no discount but there was no sales tax and shipping is usually a flat rate of $9 on their website. 


Then we wandered to Esqido because I wanted to purchase my first pair of mink lashes. We were greeted by Brenda (I'm 95% sure that is her name! I'm really bad at names!) and she explained how to care for the lashes and we ended up just chatting about IMATS in general. I think we actually hung out around the Esqido booth longer than any other booth just talking because Brenda was genuinely interested in getting to know us a bit better. Later in the day, we walked by Velour Lashes and although there were more customers and they were offering lash applications, the vibe seemed to be less personal.


Then it was back to brushes! Bdellium Tools was offering 40% off everything and their prices are already affordable so I picked up a few interesting brushes. There were a good number of helpful associates at the Bdellium booth to answer questions. There wasn't too many people crowding around the booth so it was relatively easy to browse and feel the testers.


For more amazing quality brushes, we headed over the the Beautylish area which housed the Wayne Goss brushes. I had previously felt the original The Collection brushes when they first launched but I was excited to feel the new The Face brushes in person. I'm onto you #12! This was my second time interacting with one of the lovely Beautylish members and she was super passionate about the line on both occasions. Another wonderful customer service experience! At Hakuhodo, Bdellium and the BeautylishXWayne Goss booths, there were barely any customers and this can probably be attributed to the ridiculously long Sigma line. I was happy that I didn't have to push and shove to make my purchases.


Stila had one of the best discount which was 40% off. Unfortunately nothing really caught my eye and it was all but impossible to flag down an associate to get you what you wanted. I was debating if I should get a Convertible Color but I restrained myself since I'm still technically not supposed to purchase color cosmetics (see Makeup Ban post).


Monika and I mostly did a lot of perusing and not much buying at some of the more popular booths. We felt the brushes at Royal and Langnickel and were mostly unimpressed after experiencing the gorgeousness of Hakuhodo.


Yaby was an interesting brand to see in person because they have an extensive range of eyeshadows and the cutest (and tiniest) pans. Monika swatched a few shades and they were really interesting because they totally changed once applied to the skin and didn't look like what was in the pan at all. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing....


Kryolan had a number of palettes and professional makeup products to offer. I swatched a blush and it was not only intensely pigmented but it almost stained my skin. I am definitely intrigued and will have to keep an eye on this brand.


Lastly, here's a glimpse of the Alcone booth which was a bit more crowded. Alcone sells a variety of well known beauty staples from Beauty Blenders to Z-Palettes. The discounts were quite random and differed depending on the product. It was also a bit troublesome because there were no prices labeled so you had to ask the associates. At hectic events such as IMATS, it should be common sense to have appropriate signage that tells everyone the same price so that there are mistakes in terms of discounts. 

After about two and a half hours of walking about the venue and lugging around heavy shopping bags filled with exciting loot, Monika and I were content with our IMATS experience. IMATS wasn't as frantic as I thought it would be (although it might be because we went on Sunday and all the popular beauty vloggers were there on Saturday). I think I got some great goodies and it was fun being able to go and try out things I wouldn't otherwise normally get to in person. But I don't think IMATS will be a must for me every year. Perhaps in a few years I'd go again if I had a friend to go with, but with all the e-commerce sites that do frequent promotions and great bloggers to review products, I don't think a makeup tradeshow is necessary for me. What do you guys think of IMATS? Have you ever been before or are you planning to go this year?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Collective Haul: The Face Shop, Nature Republic, Lush, Sephora & Drugstore


Even though I'm technically on a makeup buying ban, I've been sneaking in some purchases which I've deemed "necessities". Whether or not these are really necessary purchases can be debated but I'm really happy with the things I've picked up over the last few weeks. You'll see a trend in this haul because I'm so ready for the warm weather and I'm essentially stocking up on beauty so I can look presentable when the summer humidity is threatening to melt my face off!



While I was purchasing things at The Face Shop and Nature Republic for my 500 Youtube subscriber giveaway, I couldn't help but pick out a few gel masks for myself. I bought Nature Republic's The First Fermentation Hydrogel Mask Sheet and Snail Solution 1,000 Hydrogel Mask Sheet because The First is supposed to be Nature Republic's dupe of SKII's Facial Treatment Essence line and I've read positive things about the snail mask. From The Face Shop, I chose the Vita B and Vita C Hydrogel Mask Sheets as well as the Hyaluronic Acid & Colostrum 3D Ampoule Mask Sheet. Hydrogel mask sheets are quite popular now and I've been wanting to try them for awhile so I picked out a bunch to gauge my opinion. I hope they work well since they were each quite pricey at about $5 a piece! I also bought a refill Laneige Cushion BB Sponge because it's so hard to wash the sponges and they deteriorate quite quickly.



I returned five empty black pots to Lush in exchange for a free Catastrophe Cosmetic Fresh Face Mask which has calamine and blueberries in it. I've used it a few times so far and had really great results so I will do a more in depth review soon. I also bought the Breath of Fresh Air Toner because I'm running low on my Innisfree Rose Toner and want something more soothing and refreshing for summer.



I bought the Urban Decay De-Slick Makeup Setting Spray a few weeks ago when I had a $10 giftcard so ended up paying around $4 for the small bottle. I probably should have waited since the 15% discount just happened and I had another $25 giftcard which I spent on the Nars Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder and a Sephora Crystal Nail File. So far I'm liking the setting spray for days I know I'll be out and about for over 10 hours and the setting powder is very natural and has surprisingly good oil control. I love that the nail file comes with a travel case and hope it lasts me a long time.


Lastly we have some drugstore products, most of which are new to me. If you saw my post on my most recent Influenster VoxBox, you would know that I'm very excited to try the Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation in 103 True Ivory as well as the N.Y.C. Expert Last Lip Color in 447 Forever Fuchsia. I only have one unopened tube of waterproof mascara in my backup stash so I took advantage of a CVS 30% off coupon and the $5 Extrabucks rewards for buying $15 worth of Maybelline. I repurchased the One by One Waterproof Mascara which is one of my favorites and also got The Rocket Waterproof Mascara and The Mega Plush Waterproof Mascara, the latter two I have never used before. Just by looking at the brushes, The Mega Plush looks more volumizing and more promising whereas The Rocket reminds me of Covergirl's Lashblast which I wasn't a huge fan of. 

Watch the video below to hear a few more first impressions on these new goodies!


Have you tried any of these products before? What beauty products have you been buying to prepare for the change in temperature (assuming you live in a place that has different seasons)? Stay tuned because I went to my first IMATS today with Monika and I'll be doing a haul post with details and prices soon! 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Lioele Water Drop BB Cream: Review, Swatches and Before & After


Where do I begin to sing the praises for Lioele's Water Drop BB Cream? I bought a set of mini Lioele face products in Hong Kong just because I had heard about Liole for years but never had a chance to try their famous BB creams. Well, the hype is real and the Water Drop BB is one of my favorite BB creams for everyday wear.

It's hard to pinpoint exactly why I like this BB cream so much. First off, it only comes in one shade which means it won't look completely "right" on most people. However the coverage is very light so it's easy to blend and it suits my skin well in the winter. The BB cream has SPF 27 PA++ which is great for everyday use. There is no detectable fragrance in this BB Cream which is nice because a lot of Asian cosmetics are often heavily fragranced. This Water Drop BB claims to hydrate the skin and provide a natural glow without the use of shimmer. It also claims to cool the skin and reduce redness.

Lioele is pretty hard to find so your best bet will be to purchase this online. Pretty and Cute seems like a legit website that sells the Lioele line and the Water Drop BB retails for about $23 which is not too bad. Seeing that this is one of my favorite daily base products, I think it's well worth the price for a 50ml tube as a little goes a long way.


Here I swatched a bunch of my bases so you can get an idea of the shade range. Please excuse my misspelling of the brand because I always forget the first "e".... The Lioele Water Drop BB is actually darker than most BB creams from Asia which I like. The Lioele Beyond the Solution BB Cream is almost exactly the same shade as the Water Drop variation but maybe a tad warmer. The Water Drop BB definitely has a tinge of gray to it. But once blended out, the gray cast disappears and I think it looks pretty natural. The consistency is light and creamy but not watery or too thick.


On the left you can see my bare face with a bit of untinted primer and on the right is after a few dots of the Lioele Water Drop BB Cream blended out with a flat top brush. You can still see some discoloration and my acne scars aren't 100% covered up but it is evident that most of the redness is toned down and my skin looks very vibrant and fresh. I only used a large pea sized amount and that was enough to give me the coverage I need for the day.

My favorite thing about this BB cream is how comfortable it is to wear. It never feels heavy or cakey and wears decently throughout the day. Even though this claims to be moisturizing, I don't feel that it is particularly so. Those with very dry skin might experience clumping around dry spots as this doesn't glide over the dry patches on my nose very well. Eight hours after application and my makeup isn't melting off and my oily-combination skin is not feeling gross. Powder is always a must no matter what base I am wearing and a blot session or two throughout the day keeps shine to a minimum.

I can see myself repurchasing the Lioele Water Drop BB if I ever run out of BB creams and foundations (which won't be anytime soon). It's a great shade for me in the winter when I'm pale and I can always mix it with some darker bases to adjust the color. The blendability and comfortability are huge pluses and I would highly recommend this to those with normal skin who want a natural, my-skin-but-better look. What do you think of the Lioele Water Drop BB? Are you sick of BB creams yet or do you think they're a great all-in-one product?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Youtube 500 Subscriber Giveaway: Korean Beauty Goodies


Viewers seem to be very interested in Korean cosmetics so to celebrate my Youtube channel reaching 500 awesome subscribers, I wanted to giveaway a bunch of goodies from Korean brands. Of course I wanted to tell all of you who read my blog about this as well. Just follow the easy rules below to enter for a chance to win!

Rules and Details:
- This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada only (next giveaway will be international!)
- The giveaway will end on April 30, 2014 at 11:59 P.M.
- I will randomly choose one winner within the following week and contact them via Youtube message.
- I will also announce the winner on Twitter (@KarYi12).
- Be over 18 years of age or get your parents' permission.
- I am not responsible for the prize after I send out the package.

How to Enter:
- Subscribe to my Youtube channel.
- Make your subscription list public so I can see you are actually a subscriber!
- Leave a comment on the giveaway video telling me which product you are most excited to try.



Good luck everyone! I am so excited for the person who will win because honestly I haven't tried most of the products I picked out for the giveaway and they look very promising!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Overnight Lipbalms: Rosebud Salve and Nuxe Rêve de Miel


The last step of my skincare routine is always a generous layer of balm to lock in the moisture on my lips so I don't wake up with flakiness or irritation. The one I have been using for years is the Rosebud Strawberry Salve Lipbalm which I bought at Sephora in high school. It's essentially glorified pink, sweet scented Vaseline but it works at moisturizing my lips. It's also easy to find and costs $6 for a pot that will last forever. 

I recently broke out the Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm which I bought last year in Paris. I meant to save this for after I finished the Rosebud Salve but I just couldn't help myself and was curious how the highly raved about Nuxe balm would fare when my lips are at their driest. Rêve de Miel is not as readily available but you can purchase it from Birchbox or Beauty.com. It retails in the states for $19 but I bought mine for $9 at City Pharma


Besides being housed in pots and being cult favorites in the beauty community, there's not a lot the two balms have in common. I must say the glass jar packaging of Rêve de Miel is much fancier and more hygienic than the metal one of Rosebud Salve. Sometimes the Rosebud Salve pot can be hard to open since it's not a twist lid and you can see how the metal rusts over time.... Oh, and both products have a light scent to them that are quite pleasant and not overpowering. Nuxe often puts heavy doses of fragrance in their products which I'm not a fan of but they didn't go overboard with this. 

In terms of actual product, Rêve de Miel is much thicker and almost dry feeling. I have read that it has a matte finish and I can see why people say that. When I apply it, it sometimes sloughs away the dead skin on my lips which is mostly a good thing since I pretty much only use this in the evening before bed. I do not find Rêve de Miel very moisturizing but it does create a layer over my lips that protect them from drying out throughout the night. Even though Rêve de Miel is very thick, I find that I use a lot of it per use and the pot already has a sizable dent in it. 

Rosebud Salve is much more emollient and has a shiny finish. It feels a lot like Vaseline but maybe a tab less dense and the scent is nicer. A little goes a long way and I'm surprised at how long it's lasted me without going bad. I also quite like that it is a multi-use product that I can apply on my knuckles or elbows in emergency situations. I cannot do that with Rêve de Miel. 

I am surprised to say that I'm not enamored with Rêve de Miel like many other beauty bloggers. I'll definitely use the pot up, and quite quickly, but I can't see myself running out to get another pot. The $19 price tag is quite high for a meh product and I'd much rather get a Rosebud Salve for a fraction of the price. But would I repurchase Rosebud Salve? Maybe.... maybe not. I think it's a good product and suitable for night stand purposes but the pot format means it will be forever relegated to my bedroom since it's plain unsanitary to use it outside. I think my next bedtime lip balm will be a new venture. Any recommendations?   

Friday, April 4, 2014

In My Stash: Orange Blushes for Spring and Summer


Orange blush looks remarkably natural on my warm toned skin, especially when I've got a tan going. I gathered seven of my most true orange blushes to share with you guys today! All of these are beautiful and I can't wait to dust them off and put them to use this season.


I have a variety of textures going on from liquid to cream to powder. Most of my bold blushes are matte because I don't want to look like a disco ball and a clown at the same time. I have a pretty diverse range of brands from Asia, Europe and back home in the states. On the lower end of the price spectrum I have an E.L.F Studio Blush in Candid Coral (the only shimmery pick of the seven), Sleek's Blush By Three in Lace and the two Etude House blushes are around the $10 mark so they're not too pricey either. The Etude House Cupcake All Over Color in Orange Choux Cake is a dense cream consistency whereas the Etude House Watercolor Blusher in Apricot starts off very liquidy but blends out to a matte finish.


Illamasqua's Cream Blush in Rude is one of my favorite summer blushes and cream blushes and it is quite similar to the Cupcake All Over Color but a smidge more dewy and pink toned. The MakeUpStore blush in Must Have is the least orange of the bunch but I love the soft, smooth texture and shade so much that I had to include it. In the pan, by itself, it looks like a soft orange but next to all the bold tangerine shades, it looks like a baby pink! Nars Gina is a favorite because it gives almost a satin sheen to the skin. It looks very natural and never looks powdery or chalky. 

The swatch photo doesn't quite do the three blushes on the right justice because my light source was uneven. Watch the video below and near the end of the video you can see up close swatches!

 

Do you like orange blush? Do you wear them all year round or mostly in the spring and summer like me? Have any recommendations I need to get my hands on?