Friday, September 19, 2014

Mini "Essential" Sephora Haul

Do you ever buy beauty products and get more excited about the free samples than the actual things you bought? This is one of those hauls.

I'm running low on the MUFE setting spray which I like but don't love. The MUFE nozzle doesn't dispense as fine a mist as the Urban Decay spray. Sephora is stocking the Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray Duo Pack which only costs $39 when one bottle goes for $30 normally. In my excitement I somehow thought that the duo consisted of one of the De-Slick Spray and the other being the All Nighter Spray. I really enjoyed the De-Slick mini so I'm hoping I like the All Nighter just as much since I now have two whopping bottles of it.

I was also running out of bar soap so I picked up the Fresh Sugar Lychee Soap which I had smelled in the store and really enjoyed but never tried. Each bar is pretty pricey but the size is quite big so it will last awhile. If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you'll probably know that I love a good hunk of lathery soap rather than a simple body wash.

I used the promotion code FIGHTACNE (which is still active) to pick two deluxe samples out of a few good skincare items. I settled on the new Bare Minerals Blemish Ready Acne-Clearing Foundation and the Kate Somerville HydraClear Hydrating Acne Gel. Both are great travel sizes that I'll probably bring on my next overnight trip. The Bare Minerals sample looks small but I had a sample in the same size of their matte foundation a long time ago and it lasted many uses.

For my three free packet samples I chose the Kate Somerville Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment which I've had before and like to have on hand for overnight trips. I also picked the Josie Maran Argan Infinity Lip and Cheek Creamy Oil in Limitless Pink because it's an interesting product concept but one I definitely want to try on my face before buying. I had heard good things about the Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black Fragrance so that was my final sample choice.

Do you love samples as much as I do? What fun things have you hauled recently?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Face Shop's Volcanic Clay Blackhead Charcoal Nose Strips

Not everyone will agree but I think doing a peel off nose strip helps remove build up and cleans the grease and dirt that regular washing and exfoliating doesn't get rid of. The ones I'm using at the moment are particularly good and they are Volcanic Clay Blackhead Charcoal Nose Strips from The Face Shop. 

The black strips are great because you can see the gunk so much better than when you use a white strip. You use these the same way you would any other typical peel off strip: dappen the face, apply the dry strip to the nose and press to secure. I like to do this right out of a shower because the steam opens the pores and helps the strip grab onto more clumps of sebum. It takes about ten minutes for the mask to dry fully and harden which is when you know to rip it off. 

I use a strip generally once every two weeks as it takes a few weeks for my nose pores to get clogged and especially enlarged. Using the strips too often might irritate the skin as well. I like strips with a good amount of grip and it personally does not hurt. I know some people have more sensitive skins and noses so it's all personal preference.

Here is a picture of a strip post application. You can see it pulled out some rather giant bits of build up. After removing the mask, I rinse my face with warm water because there tends to be some leftover glue from the strip. Then I'll spritz my face with some toner to seal my pores. 

I can't remember exactly how much these strips cost but I'm pretty sure the box was under $10 for seven strips. I purchased these at a local The Face Shop store but I'm sure you can find these online if you don't have access to this brand. What do you think of peel off nose masks? How do you remove blackheads, whiteheads and other build up from that area?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Five Fall Blush and Lip Picks

This morning I stepped outside in a faux leather jacket and circle scarf combo which was perfect for the fifty degree weather. Fall is right around the corner and I'm happy to trade in my shimmery corals and turquoise liners for mauve lipglosses and plum nude blushes.

Nars Oasis Blush is a dusty rose blush with tons of golden shimmer. I use this blush pretty much exclusively in the fall and winter because it looks great on pale skin. I could do without all the shimmer because it can highlight pores so I tap my brush quite a lot before placing the color on my face. 

Catrice Rosewood Forest Blush is the matte, drugstore version of Oasis. You can find Catrice in Europe and some other countries such as Singapore. Their blushes are housed in sturdy clear acrylic and the quality of the product itself is great. Oasis and Rosewood Forest are my-cheeks-but-better shades that naturally sculpt the face without looking too harsh.

To be perfectly honest, I've never worn the Innisfree Color Glow Lipstick in 05 Plum Burgundy besides the one time I swatched the shade at home. I'm determined to wear this bright berry red outside this season. The formula is enriched with camelia oil and is meant to be creamy and comfortable to wear. Expect to see a full review and swatch of this lippie in the near future!

I've talked about the Shiseido Rouge Lacquers before but I haven't reviewed the shade, RS727 Rose Grey*, a relatively new release that was part of the Fall-Winter 2014 collection. Rose Grey is a perfect descriptor for this muted pink shade that nudes out my lips ever so slightly without looking too pale. 

Maybelline's Colorsensational Lipgloss in Mirrored Mauve is probably my favorite drugstore lipgloss and it's especially fitting for fall. The cream formula is comfortable and the color is the easiest plummy brown for any skin tone. I'll probably reach for this gloss the most in the upcoming months because it's so low maintenance.  

What are your fall makeup picks? Do you tend to change your makeup routine with the seasons?

* This product was provided by PR for consideration. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Makeup Purge: September 2014

It's high time I take a cold, hard look at my makeup collection and toss out a few bits that have expired or things that I know I won't use. There are many neglected items in my possession but I just don't have the heart to pass them along just yet. For now, I'm proud of myself for being able to purge these few pieces.

Let's take a trip down memory lane with the Revlon Illuminance Creme Shadows. I reviewed these four years ago in September 2010 but I bought them before that. These palettes are some of the first pieces of makeup I ever owned so they will always hold a special place in my heart. They weren't particularly good but they made decent color bases over a regular eyeshadow primer. I hit pan on three of the shades in the Skinlights quad so at least I used them a bit. At this point I think they're just too old to use so in the trash they go.

The Too Faced Glamour Gloss in Pillow Talk is a favorite but I acquired this during the 2010 Holiday season and it's starting to separate. The color is the perfect nude and the cooling sensation is really nice. I would love to get another one of these glosses in a Too Faced value set in the future.

The Cargo Lipgloss in Morocco was another go-to for putting on top of nude lippies that I added to my collection in the fall of 2011. The formula was non-sticky and the shimmers were finely milled. This has also started to separate just a bit so better safe than sorry. I used this lipgloss many times and even though it's a sample mini, I barely made a dent in it....

I have a few Catrice eyeshadow products that I bought whilst in Amsterdam that I just don't reach for. I'll be passing these along to my little cousins who might get more use out of these shades. I have the Made to Stay Long Lasting Cream Eyeshadows in Metall of Honor (there are two l's) and Romans Gone Bad which are nice but I rarely do smokey looks. The quad in Never Let Me Go! (yes, the ! is part of the shade name) is not the most pigmented and the peach shade is super chalky. There is really no point in keeping these in my collection when I have so many more shadows that I do like.

It is so convenient to be able to go back in my blog and reference when I bought various products based on hauls and reviews. How do you keep track of what's gone bad in your makeup collection? Do you routinely toss out products you don't use or give them away? How do you deal with the makeup clutter?!

Monday, September 8, 2014

New In: Dainty Metals

Let's take a beauty break to talk about some pretty little acquisitions that I can't stop wearing at the moment. I'm not much of a jewelry wearer because I just can't be fussed to mix and match pieces to fit my usually boring attire. Gone are my days of fast fashion and buying cheap, scratchy necklaces from Forever21. From here on out I'm looking for high quality pieces I can treasure for years.

I've been looking for affordable gold studs and this pair from Madewell fit the bill nicely, especially since they were on sale for less than $11 with free shipping. Nothing particularly special about these earrings but they'll do for now until I save up for some real gold earrings.

Now for the more exciting purchase, my first additions to my Catbird collection. Catbird is a popular Brooklyn jeweler and I've had their skinny midi rings on my mind for more than two years. Last week I finally made it a point to drop by their boutique and treat myself to some rings I could wear everyday. I'm not really a ring wearer and have never been properly sized so I wanted to go to Brooklyn instead of ordering online. I believe the name of the girl who helped me at the shop was Leo and she was very helpful and patient as I tried on various sizes to find the perfect fit.

Ultimately I chose the large hammered memory ring (size 6.5, $74) in 14k yellow gold and the small hammered memory ring (size 1, $28) in sterling silver to start off my stack. I love the hammered detailing because it reflects light better than the regular rings to give my fingers a little extra glint. Catbird also does rose gold rings so I plan on getting one of those next. Since these little guys can get pretty pricey, I'll probably wait for a special occasion to add a few more to my fingers.

I'm late to the midi ring and stacking trend and Catbird is pretty mainstream at this point but that doesn't mean I love my new trinkets any less. Would love to see any recommendations for any great jewelers that you have had good experience with! What do you think of understated, dainty jewelry?