Friday, December 19, 2014

My Scheming L-Ascorbic Acid & Ellagic Acid Brightening Double Lifting Mask

The name of this face mask is so long I didn't feel the need to add more descriptive adjectives to the title of this review. I've been slowly trying to go through my sheet mask stash and using up the ones I have already before restocking on tried and true favorites. My Scheming is a Taiwanese sheet mask brand that is quite popular and I've had good experiences from other variations I've tried in the past. The L-Ascorbic Acid & Ellagic Acid Brightening Double Lifting Mask "brightens dull skin, leaving your skin fair and transparent" and also claims to help retain moisture. 

Before getting into the formula, I want to talk about the interesting shape of the mask itself. You can see on the front of the packaging that there are ear holes and a neck flap. The neck flap makes sense since neck skin is prone to aging but I can simply pat excess essence onto the area instead of struggling to get the awkward neck piece to stay on. The ear holes are really ridiculous and a waste of effort because the mask isn't wide enough for the hooks to reach behind my ears. I wouldn't want face mask serum to get behind my ears anyway.... The design of the mask tries too hard to be unique and falls flat. The cotton of the mask is not particularly soft and is rather stiff. It holds essence decently and does not dry out too quickly.

The serum is light and non-sticky with a very light scent which reminds me of tea. There is a decent amount of serum in the packet so I have enough to pat into the skin the next evening (I tend to do this with most sheet masks). The formula does not sting my skin whatsoever and absorbs easily into the skin. There is no film or feeling of something sitting on my face after using this which is very nice. I wouldn't say this is a particularly hydrating face mask. It calms my skin and makes my face feel smooth to the touch. I didn't find any noticeable brightening effects which was mildly disappointing. 

This isn't a bad mask by any means but not one that does anything particularly great. A pack of five of these masks goes for a little more than $7 on Sasa so it's a very affordable mask. The design of the sheet mask is gimmicky and not sensible but the formulation is nice for those with normal to oily skin, especially in the summer. I think this would be ideal to use in warmer weather due to the fresh-face feel it delivers without any trace of stickiness. 

What are your favorite sheet masks? Any great hydrating masks to recommend? I can see the bottom of my sheet mask stash so I'm definitely looking into purchasing some new brightening and hydrating masks soon!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Coastal Scents Revealed 2 Sampler: Burgundy Toned Neutral Shadows

Ever since the first Urban Decay Naked Palette launched, we've seen endless dupes that try to mimic the neutral eyeshadow palette. As someone who rarely deviates from beiges, browns and taupes, I'm not complaining. Coastal Scents came out with the Revealed and Revealed 2 Palettes that are reminiscent of the first and third Urban Decay palettes. The Coastal Scents palettes contain 20 shades each and retail for roughly $20. I've seen the price drop as low as $10 during 50% off sales so this is definitely an affordable offering if you're looking for a neutral shadow palette. A month or two ago, I chose the adorable Revealed 2 sampler from the Birchbox Soho Build Your Own Birchbox station to see how these shadows would compare.

This is one of those cases where the swatches speak for themselves. The sampler contains two matte and two shimmery shades. In the full size palette, I believe six of the shades are matte. All four shades in the sampler are buttery smooth and pigmented. I had no problem getting pigmentation on the back of my hand. The darker shade took about three light swipes but that's a good thing since there isn't really a midtone matte brown to blend with. I'd rather be able to build up the color than have difficulty sheering it out once it's on my eyelid. The shimmery brownie taupe is my favorite shadow from this sampler but the matte cream shade really surprised me by its silky, rich texture.

I really like this little quad but wish the packaging was more sturdy or they could have at least made it so the pans could be easily depotted. The full size palette is very thin and made of hard cardboard. It's not super flimsy but not very substantial either. For the price I can't really complain but I personally am restraining myself from purchasing the full size palette. These palettes would make a great gift for those who are starting with makeup and need a lot of neutrals to start with. The price is good and the quality is definitely on par with some more mainstream brands.

What do you think about the Coastal Scents eyeshadows? Have you tried the Revealed palettes? What's your favorite neutral eyeshadow palette?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sephora Give Me More Lip: A Birthday Gift to Myself

Today is my 22nd birthday. Normally I would have scheduled a post but today I am writing this right before posting because I'm bundled up in my bedroom, off from work due to a bad cough and headache. What a way to spend a birthday. To cheer myself up, I'll be talking about the Sephora Give Me More Lip Ultimate Lip Sampler, a gift I bought myself last week when Sephora had their $15 off $50 giftcard event. Over the last few weeks I've watched half a dozen swatch and review videos and read countless blog posts about this set, going back and forth over whether or not I wanted to buy this. In the end, I decided life is short and while I don't need anymore lip products, it was an opportunity too good to pass up. The set is sold out on the Sephora website but I saw a bunch of these in-store last week so you might be able to find it at your local store. 

The set comes with an assortment of 17 lipsticks, lipglosses, lip pencils and lip balms. The brands range from luxury, Hourglass and Laura Mercier, to the Sephora brand. I really wanted this set for the variety of brands I have never tried and realistically, I never finish lip products so minis are a great way to test out formulas without having to invest in a full size. I already have the Sephora Collection Rouge Infusion Stain from a 100 point perk and the Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Palomino so those will be passed onto a friend. Still, 15 lip products that I've never tried before for $59 isn't a bad deal!

These four are the ones I'm most intrigued about trying. All of these are liquid lipstick formulas and are supposed to deliver intense color payoff. The Hourglass Opaque Rouge in Icon seems to be very popular amongst the Youtube community and the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Outlaw is definitely a show stopper. The OCC Liptar in Black Dahlia is not a shade I would wear regularly but it'll be fun to experiment with it. I've heard a lot of good things about the Too Faced Melted Liquified Lipsticks and the Fuchsia shade is very fun and girly.

These are my picks for most natural and wearable shades in the kit. I'm happy there are quite a lot of everyday lippies that I can throw in my handbag and reapply throughout the day. I've had the Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Balms before and loved them but the Berry shade is new to me. I have multiples of the Tarte LipSurgence Lip Tints and I'm glad they included the Moody shade as it's much darker than the others I have in my collection already and sans shimmer. I love the packaging of the mini Too Faced La Creme Lipstick in Naked Dolly. I only hope the shade is not too nude to the point but I'm sure it will look fine under gloss. The Laura Mercier Lipgloss in Blush looks like a fantastic everyday lipgloss. I will say the scent is rather unappealing to me though. The Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in Speak Your Mind is a great neutral pink that looks like it would suit many skin tones. I haven't heard stellar reviews for the Benefit Hydrating Lipbalms because they're way too pricey for what they are and the itty bitty sample of Posiebalm is quite disappointing. I have the tube rolled all the way up and as you can see, there's barely any product.

Here I lined up all the lipsticks to show you exactly how much product you get in the tubes. I've had minis before in the past and for me, things last a lot longer than you would expect. The Tarte Power Pigment in Flush is actually a full size which retails for $24. The Laura Mercier Creme Smooth Lip Colour in Red Amour (fourth from the left in the above picture) is actually a really generous 2.5 grams which is about two thirds the size of a full tube. Again, let's point out how pathetic Benefit Posiebalm looks....

You'll notice that I didn't do any swatches and that's because I'm stashing these minis away for after I finish up something lip-related in my collection. I have so many lipsticks and lipglosses that are opened and unloved so I need to get started with using them up. I will allow myself to try the Hourglass and Kat Von D liquid lipsticks because they look like really fun Christmas colors. As for everything else, I need declutter a bit before delving into new makeup. I guess this gives me incentive to stick to using a few things from my collection!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Winter Bodycare: Lotion, Butter and Oil

Not too long ago, I used to loathe putting on body moisturizer after a shower. It felt time consuming when all I wanted to do was slip into some comfortable PJs and go on with my evening. Unfortunately I suffer from incredibly dry skin on my body for most of the year, especially from fall to early spring. If I don't slather on lotion, my skin develops scabs that scar and itch. It's pretty awful and I've had to find some body lotions I liked enough to encourage me to actually use them on a daily basis. Here I've got three different formulations and price points for every preference and budget.

The CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is a complete life savior for me and I was recommended it by Monika. I've already finished a tub of this cream months ago and just bought a new one and am almost out again. This is easily found at your local drugstore and costs about $16. It's a bit pricey for a drugstore cream but worth every penny and I try to stock up when they go on offer.

Second up is The Body Shop's Vanilla Brulee Body Butter, a seasonal offering which I'm pretty sure is limited edition. I generally like the body butters from The Body Shop but some of the scents are too strong and artificial. Vanilla Brulee is very mild and not overly sweet to the point where I smell like I bathed in cake batter. The butter is moisturizing without being greasy or heavy.

The Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse, or better known in English as the Multi-Purpose Dry Oil, is a lovely treat for special evenings and extra stressful days. I had used up a baby sample of this body, hair and face oil and really enjoyed the lightweight, easily absorbed consistency and the fragrant but not overpowering scent. I mostly use this as a body oil and I'll take whatever is left over on my hands and run it through my hair. This is the least moisturizing of the lot but it doesn't feel sticky or oily at all and sinks into the skin nicely. I have to say the $45 price tag for this bottle is rather hefty and I admit I received this full size from work as gratis. If you're looking to treat someone you love this holiday season, pop this guy into a gift basket with some other relaxing treats and I'm sure the recipient will be extra chuffed.

How do you protect your skin from cold, dry weather? What formula do you prefer: lotion, butter or oil?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Joining Project Make a Dent: The Beginning

After my last two posts on rather high-end beauty bits, it seems appropriate to share this post of more humble beauty bobs that I've been using very often in the last week or so in an attempt to make some space in my overflowing collection. I've been seeing Project Make a Dent make its way around the blogosphere and many bloggers I respect and admire have been attempting this feat of culling their clutter and actually finishing products. I have embarked on Project X Pans and self-imposed challenges in the past and have all but failed. Hopefully this time it'll be different....

I chose a handful of products that I want to use up but by no means is this the lot of products I am allowed to use for the foreseeable future. I'll just be focusing on trying to use these makeup items whenever I wear makeup. I chose the Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream for this challenge because I think I only have about a fourth of the bottle left since I used it a lot when I was studying abroad. It shouldn't take too long for me to finish up this base even though I haven't reached for it in ages due to the poor longevity and oil control. I tend to mix this BB cream with others in my collection to extend the wear time. I dusted off my Benefit Powda Wowza Palette which includes Hoola, Coralista and Bella Bamba. I still stick to my original review from three years ago when I declared these powders overrated and too powdery. But I've come to like Hoola as a contour and Coralista is a pretty color when you want a very subtle blush. I've made a noticeable dip in Hoola but you can't really see from the photo. I've had the Korres Lip Butter in Jasmine for way longer than I'd like to admit but the product still smells the same and doesn't irritate my lips. I've been using it almost every morning as a lip balm and I've come to find that it looks really nice under bold pink lipsticks and glosses because it tones down the brightness considerably. Hopefuly I can finish the lip butter before it goes bad. I have a Mac Blacktrack Fluidline waiting to be opened so I'm determined to use up what's left of my Physician's Formula Gel Liner in Black. These come in trios but I gave away the other two shimmery shades in this set months ago.

I've been using these shades in my Z-Palette very regularly because they're easy neutrals and to be honest, I have some Rouge Bunny Rouge eyeshadows coming in soon and I need space in my Z-Palette to store them.... The blush is Rimmel's Santa Rose which is one of my all time favorite drugstore blushes. It looks so boring in the pan but on the cheeks it is the perfect pink that doesn't look too warm or cool. The eyeshadows are mostly a mish mash of Wet n' Wild shadows which I've always appreciated. The three matte shades have been coming in handy and for some reason I only liked the midtone brown after I depotted it. The purple in the corner is from a Too Faced palette and the burgundy above the dark brown is by Revlon.

Sometimes I feel silly trying so hard to use drugstore products when I have many other pricier items waiting for my attention. Hopefully I can continue to mostly use these products on a daily basis and wittle away until I see some pan. How do you focus on using up specific makeup products? Have you considered doing a Project 10 Pan or Project Make a Dent?