Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Another Round of Decluttering

I have the day off from work today so I took some time to clean my room and tackling the mess that has become my vanity. In the process, I poked around my makeup drawers and pulled out more bits that survived my previous purges (the most recent of which was just last month here). When I have the time, I'll swatch things I haven't touched in awhile and try to come up with some new combinations of looks. The above products are ones I never use for one reason or another and I don't see myself reaching for them in the future.

I've purchased several large eyeshadow palettes in the past few weeks, essentially doubling my large palette collection. Thus, I had to let go of some eyeshadows in my stash. I really liked the Maybelline Expert Wear Stylish Smokes Quads when they were in the equal sized pans. This Plum Smokes quad seems to have dried out or something because I can't get the shadows to apply nicely on my skin anymore. I don't have as much of a hard time with the older shadows which is interesting to note. Another Maybelline eyeshadow is the Eyestudio Mono Eyeshadow in I Love Lilac, a single I purchased in Amsterdam. Unfortunately this shadow has always been sheer and patchy, so it has no place in my collection. The Jouer Powder Eyeshadow in Caramel is a lovely golden tan shadow but the packaging of the one I own is defective and glue seeps through the plastic, making this messy and difficult to open. I just don't have the patience to pry this open every time I want to use it. Then there is a Cargo Eyeshadow Duo which has no shade name on the packaging. The bronze half is one of the most buttery, smooth and pigmented bronze shadows I've touched but the gold side is chunky and a pain to use. I don't think I've ever actually done an eye look with this duo.

The Rimmel Professional Eyebrow Pencil in Dark Brown was the first eyebrow product I ever purchased but I rarely ever used it. The shade is too dark and too warm for my complexion and hair color. I prefer ashier eyebrow shades. I received the NYC Expert Last Lip Color in Forever Fuchsia in a Voxbox and at the time I thought it was a fun shade but now I realize I never wear such hot pinks. Similarly, I got the CO Bigelow Mentha Lip Shine in a Birchbox a long time ago and never reached for it.

It's rather addicting to weed out products I don't care for from my collection. I've been watching a ton of declutter and project pan videos on Youtube. However I've been hauling like a madwoman lately so I won't pretend like I'm making much progress in terms of downsizing my collection. I'll be passing this handful of unloved bits to my younger cousins and see if they fare better with some of these products.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Budget Bases from Maybelline: Before and After

I'll be the first to admit I don't need anymore foundations or concealers in my collection but these were highly raved about products and Maybelline had a good deal going on a few weeks ago at CVS. I've been putting the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer and Dream Wonder Fluid-Touch Foundation to the test and I'm finally ready to share my thoughts with you all. I've been on a high-end makeup kick recently but I can't shake off the urge to try some affordable products at the drugstore as well.

Almost everyone on Youtube seems to smear copious amounts of the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer under their eyes to brighten and highlight. I have the shade in Neutralizer which is a light yellow color that is perfect for my under eye area at the moment. When I'm more tan in the summer, this will be too light for me. The products seeps through the soft sponge when you twist the red part of the tube. Although you can apply the product from the sponge directly to your skin, I prefer dabbing my finger on the sponge to pick up less product and apply that way. When I tried applying the concealer with the sponge, I pick up too much product and it creases into my skin.

A few light dabs of the concealer brightens up my under eye area but looks very natural. I have to prep my under eye area with a good eye cream before using this concealer as it has a tendency to accentuate dry lines. The wear time of this concealer is good and it doesn't cake or fade when I set it with powder. For the price, the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer is pleasant to use and a good product. 

The Dream Wonder Fluid-Touch Foundation is Maybelline's answer to the Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation and now every makeup brand seems to have their own liquid lightweight foundation. I bought the Maybelline foundation in the shade 15 Ivory, the second to lightest shade. It was frustrating to purchase this from the drugstore as there is no safety seal around the cap so I had to check to make sure the foundation wasn't tested and swatched (gross!).

The applicator is a tear drop shaped plastic that doesn't really do much in the way of dispensing foundation. My preferred method of application is to take a buffing brush and run it on the tear drop spatula two or three times to pick up a tiny bit of product. Then I'll buff away into my skin. One of the first things I noticed about this foundation was the scent. This foundation smells like rubbing alcohol which puts me off from using it everyday. If you have sensitive skin, this probably is not something you want to try.

I like using this foundation because it looks like skin. Here you can see my bare face on the left and my skin after applying only a bit of the Dream Wonder foundation. The fluid blends seamlessly onto the skin and does not cling onto dry patches too badly. It tends to get a bit fussy on my forehead, in between my eyes. But it's nowhere near as difficult to apply as the Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation which looked like a hot mess on my face. The Maybelline foundation tones down redness, evens out light hyper-pigmentation and feels nonexistent on the skin. It also lasts the whole day after setting it with powder and doesn't disintegrate into my oily pores.

I'm impressed by these budget-friendly products from the drugstore and think they're worth a look if you're looking for a natural looking concealer and foundation for the summer time. These shades probably won't suit me in July or August but I'll be wearing them often until then. Have you tried either of these products? What do you think of them?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Peter Thomas Roth Mini Mask Magic Kit

When I saw this trio of mini Peter Thomas Roth masks online, I was intrigued because I've never tried any of their products and the idea of a gel wash-off mask seemed appealing. For $20, you get half an ounce of three masks: the Cucumber Gel Mask, Rose Stem Cell Bio Repair Gel Mask and Pumpkin Enzyme Mask. Did I like any of these masks enough to warrant purchasing a full size?

I'm always lured in by sample sizes as the jars are adorable, travel friendly and I can actually use up the product within a reasonable amount of time. Although the website clearly stated the size of these minis, I was pretty surprised at how small they were. If you compare the price of the full sizes, this mini trio is actually not a value set and it costs less per ounce to purchase a full sized jar of each mask. You essentially get $14.80 worth of product for $20 which is quite disappointing. The good news is that you don't need a lot of product per use so you can probably get at least six applications per half ounce tub.

The Cucumber Gel Mask is supposed to be refreshing, cooling, moisturizing, and calming but frankly, I don't seem to notice a difference in my skin after using this. The gel is cooling at the onset of application but it doesn't stay that way and after rinsing off, my skin doesn't seem to be any more moisturized or calm. I will save this for the summer after a day at the beach and perhaps it will be good for as an aftersun mask.

The Rose Stem Cell Mask has a slew of benefits for anti-aging, moisture and brightening. The texture of both this mask and the cucumber mask are a thick malleable jelly, almost like a hair gel. The rose mask actually stung a bit on my cheeks when I applied it to my skin. The mask has a pleasant rose scent that is not too overpowering. I hope it's not just my bias towards rose scented products but I think this mask makes my skin a touch softer after use. It's definitely not anything drastic but my skin looks a bit more smooth and healthy.

The Pumpkin Enzyme Mask had the most noticeable effect but it's also very strong in terms of a chemical exfoliant and I would warn people with sensitive skin to patch test this before applying all over.  The mask smells amazing and just like pumpkin pie which is nice if you like pumpkin pie and probably not so good if you don't. The directions say to massage the mask on your face as a scrub since there are bits of aluminum oxide that physically exfoliate. Then let the mask sit for three to five minutes to allow the pumpkin enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids to do their work. Unfortunately I couldn't even manually scrub and only let the mask sit on my face for about a minute before I had to wash it off. The mask practically felt like it was burning. After rinsing there was no noticeable damage to my skin and I'm happy to report that my face was much smoother after just a quick treatment.

Above are the ingredients lists for all three masks which are conveniently labeled on the packaging. I'm disappointed to report the cucumber and rose masks weren't very effective and not worth the $45 for a full size. The pumpkin mask definitely did its job but it was a bit too strong for my skin so I won't be purchasing it either. Have you tried these masks? I'm curious to hear other reviews as the ratings on Sephora are quite high for these masks!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Mac Shy Girl Lipstick: The First and Last

Most bloggers and Youtubers have at least post or video dedicated to Mac lipsticks whether it's about their collection, favorites or just indivudual reviews. Seeing those little black tubes lined up is a strangely satisfying image. I recently took a few Mac empties to Back to Mac and redeemed Shy Girl lipstick, a nude peach in their Cremesheen formula. A lot of people rave about the Cremesheen formula and Shy Girl is a rather popular shade so I thought I would like it. Another reason that I was attracted to Shy Girl is because my boyfriend's last name is Shy so I thought it was quite appropriate. It's a silly reason but a reason nonetheless!

Unfortunately I just don't get on with Mac lipsticks. Shy Girl has silver shimmers running through it and it applies patchy. You can see in the above swatch that the lipstick highlights every nook and cranny in my lips. My lips weren't even dry when I applied the lipstick but the formula sucked all the moisture out of my lips and made them feel flakey. The texture is not creamy and it drags upon application.

I am not sure why Mac lipsticks are still popular because there are so many better formulas on the market nowadays. Mac lipsticks currently cost $16 which puts them on the low end of department store brands but I'd rather save up a few more dollars for a better formula. The next time I Back to Mac for something, I'll opt for an eyeshadow.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Investment Quad: Chanel Les 4 Ombres in Rivoli

Chanel's Les 4 Ombres Eyeshadow Quad in Rivoli is every neutral lover's dream in a compact. I've had this palette on my wishlist for quite a long time because all of the colors are wearable and perfect for a natural look or a smokey eye. The only thing stopping me was the $61 price tag... ouch. I finally bit the bullet when I purchased the Chanel Illusion D'Ombre in Mirage and I'm pretty pleased with my purchase.

When I first opened the palette I was a bit worried that the two darker shades would look very similar but once swatched you can see that each color is very distinctive. At first glance it also appears that all the shades are shimmery but there are actually varying degrees of reflects in the shadows. The lightest and darkest shades are more of a satin finish whereas the taupe is almost metallic. While there are no matte shadows, I personally think you can do a complete eye look with just this quad without it looking overly shimmery. The shadows themselves are smooth and soft without being powdery. Out of all the other color options in the Les 4 Ombres lineup, I think Rivoli is the most flattering and wearable because the colors are not all cool or warm. The taupe leans purple but the midtone tan shade is a bit warm.

As with other Chanel compact products, the quad comes packaged in a velvet sleeve and there is a nice mirror on the lid which is handy for traveling. Unlike the blushes and lipsticks which are noticeably scented, the eyeshadows do not have added fragrance. This is an excellent quad if you travel frequently and want the perfect mix of neutral shadows. Do you need this if you already have lots of neutral eyeshadows? Probably not. Especially considering the price tag and that you only get .07 ounces of product. But if you're not on a tight budget and you want a beautiful neutral quad, this might be something to look into.