Saturday, November 22, 2014

L'Oreal Colour Riche Ombre Eyeshadow Quad in Perpetual Nude

Judging by my recent acquisitions and posts, I've been a bit of a brand snob lately. I love a good drugstore peruse and you can often score the best deals at your local CVS or Rite Aid which makes beauty shopping all the more fun. The L'Oreal Colour Riche Ombre Eyeshadow Quads caught my attention because the finish of them looked a lot like what one might find in a Japanese drugstore. The pearly, soft colors are illuminating without being overly glittery and crumbly. Perpetual Nude is a perfect everyday eyeshadow quad for those of you who like your neutral beiges and taupes. 

Let's briefly recap the price and logistics of this quad. Each quad retails for about $10 which is quite pricey for a drugstore shadow. I purchased this when Rite Aid had 40% off all L'Oreal products so I would wait for one of those sales to pick this up. Each quad contains 3.5 grams of shadow. The packaging is lightweight plastic with a reflective metallic, gold cover. I actually quite like the gold exterior but it harbors scratches easily. The shadows are arranged in a rather unique configuration which I personally find quite pretty. If the cover didn't scratch so easily and the packaging was a bit heavier, I could mistake this for a higher end palette.

Like they appear in the pan, the shadows swatch smoothly and provide a delicate shimmer effect. The darkest shade is a brown taupe with a tinge of purple, one of my favorite kind of colors to wear on the eyes. These shadows wear much better over an eyeshadow primer and perform even better over a cream shadow to help them adhere. While the shadows are smooth and pigmented enough, they lack the buttery and rich texture that I have come to enjoy from higher end shadows. 

If you love neutral eyeshadows and like subtle shimmer on the eyelids, you'll probably get a lot of use out of the Perpetual Nude quad. This is a great work day eyeshadow palette and is simply foolproof. What do you think of this quad? Do you tend to splurge on pricey shadows or stick to gems from the drugstore?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Getting Serious About Undereye Skincare

My skin concerns have always included everything from excessive oiliness to acne and hyperpigmentation but I've always been thankful that my undereyes were relatively untroubled. Lately I've been thinking I could use a bit of extra TLC for the thin skin under my tired eyes and acquired a few new products that I wanted to touch on briefly.

Evening time seems to be the best time to relax wrinkly eyes and plump up the surrounding skin with moisture. I splurged on the Sunday Riley Start Over Active Eye Cream because I tried the formula on the back of my hand and liked the lightweight yet hydrating feel. It doesn't feel like it's loaded with silicone or anything of the sort and smoothes onto the skin nicely. The main ingredient blend in this eye cream is Sunday Riley's signature NV-5 Ageless Complex, a concoction of prickly pear extract, blue agave extract, lady's slipper orchid extract, opuntia tuna fruit, opuntia cactus extract, aloe barbadensis leaf extract and yeast extract. Honestly, besides the calming effects of aloe, I couldn't tell you much more about those other extracts. Besides the formula, the packaging is gorgeous and I love an eye cream that comes with a pump. You get a full one ounce as opposed to the typical half an ounce so the $85 price tag isn't bad at all. I haven't seen dramatic results yet but then again my under eyes aren't in need of dire help so this is more of a preventative measure.

Another eye cream I have been using on some mornings when I have the time is the StriVectin-EV Get Even Dark Circle Corrector which I received as gratis from Birchbox. I received this just after I placed my order for the Sunday Riley which is why I have two eye creams. However, I consider the Stri-Vectin a morning eye cream since it has a tiny bit of microshimmer to artificially brighten the under eyes. I don't like to use skincare products with shimmer in the evening because it simply doesn't make sense to put on glitter when all I'm doing is sleeping. The StriVectin eye cream is a lightweight cream that spreads out evenly and doesn't have too much shine. It's a lot nicer than the popular Origins Ginzing Eye Cream which I personally dislike due to it looking more like a highlighter than an eye cream. I like that this eye cream gives me a bit of extra hydration under my eyes before I wear concealer since the weather has been so dry lately.

The Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels are more of a luxurious treat that offer temporary results but I bought them anyway because you need an at-home spa night every once in awhile. These individually wrapped eye masks have a gel patch that instantly feels cooling on the skin. The feeling fades after a minute or two. The masks are not wet at all which I found odd and I would prefer some essence just so I feel like I'm delivering nutrition to my skin. The ingredients include olive fruit oil and angelica root water along with jojoba seed oil and cranberry seed oil. Honestly, you don't feel any indication of those ingredients when you have this on. After using this mask, my skin looked slightly tighter in the sense that any super fine lines that I have are relaxed. This treatment is probably best used in conjunction with another face mask or all over treatment. These would be great to pack in a carry-on pouch for traveling!

Here's to hoping that this regimen will help prevent premature undereye sagging due to my long hours staring at a computer and other bad lifestyle habits. What do you do to maintain smooth, plump undereyes?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Esqido's 'Unforgettable' Mink Lashes

False lashes can transform even the most simple eye makeup looks into a glam and gorgeous spectacle. I watch a lot of Youtube folk who don falsies regularly in their videos and always long for those full lashes that make their eyes look brighter and bigger. But falsies are more often than not a pain in the butt to apply and keep on throughout the day. I just don't have five extra minutes to wait for glue to dry and carefully place a thin strip of hair on my lashline. So falsies are reserved for more special occasions. Since I don't wear lashes all that often, I thought it would be a good idea to invest in the Esqido mink lashes which are pricey but are supposed to last up to 25 uses. These retail for $43 but are on promotion on the Esqido website for $36. I purchased the most natural pair called Unforgettable at IMATS for $20. Twenty bucks for false lashes is pretty pricey but if I can wear these 25 times, that's not a bad deal at all....

The Unforgettable lashes are a stunning set of criss cross lashes that taper to fine, natural wisps. Since my eyes are pretty small and my natural lashes are sparse, I tend to go for more natural false lashes. The lash band on these are made of cotton and are supposed to be very soft and flexible. The lashes have a very nice curl to them which I can further enhance when curling my natural and false lashes together. Although this is one of Esqido's most natural lashes, I still found them to be quite dramatic on my eyes. You can definitely tell I am wearing lashes, which I don't personally think is a negative. 

The lash band is quite long so I had to trim off a bit of the ends so that these would fit on my lash line. The first time I wore these, I hadn't trimmed the lash enough so the inner corner of my eye was very irritated. After about two hours of being outside, my eyes hurt a lot and I couldn't stand the irritation anymore so I had to take these off. The second time around, I cut the lashes a bit more and the fit was definitely better. But I still had some issues with the inner corner of the lash irritating one of my eyes. This is probably user error but I've worn other lashes without these issues in the past. 

Besides how beautiful these lashes looked in the box, the other main selling point was the fact that you can wear these up to 25 times. "Up to" is definitely the key word here because I don't think these will last past five uses for me. Each time I've taken off these lashes, I've had maybe five to seven individual hairs fall off the band. I am quite careful when removing and cleaning these lashes as well. They still look normal and reusable but I think after a few more uses, the gaps in the lash will become much more apparent. For reference, I use Revlon's lash glue which I find a lot easier to use than Duo and the lasting power is better. I found Duo very difficult to remove as well.

To be frank, my experience with these Esqido lashes were not what I had envisioned. I was very excited to wear these lashes but they just didn't feel as comfortable or durable as they should be for the price. I've definitely gotten five uses from $5 Ardell lashes before so to barely get that mileage with lashes that retail for $34 is ludicrous. Hopefully I can squeeze a few more tries with these guys because they do look very pretty. Have you tried Esqido lashes? Do you have any tips on how to care for mink lashes?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sneak Peek: Shiseido Spring 2015 Releases

Tonight I had the pleasure of attending Shiseido's Spring 2015 preview event at the AIRE Ancient Baths, a Soho spa that I've read about for years and always yearned to experience. I'm always up to try new skincare innovations, especially by Shiseido, so I was looking forward to this event for weeks. The specifics behind this launch are still hush hush at the moment but I asked permission to give you all a high level overview and glimpse of what is to come early next year!

Since this is a spring launch, it makes sense that Shiseido would debut a new suncare line. I'm a big fan of Shiseido sunscreens because they are lightweight, easily absorbed and pleasantly scented. There are two new additions, a lotion and a cream, that have advanced technology that will get you through humid and damp conditions. 

There are a handful of other skincare extensions to the existing Bio-Performance, White Lucent and Ibuki lines. All three lines are targeted at different skin concerns so there is a new product that will suit various skin types and needs.

Of course we can't forget about the color cosmetics. Shiseido will debut several brand new products for the lips and face as well as an extension of existing shades of their eye colors. I swatched a few of the lipsticks and the lightweight feel and shine are sure to make these favorites.

I can't offer too many details at the moment but I received a very generous selection of the new releases so expect to see in-depth reviews and swatches early in the new year. I can't believe 2015 is almost upon us already! My first impressions of the new launches are that Shiseido is aways on top of the latest skincare technology and the first to push out revolutionary ways in thinking about skin health. I think the sunscreens will be excellent for warmer months and am quite sad knowing I don't have a beach holiday penciled into my planner yet. The makeup products are intriguing as well and I think the eye color additions will be especially popular.

What do you think of Shiseido skincare and makeup? Which of these new products are you most excited to learn more about?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

KIKO Soft Touch Blush and Thoughts on KIKO in NYC

KIKO is a semi-well known brand in Europe but it doesn't quite have brand recognition in the states yet. I had seen the Italian company's products on blogs years ago but had my first look at the brand last year when I picked up their Soft Touch Blush in Portugal. To be honest, this is one of those things I was really excited for when I first bought it but neglected it for most of the time I've had it. The Soft Touch Blushes are great but they've definitely not had enough love. I finally dug it out recently and started using it again so I could review it and also provide a short review of the new KIKO store in Queens Center Mall in New York.

I don't remember how much I purchased the Soft Touch Blush in 108 Orange Coral for but I think it was something around $10. KIKO is a relatively inexpensive makeup line and they have a very extensive range of shades and products. The packaging of the blushes is a matte black casing that looks chic. Each compact contains .17 ounces of product which is standard for blushes.  

Shade 108 is a matte coral that looks great for an everyday makeup look. The powder is pigmented and tightly packed so you won't get a lot of fall out when you dip your brush into the pan. I like that this blush is buildable so I can control how bold my cheeks are. I think this shade would look beautiful on a variety of skin tones and is worth a try if you ever stumble across KIKO. 

I was looking at KIKO's website a few weeks ago just to see what new products they had and I realized they opened a free standing store in Queens Center Mall. I used to go to this mall with my mom all the time when I was a kid so I was pretty stoked that KIKO was finally available near me! I texted Monika and we were prepared to swatch our money away. While the product lineup is essentially identical to what you will find at a European KIKO store, the prices are a bit higher. The single shadows are $6 and then ones that come in the Clics system are $8. The eyeshadow sticks that I love are $12 whereas they are around $9 in Europe. The prices are still good considering the quality is good and KIKO regularly does promotions. However, the thing I found the most frustrating was the unrelenting staff at the store. I hesitate to even call them a team because there was absolutely no communication between the workers. Monika and I were in the store for maybe half an hour tops and we were approached at least half a dozen times by several sales girls in an empty store. We made it abundantly clear we were just looking around and we were familiar with the products but we were pretty much harassed anyway. It was not a very pleasant experience and it made me leave empty handed. While I'm happy I have access to KIKO in my home borough, I'll be sure to make my future visits relatively short.

What do you think of KIKO? Have you tried any of the products before?