Saturday, August 25, 2012

Cream Shadows, How I Love Thee; ULTA, Maybelline, Laura Mercier and more!

I have a Thing for cream shadows, I can't really justify it. They seem more fun to apply, somehow easier, giving some special texture a regular shadow can't, I don't know. In reality, I think they are more of a hassle. They're more likely to crease, they can be tricky to apply and blend out into the crease, they can glob up on loose skin making it look even older, etc. But I still love them.

So, I have picked up quite a few in the past two years - some have better formulas than others.

In short: the NYX shadow pencils, LA Splash potted shadow labeled Enlightened, Revlon quad Maybelline Cooling shadow pencils (discontinued) will crease if worn alone even over primer in my experience.

The Maybelline Color Tattoos, LA Splash Hydro Liquid, ULTA Extreme Wear whipped shadows, Physicians Formula cream liners, MAC Paint Pots, Boots cream shadow, MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Creams, Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Color Stick, Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencil can be worn alone, but I do wear them over primer otherwise I will get some creasing after 8-10 hours.

Here's my favorites.

Left to Right:
  • Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Beige
  • Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze
  • Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Color Stick in Twilight
  • MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Cream in #12 (this can be a little hard to apply, I grabbed too much and excess flaked off once dried)
  • MAC Paint Pot in Genuine Treasure (lots of small glitter suspended in sheer taupe shimmer)
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencil in Sin (tends to dry out on me making it difficult to apply)
  • ULTA Extreme Wear Whipped Eye Shadow in Tiramisu Cream
  • ULTA Extreme Wear Whipped Eye Shadow in Whipped Stardust (love this name, I'm a sucker for space/tech/scifi, see my other blog for evidence ;)
  • ULTA Extreme Wear Whipped Eye Shadow in Whipped Cream
  • LA Splash Hydro Liquid in Duality (this is lovely but needs to be spread quickly, liquidy and it sets fast)
  • Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips gel liner in Glam Brown Eyes - light gold
  • Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips gel liner in Glam Brown Eyes - bronze
I think ULTA Extreme Wear whipped shadows may be the easiest to work with for a quick wash of color. It's a wet whipped texture (not like a Maybelline mousse) but it spreads easily, dries down to a powder-like feeling easily. Not completely buildable without getting flaky, but it can be done.

ULTA Extreme Wear Whipped Eye Shadow in Tiramisu Cream - easy wash of very light shimmery brown.

My dreamy ULTA Extreme Wear Whipped Eye Shadow in Whipped Stardust - wash of shimmery steel silver, dreaming of space.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Creams are a stiff slippery feeling texture but if not careful you can pick up chunks of product which will not spread out on the eye and get flaky and awful looking. Mine started cracking like this not long after buying them, but they're still plenty wet to use.

Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze has a texture like a MAC Paint Pot, also stiff and slippery like the MUFE but less likely to pick up a glob of product so makes it easier to apply. I always expect this to be a deeper shade of brown but it can kind of disappear on my lids.

Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Beige - this is part of a Limited Edition Fall collection, I just picked it up a week ago. It has a much more wet texture as you can see here where I dabbed my finger in as opposed to needing to swirl it around. It's a very light beige shimmer.

How do you feel about cream shadows? Bit by the bug, helped along by Maybelline Color Tattoos perhaps? :D 

*This is a scheduled post while I'm on vacation, I will get back to comments shortly to be sure!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

butter LONDON Sexy Smart Trio with Quick Swatch!

G from Nouveau Cheap and Angie my new BFF totally ;) from Your Beauty Fashion Fitness got me seriously interested in a sale with butter LONDON that made a trio insanely affordable (half price compared to buying each polish separately).  Total was $21 for three polishes and free shipping, I had been tempted to try the formula since everyone raves so I went for it!  Picked up Sexy Smart Trio which had Wallis, Yummy Mummy and Saucy Jack. I'd seen Wallis and Yummy Mummy on TiffanyD I believe so I was intrigued in these shades for some time. Wasn't sure how Yummy Mummy would look against my skintone.

This was a super quick swatch sitting on the couch after breaking open the package this afternoon. :)  I don't have a base coat or top coat on (obviously), all three were a little more sheer than I was expecting, applied two coats of all three. Saucy Jack still was a little splotchy after two coats but may have been helped with base coat/applying with better lighting/putting some magical Seche Vite top coat which smooths out some of that.

Pretty colors, I am a little underwhelmed by Saucy Jack but I only have one other true red - this is a little pinkish seeming due to how sheer it is in the bottle.

Have you tried any butter LONDON polishes? What do you think of the formula?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mascara Swatching Series: Tarte Lights Camera Lashes

Last in the pictures I had in the queue of my Mascara Swatching Series, Tarte's Light Camera Lashes! It was a small sample and was fairly dried out by the time I swatched this.

Oof, I look tired with my half-done eye!  Mind you these pictures were taken around 6:30AM. :)

I think it applied a bit differently (but in a good way!) due to this. It built up very thin layers to give a little wispier volume (slender tips just darkened) and less lashes sticking together. I recall it being a bit more wet when fresh. From a distance though, I would say it's going to look about the same as most of my mascaras since I tend to glob it on the same way with whatever I'm using.

Something drier I like the looks of close-up, but does more work to get my usual volume/coverage. I like it, but wouldn't buy separately due to the cost. It would make me a little more likely to buy a kit if there was a full-sized tube of this in it.

Have you tried Lights Camera Lashes? Let me know what you think of it! Do your lashes always come out of the same or does it matter what mascara you use? Honestly I never realized how similar mine were until doing this series! :)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

July into August 2012 Favorites, With Video

I also chatted about these products in a video, with some bloopers and silliness tacked on at the end!

(video link here)

Quite an assortment of items for favorites lately! First off I'll mention the hog in the picture, my Barnes & Noble nook Tablet. I am an avid reader, but do prefer hardcopy paper books (I've read about 1200 pages on an e-ink nook Simple but rather paper). So why do you have a shiny tablet, you ask? I wanted to watch youtube videos, of course. :)  I have a laptop for my daily computing, but it's always a hassle to drag around when I just want to watch some videos. So when I'm winding down for the day, after my shower and relaxing before bed I can pop open my tablet and watch a few videos!

For a skincare item, I have my dermatologist prescribed sodium sulfacetamide/sulfur lotion. I've been using this since June 2011, posted after visiting my dermatologist - I've felt it worked well as a spot treatment but I only realized the past few months what it does amazingly well. I tend to get painful nodule cystic type acne occasionally, typically hanging around for 2-3 weeks and being uncomfortable and unsightly (as a sidenote, for the small whitehead/typical spots I use salicylic acid as a spot treatment which works much better for those types). I have noticed that when I feel the first sign of one of those very hard painful lumps starting to develop, if I attack it with this goop thoroughly morning and night - it won't fully develop and will recede after about 5 days. Truly wonderful!

Last non-makeup product would be MAC Turquatic fragrance. I admit I'm rather addicted to perfumes, I have about seven full sized bottles and probably 15 samples. But at the end of the day, Turquatic is what I adore most. The first time I smelled it, it was like my eyes had been opened and I found what I'd been looking for! I bought the smaller 20ml size and I'm nearly through it, it doesn't last too long on the skin so you can be a little more generous in spritzing. Definitely want to pick up the 50ml bottle before it disappears, it's available (from what I've seen) at Macy's and - hopefully everywhere MAC is sold! :)

I've mentioned it enough before, I have very dry under-eye skin, the Garnier Anti-Dark-Circle roller gives me some coverage and brightening without looking horrible while I try to sort out the dryness.

Also have mentioned the Anastasia Clear Brow Gel quite a bit, it's very hard and a little crunchy but does it ever keep my brows from moving! And I've liked it so much, I finished the tube! Amazing. :)

I've posted quite a lot about the L'Oreal Infallible shadows (click here!) and they definitely deserve to be in my favorites again. All but one of the shades (Endless Pearl is a bit of a dud) have great lasting power and intensity all day and apply so smoothly.

It's a pressed pigment format, so you do need to be a little careful when putting the stoppers back in to not gouge out some product with the edge.

Amber Rush, Pink Sapphire, Bottomless Java, Golden Emerald.  The look I'm wearing in the video has Amber Rush at the lower lashline, Pink Sapphire in the inner corner/lid, Golden Emerald on the lid (sparkles beautifully and has a true deep green base), Bottomless Java through the crease.

I gushed about how wonderfully these Laura Mercier Lip Glaces worked for me, they can prevent my lips from peeling during the day while at work which is unheard of for me, so it's no surprise these showed up in my favorites as well. :)  I have Sweetheart which came in the Nordstrom kit as well as Sparkling which is a little less moisturizing (guessing because of the denser shimmer) and Bare Naked which is more of a colored nude gloss with only a little shimmer but moisturizes like Sweetheart.

A favorite lipstick of mine for a while at work has been the Revlon SuperLustrous Rose & Shine (pearl), it's somewhat sheer with very fine shimmer rose to give a nice sheen on the lips. I used to wear it alone but now I top it off with the miracle glosses. :)

Left to right: Revlon Rose & Shine, Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Sweetheart, Sparkling and Bare Naked.

Let me know what your favorites are, or if you've used any of mine and what you think of them. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 6, 2012

My Dry Lip Battle

Here's the general tips for dealing with lip dryness:

  • If it's winter, expect you're going to have chapping when you don't otherwise due to the low humidity (air holds less water at lower temperatures)
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Keep a lip balm on lips 
  • Wear balm at night
  • Exfoliate with washcloth/toothbrush/sugar/etc
  • Look for things that may be drying lips out, certain toothpaste or lip products
  • Don't lick your lips

So there are dry lips, and then there are my lips.  I should clarify though, 98% of the dryness is in my lower lip.  It is the problem child.  I tended to get frustrated with my lips and for many years I would let them get very dry, then all the stabbing dry skin would make me angry and I'd end up ripping skin off.  I also picked at my lips when having anxiety.  So this led to many years of never-ending dryness and bleeding and more dryness and more bleeding.  Finally some 5 or 6 years ago, I Made a Decision.  I would try 100% to stop the cycle.

 For other various reasons, I have modified my water intake to be high for a couple years at a time.  It never made a difference on lip moisture.  I was determined to stop chewing on my lips and especially when you have a nervous habit, it can be difficult to break.  Just like stopping the habit of picking my face or touching it, I was successful eventually.  I very rarely do it anymore!  I knew that if I stopped chewing, I wouldn't get any saliva on my lips which is terrible for drying them out as well.  I can't stand licking my lips if *any* product is on them, I hate tasting lip goo, so that was never an issue.

I made sure to keep Chapstick near me and put some on occasionally.  That helped, but not much as I always *occasionally* used lip balm.  Next stop, keeping lip balm on my lips all day.  To my surprise, I could have smooth lips occasionally with these measures!  But then I reached a point where even with all day Chapstick, I was having a fair amount of dryness.  I stayed at this level for quite a few years.  At some point I added a thick balm before going to sleep.

I reached a plateau a couple years ago where I had lip products on every waking hour and before going to bed, but my lips were still peeling.  If I left them dry for 30-45 minutes, they'd start drying up.  I could exfoliate the night before, keep balm on them, mid-morning the next day they're peeling again.  I found Burt's Bees wasn't helping anymore and I could feel my lips getting that sore dry feeling underneath the balm.

Just to be sure I didn't have some sort of Condition, I asked the dermatologist while there for acne stuff and she said some people just have dry lips.  I have a pet theory that is not substantiated by any data, but I do wonder if either my lower lip never produced enough oil to keep moisturized or it got wonkered by the constant injury over the years.

The great frustration with this would be (other than that I need lip balm within arm's reach at all times) wearing color lip products.  I always put balm on first, but with any lipstick or gloss I'd still end up with lip flakes developing.  My regular routine involved wiping lip products off with a napkin before lunch and having color and flakes come off, ugh.

But one week, I stopped seeing the flakes.  This is just so odd and hard for me to believe, but once I started using the Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Sweetheart, I wasn't peeling.  I could wear a lipstick underneath the gloss, still no peeling.  I don't know what to say, but it seems to work.  So, there is hope.  And it does seem most issues work with the standard treatment above.  But if those things don't work for you, maybe you can also find your miracle product!  What have you tried, and what things worked?  I'd love to hear!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Nordstrom 2012 Anniversary - Laura Mercier Signature Color Essentials Travel Set

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is available through August 5th, 2012 but this is still available as a Nordstrom Exclusive. Link to kit here, not an affiliate link - I don't get anything if you click through or buy. :)

I posted a video finally once I chopped down all my gushing about the glosses too ;)

(video link here)

So I was fairly excited about the Nordstrom sale, a chance to get high end brands that are rarely in good kits or discounted. I originally thought I'd get the Giorgio Armani set with the Eyes to Kill shadow, but realized that the price felt too high for what I was getting, and the color wasn't special enough. Not to mention everyone says the L'Oreal Infallible shadows that I love are very similar type of formula but a little less complex. Anyhow, I went for the Laura Mercier set and I'm glad I did. Introduced me to some really fabulous products!

The powder palette which would seem like the star was one thing that's not super memorable.  I like the blush, kind of a dusty rose - good for slight contouring/shaping and generally just a nice muted matte shade.

(top to bottom: Vintage Pink, Morning Dew, Primrose, Topaz, Kir Royal)

The shadows are kind of generic, nice quality but not stand-out colors and not intensely pigmented.  I can understand in these Nordstrom sets, most were fairly every day neutrals, I imagine it appeals to a wider audience that way. A plummy purple with some sparkle, shimmery slightly warm taupe, shimmery light pink with some sparkle, very nice super light matte pink (texture is pretty excellent for matte).

One of the items I completely adore is a Caviar Eye Colour Stick in Twilight, it slides on like something ultra-slippery, but the amazing bit is that it sets rock solid in a minute or so. When swatching these on my hand, I tried to scrub off with water/tissue and it was not moving. Before going to dinner, I tried to wash off with regular soap and three pumps of soap it still hadn't completely come off.  Now for me, it isn't difficult to get off my eyes after a full day of wear because my natural oils break it down enough to come off with my face wash.

On the left is the Caviar stick in Sapphire (loved Twilight so much, I had to get another one :). On the right is Twilight. If careful, it can be used as eyeliner but it works lovely as a base or alone and smudged out.

It comes with a min Full Blown Volume Lash Building mascara, funky thing when I first got it - the product didn't extend to the bottom of the bristles. Took dipping into the tube probably 5 or 6 times before it was fully coated. It's somewhat wet but thick, I do need to spend a little time making sure my lashes are separated and not clumped together.

I forgot to get a picture of swatches on the Lip Glace glosses, on top is Sweetheart which comes in the kit and the bottom is Sparkling which I also bought today with Sapphire. Ahem. :)
Sweetheart is quite sheer, has some pearl but it's a very shiny glassy finish on the lips. I never would have thought I'd buy a high end lip gloss to be honest, but Sweetheart did something completely amazing.

As I have said many times in the past, my lips are very dry all of the time. They have been for my adult life, and probably before. Nothing ever really helps keep them from peeling during the day. They might be exfoliated to start, but by the end of the day there's goopy skin flakes coming off with my lip product. Even if I just wear a moisturizing balm!  I wore Sweetheart alone and over a historically drying lipstick (on me) several days at work. At lunch time, I wiped my lips clean and to my pure shock - no lip flakes! That is worth a high end price so I bought a more nude toned shade. :)

Not shown is also a Foundation Primer that seemed to give me several blemishes after using two days in a row, but I'll try again in a few weeks to see if it was just a coincidence.

Also not shown is the All Over Color eye brush, it's quite soft and comfortable to use. It's rather large  so a little tricky to use for crease, but great to packing on color and blending up to the browbone. Only complaint is the handle is so short, even in my short-brush-cup it gets lost.

Above I'm wearing Twilight at the lashline smudged up the lid, Topaz (assuming that's the taupe-y shadow) in the crease, Morning Dew+Primrose at the browbone.  Unfortunately I had switched to Sparkling on my lips, woops. :)  Vintage Pink on my cheeks.

Mascara Swatching Series: Maybelline Volum' Express the Mega Plush

Previous posts in the series can be found here!
I know I'm not alone on this, but sometimes I feel like quite the sucker when pulled into buying a new shiny mascara before doing any reading on it.  The display claimed a new formula of sorts, some gel something - the lashes would be soft (was thinking like one mascara I do like the Maybelline Full 'N Soft).

Over the time I've used this mascara, I've found it a pain to apply.  I do tend to build up a lot of mascara on my lashes, I want a good amount of darkness at the base of lashes tapering up to the top.  In order to get the amount of even coverage of mascara on the lash, I felt like I had to fiddle around for almost twice as long as a "good" mascara (for me).  Another supposed selling point is that the wand has a large hinge bendy point just after the bristles.  I don't think I've ever seen a bendy wand actually bend when applying mascara.  Unless you have some mega coarse thick horse hair lashes, I'm not sure how you'd ever encounter enough resistance for it to bend.  Maybe it's just my technique.

Here's a reminder of what my naked lashes look like, they are fairly long, naturally curled and moderately dense.  My only real difficulty is ensuring complete mascara coverage of the ash blonde coloring.  After that, it's just up to my preference of look.

The end result is similar to my other mascaras, but the time needed to achieve it is what ultimately bothered me.  It doesn't cause lashes to stick together and become uni-lashes like a wetter mascara, such as another in my series, Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes.

I would say that all mascaras give me a certain amount of lift which may come off as them being slightly curled, but I think it's just that I glop on enough product that it helps them lift a tiny bit. :)

Have you tried the Mega Plush mascara?  How did you like it?  Would love to find out if it works better for anyone else!  I'd rate it as an okay, not worth repurchase, for me.