Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Speedy Nail Polish Post #1

Manicures have become a chore to me, which is odd considering how feverishly addicted I was to the fumes emanating from nail lacquers a few years ago. (I'll leave you guessing as to whether I mean that literally or figuratively.) I still like to sport a well-chosen mani, but I can't be bothered to apply it more than once a week. That must sound reasonable to the average person, but there was a time when I used to switch up the manicures 3-4 times a week with joy and glee each instance. Nowadays, sometimes I'll even take off an entire manicure after just a couple of days and just go bare nailed all month. The following are the only surviving manicures from the past 4-5 months. And gasp -- I only applied one pedicure all summer long and I think that's going to be it until September. Horror of horrors.

Illamasqua Trilliant

Sally Hansen Black and Blue

Deborah Lippmann Girls Just Want To Have Fun

China Glaze Fade Into Hue

Pinky to middle finger: YSL Bleu Celadon (summer 2014 limited edition that I tested at the counter)
Index finger: Revlon Gel Envy Full House (clearly not a dupe; rather, a faildupe.)

Hard Candy Pop Art King of Pop on top of above combination

Coco + Lulu by Cake Beauty Ma Belle

MAC Formidable! from the Venomous Villains Collection

Formidable! from different angle/lighting

Venomous Villains was such an awesome collection. I think MAC should create a Part 2.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Purple Lips

I was going to save this post for another month or two, but the weather around here is definitely autumnal. WHYFOR HAVE YOU ABANDONED US, SUMMER??? *tears hair, rends clothing, throws orange lipsticks at the wall*

Ahem. Having gotten that out of my system, I've decided to just go ahead and embrace fall makeup trends RIGHT NOW. Confusion and madness. All is not well in Denmark.

I've been working on this purple thing for a while, looking mainly in the drugstore aisles for fun pick-ups because, as much as I'm loving this colour at the moment, it's likely a passing trend. Or... maybe not. Some of the shades are surprisingly wearable at any time, any day. Others take a little more courage and coordination with the rest of the makeup, hair and dress. (I roll out of bed, drink coffee and swipe on some purple. Complicated!)

The picks, from left to right: L'Oreal Extraordinaire Purple Prelude, Joe Fresh Liquid Lipstick Baie Sauvage, NYX Butter Gloss Raspberry Tart, Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm Shameless, and MAC Rebel.

I know. Rebel isn't exactly the purplest of purple lipsticks out there. From MAC alone, there are at least 5-6 lipsticks that are more clearly purple and less burgundy. (Or, as one Painted Rogue would put it: "weak sauce burgundy cop-out stuff." LOL!) The ones that comes to mind immediately are Heroine and Pure Heroine, from MAC's collaboration with Lorde this past year. I didn't pay too much attention at the time of launch, but the image of Lorde's awesome hair, purple lips and liquid liner flick probably has a lot to do with my current hankering for purple lips.
And while googling, I came across this image of Taylor Swift of all people Lording it up with purple lips. It's definitely not a shade I associate with Swifty, but I think that she's rocking it.

And because as an East Asian I have a hard time adjusting to the idea that yellowy skin doesn't necessarily clash with violet lips, I just adore the next shot. That's like... a shimmery purple? With silvery nails and mauvy lids. And KILLER brows. And a 'do that resembles a dystopian bee hive. SO GREAT.

And the next image is pretty close to what a Shu Uemura sales associate advised me to do one day when I was bent over their eye shadows (next obsession): pair purple lips with shimmery goldy shadows. Super pretty combination.

In terms of what I personally wanted? Revlon Shameless pretty much delivers when it comes to shade match. It's a high impact unforgiving purple, non-glossy and non-shimmery. However, it applies a lot patchier than Audacious, which is problematic when applying multiple coats for high impact opacity. (And just because I can't resist a bargain, I picked up a corresponding nail polish on clearance.)

And lip swatches:

Revlon Shameless -- I can make it look darker, but that's when the patchiness starts to look obvious. It's already darker than anything else that I usually wear, so we'll leave it at that.

L'Oreal Prelude to Purple -- Really milky and shiny. It looks a lot prettier in person because zooming up to the lips is always an exercise in grossness, unless your name is Beauty Swatch.

NYX Raspberry Tart -- Your typical lip gloss but a nice one with a smooth glide that isn't sticky or thick. Less purple and more berry on lips.

Joe Fresh Baie Sauvage -- Yeah, that looks super bright and nearly deranged when first applied but dries down to a more natural looking shade. I'll be reviewing this and another Joe Fresh shade in due course.

Other contenders in deliberation: MAC Up The Amp and Tom Ford Violet Fatale. I'm inclined to just work with the handful shown here and stop swatching, but maybe I'll try them on just to exorcise (or exercise!) the obsession.

Friday, August 15, 2014

2014 Empties Part 3

The bag got too full, and so I'm forced to write this post. Going to try to keep it short and sweet, but I have my doubts. I suggest you have a seat and maybe a beverage, too.

* = press samples

Hair & Body

*John Frieda Frizz-Ease Serum - Previously reviewed and gladly finished. I haven't replaced it yet, but that's because I'm confused about the redesigned packages and increased number of serums for different types of hair. Which should I get? Also: this review made it to #4 of Buzzfeed's list of hair products that actually work. Yay?

L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil - Also reviewed and hoarded for extra pamper sessions when I felt the need to use something other than press-provided St. Ives... which are perfectly fine, but you know what I mean. I might or might not pick it up again. It's lovely, but the crazy button has to be pressed to shell out that much for a body wash again. (I might have given all my crazy to YSL this year.)

Garnier Anti-Dandruff Clean & Fresh 2 in 1 blah blah - It was out on the market for like three seconds before it got pulled. I bought like ten bottles in one shot because it was down to less than a dollar per bottle. I have dry scalp, not dandruff, but sometimes dandruff solutions also work well. I think that this is the final bottle from that insane discount batch. I'd like an exciting shampoo now please. *presses crazy button*

*Dove Oxygen Moisture Shampoo - Reviewed and love it! The Oxygen Moisture line rocks. I will be defaulting to this series by Dove whenever I'm in need of budget necessities.

Face Cleansers & Toners

Neutrogena Face Foaming Cleanser - I have had this for years and years and years. I used it to clean makeup brushes because I didn't like how it felt on the face.

*Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Cottonseed - Reviewed. I liked it a lot and a little really went a long way. My sister and I used equal amounts of it and the tube just lasted like crazy. Truly worth the high cost if the product suits your skin type. I'd like to try other cleansers from Clarins now however.

Thayers Lemon Witch Hazel Toner - I wanted something lemony and astringent last summer but managed to forget that real lemon is photosensitive. Not the best thing to put on your face without sun protection in the summer blaze. I want to try the Rose version next, if I ever recover from the rose overdose I threw myself into a year and a half ago.

*VICHY Normaderm Tri-Activ - Reviewed. Awesome product and already replaced! My face loves this. I was thrilled when it was on sale at Shoppers for $15 recently.

Face Treatments

Clarisonic Normal Brush Head (for Mia 1) - I got rid of my Clarisonic in the last blog sale (it went all the way to Italy - ciao!) and this was the last brush head I managed to use up before I realized my skin no longer needed this method of exfoliation. I do fine with cotton/muslin wash cloths now and regular chemical exfoliations (primarily AHA-based products).

*The Body Shop Camomile Waterproof Eye & Lip Makeup Remover - Reviewed. Great bargain during sales and BOGOs but not better than any other non-prestige bi-phase removers out there. I'm still using up a Clarins version (awesome but pricey), and I'll decide what to replace it with when I'm done that.

*VICHY Eau Thermale and Avene Eau Thermale - Both dispense fine mists of super-charged mineral water and feel awesome during heat waves. The question remains: do they actually do anything other than to cool you down? I'm looking into doing a post on these along with a bottle from La Roche-Posay. I'd like to not spend money on waters in cans, but I love misting. LOVE.

LUSH Eau Roma Water - As discussed last post, I've secured a second bottle because it's that good. But then again, I am a face mist junkie. I cannot be trusted when it comes to misting.

*Philosophy Full of Promise for Eyes - Reviewed. I wish they would sell the lower eye part separately. Then I'd buy it.

REN Resurfacing AHA Concentrate - I loved using this right after a thorough face washing session with the Clarisonic Mia. (Read an old post about it here.) I liked it so much that I bought a second bottle. But finishing it this time around was a struggle, only because I got swamped with testing new things and shoved this into the back of the beauty cabinet. I'd buy this again if I were to take the time to trial the entire REN Radiance series.

Miscellaneous Mumbo Jumbo

Blotting papers, facial cottons, sample sachets. Not much to say except that the Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Gel is nice enough that I want to buy a full size. (Well, actually, I did, because the jar went on sale at Sephora for CAD$33 -- but then I returned it because I have so many other things on the plate -- and then OH released a redesigned bottle of this in a pump jar which makes so much more sense.) Oh, and I'm looking for alternatives to the Shiseido cottons because $11 is kind of in the insane territory, even if you do the math to calculate that it's a bulk deal and sort of worth it... but the price still makes me cringe because I remember when it was $7. Everyone's busy producing copycat cottons nowadays, so I figure someone's going to get it right very soon.

Masks and Wipes

I wish Innisfree was in Canada. That is all.

Discards (...mostly makeup)

The only two things worth buying from this lot are The Face Shop Freshian Volumizing Mascara and CoverGirl Outlast Lip Stain (#400) if they still sell it. I liked the Rimmel Match Perfection Concealers until recently when someone (I think Monika?) pointed out that they dried sort of funny and crusty under the eyes -- and OMG, why didn't I ever see that before? And, yeah, don't even think about dallying with their Exaggerate Undercover Shadow Primer because it pills and has like no hold or colour enhancing qualities whatsoever. Damn it, drugstores -- is it so hard to come out with a cost-effective shadow primer?

And on that bitter note, I bid you adieu until next time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Speedy Blush Post (Laura Mercier, Tarte, Hourglass)

How do I love thee, blush? Let me count the ways.


You'd think that I have enough by now, but you thought wrong. All the blushes must be mine.

I managed to snag some very good deals over the summer, so I give you The Speedy Blush Post featuring three infamous blushes plus one under the radar.

Laura Mercier Lush Nectarine - Long and much expounded as a beauty blogger "must-have," I beg to differ. There's no denying its pretty apricot shade and subtlest of shimmer, but it's a shade I feel is most flattering (and visible) to light skin tones. In my current tanned state, my cheek just seems to eat the colour. Disappoint.

Laura Mercier Spiced Cider - This is the one that's under the radar. I've secretly been cheating on clown cheek reds with earth tones, and Spiced Cider seemed like a great option. It's a bit too brown for my liking and I discovered that terracotta is actually where it's at, with a touch of red (can't get away from you!) mixed with brown to add a flattering flush.

Tarte Exposed - Yawn. It's another easy blush for light skin tones. I felt absolutely no joy in applying this much-lauded but unexceptional blush. I had to try, just to see what all the fuss about, but it is the world's most boringest blush ever. I might have liked it once a upon a time, but those days are long behind us, my friends.

Hourglass Diffused Heat - Someone said it and now I can't unsee it: bacon blush! I love bacon and I love blush. This is meant to be. The glowy diffused effects of these Hourglass blushes aren't impossible to mimic with a regular blush and highlighter, but it's nice to have the perfect mixture in a nice compact with HOURGLASS stamped on it. Out of the four featured here today, this is the only one that I will be keeping.

Any new blushes in your life? 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

LUSH Eau Roma Water and LUSH Herbalism

It wasn't until I started blogging that I realized the popularity of LUSH. Previously, it was a store that I passed in a huge hurry, covering my nose the entire time as I did so. With the discovery of annual holiday limited edition favourite, Golden Wonder Bath Bomb, I started venturing into LUSH more often. What began as timorous ventures for bath bombs have now turned into regular seasonal dips into the store to see what's new and interesting. In general, LUSH is rather pricey and I'm not yet an avid enough fan to depend on it for necessities. But it's a fun treat once in a while and I can see why so many bloggers are LUSH addicts.

Eau Roma Water (CAD$9.95, 100mL) - I bought the small 100mL bottle last summer on a whim and ended up loving it. Previously, I was relying on The Body Shop Aloe Toner as it was gentle and didn't contain any alcohol or fragrance. But the junkie that I am, I grew tired of it after six bottles and decided it was time to venture out. Eau Roma Water has a beautifully subtle and calming smell which isn't completely naturally derived, but it feels similarly gentle on the face. I like to dampen my face with it and slather serums or hydrating oils right on top while the skin is still dewy. The spray pump dispenses a super fine mist that saturates the face exactly as you want it to. While touted for dry and mature skin, I find that my sometimes oily or dehydrated combination skin drinks it up and seems to be better balanced by it in the long run. Thus, a second purchase was completely necessary as soon as the first bottle was sprayed to the last drop.

Herbalism (CAD$13.95, 100g) - This funny looking paste that's supposed to balance out oily skin while cleansing caught my fancy a few months ago, and I actually ended up going back to the store after a week of thinking about it. At the time, anything green and herbal was appealing to my senses in preparation for summer heat waves that never really ended up arriving in Toronto. I should have just bought the Grass shower gel and made a run for it, but alas. This preservative-free "cleanser" made of ground almond, kaolin clay, nettle and rosemary also has an oily residue that I was not initially adverse to but grew to dislike as the weather gradually warmed. After dampening the face with water, you're supposed to take out a small piece of the product and mix it with a drop of water to form a paste that resembles a cross between pesto and guacamole. After massaging it on to the skin and rinsing off, it leaves the skin feeling strangely hydrated (thanks, I suppose, to the chamomile and sage oils and floral extracts). I didn't think that it would take off makeup, so I saved it for a "second cleanse" or for mornings. The LUSH sales associate who helped me with this purchase admitted that her skin reacted badly to Herbalism although she got great feedback on it from other users. While I neither loved nor hated it, I started to regret the purchase after a few weeks. Fiddling around with water in the palm to form the paste each time was getting on my nerves, and I didn't think that it really worked well as a cleanser but rather as a weekly balancing treatment perhaps. I tried valiantly to polish it off nonetheless, since its expiry date was looming due to the lack of preservatives, and the other day my chin reacted severely against this "treatment" and revolted by blowing up to twice its regular size. To be honest, I can't quite be sure that it was a reaction to Herbalism, but it was the last thing to touch the chin just before the literal blowing up happened, and that was the final straw for me. I tossed the remaining content into the garbage, and the recyclable container that can be taken back to LUSH for a free face mask is now up for grabs to whomever wants it. To hell with this non-preservative shit. Back to the synthetic lab-made potions for me.

Are you a LUSH fan? Have you tried Herbalism or any of the other ground paste face products?