12.29.2011

A Cheeky Thursday and a FOTD.

I LOVE how colorful my blushes look in this first photo....just like candy :)

This first blush, Collection 2000 Shimmer Shades in Blushalicious, has been a steady favorite of mine every since my cousin sent it to me from the UK a few months ago. Each of the four shades is completely functional on it's own, but the color that they create when swirled together is even more gorgeous! To me, this is a staple travel beauty product because it's equivalent to bring along 5 blushes :)




The next products are some of the cutest I've seen in a while. They're the new Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blushes. They have a unique texture that can only be described as a very dense mousse...much, much denser than the Dream Mousse Blushes. As a result, it has a bit of bounce when you touch it. 
Left to right:
Fresh Pink 
Orchid Hush
Peach Satin

While these new blushes are fun, I'm reluctant to say they're worth the money. At just over $8 a piece at CVS (I would wait for coupons or sales if I were you), I had higher expectations. The pigmentation on Fresh Pink and Orchid Hush needs a bit of layering to be built up to something even slightly reminiscent of what you see in the pan, and the cream to powder finish is nothing revolutionary in my opinion. It's more of a barely-cream to powder finish, actually, as it's not nearly as wet or creamy to begin with as the traditional cream product.

And while they're not shimmery, there is a soft, pretty sheen once applied to the skin, seen more in the two lighter shades than in Peach Satin.
Left to right:
Collection 2000 Blushalicious swatched clockwise starting from top left (first 4 swatches)
Collection 2000 Blushalicious swirled together (5th swatch from left)
Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in Fresh Pink
Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in Orchid Hush
Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in Peach Satin


Today was one of those I-really-don't-feel-like-wearing-makeup-but-I-should-really-test-out-some-of-this-new-stuff-I-just-bought kind of day :) I wore two of the blush shades today (one as blush and the other as a highlight), and I applied them using my fingers. Unfortunately, I'm suffering from some annoying dry patches on my cheeks at the mo, so these did have a tendency to cling to them a bit and look a bit crap up-close, although I'm not sure you can really tell from these photos!



Face:
Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation in #53
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer in SC-3
Dior Sculpt Lifting Smoothing Concealer in 002
Maybelline Dream Matte Powder in Sand
Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in Fresh Pink
Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in Orchid Hush (as highlight)

Eyes:
Maybelline Color Tattoo e/s in Pomegranate Punk
Milani Liquif'Eye Pencil in Black
Prestige My Blackest Lashes Mascara

Lips:
MAC l/s in Rebel (patted on with finger)

Here's a closer look at Pomegranate Punk on my eyes:
I didn't use a primer because I really want to see whether or not it will crease or last when used on its own...I'll keep you guys posted! Contrary to what I initially thought based on my experience swatching it on my arm, it applied very smoothly and was not patchy at all - YAY! I applied it to my lid and blended it out using my finger, and while application was a breeze, it's important to blend quickly before the product sets and doesn't budge.

So far, I'm very impressed with the Maybelline Color Tattoo cream eyeshadows and a bit on the fence with the Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blushes. I'll admit I've never been a huge fan of cream to powder formulas though. I prefer a creamy, dewy finish from cream products and if I want a powder finish, I'd just go for a powder product, to be honest! Oh well. I'm a little bothered by the price as well. Aren't drugstore products supposed to be the cheapy, affordable ones? $8.00+ for a less than stellar product is pushing it, in my opinion. 

Anyhoo, to finish off on a high note and going back to the beginning of the post, if you live in the UK or are planning a swappy-poo anytime in the near future, I highly recommend you check out that Collection 2000 blush. It's awesome. The end.


Random: What's everyone's plans for NYE?!


12.27.2011

Drugstore Paint Pots?

After searching high and low at three different CVS stores in search of a few of the goodies Jess showcased in this post, I was unsuccessful in finding most of what she had been lucky enough to find, but I did walk away with two gems :)



Maybelline's new Color Tattoo 24 hour eyeshadows are cream eyeshadows that are extremely similar in consistency to MAC Paint Pots. I'm only realizing now as I type this and now that the sun has gone down that I forgot to take a photo of the actual product without the lid on so that you could see how it looks in the pot, but basically, it looks just like a Paint Pot...you'll just have to take my word for it, I guess :)

Pomegranate Punk (left) and Bad to the Bronze

Pomegranate Punk is a shimmery, purpley burgundy shade. While it is quite pigmented, it applies slightly less pigmented than it appears in the pot, and it doesn't apply quite as smoothly as Bad to the Bronze, a metallic, bronzey taupe. I predict that Pomegranate Punk may have a tendency to apply a bit patchy and may require a bit more effort for an opaque and even application. Bad to the Bronze, on the other hand, applies effortlessly and appears just as pigmented once applied as it does in the pot. To me, Bad to the Bronze is actually a bit more taupey and less bronzey than I was expecting. I guess I was expecting something a bit warmer and just a smidgen more golden? I'm not sure, but it's gorgeous nonetheless.

From what I could tell by looking at some of the other shades on the display, it appears as though there may be a couple matte or nearly matte shades as well.

It's too early for me to comment on the staying power, although the skeptic in me highly doubts the 24 hour claim (why is 24 hour makeup even necessary anyway?). But, you know I'll be wearing these shades in a few FOTDs soon, so be on the look out for that if you're interested in a more thorough review. I will say, however, that I experienced a fair amount of difficulty simply trying to remove the swatches from my arm, which may be a good indication of its long staying power.

Also, since it has the consistency much like the MAC Paint Pots, it means that it applies as a cream but has a tendency to dry down and then not budge, regardless of how horrifically you've applied it and how desperately you need to continue blending. I've found, simply from playing around with the swatches on my arm, that it's best to blend quickly after initial application, unless of course you want to look like a 5-year old messing around in her mother's makeup for the first time ;)


Has anyone tried these? If so, what shades did you pick up and what are your thoughts?


12.24.2011

Benefit Watt's Up!

Ever since I became the proud owner of Dior Amber Diamond sometime last year, I stopped feeling the need to expand my highlighter collection purely because Amber Diamond was everything I was looking for in an everyday highlighter. However, there is now a new highlighter on the block that's definitely giving Amber Diamond a run for its money - Benefit Watt's Up!



Highlighter portion

Blending sponge

Watt's Up! is a peachy-gold cream highlighter with soft shimmer that comes in a twist-up stick on one end and a blending sponge on the other end. 

I like to think of Watt's Up as the cream version of Amber Diamond as the colors are very similar. On my skin tone (roughly NC23), I find the color of Watt's Up very flattering - it gives just the right amount of sheen while still looking natural and luminous. Compared to when I apply Amber Diamond with a MAC 188, I find that Watt's Up provides a bit more of a dramatic highlight and sheen than Amber Diamond, although it's not over the top or glittery in the least. It looks beautifully effortless when applied during the day but can also be easily built up for more drama at night.

I apply Watt's Up to my skin straight from the stick and then use my finger to blend it in. It doesn't take much effort at all as it blends in very easily. I prefer not to use the sponge simply due to my fear of contaminating it and then not being able to clean it thoroughly ;)

I've used Watt's Up on my bare skin and over my makeup (after foundation and powder), and it applies just as easily in both cases. Actually, what surprised me most about Watt's Up and ultimately made me fall in love with it is its ability to blend effortlessly over powder, especially considering it's a cream product. It does have a cream to powder formula, though, and compared to other cream to powder formula products I've tried, Watt's Up still has the sheen and luminosity of a cream product even after it's blended in and dried down to more of a powder finish. 


Swatched heavily (left) and blended in 

So, if I absolutely had to choose between Amber Diamond and Watt's Up, I think I would still choose Amber Diamond simply because I'm not sure how well the cream product (Watt's Up) is going to hold up on my oily skin in the warmer months and I'm not a massive fan of Watt's Up's packaging. However, I think it's safe to say that I'm pretty smitten with both highlighters as they're both amazing in their own ways :)

Moral of the story: I would definitely recommend Watt's Up since it's been quite a while since I've been this impressed with any other highlighter besides my trusty Amber Diamond!

Applied to the tops of cheekbones



Face:
Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation in #52
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage concealer in SC-3
Dior Sculpt Lifting Smoothing concealer in 002
Maybelline Dream Matte Powder in Sand
Benefit Watt's Up
NARS blush in Mounia

Eyes:
UDPP in Greed
UD e/s in Half Baked
UD e/s in Smog
UD e/s in Darkhorse
UD e/s in Virgin
MAC eye kohl in Teddy
Milani Liquif'eye pencil in Black
Prestige My Blackest Lashes mascara

Lips:
MAC l/g in Boy Bait


Wishing you all a fun, warm, and safe holiday with your loved ones!



12.20.2011

Christmas Mani.

I'm in love with the festive combo on my nails right now, and I can't wait for Christmas to get here in a few days :)

Milani Jewel FX in Gems and Essie Clambake (one of my favorites for 2011!)

I still have a bit more shopping to do before Sunday but luckily, I don't have school or work right now, so I have plenty-o-time to brave the crowds and shop without any time constraints :) How is your holiday shopping coming along, and what are your plans for the holidays? I'd love to hear all about it!


Also, thank you to everyone who entered my Milani Luminoso giveaway. The winner is Iliana! Congrats, Iliana! I've already emailed you :)


What will you be wearing on your nails this Christmas?


12.19.2011

My Top 11 Blogs and YouTube channels of 2011.

Whenever I see a new post or video on any of these blogs or YouTube channels, I can't seem to click on the link fast enough. In addition to my list of my top 11 blogs, don't forget I always have a blog list on the right side of my blog filled with a few of my current favorites as well :)

My Top 11 Beauty/Fashion Blogs (in no particular order):

My Top 11 Beauty YouTube channels (in no particular order):


12.18.2011

three...two...one.

:: three :: Extreme mini-kabuki cuteness! I have two other EcoTools brushes (the powder brush and the retractable kabuki), and they're both fantastic quality - super soft (but not overly soft) and they don't shed. I found this adorable set at Target for $15. Can you say stocking stuffer?  ;)


:: two :: I'm currently visiting my family for a few weeks for the holidays and I brought three blushes with me: this Collection 2000 Shimmer Shades one, Milani Fantastico Mauve, and NARS Mounia. This blush is equivalent to bringing four different blushes, though. It's brilliant. Review to come :)


:: one :: My new baby ❤ 


Happy Sunday, ladies! 


12.15.2011

The Magical World of Tarina Tarantino.

Once upon a time, before I became obsessed with boring neutral eyeshadows, I was a lover of purple tones. In a rare moment inside Sephora a while back when my little fingers didn't immediately gravitate towards the nearest palette containing beiges and browns, I quickly found my heart set on this gem by Tarina Tarantino: the Jewel Shadow Palette in Magical.


I immediately thought the combination of shades was gorgeous and with one swatch of each buttery smooth shade, I was sold.



Clockwise from far left:
silvery, lilac-taupe
deep, red-eggplant
white pearl
mauvey-pink
pink pearl (center)

I apologize for the swatches being in a completely different order:
white pearl
mauvey-pink
silvery, lilac-taupe
deep, red-eggplant
pink pearl

Firstly, the pink pearl shade is 100x more gorgeous in real life than it appears in any of these photos! No matter how hard I tried, I just could not capture the luminescent pink sparkle. If anything, I'd recommend hunting down this palette in your local Sephora just to swatch that shade :)

The palette contains 5 shimmery shades (the mauvey-pink and silvery, lilac-taupe shades are the most shimmery) that all have fantastic pigmentation and are buttery smooth. They apply just as nicely as they swatch, and they have great lasting power (I've only used them with either UDPP or TFSI first, though). One of my favorite things about this palette is how cohesive the combination of shades is. It's clear that some thought went into the making of this palette so that it included a lid shade, a crease shade, a highlight shade, and a deeper shade to use either for liner or darkening up the outer v. The palette retails for $32.

Does this new love affair mean I'm going to be leaving my neutrals in the dust any time soon? Please, let's be real. But, when I feel like jazzing up my boring, everyday makeup with a bit of color and accentuating my brown eyes in the process, I know where to turn. Magical is my first taste of Tarina Tarantino products and I have to admit, I'm very pleasantly surprised.

To all my fellow neutral eyeshadow lovers: what sort of shades do you tend to go for when you want to add some color into your eye makeup?


12.14.2011

Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation.

Bourjois is a brand that makes me want to jump for joy and cry at the same time. Why? Because they make so many nice products but they're not readily available in the States and  to be quite honest, it's freakin' annoying. Anyhoo, rant over. Let's start the review ;)


I'm lucky enough to be the proud owner of the bottle of Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation you see above only because my beloved friend, Jessica, offered to purchase a bottle for me when she was honeymooning in France a few months ago. LOVE HER! To be perfectly honest, I wasn't even aware of the foundation's existence prior to her offer. I love my blogging girls because they keep me in the know ;)


I have shade #53, and I'd say it's about an NC25 equivalent. Sadly, I'm quite the ghost at the moment, so it's actually a bit too dark for me but I still use it anyway :) Gasp! 

What I love most about this foundation is that it does exactly what it claims:

- Instant blending? It's blends with ease whether you use a brush or your fingers. I like to use my Sigma F80. And in case you're wondering, I use about one and a half pumps per application.

- Flawless complexion? Well...this one kinda depends on how "flawed" your complexion was to begin with, doesn't it? But, yes, it does a fantastic job at evening out your complexion. I find that for me, it's almost enough to even out all of my redness, and I still need to go back in with concealer to cover up any blemishes.

- Undetectable coverage? Yuppers, as long as you apply it well. I mean, if you don't blend it out at the edges, it's going to be detectable, obviously!

- Light coverage? I'd say it's more in the light to medium range. Compared to my beloved MUFE Face & Body Foundation (I consider that one light to light/medium coverage), Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum has a bit more coverage but still not quite solid, medium coverage.

- Semi-matte finish? Yes. I've heard some people refer to it as a slightly dewy foundation, but to me, that's kind of the same as slightly matte, no? I tend to think of foundation finishes as being either dewy, matte, or simply a variation of something in between :) Since I have oily skin, I always powder over my foundation, and this one is no exception.

Other points worth mentioning:
- It has a fairly strong rose/floral scent that disappears soon after application. I actually really enjoy the scent but then again, my skin isn't sensitive towards fragranced products. It smells much nicer than MUFE F&B, which smells like grandma makeup.

- It has good, but not great, lasting power. Yes, it does start to kind of wear off a bit and break down on my oily skin after 6-8 hours, but still, not too shabby.

- It does not contain SPF so while it fails to offer any sort of sun protection during the day, it photographs well with flash during nights out.

- Compared to the original Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation: I haven't used the original formula nearly enough to give it a full review (I only have a sample in shade #52), but basically, the two are completely different. The original has more coverage, doesn't blend as easily, lasts longer on the skin, and has a more matte finish.

Pump, pump, pump it up! It comes with a pump. That's all.

Bare skin

With Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation on (no powder or concealer)

I hope this review was helpful if you were curious about Healthy Mix Serum. Bottom line: I would definitely recommend this foundation for all skin types, except maybe for those who are extremely oily (I tend to fall into that category in the summer and as a result, I don't anticipate I'll be able to enjoy this foundation as much then).

Have you tried this foundation and if so, how did you like it?


Face of the Week.

It's pretty rare that I wear practically the same exact makeup look several days in a row, but ever since my Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow cherry was popped last week, I've been absolutely smitten with shade #15 Copper/Black Grey.




The only eyeshadow I have on here and the only one I've been wearing most days is shade #15. In the pan (see photo below), it appears to be an interesting, speckled combination of copper and black (surprise, surprise!). When applied, however, it's a gorgeous, warm, bronzey gold. It applies like a dream, similar to a cream product, but has the lasting power of a powder eyeshadow. I have notoriously difficult eyelids that are a bit oily and not conducive to allowing eyeshadow to last very long on them, but I still get fairly good wear time with my Armani ETK eyeshadow without any sort of base or primer. Over UDPP, however, the lasting power is impeccable - even after 12 hours, my eyeshadow still looks exactly the same as when I put it on 12 hours earlier! It's also worth noting that it absolutely does not need a base to enhance its pigmentation or application whatsoever; I simply use it for added lasting power :)

I pat it onto my lid and apply it to my lower lashline with a MAC 239 and blend it out with a MAC 217...that's it! If I'm going out at night, I'll apply a darker shade (the blackened teal shade from the NARS Dogon duo is a fabulous complement) to the outer corner and the lower lashline. Then, I tightline with my favorite black eyeliner, Milani Liquif'Eye Pencil in Black, apply one too many coats of mascara, and I'm good to go!


The star products of this past week:
Milani Baked Blush in Fantastico Mauve
Benefit Watt's Up
NARS Lipgloss in All Night Long
NARS Lipstick in Dolce Vita
Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow in #15

I've been loving darker, berry shades on my cheeks this fall/winter, and Milani Fantastico Mauve is great for that. It looks terrifying in the pan, but it's actually much pinker/berrier (Yes, berrier) than it is purple when it's applied. And a bit of NARS All Night Long lipgloss over NARS Dolce Vita lipstick is the perfect, very muted-berry lip combo. 

I've also been loving Benefit Watt's Up over Dior Amber Diamond lately, simply because it's a cream product and I sometimes tend to favor cream products over powder ones when my skin gets drier in the fall/winter. The color is very similar to Amber Diamond and it applies flawlessly under and over makeup (I'm talking, over powder and everything!). Review to come, of course ;)

What products have you been loving this week?


Milani Luminoso Baked Blush Giveaway!


[This giveaway is now closed.]

Hi everyone!

If you guys read my last post on My Favorite Products of 2011, you'll notice that a new addition to my favorite blush category is Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso! It's such a universally flattering shade, and as a small thank you for all the support I've received on my blog in recent months despite being an absent blogger, I wanted to give one of my readers the opportunity to win one :)




I've worn it in plenty of FOTDs so if you're interested in seeing how it looks on me, just click here, here, or here :)


.:Rules:.
1. You MUST be a follower of my blog through Google Friend Connect. No anonymous entries.
2. This giveaway is open internationally.
3. If you are under 18 years of age, you must have parental consent to give me your full name and address in the event you are the winner.
4. Simply leave a comment on this post saying anything you'd like and make sure your email is visible to me via Disqus or include it in your comment so I can contact you if you win.


This giveaway will be open until Monday, December 19th, 2011 at 11:59 pm Pacific Time. The winner will be chosen via Random.org. 


Good luck!! 



[This giveaway is now closed.]


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