3.31.2013

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer: Is It Worth the Hype?

The release of the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealers was an exciting one for me. I ordered them as soon as they were available on NARS' website and have been using them exclusively ever since in order to thoroughly test them out. Bottom line: They are fantastic concealers depending on where you're using them.
Honey (left) and Custard

I'll be honest with you. I only intended to get Custard but ended up with Honey too because I wanted free shipping (I placed my order mere hours before NARS released a new free shipping code -_-), but I didn't mind too much because I prefer to use a pink-toned concealer under my eyes anyway. 

The Radiant Creamy Concealers are liquid concealers that come with doe-foot applicators. I apply it to my face using the applicator (not super hygienic I suppose, but oh well) and blend it out using the Sephora Pro Airbrush Concealer Brush #57 (aka the best concealer brush known to man, but I'll save that for another post). They are easy to blend out and have close to full coverage. A little goes a long way with these.

Although I typically apply concealer over my foundation, for the purpose of showing how well the concealer covers on its own, I ditched the foundation and am only wearing concealer in the 'After' photos. To start, here is my bare face:

In the following photos, I used Custard to cover up my lovely blemishes and Honey to conceal my under-eye darkness. The photos on the left are the 'Before' shots, and the ones on the right are the 'After' shots with only concealer (no powder or foundation).

A full face 'After' photo:

Before and After:
If I don't set the concealer with powder, I find that it starts to break down little by little starting at the 5 hour mark on my combination skin. Nothing too major, though. Setting it with powder extends the wear time by 3 or so hours to about 8 hours total before I notice small signs of breakdown and separation due to the oils on my face. It doesn't really fade at all when used on my blemishes and areas of discoloration.

When used under my eyes, although Honey is pink-toned, I don't find that it completely neutralizes and conceals the darkness under and around my eyes as much as I had hoped. Don't get me wrong, it's definitely still one of the better concealers I've tried for under-eyes, but I find that I get the best results when I use almost any concealer over my Armani Master Corrector in #1 Pink instead. Honey is a great concealer, but it doesn't neutralize the darkness quite as well as the Armani corrector. When used for my under eye area, I notice that the concealer starts to fade after 6 or 7 hours with or without setting it first, but it doesn't breakdown or separate the way it does on the rest of my face.

As far as the shades I chose, although I initially thought both were great matches for me (I typically use terrible indoor lighting when doing my makeup), since the sun has been coming out more and I'm able to do my makeup using the natural sunlight coming through my window, I've noticed that both Honey and Custard are actually a touch too dark on my NC20-ish skin tone. They don't look ridiculously mismatched on me, but they definitely require a lot of blending to make the edges invisible. This can sometimes be a bit of an issue since too much blending puts you at risk of blending the concealer away completely :-/ The two lighter shades NARS offers (Chantilly and Vanilla) seem like they'd be too light on me, so I'm not sure that my perfect match even exists within the range, although I am rather impressed that there are 10 shades total.

Overall, I'm loving the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer for blemishes and hyperpigmentation, but the Armani Master Corrector in #1 (plus a concealer on top) is still my go-to for my under-eye area.

I purchased the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealers from NARS for $28 each.


3.30.2013

New Revlon Lip Butters.


It's no secret I'm a Revlon Lip Butter fan. I know not everyone is, but I find them to be quite moisturizing and easy to wear, and the wide array of colors means there's something for everyone. Combine my Lip Butter fanaticism with my makeup hoarder tendencies and you get me, obsessively scouring the aisles of Ulta and Target for Revlon's four new Lip Butter shade releases.
The four new shades, from left to right, are: Pink Lemonade, Juicy Papaya, Sorbet, and Wild Watermelon.

L to R: Pink Lemonade, Juicy Papaya, Sorbet, Wild Watermelon

Pink Lemonade is a pale peachy pink and is the sheerest of the four new shades. I also find that it applies the least evenly. When I wear it, my natural lip color still peeks through, which is good because I think it would be too pale on me otherwise. It doesn't add a ton of color to my decently pigmented lips, but I could see it being a nice option when I want to nude out my natural lip color a bit.

Juicy Papaya is a gorgeous, warm peach that I know I'll get a ton of use out of. I've already been wearing this constantly since getting it. It's such a flattering shade for everyday wear and just seems to go with everything. Undoubtedly one of my favorites of the bunch.

Sorbet is a hot pink that is warmer than shades like Lollipop. I love how it makes me look instantly put together, but the ease of application makes it quick and non-fussy - always a plus in my book. This is my other favorite shade.

 Wild Watermelon is pink-based red. As with all of the brighter and/or darker lip butter shades, Wild Watermelon is easy to apply and comfortable to wear, making it a great option for an on-the-go red.

None of these new shades contain shimmer, and all of them stay true to the fantastic lip butter formula and are easy to apply (albeit Pink Lemonade could apply a bit more evenly), comfortable to wear (moisturizing and they tend to wear off uniformly), and have varying levels of pigmentation that can be easily built up. My favorites are Juicy Papaya and Sorbet, although Wild Watermelon is also great if you're on the market for a sheer red. I'm not as wowed by Pink Lemonade, and seeing as how it's been the toughest one to hunt down, I'm a bit annoyed that I did. I'm sure I'll use it, but it's just not really that special, in my opinion. 

I first found Juicy Papaya, Sorbet and Wild Watermelon incorporated into the permanent Lip Butter display at Target, and I found Pink Lemonade a few days later on a special display separate from the permanent shades at Ulta, although I believe all four shades are now permanent. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong :)

What do you think of the new Revlon Lip Butter shades? Which one is your favorite?


3.26.2013

Stila Convertible Color in Sweet Pea.


Though the Stila Convertible Color formula is certainly not new to the beauty market by any means, Sweet Pea is the most recent shade addition to the veteran lip and cheek cream lineup.




Sweet Pea is a gorgeous vibrant pink, and as with all the Convertible Colors, it has a healthy, dewy finish; definitely not cream-to-powder, which I somewhat dislike (why not just use a powder then?). The formula is a tiny bit tackier than other cream blushes, but as a result, the lasting power is phenomenal. Also, despite the slightly stickier consistency, it doesn't feel sticky at all once blended onto the cheeks. I prefer to apply it with a brush, but it applies and blends easily with fingers as well.

On the lips, the finish is slightly shinier than the traditional satin lipstick finish, and it doesn't feel thick like you might expect based on the consistency. In actuality, it can be a bit drying and I don't like to wear it on the lips for too long, though it is pretty.

Below, I'm wearing Sweet Pea on my cheeks and my lips.



The Stila Convertible Colors are seriously my latest obsession. I also have the shades Petunia (featured in this post), Lillium and Peony, both of which I received deluxe samples of from Sephora ages ago. Sweet Pea, in particular, is absolutely perfect for spring and summer. I love how brightening it looks on my cheeks and that it's a flattering shade on the lips as well. I kinda want the whole line-up now. Overboard much?

I purchased the Stila Convertible Color in Sweet Pea from Sephora for $25.


3.22.2013

It's my 3rd Blogiversary!


First off, I wanted to thank everyone who entered my LORAC PRO Palette giveaway, as well as those who promoted it just out of the kindness of their hearts. I greatly appreciated all of your participation and support! I received a lot of great ideas for future blog posts, thanks to you guys :) The winner has already been chosen and contacted via email.



Today marks my 3rd blogiversary, and as cliché as it may sound, I really cannot believe it's already been 3 years (see above photo of surprised face!). I still remember my last semester in undergrad when I randomly decided to start up a beauty blog one day. Both my blog and I have come a long way since then!

Not to sound like an Academy Award winner or anything, but I really want to thank everyone who has supported me and my blog throughout the past 3 years. Thank you to everyone who follows my blog and those who don't but may still enjoy reading a post from time to time. Thank you to those who comment regularly, as well as those who may be more silent readers. Either way, I'm glad you're here :)

I've learned that the beauty blogging experience, both as a writer and a reader, is what you make of it. For me, I choose not to take blogging too seriously. It's my hobby, not my job, and I have every intention of keeping it that way. I don't have deadlines or requirements that need to be met in regards to my blog; I blog when I want to, and I blog about things I want to blog about, and I've been lucky enough to have readers that continue to respond positively. Those who have been reading my blog for a long time know that my blogging motto is to write the type of blog I would want to read, and this continues to be the best advice I could possibly give to other beauty bloggers. As long as you do that, your little space on the internet will always be something you can be proud of, no matter what.

Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I hope you'll continue to stick around :)

If you have a beauty blog as well, feel free to link it in the comments below. I'd love to check it out!


3.18.2013

Reminders: LORAC PRO Palette Giveaway and Bloglovin'!


Hi everyone! Just a friendly reminder that my LORAC PRO Palette giveaway ends tomorrow at midnight, so get  your entries in now if you haven't already. I'll choose the winner randomly and notify them via email by this Friday. Can't wait to see who the lucky person will be! :) Click here to enter.

Also, unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably all heard about Google Reader going bye-bye this July. Of course, this isn't the same as Google Friend Connect, but I don't think it is unrealistic to assume that GFC may follow suit not long after. I would greatly appreciate it if all of you who currently following me via GFC could make the switch over to Bloglovin' as well. That way, if and when that change does occur, you won't miss out on any posts :) Click here to follow me on Bloglovin'.

I actually just switched over yesterday, and it was super easy to import all of the blogs I was following via GFC into Bloglovin'. No need to do it manually or anything. Jessica from Getting Cheeky has a great, simply tutorial on how to do this in her post.

Hope you all are having a great start to the week!

3.17.2013

Creamy Cheeks.


Now that my skin is more balanced and normal, I've been embracing cream cheek products more because they just seem to look nicer on my skin. Since my skin isn't as oily, they don't slip and slide off my face, and since my dry patches are gone, there's nothing for the creams to emphasize or cling to anymore. Hallelujah!

Today, I opted for a cheek combo that consists of all cream products.
L to R:
Illamasqua Cream Blusher in Lies
Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronze Universel
Stila Convertible Color in Petunia

I used my Sephora I.T. Contour Brush (I think it may be discontinued) to apply the Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronze Universel under my cheekbones as a contour. It can lean a bit orange, especially on fair skin tones, so it's important to use as little product as necessary to get your desired effect.
Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronze Universel (with annoying brush hairs...grrr!)

Using the same Sephora contour brush, I applied the Stila Convertible Color in Petunia to my cheekbones, concentrating the color more towards my hairline and avoiding the apples of my cheeks altogether. I've been experimenting with different blush placements lately, and I've really enjoyed the look of brighter blushes here :)
Stila Convertible Color in Petunia

To finish off my cheeks, I applied Illamasqua Cream Blusher in Lies to the tops of my cheekbones with a Real Techniques Setting Brush as a highlight, gently blending it down into Petunia. Although it is a cream blusher, Lies is a pearlescent baby pink that is really more of a highlighter than anything. Even on fairer skin tones, I think Lies would be too shimmery and pearly to be used as a blush.

(Note: The blush looks like a medium pink in the pan, but if you notice, the middle part where I've worn off the top layer with a brush is a much lighter pink, and that is the color that is indicative of Lies.)
Illamasqua Cream Blusher in Lies

L to R:
Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronze Universel
Stila Convertible Color in Petunia
Illamasqua Cream Blusher in Lies



I think the key when concentrating the application of three products all on the cheeks is to blend, blend, blend. Blend into the skin, but also blend into each of the other products. 

When I apply my contour, I place it under the cheekbones initially, but then I blend it up towards the cheekbones. Blending down would defeat the purpose of creating a shadow directly under the cheekbones and just leave a brown mess too close to your jawline.

I apply my blush where I want it, blending it into the skin so that there are no definitive lines, and when I apply my highlighter to the tops of the cheekbones, I blend it down into the blush. Especially when using cream products with textures that complement each other, as these three do, the finished product will never look like the result of using three different products, but rather just a perfectly sculpted cheekbone.


What are your favorite cream cheek products?


3.13.2013

The Nighttime Routine.


While it is crucial for me that my daytime skincare routine remains simple and concise since I often find myself in a scramble to get out the door on time most mornings, my nighttime routine is less time dependent and is able to incorporate a few more aspects beyond just cleansing and hydration, such as treatment and nourishment.


If I am wearing makeup that particular day, I will start by removing it with my Shu Uemura Fresh Cleansing Oil. This is the best makeup remover I have ever used, and it is the only thing I've ever tried that completely dissolves and removes my waterproof mascara with ease (meaning, without taking my lashes off with it). 

Although the oil can also be used as a cleanser on its own, hence the name, I prefer to complete my second cleanse (or first, if I'm not wearing makeup) with the Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural Lift and Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm, which I reviewed the other day. The Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil succeeds at removing all of the makeup that is visible on my face, but I always have traces of foundation left over that do not end up coming off until my second cleanse. 

After patting my face dry, I apply about one third of a pipette full of the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Serum to my entire face and neck, carefully avoiding my eyes. If I have any breakouts or am anticipating any breakouts (that time of the month), I'll generously apply the Kate Somerville Anti Bac Acne Treatment Lotion only to the areas that I need it, typically my forehead and chin. It contains 5% benzoyl peroxide, and I find it works quite well at healing and preventing breakouts without drying out my skin much in the process.

Once the serum has sunk in and any necessary acne treatment has been applied, I apply a hydrating serum, such as the Vichy Aqualia Thermal Fortifying & Soothing 24 Hr Hydrating Concentrate or Indeed Labs Hydraluron (not pictured). Reviews on both are coming soon. Once the serum has fully absorbed into my skin (it takes only a few seconds), I seal in the moisture with a moisturizer, because let's not forget: a serum is a serum, and a moisturizer is a moisturizer. They are not interchangeable. A hydrating serum works to increase and maximize the amount of moisture provided to the skin, but the key is that the moisture must be provided somehow, and this is where a moisturizer comes in. The one I'm currently using after running out of my Kate Somerville Goat Cream (R.I.P.) is the Embryollise Lait-Crème Concentrè. I've been using it for less than a week, but so far, I'm impressed. (Thanks for the recommendation, Jessica!)

The last step in my nighttime routine is eye cream, and I use my ring fingers to pat the Pai Echium Anti-Ageing Eye Cream under and around my eyes. Despite being a fairly light consistency, it is incredibly moisturizing.

Of course, once everything is typed out and explained, the routine seems ridiculously long and time consuming, but in reality, I have everything down to around 10 minutes. And let's be honest, if there's anything in a beauty routine that is deserving of more time and attention, it's the skin. Period.


3.12.2013

A Spring Pink Flush.


Following up on my FOTD post where I wore Chanel Rose Initiale but mentioned I don't turn to pink blushes as often as I should, I discovered that there are actually a few pinks that I absolutely adore. Especially with spring right around the corner, a healthy pink flush is definitely on the beauty agenda.

Clockwise from top left:
Benefit Bella Bamba
Accessorize Starlet
Benefit Sugarbomb
Collection 2000 Blushalicious
Illamasqua Hussy


L to R:
Benefit Bella Bamba
Accessorize Starlet
Benefit Sugarbomb
Collection 2000 Blushalicious
Illamasqua Hussy


Benefit Bella Bamba is a bright and fun glittery, medium pink blush that resembles the shimmery offspring of Collection 2000 Blushalicious and Illamasqua Hussy if they were to have an adorable little blush baby. While some may find it too shimmery, I love me some sparkle every now and again, so I don't mind. Given my pale winter complexion at the moment, I have to use a light hand, but it's definitely still wearable.

Accessorize Starlet is one of the few cool-toned pinks that I just can't get enough of. Although I typically find I suit warmer tones better, the contrast of a cool toned baby pink against my skin tone can be quite youthful and refreshing, and Starlet is one of my favorites for this purpose, without a doubt.

Benefit Sugarbomb is probably the least pink pink of the five blushes in this post, coming in just shy of full pink status as a shimmery, pale peachy pink. Sugarbomb is one of my favorite everyday blushes and for light to medium skin tones, you can't really go wrong with this in your collection. Unlike Bella Bamba which can sometimes come off as glittery, Sugarbomb has more of a sheen that illuminates my complexion.

Collection 2000 Shimmer Shades in Blushalicious is a fantastic four-in-one blush, and the swatch above represents the shades all mixed together. It's a bit lighter than both Bella Bamba and Hussy, and as you might have already guessed based on the cryptic name, it's shimmery ;) This blush is a great one to travel with as each individual shade also looks great on it's own. If I'm looking for a lighter pink, I might swirl the two left shades together, or if it's a deeper, more corally pink I'm after, I'll swirl the two right shades together. The possibilities are endless with Blushalicious. Tacky name; great product.

Illamasqua Hussy is a matte, bright watermelon pink that may be a bit more suitable for the summer months, but applied lightly with care, it can definitely also work on paler skin in the spring. As it's very pigmented, I like to tap my blush brush in once or twice and tap and swirl off any excess product on the back of my hand before lightly dusting it onto my cheeks. It takes a bit of practice to not overdo it, but once you get it right, it's oh so right

What are some of your pink blush picks for spring?


Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural Lift and Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm.


Cleansing balms were completely new to me just a mere 2 months ago. Prior to that, my skin cleansing arsenal was a pitiful one, and I really didn't have any agents that were capable of giving me a deep, thorough clean that didn't leave my face feeling stripped of moisture. With the incorporation of the Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural Lift and Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm into my line-up, my nighttime skin cleansing routine has never been the same.


I reviewed the Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser a few weeks ago and mentioned that I thought I might love it even more than the Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm, but the more I use both of them, the more I realize how different they are and how they shouldn't necessarily be compared. 

Although I can certainly use either of them day or night, I've come to prefer the Pai in the mornings for a quick, refreshing clean and the Emma Hardie at night for a more hydrating, intensive cleanse after I've removed my makeup with the Shu Uemura Fresh Cleansing Oil (my HG makeup removing product!). 

Although it was undeniable that the Emma Hardie cleansing balm was a great cleanser, I couldn't help but be a bit underwhelmed the first few weeks I used it. I just didn't see what all of the fuss was about if I'm being honest....perhaps because it was such a hyped up product? But the more I used it, the more I got it.


I scoop out about an almond-sized amount of the balm into my hands and mix it with a bit of warm water to emulsify it before applying it onto my dry, makeup-free skin, slowly massaging it over my eyes, onto my face, and down my neck. It never stings my eyes or causes my vision to go blurry. Then, with a damp washcloth or their cleansing cloth, I gently rub my skin in circular motions before wiping the product off. If necessary, I'll give my face a quick rinse at the end to remove any excess product, but this is rare. 

After removal of the balm, my skin feels clean, but more importantly, hydrated, nourished and incredibly soft and supple. There are never any traces of residue or greasiness left over from the balm.


The only downside to this product, for me, is that I seem to be going through it at an extortionate rate. After about 2 months of use only at night, I think I'm well past the halfway mark. Maybe that's normal? Many reviews I've read have said that they can get away with using very little product with each cleanse, but I find anything less than an almond-sized amount just gets worked into my skin rather than cleansing it. 

The balm smells gorgeous - like oranges and jasmine. Emma Hardie claims it can also be used as a rescue balm of sorts when applied to dry patches of skin on the elbows and knees, etc., or as an intensive moisturizing facial treatment when applied like a mask all over the face then removed with a damp cloth after 10 to 15 minutes. I'll be honest - I haven't tried it for either of these purposes yet, although I am looking forward to using it as a facial treatment very soon. If that doesn't sound soothing and luxurious, I don't know what does.

Similarly to the Pai cleanser, I would recommend the Emma Hardie cleansing balm for just about everyone, regardless of your skin type. It leaves skin feeling clean, soothed, and refreshed while also providing the perfect amount of hydration that never leaves skin feeling tight and would be suitable for both drier and oilier skin types (plus an appropriate moisturizer +/- a serum, of course!).

As far as cleansing balms are concerned, I'm sold. Though I love this Emma Hardie balm, curiosity often gets the best of me, and I'm contemplating trying the REN No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm next. Has anyone tried it? Thoughts?

I ordered the Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural Lift and Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm (100ml) as a part of a set on Beauty Bay for around $50 (I think it may have been on sale at the time), but it's also available on Feel Unique for $56.


3.09.2013

Pink, Pink, and More Pink, ft. Chanel Rose Initiale.



Evidently, I'm having a bit of a pink moment right now, which is perfect because I've been meaning to talk about one of my favorite pink blushes, Chanel Jouer Contraste Blush in Rose Initiale.


Rose Initiale is my first and only Chanel blush (not to say that won't change sometime ;), and to be honest, I kind of bought it on a whim. Pink isn't really my go-to shade for blush, as I tend to prefer something a bit more peachy or coral usually. However, everytime I asked for Chanel blush shade recommendations on Twitter (you can see I've contemplated adding one to my collection for quite some time now), Rose Initiale was always among the few shades people loved and recommended for me. So, finally, one day I caved.



Rose Initiale is a warm, medium pink with sparse, micro-shimmer that I can detect up close in the pan but not on the skin. On skin, it translates to the slightest sheen instead of shimmer. I think it's a great pink blush for everyday and definitely not Barbie-esque in any way.


Today, I applied Rose Initiale toward the backs of my cheeks rather than directly on the apples of my cheeks, as I find that especially with darker pinks, it can often cause the face to look too made up.


For the rest of my face, I used the Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation in 130 Shell for the first time today, so we'll see how it wears on my skin. I will say that I really like the natural finish, right off the bat. I followed up with my NARS Radiant Creamy Concealers (Honey under eyes and Custard on the rest of my face) and dusted a bit of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light just down my t-zone, since I want to be able to see how the foundation holds up without powder too.


On my eyes, I used my LORAC PRO Palette (shades Nude, Light Pink, Mauve and Deep Purple) with the Stila Smudge Crayon in Pink Violet on my lower lash line. I typically don't love pink tones around my eyes, but Pink Violet is gorgeous. For mascara, I used my usual Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Volumizing mascara.

To finish off, I have the Too Faced Lip Cream in Razzle Dazzle Rose, which I can already tell will become a fast favorite. I was on the market for the perfect medium pink lipstick for everyday, and although I'm still interested in MAC Speed Dial (anyone have it and love it?), for the time being, I'm more than content with Razzle Dazzle Rose filling that void instead. And Too Faced's Lip Cream formula is perfection. Literally, perfection.

And in case any of you don't already have the LORAC PRO Palette, don't forget to enter my giveaway! It really is an amazing, must-have palette :) Click here for the giveaway post.

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend! ♥


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