6.23.2013

The Perfect Brow Pencil for Black Hair.

Finding a brow product that suits black hair can be a challenge. The sparser your brows and the more filling in they need, the more difficult it is to find a color match because it's even more visible. 

I've always used dark brown brow powders for my brows because I feared black would look much too severe and harsh, but I was never completely satisfied with the color match. It was always very obvious to me when I looked in the mirror that my hair was black and my brows were brown. Not exactly the most natural looking, if you ask me. So, when Procastinating Pretty mentioned that Shiseido made a grey-toned brow pencil on my last brow routine post, I knew I had to give it a try.

The Shiseido Natural Eyebrow Pencil in GY901 Natural Black is a soft grey-black pencil with a rather thick angled brush on the opposite end. After drawing short strokes through my brows, I use the brush to ever so gently blend it together to fill in any visible gaps and soften the edges as needed (leaving the tail alone). The pencil itself has a rather hard texture that still allows me to easily fill in my brows without requiring much pressure or effort, but it's not creamy where I'd have to worry about it smearing or wearing off after a few hours. 

I wasn't exactly keen on the idea of trying a brow pencil, to be honest, because in my experience, they tend to make my brows look overly drawn on, something I already have an issue with because my brows are naturally so sparse. I was actually completely happy and content with how my Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Brunette performed, aside from the fact that it was too brown for me.

When I tried the Shiseido pencil for the first time, I actually thought my brows looked too grey; however, after a few days, I started getting used to it and after taking FOTD photos, I noticed how much more natural they looked - like my brows actually belonged on my face for once.

Another great thing about this pencil is the lasting power. Although I generally didn't have issues with the Anastasia brow powder lasting on me, I did notice that sometimes, at the end of a long day, my brows would fade a bit in certain places and turn quite shiny due to my combination skin. With the Shiseido pencil, my brows rarely become shiny at all, and if they do, it's to a much lesser extent than with the brow powder. Even after a 15+ hour day, I can feel confident that my brows haven't gone wonky or better yet, disappeared into oblivion.


Bare brows

Brows filled in with the Shiseido Natural Eyebrow Pencil in GY901 Natural Black
(By the way, does anyone else have one "good brow?" I think my left brow (your right) is perfection, but my right brow always seems to be marching to the beat of its own drum. Sigh.)

For comparison purposes, on the left, I used the Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Brunette, and on the right, I used the Shiseido Natural Eyebrow Pencil in GY901 Natural Black. I think the brow color on the right suits my hair color much better. What do you guys think?

There are times that I still wonder if my brows appear a bit grey, but in general, I'd say the color match of this Shiseido pencil is infinitely better with my black hair than anything I've tried in the past. Good thing the formula happens to be a winner too! For those who have thicker brows than I do, I think this grey-toned pencil would easily blend in with your brows and look incredibly natural.

Black-haired ladies: Your brows need more grey and less brown. I repeat - more grey; less brown.

I purchased the Shiseido Natural Eyebrow Pencil in GY901 Natural Black from Nordstrom for $20.


Chanel Le Blush Crème de Chanel in Présage.

I'm a sucker for cream blushes. I'm also a sucker for anything Chanel. So, when I heard Chanel was releasing new cream blushes with their fall collection, I couldn't get my grubby little hands on one fast enough. 

Présage, a bright apricot-coral, screamed my name and quickly weaseled its way into my shopping cart and onto my cheeks.

It's no secret that I'm generally not a fan of cream-to-powder blush formulas; however, the Le Blush Crème de Chanel formula isn't quite cream-to-powder. It starts off as a cream, but the second you start blending it into the skin, it dries down. Don't get me wrong - it doesn't become difficult to blend at that point; it's just not creamy anymore...but not exactly powdery either. It doesn't have the same silicone-y feeling that cream-to-powder formulas typically have.

I've only used Présage once so far, and to be honest, I thought I was going to have to experiment a bit with application and test it out for a few days before being able to review it after hearing that some people found it difficult to apply or that it didn't last long on the skin. But, once I tried it for myself, I actually didn't run into a single issue. I applied Présage with the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush over unpowdered foundation, and it applied and blended the blush beautifully. And when I went to take my makeup off 9 hours later, it was still going strong.

From what I gather, because the Le Blush Crème de Chanel is a denser cream formula and not as creamy or "wet" as say, a MAC blushcreme or an Illamasqua cream blusher, how well it applies and how long it lasts on the skin will depend heavily on the brush you use to apply it.....and your skin type of course. After finding success using the Expert Face Brush, I think the key is really to use a dense brush to work the product into the skin, which will help it to last throughout the day as well. With most cream blushes, including PrésageI apply them by patting the color down onto my cheeks first, then gently blending it out using a quick dabbing motion in order to not move the foundation/concealer underneath. And though I have combination skin, my cheeks are typically more "normal," so those with oily skin on their cheeks too may experience issues with these blushes lasting on them.
Présage is incredibly pigmented but also easy to sheer out with blending. It doesn't have any shimmer, and once you start blending it into the skin, it dries down, loses all shine and becomes matte without appearing heavy, cakey or powdery.


Overall, I really enjoy the no-fuss Le Blush Crème de Chanel formula, and Présage is a beautiful shade for summer or just a quick complexion pick-me-up. I don't absolutely love it, simply because I prefer dewy, true cream blush formulas myself, but I can definitely see others falling in love with these, especially when the shade range is utter perfection.

I purchased the Chanel Le Blush Crème de Chanel in Présage from Nordstrom for $38.


6.09.2013

My Favorite Look This Week #2

This week, my favorite look was a quick and simple (not to mention brushless), messy, smudgy, slept-in smokey eye. And no, I don't mean literally.

Using only fingers, I applied MAC Constructivist Paint Pot all over the lid, messily applied then smudged a rich black pencil liner (Urban Decay Perversion, in my case) into my upper lash line, and finished off with Milani Brown Deluxe smudged into my bottom lash line.

Best part about this look? No need to carefully apply mascara because any mascara that inadvertently ends up on the lid blends right into the smudged black liner anyway, so I just quickly (and rather carelessly) slicked on two generous coats :)

Hourglass Immaculate Foundation in Shell
MAC Paint Pot in Constructivist
UD 24/7 Liner in Perversion
Milani Shadow Eyez in Brown Deluxe
NARS Bronzer in Laguna
Rouge Bunny Rouge Blush in Gracilis
MAC Lipstick in Flamingo


I finished off the look with quite a bit of bronzer, a pinch of blush, and a swipe of cheery pink on my lips. Had my look not been tailored to be more work appropriate, I would have preferred to smudge black liner on my lower lash line instead to really maximize the slept-in appeal, and then swap out the pink lip for one of the nude variety to balance out the heavier eyes. 

Either way, I love how quick it is to create this slept-in smokey eye, how impossible it is to mess it up, and how once it's on, it does. not. budge.

What was your favorite look this week?


6.08.2013

Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation.

The newest addition to my foundation arsenal is the Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation. Recently, I started working and I often need my foundation to not only look flawless (or at the very least, decentfor 10+ hours, but I was also interested in finding something that could free me from having to blot my t-zone every other hour or so....because let's be honest: ain't nobody got time for that.

So, I turned to Hourglass' option: an oil-free, "liquid powder" foundation that claims to be mattifying and long-lasting, all while also providing anti-aging benefits. After trying out a generous sample, I went against my makeup collection's wishes (which are along the lines of "stop putting more stuff in here; there's already not enough room!") and scooped up the real deal.

I have the Hourglass Immaculate Foundation in the shade Shell, and it's described as "fair with neutral undertones." For reference, I'm around an NC20 and I think it matches me perfectly. 

Though it is a liquid product, I find it to be more in the realm of a liquid-cream hybrid, as it is thicker than most liquid foundations. However, it blends out into a powder finish, and due to the silicones that allow for the liquid to powder conversion, it is also ridiculously easy and effortless to spread across the skin and blend.

Despite having a powder finish, I don't find that it appears cakey or feels heavy on the skin at all. Hourglass describes Immaculate foundation as having a "soft, velvet finish," and I'd have to agree completely. Bear in mind, I have combination skin, and those with drier skin types may not necessarily experience the same results. I typically wear one thin, even layer and find that it is more or less undetectable, even up close. It has medium coverage that is quite easily buildable as well, although the more you build, the more you risk moving into potentially cakey territory - inevitable due to the powder finish.

The mattifying and oil-control properties of the Immaculate foundation typically cut down my need to blot from nearly every other hour to just once or twice in a work day, which is pretty significant in my book. I actually appreciate that although it is mattifying, it still allows my natural "glow" (aka oil) to peek through because it keeps my overall complexion from looking flat. It lasts about 8 hours on me before I start to notice signs of separation or break down slightly on my t-zone. I don't typically use a primer or setting powder with it as I find there is no need.


Wearing Hourglass Immaculate Foundation in Shell:

Just when I thought I couldn't possibly be peeled away from the glowy, dewy skin look I love so much, Immaculate Foundation came in, stole my heart and has quickly become one of my favorites. It's perfect for long days and warmer weather, and I know it will be a staple in my daily routine this summer.

I purchased the Hourglass Immaculate Foundation in Shell from Sephora for $55.


6.07.2013

Rouge Bunny Rouge Long-Lasting Eye Shadow in Abyssinian Catbird.

When I first saw swatches of Rouge Bunny Rouge Long-Lasting Eye Shadow in Abyssinian Catbird, I knew I'd have to make it mine one day.


Abyssinian Catbird is a gorgeous golden bronze with an olive undertone, and quite frankly, it's one of those shade that I know I'll never grow tired of. It's sophisticated, yet so very un-boring, if you know what I mean. It's a must-have for brown-eyed girls.


Abyssinian Catbird is incredibly pigmented and buttery smooth...almost creamy. I can wear it without primer with much more impressive results than most other powder eyeshadow formulas; however, I still prefer to use primer when I need for it to last beyond 8 hours. 


Below, I wore Abyssinian Catbird on the lid with a bit of bronzer through the crease. On me, the olive tones are much more apparent when applied than when swatched, which I don't mind at all as it sets it apart from other bronze shades in my collection.

As far as I'm concerned, Rouge Bunny Rouge can do no wrong. So far, based on the few products I've tried (and loved!), the quality seems to be akin to a brand like Burberry but at a slightly more affordable price point. I'm not complaining ;)

I purchased Rouge Bunny Rouge Long-Lasting Eye Shadow in Abyssinian Catbird from BeautyHabit, and it retails for $25.


6.02.2013

Rouge Bunny Rouge Long-Lasting Eye Shadow in Delicate Hummingbird.

Another day, another Rouge Bunny Rouge infatuation.

Delicate Hummingbird is one of Rouge Bunny Rouge's Long-Lasting Eye Shadows, and it's a shimmery, plum-taupe. It's B-E-A-uuuutiful.

Delicate Hummingbird has a silky soft, incredibly smooth texture. Even when I applied it with a fluffy crease brush on un-primed lids like I did today, there was absolutely zero fallout. The pigmentation is really good, although I'll admit, it isn't amazing. Unlike the other eyeshadow shade I picked up, Delicate Hummingbird is just a bit lacking in the pigmentation department, although the problem could easily be rectified with the use of a primer or patting it on with a shader brush instead of sweeping it on with a fluffy brush as I have. Also, the lasting power is phenomenal, even without a primer underneath, and it performs much like Burberry shadows do on me.


The shimmer really does just dazzle in the sunlight!

Although Delicate Hummingbird is much more purple than it is taupe, I think it could easily lean one way or the other depending on what color base you choose to wear underneath. Using a purple base will obviously bring out even more of the purple tones, while using a brown or grey base will make it appear a bit more taupe.


I wore Delicate Hummingbird today on my lid and lower lashline. Besides that, I just have a tiny bit of bronzer blended above my crease.

I'm thrilled to have Delicate Hummingbird in my collection. The formula is dreamy, and I always love me a good plummy taupe. And an eyeshadow that I don't have to pair with a primer? Count me in.

Rouge Bunny Rouge Long-Lasting Eye Shadow in Delicate Hummingbird retails for $25, and I purchased mine from BeautyHabit.


6.01.2013

Rouge Bunny Rouge Original Skin Blush in Gracilis.

I recently had my Rouge Bunny Rouge cherry popped when I acquired a few bits from the brand, and let me tell you: RBR is a must-try brand. End of story.

To be honest, I've been wanting to try RBR for quite a long while now, but since it can be more of a hard to find brand, it wasn't at the top of my beauty priority list and I often forgot about it until I'd see another raving review pop up in my blog reading list. About a week ago though, I finally took the plunge and was dying to see what all the hype was about.

In addition to two eyeshadows that I'll save for another time, I picked up a RBR Original Skin Blush in the shade Gracilis, a soft, baby pink with a touch of mauve. Gracilis seems to be a favorite among many who are familiar with RBR, and who could forget this post on Beauty Professor a while back. I knew it had to be good.

Gracilis has a tiny bit of shimmer that I can detect in the pan and in my arm swatch, but my camera wasn't quite able to pick it up, which goes to show you how sparse and inconspicuous it is. Furthermore, on my cheeks, Gracilis reads more as a soft matte that somehow still manages to impart a bit of glow to the skin. I love that the mauve undertone keeps Gracilis from leaning too cool, and I absolutely think it is a soft pink that would look equally as beautiful on warmer skin tones as it would on cool skin tones.

The texture is insanely soft and silky, but not powdery. Though it claims to have sheer pigmentation, I don't find that to be the case with Gracilis. It certainly is not a blush that you need to pack onto your blush brush in order to get it to show up on the skin. If anything, I think that the formulation that allows for the supposed sheer pigmentation actually allows the blush to melt into the skin and need close to no blending at all.


Wearing Rouge Bunny Rouge Gracilis below:

I'm absolutely smitten with Gracilis (and RBR, for that matter!). Even for someone like me who isn't typically drawn towards pink blushes, it's difficult not to fall in love with Gracilis' natural flush that just wakens up the complexion instantaneously and effortlessly. Who doesn't want that?

RBR Original Skin Blush in Gracilis retails for $28, and I purchased mine from Beautyhabit.


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