6.30.2015

Butter London Bloody Brilliant Lip Crayon Review + Giveaway!

Butter London recently sent over their Bloody Brilliant Lip Crayons for me to try out, and although I'd not yet tried any of their makeup products before, their nail polishes are pretty top notch, so I had high expectations. These did not disappoint.

Butter London Bloody Brilliant Lip Crayons ($20) are available in eight shades, and I have seven of them, not including Ladybird, an orange-red. The formula claims to be 3-in-1, with the "precision of a liner, shine of a gloss, full coverage of a lipstick." These are not twist-up and need to be sharpened, but there is a conveniently located sharpener hidden in the cap. The formula is incredibly hydrating and creamy with medium to full pigmentation and a shiny finish. Despite its creaminess, it's not so slippery that the color bleeds, feathers or smears easily (my pet peeve with brighter and deeper lip shades). It has average lasting power, but I love how comfortable the formula feels on my lips, so I don't mind reapplying. (Just a word of caution: these can get pretty melty! The tip of Teddy Boy snapped off as I was applying it the other day, and that's just from sitting in my handbag indoors.) The seven shades I have are:

:: Tea With The Queen - peachy nude
:: Trout Pout - peachy coral
:: Teddy Boy - mauvey rose
:: Primrose Hill Picnic - fuchsia
:: Disco Biscuit - blue-based lavender pink
:: Ruby Murray - deep red
:: Toff - vampy, brown-tinged purple-wine
L to R: Tea With The Queen, Trout Pout, Teddy Boy, Primrose Hill Picnic, Disco Biscuit, Ruby Murray, Toff
Clockwise from top right: Tea With The Queen, Trout Pout, Teddy Boy, Primrose Hill Picnic, Disco Biscuit, Ruby Murray, Toff
I was on a matte lip kick for a while, so I wasn't sure how I'd feel about these lip crayons and their shiny finish, but I'm actually a huge fan. Teddy Boy is currently my favorite of the bunch (it's like a my-lips-but-better shade on me), although Trout Pout and Primrose Hill Picnic will undoubtedly be on current rotation too, especially in the summer. Ruby Murray and Toff are welcomed additions to my lipstick stash, as they are shades I don't already have, and I cannot wait to wear them non-stop in the fall and winter months.

The best part about these? Butter London sent over an extra set of the seven Bloody Brilliant Lip Crayons, and I'm giving them away! Good luck!



Disclosure: The products in this post were sent to me for consideration for a review. The giveaway prize is courtesy of Butter London. I am not affiliated with the company, nor am I getting paid for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are based solely on my own experience with the products.

6.27.2015

Holy Grail Material? CoverGirl The Super Sizer Waterproof Mascara

I've mentioned once or twice (or a hundred times) that Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Volumizing Mascara has been my holy grail mascara for the past three years or so. I've tried others during that time, but nothing provided as much volume, length and most importantly, held a curl, on my pin straight, sparse lashes even remotely as well as it could. Though it's certainly not a mascara that would work for everyone, on my puny Asian lashes, it was everything I could want. Its only downfall was that, despite being waterproof, it had a tendency to smudge a bit from my top lashes onto my lower lash line, but I was willing to work with it.

After having gone through literally tubes and tubes of that mascara with two currently sitting in my back-up stash, I was wary of trying something new, mostly because I doubted anything could surpass my love for the Stila. I'm not sure that I even know what made me want to pick up CoverGirl's newest mascara offering, The Super Sizer Mascara (I got the waterproof version), but I did, and my, oh my - I may just have found my new holy grail.
CoverGirl The Super Sizer Waterproof Mascara ($6) boasts volume, and lots of it - 400% more, to be exact. That's a pretty bold claim, but after trying it, it's tough to deny that it's incredibly volumizing. It takes my thin, sparse lashes and makes them look noticeably fuller, without being clumpy. Although I'm able to get a bit more volume out of the Stila, that one has a tendency to border on tarantula lashes if I overdo it, even just a little. The two are about equal when it comes to their moderate lengthening capabilities. What impressed me the most about The Super Sizer is its ability to hold a curl. I thought the Stila was the bees knees when it came to this, but The Super Sizer has got that one beat in the curl department. The curl of my lashes literally looks exactly the same from the second I curl my lashes until the moment I remove my mascara at night. Exactly. The. Same. 

Another area in which The Super Sizer beats out Stila is that it doesn't smudge at all. None whatsoever. I've also cried while wearing this mascara (I mistakenly clicked on some sad YouTube videos...) and can confirm that it is, in fact, waterproof....which leads me to my last point, and also the only downside to The Super Sizer - the removal. Being an avid waterproof mascara wearer, I'm used to a more difficult removal, and I expect it. However, even with my usual cleansing oils, removing all of my mascara at night is a new struggle I've never encountered before. I'm typically only able to remove about 80-90% of it, and I just accept that waking up with some degree of raccoon eyes is the small price I have to pay for have great looking lashes throughout the day. Sigh. I'm avoiding the inevitable, but I think I may finally need to invest in a waterproof eye makeup remover.

The uniquely shaped plastic brush of CoverGirl The Super Sizer

Top to bottom: Before and After

Top to bottom: Before and After
Keep in mind, my lashes in their natural state are nearly undetectable because they're incredibly sparse, thin and straight. The fact that you can actually see my lashes in the 'after' photo shows how great the mascara is. In the comparison directly above, even though I'm looking down, you can clearly see how lifted and curled my lashes are with The Super Sizer on, compared to the 'before' pic where they're pointing straight down.

So where does this leave me, in terms of which mascara I deem to be my holy grail? As much as it surprises me to say this, I think my Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Volumizing Mascara has finally been dethroned. Though not quite as volumizing as its predecessor, CoverGirl The Super Sizer Waterproof Mascara holds a curl better, provides more overall lift and has proven to be completely smudgeproof and less clump-prone, making it my new favorite mascara. I'll just go ahead and add 'waterproof eye makeup remover' to my shopping list then.


6.24.2015

L'Occitane Does Tinted Lip Balms

This post contains PR samples
I'm a big fan of easy, swipe-and-go lip products, so tinted lip balms are definitely something I go for. Seeing as how my lips are dry more often than not, products that are hydrating and nourishing will always stand out to me. When I heard L'Occitane was releasing new tinted lip balms, I was super excited. I've loved so many of the L'Occitane products I've tried, including their Shea Butter Cleansing Oil, which is one of my all-time favorite cleansing oils. You could say I had high expectations.
Right off the bat, I noticed the packaging of the L'Occitane Pivoine Sublime Tinted Lip Balms ($16) was very similar to that of the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments. They're metal, color-coordinated and have twist-off lids. It's definitely aesthetically pleasing. Each with SPF 25 and a delicate peony scent, the collection contains four lip balms inspired by the hues of peonies: Transparent, Rose Nude, Rose Plum and Rose Amber.

L to R: Transparent, Rose Nude, Rose Plum, Rose Amber
The transparent one is exactly that and offers no color whatsoever. I was most excited to try Rose Amber, hoping it would make a great throw-on nude shade that I could keep in my handbag for applying a hint of color and hydration on-the-go. Unfortunately, I found the shade to truly be more amber (yellow-brown) than nude, thus appearing a bit off against my complexion. It just seems to age me or something. I'm not sure. Then, I tried Rose Nude, a pinky rose shade. This shade suits me more than Rose Amber does, although I noticed after trying these two that the pigmentation seemed a bit more sheer than I was expecting, which is neither good nor bad, as it is a tinted lip balm, after all. 

Having come to this conclusion regarding the pigmentation, I swiped on Rose Plum one night, sans mirror, and when I happened to look in a mirror some time later, I was a bit shocked. This one is surprisingly pigmented, much more than the previous two, and seeing as how it's also the deepest shade, I basically did a double-take in the mirror, trying to recall when I had applied such a statement lip (and so badly, at that!). This is the thing about bolder shades in lip balm formulations: they tend to slip and slide around more than I'm comfortable with, and it's difficult to keep the edges clean, you know? I tend to steer clear, though the color of Rose Plum is very, very pretty. Definitely my favorite of the three tints, color-wise.

L to R: Rose Nude, Rose Plum, Rose Amber
As far as the formula is concerned, I'm afraid I'm just meh on these. Perhaps I set my expectations too high, as I love L'Occitane products normally, and I thought these would be very similar to the Fresh lip balms, but I just don't find these to be nearly moisturizing enough on my dry, chronically dehydrated puckers. Compared to the Fresh lip balms, which are notoriously soft and prone to melting, these feel much more solid. The texture feels incredibly thin and lightweight on the lips...almost too lightweight, if I'm being honest, where it doesn't feel substantial enough to really coat and nourish my lips. Contrary to its 8-hour hydration claim, these last maybe an hour on me before I need to reapply, which doesn't surprise me, considering the texture.

All is not lost, however, because I appreciate that these offer some sun protection. I'm planning on keeping either the transparent or Rose Nude one in my beach/pool bag to protect my lips while I'm out in the sun. I'm hopeful these will fare a bit better in the heat than some of my other lip balms have.



Disclosure: The products in this post were sent to me for consideration for a review. I am not affiliated with the company, nor am I getting paid for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are based solely on my own experience with the products.

6.17.2015

Glowy, Luminous Skin Without Highlighter

I'm not sure there are many people out there who aren't fans of glowy, luminous, healthy-looking skin, but depending on your skin type, achieving it can be a struggle. Dry-skinned gals may find their skin drinks up product (and the glow), while oily-skinned ladies may find themselves tiptoeing the line between luminous skin and greasy skin. I can only speak for myself and my combination skin type (normal with an oily t-zone), and these are a few of the products I've been loving lately for helping me to perfect this look so flawlessly, I've forgotten all about highlighter.
For my base, there are two that have won over my heart: IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream Illumination* and Physicians Formula Nude Wear Touch of Glow Foundation. I've spoken about the CC+ Cream Illumination here (I have shade Medium), and I actually love it even more now than when I originally reviewed it. Although it's absolutely hydrating enough on its own that I could skip my moisturizer, I find I achieve a more dewy finish if I apply it over already prepped skin. I prefer applying it with my fingers, as I would my moisturizer, and I can have my base done in 30 seconds flat. It has high coverage, but its finish is what keeps it from looking cakey or mask-like, always maintaining a look that's natural. It's quite dewy, so I have to make sure my t-zone is powdered to keep it in place.

Physicians Formula Nude Wear Touch of Glow Foundation was recommended by Jenny (sistergolden on Instagram), and it's goooood. Like the CC+ Cream, it has a dewy, luminous finish, but it sets a bit more that I don't have to powder if I don't want to, and unlike the CC+ Cream, it doesn't contain any shimmer. The major pitfall of this foundation, however, is the pitiful shade range (there are only two (!!)  shades), and I have shade Light/Medium, which is the darker shade and about NC27-30. It's too dark for me, but still try to make it work because I love how it makes my skin look. If you can find a shade match with this one, I'd definitely recommend it, as it's one of the nicest drugstore foundations I've tried.

For cheeks, I've been loving IT Cosmetics CC+ Radiance Ombre Bronzer. I picked it up because I can't resist a good ombre design, but the product itself is also beautiful. Not only does the ombre go from light to dark, but it also goes from shimmery to matte, making it an incredibly versatile product. Swirled together, it warms up my complexion with the perfect amount of glow thrown in.

For a pinch of color, the Clinique Cheek Pops (pictured is Heather Pop) are perfect for those who want the glow without the shimmer. The BECCA Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle is one of my more recent acquisitions that I've fallen head over heels in love with (I have shade Lychee/Opal). If you love their Shimmering Skin Perfectors, these are a must-try. Some of the shades are quite light, but if you can find one that speaks to you, they are beautiful. It's shimmery and glowy without being over the top, and it blends into the skin so nicely. Lastly, a longtime drugstore favorite: Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso. This glowy peach blush is a must-have. The BECCA and Milani blushes essentially function as highlighter and blush in one, while the Clinique blush is more subtle on the glow front, but still gives the skin just enough, if you know what I mean.

Wearing Physicians Formula Nude Wear Touch of Glow FoundationIT Cosmetics CC+ Radiance Ombre Bronzer and BECCA Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle in Lychee/Opal
Highlighter, who?
So, those are the products I currently have on rotation for giving me the glowy, luminous skin I've been craving. See what I mean when I say you don't even need highlighter? My main tips for perfecting this look is to make sure your skin is adequately prepped and moisturized (this will vary greatly, depending on your skin type), and use shimmer and sheen purposefully and effectively. Overdoing it on highlighter does not result in glowy skin that's believable; it results in a shiny, disco ball face. 

I'm not sure how many times someone can say 'glowy,' 'luminous' or 'dewy' in one post, but I might have set the record. My apologies :)


*PR sample

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Disclosure: The product denoted with (*) was sent to me for consideration for a review. I am not affiliated with the company, nor am I getting paid for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are based solely on my own experience with the products.

6.14.2015

Electric Corals for Summer

I love a good coral any time of year, but especially in the summer, when I find myself craving bolder makeup shades. Hot pinks and magentas are always a good choice, of course, but I tend to grow bored of them after a while, and oranges are more difficult for me to pull off. Coral tends to be the perfect compromise, and for me, the brighter, the better. Here are a few of my picks for summer:
IT Cosmetics CC+ Radiance Ombre Blush in Coral Flush
This baby is piiiiigmented! Luckily, I was expecting that, so I gave my blush brush only the lightest tap into the pan and dusted off the excess onto the back of my hand before bringing any of it near my cheeks. While the combination of an ultra bright, in-your-face shade with such incredible pigmentation could be scary for some, Coral Flush blends in so easily that it quickly put my mind at ease. I've been swirling all of the shades together, and the end result is a gorgeous, matte coral that is the epitome of summer. It brings color and brightness to my complexion, and I can only imagine how stunning it would look on medium and deeper skin tones, too. Expect to see me wearing this in an upcoming post so you can see how it looks on the cheeks.

Stila Convertible Color in Petunia
I'm a big fan of the Convertible Colors because they leave the prettiest, dewiest finish on the cheeks, and they're long-wearing. Petunia is a bright coral that's beautiful on the cheeks, as well as the lips.

MAC Lipsticks in Costa Chic (left) and Vegas Volt (right)
Costa Chic was one of my absolute summer staples when I got it a few summers ago. I'm not normally into frost finishes, but with Costa Chic, the frostiness is subtle against a very creamy and saturated coral base color. I love this one applied full-on, as well as dabbed onto the lips and muted down with a nude gloss. Vegas Volt is a deeper orangey-coral that makes a great alternative to red for a night out lip in the summer. Admittedly, I don't wear this one enough, but every time I do, I'm reminded of how striking it is.

OPI Down to the Core-al
Similarly to Vegas Volt, Down to the Core-al is an orange-coral, but its shimmer is what really sets it apart from other corals in my polish collection. It's an incredibly bright and slightly neon shade that screams "perfect summer pedicure," no?

L to R: Coral Flush, Petunia, Costa Chic, Vegas Volt
OPI Down to the Core-al
What's your favorite makeup shade to wear in the summer?


6.10.2015

IT Cosmetics IT's All About You! Customer Favorites Collection

IT Cosmetics released their new IT's All About You! 4-Piece Customer Favorites ($66) Collection on QVC this past Monday, and although I couldn't get this review up in time so that you all could hear my thoughts and get the set at the promotional price, the price has only gone up by a few dollars since then, and I still think it's a great deal.

The IT's All About You! 4-Piece Customer Favorites Collection includes three existing products: Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer (arguably the product the brand is most known for), Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush and Celebration Foundation (which has been reformulated for this set to contain SPF 50). Also included is the new Naturally Pretty Face Palette, consisting of a Bye Bye Pores Pressed Powder and Blush, Hello Light Creme and Vitality Matte Bronzer.

I was pretty excited to try the Celebration Foundation SPF 50 in Medium, a full-coverage powder foundation. I tested it out by itself, buffing it into the skin with the Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush, and I was surprised to find that the coverage was medium at best. I couldn't get it to full-coverage without fear of it going cakey. As a medium coverage powder foundation, I like it, but not as much as my Make Up For Ever Pro Finish Powder, for example. As far as the shade Medium, I was afraid it would be too dark on my NC25 skintone, as their original CC Creme in the same shade is more in the NC30-32 realm, but I'm happy to report that the powder matches me well. It has neutral undertone. For me, I prefer using this powder to set my liquid foundation and offer extra coverage, rather than as a foundation on its own.

The Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer is a product I've actually tried before and was really impressed with. I have it in the shade Medium Neutral, which is the perfect match for me and not too dark at all. It has full coverage with a natural, satin finish, and it lasts all day. It reminds me an awful lot of my beloved Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer in terms of coverage and blendability, with the only difference being the finish, as the Tarte one is much more dewy. Personally, I love both, but I do appreciate that I don't have to set the IT Cosmetics one if I don't want to, whereas the Tarte one needs to be set with powder, especially on combo to oily skin types.

The main attraction here is definitely the Naturally Pretty Face Palette. Seeing as how I LOVE their Anti-Aging Vitality Face Disc, I was more than a little excited to see if this palette would be up to par. Based on the name, I thought that the bronzer would be the same one as the one in my Vitality Face Disc, but this one is actually warmer, in comparison. The blush is a matte, bubblegum pink that isn't overly cool-toned, so warmer complexions can still pull it off. Both of the powders are pigmented and smooth, and despite being matte, neither is chalky or applies patchy. The translucent powder is surprisingly nice, actually. I'm typically more of a colored powder kind of a gal, as I like the extra coverage, but I like how this powder is able to set a dewy finish foundation (like the IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream Illumination) without taking away the glowy finish. It seems to cut down on the overt shine, while leaving the glow. It's completely translucent on the skin, doesn't look powdery, and it blurs pores just a touch too, which is nice. 

My favorite product in the palette, however, is the Hello Light Creme. It's a cream highlighter with a cream-to-powder texture. I wasn't expecting much after swatching it on my skin, but I've been applying it to the high points of my face with the Real Techniques Setting Brush, and the result is lovely. It injects the skin with a subtle pearlescent sheen, and it just gives the complexion a little somethin' somethin' and makes it look naturally radiant and perfected. It's a gorgeous daytime highlighter, without a doubt.

Naturally Pretty Face Palette, swatched L to R: Bye Bye Pores Blush, Vitality Matte Bronzer, Hello Light Creme, Bye Bye Pores Pressed Powder
Hello Light Creme in action!
I'm wearing all of the products here, except for the translucent powder. Instead, I opted for the IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream Illumination as my base and set it with the Celebration Foundation SPF 50, both in Medium.
All in all, IT Cosmetics did not let me down with this collection. My favorite product is the under eye concealer, followed by the palette (that highlighter is my everything right now), but the brush and powder foundation are quite nice as well. 




Disclosure: The products in this post were sent to me for consideration for a review. I am not affiliated with the company, nor am I getting paid for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are based solely on my own experience with the products.

6.04.2015

My Morning Skincare Routine

Between testing new products and growing bored of others, I tend to switch around my skincare quite a lot, but lately, I've found myself staying loyal to the same group of products when it comes to my morning skincare routine, so I thought I'd share. 

I first discovered CeraVe on a whim when I was at Target and needed a lotion or cream that could soothe a dry, irritated patch of skin on my neck. After giving the CeraVe Renewing SA Lotion a try, and with good results, I thought to give one of their cleansers a go next, since I'd recently used up my morning cleanser and wanted to try something new. I picked up their Renewing SA Cleanser for normal skin from the same range. It's a gel cleanser that's slightly foaming, and I love how gentle it is on my skin. Thanks to salicylic acid that gently exfoliates dead skin cells and hyaluronic acid that helps skin retain moisture, my skin feels softer and more balanced after cleansing. It's a great no-frills cleanser - think Cetaphil, but so much better. It's probably my favorite cleanser from the drugstore. I'm also partial to using it as a second cleanse at night. Every two or three days or so, I still use the NUDE Skincare Detox Fizzy Powder Wash as my morning cleanser for more intensive exfoliation. 

After cleansing, I take two to three pumps of the Kate Somerville Clarifying Treatment Toner on a cotton pad and swipe it all over my face and neck. I purchased this because it's meant to be good for oily, acne-prone skin, and I appreciate that it's alcohol-free, but to be honest, I haven't noticed much of a difference since adding it to my routine a couple months ago. I'm not sure I'd repurchase this or recommend it.

Prior to applying my moisturizer, I've been spritzing my face with the Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater (yes, I already have a back-up) before applying a concoction of my beloved MV Organic Skincare Rose Soothing Protective Moisturizer and One Love Organics Morning Glory Brightening Complexion Booster. I'm still just as in love with the MV moisturizer as I was when I reviewed it here, and Morning Glory helps to thin out the moisturizer, while also imparting a much welcomed glow into my complexion.

The last step in my morning skincare routine is applying eye cream, and lately, I've been using the Clarins Super Restorative Total Eye Concentrate. This eye cream aims to fight signs of aging like puffiness, fine lines and wrinkles, and while I can't attest to its anti-aging claims as I don't suffer from wrinkles yet, I can say that I really like the texture of it and how it sits under my makeup. It's fast-absorbing, hydrating, and seems to smooth out the under-eye area so that my concealer goes on more flawlessly. I'm not complaining.


Disclosure: The Clarins eye cream was gifted to me at an event. The MV moisturizer and NUDE powder wash were both won in giveaways. I am not affiliated with any of these companies, nor am I getting paid for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are based solely on my own experience with the products.
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