Friday, August 30, 2013

Sephora Give Me Some Lip kit - high end lip product reviews

Sephora sells a lot of "Sephora Favorites" kits, which are collections of best-selling products--it's a great way to try some different things at relatively guilt-free prices. I picked up the lip product kit ($25), which has six samples, and I'm going to review each one to see which would be worth buying the full-size. These kits come and go and are updated, but the full-size products are permanent items in their inventory.

All of these come in neutral pink colors, so this set works for everyone!

Fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment (full size $22.50)

This is a really rich tinted lip balm. I love the sugary, lemony scent, although it doesn't taste like anything :( The color is very buildable, so it can be very versatile. I've used this in the past, and it prevents dry lips even in winter in the northeast! Love it.

Laura Mecier Lip Glace in Bare Pink (full size $24)

This smells like cupcakes and frosting! This color is a little pale for me, but I think it would be nice to wear over a stain. This reminds me of Neutrogena lip glosses; it's really creamy and moisturizing and not sticky, but unlike Neutrogena, this won't grab onto dry flakes and make them stand out. Love it.

Buxom Full-On Lip Polish in Dolly (full size $19)

This feels and tastes minty, but smells like caramel corn! It's supposed to be plumping, but since I already have big fat lips, I'm not sure if it works. The color wears very well, but after a couple of hours, it gets so sticky! I actually had a tiny chunk of gravel stick onto my lips when the wind blew. I also found it very odd that it was so intensely minty for over half an hour, that it actually made my lips feel kind of numb. Leave it.

NARS Lip Gloss in Turkish Delight (full size $25)

This color is so pretty, but it looks like a clear gloss on the lips--although I'm sure the brighter and darker colors would be more pigmented. It's a little sticky, but for a lip gloss, it does wear a long time. However, I feel like there must be a ton of drugstore lip glosses that do the same thing--leave it.

Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil in Rhubarb (full size $24)

This is really pigmented! This is a semi-matte finish, but it feels so creamy and not dry at all. It doesn't seem to stain my lips, but it does wear through eating and drinking. Love it.

Tarte LipSurgence Lip Luster in Glitzy (full size $24)

This is full-size, which makes this set a great deal! Even though it has "luster" in its name, it has more of a creamy/dewy finish rather than a shiny one. This glides on really nicely and wears comfortably. This is the perfect pink/nude for me, but the shimmer can accentuate dry flakes. If your lips get really dry, just be sure to exfoliate them before wearing this particular shade. Love it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

What's in my makeup bag - Summer edition

I keep all of my makeup in a big trunk, so it can be a hassle to dig out products every morning. So instead, I keep my most reached-for makeup in a separate bag for easy access. Here are the products I've been using consistently this summer:

Lorac Pro Palette

I switch up my eyeshadow palettes pretty often, but this is definitely my most-used palette this summer. It has 16 colors, with half matte and half shimmer, and a great variety of neutrals, so I don't necessarily feel the need to use other palettes in conjunction with this one. My current favorite look is using Lt. Bronze all over the lid, Sable on the outer corners, and Pewter on the lower lashline for definition.

Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer

Even though tinted moisturizers feel really nice on the skin, my fault with a lot of them is that they don't have great coverage. However, I find that I can build this one up to be a medium coverage without a thick, heavy feel on my face.

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer

This bronzer is so nice; it's matte and pretty dark, so it's good for contouring on medium skin. Bonus: It smells like chocolate.

CoverGirl Clump Crusher Mascara

This is an everyday mascara for me; I already have long, thick eyelashes, so I just look for definition and curl. If you have sparse lashes, I can't really say how much length and thickness this could give you, but it's really nice for separation.

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer

This is really full coverage, and can cover up redness and dark circles. It's a really fluid texture, so it blends really nicely. However, it tends to crease under the eyes (especially if you're in a dry climate) so run a Q-tip over it to pick up any excess product.

Anastasia Brow Powder

The shade Ebony complements black hair perfectly, without being too dark. This has two colors; I use the lighter one on the inner parts of my brows, and the darker color for the arches and the ends.

I'm constantly changing up my products, so I will have an updated fall makeup bag soon!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Three ways to cool your skin!

It feels like summer is going to stay for a while... and it's only getting hotter :/ When you're hot, you can get puffy and sweaty--here are some ways to cool your skin to instantly refresh yourself!

1. Use a cooling product

Use an aloe gel/lotion or peppermint spray on your face and body! I like to use peppermint spray on my feet when I've been walking a lot and the veins are popping out, and aloe gel after a cold shower to continue that nice, cold feeling.
Try: The Body Shop Peppermint Cooling Foot SpraySanta Maria Novella Aloe Face and Body Gel

2. Chill your products

Store your toner and eye cream or gel in the fridge! The cold temperature will de-puff your skin. Or, store some metal spoons in the freezer and put them on your eyes.

3. Cool your pulse points


You know how jumping into a cold shower makes you colder, faster than sitting in an air-conditioned room? Heat transfer happens a lot faster when you're in direct contact with solids and liquids. Run cold water on your wrists under a faucet for a few minutes, or hold a cold water bottle on the back of your neck. Concentrating on your pulse points will get you cool much faster than the rest of your body.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Too Faced Pretty Rebel Palette - Review, swatches, and comparisons

The new eyeshadow palette from Too Faced is so pretty! According to the description on the box, it's meant to be able to give you all kinds of looks, from classic to really wild and colorful. It has a good variety of neutrals, colors, and finishes. Here is the palette and swatches:

Top row: Dainty, Charming, Girly, Totally Fetch, Miss Sparkles
Bottom row: Ringleader, Gangsta, Instigator, Badass, Jailbird

Most of the colors have good pigmentation, with the exception of Dainty, Charming, and Totally Fetch. It just takes so much effort to build them up.

Left to right: Dainty, Charming, Totally Fetch. You can't even see Dainty--that's how unpigmented it is

I was most drawn to the neutrals in this palette, but they're not that unique. If you have some of the more popular neutral palettes, you will already have some of these colors. They're not all exact dupes, but most of these can give you a very similar, if not identical look.

Left: Dainty
Right: Cream from Lorac Pro palette
*Lorac's Cream is less chunky

Left: Ringleader
Right: Sin from Urban Decay's Naked palette 

Left: Charming
Middle: Espresso from Lorac Pro palette
Right: Sexpresso from Too Faced's Natural Eye palette
* Charming is very chunky and unevenly pigmented

Left: Girly
Right: Definer shade from Wet n Wild's Comfort Zone palette
*MAC's Club is also the same color

Left: Gangsta
Second from left: Crease shade from Wet n Wild's Comfort Zone palette
Second from right: Snakebite from Urban Decay's Naked 2 palette
Right: Smog from Urban Decay's Naked palette

Instigator is pretty unique; it's a metallic yellow, which I don't think is very wearable. If that's what you want, go for it, but I have some colors that are more flattering.

Left: Instigator
Second from left: Gold from Lorac Pro palette
Second from right: Half Baked from Urban Decay's Naked and Naked 2 palettes
Right: Honey Pot from Too Faced's Natural Eye palette

Hot or Not: NOT

This is just kind of an okay palette for me. If six of the colors have dupes/alternatives and three are poorly pigmented, is it really worth getting? I wouldn't recommend this to someone who already owns a lot of the popular neutral palettes, because you're getting a lot of overlap. Get this if you want kind of an "eyeshadow starter palette"--you get a good mix of neutrals and really fun colors. Just make sure to use a good primer underneath to get better color payoff.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Marc Jacobs Beauty alternatives

Earlier this week I posted about the eyeshadows from the new Marc Jacobs makeup line (read it here). I went to have another look at the collection at Sephora and it seems like the entire line is a big bunch of higher-cost dupes.

The foundation ($48), which is a "gel formula," is really fluid and has a weightless feel. It's not too matte, so it can give you a natural finish. However, the texture and coverage seems very similar to those of Urban Decay Naked Skin, Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation, and NARS Sheer Glow, all of which are less expensive. So if you already own one of those, maybe take a look at them again before purchasing this one.

I didn't get a picture of the brow gel, but it's pretty standard; a mascara-type wand in a clear gel. But why would anyone ever have to pay $24 for clear brow gel? Get the Maybelline Great Lash mascara; they have a clear formula that works great for brows.

The lip balm ($24) is just like the Fresh Sugar lip balm, except the one from Fresh is a dollar cheaper and comes in a lot of colors--which is nice if you want color when you wear a lip balm this thick, because any lip color that you apply over it will slide right off.

Each of the nail polishes is $18, which is ridiculous. Try Essie; there are a lot of similar colors, and for the price of one Marc Jacobs nail polish you can get two or more Essie ones, depending on where you buy it. The Marc Jacobs claims to have the strength and shine of 30 coats, to which I say, so what? There are so many factors in determining how long your nail polish lasts, like if you're scratching, typing, or doing dishes--the best you can do is get a really good top coat. Try Seche Vite top coat.

Top: Marc Jacobs
Bottom: Stila Stay All Day eyeliner

The eyeliner ($30) is a really typical felt tip pen style; Stila's Stay All Day eyeliner is even more pigmented, and lasts better too. For a drugstore option, Revlon's Colorstay felt tip eyeliner performs very much the same as the one from Stila.

The brushes in this line are very expensive--and also strangely designated. The one in the picture is supposed to be the foundation brush ($48), but why would you use such a fluffy brush for your foundation? A foundation brush needs to be more densely packed with shorter bristles for even, precise, and controlled application. Also, the bronzer brush is way too big for contouring, so it's more like an extra-large powder brush. Try Real Techniques brushes instead; they're so much cheaper (under $10 each), and is actually made by a makeup artist who knows something about brushes.

Bottom line: Marc Jacobs is a fashion designer, not a makeup artist. There's already a lot of great makeup out there, and I feel like they just made a bunch of dupes with really expensive packaging. I'm sure if I explored the counter a little longer I would've found even more dupes, because I found alternatives for half of the products. My experience with the Marc Jacobs makeup has made me applaud their marketing department for hyping up this collection as much as it has. See the entire Marc Jacobs Beauty line here.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Marc Jacobs Beauty Lolita eyeshadow palette: Review, swatches, and comparisons!

Marc Jacobs Beauty just launched at Sephora last week--I picked up the eyeshadow palette in The Lolita.

The packaging is really sleek, and reminds me of a Mont Blanc pen. It seems pretty sturdy, and it snaps shut, so it won't fling open when you're traveling with it. It also comes inside a sleeve, so that shiny enamel case doesn't get scratched.

You get seven eyeshadows and a nice, long mirror. The thing that's notable about this palette is that you get five light colors, one medium shade, and one really dark color--it's a little unbalanced, which means you probably won't have a lot of variety/options with this palette.

Look at how chunky the white color is! :(

The quality of the colors is just okay; the matte colors (first three from the left) are a little difficult to build up and kind of chalky, and the glittery color (middle) is really flaky. The three shimmery colors on the right are fine, but the quality is not as good as Urban Decay eyeshadows. Just looking at the colors, though, it really reminds me of the Too Faced Natural Eye palette.

Swatching the colors side-by-side, you can see that there are a lot of similarities between these two palettes! The only color in the Marc Jacobs palette that seems more unique is the pink color, which has purple iridescent shimmer in it, but if you already have the Too Faced palette, it's really not worth getting the Marc Jacobs just for this one color.

Top row: Shades from the Marc Jacobs palette
Bottom row: Comparable colors from the Too Faced Natural Eye palette

The price is also kind of concerning; it's $59 for seven eyeshadows--I'm sure most of that goes towards the packaging. To put this in perspective, that's $8.43 for each color; the Too Faced palette is $36 for nine colors, so $4.00 each. Each of the colors in the Urban Decay Naked palettes cost $4.17.

The high cost is particularly disappointing when you dump out the sponge-tip applicator at the bottom of the sleeve; for $59, I would expect an "extra" that is much more impressive than this.

Hot or Not: NOT

If you already have neutral palettes, The Lolita palette is really not worth getting; there are just palettes with more variety, higher quality eyeshadows, and more reasonable prices out there. If you're interested in these colors, get the Too Faced Natural Eye palette (find it here); it's cheaper, better quality, and has more colors.

However, this seven-color palette also comes in other colors (there's one with jewel tones, one with purples, and one with a mix of neutrals and colors) which may be worth checking out if you want a really luxurious eyeshadow palette with some unique colors. See the whole Marc Jacobs Beauty collection here.