Sunday, March 31, 2013

Empties! Products I Used Up in March

I made some headway this month in finishing up quite a bit of items!  It helped that I went on a trip and took along a lot of foil samples, and those are not even reflected in this post. 

First up are the foil packets that I went through this month.  A standout for me and one I would considering purchasing because it smelled and felt so good was the MOR hand creme in Candied Vanilla Almond.  Lovely stuff.  Another one that I have already purchased and will be reviewing soon is the CoTZ Face Healthier Sunscreen.  I finally found a sunscreen I like!

For the deluxe and full sized items that I finished this month, there were several HG's and standouts.  I go through a DHC Cleansing Oil every 7 months or so, as it's my holy grail makeup cleanser of choice.  I always have a backup ready to take it's place.

I really enjoyed using the  Detox Eye Roller (reviewed here) by First Aid Beauty in the mornings.  I would consider getting another, especially if it was part of a kit.   I love how cold the rollerball feels on my puffy morning eyes, as well as the ingredient list.
The Zen Society Tea Tree Facial Cleanser was another favorite.  It did not strip my skin, did a good job of cleansing, and I like that it's holistic, vegan, eco-friendly, and made by a master herbalist.  I received this as part of my October Eco Emi, which is doing a great job of introducing me to healthy products.
I also liked the L'Occitane Shower Oil, which smelled lovely and was a nice shower option for winter dry skin. 

The Korres body butter is a favorite, although the Japanese Rose scent is not my favorite in their lineup.  The Sula Beauty Natural Lipgloss in Beautiful Stranger (reviewed here) was great, but getting my hands on another is made more difficult now that Ulta has discontinued carrying them.  Really, there were not any "bad" products this month from the deluxe samples or full sized products above!

Disclaimer:  I purchased these are they were included as samples with purchase. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Elements READY 4.0 Palette by bareMinerals

Ulta had a fabulous sale on the bareMinerals READY 4.0 palettes a while back and I was able to pick up three of them at half price. These pressed mineral shadows have become my favorite eyeshadow formula due to their pigmentation, smoothness, wear time, and skin beneficial ingredients.  If you haven't tried them yet, they really are lovely!  Today I've got The Elements to show you.
Air is an oyster beige shimmer.  Texture was smooth and I like this shade as an inner eye and brow highlighter.
Fire is a medium terracotta orange matte.  It applied smoothly and I like the softness of the color.
Earth is a a matte soft gray/green taupe, almost lichen.  A great neutral shade.
Water is a medium peacock blue with a satin finish.  Nicely pigmented and very smooth.
The colors in The Elements do complement each other nicely, and I like the muted quality and finish of the shades.
The Elements retails for $30, and I purchased mine from Ulta.

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Nordstrom Lancome GWP

Nordstrom has a Lancome gift with purchase event going on, and I decided that was all the motivation I needed to pick up the Kohl in Love eyeliner pencil  in Deepwater Blue.  It was hard to find any swatches of it online, but it is stunning, so expect to see a review  soon!
In the meantime, here is the Purple gift bag option that I chose.   I've been filling up makeup bags like this with skin care samples and giving them as gifts to my mom.  If she finds something in the samples that she really likes, I get a full sized version for her for the next holiday occasion.  She seems to really like this, and it helps me on finding gifts for her that I know she will use and like.  I think her current request is the serum from the Dr. Weil for Origins collection.  Win/win!
Visionnaire is a fast acting serum which is supposed to visible improve wrinkles, pores, and uneven skin texture in 4 weeks.  It's a generously sized sample, so I say bring it on.

I was excited about the La Base Pro, as I've tried a few foil packets and really like it.  It does a good job of smoothing and mattifying my skin, and I have less issues with liquid foundation settling into my pores.  It's similar to other silicon based primers out there, however, so I find the $42 price tag a bit ridiculous.  I love getting samples, though.

The blush is a pretty pink called Shimmer Pink Pool.  I keep thinking they left "Party" off the name, but no, they didn't.  It is described as a salmon pink with soft gold shimmer.  Very pretty, and definitely a flattering color for my complexion.  Shimmer Pink Pool is part of the Blush Subtil permanent collection.
Shimmer Pink Pool Blush Subtil
There is a nice sized .5 oz of the Absolue Night Recovery Cream, which is supposed to deeply replenish skin's moisture and improve firmness and clarity.  It contains some interesting ingredients such as wild yam, soy, sea algae and barley, as well as utilizing a patented process called Pro-Xylane™ to help restore essential moisture deep in skin's surface.  Sounds fancy, and the price definitely reflects that, as the full sized version will set you back $185.  At that price, it better turn down my covers and leave a chocolate on my pillow as well.
The Color Design lipstick included in this set is a plummy pink creme called Wannabe.  Interesting name!  It's not currently available in Lancome's collection, so if you like it, the GWP seems to be the way to get it.  It got consistently high reviews on MakeupAlley, coming in at 4.3.  I think this one will get wear from me, which isn't always the case with the colors include in GWP sets.
Wannabe Color Design Lipstick
Last is the Hypnose Star mascara in Noir Midnight, which is a volumizing mascara whose brush is also supposed to produce a lining effect.  I did not know about the lining effect, and I'm assuming the brush is the same as included in the full sized version, as the straight edge on one side of the brush is what produces the lining effect.
The Lancome GWP is available until they run out, and it does appear that the Purple gift set has run out online but is still available in store.   To qualify, you have to spend $39.50, but the set is valued up to $127 depending on which option you select.  I'll use everything and really like the colors, so quite happy!

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.

Zoya Spring Color Cuties

Zoya recently had a special where you could purchase mini bottles of 12 different colors at 6 for $5/ea or 12 for $3/ea.  I chose the buy 12 at $3/ea option (free shipping included!), and my box arrived Thursday.  Unfortunately, they only included 6 of the 12.  After chatting online with customer service, they are sending replacements for 4 of the 6 not sent, as two of them - Zuza and Lo - are completely gone.  Oh well, stuff happens!  The customer service rep was very nice and apologetic, and I'll be getting refunds for those two.
I have relatively few Zoya polishes in my collection, but my experience with the ones I do have has been quite good.  The formula is 5 free - toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and DBP (dibutyl phthalate) - and the brand has had a focus on developing healthy  products since it's inception in 1986.
Arizona, Neely, Gilda, Tanzy, Shelby, Blu
I personally love mini bottles, as I don't think I've ever gone through an entire bottle of polish - mini or otherwise.  Throw in the lovely array of springtime colors that seem especially appropo for the upcoming Easter weekend as well as some colors that will carry my into hot weather, and I'm all set.  Now, I just need to buy some cotton pads so I can remove my old polish and try these cuties out!

Did anyone else buy the Spring Color Cuties? 

Disclaimer:  I purchased these.   

The Nail Files weekly linkup:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner in Turquoise

Turquoise eyes are on trend this spring, and the turquoise Smudge Stick from stila did it's siren song thingy on me.  I'm more of a neutral eye kind of gal, but I also love the color turquoise, so I thought I'd give it a shot.
I'm glad I did, as I really like the finish and color of this liner!  Sometimes it looks turquoise to me, sometimes a jade green, and the matte finish makes it both retro and modern (is that possible?).  I like the formula of stila's Smudge Sticks and have good success with them, as they are creamy, nicely pigmented, and do not smudge once set.  As described by stila,
"This eye liner glides on smoothly with no tugging or pulling and provides immediate color release. The formula is long-wearing and delivers an extreme color payoff. A high content of volatile silicones combined with modern wax oil makes this innovative formula ultra-wearable and comfortable."
The color screams 1950's to me, as apparently that was a popular color for everything from kitchen appliances to cars. 
Source:  Kitchen Layout and Decor Ideas
So how does it translate on the eyes?  Here I did a beige matte on the lid with charcoal liner and the turquoise above the charcoal.  It added a nice pop of color without screaming "look at me!".   It wore well without smudging or flaking all day and was still visible when I washed my face that night. 
Indoor lighting
Outside lighting
I also tried it on my waterline, and it wore for about 3 hours.  It may wear better than that, but it's allergy season around here and my eyes have been pretty watery. 
stila Smudge Sticks are $20 and the limited edition turquoise is part of the 2013 summer collection.

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Smoked Salt Lip Elixir by TokyoMilk

My fascination with the products and scents available from TokyoMilk continues, so I picked up one of the lip elixirs to try out.  I chose Smoked Salt, as that seemed such a strange combination for a lip balm.  The flavor notes listed are  smoked sea salt, burnt sugar, molasses, and vanilla bean.
Danish Viking Smoked Sea Salt
"Sweet temptation is beckoning.  Remarkably uncommon essences infused in to a smooth, luscious balm.  Elicit a kiss with lips tamed by a lush, silky blend of sweet Jasmine & Bee Balm laced with crushed extracts of hydrating Aloe Leaf & Vitamin E.  Femme fatale incarnate.  A supple seduction.  Not for the faint of heart:  An unexpected mixture of fragrance & flavor.  A remarkable lip elixir for a remarkably uncommon experience. (Source:  TokyoMilk)
Fortunately, I like how it both smells and tastes!  There is indeed a slight smokiness in the fragrance, along of the lines of a smoked ham with a sugar glaze as opposed to a wood fire smoke.  Apparently, smoked sea salts get their distinctive flavoring from different hard woods in a fire that  infuses the sea salt with a sappy smokiness.   I've seen reviews that compared the smell of Smoked Salt to a Lapsang Souchong tea, and another said they found it to be a comforting scent.
The taste is slightly sweet, and I do see Stevia in the ingredient list.  Neither the smell nor the taste is overwhelmingly, although I can smell the balm after I put it on if I curl my lips up towards my nose.

The packaging reflects one of the things I like the most about TokyoMilk products - distinctiveness and flair.  The tin is slightly larger yet thinner than one of the Rosebud salve tins, and you get .7 oz for $7 vs. the .8 oz for $6 of the Rosebud salves.

This is a petrolatum based lip salve, although there are some other interesting ingredients in the blend.  The texture is what you would expect from a petrolatum based product, slightly thicker than Vaseline, smooth, and non-sticky.
The thing I do not like is that I find the tin difficult to open at times.  I've actually cut my finger on the edge of the tin before, which is problematic, to say the least.  I consider that to be a design flaw and it did make me reluctant to use Smoked Salt afterwards.  I may end up transferring the balm into another container so I can continue to enjoy it without having to fight with the container.

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Naked Beauty Balm by Urban Decay

I liked a sample of Urban Decay's Naked Beauty Balm enough to buy the full sized version, and now that I've been wearing it for a while, thought it was time for a review. 

First off, I view this as more of a primer than a BB cream.  It does not provide enough coverage for me to wear on it's own, but it does do a good job of smoothing and mattifying my skin.  I've had equal success with using powder and liquid foundations on top of Naked Skin.  Liquid foundations blend more easily and I have less issues with foundation settling into my pores.
I'm not sure I'd say that Naked Skin performs better than several other primers I've tried, but I do like that it contains a sunscreen and potential anti-aging skin treatment benefits.  Here is Urban Decay's description of what the Naked Skin Beauty Balm can do:
  • Perfects: Optical blurring pigment instantly evens out skin tone and minimizes pores, lines, wrinkles and redness.
  • Protects: SPF 20 shields skin from sun damage and Pepha®-Protect helps inhibit DNA damage.
  • Treats: Vitasource™ and dGlyage® firm skin, improve elasticity and provide measurable anti-aging benefits.
  • Primes: Extremely blendable formula creates a smooth finish so makeup goes on beautifully and stays put.
  • Hydrates: Moisturizing but never greasy, Naked Skin Beauty Balm hydrates skin instantly and improves hydration over time.
There is a slight tint that is barely evident once blended, but enough that if you wipe your face with a tissue you can see the color left behind.  It doesn't claim to be self-adjusting, and it did not seem to adjust on my pale forearm, so I'm not sure how well it works for the really pale complected. 
If you are not a fan of silicones, you are are not going to like this, as it is full of them.  I took a sample size with me on my trip to D.C., which has a noticeably dryer climate than humid Mobile, and I thought it did a good job in both climates.  I've got excessively oily skin and find that it does help prolong the wear of my foundation.
Naked Skin Beauty Balm is priced at $34 for 1 ounce, which is pricey compared to Asian BB creams, but comparable to many of the mid-range American BB creams.  Again, I don't consider this comparable to the Asian BB creams I've tried, but do like it as a primer!

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.