Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Empties: December 2014

Last empties of the year! Can't believe 2014 is almost over...

 Glamglow Youthmud Tingleexfoliate: long time infamous. I'm undecided overall how much I like this or whether I will repurchase...I love how it makes my skin glow and feel soft, but overtime I hate the tingle effect more and more, like want-to-rip-it-off-my-face-immediately more.
 FaceAtelier brow gel: won't repurchase since it didn't work well for me. To be fair, no brow gel really keeps my brows in place, they are that stubborn.
 Lise Water Age Control Supreme Foundation: a deluxe sample. Formula feels like liquid-to-powder. It's mattifying and great for summer. Nasty in winter though as it clings to dry skin like mad.
 Ren Glycol Lactive Renewal Mask: this didn't just tingle, it stung. Much much worse than the Glamglow. I ended up using this on my neck only since it didn't sting there, but it didn't do anything noticeable. To be fair this was advertised as "not for sensitive skin", I should have listened but alas I was tempted by the effects it promised. Won't buy this ever.

Indigena Blueberry bliss sugar scrub: I used this on my body only. Though it did it's job, I hated the formula. There seemed to be too much sugar and not enough emolient or something as it was difficult to get out of the little tub, had to really dig my fingers in. Won't repurchase

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sephora Extra 20% off Sale Haul

Just when I thought the VIB sale/Cyber Monday madness was over, Sephora came out with the extra 20% off the sale section. My initial cart had over $500 worth of items. Silly me right, though I'm building up quite a few products that I have yet to crack the packaging on, I try to buy more! So I tried my best to edit down...tried really hard and ended up only spending $38. Yup, one of my proud shopping moments...

I got...
- Sephora Precision Sponge (can't have too many of these egg shaped sponges)
- Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush (only $17 before the 20% off!)
- 2 Tarte waterproof shadow sticks (only $10 each pre-20% off!)
- redeemed 500 points for Formula X system

This is a super tiny but felt-like-I-got-a-really-good-deal kind of haul. Did you pick up anything during this extra sale?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Inglot Brush #4SS Review

More and more Inglot...this is the one brush I picked up from my recent Inglot haul. It's made from "squirrel substitute", which the sales lady told me basically is synthetic meant to feel like squirrel. I've never actually tried a real squirrel brush, so can't comment on how this compares, but it is darn soft...

This brush is advertised as a blending eye brush, however I find it a bit big for my small hooded asian eyes. This is however puuuuurfect as a highlighting brush for detailed work on the cheekbones and nose bridge. I don't like to contour on my own face however this works great for contouring nose and under the cheekbones on others. I also use it to powder and set concealer underneath my eyes.

It's very dense and fluffy, and after a couple of washings no hairs came loose (a good sign). Also no dyes came screaming out into my brush soap lather, another good sign!

It's very soft on the face, and feels oh so nice when blending (you know that feeling...). I actually can't remember the exact price but it was something in the $20-$30 range, which is very reasonable.

Overall, this is a very versatile brush. You can use it to blend eye makeup if you have big eyes, or it can be used to highlight/contour, or for powdering under eyes, or powdering anywhere else. It's great!

What's your HG versatile brush? This has become mine now :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Illamasaqua Paranormal Palette Review & Swatches

The last of the Bay's sale! I bought this at 25% off but shortly after it became 50% off :( I always feel annoyed when this happens, but the annoyed feeling only makes me buy more stuff at the new sale to make it up for it...=P

Overall I got quite a few things from this interesting European brand that I never thought to check out before until the sale hit (and as most of you know the sale meant the last of Illamasqua here in Canada, though you can still of course order it online). More reviews of their other products to come!

Now onto this bizarre-o palette...I picked it because of all the gorgeously bright colors, which didn't seem like they went with each other at all in a palette sense, but who cares, look at them!

Here are ONE-swipe swatches, look at that pigmentation! They went on buttery-smooth. These shadows are advertised to feel like a cream-to-powder formula and indeed they do! They blend well and also have a hint of fine shimmer that is subtle and just beautiful.

They're also advertised to be long-lasting and water-resistant. The above is what they look like after washing/scrubbing with soap and water. Still stained!

Overall, I love each shade individually, especially paired with a grey eyeshadow in the crease for definition. Unfortunately I don't see myself ever using these shades together (maybe for Halloween or something...), so I've depotted them as it seemed no point in keeping them together. They were crazy easy to depot, I stuck the tip of my metal spatula beside the pans and they popped right out! Depotter's dream (or not, if you like the destructive process more...).

Warning though, I think due to the formula, these shadow don't pick up too well using fluffy eyeshadow brushes. I tried this using my usual brushes and it only shows up as a faint faint sheer wash. These shadows go on much better with finger tips or sponge-applicators, then you can use your usual eyeshadow brushes to blend out. 

There are still quite a few Illamasqua items on The Bay's website for 50% off, I highly recommend trying one of these palettes while they're still available!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Shu Uemura Sale Haul

November had sooooo many sales everywhere. Shu Uemura had 25% off online orders, so I took the chance to make my first ever direct Shu order.  I use Shu's eyelash curler religiously (as do many of you I imagine), but had not branched out into their other products. Other than the curler, they're probably most known for their cleansing oils and I believe they were the first company to come out with this concept. What I didn't know was there were sooo many oil options! I ended up buying 3.

WhiteEfficient Brightening: This uses a mineral oil base. Advertises to brighten dull skin. Contains prune exract, white algae, and ceramide to do all this, as well as of course remove makeup.

Anti/Oxi Refining Cleansing Oil: Also a mineral oil base, this advertises banish effects of pollution and treat yellow/dull skin. Contains Gingko and green tea extracts which have antioxidant properties and promote circulation.

Ultime8 Sublime Cleansing Oil: This is a corn oil base rather than mineral oil ("zea mays" = corn oil), and contains a special set of 8 botanical oils to do skin lotsa good (including jojoba, olive, and shea butter oil). 

I'm super excited about trying these. They appear in the bottle thinner than other cleansing oils I have on hand, so not sure how that will go. Will update with more detailed reviews on each once I've adequately tested them out!

Are you a fan of Shu's oils? Let me know which one is your favorite!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Empties: November 2014

I didn't empty much this month, and sort of finished things for the heck of it rather than cuz I loved the product (less exciting...), but here goes:

 Face Atelier Lip Rx - Sahara: I reviewed this previously here. Still like the formula, but in the end I didn't particularly like this shade. Won't repurchase.
 Clinique 7-day Scrub: a physical exfoliator, does what it advertises, but nothing terribly special. I use it up whenever I get it as a deluxe sample (fairly frequently), but I don't love it enough to purchase the full size
 Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Mascara: I already emptied another deluxe sample of this. As previously stated, it's a very natural looking, non-smudgy mascara. Solid. Won't purchase full size though as I've got too many mascara samples to work through.
 Shiseido Lacqure Gloss - Plum Wine: I reviewed this previously here. Unfortunately the formula has separated over time and now it's gunky to look at in the tube. Still works ok but psychologically not liking it when I take it out. It's a deluxe sample anyways, so I don't feel too bad about wasting.Will definitely repurchase, but will try another shade.
Shiseido Ibuki Refining Moisturizer: I used this deluxe sample when traveling as my homemade DIY moisturizer is not convenient for traveling (haven't found a good casing now that's leak-proof). It's a very slippery/watery formula. It moisturizes and smooths my skin, but I feel like it's a temporary silicone effect. Didn't mind using it up but won't be repurchasing as I'm liking my DIY too much at the moment.

What did you empty this month? Feel free to share your blog links :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Inglot Freedom System Blush 47

Oh Inglot, where have you been all my life... ok it's my own fault I didn't walk into your store though I have walked by many times when visiting Times Square... now that you came to Toronto though, I'm plenty interested suddenly and had to pay a visit to the Times Square store (ironic). In it I found the amazing "Freedom" system, where I could just play and swatch and buy the amazing products you make without paying anything for the extra packaging. My Z-palettes thank you.

I started with blush. The sales lady introduced to #47, a matte pink-coral shade that is one of the most natural blushers I've ever used.

Above is a one-swipe swatch, swiped once, and then blended out next to it. As you can see, not the most intensely pigmented blush on one swipe, but not the most sheer, and certainly buildable. This is actually the perfect consumer blusher. Blushes that are too pigmented can be difficult to use sometimes, needing a very light hand or very good blending techniques as a MUA. The really crappy blushers out there are too sheer, annoying to try to build up and end up cakey. This Inglot formula rides the perfect balance!

Here's the size of the pan inside a small Z-palette. This is a no-brainer blush that goes with anything and blends without any real effort. Easy to use, easy to pair, easy easy easy...and cost was amazingly affordable without buying their palette! $11...yup that's it. So little though I know the cost went to the product, not the packaging.

If you like fancy blush packaging (I totally get you), this isn't your friend. If you have Z-palettes hanging around waiting to be used, this is your friend. Overall, affordable highly quality blush...what are you waiting for, go try it already!

Let me know what you think of these or Inglot as a brand in general! I have a few more things from them I will review soon...

Monday, December 1, 2014

Winter Skin Rescue Essentials

Brrr winter has definitely come to Toronto (despite a brief break yesterday of warmer tempratures). Today is a quickie post of what I use to rescue my dry-cracked winter skin.

1. Elizabeth Arden 8 hr Cream: classic all-round skin saver, can used anywhere really. I use it mostly on the back of my hands when they crack (I wash my hands a lot at work).  It's super soothing and heals the cuts. It's goopy though so I only use it at night.

2. Smith's Rosebud Salve: another classic all-rounder that I begin using only recently. Some have called it "fancy vaseline", and it does appear to be a pink-rose-smelling-vaseline. I actually don't use Vaseline on myself, as I used that on my daughter's bum when she was a baby, so I just prefer not to associate it with my skincare. The Rosebud salve though, doesn't remind me of my daughter's bum! For that it gains points over Vaseline... This stuff works amazing on the lips. Since I started using this, I have not suffered my usual lip bleeds. I also used this on my nostrils when I had a cold, and didn't end up with red/sensitive/peeling skin from frequently blowing my nose (as would have been the usual result).

3. Hourglass Lip Treatment Oil: I first reviewed this here. I just use it for my lips, so despite not having "all-rounder" status it's awesome for the lips. Enough said.

What are your winter essentials?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Topbox November 2014

One set of exams done...that means back to blogging! I have been very happy with Topbox recently, and this month was no exception. Briefly, Topbox is a Toronto-based subscription service, you get about 4-5 products each month for $12+tax. Even if here and there pops in products I don't like or will never use, I don't mind it because usually the other products are very useful (and more than worth the $12), or it allowed me to know what to stay away from in the future. Overall, highly recommended!

I have been choosing the bag options recently as I had collected too many of those tubes.

 First up, uniqOne all in one hair treatment, can be used wet or dry. Honestly these "all in one" products are confusing to me. I much prefer separate for different purposes (ie. shampoo and conditioner separetely rather than 2-in-1). To me, all-in-one means not particularly good at either or...but will see, I imagine I will just use this like a hair oil.

Next is Benefit Stay Flawless primer. I've heard lots of good things about this, and it's neat being in stick form instead of liquid/cream like every other primer I've used. The instruction say not to blend it in at first and let it blend with the makeup. This will be interesting... will update this post after I've tried it out.

Eyeko Mascara! I have been wanting to try this brand for a long time, now's finally the chance! Happy happy happy...

Lastly, Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future serum. EA products have always been solid for me, so expecting this will probably be too. 

Here's the stash, overall looking forward to trying all these!

What did you get in your box this month? Please share links to your posts!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Real Techniques Lip Brush Review

Since the Chapman sisters from Pixiwoo came out with the real Techniques brushes, I have been head over heels in love with their larger powder and blush brush (so much so I have bought backups...). Never have I felt brushes so full and soft, with no shedding, and at around $10 each, really there is nothing bad to say about them!

I was looking a better lip brush recently, so decided to try more of this amazing lineup.

The real Techniques lip brush retails for $7.99 from FTBBeauty. It is synthetic and appears similarly mixed black and grey-white hairs as the other face brushes I have.

Just like the others, it's soft and doesn't shed. It's also a very good size for my lips, which are on the thin side.  My Annabelle concealer brush I was using as a lip brush, became for me a tad big overtime (though on someone with bigger/more luscious lips it's awesome!).

The only downside, is this cap. Obviously this was meant to be a travel brush you can cap off, however the cap is VERY loose. Very little jiggling can loosen it and it will fall off. Can you would be very annoying if this happened inside your makeup bag (imagine smeared lipstick inside your bag, never mind possibly ruining your brush-head having it jammed against the bag, ugh).

So this thing just sits on my bathroom counter to be used at home only, which is fine with me, though I will keep looking for a good travel lip brush.

Have you tried this? Let me know what you think of it or if you recommend any good travel lip brushes!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Crayon #54 (Brown with shimmer) review and swatches

one swipe

I don't have a lot of high-end liners, so was excited to see this in Sephora's 100pts perks. It did not disappoint! Brown is brown, easy to use and natural, but THIS brown is special with it's shimmer.

It glides on fairly easily, with a bit of tugging but is a well-pigmented line in 1-2 swipes on my lids. It stays all day, and I only experienced a small amount of smudging on my lower lids at the end of the night. For me that is pretty good as a lot of liners smudge a lot or very quickly on me. Perhaps one day I will find a HG liner that doesn't do this... (I thought I found this with the Julep gel liner but it dried out so quickly that it was HG for only 3 uses...can't have a HG product that only lasts 3 uses...)

Here's a bare-eye swatch with only a bit of mascara. If you draw a very thin line right on the lashline, it gives the most natural yet a barely-there "lit" look due to the shimmers.

I've loving it!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Empties - October 2014

Yup it's November...and right on time it snowed in Toronto on Nov 1. It's time to say good-bye to lighter fall jackets and hello to sweaters and parkas...and also that time to for spit-fire reviews on what I used up this month, a much happier event than winter-coming!

 Bare Escentuals bareVitamins skin rev-er upper: I got this a couple of years ago when I first started using BM and found it again recently so tried to use it up. It really didn't make a difference to my skin or makeup application and I didn't care for the smell, ended up just using it as a body lotion to finish it up. 
Re-buy? Nope...

 Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Mascara: a very natural defining mascara. No "oomph" if you're looking for something more dramatic, cuz it's opposite of that. Doesn't smudge. Overall solid product
Rebuy? maybe...after I use up all my deluxe mascara samples (when will it end...)

 Benefit they're Real! push-up liner: I'm cheating, this isn't even empty, I just can't deal with it anymore! I've heard if one "practiced" more this will wow me, but after multiple trials, I'm done with this stiff and difficult-to-use product (which is also a nightmare to remove, dang I want waterproof not "permanent"). Goodbye and will never repurchase. See original review here.

 "Magical Eyeliner" - waterproof liquid liner: got this for $2 at Daiso. It's super shiny, and although is technically waterproof, if I scratched my eye bits would come off. All it was good for was to practice winged liner.
Re-buy: nope

Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser: this is a deluxe sample so only got a few uses out of it. From what I could tell so far, it's not a bad product but nothing special about it. It didn't make my skin worse or better and was fine for removing light makeup.
Re-buy: probably not, it's not a bad product but there's better out there.

Have you tried any of these? Let me know what you thought of them, or tell me how many deluxe mascara samples you have in your stash :)