Monday, April 21, 2014

Easy Easter Weekend Face

I think all of my makeup round-up posts have been about creating simple faces. They're easier to document and write about as well, but those are also the looks I favour 99% of the time. Natural and breezy. What's not to like?

It was a low-key Easter weekend for me, and while we had a family gathering, I was home the entire time and did most of the cooking, so I didn't feel like slathering on a tonne of products. I've also been makeup-free more often this year than I have been for all of my adult life, due to the fact that my adorable little nephew has sensitive skin and I like to be bare-faced and fragrance-free on the days we snuggle together. But I look pretty awful in so many of the pictures we took together that lately I've been attempting to look more presentable. This is the new quick routine that I've come up with.

* indicates press sample

VICHY ProEven BB Cream (Light/Medium)* - I've just started to test this out, along with another BB cream, and so far I like it although it's far from my usual base preference. The shade is paler than my current complexion but slowly adjusts to a more natural hue throughout the day, and the texture is thicker than I expected and applies better with fingers than with brushes. Coverage is on the light side but cancels out minor bits of redness and evens out the skin tone. Since it contains SPF 20, sometimes I skip separate sunscreen application, making this a nice option on lazy or busy days. I'm still experimenting and will present a full review in about a month or so after I've figured it all out.

MAC Pro Longwear Bronzing Powder (Nude On Board) (limited edition) - I raved about it last year and promptly stopped using it as soon as the weather got cold, but the fact remains that this is one of the best bronzers for a light complexion. It's idiot-proof and adds a lovely warm glow to the face without obnoxious shimmers or glitters. The only issue I've encountered with this is that it can't build up to a deeper tan, and I want to step up the bronze an extra level or two this summer. But for now, it works well on top of the VICHY BB Cream to add a bit of colour back into the face because the BB cream runs a bit pale.

BECCA Beach Tint (Watermelon) - Previously reviewed. Still in good shape and a breeze to work with, making it one of my faves to throw into a travel bag. I use it exclusively as blush because I find the formula drying on the lips.

Benefit Gimme Brow (Medium/Deep) - As much as I like my Anastasia Brow Wiz, it still requires more effort and dexterity than I'm capable of on certain undercaffeinated mornings. Arianne of The Glitter Geek suggested Gimme Brow to me months ago on Twitter, but I rejected it in favour of a darker and ashier pencil. Well, I was wrong to be so hasty, because this brow gel is a lifesaver. It grooms the unruly hairs as well as adding natural looking colour and volume. I look put together without looking like I've tried at all. The wand is slightly smaller than I'd like and I can't taper out the ends of the brows as precisely as I could with a pencil, but this is one of the best $20 I ever spent. (Regularly CAD$26; found at the Bloor/Avenue Winners a few weeks ago.)

Rimmel Colour Rush Long Lasting Intense Colour Balm (610 Sun-Kissed) - Seriously, beauty brands: do your customers a favour and shorten these ridiculous names. I picked up two of these balm stick things a few months ago and forgot to include them in the monthly round-up. (The other shade is 620 Lady Marmalade.) They're $5.99 each at Target and smell like creamy vanilla -- both good in my books. I've reached the end of my patience with every single brand coming out with chubby pencil lip products and charging anywhere from $3-$40 for them, so I think that these will be my last pencil balms for a long while. In terms of performance, easy to swipe on and leaves a light stain after rubbing off with tissue. Doesn't dehydrate lips nor does it nourishes. You get what you pay for, and they're easily collectible. (I shall resist...!)

And the obligatory swatches:

What are your go-to products for a speedy morning routine or laid back weekend look?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

NEW from Sonia Kashuk: Dewy Luxe Cheek & Lip Balms in Enchanted 01 and Charmed 02

I live dangerously close to a Target, which means I can often be found scouring for drugstore gems in its makeup aisles and casting many a longing glance at Sonia Kashuk products in particular. Of course, I always knew that Sonia Kashuk makes great quality products at an affordable price, and I've been curious about her makeup forever. While I masterfully resisted the temptation to haul all throughout fall/winter, I finally caved at the sight of several new spring launches.

Double-tasking lip and cheek liquid tints are everywhere all of a sudden, and before flinging my money at brands like YSL, I wanted to dabble with liquids again with drugstore brands first. My fingers haven't been stained with liquid tints since ye olde days of original Benefit Benetint, and while I loved the natural-looking reddened flush, I hated the messiness and clumsiness of badly blended liquids. For some reason, Sonia Kashuk's sleek little black bottles gave me hope again that I could master liquid blushes after all.

The Dewy Luxe Cheek & Lip Balms are quite small -- wider than a standard size lipstick but about the same height. But when it comes to liquid tints, I prefer them in smaller form. I still have nightmares about trying to finish up a large bottle of Benetint while its content never seemed to decrease unless I spilled it.

The applicator is a short brush that narrows to a point like an eyelining brush, but it can also splay out a bit wider once you start to stroke the bristles back and forth across cheeks or lips. Personally, I'd prefer that the brush be wider in order to better paint the lips -- or better yet, come back in a new shape as a typical doe foot wand. Because the brush is thin and pointed, it's a painstaking labour to cover the entire lips with it. This applicator is much better suited to depositing tiny dots of colour onto the cheeks, so I find myself using these Dewy Luxe Cheek & Lip Balms more often as liquid blushers than as lip tints.

Swatches, left to right: Charmed, Charmed blended, Enchanted, Enchanted blended.

Charmed 02: "a glowing coral"

These tints are called a "balm" for a reason. The texture is liquidy but creamy, like the later offsprings of Benefit's Benetint such as Lollitint and Posietint. I find these SK shades to be more neon but translucent. For a sheerer wash of colour, SK Dewy Luxes are the better bet, and more economical to boot. But there aren't any dupes or overlaps between Dewy Luxes and the Benefit tints, so it will come down to preference of colour for the most part. Both offer layerable coverage and are staining after blotting off excess.

Charmed is an orangey coral that is electric and neon on white tissue but nowhere near as bright on my lips. When applied clumsily, it will leave brush strokes while attempting to build up the coverage with multiple layers, but it isn't anything that can't be solved with light blots or pats. I love the colour on both lips and cheeks and think that it will look particularly awesome with a clean, well-tanned summer face.

Enchanted 01: "a bright pink"

I've always liked oranges but I really love pinks right now, especially with a paler face emerging from the winter gloom. Again, like Charmed, Enchanted looks neon against a white surface and will look much brighter on paler skin tones. But they both blend easily, and their watery translucent quality makes them very wearable.

(Excuse the unblended bronzer on the hollow of my cheek below. I was bronzer-testing at Sephora that day.)

In short, I really like the new Dewy Luxe Cheek & Lip Balms and would love to see a cherry red and a magenta/violet join the current lineup. I find them easy to blend on cheeks with just fingertips, which also make them fine companions to store in purses and travel bags. Bonus points: non-drying on lips, long-lasting/staining, affordable, and no funky smells. As far as drugstore options go, they're one of a kind.

Will you be picking up a Dewy Luxe Cheek & Lip Balm? I think that I'll be picking up a lot more Sonia Kashuk makeup in the near future.

CAD$9.99, available exclusively at Target.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Perfect gloss-lipstick hybrid: Shiseido Lacquer Rouge

This is the last of the Shiseido Fall 2013 hoard that I'll be showcasing. See previous reviews here, here and here.

I originally wanted to review the Ibuki skin care line, the entirety of which I received in a huge bonus draw from Dave Lackie's Twitter giveaways, but I ended up donating most of them to my mom who was in dire need of updated skin care. I managed to try most of the products once or twice, but it's really hard to review skin care products even after finishing an entire tube or jar, and there's not much I can say after just a few dabs, other than that they seem nice.

What I ended up being really impressed by is Shiseido's revamped makeup line. From the foundation to the lipsticks to the eye shadows -- there was not a bad or even a mediocre product in the bunch. Today, I'm talking about their Lacquer Rouge, a product that I think was quite unique in the beauty world until several months ago when suddenly every other brand released opaque and glossy lip products that bear some resemblance to the Lacquer Rouges. Initially, these were what excited me the most about my Shiseido win.

I received six of the new colours that were released last fall. This post is missing BR616 Truffle, which I sent to Awesome Larie after she dyed her hair red. I still have terrible flashbacks to the boredom that was 90s makeup, awash in bland neutrals and brown tones, so I wasn't terribly upset to part ways with it. (If you're curious to see it, check out Larie's review here.)

What is a Lacquer Rouge, anyway? According to Shiseido:

Inspired by Japanese Laquerware, one coat provides intense color and deep luster. This rich liquid lipstick leaves lips as smooth as lacquer. Applicator fits closely against the lips for a comfortable, even application that does not bleed. Lacquer Rouge improves dry, rough or peeling lips with continued use, leaving them smooth and deeply moisturized.

In short: a non-staining moisturizing liquid lipstick with shine and opaque colour payoff.

In my opinion? All quite true, with beautiful colours ranging from deep reds to bright orchid to soft peaches.

I find that they wear very comfortably, feeling feather light on the lips without making them peel afterwards. Often while out and about, I forget that I'm wearing a rather high maintenance formula. Lacquer Rouges don't bleed past the lip line, but they will rub off like traditional glosses and aren't meant to be budge-proof. They will easily replace lipsticks for those who find even satin formulas drying, without sacrificing colour and visual impact. Personally, I found the shades looking slightly softer on my lips than on arm swatches, but that's not something anyone would notice in person. I only happened to notice it while trying to take lip swatches for the blog, and it's also not at all the case for other bloggers like The Makeup Blogette, who demonstrates all six Fall 2013 shades fabulously on the lips. (Sorry, I chucked my lip swatches. But I really do think that they appear slightly muted on my lips for some reason.)
Possible colour disparity aside, my only quibble with Lacquer Rouges is the short and stubby doe-footed wands. I wish that they were pointed like the new Lacquer Glosses, and I wish that the wands were longer, as they don't quite reach the bottom of an already short tube.
Shiseido has since added new shades to the range (see them on Xiao here), as well as to introduce the new Lacquer Glosses, which are a more translucent version of these Lacquer Rouges (again, Xiao got the scoop on those here). I'm going through a major lipstick moment and still consider Perfect Rouges my favourite from the Shiseido offerings, but there are many days when I reach for a Lacquer Rouge for its comfortable wear and pretty colour. In comparison to the latest liquid lip formulas on the market such as Dior Fluid Stick and YSL Kiss and Blush, one thing that Shiseido Lacquer Rouge does better is to offer a more elegant and varied colour selection, creamier consistency and lack of obnoxiously cloying scent. It's well worth picking up a shade or five. I'm contemplating one of the newer violet shades for next fall/winter.

CAD$30, 6mL. Made in USA.

Ingredients (for shade RD215): Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Diphenyl Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Isododecane, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77981), Trimethyl Pentaphenyl Trisiloxane, Dextrin Palmitate, Microcrystalline Wax (Cera Microcristallina), Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Mica, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Silica, Dipentaerythrityl Hexahydroxystearate, Red 7 (CI 15850), Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Iron Oxides (CI 77492), Dipropylene Glycol, Aluminium Hydroxide, PEG/PPG 36/41, Dimethyl Ether, Red 6 (CI 15850), Polysilicone-2, Tocopherol Calcium Stearate, Blue 1 (CI 42090), Butylene Glycol, Water (Aqua), Oryzanol, Limonene, Nylon-12, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Crataegus Monogyna Flower Extract, Iron Oxides (CI 77499), Red 27 (CI 45410), Diisostearyl Malate, Glyceryl Diisostearate.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Amost Empty: Spring 2014

I conveyed in my last empties post that I had lost some steam, and many of you left positive comments that helped to recharge my batteries! Thank you for that. My good friend Vita of Making Up 4 My Age also motivated me to be better about finishing products, especially with her "Beauty Diet" challenge. (Check out her latest empties post here where she also explains how the beauty diet is going. She is a master at finishing makeup!)

Back in November, I also spoke about finishing up some makeup. I'm pleased to report that one of those items mentioned is now in the empties bag. Since then, I've moved on to finish up a few other items, and am currently working on this handful of products below:

Ah, the sight of pan is always a sweet relief to my eyes.

BY TERRY Peach Nude Cream Blush- I'm sure that you're all tired of seeing this tiny pot of peach blush by now. It gives and gives and gives... and I want to finish it before it gives my face a rash or something. God help me. 2014 will see this thing die.

Nanny Rose's Queen Bee Lemonest Lemony Lip Balm + Sunscreen - I'm driven to finishing this because I guiltily spent my sister's emergency pesos on this while visiting her in the Philippines when she lived there for a year as a human rights volunteer. Obviously I paid her back, but it's always embarrassing to remember that moment of frivolity.

The Face Shop Lovely Me:Ex Lip Gloss - It was a gift that I unexpectedly loved and featured in favourites posts here and there. Right now I'm more into lipsticks than glosses, so the last half is going to be difficult to finish, but I try to use it as a lip balm substitute because it's so light and moisturizing as well as pretty.

Urban Decay 24/7 Perversion Glide-On Eye Pencil - I inherited this half-size pencil from Awesome Larie and decided to not squander its remaining length. I've never finished a pencil before and want very much to see this reduced to an unwieldable stump.

BECCA Resurfacing Primer - Most recently discussed here due to packaging issues. BECCA kindly sent me a replacement and assured me that the rip in the tube is an anomaly rather than the norm. I could just chuck this one and start on the new tube, but... dammit, I'm so close. I'll try to finish it so long as I don't sense a change in the product. The second it feels/looks/smells bad, it's gone.

Beauty For Real Very Black Miracle Mascara! (Press Sample) - I rarely feel pressure to finish press samples, obviously because I didn't have to spend money on them. But I do commit to finishing them if I like them, want to see how it performs from beginning to end, or have no other replacement options. I was on a mascara break when this came along and actually revived mascara interest. I'm not crazy about the bulkiness of the tube nor the gimmicky light, but it is actually a really good mascara that works well as a work horse product without major issues or big drama. But it's going into the empties bag right now, because it lasted way past the safety date and I didn't realize that until just now. This kept so well that I didn't even notice the passing of time.

Need more motivation? See my previous posts on finishing products:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Fresh Face for Spring Days with Clarins HydraQuench Lotion

This post features a press sample.

Technically, it's spring -- although, today we have snow again and it looks absolutely miserable outside. (I'm keeping indoors and pretending otherwise.) I made small adjustments to my skin care routine about a month ago, rotating in the new Clarins HydraQuench Lotion SPF 15 for normal to combination skin in place of heavier face oils and creams.

According to the Clarins website, the HydraQuench Lotion SPF 15 provides "hydration for a fresh, matte appearance with added sun protection." Ingredients include hyaluronic acid to help restore the skin's water reserves, katafray extract to reinforce the barrier effect of the outer layer of the skin and limiting dehydration, extracts of rowan tree buds to boost skin's radiance, pomegranate extract to help tighten the pores, and alpine willow herb extract to prevents shiny skin.

Like its sister products in the HydraQuench range (see my reviews of the HQ Cream for normal to dry skin and HQ Cream Mask), the HydraQuench Lotion SPF 15 has a light, fresh scent and immediately feels lightweight while hydrating on the skin. It absorbs quickly and makes the face feel comfortable and at ease. Personally, I don't notice tightening of pores or shine prevention, but that's not something that I expect from a moisturizer to begin with. What I do notice after using the HQ Lotion is a fresh face that looks clean and healthy. It's a fantastic lightweight day moisturizer for those who like to layer different serums underneath moisturizers and add sunscreen and foundation afterwards. For my combination skin with an oily T-zone and slightly dehydrated cheeks, this is the ideal day moisturizer.

I also really like the lightweight bottle it comes in, with a pump for dispensing small amounts (I use one and a half pump for the face; two full pumps to include neck). It's a nice departure from the heavy glass jars that most Clarins moisturizers are packaged in, and it's easy to travel with as well.

It's another skin care hit from Clarins -- you really shouldn't be surprised at this point. This one is actually my favourite out of the HydraQuench line, and I see absolutely no need to go searching for a different day moisturizer. We are covered for spring and summer.

CAD$49.50, 50mL/1.6 fl oz. Made in France.

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3% (Sunscreen), Homosalate 5% (Sunscreen), Octocrylene 2.7% (Sunscreen).

Inactive Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Glycerin, Butylocctyl Salicylate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Tapioca Starch, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Parfum/Fragrance, Caprylyl Glycol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Xanthan Gum, Cutylene Glycol, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Tocopherol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium PCA, Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Pentylene Glycol, Biosaccharide Gum-4,  Cedrelopsis Grevei Bark Extract, Thermus Thermophillus Ferment, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Lapsana Communis Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Pyrus Sorbus Bud Extract, Epilobium Fleischeri Extract, Punica Granatum Bark Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.