Saturday, July 14, 2018

Current Makeup/Skin Care Menu #5

It's winter in Australia, so a traditionally very lazy time of year when it comes to makeup. That, or I've reached the stage where I'm favouring a more pared down routine, reaching for the same products each time without inclination to mix things up. Sort of like Steve Jobs and his same outfit every day. If it's working for me now and it saves me the time and effort having to decide what to use on a daily basis, then I'm happily sticking to the same old. At least until the weather starts warming up.


Pixi Glow Tonic
Can I flatter myself by saying I was an early adopter of this stuff? Of course, recommended by Caroline Hirons back in the day when it used to come in a rectangular bottle with a pump. Though it's been 5 years since I first started using it, I haven't been completely loyal ever since. But that's more because I'm not that disciplined when it comes to toning and exfoliation in general. However, I started using this regularly a few months ago and I'm converted again. It makes a BIG difference to my skin when incorporated into my daily regime. I cleanse with an oil, wipe this all over with a facial pad, follow with a hydrating toner (see below), then slather on moisturiser mixed with a couple drops of rosehip and avocado oil. The condition of my skin has been smooth, supple, hydrated, relatively blemish-free (still human, so not totally immune to the odd spot), without signs of flakiness or dryness typical of the season. I've since purchased 2 bottles as backup, so you know I'm not messing around.

Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycolic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Sodium Hydroxide, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Leaf Extract, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract, Hexylene Glycol, Fructose, Glucose, Sucrose, Urea, Dextrin, Alanine, Glutamic Acid, Aspartic Acid, Hexyl Nicotinate, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Biotin, Panthenol, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum), Caramel, Red 4 (CI 14700).

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Chamomile and Lavender
I wanted a simple, inexpensive but effective hydrating toner to follow Pixi Glow Tonic, and this newish release popped up on my radar. I've always been curious about the Mario Badescu sprays since they're quite affordable ($10 for 118ml, $17 for double that amount) and seem to be decently reviewed. I know this is basically just water with a minuscule amount of other things thrown in that may or may not have any real benefit to my skin, but so far, I'm enjoying it. I haven't had any reaction to it and it's a nice mist of calm hydration following my morning and evening cleanse. The scent isn't as dreamy as I'd hoped with the promise of authentic lavender (I don't really detect any sweetness or earthiness to it, it's more of a harsh/cold herbal scent), but I don't have any major complaints.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water, Eau), Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Water, Propylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Fucus Vesiculosus Extract, Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Leaf Extract, Silver Citrate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Benzophenone-4, Triethanolamine, Zeolite, Sodium Sulfate, Citric Acid, Sodium Chloride, CI 60730 (Violet 2).


Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - Radiance
The news of Laura Mercier exiting the Australian market reminded me to actually start using the Laura Mercier products I have. I haven't bought a heap from the brand over the years, but the quality and performance of the products I have tried have consistently been excellent, so it's a real bummer they've decided to pull the plug. I think I read recently that Meghan Markle just used this primer on days when she wanted to boost and brighten her complexion, but not wear a full face of foundation, so naturally I started to mix a bit of this into my foundation every day. Not only does it add very natural but effective luminosity, but it's a bit of a thicker consistency and accordingly, bulks up my lightweight, more liquid foundation (Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum) so that it adheres to my skin better and has greater longevity. The only thing is that patches of gold shimmer in the primer can be apparent if you don't thoroughly blend the primer/foundation concoction into your skin, so a bit of extra care needs to be taken for a smooth, streak-free result.


LA Girl Cosmetics Glide Gel Eyeliner Pencil in Very Black
I needed a replacement for my beloved but long discontinued Savvy by DB Luxury Liner in Shimmering Slate, and this was inexpensive but well reviewed. I don't love it quite as much as the Savvy by DB, but it's definitely up there. It's nicely black, long lasting, smooth but not too melty, and as its name suggests, glides on and doesn't tug at the eyelids whatsoever. It's also much easier to remove at the end of the day than the Savvy by DB, which is a big plus.

Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes in Lots o' Latte
I feel like I've been sleeping on this for years, though it's been sitting in my makeup drawers all this time. It's literally the only eyeshadow I've been using every single day. There's something so liberating about slapping this on without thought and being done. It takes <1 minute and there's no primer involved, no brushes (which will later have to be washed), no careful, time-consuming blending (just use your fingers to fade out the edges a bit). The satin taupey/browny/mushroomy shade is deep enough to add definition, but not so much that you have panda eyes in the daytime. There's also not that much shimmer or glitter that a lot of eyeshadow crayons have, which seems more fitting with winter when a more subdued matte look might be preferable.

Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes in Lots o' Latte

Real Techniques Blush Brush
Every now and then, you learn something truly revolutionary through a YouTube makeup video or tutorial. That occurred to me recently when I saw Mariah Leonard's Glass Skin Foundation Routine. Basically, she advocates using a big fluffy brush like the Real Techniques Blush Brush, then using a very light, delicate touch with your highlighter powder, and applying the product in large circular motions around the cheekbones and browbone, then dusting your brush across your forehead, down the bridge of your nose, and chin. The main points are to ditch your usual highlighting brush which is much smaller and produces a more precise, concentrated placement, and instead, go big (both in the brush, and in the placement on your face), and go soft (use way less product than you think you need, and be conservative in your dips into the highlighting powder). The result is a much more natural look where you're just glowing all around but the product isn't so obviously sitting on your face.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Amrezy Highlighter
Speaking of this new technique, I've been using the Real Techniques Blush Brush with the massively hyped Amrezy highlighter by ABH. I bought this almost immediately when it launched on international online stockists (for reference, I used Cult Beauty). I learned my lesson from the last time ABH launched highlighter singles (still lamenting missing out on the So Hollywood Illuminator), so there was no way in hell I'd repeat the same mistake. At first, I wasn't sure if the hype was justified as while I liked it, there wasn't anything in particular that blew me away. Until I started adopting the big brush/light dip approach. Then ... I understood. This produces a beautiful highlighted effect that doesn't look crusty or scaly on my skin and isn't too dark for my skin tone. The texture is very finely milled but it's powerfully illuminating without being glittery or chunky. It's also highly pigmented, so a small amount goes a long way. The pan will last a lifetime.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Amrezy Highlighter


l-r: theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer, Fenty Hu$tla Baby, Becca Moonstone, ABH Amrezy, Charlotte Tilbury Highlight (in Beauty Glow)

For comparison purposes, theBalm, Becca and Charlotte Tilbury are the most similar to each other, with a paler, more pink/beige-toned white gold. The Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Hu$tla Baby is more similar to the Amrezy highlighter, but leans more peachy gold as opposed to yellow gold. However, both share a more pronounced, reflective shine.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Coming In Hot

After watching a few lip swatch videos of the Fenty Beauty Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipsticks on YouTube, I was set on getting my hands on the standout colour in my eyes, Saw-C. It appealed to me on a fundamental level: the super bright, obnoxiously yellow-based orange was a little out there and crazy, but on every single person, it just popped against their skin and looked good. When I finally paid a visit to Sephora, a lot of the more "wearable" shades in the Mattemoiselle collection were sold out, but there was plenty of Saw-C around. I coughed up $28 and was set to live out my vivid tangerine dreams.









The first thing I noticed about the Mattemoiselle lipsticks was just how teeny tiny they are. I don't recall the surprisingly small physical size and amount of product being mentioned in the many lip swatch videos I watched. Most lipsticks are around 4g, but the Fenty is less than half the amount at only 1.7g. However, the price doesn't appear to have been adjusted accordingly. I can imagine Fenty Beauty is raking it in, because on a cost per gram basis, these lipsticks are insanely overpriced. For me, because the main appeal is the colour, and I've rarely finished half a lipstick let alone a whole one, I can begrudgingly overlook the tiny tube and lipstick amount. But still, something about the whole thing doesn't sit right with me. It's not as bad as the Maybelline x Gigi Hadid lip liners which contained a laughable 0.3 grams, but the amount of product in the Mattemoiselle lipsticks is truthfully more suited to a mini than full size.

Fenty Beauty Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipstick in Saw-C

l-r: Fenty Beauty Saw-C, Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Rendezvous, Revlon Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti

In indirect light

In direct sunlight

I had previously gone through my entire lipstick collection looking for a potential dupe for Saw-C, and the two closest were Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Rendezvous and Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti. Looking at the two next to Saw-C, Tutti Frutti is closer in colour than Rendezvous (though glossy as opposed to matte), but both have a touch more red than yellow. As you'd expect, Saw-C makes your teeth look super yellow in the same way that yellow-based pinks do, but that's the price you pay. I also imagine it would be more flattering on warmer/yellow skin tones than pink-toned/cooler complexions, as auxiliary_beauty pointed out. It's a bit of a challenge to coordinate Saw-C with outfits as well, unless you don't mind clashing colours like salmon pink with fiery orange.

Texture-wise, these are fairly creamy and lightweight and don't tug on the lips. They're highly pigmented and only require a single swipe for full colour, which might be a tradeoff for the lower amount of product you get. There is a bit of sinking into lip lines, especially if you apply multiple layers, but nothing that can't be fixed with a bit of blotting and smoothing over with the fingers. In terms of wear and staying power, I don't find them staining and they wear off gently after eating.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Current Makeup Menu #4

I was meant to be on a makeup spending ban for 3 months from the end of January, but it all collapsed at the halfway mark when Anastasia Beverly Hills released the Amrezy highlighter. Before I spectacularly caved (because the purchases didn't just stop at the highlighter), I'd been trying to content myself with my already overstuffed makeup collection. My current favourites include rediscovered gems in my stash, as well as a new concealer that seemed to be in every single Best of 2017 video I watched.



Benefit That Gal Brightening Face Primer
This mini was in the First Class Flirts travel set purchased in September 2015, and I've been trying to use it up as it's too good just to let expire in my makeup drawers. It's a pearlescent pink with a lightweight moisturiser feel that provides a brightening, smoothing effect. The scent is also a pleasantly fruity one that makes it enjoyable to apply in the mornings on top of my moisturiser but before makeup. I like that the skin enhancement effect is more subtle and not achieved through overwhelming shimmer particles that can leave you looking like a greaseball. It imparts more of a soft focus, pearly glow that lifts the complexion. I get very minimal pilling with this (occasionally a tiny bit near my chin if I rub a touch too enthusiastically), but generally it absorbs into the skin with no issues. Best of all, to my surprise, the full size product contains 11g compared with the 7.5g in the mini. The full size also has some weird gluestick-with-a-sponge-tip packaging, whereas the mini is a simple squeezy tube. I definitely know which one I prefer, especially for what I paid.



Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette
Previously featured in my April 2015 Favourites, I've been using this almost daily and my appreciation only grows. As more and more eyeshadow palettes are released and the market becomes completely saturated, I'm beginning to feel nostalgia for a simpler time, when a major palette release from a brand would conjure genuine hype — because the product was actually good. Semi-Sweet has all you need ... those gorgeous light-to-medium neutral mattes (Nougat, Mousse, Peanut Butter, Puddin'), beautiful shimmers in pewter, copper and gilded peach, darker, high performing matte and shimmer shades to deepen your looks (Licorice, Truffled, Hot Fudge, Cocoa Chili), a pop of colour, big highlight and cream matte pans, and an angelic glitter top coat. The only downside is some of the darker shades do have A LOT of fallout, but if you do the eyes first then wipe the mess away with some Bioderma on a cotton pad, it's not a big deal. Bonus points: smells positively edible.


Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso
I don't love this 100% on its own (I find it a bit too light for my skin tone and the colour is too much of a pale orange as opposed to a more flattering, summery coral), but I find it adds a gorgeous goldy-peachy sheen on top of a darker blush that's applied first. Somewhat like a shimmery blush topper, if you will. The texture is beautifully smooth and the powder blends out effortlessly with my Wayne Goss Brush 14.


Bourjois Little Round Pot Blush in Rose Coup de Foudre
Speaking of darker colours to apply with Milani Luminoso, the one I've been pairing it with lately is Bourjois Rose Coup de Foudre. It's darker and more pink than Luminoso, but still has that same gold thread running through it that perks up and beautifies the complexion. The only problem is the entire surface of the blush regularly seals, so I periodically have to run a cotton bud across the dome to loosen the pigment. I also use a slightly stiffer brush (at least compared with the long-haired and floppy Wayne Goss Brush 14) in the form of my Zoeva Luxe Sheer Cheek Brush to apply it.



NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer in Medium 1 Custard
I adore the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, and every blogger under the sun put the Soft Matte Concealer on their yearly favourites, so I was convinced I needed the Soft Matte Concealer in my life. I purchased mine for $44 from Mecca Maxima with little hesitation. It hasn't disappointed. While I'm not totally convinced it is better than the Radiant Creamy Concealer, it's up there among the best concealers I've tried. It's been living in my handbag for daily late afternoon touch ups when my foundation is losing its staying power and sliding off my face. It's a drier, higher coverage, longer lasting formula than Radiant Creamy Concealer, and hence I find targeted to more oily/combination skin. However, it still blends really easily with the fingers, sinks into the skin, and the shade match is good, albeit slightly too light if I go in a bit too heavily around areas of redness I want to even out. You get 6.2g of product which should last an eternity, as you only need a tiny amount each time.


Benefit Posie Tint
These Benefit liquid tints are underrated in my opinion. Posie Tint is one of the more forgiving ones (compared with the other two I have, Cha Cha Tint and Benetint), in that it's not too difficult to work with, doesn't last 4 days on your skin after showering and scrubbing, and has some blendability. I really want Lollitint, because I'm actually obsessed with all things orchid. That's right, I'm still into the Pantone Colour of the Year 2014, people.

I've been enjoying Posietint worked into the cheeks for a pretty, youthful flush that isn't too cool-toned and doesn't immediately draw attention to the red in my face as pinks tend to do. I also love it on the lips (dabbed on with the fingers over slightly moisturised lips for a fresher, less "done" look) for a long lasting, truly kiss-proof pout. Full review with how it looks like on my cheek here, where you can also see what a pristine bottle looks like before everything scratched off in the ensuing 3.5 years.

l-r: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard, NARS Soft Matte Concealer in Custard, Bourjois Rose Coup de Foudre, Milani Luminoso, Benefit Posietint

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Little Glow Pots

I don't know about you, but my highlight craze won't let up. I've accumulated so many highlighters now that my collection could last several lifetimes. My newest obsession has been cream highlighters in a pot. One day, I just found myself returning to an item that has been on my radar for YEARS, rms Living Luminizer. I've heard about this product virtually since I started blogging in 2012, but could never justify the price tag. Even today, at $55, I still can't bring myself to spend that much on a tiny pot of mainly solidified oils and beeswax. I started the hunt for potential dupes and remembered seeing something very similar to the Living Luminizer at Priceline in the form of Luma Illuminating Highlighter. Soon enough, I found myself buying the Luminous Light shade for $26.95. Then my friend gave me her unloved Mecca Cosmetica Enlightened Lit From Within Illuminating Balm, so suddenly I had two of these babies.





Luma Illuminating Highlighter in Luminous Light

What drew me to purchasing Luma Illuminating Highlighter was how incredibly similar its ingredients list was to rms Living Luminizer. Observe:

rms Living Luminizer
Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, and may contain [+/- Titanium Dioxide CI77891, Mica CI 77019]

Luma Illuminating Highlighter
Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Pearl Powder, Tocopherol, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxide (CI 77491)

Same first three ingredients, which surely means they're basically the same thing. The Luma has additional jojoba, sweet almond, grape and soybean oils, along with "pearl powder" and Vitamin E, while the rms has just the addition of rosemary extract.

They also both contain 5 grams of product.

Mecca Cosmetica Enlightened Lit From Within Illuminating Balm

I wasn't able to locate a full ingredient list for the Mecca, but their website mentions it contains jojoba oil, coconut oil and castor seed oil. It's a smaller size to Luma and rms at 3g. To the touch, it feels slightly thicker than the Luma, but applies very similarly and has more or less the same effect on the skin. They're obviously different shades, in that Luma Luminous Light is more of a pink-toned, whitish colour, and the Mecca is more peachy/rose gold. The Luma Illuminating Highlighter does come in two other shades, Moonlit Ivory (more champagne) and Golden Glow (more of a darker bronze). The main difference between the Luma and Mecca I find, apart from the colour, is that the Mecca is quite strongly scented. The smell whacks you in the nostrils as soon as you open the lid, and still smells once you swatch it or apply it to the face. I was instantly reminded of the fragrance in Missha M Perfect Cover BB Cream, though I haven't used that BB cream in years, so that comparison might not be super accurate.

l-r: Luma Illuminating Highlighter in Luminous Light, Mecca Cosmetica Enlightened Lit From Within Illuminating Balm

I picked Luminous Light over the other two shades Moonlit Ivory and Golden Glow because it was the one that popped most on my skin. It's borderline whitish if applied too heavily or if the edges aren't blended well enough, but the shade does predominately appear pearly with an angelic soft pink tinge. I thought it might be too similar to Benefit High Beam, but when I compared them, I found High Beam to be even more dramatic and brightening. High Beam is a liquid highlight, so it's more versatile in that you can use it under foundation, mix it with your base, or use it over your foundation as you would a traditional highlighter.

The Mecca Enlightened Lit From Within Illuminating Balm is less contrasting with my skin and much closer to my natural skin tone. In that respect, it's more muted and subtle when applied, though still gives plenty of glow. It's a bit tackier in texture compared with the Luma and I feel looks oilier, which reinforces the dewy effect. I use both everywhere I'd normally place highlight, i.e. on the cheekbones, down the bridge of the nose, under the browbone and on the cupid's bow.

The appeal of these cream pots is that they're on a different level than powder highlighters when it comes to looking natural and blending into the skin. Most of the powder highlighters I have derive their glow from shimmer particles, whereas these cream ones offer more of a sheen with no detectable shimmer. As I apply them with the fingers (though they can be applied with a synthetic brush or sponge), the warmth of my fingers helps to seamlessly blend the product into the skin. Unlike a lot of powder highlighters, you can't see any demarcation between where you've placed your highlight and the rest of your face. The cream texture also makes layering easier if you want a more pronounced effect, whether that means multiple layers of the cream highlight or layering a powder highlight on top of the cream. I often find at the end of the day, a powder highlight can look like it's sitting on top of the skin, and look chunky and dry, but no such thing occurs with these cream pots. If anything, it softly fades away, as one of the downsides to cream formulas is they tend not to last as long as powders. For the natural, undetectable, ethereal glow they provide, that's a tradeoff I don't mind.
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