Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Prime, Glow, Glitter

All right, let's finish up with the last of the recently purchased products.

Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base

Rating: 7/10

The only reason I bought this was because pre-Christmas, Bobbi Brown were having a free full size highlighter with $80 purchase. On top of that, American Express had a $20 cashback offer on purchases of $80 or more on the Bobbi Brown website. So basically, I could get two full size products worth $165 for $65.

I picked the Vitamin Enriched Face Base as I couldn't bring myself to buy more makeup, and reviews online were generally positive. I'd seen it featured in a few YouTube videos as well, but ordinarily would never bring myself to pay $85 for a moisturiser/primer. I do enjoy the citrus scent and the packaging is suitably luxe (though the jar is now plastic rather than glass), but in terms of texture and performance, it leaves me underwhelmed. It's quite thick and while not greasy, sits on the heavier side of creams. I don't notice it doing anything in terms of improving the application or wear of my foundation. I prefer more serum-like/liquid, lighter-textured products for priming, like Eve Lom Flawless Radiance Primer or the Too Faced Hangover Primer, which help meld the foundation and produce a translucent luminosity to the skin. The Vitamin Enriched Face Base reminds me more of a thicker night cream than a daytime moisturiser that doubles as a primer. A little bit does go a long way, so even with regular use, the jar should last a while.

Bobbi Brown Highlighting Powder in Afternoon Glow

Rating: 8/10

This was the free product that I selected with my Vitamin Enriched Face Base. I've always been curious about Bobbi Brown highlighters, but they're so eyewateringly expensive that they never seemed worth the money. Afternoon Glow is a beautiful, ethereal pink highlighter that appears to have a white pearl sheen on the skin. The way it sits on the skin is a testament to its quality, in that you can't detect product sitting on the skin and it doesn't emphasise texture or appear dry and chunky at the end of the day. The texture is similar to MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish, Anastasia Beverly Hills Amrezy highlighter or Laura Mercier Face Illuminator, in that it's not super creamy or densely pigmented (like Becca Shimmering Skin Perfectors, theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer, ABH Sun Dipped/Sugar Glow Kits), but more on the drier side with no fallout. I have tried it with numerous brushes and I like Real Techniques Setting Brush best for more precise placement, and Real Techniques Blush Brush for a more seamless, all over glow. If using the Blush Brush, I prefer to apply highlighter before blush, so I can blend my blush into my highlighter with less obvious demarcation between the two.

Marc Jacobs See-quins Glam Glitter Eyeshadow in Topaz Flash

Rating: 10/10

I basically never buy single shadows, especially those that cost $36 a pop, but when I saw these featured on Instagram and in YouTube videos, I knew they were something special. I literally have nothing to complain about when it comes to this elegant glittergasm of an eyeshadow. It is simply perfection. The multicoloured glitters are everything, it's so festively sparkly, there is no pesky fallout, it's easy to apply with the fingers, it glimmers all day and all night. Limited edition for the holiday — I would advise checking these out if you haven't already ASAP.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Had to Have Minis

The second last installment, I promise! (Also see parts 1 & 2.)

Stila 3D Dazzle Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow Set

Rating: 6/10

After missing out on the previous incarnations of this set, I was determined to make this set of three mini Magnificent Metals Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadows mine. This one comes with Golden Girl ("duochrome golden fawn"), Perlina ("duochrome opalescent white, bright blue, pink and purple pearl") and Kitten Karma ("champagne with silver and copper sparkle").

l-r: Perlina, Golden Girl, Kitten Karma

I found these to be a relative disappointment. First, Golden Girl (the shade unique to this set) is really sheer and at the same time, quite similar in colour to Kitten Karma. It's basically a sparser, more watery version of Kitten Karma minus the chunkier silver glitter. Second, while I was strongly drawn to the iridescent glitter in Perlina, and admittedly it's more pigmented than the similar MAC Dazzleshadow Liquid in Not Afraid to Sparkle which I recently purchased on holiday, it has a strong white, pearly base which isn't the most flattering against my yellow skin tone. Kitten Karma is the most reflective and glitter-dense, but I have similar, albeit less intense, cream shadows like Colourpop Super Shock Shadow in Amaze and Australis AC/ME Eyeshadow in Bronzonce.

The main problem with these liquid shadows is when applied over other shadows as a glitter topper, they dissolve what's underneath. When I placed this over a powder eyeshadow and then tried to blend it, a bare patch of eyelid emerged. The only way I've gotten around this is by taking a tiny amount of product onto my fingertip, then gently dabbing it my lid, making sure I don't blend into or rub anything that's already been laid down. If you apply directly with the applicator onto your bare lid, there's less of an issue, but it does set fairly quickly so you'll need to work swiftly to blend out the edges to your satisfaction before it's too late.

The packaging is beautiful and the set is good value for money compared with buying one full size shadow, but I wasn't in love with either the colours or the application. Combined with the two MAC Dazzleshadow Liquid Eyeshadows I purchased, I can safely say I'm done with these glitter topper/liquid shadows. I'm sticking with creams and powders. Way less temperamental.

Bite Beauty Sweet Treats: Holiday Hangover Lip Care Set

Rating: 8/10

Containing 5g of the Agave Lip Mask in Lavender, a mini Agave Lip Balm (2g) and a sample of the Agave Sugar Lip Scrub, this is a bargain at $19. I've always wanted to try the Agave Lip Mask but a tube costs $40 which I simply cannot bring myself to fork out for A LIP BALM. However, this duo of smaller sizes in miniaturised packaging is the perfect introduction at a much more palatable price point. I love the lavender scent of the Agave Lip Mask, though it does impart a tiny bit of a blueish-purplish tint to the lips. Nothing too noticeable, but I would've preferred completely clear. The Agave Lip Mask is comfortably plush and cushiony in texture and more like Lanolips than Kiehl's/Carmex/Blistex/Vaseline. It also tastes sugary, if that's your jam. The mini lip balm has pleasing matte packaging and is adorably tiny, and with such a small amount of product, there's a high likelihood I might actually be able to finish it, unlike the 1091829 other lip balms I have lying around, some dating back to the Dark Ages. It's a bit of a harder texture but does soften upon contact with the lips. I love the scrumptious vanilla scent and I've found it makes an excellent base for matte liquid lipsticks as it's slightly tacky and moisturising but not shiny or greasy. The lip scrub sample was packed with largeish sugar granules and oils, but I didn't find it to be anything transformative on the lips and you can get similar products for much cheaper (e.g. Lush).

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Green Glamour, Jetsetting Nowhere

Continued on from yesterday, part 2/17921 of rating my recent holiday beauty purchases.

Huda Beauty Emerald Obsessions Palette

Rating: 8/10

The first thing I've bought from Huda Beauty, since the bigger palettes are $$$ and at that price point, have to be truly exceptional to get me to purchase. Green seems to be the colour du jour and while this is not exactly the Melt Gemini palette, it swatched so beautifully in YouTube videos and had pretty good reviews, so I snapped it up when Sephora had their store-wide 15% off sale.

As a "green" palette, I appreciate the range of colours, textures and finishes you get. There's everything from glimmering pale sage green, matte seafoam, an almost Tiffany blue, turquoise-leaning metallics, khaki, olive, deep forest greens and a bright lime-yellow. Some might call it incoherent, but here, I like the variety. There are some shades that are unique to my collection, which is always a big plus when buying something new. The pigmentation ranges from "meh" (mainly one or two of the mattes) to surprisingly great.

The real question is: would I wear any of these shades? I can say that since I purchased it, I've played around with it a couple of times, but I've never worn it out. It's too green for daily office wear, and it's still too green for grocery shopping at the weekend. That's simply my personal comfort level/preference, not any judgement against those that wear colour whenever they please. Doesn't mean I don't like the palette or that I regret buying it. Just that I'm not going to get a lot of wear out of it. Probably the most neutral look you could achieve is the matte khaki shade all over the lid, with the option of the lightest glitter topper dabbed on the centre for added sparkle.

I have watched a whole bunch of tutorials using this palette on YouTube, and it's versatile enough to create a range of truly eye-catching looks. Having said that, I doubt I could recreate any of the looks on myself, with my monolids and shoddy eye makeup skills. I'm much more a "throw on one colour all over the lid, then a darker colour closer to the lash line if I can be bothered" kinda gal.

Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist

Rating: 8/10 (but 3/10 for affordability)

This is a repurchase. Can I say I was an OG fan, having first bought a bottle in 2013? The packaging is so luxe and beautiful, the spray is super fine (you can barely feel anything on your face, for better or worse), and I enjoy the scent. When I found out there was a 30ml bottle for $29, it seemed like an achievable way to bring back something very expensive but very nice into my life. Plus Mecca had complimentary express shipping on that day and that combined with 3 free samples of things I never asked for is usually enough to make me start typing in my PayPal details.

Fresh Facial on the Fly Skincare Set

Rating: 7/10

The price ($36, but I purchased at 15% off, so $30.6) was the main selling point of this set. You get the Soy Face Cleanser (20ml), Rose Face Mask (15ml) and Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream (15ml). I've already tried the cleanser and enjoyed it (gently foaming, refreshing cucumber scent, ideal for mornings), and I recently tried the face cream while holidaying in Hawaii and LOVED it (I swear applying it as a night cream for a few days singlehandedly fixed my sunburned, dehydrated skin). I hadn't tried the Rose Face Mask but was curious to and would never buy the full size as it's too expensive. It's okay, nothing special. It has a watery, jelly consistency and adds more moisture into the skin. Nothing I'm crazy about or would repurchase. I have so many cleanser and face cream minis though, that I probably could have done without buying this set. Still, I convince myself these small sizes are great for travel, despite travelling, like, 3% of the 365 days in a year.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Rating Holiday Beauty Buys

And by "holiday beauty buys", I merely mean stuff I've purchased in the last couple of months leading up to Christmas. I've been visiting Sephora and Mecca Maxima/Cosmetica at an alarming rate, and couldn't pass up Priceline's recent 50% off makeup sale. And let's not even mention online shopping, probably my ultimate weakness. Dedicated trips to my Australia Post Parcel Locker constitute my most regular form of exercise.

In any effort to blog more often, I've decided to rate just 1-2 products per post. (Well, that might not be 100% true, it's more that I'm also lazy and doing a mammoth post featuring a lot of products is both a long hard slog to write and read.) So, little tid bits!

Speaking of photos, I've just read that Flickr, the website I use to upload photos for my blog, is implementing the below changes:

January 8, 2019: Free accounts will be limited to 1,000 photos and videos. Free accounts with more than 1,000 items will no longer be able to upload new photos or videos.

February 4, 2019: Any items over the 1,000-upload limit will be at risk of deletion, starting with the oldest of the items.

Which is to say I guess I've no choice but to start uploading my pictures directly to Blogger from now on, and that there could be disappearing images on the blog from February. Thanks, Flickr.

Anyway, back to the products.

Let's start with the biggest disappointment.

Maybelline Countdown Palette

Rating: 2/10

When I bought this, there was no tester in the store and no swatches or reviews online. But, because I was fairly happy with the Maybelline Soda Pop Palette, and noticing this palette was made in Italy (ooohhh), I took a chance. It is an insane $29.95 RRP in Australia, but I purchased this at half price from Priceline. There is no doubt in my mind if there was a tester, I wouldn't have wasted my money.

Billed as Maybelline's holiday palette, I was conjuring images of impossibly pigmented, sparkly, glittery shadows in flattering festive shades. The reality is, it's chalky, dry, chunky, lacking pigmentation (except for maybe one matte and two metallic shades), and just totally unnecessary in the scheme of the palettes I already own. If you like the matte berry/magenta/orange shades, I have everything from Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance to the original Morphe x Jaclyn Hill Favorites Palette (the one that no one remembers or cares about anymore). The metallic goldy/peachy shades are also extremely reminiscent of the Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette. Basically, I already have superior versions of the colours in this palette.

The four larger pans, which appear to be more eyeshadow bases or toppers and could even pass for face highlighters, are generic, uninspiring and very average in quality. They're so light in colour that they're more a sheen on the lids than anything that provides definition. The only shade that truly caught my eye, and that I had high hopes for, was the glittery copper at the centre bottom right. Sadly that also proved to be a letdown. Even then, it's still the most interesting and "special" shade in the entire palette, despite being flaky, weak in pigment, fall out central, and overall underwhelming. If I wanted a beautiful gold glitter topper, I could just get out my Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita quad, or the incomparable gold leaf shade in the Clarins Odyssey palette, still one of the most stunning things in makeup I've ever seen.

Lesson learned: don't buy unless there's a tester. And thoroughly scan existing inventory to see if anything matches what you already have. Of course, rational tests like this should be second nature for someone who has spent thousands of dollars on makeup. Let's hope failing constantly will one day produce change.

Maybelline Fit Me Loose Powder

Rating: 6.5/10

I was extremely hyped for this given NikkieTutorials swears by it and it takes approximately 12 years for anything "hot" to make it to Australia. I should've probably reflected on Nikkie's makeup style and application vs. my own in deciding to purchase this. I basically never powder and if I do, it's almost always with a pressed powder. In fact, this might be my very first loose powder purchase ... pretty remarkable when you consider how long I've been into makeup.

It has all the usual pitfalls of loose powders, being having to turn the jar upside down to get powder out, the struggle to get the right amount of product on your brush, the potential messiness and spillage. I use the best of the best to get it on my face (Wayne Goss Brush 00), and it does apply to the skin nicely and provide a more matte, smoother appearance. But my main feeling is I don't think it does anything for my makeup application. As oil control, it's entirely ineffective (I experienced little to no meaningful difference in how oily my skin was during the day using it and not using it). It perhaps locked in my base for a little bit longer, but seemingly at the expense of slightly cakier skin. I found that when used all over, other powders (blushes, highlighters) looked more chunky, visibly sitting on the surface and not melding into the skin, especially near the under eye area. I prefer a dewier, more glossy complexion, and I've accepted there is basically no good way to eliminate oils from the skin except for a good blot, so this loose powder just seems like a fiddly, extra step in my routine that provides no clear benefit. Results may be better if applied with a damp sponge, so at the very least there's room for improvement with experimentation.
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