Sunday, September 1, 2013

August Favourites

August was a bit of a strange month for me. The net result was a couple of weeks of relative inner turmoil which amounted to pretty much nothing in terms of changing my situation. My upcoming planned holiday to Europe couldn't come at a better time. I need a change in scenery and some distraction/space to reevaluate things. Makeup-wise, I'm beginning to appreciate why cult classics are just that. I suppose my makeup tastes are in a way becoming increasingly higher end, not because of any attraction to luxury brands, but because I'm sick of buying multiple cheaper, inferior quality alternatives to the real deal which ultimately are a waste of money. Usually, there's good reason why popular products are often raved about, relied on and well-loved, and though I might stray now and then, I always come back to what I know actually works.



Real Techniques Expert Face Brush
This brush has been somewhat overshadowed by my affection for the Real Techniques Buffing Brush, but I've been using it for the majority of August, and my feelings steadily grew to definite love. This is just excellent for slapping on any base — from a tinted moisturiser (more on that later) to a more full coverage foundation. The shape reminds me of a cross between a kabuki brush and a traditional foundation brush. I use it in downward and sideways strokes, rather than in circular motions as I would the Buffing Brush, but it still blends the product effortlessly due to the density of the bristles. You can also use it in a stippling motion to get rid of any streaks. The best thing about this brush is the way it can navigate tricky areas like around the nose or the edges of the mouth. The more precise, straight edge (as opposed to rounded) really lets you to get right in there for a seamless finish. It's also brilliant for cream blush and, I imagine, contouring with a cream pigment or bronzer, though I haven't personally tried it for that purpose.

NARS Bronzing Powder in Laguna
I don't know what took me so long to get my hands on Laguna, but I'm so glad I did. Since this arrived with my NARS Lose Yourself Set, I've been thoroughly obsessed. While I don't really care for the Angelika blush that comes with the blush/bronzer duo, I know the Laguna side will get a tonne of wear. I've firmly incorporated Laguna in my daily routine since receiving it, using my Models Prefer Mystique Angled Blush Brush for a soft contour, or the Real Techniques Powder Brush for more of an all-over bronzed effect. It's sheerer and more of a warm, golden tone than the darker, slightly muddier Benefit Hoola (which I prefer for more serious contouring), which makes it ideal for everyday wear. The texture is really easy to work with and the colour just seems to agree with me. For now, I can't imagine finding anything that will top Laguna in my book, though I'm always open to the possibility of being proven wrong.



NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base
A sample size was included with the NARS And God Created the Woman Eye Kit, and I was eager to see how this eye primer (a favourite of Lisa Eldridge) stacked up against others I'd used, like Urban Decay Primer Potion, LORAC Behind the Scenes Eye Primer, or even just regular cream eyeshadows from MAC, Revlon and Maybelline. While it's quite the challenge to get any product out from the tiny tube, I can see why this primer would be very effective for those with oily lids. Once you whack this on and place a powder eyeshadow on top, it's not going to budge. If I've blended a very small amount of this primer over my lid, and make a minor mistake with my eye makeup, like drawing my eyeliner too far, I can't just rub it off with my finger as I normally would because the primer is making that eyeliner cling on for dear life. It's almost like it works by drying out the texture of anything placed over it so it's virtually stuck to the lids.


Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser SPF20 in Nude
This stuff is truly amazing, to the extent that I would say it's approaching HG status. I haven't tried the oil-free version to compare (though I'm curious to, given it seems to be the more popular choice among beauty bloggers), but I'm completely content with the original one. The shade I have, Nude, is slightly too dark for me at the moment, but nothing too noticeable. This just gives the most natural finish to the skin while perfecting it in a very subtle but powerful way. I've already devoted an entire post to it, including a side-by-side before and after comparison. This is now my preferred base if I'm going out on the weekend, replacing my Garnier BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector (Combination to Oily Skin) which previously was part of my go-to low-key makeup. It's superior to the Garnier in every way, the most significant of which is the way it blends into the skin. The Garnier is quite liquid and requires a decent amount of effort to be thoroughly worked into the skin. The Laura Mercier just melts into the skin with barely any effort. I even wore this to work one day which is completely unheard of, since I've always used a proper foundation. It held up from morning to night just fine, if not better, than some of my regular, albeit lighter coverage foundations, like Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow SPF 25 and Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup SPF 20.


Maybelline EyeStudio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner in Blackest Black
For whatever reason, my eyes began to get irritated when I used my Australis 10 Hour Waterproof Eye Pencil in Bombastic Bronze to define my lower lash line. At first I thought it might've just been a one-off thing, but when the problem persisted over the course of several days, I ditched the Australis and reverted to my trusty ol' Maybelline gel eyeliner using a Manicare angled brush. If anything, I like the result more than the bronze eyeliner pencils I'd been exclusively wearing. I always make sure to lightly dip my brush into the pot and then draw the first few strokes on my hand to soften the intensity of the black before applying it on my lower lash line. Using a minuscule amount of product, I get a much more precise, thin line which lasts the whole day and doesn't look harsh or too dark at all. I've had this pot for ages. It hasn't dried out and there's still 90% left.


Benefit Hervana
Benefit seriously know how to make a good blush. Sure, they might not be the most daring, fashion-forward, bold or unique colours, but they're universally flattering, girly shades that just look good on the skin. Hervana was something I was so excited to buy when I was in the States last year, since there was slim chance I'd be willing to part with $51 for it here. I'm not sure whether I love it as much as Sugarbomb, but it comes pretty damn close. This is one of the very few pink blushes that I don't hate on me. It's a perfect specimen of an everyday blush that I really don't show enough appreciation for. A gem in my blush collection.

l-r: NARS Pro-Prime, NARS Laguna, Laura Mercier Nude, Benefit Hervana, Maybelline Blackest Black

40 comments:

  1. I keep putting off buying nars laguna because at the moment, I'm too far away from a counter to do a little swatch test - but it's definitely on my 'must buy' list like mac russian red.

    Also - what nail polish are you wearing? It's gorgeous!

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    Replies
    1. Ah yes, Russian Red was a lipstick that I always thought I'd buy, but when I actually got the MAC counter in the States I wasn't too sure! It's a classic though.

      It's OPI GoldenEye - the most fabulous gold polish ever to be made :)

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  2. I've never tried gel eyeliner but the Maybelline one looks good.

    Hannah

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  3. I seriously love the Maybelline gel liner. I've been wanting to try the Laura Mercier tinted moisturiser for a while now, but I'm a little nervous because I'm used to wearing a lot of higher coverage foundation - my skin will probably love a bit of a break though!

    Dolce Beauty

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  4. I love the Real Techniques Expert Face brush :) And Benefit's Hervana looks beautiful! xx
    xtouchofbeautyx.blogspot.co.uk

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  5. I have been wanting to try Hervana for a while now and I think I just might get it after seeing this post. Your photos make everything look so pretty!

    www.dressingroomdiaries.com

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  6. i've been undecided about whether to get the expert face brush because, like you, i'm very happy with the buffing brush - but now i think you've sold it to me! damn you ;) x

    Miho @ Wander to Wonder

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  7. That gel liner is amazing! Really want that expert face brush! Sounds perfect :)x

    natalielovesbeauty.blogspot.ca

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  8. Interesting post. Reminds me that I need to so the same soon.
    Xoxo

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  9. lovely favorites!
    I've tried a sample size of laura mercier tinted moisturizer in original ( the one you have ), and I liked it but it was not enough for me to dig into my pocket and get the full size one. I think it would make a great base for me, because I need more coverage on daily basis..
    Oh Hervana looks so good on the swatch, it looks like a perfect everyday blush. O__o

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  10. I really want to get the LM Tinted moisturiser! I have the primer and I really like it. Shame summer is over now, and the need for a tinted moisturiser isnt as high anymore! Would be good for the days where I dont want to wear much makeup though!

    Leanne @ Leanne-Marie | Beauty, fashion & lifestyle. x x

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  11. Hervana is so pretty and i would love to add that to my collection! The benefit boxes are so expensive but i guess that they are worth every single penny for the quality.

    Thanks for sharing~ have a lovely day <3

    * Yingcbeauty *
    X x X x X

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  12. Oh, you just made me realise that I should do my favourites too!
    And I totally get you. I've come to the point where I prefer to have less products, but good ones. There is no point in having so much trash that I don't like or don't use. I'm all for quality instead of quantaty.
    Hervana has beem in my wishlist for ages! I'm just kinda scared that it may not look god on me.
    And primer looks amazing!
    I'm also looking for a nice primer. I'll just try the balm's primmer and lime crime's primer first.

    Please take care!
    Have a nice day`

    http://beauty-with-love.blogspot.com

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  13. Oh, I hope things works out for your hun.

    I love Laura Mercier products- this tinted moisturiser is a goodie, but my all time fave is the luminous primer :)

    Lucy x

    www.love-luc.com

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  14. thanks information on the favorite in the august mounth

    miela tahril

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  15. Good picks. Looove that gold nail polish!

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  16. Maybelline drama gel eyeliner is one of my favs too! The result is absolutely gorgeous and after long time didn't irritate my eyes (contact lenses wearer)

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  17. The expert face brush is my new favorite brush! And the Hervana blush is definitely on my wish list!

    xx- missmacbeauty.blogspot.com

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  18. Laura Mericer Tinted Moisturiser & the RT Expert Face Brush are firmly on my wishlist. Hell, everything on here is! I agree with your opening statement about cult classics too; have spent far too much money in the past on cheap dupes, and whilst I like a few, most never come anywhere close to the original x

    Evelyn @ We Were Raised By Wolves

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  19. i like your nails! maybe we can follow each other? let me know! <3 http://exality.blogspot.com/

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  20. I loveeeee the expert face brush! Would you recommend any other brushes (aside from the Blush Brush because I already have that one) from Sam's line?

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    1. Pretty much anything, they're for the most part brilliant. Core Collection is a must, if only for the buffing brush and contour brush. The pointed foundation brush from that set doesn't get a lot of love, but I know some people use it to put on face masks. I also recommend the travel set for the multi-task brush and the domed shadow brush, the essential foundation brush you get from it isn't too bad (much better than the one in the Core Collection). I also love the powder brush they do - gigantic, fluffy and great for all-over powdering or bronzer.

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  21. i want to try these!

    http://herguiltypleasureblog.blogspot.com

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  22. I know many of these products well and my dear, let me just say that you got a great taste! I love NARS Laguna and their eyeshadow primer, and Benefit Hervana is such a go-to blush for me day-to-day. I really wanted to try some Real Techniques brush any time soon too :)

    from isabela at fusels.com | bloglovin

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  23. I have been wanting Hervana for, oh I don't know, FOREVER??? Guhhhhh if only I could justify yet another blush in my collection. My stupidly large makeup collection. I'm sure I'll break one of these days but for now I'll just have to live vicariously through people like you who are able to show it some love in person ;__;

    ♥Cassie
    thriftthick.blogspot.com

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  24. I would love to try the laura mercier tinted moisturizer!!


    maisie-xo.blogspot.com

    xx

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  25. omg i just commented this on Ling's blog but I really want to try Laura Mercier base products!!
    I've been loving my expert face brush lately too!
    I've tried quite a few eye primers, atm i'm using the too faced shadow insurance which my cousin got for me from the US and honestly, i think it's a bit overhyped! But wow the NARS one sounds amazing!

    à la foliee

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  26. i love benefit hervana ! it's such a pretty colour for daily use :)). and i must say that i agree with you regarding luxury brand over the lower end one,, sometime it's good to buy a better quality that actually works rather than buying loads of cheap one that don't.

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  27. Benefit's Hervana looks amazing! xx

    Justine | BRIGHTON DREAM

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  28. Urgh, Laguna refuses to work for me, way too muddy. Yet, every time someone applauds it, I just have to dig my palette out and try again. Nope, still not for me. Sigh.

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  29. Love monthly favourites :) I really want to try the NARS concealer! Sounds really nice!!

    Katie xx | Katies World

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  30. You bring up a really good point. Our money-saving attempts sometimes spend in bigger long-term splurging than if we had just bought the original nice item that was on our radar. That explains the disproportionately ragey feeling that's induced when a $1 eye shadow doesn't work out, despite costing less than a cup of coffee. But I can't help experimenting first-hand if I'm drawn to something, despite countless reviews out there. :x

    Anyway, lovely favourites! I need that NARS primer - after resisting since its debut, it's become apparent to me at last that it's perfect for my eyelids. And the LM TM is amazing - still one of my faves!

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  31. Hervana looks so much better swatched than I thought it looks from the box! I really hope your trip reliefs some of your stresses!

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  32. That NARS Eyeshadow Base is just amazing! It's my favorite eye primer... it just makes whatever I wear on top stick like glue for the whole day. :D

    ~ Yun

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  33. My favorites have been similar to yours, the NARS base is amazing!! Everything latches on and won't budge. Also, the Real Techniques expert face brush is truly a wonder brush. Flipping amazing.

    <3 Carolyn

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  34. The maybelline gel liner is one of my favorites! I used is a lot in August too!

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  35. Benefit Hervana is such a wearable pink! And you're making me want to get the tinted moisturiser- I've walked past the counter so many times thinking 'I don't need a tinted moisturiser' but maybe I do?! LOL I'll check out shades next time heh. The Expert Face brush is good but I'd choose the Buffing brush if push came to shove.

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  36. Benefit Hervana looks beautiful!

    themacaronaddict.blogspot.co.uk

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  37. Hervana is one of the few benefit blushes I don't have! Maybe it's time... :)

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  38. I am just about to try Laura Mercier's tinted moisturizer after coveting it for so long!

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