Monday, November 28, 2016

Colour Seduction

Peeking into other people's makeup bags is not a good idea. It's like innocently going into a favourite shop just for a browse. My friend had a few Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolors in her bag and I dug out the one that appealed to me the most, HD Seduction (630). I tried it on and suddenly was overcome with that familiar irrational NEED that takes over when I come across a lip colour I like. It was like this was the shade I'd been searching for my whole life. It was the shade I couldn't let get away. Literally 20 minutes later, I hopped into the nearest chemist, zeroed in on the Revlon stand and bought it.

I'd heard of these when they first launched a while back, but they didn't arouse any interest at the time. I was probably at a lipstick saturation point, particularly with Revlon releases. I do recall reading mainly positive reviews about them though, consistent with my general experience with Revlon lip products (I went crazy with their Lip Butters in 2012, have collection posts on their Super Lustrous, Matte and ColorBurst lipsticks, and bought a bunch of the Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains — original and matte).

The Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor isn't completely matte despite the name. They're certainly not bone dry and moisture-sucking like your traditional liquid lipstick (e.g. Colourpop Ultra Matte Lips). To me, it's initially like a lip gloss and takes a long time to mattify, and even when it does, it's more of a slightly sheeny matte lip cream. The consistency is reminiscent of the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams. They're a more forgiving formula, aren't remotely transfer-proof, but once blotted, are slightly staining. Longevity is nothing to write home about, especially since the product can easily fade off the lips. The applicator is excellent (great shape, easy control, distributes just enough product) and feels really plush and cushiony on the lips.

Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor in Seduction

l-r: Face of Australia Sundae, Colourpop Midi, Revlon Seduction, Revlon Elusive, Rimmel Notting Hill Nude, Maybelline Nude Perfection

Seduction is a light-to-medium pinky nude that I think suits Asian skin tones well. I like that you can build up your desired opacity with the wand. I prefer the look of the product lightly applied. When it's more full coverage (like in the pictures below), it looks more like your conventional rosy pink and loses some of its magic as an ideal "my lips but better" shade.

Compared with other nude lipsticks in my collection, Seduction is a pinker Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in Notting Hill Nude or a more uniform Face of Australia Sheer Gloss Lip Crayon in Sundae, which is sheerer, patchier. Colourpop Ultra Matte Lip in Midi is more cool-toned with a touch of purple. Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Elusive is a much warmer, brighter pink. Maybelline Color Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencil in Nude Perfection is a darker, browner nude.

Seduction isn't super unique but the combination of the colour, formula and sleek packaging makes it my current go-to lip product when I feel in the mood for a lil somethin' on the lips but nothing too out there or loud. It's the quintessential "pretty" shade that's safe, unassuming and easy to wear. It adds a touch of muted, natural rosiness that's not too pink or brown, dark or pale. Bonus: the stuff smells like delicious baked goods.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Blonde Buy

Priceline recently had their 40% off cosmetics sale and I only really wanted to buy NYX Lip Lingerie in Bedtime Flirt after reading this article. It was out of stock everywhere I looked (though of course was back in stock right after the sale) so I settled for this el cheapo brow gel from Essence that I recall KathleenLights talk about. She described Make Me Brow as "the same as Benefit Gimme Brow", so how could I go wrong? Plus it was next to nothing at $3.06 after discount.

First mistake I made was my total ignorance at the 2 shades they offer: Blondy Brows (01) and Browny Brows (02). I thought they only had one colour so I didn't even bother checking what shade I picked up. Turned out to be Blondy Brows which was a fail on my part since it is way too light for my colouring.

The only other brow mascara I have is the L'Oréal Brow Artist Plumper in Medium/Dark (also bought during a previous Priceline 40% off sale), which I've been reaching for lately any time I want a more complete makeup look. I used to never care about brows (when writing this post, I realised I don't even have a brow tag on the blog), but increasingly I'm discovering the merit of brow products, especially for occasions where I know I'll be photographed.

Despite purchasing the Medium/Dark shade in the L'Oréal Brow Artist Plumper, I remember trying Light/Medium in the store and quite liking the effect. It completely changed the colour of my brows (it was like I had dyed them a lighter, warmer brown) and in turn, altered the appearance of my whole face. I was hoping that Essence Blondy Brows would be similar, but it's a much lighter, cool-toned ashy blonde than a warm chestnut brown like L'Oréal Light/Medium.

Essence Blondy BrowsL'Oréal Medium/Dark

The wand on the Essence is tiny tiny (much smaller than the L'Oréal Brow Artist Plumper) and there's small fibres that are meant to give more body to your brows. I have pretty full brows already, so the small fibres don't do that much. The minimal difference could be more the wrong shade though. Because of the size of the wand, it distributes less product than the L'Oréal, which may be a good or bad thing depending on your preferences. All in all, it's a much quieter, subdued product.

Bare brow

With Blondy Brows

You can see the product doesn't really make much of a difference. If there is any, it's extremely subtle. There's just a bit more colouring overall and the tip of the brow has a touch more definition.

I haven't tried Benefit Gimme Brow but Essence Make Me Brow does seem like a nearly identical offering at literally a fraction of the price. I definitely am curious about the darker Browny Brows shade and feel it would do a much better job at filling in small gaps in my brows and giving a more defined, polished look than Blondy Brows. Having said that, if L'Oréal could make a shade in between Light/Medium and Medium/Dark, and shrink the size of their wand, I'd have my perfect brow mascara.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Magic Revealed

A while ago, Beautylish kindly sent me this 15ml sample of Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream. I used it sparingly over the course of about a year and only recently finished the small pot. I had such a curiosity about this cream before I tried it and now that I have, I have mixed feelings. In short, I like it, but I probably wouldn't repurchase.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Homosalate, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Octocrylene, Cetyl Alcohol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Steareth-21, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Carbomer, Dimethiconol, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Chlorphenesin, Caprylyl Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Hydrolyzed Viola Tricolor Extract, Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Disodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Acetate, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Michelia Alba Leaf Oil, Sodium Lactate, Coco-Glucoside, PEG-8, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopherol, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Plumeria Rubra Flower Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid, Nicotiana Sylvestris Leaf Cell Culture, Linalool, Citronellol, Geraniol.

First, let's talk the price. This stuff ain't cheap. On the Australian Charlotte Tilbury website (there are yet to be any physical stockists of the brand in this country), it retails for $125 for 50ml. Meaning that 15ml pot was $37.50 in value. The price is certainly a major deterrent to repurchasing. In that price bracket, we're talking luxury face creams. I don't think I've spent more than $50 on a face cream, so double to triple that is not something I've entertained. The ~$50 face creams I have tried (e.g. Trilogy Rosapene Night Cream, Clarins Multi-Active Night) have been perfectly adequate for me. I haven't had any particular curiosity about whether a vastly pricier product would also be vastly superior in performance.

The legend with Magic Cream, long before Charlotte Tilbury set up her own line of products, was that as a makeup artist, she mixed up her own face cream that she would slather onto her models' faces backstage before she made them up at the fashion shows. This mysterious, self-concocted cream was supposedly so revitalising and transformative on the models' tired, dull, in-need-of-TLC skin that it was dubbed the "magic cream". Of course when Charlotte Tilbury established her brand, it had to be one of the star products of her range.

The first thing I noticed about Magic Cream was that it was distinctly white (perhaps due to the presence of SPF). The second was that it was thick and a little hard in texture. The third was that upon contact with the skin, it melted and spread out easily, becoming quite greasy to the touch. The skin was left with a slight white cast once the product had been rubbed in, but in a way that was brightening to the complexion. It's not one of those creams that's immediately soothing and gives the skin the sensation of having a big drink of water. It's too emollient and heavy for that. Having said that, it doesn't leave your skin like a total greaseball. There is a certain refinement to the way it's absorbed into the skin even for a rich cream. Once absorbed, it reminds me a lot of Alpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser. It's not a scented product and the only smell it has is really of sunscreen.

Due to the presence of SPF, I've only used Magic Cream in the day. It sits well under makeup and despite its richness doesn't break up foundation or anything like that. On bare skin, it does give a bit of a plumping effect due to all the oils it's delivering to the skin. It's certainly not an oil-controlling cream, so I don't know how oily skin types would fare with this. On my normal to dry skin, it was on the heavy side and only something I'd reach for occasionally, when I felt my skin required it. It wouldn't be something I'd be inclined to use daily.

At $125, I much prefer Eve Lom Brightening Cream ($144 for 50ml) for everyday use, my jar of which I've tragically just used up. It's a lot more pleasant to use (the jammy rose scent is gorgeous), it's comforting on the skin, not greasy but still hydrating, great under makeup, and I actually feel like it improves my skin. Not things I can say unequivocally about Magic Cream.
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