Friday, July 2nd, 2010

On-the-Go Makeup Fixers

MAC Cleansing Tips ($14.50 for 30) are my absolute favorite when it comes to easily fixing any minor application mistakes.  They’re basically dual-ended cotton swabs that have been soaked in makeup remover and are individually packaged (though each sheet has ten, you just tear them off individually).  One side is the usual rounded swab, while the other is tapered and more precise.

I actually really, really love these.  They work so well for cleaning up under the eyes when you work with shadows that have fall out, but they’re great for touching up during the day if you happen to be testing one smudger of an eyeliner, too!  They remove everything without a fuss.  Since they’re individually wrapped, you can just toss one into your purse when you need to (e.g. a special occasion), too.

So, I did not pay attention to how much these run you when I originally purchased them.  These wonder-swabs don’t come cheap!   They end up costing about $0.50 a pop!  Even the small package of MAC Wipes are cheaper ($0.40), while the bulk package of MAC Wipes are half the price ($0.26).  This is so saddening for me!    This is a great product, but it’s not something one should use often at that kind of cost.

They do work incredibly well to clean-up any faded or smudged eyeliner if you’re out and about.  I’ll continue to purchase them as I need to, but I will make myself only use them when I’m on the go or traveling–no more using those at homes.  Gotta go the extra step and use my own swabs and separate makeup remover, LOL!

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  • Product: 30/30
  • Value: 4/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you use them sparingly, they can be an excellent time-saving, space-saving tool to have in your evening bag when you want to look your best. Just don’t use them by the dozen!

AVAILABILITY: MAC Cosmetics

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Friday, July 2nd, 2010


Dior Misty Mauve Eyeshadow Palette

More Plums for Fall — Dior-Style

Dior Misty Mauve Eyeshadow Palette ($58.00 for 0.21 oz.) is one of two new-for-fall eyeshadow quints (the other being Pink Design #808). It contains a soft, sparkling icy lilac; satin-matte gray purple; deep black-purple with silver shimmer; frosty white with just a hint of yellow; and muted pink-mauve with a shimmer sheen.

The pigmentation was decent overall, but the icy lilac was on the sheerer, powdery side while the gray purple definitely needs to be layered for a smooth, even look. The center shade–the blackened purple–is the most intense and will easily smoke out any look you desire. I see this quint working best on those with cooler skin tones, and I do see paler skin tones rocking this easier than darker ones, just because of the lighter, shimmery shades.

Are you plummed out or ready for more?  Does this quint make your heart pitter-patter?

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  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: For cooler, paler skin tones, I think this is a great way to wear darker, plummier shades. It’s not quite as pigmented as some of the other quints I’ve reviewed in the past few years, so I’m a little bummed by that.  I like, but I don’t love.

AVAILABILITY: August 2010

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Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Korres #15 Natural Blush

Luminous Beauty in 3 Seconds

Korres #15 Natural Blush ($24.00 for 0.21 oz.) is OH-MY-GOODNESS gorgeousness on skin.  Ahh!  I fell in love.

If you have warm skin, you have to try it on–not just a mere swatch, but try it on cheeks.  Though, I do think it would be lovely on cooler skin tones, too — it is rather natural and neutral; not orange at all, but having warm skin myself, I immediately fell in love with once I tried it on my cheeks.  It is gives that perfect glow of natural, inner warmth that radiates from inside out in just one swipe.

The blush has a soft, smooth texture–very buttery, almost creamy despite its powder finish–and applies evenly in just a single stroke.  Cheeks are lightly flushed and sunkissed with a beautiful luminous sheen.  It’s not heavy, shimmery, or glittery in the least.  My pores aren’t emphasized, but I felt like my face just lit up the minute I applied this.

AMAZING. Korres makes a very fine, impressive blush!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 30/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: High-quality, pigmented, and ridiculously smooth textured, Korres blush is really a winner.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Kat Von D Memento Mori Palette

Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Palette: Memento Mori

Kat Von D Memento Mori Eyeshadow Palette ($34.00 for 8 x 0.05 oz. eyeshadows) has been on my radar for awhile, but I’ve only now been able to really try it out! It contains eight eyeshadows, each pretty much the equivalent of a full-size eyeshadow (MAC eyeshadows are 0.05 oz., for reference), so it’s a great affordable palette. It’s also a rather colorful selection, so it’s very fun to play around with and apropos for summer.

  • True is a violet-blue cream shadow that goes on glossy but seems to dry down to a nearly matte finish. I found the surface of mine a bit dry, but once I got deeper, it was fine. I thought it was an eyeliner at first, actually!
  • Solitude is an iridescent lilac purple with a soft sheen. It’s the least shimmery shade of the bunch.
  • Meditation is a light bronze with a little copper in it. It has a frosty finish.
  • Agatha Pink is a pale peach with a shimmery/frosty finish.
  • Sugar Skull is a shimmery white-gold.
  • Peggy is a true teal base with flecks of white-gold sheen/shimmer. Almost strikes me as a duochrome. It’s so pretty, but I found that this shade seemed to fade a little when worn.
  • Hard Luck is a deep forest green mixed with gray.
  • Tijuana is a darkened black-brown base with flecks of gold and copper glitter-shimmer. This shade at ridiculous fall out, even when used sparingly. It’s a beautiful shade, but clean-up seems to be a must. Use less rather than more, too, and tap brush against your wrist to avoid excess fall out.

I thought the box the palette comes in was beautiful, and I was a bit let down by the cheap, white plastic palette inside. It just looked and felt like something I’d buy for $10 at the drugstore–not something that’s $34 and from Sephora. The included dual-ended brushes are actually bristled brushes, but they’re rather flimsy.  They just kind of flop and make it a pain to really pack on color–plus they’re so tiny, I don’t have the patience to use ‘em myself!

All of the shades have a very smooth texture, and they go on evenly and are richly pigmented. I do find that they’re a little on the powdery side, and may even work best with sponge applicators–at least with some of the shades (like Peggy and Tijuana). Tijuana was the troublemaker of the group, which frustrated me as it was also the prettiest (to me), so I really wanted it to be as beautiful on as it was swatched!

Overall, though, I think these are solid eyeshadows worth taking a look at if a particular palette color scheme grabs you. It took some getting used to using these before I was able to minimize the fall out with these. They also blend very easily, which is nice, but it means use softer strokes and feather rather than sweep for most of the work!  I have heard that the Beethoven palette is one of her best palettes, so I might check that out next.

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  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

RECOMMENDATION: I like the palette overall, and I’m impressed at the level of pigmentation of the shadows. I think it’s a great option for a palette of colorful eyeshadows, especially if you’re on a budget.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

LORAC Multiplex Lipgloss
LORAC Multiplex Lipgloss: Intermix, Cliche

Move Over Dazzleglass!

LORAC Multiplex 3D Lip Gloss ($22.00 for 0.17 oz.) is an ultra shimmering, light-reflecting non-sticky lipgloss that gives MAC’s Dazzleglass a run for its money. Giving you nearly three times as much product for $4 more, Multiplex just might dazzle your socks off.

It has a lightweight feel with just the right level of thickness–it’s not so thin that you need to keep going back for more, but it’s not so thick that it feels gooey. There’s no tackiness either, but despite the non-sticky feel, it still lasts a good two to three hours on me–which is average to a little above average for me. A lot of the non-sticky glosses I try tend to disappear in an hour’s time, which I definitely find frustrating.

These glosses are also moisturizing–they don’t dry out lips, even when worn alone, and in fact, my lips feel pretty good after wearing one for several hours. There is a very faint sweetly citrus scent, but I had a tough time detecting it enough to settle on a descriptor for it. Packaging is so-so — it looks cute, but it feels a little cheap in my hand. Not super cheap, but it doesn’t feel as nice as Dazzleglass.

  • Cliche is a semi-sheer fuchsia pink. It has a very sheer, pale pink base, but it’s full of fuchsia and iridescent shimmer that it gives it a much fuller coverage look.
  • Intermix is a browned nude base with peach-copper shimmer and sheen. I think this would be a really flattering everyday shade for those with warmer skin tones.

According to LORAC, the glosses contain holographic pigments, which is where the dazzling, shimmering, and glistening comes in. They have this rich, glossy sheen mixed with flashes of iridescence and lots of microshimmer. It doesn’t feel like shimmer or glitter, so even when it fades, it’s not gritty. The way the shimmer works is that it almost delivers the color of the lipgloss, rather than the gloss itself. Very cool!

I really loved this gloss–great texture, look, and feel–and I hope LORAC will release many more shades in the future.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you love the way MAC Dazzleglass shimmers and shines but find yourself running through a tube too quickly, Multiplex offers the fun, shimmering, dazzling look with a non-sticky, lightweight texture with more pigmentation to boot!

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Stript

Going Brazilian @ Stript

Last week, I had my first-ever waxing experience (of any body part), and I just took the bull by its horns and had a Brazilian done. I went to Stript Wax Bar. Stript is owned by the lovely, puts-you-right-at-comfort Katherine Goldman, a local Bay Area esthetician. Stript is all about waxing, whether it’s brows, legs, or down under for ladies AND gents. They have three locations: San Francisco, Oakland, and Palo Alto. I visited their Palo Alto location near Stanford University for an appointment with Katherine, and I was so impressed by the service, I immediately booked my maintenance appointment for four weeks out!

First up, a quick Q&A session with Katherine on some of those first-time waxer questions I had to get answers on before I went under the… wax.  Then, a more detailed rundown of the experience itself–but let me just say getting my upper lip threaded was 10x more painful than getting a Brazilian. Continue reading →