Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Shu Uemura Mini Eyelash Curler!

Shu Uemura Mini Eyelash Curler
Every time I go to ULTA, I usually raid the clearance rack before anything else to see if I find any good deals. I was a little short on time as the store was about to close and I had a 20% coupon that expired that day.. but I managed to find a Shu Uemura Mini Eyelash Curler clearanced to $14.49. Although that doesn't seem too cheap, the 20% off coupon took an extra $3 off, so not bad at all. It was actually missing the replacement pad, which is most likely why it was on clearance (or because Shu isn't even sold anymore in the US - maybe I got lucky?), but I figured I wouldn't need one any time soon. I've had my regular Shu curler for at least four years and the pad is still in mint condition.
Shu Uemura Mini Eyelash Curler, front & back.
Shown next to a dime for scale.
I pictured it next to a dime for scale to show how small it really is (and in comparison the regular Shu below). It's roughly 1/3 the size of a regular Shu.

Left: Standard Shu Curler, Right: Mini Shu Curler
In the past four years or so, my Shu lash curler is the only lash curler I have used. Prior to my Shu, I would purchase a new lash curler from my local Dollar Store every month. By the end of the month, the pad would be slit through the middle and the hinges would most likely be loose. My Shu has been carelessly tossed in my handbag almost every day and has withstood lots of handling and it's still in perfect condition. It's really the best curler I've tried. It doesn't pull my mascara off, pull my lashes out or pinch my lids.

Everyone has a different eye shape, so some may have trouble finding a lash curler that fits to the contour of their eye. If you have very rounded eyelids, or very flat eyelids (not only those - you may have very small eyes, very wide eyes, etc) you may find that your lash curler skips some of your lashes. So, while most of your lashes are sticking up, the ones in the corners may be sticking down.

Whats great about the mini is, you can get to all of your lashes with precision. No lashes left out! In the picture below I curled my lashes with one coat of mascara on. But, with this lash curler, I find it much easier to curl your lashes without mascara on. When wearing mascara, it was a little more difficult to get in between my row of lashes to curl them all the way across.

All you have to do is start out in the beginning of your lashline, clamp the curler, release, and continue working your way across your lashline.

I know Japonesque also makes a similar style curler that is available at ULTA, sold for around $10.

Do you own this curler or similar? Love it? Or was it a complete waste of money?

Monday, May 30, 2011

NOTD: Milani 3D Holographic Nail Lacquer in HD!

Three (3) Coats of Milani HD.
Milani HD is a silver shimmer holographic. It's very sheer with one coat, which was a slight disappointment as it appears to be opaque from the bottle, but it is fairly opaque with three coats. In between coats, the formula dries quickly, so it's not really a pain to apply. It is a nice layering polish as well. I'm sure it would look great applied over a silver, black, blue, (or any) polish. The holo effect is not bad. Indoors, the color looks like a light silver with fine silver glitter. The holo really pops in bright lighting or the sunlight.

I purchased this polish at CVS for a little under $5.

Do you own any of the Milani Holos? Which is your favorite?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Follow up/Update: Bare Minerals Naturally Luminous Neck Cream + Interview with my Mom!

BareMinerals Naturally Luminous Extra Firming Neck Cream
Last month I was given the opportunity by QVC to try out a few new products from Bare Minerals. The products are sold together in the "Naturally Luminous Advanced Treatment Collection with RareMinerals ActiveSoil Complex" 3-piece set. The set included a cleanser, face and neck cream. View my original post here.

I mentioned that I would hand over the neck cream for my mother to use because I, at 22 don't need any tightening of the neck. Well, I did just that and told her to make sure to apply it every day and I'll report back within a few weeks to see how well it has worked.

The product claims - "Firm, tighten and improve skin texture and smoothness with this naturally luminous, extra-firming neck cream that targets the special needs of the delicate skin around the neck and decollete. Powered by our proprietary, 100% pure RareMinerals ActiveSoil Complex, this clinically proven, all-in-one cream locks in moisture to restore a youthful, lifted look and helps defend against daily environmental stressors."

Bare in mind, because this product is fairly new, there aren't many reviews for it. I checked makeupalley as always, and there are only 4 reviews for the product. Three of the four reviewers claim that it's an excellent moisturizer, but does falls short in the "firming" department. One of the four claims their skin looks "more supple and firm". Click here to read the detailed reviews. QVC has many more reviews, which can be read here.

I asked my Mom these questions. 
Q #1: Absorbency. How well does it absorb into your skin? Are you able to clothe right away? Does it leave your skin feeling tacky?
A: It absorbs quickly and doesn't leave my skin feeling tacky as when I would apply a heavy cream. I can clothe right away without worrying about it getting all over my clothing.
Q #2: Texture. What would you describe the texture like? Would you prefer it to be thicker or thinner?
A: It's very light and creamy. I like it exactly as it is. It's not too thin like other moisturizers I've used and it's not thick. I think it's perfect. It doesn't feel heavy on my skin.
Q #3: Lasting Power. Do you feel it keeps your skin hydrated throughout the day?
A: Yes, for 24 hours.
Q: Are you sure? You can be completely honest. You can tell me if the product sucks.
A: No really, here feel my skin. (Wow, her skin feels soft! LOL)
Q #4: Skin Texture/Improvements. Have you noticed any changes in your skin? Does it feel tighter? Softer,  Etc?
A: Well, I thought that it started working well right away. I can't really say if it has tightened or firmed my skin, but my skin feels "plump" and hydrated. I had a small line across my chestbone, and I can barely see it now. 
Q: So would you say it worked well as an overall good moisturizer?
A: Yes, I think it did more moisturizing than firming. It made my skin feel very soft and supple - I love it.
Q #5: Would you re-purchase it once you're done?
A: Yes, can you buy it for me for my birthday??? (haha!)

Here are a couple of photos I snapped of my Mom's neck/chest. She is 57 years old by the way.
Both photos, May 29, 2011.
Overall, this seems like a very nice moisturizing neck cream. If you buy the cream separately, it's $38 for a 1.7 oz container. The 3-piece set is $36, and the neck cream is 1 oz. My Mom has been using the 1 oz container of neck cream just about daily for one month and she still has half of a container left. I think the price is fairly reasonable, but I do think there are of course lower priced options out there that will moisturize your skin just as well - considering, this product didn't seem to "extreme firm". Also, with any skincare product, "Your mileage may vary", meaning everyone won't have the same results. With the really positive reviews on QVC, it seems like it has worked well for many. 

I hope this follow-up helped, and if you have any questions or product recommendations, post in the comments below!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

NOTD: China Glaze Secret Peri-wink-le!

Two (2) Coats of China Glaze Secret Peri-wink-le and One (1) Coat of Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Top Coat
China Glaze Secret Peri-wink-le is well, the color periwinkle. It's a lavender-blue or pastel indigo. I suppose it depends on what lighting you're looking at the color, whether it appears more blue or purple. My camera doesn't photograph blue-purples well, but I think in person the color is the slightest bit more purple.

The formula is pretty decent. It's creamy, applies easily and dries fairly quick. I did find the 2nd coat to apply slightly streaky, and I could have done with three coats for full opacity.

Overall very pretty color and will look great paired with the neutral colored clothing I tend to wear most of the time. I actually purchased this polish last summer and never wore it until now.. funny, huh?

What's on your nails?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Advice from Wayne Goss on how to make your make-up last!

In this short video, Wayne talks about a big mistake many of us do when we apply our makeup. We combine two things that don't mix. Water and oil. For example, an oil based primer with a water based foundation. It sounds like a good idea - but water and oil don't mix, right? Maybe your foundation has too much "slip" to it, and transfers too much throughout the day. Is it really your foundation to blame? Or is it your moisturizer, primer? Well, it's something we all know from Science 101, but I never thought about applying that knowledge to makeup. 

I thought this vid was really interesting and it made me wonder. 

What do you think? Do you think it makes any difference? Agree/Disagree? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Grow your brows with Castor Oil!

Castor Oil
Castor oil is a highly emollient oil, often used in lipsticks and other beauty aids. Castor oil is the perfect skin care product as it is naturally rich in anti-oxidants and works as a deep conditioner to heal both skin and hair. Because of castor oil's healing qualities, it is often use to soothe skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis and can help to thicken hair and reduce hair loss.  
(Source: http://www.ehow.com/how_2126679_use-castor-oil-as-beauty.html)

Castor Oil for the Brows has a 4.3/5 rating on makeupalley.com, with a 87% re-purchase rate based on 174 reviews. (click here to read reviews)

I purchased my Castor Oil at Whole Foods for less than $5. It doesn't have any real scent/odor, it sort of smells like plastic to me. It's extremely thick like molasses, so you only need a small drop. A little goes a long way. You can use a cotton swab or a spoolie to apply it. A spoolie works a little better for me because my brows are thick, but for those of you with very sparse brows, a cotton swab is the way to go. Apply it every night to your brows, and cross your fingers for thicker brows in the near future.

My natural brows are coarse and thick (my middle eastern genes). I have to trim them every couple of weeks, otherwise the hair would be too long and unruly. I also have to pluck my strays every other day because they grow quickly. When I was younger, I had very large/full brows and at around 13 years old, I shaved them very thin. Although my brows do grow quickly, they aren't at all as "full" as they were before. The hairs never seem to grow in the areas I want them to. Neither of my brows match, and I rely on my side bangs to camouflage the fact that one of my brows is slightly higher than the other. Of course, I fill my brows in, so it's something I always correct, but if they filled in a little bit more, it would be easier to match both brows.

My left brow is slightly higher is also shorter than my right. Although you can't tell because my nose isn't pictured, my right brow reaches the side of my nose as it should, and my left brow is about .5 cm short. The hair doesn't at all grow past that, so I always have to color it in farther, or tweeze my right brow to match. 

Anyway, I'm hoping that with the daily use of Castor Oil, my brows will fill in a little bit more, so I only have to fill them in very minimally. 

I am going to use pour a little oil in a small travel container and apply it to my brows every night. I will keep you updated how well the progress goes. If the progress is minimal, I'll post every two weeks. If I see a difference, I'll be posting every week. So, I'll see how it goes. If you want to keep track of my progress, you can always message me on twitter! (Click here to follow me) 

Castor Oil is a very versatile oil, and can be used for many things. I'm going to try using it as a deep conditioner for my hair as well at least once a week. I tried it out a couple of months back on my hair, and it really seemed to work well. It can be used on any dry areas, blemishes and on your scalp for thinning hair.

Have you used Castor Oil for any beauty purpose? Share your experience in the comments below!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

MAC Salsarose & Frankly Scarlet - Loving these bright blushes for the Summer!

mac bright blushes

MAC Salsarose and Frankly Scarlet Blushes

When summer hits, it's usually the time where we all try to look a little more natural and wear less makeup to avoid any creasing, "melting", or fading the sun and heat may cause.

During the summer, I don't wear as much eye makeup and I try wearing a lighter foundation with minimal powder and of course a bronzer all over. Since I'm taking the focus off of my eyes, it's a fun season to experiment with bright blushes and lipsticks.

When wearing a bright blush or lipstick, you always want to keep the eyes very soft, so it doesn't overpower the look. You can either go neutral, wear a soft wash of taupe, champagne or gold all over your lid, or use a shade that almost matches your skin or keep it bare with a couple of coats of mascara.

Left: MAC Salsarose (satin) & Right: MAC Frankly Scarlet (matte).

Bright blushes might look a little intimidating to those who aren't very comfortable with color, but you can really use any blush and make it look natural by using the smallest amount. Two of my favorite bright blushes are MAC Frankly Scarlet and MAC Salsarose. Both are extremely similar raspberry shades, with Frankly Scarlet being slightly more red, and Salsarose being slighlty more pink. Swatched heavy, you can see the difference, but swatched lightly you can barely tell them apart. The lovely thing about shades like this, is when applied lightly to the face, the color is very reminiscent of the actual reddish hue your face will naturally turn when you blush.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Foundation Review!

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup

Product Description: Neutrogena Healthy Skin® liquid makeup takes over where your skin care leaves off. Silky-light coverage glides on for a perfectly natural look, while the exclusive blend plus SPF 20 work together to visibly improve skin's luminosity, tone, and texture.
  • Flawless coverage, lightweight, silky formula
  • Exclusive blend of antioxidants and SPF 20
  • Maintains skin's young and healthy look
  • Available in 12 new shades 
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup is available in twelve (12) shades: Classic Ivory, Natural Ivory, Buff, Nude, Soft Beige, Natural Beige, Fresh Beige, Medium Beige, Warm Beige, Natural Tan, Honey Beige and Tan. 

My color match is Natural Beige. It seemed to have the best yellow tone of the bunch in my range and swatched next to MAC Studio Fix Fluid in NC30, they are almost identical, except MAC is slightly more yellow. (see swatches below) 

I think the problem with drugstore foundations is that they often lack a variety of undertones. Many drugstore foundations are too neutral for my skin, and few offer a good yellow undertone. With that said, I was very pleased to find a close match. I also have this foundation in the lightest shade, and I use it often to lighten other foundations of mine. It works fantastic for that.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Current Zoya Promo Code! Ends May 23rd!

Photo Credit: Temptalia.com

Going on from now till May 23rd, customers can receive Dove and Caitlin Nail Polishes for free, with promotion code: ZB52.

Caitlin: Smoky purple-tinged medium gray with smooth, opaque creme finish. Sultry, mysterious and impossibly chic, a shade that will have everyone intrigued.

Dove: Soft, delicate light neutral gray with an opaque, glossy creme finish. Unexpected and flattering as a wear-with-anything neutral with a twist.

Restrictions/Other: *Online only, cannot be combined with any other offer , promotion or coupon. US ONLY. Promotion ends Monday May 23 at 11:59 PM EST. Offer good for 1(one) open stock .5 oz bottle of Zoya Caitlin and 1(one) .5oz bottle Zoya Dove with the purchase of any NON-SPOON item on Zoya.com. Art of Beauty Inc. will not honor promotions that are submitted after promotion has ended – No exceptions. No exchanges. No returns. Worst case scenario please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery. Comments, videos and pictures posted about this Zoya Nail Polish Exchange outside of Zoya.com or zoyanailpolish.blogger.com are not representative of the opinions of Zoya Nail Polish, Art of Beauty, Inc., Qtica and Qtica Smart Spa and we do not confirm the accuracy of any postings. Customers are responsible for maintaining active accounts. If username or password have been lost we (Art of Beauty, Inc.) are not responsible for restoring accounts or giving out any account information. S/H not included. **offer excludes Zoya Color Spoons.

One bottle of polish is $8, and shipping is I believe is $6.95 (correct me if I'm wrong). That would equal $4.98 per bottle for 3 polishes. It may not be the best deal to some, but if they are colors you like.. it's a great deal! 

Just thought I'd share since I always seem to miss out on the awesome Zoya promos!

Friday, May 20, 2011

When life gives you lemons.. put them on your face! Wait, what?

Lemon Skin Treatment

Yes, it's true. Lemons contain Citric Acid, which is categorized as a "chemical exfoliate", or Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) used in many skincare products. Of course there are several types of natural AHA's, Citric Acid is only one of them - which isn't only found in lemons. Other acids that are popular in skincare are also Lactic Acids (derived from milk) and Glycolic Acids (derived from sugar). All of these can be found in things that are probably lying around your pantry.

What do AHA's do for your skin? Once an AHA is applied to your skin, it will react with the uppermost layer of your skin, loosing up and dissolving your dead skin cells from your skins surface, helping you regenerate new skin cells. Your dead skin cells are essentially whats making your skin look uneven, dull and damaged.

This "cell renewal" will aid in smoothing dry skin, improving your skins overall texture and fading marks caused by blemishes, acne and sun damage.

Many argue that the acid in a lemon is way too strong to be used on the face. The pH scale ranges from 0-14. Both ends of the scale are considered to be "extremes". Towards the middle of the scale, chemicals are milder. Water has a pH of 7, and Normal/Healthy skin has a pH of 4.5 to 5.5. A lemon has the pH of 2-3. That is pretty low, but citric acid is water soluble.. so by adding water to the lemon juice, it will alter the pH.

The FDA has issued guidelines on Alpha Hydroxy Acids in products for home use: 
1. pH has to be 3.5 or higher, and
2. Concentration of the acids in a product has to be 10% or less.

Consumers also have to be warned that these acids may cause photo-sensitivity in some individuals and if they use them, especially in the summer, they must wear sun block."

"Acid-based products need optimal conditions for giving optimal results – clean skin with a healthy pH and enough time to work. For this reason, cleansers with AHA/BHA ingredients have limited effect; they are washed off after a minute at the most. If the cleanser used has a higher pH than desired, a toner with a suitable pH value can bring the skin back to its normal level and improve the efficacy of acid-based products."

(Source: The Modern Skin Alphabet: pH, AHA & BHA)

I hope that wasn't too difficult to understand. But I thought I ought to go over "pH" levels as many argue that it's not good for the skin and many argue that it works miracles. The above source is incredibly helpful, and I highly recommend reading it for a better understanding of AHA's and pH levels.

Since we all have different skin types and skin needs, not everything I use on my face per say will be suitable for your face. Everyone has different tolerances when it comes to skincare. You should always test your tolerance by starting out slow to see how well your skin reacts. You may already have a little idea of your skins tolerance by all of the products you use on your skin. Some have "tough" skin types and can handle harsh products on their face - some are sensitive and can't.

Lemon Treatment

- Cleanse or wash your skin as you normally would. You can prepare the lemon juice any way you'd like. Fresh lemon is always best because bottled lemon juice contains additives. Cut a slice of lemon, around the same size wedge as you'd stick in your glass of water to drink. Squeeze the lemon wedge in a clean bowl and dilute the lemon juice with 50% water. Depending on your skins sensitivity, you can use more or less water. Take a cotton ball and dip it into the bowl and apply it to your face. Before putting anything else on your face, let your face sit from anywhere between 10 to 20 minutes. You want to pay attention to your skin and observe if your skin has any reactions. Don't wait the maximum amount of time for your first use. Avoid applying the lemon juice to any open blemishes, as it may cause irritation. The frequency of use is completely up to you, based on your skins needs. You may use it as a part of your daily routine or used a couple of times a week.

- To fade blemish scars, you can dip a Q-tip in the lemon juice and apply the Q-tip directly to your scars. Again, rinse after 10-20 minutes. 

- You can also use this on your body if you have any old scars or discoloration from chaffing (commonly between your thighs and by your armpits). 

IMPORANT! When using ANY AHA, especially a strong acid, you must protect your skin with sunscreen! Because you are revealing your new skin, it is very sensitive and is very prone to sun damage. Make sure to always apply a sunscreen before you expose your skin to sunlight when using any chemical exfoliates on your skin. 

You can view hundreds of reviews for "Lemon Juice applied topically" on Acne.org, by clicking here. You can also view other Natural remedies in skincare by clicking here.

Other Sources: 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

MAC Show-off and Girl Boy Brow Set Review, Photos, Swatches and Comparisons!

mac brow set review

MAC Show-off and Girl Boy Brow Set

MAC Brow Set ($15) is a brush-on gel that brushes the brow hairs in place and deposits a sheer tint to the brows. Think of it as mascara for your eyebrows! It doesn't stiffen the brows, and it doesn't flake. It can also be used on the sideburns and facial hair. 

MAC Brow Set is available in four (4) shades: Clear, Girl Boy (Fawn blonde), Beguile (Full-bodied taupe) and Show Off (Rich brown). 

MAC Girl Boy Brow Set (left) and Beguile Brow Set (right)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Top 5 Spring Nail Polishes!

My Top 5 Spring Nail Polishes

Revlon Scented Gumdrop is a creamy pale purple (lilac). The formula isn't the worst, but it's not that good either. It's fairly sheer with one coat, and looks the best with three. It doesn't dry quickly, so you can't really hurry the following coats or it may smudge. Because I love the shade, I deal with it.. but it's time consuming to apply.

Some other great shades that are similar to this are OPI Rumple's Wiggin, Nubar Lavender, OPI Do You Lilac It, Essence No More Drama, Essie Lilacism, Illamasqua Wink,  & China Glaze Light As Air. (To view my past NOTD of this polish, click here.)

Essie Mint Candy Apple is a creamy pale/pastel, mint green. The formula is pretty good. It's opaque and looks great with two coats. It applies very well & dries pretty quickly between coats.

Some other great shades similar to this are Revlon Minted, China Glaze Refresh Mint, Barry M Mint Green, Chanel Jade, Maybelline Express Finish in Minty & Sally Hansen X-Treme Wear in Mint Sorbet. (To view my past NOTD of this polish, click here)

Love & Beauty Light Orange is a creamy light orange/vibrant peach. Love & Beauty Nail Polishes are sometimes a hit or miss, but this one has a great opaque, non-streaky formula.

Some other great shades similar to this are China Glaze Peachykeen & Illamasqua Purity.

Revlon Top Speed Cupid is a creamy vibrant pinked lilac. Formula is great, and is opaque with two coats. This is not only a favorite "Spring" shade, but it's one of my absolute favorites.

As of right now, I don't know any other shades that are very similar to this one. If you know of any dupes, let me know in the comments below! (To view my past NOTD of this polish, click here)

Orly Cotton Candy is a creamy, warm toned baby pink. The formula is okay with this one, I'm sure mine is old now and needs replacing. It's my favorite color in nail polish form - but I wish the staying power was a little better. It seems to peel pretty quickly.

Some similar shades are Revlon Perfect Pink and Sinful Colors Beautiful Girl, although they aren't perfect dupes. (To view my past NOTD of this polish, click here)

Left to Right: Revlon Scented Gumdrop, Essie Mint Candy Apple, Love & Beauty Light Orange, Revlon Top Speed Cupid & Orly Cotton Candy.

If you know any dupes for these shades, let me know in the comments below! Also let me know what your favorite polishes are for the Spring/Summer!

The Ultimate Bronzer Post! (Bronzer 101 + A quick run through 25 diff. bronzers + loads of swatches)

Since Summer is approaching, it's time to work on your self bronzing skills and flaunt your luminous golden skin. There are several different types of bronzers and finishes. The typical finishes are matte, satin and shimmery/frosty. Depending on your skin type, you want a bronzer that will best suit you. Matte shades are ideal for all skin types and are the best for all over color and contouring. When applying a bronzer all over, your goal is to add warmth to for face.. and for contouring, your goal is to create shadows (subtract light) to areas of your face. Satin shades can be applied lightly all over for an extra glow and shimmery shades should mostly be applied lightly over the cheeks, as shimmer will draw more light to your face. You don't want to draw light to every area of your face because it can make you appear too shiny, greasy or ashy. Oily skin types should pick a shade with minimal shimmer, as with oily skin, shimmer can make you look more oily. Dry or dull skin can really benefit from using shimmery shades to add lots of glow to your complexion.

Always test a bronzer out on your skin to make sure the undertone of the bronzer will go with your skins undertone. The best place is of course your face or neck. If you find a bronzer looks muddy or ruddy (red) on your skin, you may have chosen a bronzer that doesn't match your skins undertone. Bronzers that don't have any orange tones in them tend to have a rosy or purplish tone to them - it makes sense, purple cancels out orange. If you have natural redness in your face, a bronzer with rosy tones can emphasize your redness. Then there are bronzers with a greenish-olive undertone, green will cancel out any redness and give you a true golden brown color. Many bronzers are in the "in between" so they are suitable for most skintones.

What brush? You can really use any brush for applying bronzer. The denser the brush, the more product your brush will pick up. So if you're using a dense bronzer brush or kabuki, make sure to tap off any excess product before applying it so you won't apply too much. I like using a fluffy powder (not very dense) to apply all over color or a small blush or contouring brush for applying it with a little more precision.

Where to apply? You want to apply bronzer where the sun would naturally hit your face. You can start by applying it lightly to the hollows of your cheeks (hollow area under your cheekbone) and bringing the color up your cheekbone. Then, blend the color up your temples and through your hairline on your forehead. With the residue on your brush, you can then sweep it around your jaw. I also like bringing the brush through my brow bone. So, you're basically applying the bronzer to the frame of your face. You may notice your face looks more sculpted as you created darker shadows where shadows would naturally cast on your face. Make sure everything is blended. You can do so with a powder brush that's free of bronzer so you won't "over-bronze" your skin.
The rest of this post will be swatches and descriptions of the bronzers I own.. Enjoy!
(Click photo to view full size)
From Left to Right: MAC Golden Bronzing Powder, MAC Sculpt Sculpting Powder (PRO), Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Soft Matte Bronzer, Benefit Hoola, MAC Smooth Harmony Beauty Powder, Nars Irresistiblement Bronzer, NYC Sunny, Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel, Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse Foundation in the shade Caramel (Dark 2) and Bare Escentuals Faux Tan.

All swatches look accurate, except BE Faux Tan looks a little muddy in the swatch because it didn't apply evenly with the moisture I had on my arms.

MAC Golden Bronzing Powder is a sheer, golden brown bronzer with the slightest scatter of shimmer. Because the shimmer is so fine and the powder is sheer, it's not very detectable. This gives a very natural color and can be used all over the face. I would say that it's best suited for light to medium skintones. It may not add enough warmth for tan to deep skintones, as when I'm tan (NC40) I find it to be a little light. It was actually difficult to get a swatch of this, I had to apply it very heavy.

MAC Sculpt Sculpting Powder (PRO) is a natural light brown, matte contouring powder. I originally purchased MAC Blunt as a contouring shade, but it looked too muddy and purple on my face. Sculpt doesn't give any odd undertones once the color hits my face. This is a great shade for those who don't want a shade with any shimmer or any orange/red tones.

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Soft Matte Bronzer is definitely not matte, so I'm not sure why Estee Lauder has labeled this product matte when it does indeed contain shimmer. Although the shimmer is extremely fine - it's still there. The color is a medium/dark brown with a rosy undertone. I find that this can look muddy if applied heavily, so it works best with a light hand. I mostly use this to contour my cheekbones and it works very well for that.

Benefit Hoola is a soft brown matte powder that is great to add natural warmth to the face or to use as a contour. No orange tones whatsoever. The powder is very finely milled, so the texture is very soft and easy to blend. I think it's a very versatile bronzer and works well for fair, light and medium skintones.

MAC Smooth Harmony is a sheer terracotta with a satin finish. It's probably the most orange toned (beauty powder) bronzer I own, but it's actually one of my favorite products and I use it very often. Many bronzers that are too brown and don't contain any orange tones, give me a muddy-purple cast. This color provides a beautiful bronzed glow. The color is sheer, but very buildable. I like using it lightly all over my face and on my cheeks for added warmth, then applying a coral/peach blush over the apples of my cheeks - gorgeous.

Nars Irresistiblement Bronzer is a matte, reddened terracotta bronze. It's similar to Smooth Harmony, but Irresistiblement has a red tone, whereas Smooth Harmony is more orange. If you don't like orange tones in your bronzer, stay clear of this one (Try Nars Laguna or Casino instead) - but this is another favorite of mine and it looks very flattering on my medium skintone. (Review + Comparison to Smooth Harmony here)

NYC Sunny is a golden brown matte powder that is great for adding all over warmth to the face or to use as a contour. Some compare it to Benefit Hoola, but I find Sunny to be more warm (yellow) than Hoola and I actually like it better than Hoola. (See Review here)

Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel is a golden bronze cream bronzer. Although it looks almost matte, but it does in fact contain extremely fine shimmer. It's not noticeable though once the color is applied to the face. It has a bit of a fresh, glowy effect that looks beautiful for the summer time. It also lasts ages.

Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse Foundation in the shade Caramel Dark 2 isn't exactly a bronzer, but a mousse foundation for deep skintones. I purchased it to use a bronzer and it works really well. The color is a golden yellow brown and it blends beautifully. I use it as a contour or lightly all over if my foundation is a little light.

Bare Escentuals Faux Tan is probably the darkest bronzer I own, so it's very necessary to use it with a very light hand in order for it to look natural. I find it works best when applied over a powder - it applies much more evenly. I've gone through several of these through the past few years and it has remained a favorite of mine for a warm brown glow. Don't be afraid of the heavy swatch, this color is very lovely and suitable for all skintones. Just make sure to put a tiny amount in the cap of the container, tap your brush in the cap and then tap off any excess product and swirl it into your face.

(Click photo to view full size)
From Left to Right: MAC Refined Golden Bronzer, Korres Monoi Oil Bronzing Powder 01 Sunglow Light, Neutrogena Healthy Skin Blush/Bronzer Duo in Berry Glow, Urban Decay Gilded Baked Bronzer, Cargo Medium, Rimmel Sundance, Smashbox Fusion Soft Lights Dusk, Guerlain Light Sheer Bronzing Powder in Brunette 02, Nars Luster Blush, Lorac Tantalizer Baked Bronzer, MAC Golden Bronze Iridescent Powder, NYX Sand Blush, MAC Light Over Dark Mineralize Blush, MAC Sunny by Nature MSF and Covergirl Trublend Bronzer in Natural Bronze #440.

 MAC Refined Golden Bronzer has been my #1 favorite bronzer ever since I first purchased it a few years ago. It's a golden bronze-brown with golden flecks of shimmer. Even though it contains shimmer, I don't find it overly shimmer since the base is fairly matte. This bronze never looks orange and doesn't have any rosy/red/purple undertones. It blends very easily, never looks muddy and is super pigmented. 

Korres Monoi Oil Bronzing Powder 01 Sunglow Light is a newer one in my collection, so I haven't had time to really play with it yet. It's a light peachy-bronze with a subtle golden sheen. The powder is very soft, and blends very easily. I think it's best suited for lighter skintones, because even with a heavy hand this is very subtle on me. 

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Blush/Bronzer Duo in Berry Glow contains a berry pink blush and golden bronzer. The concept is pretty much like the Nars Orgasm/Laguna duo. The bronzer is a light golden tan with fine yellow-gold shimmer. Very natural (aside from the shimmer) and gives a nice glow.

Urban Decay Gilded Baked Bronzer is a light, bronzed peach filled with very fine multi colored (pink and green) shimmer and has golden yellow veining. When swirled together, the color is a sheer, shimmery light peachy-orange that looks gorgeous on the cheeks.

Cargo Medium is a really great every day bronzer. It's a golden bronze filled with a green-yellow sheen. On the cheeks it gives a really nice bronzed glow. Because it contains a shimmery sheen, I mainly just use it on my cheeks and use a matte shade underneath.

Rimmel Sundance is a copper-bronze with golden shimmer. It's actually very similar to Cargo Medium, but swatched together, Sundance appears a little more orange. The color is natural and is one of my favorite drugstore bronzers. (It smells good too!)

Smashbox Fusion Soft Lights in Dusk is a bronzer that contains five stripes of color (pale ivory/peach, pale pink, bronze, brown and golden bronze - all of which have a slight golden sheen). When the colors are swirled together, it makes a golden peachy tan with a gold sheen.

Guerlain Light Sheer Bronzing Powder in Brunette 02 is a bronzing powder with a mosaic of five warm shades. There are three matte colors, a medium milk chocolate brown, a deep brown & a bronzed brown (terracotta). The other two colors are highlighting shades that contain frost/shimmer. One is a frosted peach and the other has a bronze base with golden shimmer. When all of the shades are smoothed together, the result is a warm bronze terracotta with a slight sheen. If you don't like orange toned bronzers, you may not like this.. but it's a personal love of mine! (See review here)

Nars Luster Blush isn't really a bronzer, but when I purchased it, I thought it was going to be more "golden bronze", as it looks in the pan. But, it's actually more of a "golden apricot". When applied to my face, the color turns a reddish peach with a golden sheen. I'd somewhat compare it to Nars Irresistiblement, but Luster isn't really a shade I can wear ALL over my face. It's a great cheek color, and a favorite among many reviewers.

Lorac Tantalizer Baked Bronzer is a copper-bronze with white veining. It's very frosty/shimmery, so it's best used with a light hand on the cheekbones only.

MAC Golden Bronze Iridescent Powder is a very shimmery golden bronze loose powder. It has a very strong golden yellow sheen and a little goes a very long way. It looks gorgeous when lightly swirled into the cheeks. It looks great on the collar bones as well.

 NYX Sand Blush is a copper bronze with golden shimmer. It's one of my drugstore favorites and looks very glowy and gorgeous on the cheeks.

MAC Light Over Dark, again really isn't a bronzer.. but it's one of those blushes that kind of doubles as a bronzer. Like my beloved MAC So Ceylon MSF, I never have to wear both bronzer and blush with either one. It's a duo baked powder and one side is a frosty white with gold veining and the other side is a frosty copper with a rosy-red undertone and golden shimmer. Swirled together is a reddish bronze with shimmer.

MAC Sunny by Nature Mineralize Skinfinish (MSF) is a dark brown with subtle golden shimmer and golden peach veining. I love this because it's ultra pigmented and smooths on nicely like all baked bronzers/blushes. On the cheeks, it's a true bronze with subtle shimmer. Love this one.

Covergirl Trublend Bronzer in Natural Bronze #440 is a copper bronze with lots of golden shimmer. The amount of shimmer compares to that of MAC's Golden Bronze Iridescent Powder, only Covergirl's powder is a bit more orange-bronze toned. It's actually extremely pretty and I often wear it every summer when I want lots of glow!

What's your favorite bronzer? Share in the comments below!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick in Airy Fairy!

Rimmel Airy Fairy Lipstick

Airy Fairy is a lipstick you probably all know about. The particular shade is the most popular of Rimmel's shade selection, as it's a great every day color that is flattering on several skin tones. The color is a pink-mauve with a golden sheen. The actual color is quite "cool" (purple/blue toned) but because of the golden sheen, it's a bit more wearable on my warm skin tone. I stay away from lipsticks with any traces of purple to them, as they do nothing for me - but because of the popularity of this color, I thought I'd take the opportunity to try it out in a recent swap. I'm not too crazy about it alone, but it looks really pretty under a pink lip gloss. The formula is smooth, applies evenly and feels moisturizing on the lips. It is fairly opaque and builds well for full opacity.

Airy Fairy swatched on my hand..
Top: Swatched heavily,  Bottom: Swatched once
Left: Airy Fairy on my Bare Lips, Right: Airy Fairy with NYX Sheer Gloss in the shade Vintage applied over top.
Airy Fairy is rated 4/5, with a 72% re-purchase rate based on makeupalley.com reviews. 
(Click here to be re-directed)

Jo, from Jomakemeblush has mentioned this lipstick several times, and it looks gorgeous on her NC40 skintone! Check out her posts where she mentions it, by clicking here.

Do you own this lipstick? Is it a yay or nay for you?

Follow-up: Olay Pro X Advanced Cleansing System!

About two weeks ago I posted about my newly purchased Olay Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System (view post here). Since then, I've been using it daily - mostly once, but sometimes twice a day. 

Let me briefly go over what my skin is like and why I purchased this in the first place. My skin type for the most part is normal, but I like to call it combination because often times I tend to get a little oily in the t-zone. My skin is fairly sensitive and I am prone to breakouts. My complexion is pretty clear, with faint blemish scars on my cheeks as well as faint brown spots from past UV damage. I also at times struggle with enlarged pores and small blackheads.

Although I use products to fade my blemish scars such as Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA's) and use healing products such as Argan Oil, Shea Butter and Jojoba Oil, I wasn't satisfied with my progress and I knew I was lacking proper exfoliation of my skin to allow the products to really absorb into my skin.

So, with the claims of Olay Pro-X stating that it "cleans your skin 6x better than using your regular cleanser..", I was sold and out the door before you could say, "How much?" ($30, by the way.. ;))

Anyways, like I said, I've been using it daily. I use it with a few different cleansers. At night, I usually use it with the Olay Pro-X Exfoliating Renewal Cleaner, which is the slightest bit grainy to further exfoliate the skin or Cetaphil Normal to Oily Skin Cleanser - which is actually a little harsh & sometimes drying for my skin, but works great with a good moisturizer. I feel that at night, my skin needs a bit more to remove all of my makeup and clean my skin well. After I rinse and dry my face, I sometimes use a BHA product, such as Stridex Pads (alcohol free) to deep clean my pores. Then, I apply my moisturizer.. usually Olay Night of Olay Firming Cream or Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion with two drops of Josie Maran Argan Oil. In the morning, I use the Pro-X again to clean my face, because many nights I apply self tanner after my moisturizer. I usually use my BareMinerals Purifying Facial Cleanser because it's really gentle on my skin and makes my skin feel great. Then, I apply a little Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion and apply my makeup for the day.

What I've noticed since I've been using this, is my skin feels so much smoother, I have no visible blackheads and my pores are almost invisible. I've also noticed that my blemish scars are fading faster than they would have without using the Pro-X - that may be the Argan Oil working it's magic, but the exfoliation is helping it work better. I used Argan Oil prior to purchasing the Olay Pro-X, but I wasn't noticing as fast of results. I'm so happy I purchased this product and I'm kicking myself that I didn't purchase it sooner. I have a lot of faith in this product that it's going to help me reach my goal of having (as close to) perfect skin with continued use in conjunction with my skincare products. Also, it hasn't at all irritated or dried out my skin & it doesn't feel at all harsh or scratchy while in use.

I highly recommend this product, and I'll have more updates in the weeks to come.

Friday, May 13, 2011

NYX Round Lipstick in the Shade "Hermes"

NYX Round Lipstick - Hermes
NYX Round Lipstick - Hermes
NYX Hermes is a creamy browned, neutral shade. It has a slight pink - and I almost even want to say red tone, but there really isn't any red in this lipstick. On my lips, it appears a very neutral brown, absent of any yellow tones. Although it isn't at all flattering against my skintone when applied straight from the tube, it's much more wearable for me when my lips are blotted with a tissue, leaving a soft line around the edges. It reminds me a bit of MAC Stripdown Lipliner (which is one of my favorites). From the various photos I came across searching Google, Hermes is a favorite nude shade among those with a deep skintone. On deeper skintones, the pink tone in this lipstick is much more visible.

The formula of this lipstick is smooth and opaque with a semi-shiny/satiny finish.

NYX Hermes swatched on my bare lips.

This wasn't a shade I would of normally picked up, but I received it in a swap, so I decided to post about it! Like mentioned, it's a fabulous shade for deep skintones and it works out well for me blotted, or as a lip liner. 

What are some of your favorite NYX Lipsticks?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

NOTD: Taupe + MAC 3D Glitter!

While browsing Makeupalley, I came across photos some really cool holographic polishes. One in particular, Catherine Arley Nail Polish in #669 really caught my interest. It's a beautiful pale gold/taupe holographic. Unfortunate for me, it's a polish that's incredibly difficult a hold of, so I attempted to create my own.

I first started with applying two coats of a light taupe nail polish (CHI Ceramic Nail Lacquer in the shade "Love That Milky Way") and then with a clear nail polish I dipped the brush in a small amount of MAC 3D Glitter and applied it to each nail. Then, I finished off with a coat of Seche Vite Top Coat. 

I don't think I've ever had this much glitter on my nails.. haha! It's extremely sparkly and looks really pretty under bright lighting. I think I'll be trying it out with some other colors as the base.. maybe a little less glitter. If you have MAC 3D Glitter Pigment, you should definitely do some experimenting with it! Since the glitter is very fine, it didn't leave my nails feeling bumpy or gritty. Fine glitter tends to work much better than chunky glitter - you can find many varieties at your local craft store (or MAC Pro). Then, all you do is mix the glitter with any clear based nail polish and you'll have your own custom glitter polish! (Click here for a ehow tutorial on how to make glitter nail polish)

Do you have any favorite holographic nail polishes? Share in the comments below!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hard Candy Glamoflauge Concealer in Light + Comparison to Medium!

Hard Candy Glamoflauge Concealer

Hard Candy Glamoflauge Concealer in "Light"
Hard Candy Glamoflauge Concealer in "Light" (top) and "Medium" (bottom)
I reviewed Hard Candy Glamoflauge Concealer last month, and since then it has been my favorite concealer for full coverage. It gives the most coverage of any concealer I own and it doesn't budge or cake throughout the day. I was fortunate enough to get a hold of the last tube of the shade Medium on the rack last month at Wal-mart, and since then, I've visited other Wal-marts to purchase Light with no luck. Until my latest grocery trip, I was ecstatic to see there was one last tube of Light left on the rack. I picked that baby up, and I've been using it daily since. 

To see my original review for Hard Candy Glamoflauge, click here.

Hand swatch of "Light"
Light is a pale ivory with a pink undertone, whereas Medium has a yellow-olive undertone. Although Light is too light to be used on it's own for my skintone, I like to mix it with some of my other concealers to add additional coverage or to lighten any that are too dark.

When I mix Light and Medium, I get a color that's perfect for my skintone right now - a light/medium golden beige. Because the color choices for Glamoflauge are limited (Light, Meidum and Tan), some may find that light is too light, medium is too dark, and so on. So you may have to do a bit of mixing.

Swatches from Left to Right: Light, Medium, 50% Light mixed with 50% Medium.
After purchasing this concealer, I'm pretty confident in saying that I can toss all of my other concealers. If you're able to get your hands on a tube, I highly recommend you to try it!

Hard Candy Glamoflauge is sold at Wal-mart stores for $6.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Review: Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation!

Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation

Product Description: This long-wearing foundation evens out skin tone as it increases skin luminosity and clarity for a radiant glow. The rich, creamy texture glides over the skin effortlessly for perfect application and blendability. Perfect for rosacea and hard to cover pigmentation. Ideal for all skin types, and oil free & fragrance free. 

 -Place a small amount on the back of your hand and work the foundation into the narrow end of a sponge.
-Apply to your face, working on one area at a time.
-Set with translucent powder if desired. 

Available in 9 shades, and is $42 for a 1.18 fl. oz./35ml tube. 

Review: My initial thoughts of this foundation is that it's exactly like MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation, which was one of my past favorite foundations. From the consistency, to the finish and wear time, they are extremely similar. The consistency of Silk Creme is fairly thick, yet lightweight.. almost like a mousse/gel, and very creamy. It does have a chemical smell like MAC Studio Fix Fluid or Revlon Colorstay, because it's fragrance free, but it's not bad and it doesn't linger. Like mentioned above, the foundation is available in 9 different shades which range from Light to Medium Skin tones. I'm not sure why, but there aren't any shades for Dark or Tan skintones. The deepest shade is "Hazelnut Beige", which is the match for MAC NC35-37 coloring. So, not very dark at all. The shade I chose was "Bamboo Beige", which is a golden beige for light-medium skintones. It's a good MAC NC30 color match. The coverage is excellent, and what I expected from reading reviews. It's full coverage, but can be sheered out as much as you'd like. 

Here's a comparison of MAC Studio Fix Fluid in NC30 (top) and LM Silk Creme in Bamboo Beige (bottom). If you find that MAC looks orange on you, LM has more of a golden beige tone.

Application: As far as application goes, it depends on how much coverage you need for your individual needs. I like a nice medium coverage, so I first mist my face with a little bit of MAC Fix Spray, or apply a light oil-free moisturizer and then dot a little foundation on each area of my face (cheeks, nose, forehead, chin) and then I take a Flat Top Foundation Brush and blend the foundation. On areas where I need a little more coverage, I like taking a Duo Fiber Brush and tapping more foundation on areas that need more coverage, such as any blemishes I have on my cheeks. For the fullest coverage, you can use your fingers or a standard foundation brush. For a lighter coverage, you can mix it with a light moisturizer or apply it with a moistened sponge.

The finish is gorgeous. It actually contains several silicones, so if you have enlarges pores, this foundation will help conceal them. My pores seem much less visible, and my skin looks completely even. I suppose it depends on your skin type (dry, normal, combination, oily).. but my skin is pretty normal, sometimes a little oily in the t-zone. It starts out for me as a satiny, luminous finish, and as the day goes on, it becomes a bit dewy. The foundation states that it is suitable for all skin types, but I think this foundation would work best for dry and normal/combination skin types. I believe dry skin will most benefit from this foundation as it doesn't accentuate dryness and it contains moisturizers. Because of the dewiness of this foundation and the silicones, oily skin types may find that this foundation will slide around your face throughout the day and settle in fine lines. I recommend using a setting powder with this foundation, as with most cream formula foundations, because they tend to transfer easily. By the end of the day, this foundation has typically worn off my nose and lightened up around my t-zone. I wouldn't call it long wearing, but I do think it will get you through a typical work day. I do think it photographs nicely, and although it doesn't state there is an SPF, titanium dioxide is at the end of the ingredients list, which is a sunscreen. 

The following photo was approximately two hours after application, and after being outside in 85 degree weather. I wanted to show what my face looked like without powder, so I didn't set my face with a setting powder as I normally would. As you can see, my face became a bit oily.

Face: MAC Mineralized All Over Lotion (as a base)
Hard Candy Glamoflauge Concealer in Light mixed with Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in #20 (under my eyes)
Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation in Bamboo Beige
Ben Nye Neutral Set Powder (to set concealer - applied under my eyes only)
Nars Irresistiblement Bronzer (on cheeks and up forehead, blended into my hairline)
MAC Coppertone Powder Blush (applied to the apples of my cheeks and blended up my cheekbones)

Eyes: MAC Nehru Eyeshadow (smudged into top and bottom lashline)
MAC Espresso Eyeshadow (smudged into Nehru on top lashline)
Stila Amethyst Kajal Liner (on waterline)
Covergirl Lash Blast Mascara

Brows: E.L.F. Studio Eyebrow Kit in Medium
MAC Brow Set in Girl/Boy

Lips: Rimmel Tiramisu Lip Liner Pencil
Wet n Wild Mega Matte Lipstick in 901B Think Pink (blotted with a tissue)
MAC Like Venus Dazzleglass

You can also click here, to view a recent FOTD where I set this foundation with powder.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Rocky - May 9, 2011

"What cupcake?"
"No more picture, please.."
"Are we done yet?"

 I've had a few requests for "Rocky" posts, so I decided to bring my camera out today.

 Me and George took Rocky out today for a little sunshine.. He loves being outside, but he barks at anything that moves. He hasn't been around any other dogs, so when he sees another dog, he goes nuts. I'm hoping to arrange some play dates with Rocky and some other dogs, so he'll feel a little more comfortable going for walks and seeing other dogs on the way. He also has a problem with seeing other people he doesn't know. Even if they are hundreds of feet away, he'll bark until he doesn't see them anymore, and there's no stopping him once he starts barking. I'm sure what he needs is obedience school, so he will obey when I say "No", and know who he should and shouldn't bark at. (Caesar Milan, are you reading this? haha) Any other ideas from pet owners? 

Rocky's lovely Dad picked him up a doggie cupcake from Sprinkles cupcakes.. He's so spoiled. He loved it!
"Mum Mum Mum"
Rocky will be 7 months old on May 12, he's such a big boy now!