Sep 29, 2012

September Hits and Misses! (2012)

From this point on, I hope to feature both my favorite and least favorite products of the month. Sometimes I give initial impressions on products and I end up changing my mind later on for various reasons (the season changes, the formula changes, my needs change, etc). Since I'm focused on finishing products rather than spending money on the things I simply "want", I tend to have a very boring makeup routine and my overall favorites don't change.

Aveeno Baby Shampoo: I use this to deep clean my makeup brushes and after the first use, I was amazed with the results. I've used other brands of baby shampoo and I've never been impressed until I first used this particular type. My brushes looked new.

Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Beige: Seriously, if Maybelline doesn't make this a permanent shade, it would be a poor business decision. Excluding days I didn't wear makeup, I used this as a base every day in September. That is something that doesn't really happen to me with bases/primers. I usually switch between at least two or three.

Covergirl Eye Shadow Trio in Cafe au Lait: I wouldn't consider this an absolute favorite, to be honest. The formula is fine and the colors are great for an every day look, but I'm just working to finish my trios and quads before I buy the Urban Decay palettes I want. The great thing is that I've hit pan on the shimmery taupe shade! I used this almost every day this month, excluding the weekend I went home.

Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil Skin Ointment: This is used to help dry, chapped skin. It is also used to soften cuticles. I actually use it on my feet when I have blisters from my shoes, but I might have to try this on my cuticles because I love any multipurpose product. I especially love this because it is paraben and mineral oil free!

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream: This BB cream has light to medium coverage and a natural finish. I've had this for quite a few months and I've been using it every day since I finished my Almay Clear Complexion foundation.

ELF Shielding Hydro Tint: I liked this when I tried it back in June, but after I finished my Almay foundation this just felt sticky and gross in comparison. Since it was only $1, I didn't feel bad about throwing it away. I felt the same about the All Over Cover stick and ended up throwing it away as well.

What were your favorites and least favorites for this month?

Sep 26, 2012

September 2012 Empties!

This blog post is one that was a long time in the making because I actually began saving up my empty bottles for products when I got back to school in August. I'm surprised by how much I have finished up just within the past month and few days because when I was restricting my beauty purchases, I went straight for the travel sized products in my collection and then it seemed like I was finishing things at an alarming rate. This time, however, I've written mini reviews of each product as I finish them.

Almay Clear Complexion Makeup: I finally finished it! Will I repurchase? Maybe, but not for a while. I've got some other face products to use up before I even think about buying yet another foundation. I've talked about this foundation a lot. It isn't a perfect foundation, but I really liked it. The packaging bothered me and the shade selection was pathetic.

Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action Pads: I finished these early on. I don't know why, but for a short period of time, I thought it would be a great idea to try out acne pads like these (I also tried Stridex). They don't work for me. Stridex felt sticky and Clearasil was drying.

Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action Treatment Gel: In the spectrum for spot treatments, I would say this is average. I like the amount of product in the tube (1 fluid ounce - most I've used are half). I like that this has salicylic acid (I have a prescription treatment that can't be used with benzoyl peroxide), but as a spot treatment it really only works on tiny blemishes that would probably go away in a couple of days anyway. In terms of following through claims, this product is a failure (it says it will reduce redness within a few hours and if I'm not mistaken, when this product first came out it claimed to get rid of blemishes in three days).

E.L.F. Soothing Oil Blotting Sheets (Aloe) and Rejuvenating Oil Blotting Sheets (Green Tea): I bought these in a set of three about a year ago in a back-to-school display at Target (the other one was Tea Tree). These are smaller than the Clean & Clear blotting sheets I used a few years back, but it took more than one E.L.F. sheet to get all of the oil off my face. I have oily skin, but I wouldn't consider it to be that oily. Each container held 50 sheets and with the number I used on my face, these sheets would not last long enough for the purchase to be worth it. I still recommend using Starbucks napkins as an alternative to blotting sheets. Some people say that the toilet seat covers work well too, but that crosses the line in my opinion (if you like it, that's fine, it's just something I personally won't even try). After I finish the Tea Tree blotting sheets, I will be moving on to my Clean & Clear blotting sheets. I have one half empty package and one full one.

Sephora Triple Action Cleansing Water (1.69 fl oz): I saw this at Sephora one day and decided it would be an interesting product to try since I've never tried a "true" cleansing water (I usually use makeup wipes to remove my makeup). This removed my face makeup easily, but it always left a bit of mascara and eyeliner, so I wouldn't purchase this again.

Simple Exfoliating Facial Wipes: These were rough on my skin and I had to use a separate makeup remover on my eyes. I won't repurchase these, but I will try the other Simple wipes next time (my mom had both and I just picked a random one).

Pantene Aqua Light Shampoo and Conditioner (not pictured): I was glad to finish these. They didn't do anything special for my hair and the scent was fresh, but a bit strong compared to what I usually prefer. I'm still on the search for a great daily shampoo. I'm actually not too picky about conditioner... as long as it makes my hair soft and isn't too heavy, I'm happy. But for some reason I always feel compelled to buy the matching conditioner when I buy a shampoo and in all honesty, it's not necessary because sometimes one is better than the other. In this case, neither impressed me.

So that is everything I finished this month! It wasn't a lot, but I think I'll finish quite a few things up in October (before writing this post I thought I'd be saying I won't finish much in October, but as I got ready this morning I realized that I'm close to finishing quite a few products. We'll see if I do manage to finish them or if I'll give up and switch to something new. My dorm room is honestly crowded with as many beauty products as I could fit and I can't wait until everything fits into an even smaller space.

What did you finish in September?

Sep 23, 2012

Fall Giveaway! Current Favorites (Now Closed!)

Fall is here, so I thought I would give away some of my favorite products I've been using this fall. If you're interested then keep reading!

It's no secret that I love the Maybelline Color Tattoo's... so I will be giving away all of the fall shades! This means you could win Barely Beige, Mossy Green, Gold Shimmer, and Rich Mahogany! I am also giving away the Maybelline "Touch of Light" Luminizing Face Glow from the same Fall 2012 collection. Then I picked my favorite color combination of Maybelline's Fall 2012 Eye Studio Eye Shadow Quads (Shade: Olive Martini).

An item I've also been loving is the Starbucks Via Ready Brew in Pumpkin Spice. It truly does taste like the Pumpkin Spiced Latte. These came out a few weeks ago but most people I know have had trouble finding this at Starbucks.

Last, but not least, I am giving away the Nivea Extended Moisture Hand Cream. My hands actually begin to dry out once fall rolls around, so I am always on the lookout for a hand cream that will keep my hands moisturized through the colder weather.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The winner will be selected randomly and as the title says, the entries will be closed October 7. The winner will be announced soon after.

Sep 18, 2012

10 Things I Would Repurchase Tag!

I've seen this tag going around on YouTube and since I generally prefer writing, I figured I would write up a post right here! The premise of this tag is to list the first ten things I would repurchase if I somehow lost all of my makeup. I'm not sure if tools are meant to be included in this or not, so I haven't included them.

  1. Foundation: I technically haven't truly found my "holy grail" foundation, but if I needed to go out and buy something, I'd probably pick the L'Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB cream in "Fair" because it is similar to my Smashbox BB cream (it has lighter coverage and no sun protection, but the finish is similar and the L'Oreal one is cheaper).
  2. Concealer: This may be surprising because I don't think I've ever mentioned it on my blog, but the MAC Studio Finish Concealer is probably one of the better values I have personally found for my needs. The best part (for me, at least) is that I can find a shade that matches my fair skin. Many drugstore concealers are orange or pink and they don't cover anything or they break my skin out.
  3. Powder: Maybelline Dream Matte Powder. I accidentally left this powder at home, so I don't actually have it with me to photograph, but I love this powder. I remember when it came in more than four shades (this was around 2008, I think). It was the second powder I ever purchased (the first was by Covergirl).
  4. Blush: I don't particularly have a "holy grail" blush, but I do like the NYX Cream Blush in Boho Chic. I've also used the color on my lips and it looks great! I really like that cream products offer versatility.
  5. Eye primer/base: Well, if this were to happen right now, I would go out and buy the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Beige. Since that is limited edition, my second answer would have to be Too Faced Shadow Insurance in Candlelight. I also love the Stila Smudge Crayons and I know I will repurchase them, but for the price, I feel like I would get more out of TFSI.
  6. Eye shadow: This one was tricky. I have a lot of eye shadows I love... however, I remembered a particular palette that I used a lot last year: Too Faced Naked Eyes. I haven't really used it since moving back to school, but if I didn't have it, I know I would miss it.
  7. Eyeliner: I think I would probably buy Revlon Colorstay in "Blackberry" before anything else. It is an interesting color (in fact, it is my favorite eyeliner color right now) and before I started trying to finish my Urban Decay 24/7 pencils, I was using this on a daily basis.
  8. Mascara: Rimmel Lash Accelerator. After blogging about my wish list, I ended up buying this mascara and I've used it every single day since purchasing. It probably doesn't do anything for lash growth, but it makes my lashes look nice. I do need to find a good mascara for a dramatic look, though.
  9. Lip balm: Coca Cola Lip Smacker. I know everybody used to love the Dr. Pepper flavor, but it has never been my favorite. This doesn't really give any moisture, but it smells good and is a fun product from my younger years.
  10. Lip gloss: Anything by C.O. Bigelow. They aren't sticky or drying and they taste and smell amazing.
What 10 products would you repurchase if you lost all your makeup?

Sep 16, 2012

Review: My Lush Hair Products!

I posted my first Lush haul in July and since then I've really had a chance to try the products I bought. I was intrigued by the solid shampoo bars (and then shocked when I found three different shampoo bars from a brand at Whole Foods!) and I had heard some great things about the conditioners.

Before I get myself too off subject, I will mention what I do own: the Jumping Juniper solid shampoo and American Cream conditioner. I picked Jumping Juniper based on the recommendation of an employee at Lush and I picked American Cream over other conditioners because it was available in a small bottle so I wouldn't be stuck with it if I hated it and also because it's supposed to be more hydrating than Veganese (which is also available in a smaller bottle).

Jumping Juniper ($9.95) is specifically for oily hair. I actually wash my hair every day because of the oiliness of my scalp. I've tried skipping days before and the feeling just bothers me. Anyway, I use Jumping Juniper once or twice per week to remove any buildup from products (and buildup from my other shampoo). I enjoy the smell, but I'm terrible at describing scents. It is a bit strong, but to me the scent is pleasant and fruity and maybe has a hint of floral. I probably would repurchase this once I finish it.

American Cream ($9.95 for a 3.3 fluid ounce bottle) is supposed to be suitable for all hair types. I feel like this conditioner feels a bit too heavy for my hair, but it also isn't extremely moisturizing. It doesn't do much for my tangles. The bottle claims that it smells like strawberry vanilla cream, but I personally think it leans more on the strawberry side than the vanilla side. I actually don't think I'll be buying this again. I've found cheaper conditioners that work better for my hair. I will say since you can buy such a small bottle that it's still worth a try if you are curious.

I plan on trying the Seanik solid shampoo bar and once I do, I will post a review as soon as I have a fully formed opinion on it. I won't be trying it until I finish Jumping Juniper, though.

What are your favorite Lush hair products? Your least favorite?

Sep 12, 2012

Foundation/Face Routine: September 2012!

As some readers may know, I have been working to finish my Almay Clear Complexion makeup so I could work to finish some other foundations. Well, it finally happened, so now my routine is different! However, I haven't technically posted a foundation/face routine on my blog before, so some of the products I had been using with my Almay foundation varied day by day. Since I'm trying to finish some products up, I'm sticking to the same products on most days just so I can finish things up product by product.

Now, if you're new to my blog, here is some information about my skin type: I have combination-oily acne-prone skin with hyperpigmentation. My skin gets drier in the winter and I generally do not use foundation primer because I haven't found one that actually worked for my skin. I used to be a big fan of medium to full coverage foundation, but lately I've really enjoyed products with light to medium coverage and if I add concealer if I really need it.
  • Moisturizer: Aveeno Positively Radiant Moisturizer with SPF 15. This moisturizer does have fine shimmer in it, but it's not noticeable on my face because I only need half a pump on my skin. People with drier skin might need a full pump. I don't use a separate sunscreen.
  • Treatment: Mario Badescu Drying Cream. I apply a thin layer on any active breakouts and my makeup has never looked any different than it does when I don't use it.
  • "Foundation": Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream. This doesn't last as long on my face as my Almay foundation, but the color match is better and the coverage is just a bit lower. I will be using this BB cream until I finish it. The only complaint I have is the price... $39 for one fluid ounce. If I ever repurchase this, it will be a while before I do because there are so many other BB creams out there to try!
  • Concealer: Revlon Photoready. This has SPF 20 and I use it on the dark circles under my eyes and on any bigger breakouts on my face. I used to love this concealer, but now I just categorize it as "average" because it does the job, but it also creases a bit.
  • Powder: Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Compact Powder Foundation. This sets my makeup and gives me a bit of added coverage. I actually switch between this powder foundation and the ELF Mineral Blemish Powder. 
  • Blush: Benefit Bella Bamba. It took me a while to figure out to use this without having bright cheeks. I use a stippling brush instead of a regular blush brush. Overall I don't love this, but I did get it in the "Big 10" set that came out last year, so I want to use it up before I move on to the next blush.
  • Highlight: Benefit Dandelion. This is a brightening face powder so I use it on my cheekbones, the bridge of my nose, and on my chin. 

What products do you use for your foundation/face routine?

Sep 9, 2012

Review: Stila Smudge Crayons

It's not exactly a secret that I love cream eye shadows. I rave about the Maybelline Color Tattoos all the time and before the Color Tattoos were released, I was seriously considering a trip to the MAC counter for some Paint Pots. However, sometimes I wish I had a good cream eye shadow in the form of a stick. Well, I think I may have found the perfect one for me!

Right now is Ulta's 21 days of beauty, so they have great deals going on every day for 3 weeks. One of the deals was buy one get one free for the Stila Smudge Crayons. On that particular day, I was at school and there was no way I'd be able to make the trip to the nearest Ulta.... however, my mom actually surprised me and picked up the shades "Rose" and "Antique" for me because she knew I like cream eye shadows and I'd mentioned these to her before. Another thing that's important to note is the hefty price tag for these : $22. The good thing is that Stila works pretty hard to convince you that the purchase is worth it. Here's what the Stila Smudge Crayons supposedly will do for you:
  • It functions as a primer, eye shadow, and eye liner all in one
  • The formula is creamy, yet doesn't crease
  • It is long wearing and water-resistant
  • The shades are bold and pigmented
  • Vitamin E soothes and protects your eye area
  • The pointed tip makes application easier, plus there is a sharpener included if you want to use it as an eyeliner
The only point I can't confirm or deny is the "soothing" or "protecting" aspect from the vitamin E. These sticks are creamy, they don't crease, and the colors are beautiful. You can blend the product as soon as you apply it, but once it dries, it stays that way all day. As of right now, there are 8 shades available, including Kitten. I can't really compare these to any other stick cream eye shadows because I've never tried anything like these (I'm not counting the NYX jumbo sticks because those aren't long wearing at all). I like that if you would rather not sharpen these, you don't have to (in fact, that is a big reason I have yet to try the Urban Decay 24/7 cream eye shadows... it's because I hate sharpening the eyeliners). Ulta also has a "try me" set with three shades. The downside? It is $22 and you get miniature sizes.

The only reason I am reluctant to give this a glowing review is the price. I think Stila set the price point a little too high, because $22 for 1 gram of product is ridiculous to say the least, since the Color Tattoos contain 4 grams. However, it doesn't change the fact that the product inside is amazing. I think a more appropriate price would be maybe $18, but clearly that's not up to me ;)

I also recommend swatching these in the store so you can see if you like the texture for yourself... but please don't put the one on display anywhere near your eyes. You never know where it has been, but if you put it on your hand, you can just wash it right off once you try the product for yourself.

Below are the swatches of Rose (top) and Antique (bottom). Left is the original swatch and right is after 30 seconds and some rubbing. If I would have waited another 30 seconds, then the second picture would look exactly like the first. Quite amazing, if I say so myself! 

What is your favorite longwearing cream eye shadow?

Sep 6, 2012

Follow-up: My Makeup Setup at College!

So I will apologize in advance for the quality of the picture. My bed is lofted and my makeup is stored at my desk, so finding proper lighting proved to be a bit of a challenge for me. I ended up buying a second unit for medicine, skin care products (backup cleanser and samples), and my perfume rollers and EcoTools kabuki brushes (since they aren't tall enough to fit in my brush holder). 

As you can see, there is still a bit of room for more products. Having the separate holder for stick or tube-based eye products helped with space. I also have my Sonia Kashuk brush cleanser (in the corner behind the black makeup bag) and the makeup bag is full of nail polish. 

I brought all of my OPI mini nail polishes that came in sets (Pirates of the Caribbean, Nicki Minaj, Spiderman, and the Germany collection).

Overall I think I organized my makeup quite well. It doesn't take up too much space (I still have room to do homework and have space for books) and I know where everything is. In comparison to other beauty bloggers, I know I don't have a ton of things, but I know I have more than enough for my needs.

How do you organize your makeup?

Sep 5, 2012

Shopping List #1

I tend to do an excessive amount of research on products before I buy them. I test things out in person if at all possible and I also look at swatches and reviews online. Sometimes I buy some winning products and other times I am disappointed.
  • Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette: I will admit that I was never impressed by the original Naked palette. I just assumed that the colors wouldn't work with my skin tone, but when I saw the Naked 2 palette, I was impressed. It's been out for nearly a year and I still haven't bought it because I already have so many neutrals that it would probably be a bad idea to just run out and buy it. However, I still want it and hope to have it within the next few months.
  • Urban Decay Smoked Palette: I was unsure of whether or not I would need this palette until I saw the swatches. It features colors I don't have in my collection and I love that it has a booklet with all the different "looks" you can do with the palette, since I'm still very safe when it comes to smokey eyes.
  • Lush Ultrabland Cleanser: I really want to try this for makeup removal. I won't order it until I'm closer to finishing my other makeup removers, but it seems like it will be something gentle and effective, so I look forward to trying it.
  • Juice Beauty Green Apple Blemish Clearing Peel: I've never tried a peel on my skin, so therefore I am curious as to how it might work.
  • L'Oreal Youth Code Serum Corrector: Now that I've discovered that my skin loves Mario Badescu acne treatments, I want to try a serum from any brand to correct my hyperpigmentation. It will be a long time before I buy this one because I've got another serum to finish up and it will last me a long time. This also seems to be a good dupe for the Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector, which is a product I've considered buying a few times, but I would have a lot of trouble forking over $50 for a product that "might" work.
  • MAC Blush Palette: I've only owned a mineralize blush by MAC before and I liked it, so I figured I would just order a customized palette of blushes from the MAC website. I think I have the colors narrowed down to Pinch O Peach, Well Dressed, Pink Swoon, Fleur Power, Dame, and Breath of Plum. I showed these blushes to my mom the last time we went to a MAC counter and she is skeptical about Fleur Power for me, so I may or may not switch that one for another.
  • Any "Lash Growing" Mascara: It's not that I need much lash growth, but I am interested to see how a "lash growth" formula might work now that I am familiar with a couple of serums (one seems to work, the other did nothing). I'm a big fan of dramatic lashes and I may even repurchase Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes along with my next mascara purchase because it makes my lashes look long and thick. I'm leaning toward trying the Rimmel Lash Accelerator mascara since I'm already using the serum at night.
For now that is all I am saving for. I'm sure I'll buy other things here and there (and I'll do my best to review them as I do!) What is on your shopping list?

Sep 4, 2012

Swatches: Maybelline Color Tattoo's in Rich Mahogany and Barely Beige

I know these aren't exactly new, but since I finally own two of the four limited edition shades in the new Maybelline Color Tattoo collection, I figured I would swatch them for anybody still on the fence about purchasing them!

There are actually two limited edition collections containing four shades each: one collection contains jewel tones and the other contains neutral tones. I've heard that the jewel tones have been found at Target, but I'm not sure if they are available elsewhere. The collection with the neutral shades also has a brush that is specifically for the Color Tattoo's!

I will admit that I have used Barely Beige several times (and incorporated it into my daily routine) and I swatched Rich Mahogany within minutes of purchasing, so the photos are even on less of a professional level this time, so I hope you can forgive me. In all photos below Rich Mahogany is on the left and Barely Beige is on the right!

Sep 3, 2012

New Series: Shopping List

Now that I'm buying beauty products again, from time to time I will be posting lists of items I plan to buy in the future. It's just a fun way of seeing what other people want to buy. I'll do my best to cross off items as I buy them. Another reason I'm doing this is so you guys can post your own shopping lists below or even suggest things I should be trying (or you can tell me something on my list isn't worth the money).

I don't suspect these posts will be made too often since I have items on my list that I want to try at some point, but not necessarily in the immediate future. It's also why the lists will probably look rather long.

There isn't much else to the series, so I'll end the post here! Have a great week, guys! :)

Sep 2, 2012

Review: Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner

I am always on the lookout for a longwearing eyeliner. I tried the Revlon Colorstay eyeliners the first time a few years ago and almost always had one in either Black or Black/Brown in my collection. Right now I have four: Blackberry, Teal, Charcoal, and Black.

Cost: $7.49 a piece at Ulta
Color Range: 7-8 shades
Color Descriptions:
  • Blackberry: black with a plum shimmer
  • Teal: matte teal
  • Charcoal: dark metallic gray
  • Black: matte black
Overall Impression: These are very dry in comparison to the Urban Decay 24/7 liners, so it makes application difficult. However, in terms of lasting power, these are better for me. I like the colors that are available. My personal favorite is Blackberry because I've never owned a color like it. Well, to be fair, I've also never owned a color like Teal, but Teal is a bit too bold for my personal preferences. For me, Blackberry can be a great everyday color without being plain or garish. Another thing I love about these liners is that they twist up. I personally don't use the sharpener at the ends because I had a bad experience with the tip of the liner coming off and getting stuck in the sharpener. It's easier to just line carefully.

These eyeliners are good, but as I said, they run on the dry side. For me, that is reason enough to keep looking at other eyeliners from time to time. The only color I don't think I will repurchase is Teal because it's not a good color for my skin tone.

Swatches: Left is the original swatches (top to bottom: Blackberry, Teal, Charcoal, and Black). Right is after the smudge test. They do rub off a bit, but I don't have to set them with anything to prevent smudging, which is great!