Wednesday, October 7, 2015

An Unexpected Love: YSL Rouge Pur Couture Lipsticks in no.9 Rose Stiletto and no.19 Fuchsia

I was pretty surprised to be selected for another YSL Beauty VoxBox from Influenster, you guys (here's my invite, in case you've been wanting to take your chances). First off, I didn't absolutely swoon over the Touche Eclat Blur products in my first one, reviewed here, and secondly, I would generally say that I suck at social media. I'm not on Facebook, I don't have Snapchat, I barely Instagram and, well, I tweet, but mostly about my latest blog posts, which probably isn't all that useful for beauty brands. Yet somehow I was chosen to receive these two newly relaunched YSL Rouge Pur Couture Satin Radiance Lipsticks ($36 each for 3.8 g) in no. 9 Rose Stiletto* and no. 19 Fuchsia*, and much to my delight, I've been enjoying them tremendously!
I've tried the YSL Rouge Pur Couture formula in the past - here's my review of a Limited Edition Pink Grenadine shade. I obviously quite like the old formula as it's survived many lipstick declutters, but it's also not one of my absolute favorites; just somewhere in the middle, I guess.
You can see here that the packaging of the Rouge Pur Coutures changed quite a bit; it's still predominantly gold and, uhm, rectangular, but I'd say I like just the pure gold and black of the new tube a bit better. It's also a bit sturdier and more weighty in my hand; just what a luxury lipstick should feel like. I've tried to find some information on whether the formula changed as well, and while nothing I had come upon gave me a definite answer, I do believe these new Rouge Pur Coutures are in fact a different formulation.
Let me start by saying what has NOT changed in the Rouge Pur Couture formula. It's still an emollient and richly pigmented lipstick, meant to dress the lips in one stroke. It also has the exact same YSL lipstick smell, a bit floral and definitely different from their fruity Gloss Voluptes; more along the lines of the Glossy Stains.
In my opinion, the overall feel and performance of these lipsticks have been improved in the revamped range. To me, they seem even creamier and more opaque than the older formula (although it is possible that my older tube has just got a bit more dried out over the couple years I've had it). I believe this trend in many new product releases was started last year by the NARS Audacious line - intense pigment in a comfortable formula that just glides on the lips. However, one downside to many of these super creamy lipsticks (and something often mentioned about the YSL Rouge Voluptes) is that they're too slippery and slidey on the lips, sinking into the lines and outside the contour of your lips.
Luckily, that's not the case at all with the new Rouge Purs - they stay put very well, and even leave behind a bit of a stain. When you first apply the Rouge Purs, they seem to have a standard creamy finish (no shimmer), but in about an hour, they settle more into a satin or even a matte that wears comfortably for another 2-3 hours (that is, until the next meal, which is when I have to reapply). These don't draw attention to my vertical lip lines, and they don't dry out my drier-than-Death-Valley lips, although they're not exactly moisturizing either. For a high pigment, creamy lipstick, they feel surprisingly lightweight on the lips. All in all, big thumbs up for the formula.
L-R (both photos): Maybelline Color Sensational in Warm Me Up, MAC Viva Glam V, YSL Rouge Pur Couture in Rose Stiletto no. 9 (three swipes each)
I will admit that I was a bit worried about how the two shades selected for us would go with my fair skintone, but I'm pretty happy with both no. 9 Rose Stiletto and no. 19 Fuchsia. Rose Stiletto is described as a 'rich berry rose', and I think it's a quite an apt description. On me, it's a warm deep rose veering almost on a wine shade; it has hints of both brown and plum. It's like a less mauvey version of that MLBB that's so popular right now. I've swatched it against some of my darker nudes, but you can see it's a lot darker than that - more in the Bite High Pigment Lip Pencil in Rhubarb territory.
Rose Stiletto is a perfect everyday shade for fall and winter; it doesn't draw too much attention but on my skintone, it's a deeper option than your standard nudes. It feels like a sophisticated, grown-up shade that would work well in a professional environment.
On the other hand, Fuchsia no. 19 is the complete opposite of Rose Stiletto. Described as a 'magenta purple', it's an incredibly bright, attention-grabbing shade. I would say it's more pink than purple, but it definitely leans purple and it's the most cool-toned hot pink in my stash (hopefully you can see that in my photos). I don't see why Influenster chose this particular shade for fall, but in all honestly, if you're a fan of vivid colors, you could wear Fuchsia all year round.
L-R (both photos): Lancome Shine Lover Lipstick in Effortless Pink, Guerlain Rouge Automatique in Shalimar, YSL Rouge Pur Couture in Fuchsia no. 19
I have to admit that I haven't braved wearing Fuchsia outside of the house yet. You can somewhat see it in the face shot, but this shade looks almost neon on me - fun, but not entirely suitable for everyday wear, at least at its full strength. I'll play around with it a little bit and attempt to tame the beast by wearing it more as a stain (which would also make me less nervous about smearing it on my chin - yes, speaking from experience here).
There are currently 41 shades of the YSL Rouge Pur Coutures on the Sephora's website, and while some may be Limited Edition, that's plenty of colors to satisfy even the pickiest lipstick lover. I'm actually quite tempted to swatch a few more options next time I'm near a store, although you know I do NOT need any more lipsticks :) Have you tried these new lipsticks from YSL? What is your favorite opaque lipstick formula?

*Disclaimer: I received the two YSL products featured in this post complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster (anyone can sign up for free here, you don't need a blog or YouTube channel - just social media outlets). All opinions are 100% honest and unbiased, no matter if the products featured were purchased with my own monies or provided as free press samples. Thank you for reading!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Revisited: Paula's Choice CLEAR Extra-Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution

It wasn't that long ago that I reviewed one of the cult products in the Paula's Choice range, the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid - and while I thought it was a decent acid toner, I wasn't blown away. However, when I recently won MegsMakeup8's generous Paula's Choice giveaway on Instagram, I decided to try another liquid exfoliant from Paula's range: the CLEAR Extra Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution with 2% Salicylic Acid ($28 for 4 oz/ 118 ml).
I've said in the title that it's a revisited product because honestly, I don't know how the CLEAR Exfoliating Solution differs from the BHA Liquid. The salicylic content is exactly the same, the ingredients are the same, the texture is the same, so it's a bit confusing why Paula would have two exact same formulations marketed as two distinct products - please let me know if I'm wrong on this, but for now my understanding is that the two products are one and the same.
The CLEAR line, aimed at acne-prone skin, is all packaged in pretty blue bottles, and the Exfoliating Solutions come in two strengths, 1% and 2% salicylic acid (BHA). As you know, I'm a long-time hydroxy acid user, so I chose the Extra-Strength, hoping to get a more noticeable result. I've been using the Solution for the past two weeks, having replaced my usual First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads with it at night time.
The Extra-Strength Solution is a clear, fragrance-free liquid I use in the acid tone step of my evening skincare routine. Even though it's a transparent liquid, it does not feel like water on the skin - it's a bit thicker than water and has a bit of slip to it, leaving a somewhat oily film on the face, which is why I reserve it for use at night. In the past, I quite disliked the texture and feel of this product on my face, but since my skin has gotten a bit drier this past year, I actually don't mind it as much anymore. Now it feels like the liquid is a bit more nourishing, and maybe the ingredients that provide that slip in this formula also help to cushion the skin against the possible dryness from the salicylic acid.
In terms of results, I can already see a bit of an improvement in my skin after switching from the FAB pads (and don't get me wrong, I still love that product! Simply taking a bit of a break). Most of the bumpy texture I've had on my forehead for the past month has disappeared already, my pores are overall clearer, and my whole face looks a lot more even in tone. I've also haven't had any significant breakouts in those two weeks, and the two tiny whiteheads I got where gone within a couple days without leaving any marks. I'm quite impressed! Another interesting thing about the CLEAR Solution is that somehow it still manages to pick up dirt from my face even after double cleansing with oils and balms; I think the oilier texture dissolves the last traces better than a regular toner, or maybe the product is already pulling some gunk from the pores.

I'm quite happy that I gave this product another chance - I don't know if it's something I have to have on hand at all times, but I think it's a nice one to rotate in and out of my routine once in a while. It just goes to show how our impressions of products change according to the condition of our skin. In that same order, I also got the RESIST Exfoliant, which I believe Claire has told me doesn't have that slippy texture, so it'd be an interesting one to compare - stay tuned for the review! As for this CLEAR one, I would especially recommend it if you're struggling with uneven texture, but your skin is more on the normal to slightly combination side, and prone to dehydration. For oilier-skinned folks, I don't think the slightly oily residue of the Exfoliating Solution would feel very pleasant. Have you tried any of the Paula's Choice AHA or BHA exfoliants? Which one is your favorite?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Beauty Empties: 3rd Quarter of 2015

Happy October! I haven't actually used up a whole lot of products in the past three months; I feel that this is a lot less than I usually have in my empties bag. But, we all know beauty products tend to get finished in phases, so I'm just guessing there's going to be a lot more in the next quarter.
For body and haircare, I've made a bit of a dent in my stash, and I've tried to make sure I was still using up some of those deluxe samples.
Products I disliked and wouldn't repurchase: Murad Oil-Free Sunscreen SPF30, Aura Cacia Vanilla Essential Oil blend in Jojoba Oil (the scent was too faint), Dolce & Gabbana The One EDP mini (not my kind of fragrance)
Products I enjoyed, but I'm trying out other things: Pacifica Malibu Lemon Blossom Shower Gel (mentioned here; I liked the formula more than the scent but it's a bit pricey to repurchase regularly), Peter Thomas Roth Mega Rich Body Lotion (not that rich, but lovely bergamot scent)
Products I would repurchase (but am probably trying out other things too): Kneipp Pomegranate & Black Currant In-Shower Body Lotion (really a cream cleanser for the body - awesome post-gym), Batiste Dry Shampoo in the Clean and Classic Scent (a repurchase, already repurchased another can but in a different scent to shake things up), Secret Oulast Gel in Completely Clear (favorite antiperspirant I've tried so far!), OGX Biotin & Collagen Shampoo (fantastic and inexpensive sulfate-free shampoo for fine hair).
Skincare; again, I focused on a lot of my deluxe samples. Some tosses too: the Clarins eye cream with SPF30 was too thick and dry, especially to use on the delicate eye area, and I had no interest in trying this super old sample of the REN Micro Polish cleanser.
Products I disliked and wouldn't repurchase: Caudalie Beauty Elixir (full review here), MyChelle Apple Brightening Cleanser (reviewed here; I'm moving away from foaming face washes), Mario Badescu Drying Cream
Products I enjoyed, but I'm trying out other things: Dermalogica Intensive Eye Repair, Clark's Botanical Smoothing Marine Cream (too pricey for a moisturizer with glycolic acid, but worked very well for me), Dr Wu 18% Mandelic Acid Serum (full review here; replaced with Derma e Overnight Peel and some new exfoliants from Paula's Choice), The Organic Pharmacy Enzyme Peel Mask (reviewed here - again, lovely but very expensive).
Products I would repurchase (but am probably trying out other things too): REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk (full review here), Rock Rose hydrosol I used as a spray toner, Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Heavenly Night Cream (reviewed here), Hada White Lady brightening serum.
As an extra, here's a mix of body, hair and skincare from my travel empties I tossed before leaving Tuscany (see how committed I am? Even remembered to take a photo for you). Actually, the product I liked the most out of this line-up was the St. Ives Shea Butter shower gel - in the photo refilled with some vile manly body wash from someone in the family, because we run out. I wasn't a fan of the popular Acure Argan hair line either; I found the shampoo both drying and not cleansing enough.
Make-up! A lot of tossed products that went bad here too. Obviously, a lot of these were my own fault for not using them more while they were still good, but that bareMinerals Buttercream gloss - man, I still can't get over it. Anyway.
Products I disliked and wouldn't repurchase: Urban Decay B6 Vitamin Infused Prep Spray (meh - did nothing for me), Wet n'Wild Mega Liner in Black (pigmented and easy to apply, but tended to run terribly in humid weather), bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Buttercream Lipgloss in Must Have Pink.
Products I enjoyed, but I'm trying out other things: eos Vanilla Lip Balm (tasted sweet too, but not nourishing enough for me), Fyrinnae Lip Luster in Shangri-La (full review), Miss Sporty concealer pencil, bareMinerals Flawless Definition Mascara (lengthening and non clumpy), fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Balm (reviewed here).
Products I would repurchase (but am probably trying out other things too): Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick in Plum Perfect (featured here; mine started to smell funky. I really like this drugstore lipstick formula and would repurchase but maybe in a different shade).
Lastly, various samples or one (more like two or three) use sachets of sheet masks and bath salts. The one stand-out for perfume was Hermes Voyage d'Hermes, but while I liked it, I didn't love it enough to consider purchasing a full size bottle. I also really enjoyed the SK-II Facial Treatment Mask, reviewed here, and the Kneipp Mineral Bath Salts in the Pure Bliss scent; I'm considering purchasing the full size.
To be honest, I'm starting to feel a bit over my empties post format; it's a lot to take in, even if I just list all the products used, and I think it's quite boring for you guys to read. I also think that rushing through my products in an attempt to fill my empties bag to the brim is not really something I'd like to do anymore. It the past, when I had a lot more products stockpiled in every category, it's worked fine, but now I don't have all those back-ups I'm worried will expire before I use them. I'm simply feeling this need to slow down a little and actually enjoy what I have. I'll probably post one last post in this format for the last quarter of this year, but next year, I may switch to the 'One In, One Out' type of post championed by bloggers such as ttsandra and Reductionista. What do you guys think? Is there any specific format you prefer for the empties posts?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Chocolate Bar Dupe? Makeup Revolution Death By Chocolate Eyeshadow Palette

Alright - Death by Chocolate Eyeshadow Palette by I Heart Makeup (~ $12.50 for 22g), a sub-brand of Makeup Revolution, is definitely NOT a dupe for any of the Too Faced Chocolate Bar palettes, even though it mimicks the idea, packaging and layout of the shades. But that is precisely why I wanted to try it: while I think Too Faced makes some really lovely eyeshadows, for my personal taste, both Chocolate Bars are way too warm. I just knew I wouldn't use at least half of the shades, so when I saw some recommendations for the Makeup Revolution version on Polish YouTube, I knew the shade selection in Death By Chocolate would tick all the boxes for me.
Let me start by saying that if you're a make-up fanatic like me, Death by Chocolate is by no means a necessary purchase. It sure is pretty and even practical, but if you have a larger collection, you should be able to dupe nearly all of the shades very easily. However, if you're still building your stash, or you're looking for an inexpensive eyeshadow palette for everyday, or would like to have a good travel palette you wouldn't worry too much about being damaged in your suitcase, Death by Chocolate is your friend - and if you're not into cool-leaning shades, there are two other versions that are more warm-toned (Naked Chocolate and I Heart Chocolate), and I assume the quality is probably very similar.

Unlike the Too Faced palettes, these Makeup Revolution spin-offs are housed in sturdy plastic cases. The only two things I dislike about this packaging is the plastic insert with the shade names (c'mon, I thought we all moved on from that!) and the fact that the top with the mirror is a bit heavier than the bottom with all the shades, so when you angle the palette at more than 90 degrees, the mirror just falls flat on the counter - a bit annoying, to be honest. But yes, the mirror is large and good quality, and would absolutely suffice to do your whole face while traveling.
As mentioned, Death By Chocolate follows the same layout as Chocolate Bars, having 14 regular sized shadows and 2 larger pans of highlighting shades. To my eyes, Death by Chocolate is a 'complete palette': you get both a matte and a shimmery highlight, you get at least two matte transition shades (one warm, one cool), you get a whole selection of shimmery lid shades, both warm and cool, and a pigmented matte black to use as a liner or deepen things up. There's also a fun pop of color by way of a beautiful glowy plum purple, one of my favorite shades in the palette.

Really, the array of looks you can achieve with this palette is enormous - from barely there daytime looks to sultry smokeys for a night out. Even though the shades are predominantly cool, there is a few warm options to spice things up. I also appreciate that the palette combines shadows in a few different finishes: we have some mattes, glowy satins and a lot of metallic, high shine shades (look at all these variations of taupe in the bottom row!).
First row swatched, L-R: White Light, Don't Let Go, Break Me Up, Consume Me, All Is Lost
Middle row swatched, L-R: Lick Me (mine broke and had to be repressed), Fool's Gold, One More Bar, Devour Me, Tear the Wrapper, Love You To Death
Bottom row swatched, L-R: Pray For Me, Dipped, Tease Me, Set Me Free, Bring Down Angels
As for the texture and pigmentation of these shadows, overall, I'm very happy with the quality. Sure, some shades could use a bit more pigment (e.g: White Light, the matte ivory highlight, or Devour Me, the matte dark plum), but actually, on the eyes they apply and blend very easily. One important note, as you can see from my arm swatches, a lot of these shades swatch very differently from what they appear to be like in the pan, e.g. Don't Let Go or Pray For Me. As a general rule, I would say these apply better than they swatch; they all have a buttery texture but are quite tightly pressed in the pans, which makes them difficult to pick up with a finger. From my vigorous rubbing for the swatch shots, some shades even developed a bit of hard pan, so I think from now on, I'll be only using brushes with this palette. Throughout the day, all the shadows I've tested wore nicely, although I think my favorite purple lost a bit of its vibrancy by the end of the day
My warm eyeshadow look with Death By Chocolate Palette using Tear the Wrapper on the lid, One More Bar in the outer corner and Bring Down Angels in the inner corner
For now, Death by Chocolate isn't one of the Makeup Revolution palettes carried by Ulta, but I still thought I would review it for you in case you wanted to know about the quality of their shadows or decided to seek this one out on eBay/ order through Makeup Revolution's UK site. I've been really enjoying using this palette ever since I got it three weeks ago, but I think this is my last large eyeshadow palette purchase for a looong while. I just increasingly feel that every time I buy some new shadows, I have almost exact dupes at home already waiting to be used. Have you bought any larger palettes recently? Are you planning to pick up any of the newly released Holiday ones?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Project Make A Dent 2015 Third Progress Update & Project 10 Pan Halfway Update

Another three months have flown by and it's time for my third Project Make A Dent progress update; my last one before the Project's end in late December. I've decided to lump my Project 10 Pan update together with the Project MAD as not to overwhelm you with two very similar posts in quick succession - and truth be told, there isn't any real difference between the two projects aside from terminology. I'm thinking next year, I may just stick to one really big panning project.
Starting with Project Make A Dent, above is what my items looked like in January, when I started the challenge (click!). Just to recap, at the last update in June (click!), I have had already finished five items: Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner in Rockstar, Make Up For Ever HD Powder mini, Michael Todd Creme Glace lipgloss in Natural, Revlon Superlustrous Lipgloss in Coral Reef and Face Atelier Ultra Foundation in Porcelain. Since then, I haven't completely used up any more items, but have put noticeable dents in several: the Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Monte Carlo is very nearly done, and the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze as well as Stila Convertible Color in Lillium have even more pan showing. I've worked a bit on the Sephora Nano Eyeliner in Nuage too (I can see a bit of progress there!), but the Inglot Gel Lipstick no. 58 looks pretty much the same to me.
All in all, it's about as much progress as I was expecting to make - I've realized since the beginning that I wouldn't be able to entirely finish some items, but it's enough for me to know that they've had plenty of use.
As for my Project 10 Pan, it's going really, really well. Above is what my products looked like at the beginning of the challenge in July (click!). Since then, I'm counting two products as finished (both have about a week of use left, but I'm counting them in for convenience): the Buxom Full-On Lip Shine in Dolly and the Revlon Lip Butter in Peach Parfait. I'm also very nearly done with three more items: the Estee Lauder Double Wear Light Foundation in Intensity 1 and both of my Orly mini polishes in Gumdrop and Rage. In the close-up shot of my liquids, they actually only look half used up, but the reality is that even with constant thinning, they're getting too thick to apply - I may get one more manicure out of each one, and then they'll be gone.
I can also see lots of progress in the Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pen in Copper Glow as well as some progress in the MAC Blot Powder; the dip in the middle seems to have gotten deeper and I'm hoping to hit pan very soon. There's a little bit of change in the other two lip products, the Covergirl Jumbo Gloss Balm in Watermelon Twist and the Elf Mineral Lipstick in Rosy Raisin, but not a whole lot - I'm hoping to get cracking on those now that the other two are out. The last item, the Revlon Colorstay Foundation for Combination/ Oily Skin, has stayed nearly the same - it's a bit too light for me at the moment (I know! That Tuscan sun, I tell you...), so I'm planning to use it more in the upcoming months.
Overall, I'm still very satisfied with my progress and commitment to these Projects. Sure, I have started to feel bored with some of my products, or have discovered that maybe I wasn't such a fan of the given color/ formula in the first place - or else, that my preferences have just changed. And that's okay - I'll keep those things firmly in mind both for future projects and future make-up purchases. Have are you guys doing with your Projects? Any success stories to report?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Double Cleansing on the Cheap: Andalou Naturals Apricot Probiotic Cleansing Milk

I've been on a green beauty kick lately, focusing on the mid-range brands like Andalou Naturals and Derma e in particular. The gist is that I'm a bit tired of spending big bucks on all the cult skincare favorites, only to realize that while they're nice and luxurious to use, they don't make that much of a difference to my skin, especially when it's already being kept in good condition thanks to my basic skincare principles, discussed in detail here.
So when my REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk was very nearly used up, I decided not to repurchase another one, despite the fact that my skin really enjoyed it. Instead, I replaced it with the Andalou Naturals Apricot Probiotic Cleansing Milk ($12.95 for 6 fl oz/ 178 ml); one of you has actually recommended this cleanser to me (thank you!), and since I've had good luck with almost all of the Andalou products I've tried (reviews of the 1000 Roses line here, and the Probiotic Renewal Cream + Facial Lemon Sugar Scrub here), I thought that this could be a great inexpensive product to use for the second step of the double cleanse.
The ingredients sound very good to me, but like with all Andalou products, bear in mind that it is fragranced - predictably, the Cleansing Milk smells amazingly of ripe apricots. It's a more natural apricot scent than the Origins Drink Up Overnight Mask, for example, and I definitely prefer it to the Origins - this one has an almost nutty element to it, maybe from all the nourishing natural plant oils (sunflower, apricot, sweet almond, rosehip and borage) used in the formula. The Andalou Cleansing Milk also contains a probiotic complex (mostly oligosaccharides and lactobacillus), as well as a whole skew of antioxidants such as resveratrol, coenzyme Q10, polyphenols and Vitamin E.
The cleanser is packaged in a convenient plastic bottle with a pump, which I greatly appreciate. The Apricot Probiotic Cleansing Milk, contary to the NUDE Omega Cleansing Jelly I've reviewed not too long ago, does not emulsify, which is something to bear in mind if you're used to emulsifying cleansing oils or (gulp!) foaming face washes. Instead, it has a soft creamy texture that spreads very easily on the skin - I would say the consistency is similar to a standard body lotion, or even a light face moisturizer.
I purchased it with the intention to use it either alone in the mornings, or as a second cleanse at night, so personally it doesn't bother me that it's not the greatest make-up remover, especially if you wear waterproof eye make-up. I wouldn't recommend it for that purpose. However, as a basic cleanser meant to cleanse the skin from the remnants of last night's skincare or lingering traces of make-up, it performs very well indeed. It feels soothing and hydrating on, and once removed with a warm wash cloth, doesn't leave a residue. My skin feels refreshed, plump and perfectly clean - I give it a big thumbs up!

All in all, I think the Andalou Naturals Apricot Probiotic Cleansing Milk is very comparable to the REN Evercalm Milk, and while I may prefer the herbal scent of the latter, that's not reason enough to pay more than double the price for the REN version. I also feel like the Andalou is a touch more hydrating than the REN, so I would definitely recommend it if you're struggling with dryness. I'm really happy with this purchase - yet again, Andalou products just don't disappoint. What is your favorite more affordable cleanser? I recently got a mini of the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser and I'm excited to try that out next :)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Shopping My Stash: Recently Rediscovered Favorites

To counteract the low from my previous post on all the products I don't want to be using anymore, I thought I'd share some of my recently rediscovered favorites from the depths of my make-up stash. To be honest with you, with both the Project Make A Dent and the Project 10 Pan going on at the same time, I often need to force myself not to completely neglect the rest of my collection. I've been so focused on making some progress in the lip products chosen for these challenges, for example, that I honestly don't remember the last time I wore something else on my lips, unless it was specifically for testing and reviewing on the blog. That's a bit sad - I guess I'm maybe a wee bit too driven to do well in my panning projects, lol.
I still think it's very important to keep rotating the products in your routine, either by means of a weekly/ bi-weekly make-up basket or tray, or just switching them ad hoc out once in a while, or maybe even seasonally, when you want to pull in some specific shades to keep you inspired. It's good to know what you own, and it's good to check once in a while if the products you loved in the past are still favorites - and if it turns out they're not anymore, just pass them on to someone more appreciative.
Anyway, here are a couple things I've been enjoying lately. Since I don't have any bronzers in either of my panning projects, I've been making an effort to switch out between the four I own on a monthly basis, usually in the order of their depth (as my skin gets to its darkest shade - by which I mean about NW15 - by the end of the summer/ early fall). Now that it's September, I've been using theBalm Bahama Mama Bronzing Powder, which is a beautiful matte bronzer, but so dark on my fair skintone that I have to be very careful with how I use it. For that reason, I've paired it with my EcoTools Fan Brush, which gives me a lot of control in terms of placement, as well as a sheerer application. If you have a pretty dark bronzer in your stash that you're scared to use, definitely try applying it with a fan brush; it makes a big difference!
On my cheeks, I've gone back to using Tarte's 12-Hour Amazonian Clay Blush in Dazzled (reviewed here), which is the perfect early fall blush shade with just a hint of plum. I have to say that I'm not absolutely swooned by the Amazonian Clay formula - it's a bit hard in the pan, and requires multiple layers and lots of blending to show up on my cheeks. But once I get it on, it's really beautiful, so I keep reaching for it again and again.
I've also been rotating through my powder eyeshadows regularly (mostly in pre-made palettes and my Z-Palettes), but haven't really been loving anything in particular. One thing I discovered while playing with my eyeshadow pans is that Surratt's Eyeshadow in Scintillante (reviewed and swatched here) makes for a fabulous highlighter on the face as well. Its delicate, refined sheen looks gorgeous on the top of the cheekbones, and it's just the right amount of glow for everyday.
See that giant crack? The other Benefit Creaseless Cream I have in the original packaging doesn't seem to dry out like that - this crack started to appear just a couple months after I've purchased No Pressure :( It's still creamy though.
I also gave my overworked Maybelline Bad to the Bronze Color Tattoo a short rest just before our holiday break, since I knew I would be using it all the time while in Tuscany, and in the meantime, I played around a bit with the Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow in No Pressure (reviewed here). You know, I do think I slightly prefer the Benefit's cream eyeshadow formula over the Maybelline - it's just softer and easier to blend out. The bronzy taupey shade of No Pressure, even though it looks very similar to Bad to the Bronze at first glance, somehow looks a bit prettier once it's on the eyes; it's a bit smoother (doesn't pick up on the texture of the skin on my lids) and the added gold microglitters give it a bit more interest, either when worn alone or paired with a powder eyeshadow over the top.
For the lips, I've been mostly focusing on all the products in my Projects, but I will tell you this - after my bad run with some lip glosses I've been testing recently, I have an even greater appreciation for my Buxom Full-on Lip Polish (I have the shade Dolly, reviewed here) and the Full-on Lip Cream (Cherry Flip, reviewed here). These are just some damn fine glosses, people. My mini tube of Dolly is very nearly finished *sad face*, and you know what, once I use up Cherry Flip, I will be buying another one of these Buxom glosses, or maybe I'll even get one of the Holiday kits with the different minis (probably next year - I don't think Cherry Flip could be all finished before November).
Wearing all my rediscovered favorites on the face; base is Estee Lauder Double Wear Light, brows Shu Uemura Seal Brown, lashes Mally Beauty Volumizing Mascara.
And that's it! I hope this post inspires you to go digging in your stash :) Which products have you been loving lately? Have you already started to pull out some fall-appropriate shades?