Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Holidays from the Lipstick Bandits!

It's five more days till Christmas! Well, five for me - as some of you may know, in Poland the biggest holiday celebrations actually take place on Christmas Eve, when we sit down for a no-meat dinner just after the first star appears on the winter sky. We're flying to Warsaw on Friday and I'm super excited (as well as praying for no snow so that we can in fact make it to our family dinner in time)!

Just in time for the Holidays, Lipstick Bandits bring to you another lip-obsessed post, this time the theme being red and sparkly! No, I don't think it gets any better than that...

Well, other than I have a little confession to make. I kind of struggle with sparkles on the lips - anything bigger than tiny shimmers and I feel like I'm back at highschool. I know however that I was not the only one secretly bitching about the sparkles! Anyway, so I cheated a little bit; I just layered a nude gloss with a very fine shimmer for a bit of oomph. Not that my lipstick of choice actually needed any more oomph - just take a look!

I posted a little sneak peek of this beauty in my Milani Haul; it's a Milani Color Perfect Lipstick in Berry Rich. Does the shade name remind anyone of the Very Rich Hours of the Duke of Berry? No? Well then, it's just me...

Here are some shade comparison swatches for you; MAC Cockney is a good example of a 'true' red, Berry Rich just looks pink next to it! Sleek Cherry is definitely darker and a bit more purple, with Inglot no. 58 being the closest match. However, I find Inglot to be a bit more of a raspberry pink, whereas Milani is leaning towards strawberry; does it make any sense to you or are you just picturing a fruit salad now?

The top lip swatch is for Milani Berry Rich dabbed onto the lips and worked in with a finger for a light stain; how different! The middle one is Berry Rich applied opaquely from the bullet with no lip liner, and the bottom is Berry Rich topped with Michael Todd lipgloss in Natural. See, I told you it was red!

And some full face shots - if Larie can do it, I can do it too!

Are you positive no one's watching and I can eat my Christmas cookie now?

As per usual, check out other Lipstick Bandits' picks for the season :)
I will also take this opportunity to wish you all a fantastic Holiday season, with lots of beautiful gifts, delicious homemade food and of course amazing time with your friends and families. Wesołych Świąt!

*EDIT* I'm sorry about publishing a slightly outdated post - I didn't have time to edit before I left! Anyhow, links are uploaded now, so go peruse gorgeous wintery reds, lovelies :) More posts coming soon!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Santa Tracy, slip a blusher under the tree...

For me! Been an awful good girl... Ok ok, you get the idea! Tracy from Beauty Reflections slipped something amazing in the mail for me - just look at these beauties!

A couple weeks ago I met up with Tracy, who was visiting her brother, and Larie (who wasn't, ha) for some much-needed blogging gossip, coffees and make-up shopping. While at Sephora, I mentioned that I was thinking of picking up NARS 'Douceur' blush, and Tracy was kind enough to send me her unloved one... together with this beautiful Laura Mercier 'Nectarine' blush!

Aren't they both a blushing dream come true? Even Mr commented how nice the NARS packaging looked compared to other brands (which was promptly followed by a remark that the inside wasn't as impressive - what does he know, huh?).

And a quick swatch swatch for you, because I couldn't stop myself.

Tracy, you're an absolute angel, thank you so so much! Now, I'll be putting together a little package to send all the way to Canada...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

RockEye: Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Mascara Review

The more accents circonflexes the better, right? This little sample tube of Lancôme Hypnôse Drama was included in the Parisian Sultry set with the Coral Crush palette I reviewed a while ago, and I decided to crack it open just in time for the Holiday travelling.

Here's what it promises to do:
'Get instant lash drama in a single coat with this ultra volume-boosting mascara that’ll take lashes from so-so to show-stopping. The full contact brush, with its S-shaped curve, grasps and loads lashes for a fanned out, full body fringe. Lancôme’s luxe Texturizing Complex features highly saturated waxes and intense black pigments for maximum lash volume. The triple coating system delivers a fluid and creamy application to quickly and easily build big, battable lashes that won’t clump or flake.' (from Lancôme's website)

The mascara retails for $25. As you can hopefully see in the photos, the brush indeed has an interesting shape - it's curved and the bristles are a bit longer on the sides, making for a more challenging application; in fact, almost every time I manage to smear some on my lids, which is easily remedied by a quick swipe of a q-tip. Here are the pros and cons:

What I like:
- the black shade is definitely black enough
- I can get long, full and defined lashes with one coat
- the brush design makes it possible to reach the outer corner lashes
- it holds the curl nicely
- it's quite easy to remove at the end of the day
- it has that mascara scent which I remember Bourjois mascaras used to have and yes, that's a plus for me :)

What I dislike:
- it does flake on me; you can even see it in the photos, which were taken 5 minutes after application
- it also does start to clump after more than 1 coat
- the stopper on the tube is quite loose so that the brush gets overloaded with mascara and the excess needs to be wiped off
- the formula is quite wet, which makes it easier to smear
- it tends to stick to the very tips of my lashes, which makes for a 'spidery' look
- the writing on the sample tube wears off very easily (not sure if the same issue applies to the full-sized tube)
- a word about the marketing blurb: why on Earth is this shade of black 'excessive' and the volume you get with it 'indecent'? It's a freakin' MASCARA, not striptease.

Will I repurchase? Unlikely. Overall, I think it's a decent enough mascara; I especially like that it makes my lashes nice and full and holds the curl very well. However, I'm not impressed with the flakies, and wielding that brush is a bit of a challenge. Well, onto the next one...

Have you ever tried Lancôme Hypnôse Drama? What is your favorite Lancôme mascara?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Review: Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in 'Dollface'

...or, as I secretly refer to this post, 'A Cool Pink Blush Extravaganza'. You may intepret the word 'cool' both ways here and it'll still be relevant, by the way.

Not so long ago, as a result of browsing through Sephora's brightly-lit shelves with Tracy from Beauty Reflections and Larie from Eye Heart It, I came in possession of the much talked-about Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in the shade 'Dollface'. The decision was facilitated by Tracy's expert opinion and the words 'It's lavender-based, very pretty', to which my happy retort was 'Oh, I don't have anything lavender!'. Ekhm... or do I [suspenseful background music]?

Well, let's discuss the blush first. As everyone and their dog knows, the blusher is housed in a pearlized plastic compact reflecting the shade of the blush inside (sort of). I'm actually not a huge fan of this packaging; I see that it's practical, but also a bit... juvenile? Given that the blush retails for $25, I'd be much happier with something more elegant. With that being said, the mirror inside is a very decent size and I like the Amazon river embossing.

'Dollface' is a matte, cool-toned light pink. It's quite a pure shade of pink, but it applies softly and blends quite easily without, in fact, giving you a bad case of doll cheeks. It's just brightening enough to naturally compliment cooler skintones such as mine and the perfect shade of light pink for the winter season.

It is not, however, very unique. Just take a look below... Eeek! Have I really managed to accumulate 4 exact same shades of pink from 4 different brands?

No, not exactly [fans herself]. While you can already see subtle differences in the pans, the true differences come through in the swatches. No. 7 Natural Blush in 'Soft Damson' is definitely warmer and a bit more tawny than 'Dollface'. NYX Powder Blusher in 'Angel' is plummier and has a different finish - it's more satin with tiny silver shimmers. But... Inglot blusher no. 72 is pretty darn close; maybe a touch cooler and a bit deeper. Not different enough to warrant keeping 'Dollface' though; so, I was a good girl, and returned it :(

A word about longevity - it's impossible for me to verify whether the Tarte Amazonian Clay blush really lasts 12 hours. Or else, I think it did, but almost all my other blushers do last just as long on me as the Tarte one. And... the Inglot blush was MUCH cheaper. Just saying.

What's your experience with the Tarte Amazonian Clay blushes? What are your favorite cool pink blush shades?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Milani Cyber Monday Haul

I normally try to be a bit more interesting (or less boring, depending on your point of view) and not publish two of the same type of posts in a row, but I've lost my blogging mojo somewhere between buying Norwegian-sweater leggings and cooking dinner today. So, this will have to do for now.

I was actually convinced that I was not going to receive my Cyber Monday haul at all because I made a typo in the billing information; much to my surprise, a week later the little package was already waiting for me at home. I'm so glad that it came through, I'm loving everything I got! The Cyber Monday 50% off sitewide sale was a bit of a pain to navigate due to heavy traffic, but so worth it in the end, especially that Milani is very difficult to come by here in WA.

I'm not posting any swatches just now on purpose, I actually have a couple more comparison posts planned featuring these products. Let me know though if there's something you're dying to see!

Also, how many shots of the exact same thing can you fit into one small post? Apparently, THREE.

What have you got during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

'I die of cuteness!' aka Luxury Lane Soap Haul

There's not going to be much to read in this post, but plenty to gawk, squeal or even flail; yes, Rae, I'm talking to you!

A couple weeks ago I found Luxury Lane Soap's online shop via Kylee Lane's, the owner's, blog, where she posted her response to the Ivory soap commercial - you all go watch that video, it's amazing! Anyway, back to the soap: I found the website, spent a blissful morning adding every single product to my basket, then I came to and subtracted most of it, and that's how I ended up with what you can see here. Hey, some of these are stocking stuffers, no pointing fingers at your poor soap hoarder!

I mean, really? REALLY?! Tiny smelly colorful dinosaurs?! These were a gift with purchase, by the way. Cami, are you dying of cuteness too?

Can we all please take a moment to ponder the perfection of *pink* Hello Kitty and Sugar Cupcake soaps WITH SPARKLES?! I'm so bummed that I don't get to keep these for myself; they're a Christmas gift for my sisters-in-law, aged 14 and 16. Sigh.

These in turn are for my mum and mum-in-law; they each came in a pack of two, so I get to keep one, of course... Both the scrubby snowflake and the Love Knot are part of the Holiday Collection, and on top of being beautiful they smell amazing too!

A little pile of cuteness all together...

I also decided to try two of the half-bar samplers from Kylee's Organic Artisan soap line (clearly, because I have a problem); I got half of Cafe Mocha regular-sized bar and half of Goldilocks mega-sized bar. I haven't tried either yet, but again, they smell amazing and seems to me that the scent on these is a bit stronger than the other soaps. Also, Goldilocks really reminds me of Lush's Snow Cake scent-wise!

So far, I've only opened one bar - the three-tiered Love Knot. I haven't had the occassion to use it a whole lot just yet, but from my initial impressions, I've never used a soap that lathered that well. A couple swipes through my loofa and I get a mountain of fluffy, incredibly creamy goodness, delicate enough to use on the entire body. I have a rather sensitive skin, and haven't had any problems; also, my skin seems less dry than usual. Also, the bar itself is very soft and creamy; it sorts of melts in your fingers just a little bit. The scent is rather subtle, but lingers a bit on the skin so that my husband comments on how good I smell after a bath. What more could you possibly need from a soap? :)