Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review & Swatches: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Cherries in the Snow

Winter is almost over, so I figured it'd be high time to post about this classic lipstick I've had in my collection for a couple months now; it's Revlon Cherries in the Snow!

In the blogosphere, Cherries in the Snow seems to be well loved by nearly all beauty addicts, and I can definitely see why; the cool pinked cherry can look flattering on all skintones, and the formula is just dreamy: smooth, creamy and surprisingly long lasting - in fact, it outlasts my Chanel and YSL lipsticks! It might appear a bit overwhelming straight out of the tube, but as with most bold and pigmented lipsticks, it can be worked into the lips for a light stain which is not nearly as intense as opaque application.

I quite like that the tube has a clear top through which you can see the shade (that's especially important if you store your lipsticks upright in a drawer - I don't, but I can still appreciate the design...), and that the bottom sticker matches the color of the lipstick and clearly states the name of the shade AND the finish. So smart, yet so simple!

Admittedly, I didn't really need that shade - both Inglot no. 58 slim gel lipstick and Milani Berry Rich lipstick are fairly similar... but not the same, heh? Different enough to justify having all three in my eyes. #confessions of a blue-based red/fuschia lipstick addict

As always here, the sheer stain lip swatch on bare lips is on the top, opaque application on the bottom - straight out of the bullet, no lip liner.

I decided to also show a more toothy swatch - see how white it makes my teeth look? That's make-up magic in action right there for ya.

And this is a full face shot in natural daylight. I think I took the photos maybe 3-4 hours from the time of application, so it's a bit faded; impressive how evenly it wore, right?

All in all, I do recommend this shade and formula a lot; the price-quality-availability ratio is hard to beat in this case. Have you tried Revlon Cherries in the Snow? What is your favorite Revlon lipstick shade and formula?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review & Swatches: Physicians Formula Gel Eyeliner Trio in Hazel Eyes

... or should I call it Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Gel CreamLiner Enhance & Define Hazel Eyes, as it says on the packaging? Does it seem a teensy bit redundant and schizophrenic (Gel CreamLiner?!) to anyone else, or am I just whiny because of the weather?

In other words, the following shall be a short and savory review under the guise of a photo puzzle. The clue and le clou of the review: I returned this. Can you guess why?

How'bout now? Further prompt: I'm OCD.

Well done to those of you who correctly guessed my anal personality COULD. NOT. TAKE a lid that wouldn't align properly with the jar. Oh, I hear some of you say, why should it even matter; firstly, clearly there's nothing we can talk about if you ask that, secondly, because it just made the gel liner dry out to the point of being unusable. I didn't really like the shade of that one anyway (umm... poo?), but I'm not going to waste my time on a crappily designed product, even if it looks like purple LEGO. The other two liners were still not as creamy as I would have liked, so back to the store it went.

I still thought I'd swatch them for you, just because I'm a really nice person and someone might find this useful, if a little counterproductive (not sure if this statement isn't in fact contradictory. I like adjectives, btw).

Have you ever tried these Physicians Formula gel eyeliners? What is your favorite brand of eyeliner?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lipstick Bandits: Becoming a Lipstick Lover

As some of you might already know, one of the official Lipstick Bandits' raisons d'ĂȘtre stipulated in our statute is to make you fall head over heels for the lipsticks we feature. However, not everyone is necessarily a lipstick lover, the fact that we often prefer not to acknowledge, but which unfortunately is true nonetheless - there are individuals who might deem a lip gloss, a lip balm, a lip whatever superior to a lipstick. O tempora, o mores!

Which is why we've decided to tackle the subject of a starter lipstick this month: either our personal very first tube, or a lipstick that would make a great introduction into the wild world of lipsticks. Luckily for you, I no longer own my first lipstick, a very 90's longwearing brown affair acquired when I was maybe 14. Instead, I've found something that I'd happily recommend to anyone looking for their first tube to fall in love with: Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie (050).

Just to clarify, I don't really consider Revlon Lip Butters to be that innovative and thus worth all the hype. Still, this particular shade ticks all the boxes for me: it's an extremely wearable color across different skintones, the pigmentation is sheer enough to allow for some of your natural lip color to show through but opaque enough to lift the complexion, the texture is smooth, glossy with the subtlest hint of pink shimmer and comfortable on the lips. The only downside is that it doesn't last very long on the lips, and it's neither drying nor moisturizing.

I wouldn't exactly call these 'lip butters'; they're more of a glossy finish lipstick, which is why I believe they would be a good transitional product for someone who loves lip glosses and tinted lip balms. Also, as much as I love my bold, pigmented lipsticks, I agree that they require a bit of up-keep, whereas Berry Smoothie is a lovely bright pink that you can just throw on mere seconds before heading out the door. While this shade is fresh and saturated, it's still very much daytime/office/school appropriate.

Here are some swatches next to similar sheerer glossy pinks from my collection: a Sleek Pout Polish, which is actually very much like a tinted lip butter, and a Palladio Herbal Tinted Lip Balm.

And the obligatory lip swatches - top is Berry Smoothie lightly dabbed on the lips, on the bottom we have an opaque application (at least 3 swipes).

If you're a lipstick hater, I hope that you give Revlon Berry Smoothie a try and eventually become a Lipstick Lover; but I warn you, once you enter our realm for good, there's no coming back! Meanwhile, check out other Bandits' picks by clicking on the links below:
What was the first lip product you ever bought? Which brand and shade would you consider the perfect starter lipstick?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Couple Spring Candles...

Feeling very repressed because of my self-imposed and until now unofficial beauty no-buy, I decided I could at least cheer myself up with some new candles, especially after I have significantly diminished our house supply. In all honesty, I'm not a huge candle burner - a small tumbler/jar usually lasts me for about a month, and that's when I'm feeling very into candle burning. But, I've found some good deals and couldn't resist picking up a couple... or more like three couples.

I first went into Bath and Body Works; I really quite like their candles, actually. They look pretty, come in a very wide variety of scents that changes seasonally, have interesting fragrances and burn for a really long time. Their small 4 oz. tumblers are currently on 2 for $10 (they're normally $9.50 each, which is why I wait for specials) so I picked two from the Beautiful Blossoms collection and two from the Tropical range.

Lilac Blossom is a blend of, why yes, lilac blossom, muguet (lilly of the valley), heliotrope and violets. I love the scent of lilac; in Poland, it blossoms in May, and the bushes are planted everywhere: in parks, between apartment buildings, in gardens, backyards, along fences... My parents also have about three plants to the back of their garden, just at the little gate to the forest. The candle is very much true to the actual blossom, fresh, sweet and heady, and I can detect the muguet as well. If you like spring flowers, I think you're going to love this one.

Flower Shop blends lilac, pink freesia, hyacinth and cooling greens - I've been absolutely obsessed with hyacinth lately! Compared to Lilac Blossom, this is much greener, less heavy, more aquatic - for some reason I actually thought about wild roses the first time I sniffed it. I get a lot of freesia from it, but it's not as peppery as the real deal, maybe freshened by the hyacinth? Lovely, and if you're not into florals, I still recommend you sniff this one.

I'd say 90% of the time, I'm not a huge fan of tropical scents; I like my Pina Coladas and Daiquiris as cocktails, not candles, thank you very much. I did however pick up Tiki Beach, a blend of toasted coconut, vanilla musk, purple orchids and sugared berries. This is quite a refreshing scent for something that seems so sweet from the description; it's maybe even a bit masculine...? I do get quite a lot of sharp musk, mellowed by the sweetness of coconut and vanilla. Something for fans of clean (laundry detergent) fragrances.

Lastly, Aloha Vanilla is a blend of mango, vanilla absolute, creamy coconut and lotus flower. This is fun: the sour juiciness of fruit juxtaposed with the fatty richness of vanilla and coconut (what can I say, I really like vanilla and coconut, especially for the summer). This one is less musky than Tiki Beach, more along the lines of lime and coconut reinterpretation. Perfect for fans of sweet fruity scents.

I also grabbed two packs of tealights from Yankee Candle; I've never tried their candles before, but a new store opened in Bellevue Square a couple weeks ago (they actually spelt it Belleview the first time we received a leaflet in the mail... teehee), plus they are on sale now for $5 each (normally $10). Sun and Sand blends sweet orange flower, citrus, lavender and musk - and it's a lemony laundry/soap scent to me, whereas Tahitian Tiare Flowers (gardenias) smells very much like Monoi oil, quite sexy for a room smell, really.

Oh, and in case you're interested, this is my favorite tea light holder - it's from Ikea and a friend painted it for me when we were still in middle school. I've managed not to break or lose it all these years!

I think in general I'm more partial to Bath and Body Works candles rather than Yankee candles; I just think the latter are worse compositions and terribly overpriced for, well, a glass jar full of scented wax. Have you bought any new spring candles lately? What are your favorite brands and fragrances?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rocaille Swatches: Seven Neutral INGLOT Eyeshadows

There's little to be said about this utilitarian post other than the fact that I hopelessly love neutral eyeshadows - nothing gets my heart beating faster than a unique taupe, a shimmery off-white, a golden brown. These seven INGLOT Freedom System eyeshadow pans are the newest in my collection and haven't been swatched here before, which is why I felt compelled to macro photograph them to smithereens.

I've made an attempt at discussing the finishes before, but I have a couple more observations. All of the matte shades featured here (328, 337, 349 and 326) come from a newer selection of eyeshadows and seem far superior to the INGLOT mattes I owned previously; these are buttery soft, pigmented and very creamy, but tend to get a little dusty. The two AMC (Advanced Make-up Components) Shine eyeshadows here are almost duochrome: the very light pink has little pigment in itself, but it's packed full of beautiful opalescent pink pearl, and when swatched, the golden brown is not brown at all, but gorgeously gold. The light nude/peach Double Sparkle eyeshadow no. 467 is not sparkly in the slightest; it's more of a satin formula with subtle shimmers. I hope this makes some sense if you're trying to distinguish between INGLOT finishes; I find that just going for the shades I like and not worrying about the finish works best for me. They're all great quality in the end!

Onto close-ups and swatches:

My favorites in this bunch are the two AMC Shine eyeshadows (142 & 112) and the 337 and 349 Matte, which I use as subtle crease shades for warm and cool eye looks respectively. On my last visit to an INGLOT store in Warsaw, I had a really hard time finding any other shades I liked, so I think these round up my 'Best of INGLOT eyeshadows' selection quite nicely.

Have you already tried INGLOT eyeshadows? What are your favorite shades?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Rocaille Redes: Daytime Smokey for Almond Eyes with MAC

After my last little photo tutorial, I've had a lot of requests for more tips on how to make up almond-shaped eyes; this step-by step guide is quite similar to the previous one, but easier (hence I hesitated about even posting it) and might also be useful to those with hooded eyes or eyes that don't have a visible crease (monolids).

1. Start with a primed eye to prolong the wear of your eye make-up. If your lids are quite oily like mine, I find that sweeping a thin layer of face powder before smoothing on an eye base extends the wear by another couple hours. Pat MAC eyeshadow in Patina all over the eye, starting at the base of the lashes and blending up slightly above the socket, so that the color is still visible when you look straight ahead.

2. Push MAC eyeshadow in Charcoal Brown into the lash line, concentrating on the outer corner and blending upwards.

3. Add a little Charcoal Brown eyeshadow to the lower lashline, going about 1/3 to 1/2 way in. I find that going all the way in with a darker shade on upper and/or lower lashline makes my eyes appear smaller.

4. Dab a bit of a highlighting shade, such as MAC Ricepaper, in the inner corner of the eye.

5. Apply a very thin line of dark brown eyeliner (Annabelle Smudgeliner in Chocolate Brown) on the upper lashline, going about 2/3 in. I usually tend to do a tiny wing at the end of my lashline that remains mostly hidden behind my lashes when my eyes are open, but it does still elongate the shape of eye even further. Curl your lashes, apply a good coat of mascara (I actually never wear more than one coat, two coats just look way too clumpy on me!) and you're good to go!

Also, Happy Valentine's Day, my glamorous readers! If I was up to anything Valentine's-related today, I'd probably still go for a make-up look similar to this one, but we haven't got anything special planned - I'm thinking cuddling under the blanket, chai tea latte and a romantic movie. Please let me know your plans (or movie recommendations) in the comments, I'd love to know!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Review: Milani HD Advanced Lip Color in Sweet Grape

Just some quick thoughts today about this Milani HD Advanced Lip Color in Sweet Grape which I picked up in my Milani Cyber Monday Haul a while back. I was quite hesitant about posting this, simply because... I'm really not sure what to make of this product.

The brand says 'Milani introduces 3-in-1 lip color that nourishes, hydrates, and delivers a sheer wash of color with clarity and perfect radiant shine. It instantly comforts dry, chapped lips, and provides long-term moisturization.'. This type of tinted balm seems to be the bee's knees these days, with Revlon, L'Oreal and many other brands releasing their versions of the same concept, which I'm quite happy about, since I'm not a huge lip gloss wearer but like a bit of shine and transparent color to my lips.

The Milani HD Advanced Lip Color comes in a sleek tube with a twist-up, clickety-click mechanism. The formula has just the right amount of color to it (sheer but not invisible, and buildable), doesn't slip around too much and isn't overly glossy, and is also quite heavily fruit scented. It feels non-drying on the lips, but I wouldn't say it 'comforts chapped lips'; if your lips are chapped, the shimmery shades in particular will emphasize those dreadful flakies.

I think my biggest issue with this product is actually the shade I picked up. I loved the concept of a wearable purple, but I'm not sure Sweet Grape is all that, at least on me. It's a very cool, almost lavender purple infused with lots of golden shimmer that sits comfortably on the lips. The problem is, with my pale cool coloring, this looks too much like I've been outdoor for a very long time in extreme cold, or swimming in a mountain river, or snowboarding in a hail storm, or whatever. It just looks COLD. And the gold sparkle doesn't help.

I will revisit this shade when the weather gets warmer around here and I start using more bronzer again; for now, I've relegated it to the back of my drawer. Have you tried these Milani HD Lip Colors? What is your favorite brand of those tinted lip balm kind of products?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Rocaille Swatches: Seven NYX Powder Blushes

Seven!!! I've managed to accumulate seven shades of NYX Powder Blushes already! One for every day of the week, huh? Anyway, I feel that you deserve a little warning: this is a mammoth post heavy with photos, including mug shots, that even I was reluctant to go through, so proceed with caution.

It probably comes as a no surprise that I like NYX Powder Blushes a whole lot and have been steadily collecting new shades whenever I felt like I needed (wanted?) an inexpensive but good quality blush fix. Some of the greatest advantages of these blushes is that the shade range is just exquisite for a drugstore brand, most shades are extremely pigmented, and they last all day on my skin.

Here are the arm swatches in all their glory:

Now, let's proceed to the cheek swatches, shall we?

NYX Powder Blush in Spice

NYX Powder Blush in Pinky

NYX Powder Blush in Angel

NYX Powder Blush in Peach

NYX Powder Blush in Mauve

NYX Powder Blush in Raisin

NYX Powder Blush in Taupe (as contour, Laura Mercier Nectarine on the cheek)

If you were to really press me for favorites, I'd say that they change seasonally and daily, for example, I loved Mauve for early fall, always reach for Pinky at the beginning of spring, don't hesitate and go for Raisin whenever I need a neutral blush and happily slap on Peach when I feel like my skin is a little dull. If some of the pans look much more loved than the others, it's just because I've had some of the shades like Angel for nearly 3 years now. That doesn't help much, does it? What are your favorite NYX blush shades?