Thursday, May 31, 2012

Review & Swatches: CARGO 'Molokai' Blush

As a last orange-themed hurrah before the months ends, I've decided to show you the blush I picked up to replace my Maybelline 'Pinch of Peach', of which I wasn't a fan in case you missed that post. By the way - I managed to give away a lot of my unloved make-up including the Maybelline blush to a bunch of friends, I really recommend it, it feels amazing! But, back to the new blush...
CARGO Blush in 'Molokai' is a gorgeous muted apricot with a matte finish. The product is housed in a minimalistic-looking round tin with a secure lid, and in the packaging has a very slight floral scent that doesn't transfer on the skin. The powder is finely milled and quite pigmented, making it look very natural on the cheek. It is, however, quite a light color, by which I mean that it would only suit fair to medium skintones; I think darker skintones would have some trouble making it show on them without looking ashy.
One other thing to consider about 'Molokai' is that there isn't even a touch of pink to this summery shade. It's just pure, orangey warmth, so if you're afraid of going near the tango territory, 'Molokai' might not be for you. Oh, and did you know that Moloka'i, part of the Hawaiian Archipelago, is called 'The Friendly Isle'? Just Google the photos, it's beyond dreamy...
Compared to my other apricotty blushes, 'Molokai' is warmer and more orange than both Maybelline 'Pinch of Peach' and Stila Convertible Color in 'Lillium', which is one of my favorite neutral blushes. Still, because 'Molokai' is so pale, it somehow works with my cool complexion, as you can see in the cheek swatches below.
All in all, I'm really pleased with my first CARGO blush, and I'm thinking of adding more to the collection - the famous 'Tonga' is really tempting, partly because of the name... I grabbed 'Molokai' on sale at HauteLook, which has some great deals if you're patient enough to bear their turnaround time.
Well, I think that's it for my orange theme right now! I will no doubt accumulate more warm shades throughout the summer, but next month, I promise to have a little more variety color-wise. I haven't forgotten about my favorite hot pinks and fuschias at all!
Have you ever tried CARGO blushes? What was your favorite shade this month?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer Brights Lipstick Bandit Style!

Lipstick Bandits strike again for the summer, peeps! We simply wouldn't be ourselves if we didn't put our spin on the summer brights theme, so prepare for some eye-searing hues, my dears!
Well, truth be told, this time round I'm actually taking a more relaxed approach to bright lips (shock horror). Don't get me wrong, I love my bold pinks and corals, but sometimes I'm not really in the mood for upkeep; especially on those days when I actually apply my lipstick waiting for the lights to change at an intersection. Plus... you know I love me a great sheer texture.
So there, meet my new treasure: Giorgio Armani Rouge d'Armani Sheers Hydrating Lipcolor in Coral 301. It probably comes as a no surprise to you that I chose another orange-hued shade this month. This lipstick is just dreamy; starting with a neon orange bullet embossed with Giorgio Armani logo, through the black sleek tube slightly reminiscent of a bamboo with a satisfying weight and an even more satisfying magnetic closure, to the formulation itself. It just couldn't be any more perfect!
On the lips, the Rouge d'Armani Sheers feels virtually weightless and incredibly smooth. Upon the first swipe, you get barely a whisper of tangerine, which can be built up to a very intense orange. I like wearing it somewhere in the middle, more like what a pigmented gloss tends to achieve on the lips in terms of opacity. The finish is quite glossy, but slightly less than a lipgloss, which you can see in the arm swatches below. The texture is also a lot more thin, giving it that comfortable, hydrating, non-sticky feel. It does settle into the lips after about 2 hours and needs refreshing, which I think is to be expected of this kind of formulation.
Coral 301 is a warm tangerine with a touch of pink; I believe this shade is immensly wearable across different skintones due to the sheer texture - on me, it comes out a lot more pink simply because that's my natural lipcolor peeking through. The end result is fresh, natural and effortless; just as it should be for the summertime. Here you can see it both in natural daylight, one photo was taken in the shade, the other in direct sunlight.
For more beautiful summer brights, check out other Lipstick Bandits' posts below:
What is your favorite summer bright lipstick? Do tell!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

April & May Empties

As a welcome interruption to our orange-themed posts, I thought I'd share my collection of emptied products I've managed to amass during the past two months. I'm still very much trying to downsize my collection and only get beauty bits that I know I'm going to use - with varying results. I do feel however that I have used up/tossed quite a few products since the beginning of the year, so at least my skincare hoarding tendencies have been somewhat limited. I also gave away a lot of products to my girlfriends, and I'm planning to give away even more; in short, I can see the light at the end of... my bathroom cabinet?
 Starting with the tossed pile: 4 full-sized products in total. The Neutrogena sunscreen spray was past the best before date, as was the Ziaja (it's an inexpensive Polish skincare brand) coconut body lotion - it smells like Raffaello, no kidding. The Bioelements Breakout Control lotion still had 1/4 left, but I don't use benzoyl peroxide anymore, and the got2b playful hair paste wasn't any good to begin with.
 Used-up haircare and bodycare: 2 full-sized products and 1 deluxe sample. For in-depth thoughts on the Bath & Body Works Shea Cashmere range click here, for the TRESemme Fresh Start Dry Shampoo review, click here; I won't repurchase either. The Korres Fig Little Showergel smells absolutely terrible to my nose, like a cheap dishwashing detergent - a big disappointment, especially that I really like the scent of figs.
 Used-up skincare: 3 full-sized products, 3 deluxe samples and 1 sample sachet. Bioderma Hydrabio H20 Micellar Water was mentioned previously here, bliv Shield Me sunscreen here, Burt's Bees Pomegranate lip balm here, of which Bioderma Sensibio is still being used, the sunscreen I really liked but it's not quite HG yet, and I won't repurchase the lip balm mostly due to the smell. The L'Occitane Brightening Moisture Mask was ok, but it stung my face a little, so I won't repurchase - same for Mario Badescu Strawberry Face Scrub. I really liked the La Vallee Ultra Healing Cream for treating dry patches, but I think it's too rich for me to use every day. As for the little The Body Shop pot, it had some awful 'energizing' face wash in it that I used up on my body.
 And lastly, for the most exciting part, make-up and perfume: 4 full-sized items. I was indeed VERY HAPPY to finally part with the 100% Pure Tinted Moisturizer, especially after I discovered it would turn orange as the day went. I also didn't like the Stila Guava lipgloss (reviewed here), and was quite 'meh' about theBalm Cheater! mascara - ok, but nothing special. The Burberry Classic EDP for women with always have a dear place in my heart as it was a gift from Mr just before our wedding, but I was also ready for a change.
And there you have it! 4 full sizes tossed and 9 full sizes, 4 deluxe samples and 1 sample sachet all used up. Not bad, right? I'm still working my way through some other products I'd like to get rid of, including some make-up bits again. How are you doing in terms of streamlining your collections? Any tips you'd like to share?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Review & Swatches: Too Faced Natural Eye Palette

I'm all for bold orangey hues on the lips and even cheeks, but when it comes to eye make-up, I definitely prefer neutral tones: creamy off-whites, natural browns, shimmery metallics, beautiful taupes. Because of my neutral shadow affinity, I'm a bit of a neutral palette collector; I just can't resist the appeal of a well-done everyday palette, like this Too Faced Natural Eye Palette ($34.70 on I picked up a couple months back.
Too Faced Natural Eye Palette comes in the brand's classic cardboard packaging with a magnetic flap closure and instruction cards. Inside, there are 9 neutral shades divided into three trios for Day, Classic and Fashion looks - not that I ever pay much attention to suggestions like these. The shades have a variety of finishes: Heaven, Velvet Revolver and Sexpresso are matte; Silk Teddy, Push-up and Honey Pot are pearl, Erotica and Cocoa Puff are satin with gold micro shimmer whereas Nude Beach is glitter. The color selection is perfect for both day-time and night-time looks as well as both warm and cool neutral looks.
My definite favorites are the top row, which is perfect for those pin-up/1960's looks and even doing your brows, as well as Silk Teddy and Push-up for everyday lid shades, with either Erotica or Cocoa Puff in the crease. I'd even go as far as to claim that Silk Teddy might rank higher for me than Stila's Kitten in the champagne category!
However, the Too Faced Neutral Eye Palette has one definite drawback for me - Nude Beach. This shade is an absolute mess of gold glitter getting EVERYWHERE, no matter how sticky a base you're using. I cannot even begin to imagine a woman who would like her face to resemble a discoball, which is why I haven't touched Nude Beach since the first time I wore it on my eyes... and cheeks, forehead, nose and chin too.
Below is an example of a day-time smokey eyes using the Neutral Eye Palette, where I used Push-up on the lid with Cocoa Puff on the lashline and in the outer V (please ignore mascara fall-out under my eyes) and a little bit of Heaven in the inner corner. This look, or almost any look created with this palette for that matter, is a perfect companion to a brighter lip, at least in my book. I just love the simplicity of a neutral eye with a bold lip!
While I'm happy to have this palette in my collection, it's by no means unique, so I would hesitate to recommend it to someone who already owns a good number of neutral shades (unless they're eyeshadow-crazy like me). But, for someone who's just starting out, it's a great  high quality neutral palette with a very reasonable pricetag (*cough cough* Urban Decay).
Have you tried Too Faced eyeshadow palettes? What is your favorite neutral palette?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

NOTD: Apricot Cream

Oh dear, I am really falling behind, aren't I? Anyway, I'm back with a short and sweet Nails of the Day post that still ties in with our monthly theme of orange-tinted beauty products. Plus, I haven't done a NOTD in ages; what are your feelings on this kind of posts, ladies? I sometimes find them not as interesting as others (and I'm speaking solely about my own blog here), just because I don't really do nail art and I think you can find terrific swatches of practically every nail polish shade under the sun on some more nail-centered blogs. Should I still continue posting them in the future? Let me know.
Today's hero is an inexpensive laquer I brought back with me last year from Poland, a Wibo Express Growth nail polish in the shade '328'. This lovely apricot/tangerine cream is in fact very similar to OPI 'Hot & Spicy', so don't despair, my non-Polish readers! 'Hot & Spicy' might have a touch more pink to it, which is even more flattering, to be honest. The first time I used the Wibo polish, I was not a happy camper - it was thick, lumpy and uneven on the nail; turns out, it must have been due to the very hot weather we were having in Poland at the time, because it applied very nicely this time!
Oh, and one more thing I wanted to address here while we're on the subject of cheap nail polish. A lot of women ask me which brand of nail polish is the most long-lasting. In all honesty, I find that nearly ALL brands, regardless of the price point, last the same amount of time on me, which is between 5 and 7 days. What really makes a difference, is 1) the state of your nails (hard vs thin, hydrated vs brittle, even vs peeling), 2) the base coat you're using, 3) your top coat. You simply can't expect even the most expensive nail polish to last on the nails without using the base and top coat, don't you think? I am blessed with quite strong and hard nails, so nail polish in general lasts very well on me; I really wouldn't have the partience to reapply every couple of days... Your lifestyle can also affect the longevity of your manicure, but I feel that with being more careful, anyone can prevent the chipping to some extent.
Now, I'll get off of my soap box and promise to return with a more substantial tangerine-themed post very soon. What have you been sporting on your nails recently, ladies?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Review & Swatches: Chanel Rouge Coco in Sari Doré

As promised, May is all about peaches, apricots and tangerines here on Rocaille Writes, and no, I'm not just fruit-deprived. Everyone needs a bit of orange in their life for summer!

I actually bought Chanel Rouge Coco lipstick in 'Sari Doré' no. 76 about a year ago as a motivational gift before my final exams at the university. I had just a couple minutes to spare in the duty free, so I grabbed this shade, vaguely remembering a video by a Chanel make-up artist where she used this particular color on a pale girl and it looking absolutely amazing. But uh... on me, it fails to amaze. Alas.

Sari Doré is a somewhat muted orange with delicate silver pearl and a satin finish.The name is thus a little bit misleading, given that 'doré' means golden in French. In the tube and even in arm swatches, it looks really pretty, but when I put it on, it's just... orange. Not even a hint of pink in sight, and I believe I really need that little bit of cool tone to be able to pull something like this off.

Compared to some other warm orangey lipsticks in my collection, Rimmel's Soft Coral is definitely more of a true peach, whereas YSL Pink Grenadine is more of a deeper, coral red. Below lip swatches are Sari Doré lightly dabbed on the lips on the top, and a full opaque application on the bottom.

In terms of application, this Chanel Rouge Coco is nothing outstanding. It feels smooth and creamy on the lips, but is in no way moisturizing. Also, I'm really not a fan of the heavy floral scent.

Still, I'm unable to part with my first Chanel lipstick; I keep playing with it to see if I can make it wearable on me. So far, a light application has proven a lot more forgiving, as has pairing it with a pinkier gloss or wearing on a more tanned complexion - that last option would probably have to be reserved for when I can be bothered so fake tan.

Have you tried Chanel Rouge Coco lipsticks? How has the tangerine trend been working for you so far?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Review & Swatches: Maybelline 'Pinch of Peach' Blush

I've been completely obsessed with apricot shades recently; really, anything that has a bit of tangerine to it has been on my favorite list for the past couple of weeks - so prepare yourself for an onslaught of orange shades this month! Interestingly enough, I actually purchased this Maybelline New York Expert Wear blush in 'Pinch of Peach' back in December, when I spotted it on clearance in my local drugstore. The flower imprint, peachy hue and $3 pricetag just made me put it in my shopping basket.

Unfortunately, the above mentioned three qualities are the only plus sides of this blush. The pigmentation and formulation are both absolutely terrible; I have to dig into this innocent flower design with my stiffest brush, only to get a mountain of powder with a hint of color. It seems to have that dreadful crumbly texture and the powder just sits on top of the skin (well, no wonder, since you have to apply a ton), making me swear I'll never pick a drugstore blush again in my life.

(No worries though. I have already broken that internal promise and got a new drugstore blush today.)

The product close-ups show the color as a bit more pinky than it is in reality; the arm swatch below is a bit more true to color. Maybelline Pinch of Peach is definitely a true apricot; btw, way to go Maybelline for copying MAC's product name, especially that this blush is definitely not a peach.

Still, even given all the down sides to this product, I think the shade is absolutely perfect for the season; so much so that I also ordered another apricot-tinted blush from a more high-end company - another post with swatches to follow shortly. I find it rather strange that something so warm-toned works well with my cool skin, but it does somehow. Do you ever get that effect too?

Have you tried Maybelline blushes? What is your favorite blush shade for spring and summer?