Saturday, June 30, 2012

Rocaille Swatches: 6 Shimmery Peach Blushes

The 'Rocaille Swatches' series could as well bear the title 'I'm not buying more make-up EVER and here's the proof' but at least I want to pretend for myself that my make-up addiction is somewhat useful for the society at large, plus the alternative title is kinda long, so that's what I'm sticking to. Let's jump right into six shimmery peach/coral blushes from my collection!
By the way, isn't it pathetic that I also had to narrow it down to 'shimmery peaches'? Because there would have been more if I included matte... Anyway, I don't really know what happened here. I don't even like golden peachy pinks of the NARS 'Orgasm' variety that much - I think the gold doesn't really suit me. Yet, I've managed to accumulate at least two very near dupes. I'm seriously outta control, people.
But anyway... Pretty pretty shiny, huh? I do like getting my pretties out of their drawer and arranging them for a shoot; there must some of collector's pride in that. What we have in the photos, clockwise and starting in... the middle?: La Femme Blush Pan in 'Mandarin Red', Milani Blush in 'Luminous' (discontinued, I think?), Benefit Boxed Powder Blush in 'Coralista', Laura Mercier Blush in 'Nectarine', NYC Blushable Cremestick in 'Plaza Pink', theBalm Blush in 'Hot Mama!'.
Close-ups and arm swatches, both in the same order for comparison: La Femme 'Mandarin Red', Benefit 'Coralista', NYC 'Plaza Pink', Milani 'Luminous', theBalm 'Hot Mama!' and Laura Mercier 'Nectarine'. I was going for a gradient from the most pink-toned to the most orange/coral.
Out of all of them, I definitely tend to wear the ones on the pink end of the spectrum a lot more than the orangey ones, just because pink suits my complexion a bit better. I still venture into the warmer colors, especially in the summer, but they require more effort for me. Out of the pinkier ones, my most worn are NYC 'Plaza Pink' and Benefit 'Coralista', and out of more orangey ones, definitely Laura Mercier 'Nectarine' - I just don't dig the gold shimmer overdose in Milani 'Luminous' or theBalm 'Hot Mama!'.

Do you own any of these? What is your favorite shimmery peachy pink blush shade?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Review & Swatches: Face Atelier Façade in Arabesque

Face Atelier is one of those brands that I've always heard a lot of positive things about but never really took the plunge - for one, I have no way of seeing it in person and playing around with, plus the price point is not necessarily conductive to happy splurging. But, when I saw it on HauteLook one day... I couldn't really say no, could I?
Right up front I have to say that Face Atelier Façade in Arabesque ($26 for 8ml/0.33 fl oz) is one the best multi-purpose products I've tried with the least appealing packaging ever - even Wet'n'Wild $0.99 lipsticks look better than this. Also, I might be a French language snob, but where's the cédille, Face Atelier? Huh?
Those minor squabbles aside, the product inside is absolutely gorgeous. Face Atelier Façades are lip and cheek stains with supreme texture and longevity; they're smooth as silk and blend out like a dream but stay put throughout the day (again, the wonders of silicones in action). Arabesque is somewhat of a cross between muted brick red and rusty apricot, beautifully warm and natural on my complexion. Below you can see it swatched on my arm next to some other warmer cream blushes in my collection, as well as applied to my cheeks and lips. Gorgeous, right?

Definitely, that first encounter with the brand has got me interested to try their other products, and I'm already lusting after other shades of their Façades. I'm for sure taking this one with me on my upcoming vacation next month!

In other news, I've had my hair touched up recently; I've decided to go for a more angular A-line bob with shorter bangs... and some copper and golden brown highlights. I wanted to have my hair appear a bit more red than it naturally is (by the way, the lighting in these photos always brings out the warm tones) and that fine-weave foil definitely accomplished that. The golden brown was added for dimension, but it matches my natural color so closely that it's mostly invisible. How do you like my new 'do?
Have you ever tried anything from Face Atelier? What is your favorite lip and cheek stain?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Current Bodycare Favorites

My struggles with slimming down my make-up collection have resulted in a slight change of focus: the past two months have definitely been more about body rather than face products. I've replaced some of my old stand-by's with a couple new favorites, and I thought I'd share them with you today!
Starting with the fight against cellulite, my weapons of choice have been lots and lots of dry body brushing and rear end massage. My body tends to accumulate fat mostly on my thighs and hips and even though I'm quite slim overall, I've definitely had some cellulite creeping up on me the past couple of years. I do know there's not a whole lot that can be done about it, but I do find that using the Yerba Prima Skin Brush on my legs and butt before showering/ taking a bath helps to get the blood flow going and smooths out the most offensive bumps; it's not for the faint-hearted though, that brush is really hard!
Whenever I can convince my husband to lend me a hand (or two), I've been slathering my trouble areas with Weleda Birch Cellulite Oil and having Mr go to town on them with The Body Shop spikey massager. The body oil is absolutely divine: it's a light green color and smells gorgeously fresh of pine and citrus, and it sinks in very nicely too. I think you can get a similar massager at any number of stores, I just happen to have been gifted The Body Shop version once.
The Tree Hut Shea Sugar Body Scrub in Brazilian Nut is another scrubby favorite. It's the most decadently smelling scrub I have ever come across: it's like nutty vanilla chocolate cookies and the scent lingers subtly on the skin after using. The scrubby action comes both from the sugar as well as walnut shell powder, which also gives it that dark toffee color, and it leaves your skin positively soft and radiant.
I'm also still doing my best to improve the skin on my hands and fingers which has been ravaged by eczema in the colder months. I have a lot less flare-ups, but my cuticles and the skin on the fingertips is still acutely dry. I purchased the CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion on the recommendation of another dermatologist and I put it on every time I work around the kitchen; it feels very hydrating on without any greasiness, which I like. I also had to say goodbye to my old Burt's Bees Lemon Cuticle Butter since it started to smell a bit weird and the texture got very grainy, and after some online research, I have turned to Badger Cuticle Care, a very rich salve that turns into oil with the warmth of your fingers. It smells of lemongrass and ginger and I just cannot get over how cute that little bager on the tin is. Adorable!
My body definitely feels more pampered now that I've started to incorporate these products into my routine and using them at night-time helps me to unwind before I hit the hay. Are you a bodycare fanatic or have you been neglecting the skin on your body like I usually tend to do? What are your current favorite body products?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thanks Tanya! or bareMinerals Nude Beach Eyeshadow

One of the perils of working at the mall is the knowledge about all the current sales and deals going on at the other stores, which inevitably results in a lot of shopping. Example: Bare Escentuals Friends & Family sale that was going on for a couple days last week and the subsequent purchase of the bareMinerals Eyecolor in Nude Beach, very much inspired by Tanya from pixi2woo, who might as well be the sweetest make-up guru in the history of YouTube.

 I knew I wanted to look at Nude Beach because of Tanya's recommendation, but what immediately sold me on the shade was the fact that it is actually a very light... taupe. As you probably know by now, that's all it takes for me to buy an eyeshadow on the spot.
Ordinarily, I'm not a huge loose eyeshadow wearer - it's not that I don't like the effect, it's just pure laziness that stops me from reaching for my gorgeous little pots of sparkle and shine. However, I've been quite bored with my eyeshadow choices as of late, so in the hopes of breaking my little routine, I decided to give this one a try.
Nude Beach is a very light golden taupe with fine multidimensional shimmer; as you can see in the arm swatches, there's a little bit of silver, gold, pink and even green and blue sparkles. The formulation is finely milled with minimal fall out and very decent wear time on top of a primer - it also works very nicely foiled or used with a 'pigment glue' like Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy. On the eyes, it reads as a shimmery wash of champagney taupe and makes a beautiful inner corner highlight, just as Tanya said.
The eyeshadow also inspired me to start using my other pigments a little more often and so far I'm really pleased with the result. Nude Beach also pairs gorgeously with another bareMinerals purchase I made on the day, but more on that later...
Do you ever wear loose eyeshadows? What are your favorite brands and shades?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Orange & Fuschia

I've been thinking a lot recently about mixing up my blogging a little bit by writing more 'collection' posts. By a 'collection', I simply mean a group of items that share a common theme, be it a color way, type or purpose. Like this: color-blocking orange and fuschia together.
 I seem to have accumulated quite a few orange and fuschia items, only part of them intentionally. Starting with the far right of the photo, I ordered this Audrey Brooke leather crossbody bag a couple weeks ago from DSW and have been carrying it ever since. I really like this brand for affordable genuine leather handbags, the leather is really soft and good quality and most of the designs appeal to me because of their simplicity.
 It was my name day at the beginning of May and I decided to finallly take the plunge and splurge on Prada Candy Eau de Parfum (50ml). I purchased it at Neiman Marcus during their spring scent event and got a lot of freebies to go along with it. There's a lot of great reviews of that scent online but in short, I love the sophisticated, creamy and warm sweetness of this perfume and the art deco inspired packaging. I find it quite youthful yet elegant and have been saving it for the gloomiest days of this early Pacific Northwestern summer.
Lastly, a make-up bag I've been carrying recently, which I received for free from... Target. A couple months back, they were having a Facebook beauty bag giveaway, so I entered, forgot all about it, and then voila - this comes in the mail one day. The bag is super cheerful and good quality to boot and it came filled with skincare samples and some coupons. Inside, I've tucked my Physicians Formula Healthy Wear Powder Foundation, which I use every day to set my foundation, and a Lancome Juicy Tube in Rio Mango, which doesn't really go with the colorway of this post, but anyway. The necklace was a gift from my mother-in-law from a new store in Poland called Parfois that has a great selection of inexpensive costume jewelry and other accessories.

That's it! How do you like this new 'collection' format? Any orange & fuschia items you've been loving recently?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Review & Swatches: Revlon PhotoReady Cream Blush in Flushed

Even though I'm slightly orange-obsessed at the moment, I still haven't abandoned my trusty pinks, especially when the weather is back to being its typical Pacific Northwestern self (meaning 'blah'). When I heard that Revlon was coming out with a cream blush formulation in its Summer 2012 Escapism collection, my instincts of hunter-gatherer immediately awoke and I just had to snatch at least one shade at my local RiteAid, even despite the higher than usual pricetag.
 And I'm so glad that I did! Revlon PhotoReady Cream Blush comes in a simple plastic round pot with a screw-on lid and is filled to the brim with punchy goodness. The texture feels somewhat dry for a cream blush and it's indeed a cream to powder formula. The product spreads out to a very fine, almost indiscernable layer, and feels very firm in the packaging when pressed with a finger, so that you don't risk getting too much on your fingers/brush when applying. The formulation allows for a translucent 'glow from within' type of finish where you virtually cannot see any product sitting on the top of the skin - it's magic in a pot!
(BTW, I am aware it's all due to a silicone by the name of dimethicone, which is first on the ingredients' list. As much as I don't like silicones in my skincare, they're rather ingenious in make-up formulas, no?)

'Flushed' (no.200) is indeed very aptly named as it resembles my natural flush to a tee. As you can see in the arm swatches below, it's a very cool hot pink - compared to 'Flushed', even NYX Powder Blush in 'Pinky' seems a lot warmer. It's the perfect natural shade for cool complected gals, especially if you're on the fair end of the spectrum. I love how bright the color appears in the pot but can still be very easily sheered out without having to 'barely touch the surface' or any such careful nonsense. The shade has absolutely no shimmer particles in it but still gives a nice glowy finish to the cheeks, no oiliness or stickiness in sight. The blush also lasts the whole day on me. Can you tell how much I love it? I've had it in my 'current loves' basket for the past month!

If you're a cream blush lover on a budget, I strongly recommend you check out Revlon's PhotoReady blushes - for now, there are only three shades available but I really hope they add more to the range (and make them permanent!). What is your favorite inexpensive cream blush? Any interesting finds at the drugstore recently?