Monday, December 24, 2012

Lipstick Bandits Secret Santa Look Swap!

And now for something completely different: Lipstick Bandits Make-up Look Swap! Back in October, it was decided that our Holiday installment would consist of swapping the participating Lipstick Bandits signature make-up looks, Secret Santa-style. And guess what, Rae, our Head Bandit, drew Larie of Eye Heart It for me!
Having met Larie in person (yay for Seattle-based beauty bloggers!), I was under no illusion that my features even remotely resemble hers (I would have loved to swap for that gorgeously smooth skin though!), so I decided to recreate a recent look she posted that was based on a Vietnamese editorial make-up she was inspired by (click!). I thought it was a good example of a glamorous Holiday eye look for monolids (which I obviously don't have) that could be easily adapted to suit a variety of eye shapes, and those red lips... I couldn't resist!
Our little secret swap allowed me to experiment with a couple things I rarely opt for in my everyday make-up routine. For once, I used a cool matte brown eyeshadow (Annabelle So Foxy) to make my brows a bit thicker. I also tried to copy the beautiful, defined almond shape of the eyeshadow but I think I failed in that regard; I just don't have enough space between the crease of my eyes and my brows. I also altered the shape of my liner on the upper lashline to make it a bit rounder and more flirty - Larie is a pro at this! I usually don't line my eyes all the way around but I was pleasantly surprised at how it looked on me; this made my eyes appear a lot more feline and coupled with the coppery and golden shades of the eyeshadow, I felt like a lioness.
I used my blush and bronzer in a more sculpting fashion by following the line under my cheekbones - I need to do this more often! For the lips, I tried accentuating my cupid's bow to mimick the model's lip shape, which I find added a bit of softness to the overall look. I kept the skin more satin by skipping the powder too.
And here's what I used, in case you're curious: Revlon Colorstay Foundation for Oily/Combination Skin in Ivory, Bobbi Brown Corrector in Porcelain Bisque for under the eyes and highlighting the center part of the face, Becca Compact Concealer in Sherbet on blemishes, The Body Shop Honey Bronzer in Fair(?) with NARS Douceur blush to contour.
For the eyes, I primed with NARS eye primer and then used Urban Decay Smog all over the lid blended out with Inglot eyeshadow no.405 Pearl, UD Virgin in the inner corner and under the brow, Fyrinnae Sacred on the lower lashline with a bit of UD Half-Baked. I used Clinique gel liner in black on my upper lashline and lower waterline and finished off with a good coat of Laura Mercier Full Blown Volume Lash Building Mascara in Black.
I lined and filled the lips with NYX Plush Red lip liner, applied a coat of Milani Berry Rich on top and topped with Lancome Juicy Tubes for lots of glossiness.

Don't forget to check out other Lipstick Bandits' swap looks, including one inspired by my face...
Call It Beauty
Eye Heart It
Getting Cheeky
Glitter Geek
Makeup Morsels
Messy Wands
Musing on Beauty
My Funny Valentine
theNotice: a beauty blog
And a new Bandit this round: ChloeAsh

I also wanted to wish all of you who celebrate a very Merry Christmas - as you might know, I'm home with my family at last and I just couldn't have a better holiday season. In Poland, we traditionally unwrap our presents after a big dinner on Christmas Eve, which is today! I can't wait to see what everyone is going to find under the tree and I'm very excited for all the fun we're going to share. Again, Merry Christmas my lovely readers, and Larie - I hoped you liked your little Secret Santa!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Fyrinnae Week: Eyeshadow Swatches

As promised, a quick swatchathon to follow up my 'Breaking the Eyeshadow Rut' post. I can't help it, I just love photographing Fyrinnae eyeshadows, they're so sparkly and complex in their little pots - enlarge the photos to get the spangliness in all its glory. For more swatches of my older four shades, click here.
Starting with the lightest shades, left to right: Moon Child, a micro-glittery golden champagne, Crimson Ghost, a duochrome satiny pink, Kurisumasu!, a micro-glittery rosey tan and Tapir, a matte purpley brown.

My collection of Fyrinnae taupes: Sacred, a metallic antique gold, Envy Me, a duochrome shimmery cool brown with golden olive shift, Evocation, a subtly shimmery purpley taupe, Damn Paladins, a duochrome shimmery grey taupe with blue shift.

The darks: Purgatory, a warm brown with red shimmer, Steampunk, a purple taupe with multicolor shimmers, Madame and Eve's, a matte black with blue/teal/green/gold microglitters.

My favorites are still very much the taupe group but Purgatory and Steampunk were both pleasant surprises and quite easy to incorporate into a variety of looks. I like my little collection a lot and I think I'll continue buying Fyrinnae shadows because they are just beyond pretty and very unique - and they look like magic lava in macro photography.

Have you tried Fyrinnae eyeshadows? Which of your favorites do I need to put on my wishlist?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fyrinnae Week: Breaking the Eyeshadow Rut

I have a new girl crush: Kate from Drivel About Frivol blog (click!). A couple weeks ago, she posted about how she was trying to break free from her usual neutral eye + rosy lip look by using her Fyrinnae eyeshadows. Firstly, I instantly love whichever idea that girl comes up with, secondly, I had some Fyrinnae mini pots laying around and then I ordered a couple more and thirdly, most of the time I am very much devoted to my make-up rut. So I joined in on the fun - let's see the results, shall we?

As a short (and quite obvious) disclaimer, obviously these looks are not very adventurous or unusual because... ahmm... I still very much had to go to work wearing them and I'm too lazy to make myself up on my days off. That, and my skillz need polishing. All looks were done using dry shadows over NARS eye primer.
Day 1. This is a bit of a cheat: I used Fyrinnae Envy Me, a taupe with green shift but finished off with Urban Decay Dark Horse in the crease and UD Virgin in the inner corner. An additional photo of this look was included in the NARS New Lover post (so that's what's on the lips, if you're curious!).
Day 2. All Fyrinnae! Crimson Ghost all over the lid, Moonchild in the inner corner, Tapir lightly in the crease and Purgatory used as a liner - I liked that a lot, see eye close-up at the end of the post. Plus, Lisa Eldridge-inspired posing with the hand. Lips were a soon to be reviewed new crayon thingy.
Day 3. Evocation on the lid, Steampunk in the outer corner, Crimson Ghost in the inner corner to highlight. Out of all the Fyrinnae taupes I own, Evocation is probably the most straightforward and easiest to wear. Nothing on the lips because I forgot.
Day 4. Kurisumasu! all over the lid with Moonchild in the inner corner and Evocation in the crease and khol pencil on the lashline. I was quite disappointed with Kurisumasu!, on my hand it swatches as a beautiful rosey tan but on my eyes, it's just a pale pink. Eh. Lips are Revlon 'Crush' Kissable Balm Stain.
Day 5. Sacred all over the lid with Purgatory very subtly in the crease, Moonchild in the inner corner. Sacred might be my number one Fyrinnae shadow, I just love how metallic this is - also, a perfect antique gold for palies like me. Nothing on the lips and weird lighting - sorry!
Day 6. Damn Paladins all over with Madame's and Eve's Arcane Magic shade to darken the lashline, Crimson Ghost in the inner corner. You can't see the blue shift very well here but it's definitely there in real life. For some reason, I find Madame and Eve's extremely difficult to work with... and I'm not a fan of blues on me. I tried though. Lips are Bobbi Brown lip gloss in Bellini.
That's it, I took Sunday off (in reality, these were not done on consecutive days and I couldn't come up with a look no.7)! I quite liked the whole experiment but it was a lot more time-consuming than I anticipated... and a bit more messy too than using my usual pressed eyeshadow palettes. I will have swatches of all the Fyrinnae eyeshadows used in these looks coming next for you.

What do you do to break out of your make-up rut?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Holiday Sales Haul

I'd had my mind pretty made up that I wasn't going to buy anything during the Black Friday/ Cyber Monday sales - I didn't feel like I particularly needed anything and the things I wanted, I already put on my Christmas wishlist. But I just couldn't resist some of the bargains! Here's the damage:
I thought that Origins online store had one of the best deals floating around: $10 off $25 purchase + free shipping. I've been using a sample of their Drink-Up moisturizing mask for a couple weeks now, so I wanted to purchase that, and I also wanted to try the Clear Improvement charcoal mask. Origins offer these two products in the travel size (half of the normal tube) for $16 each so that was a fantastic buy.
Then, I was watching Ruth Crilly's (A Model Recommends) luxury Holiday gift guide video and she mentioned a beautifully packaged L'Occitane bath set. So, as you would, I casually wandered over to their website and found this gem: Almond Enchantment, reduced to $68 from $98 plus a $10 gift card and free shipping Cyber Monday deal. I just couldn't stop myself, it sounded so delicious and pampering! I've now already tried the Almond Shower Oil (after both me and Mr having spent at least 15 minutes trying to open the darn pump) and it feels wonderfully moisturizing on the skin and smells absolutely to die for; a must-have for winter. The gift set also came with a $15 of $55 coupon - I can already see myself picking some new treats up!

Actually, the first thing I purchased during the sales was the Bobbi Brown Corrector that I had my eye on for the longest time. They had a no minimum free shipping deal going on as well as a trio of deluxe samples + a mini lip gloss included with purchase. Unfortunately, the lip gloss shade doesn't really suit me but I will pass it on to my mum; I actually quite like the tiny little Bellini gloss that was included as well so it's all good.

Since I'm not a VIB at Sephora (although I have a strong feeling this is due to some technical error in my account - I think it's the fourth week now that I'm trying to resolve this issue with Sephora's customer service) I missed out on the sale earlier last month, which is why I then grabbed the opportunity to buy when they sent out their $15 off $50 cards last week. I only got two things I've had on my wishlist forever and ever: a Clarisonic replacement brush head and Laura Mercier Mineral Powder SPF 15 foundation. I will review at some point if it meets the expectations.
Lastly, my gifts with purchase and free samples - I did score quite a few! I used a code to get Sephora's Mystery Bag but overall was quite underwhelmed with the samples I received, especially compared to their earlier 'It Kit' release. I will do a review if anything stands out.

And that's it, I'm not buying any more beauty products until next year! Have you bought anything during the Holiday sales or are you waiting until Christmas? Tell me what you scored in the comments below!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Going Red for the Holidays!

Just a quick one today to share my new hair color; as you may guess from the title, I've gone more red for the Holidays! Can you tell I'm very excited?
If you'd like to know the specifics, this is an all-over red semi-permanent toner, not a permanent hair dye. I had a partial foil (highlights) done a couple months ago and my stylist used a coppery red toner afterwards too but it didn't take very well; interestingly enough, my hair lifts incredibly quickly but doesn't react very well to toning. Anyway, this time we didn't do a foil but only used the toner and left it on for about 30 minutes (normally you would leave it to process for no more than 10); and voila! The toner itself was from Redken and I believe it was a half and half mix of Chilli and Cayenne.
Also, you can observe my 10-minute make-up routine here in action. Supposedly, redheads pull off the 'no make-up make-up' look pretty well?
The semi-permanent color will eventually fade within about 6 weeks; I've already noticed a lot of color wash down the drain but the coppery tint is still definitely there. The upside is that my hair doesn't feel very damaged at all, it still looks glossy and soft. I really do like how vibrant my hair color seems now; I naturally have a red tinge to my medium blonde hair so this is just amping up my natural shade - it also seems to match my complexion pretty well.

Have you changed your 'do recently? Do you like introducing little changes to your look for the winter season?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

November-December Empties

Yay, I'm back with another load of beauty trash! Currently, I'm at the joyful stage of running out of almost every beauty product I own: shampoos, conditioners, soaps, facial skincare... These are just the beginning, expect a lot more in the new year too. All of this using up business finally makes me feel like I'm making a progress in downsizing my stash; I'm sure however this fleeting feeling of satisfaction will be gone after Christmas gifts and hauls...

Anyway, here we go, starting with skincare:
1. Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micelle Solution Sensitive Skin. EVERYBODY LOVES THIS. The thing is, I like it but I do not love it - in fact, for me it doesn't remove all of my eye make-up, I still have a bit of a residue left the next morning. I'm planning to try make-up removing oils for a bit, so I won't repurchase in the near future.

2. Caudalie Vinosource Quenching Sorbet-Creme. Again, I bought it convinced by all the raves I was hearing left and right but it was just ok; read a more in-depth review here. I think it's not moisturizing for me to be used as a night cream, it's too sticky to use as a day cream and the scent just bothered me. Bothered!

3. Mario Badescu Special Facial Gel. It's a cleanser that foams very poorly yet it manages to dry out my skin. I don't think so. I finished it in the attempt to get rid of a terrifying amount of deluxe-sized samples living in my stash.

4. Clark's Botanicals Intense Radiance Mask. A clay-based mask that's supposed to be left on for 25-30 minutes (who has time for that?!) and that doesn't spread evenly on the skin. The full size retails for $72. Good thing, it doesn't dry me out, bad thing, it doesn't really do anything other than imparting a very annoying scent. Pass.

5. Clarins Hydraquench Cream Mask (a sample pot obtained at the Clarins counter). I quite liked it but not enough to warrant a purchase, mostly because it had a tendency to sting slightly upon application.
Haircare bits:
1. Enjoy Sulfate-Free Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner. Enjoy is definitely one of my favorite haircare brands at the moment and this is a very good moisturizing shampoo and conditioner duo without being too heavy for my fine hair. I'm thinking of posting a haircare routine soon which is when I'll talk about these in more depth. Me likes and haz second bottles at the ready.

2. Aussie Aussome Volume Hair Spray. Gone, finally, gone! I kid you not, I have at least 6 hair sprays waiting to be used in my stash and this was definitely the worst of them - quite wet and sticky and making your hair feel very dry after a while. I don't think I'll ever repurchase but then, I don't think I'll need to go out and buy another hair spray in a couple years.

3. L'Oreal Ever Strong Overnight Repair Treatment. It's a leave-in conditioner for overnight use - quite a nifty idea, Redken makes a very similar one. It didn't make a huge difference to my highlighted strands but it absorbs nicely - I think I'll go for something with keratin next time.

Make-up and nails:
1. Benefit F.Y...eye! Ultimate Eye Shadow Base. This has long been discontinued so it speaks volumes as to how long it takes me to use up an eye primer. It was decent enough but I've since replaced it with NARS eyeshadow primer which I like A LOT more. I'm very proud though for my perseverance in finishing this up!

2. Lancome Definicils Precious Cells deluxe mascara sample in Black. I liked using this a lot but it eventually gave up the ghost and is now completely dried out. By the way, I survived most of this year using only mascara samples and still have five more to go through before I'm all out so I'm thinking I may not have to buy a new tube of mascara for another year maybe. This is serious savings, people!

3. INM Out the Door America's #1 Super Fast Drying Top Coat for Nails. Very comparable to Seche Vite for half the price and without any toxic nasties like formaldehyde. Will repurchase.
Lip balms (?!):
1. Softlips SPF 20 in Ravishing Raspberry. I really liked this at one time but after trying some more brands, I find the Softlips to be not moisturizing enough and too tingly on the lips; I might be allergic to their sunscreen.

2. Jouer Lip Enhancer Conditioning Lip Treatment. Very nice rose-scented glossy balm. I liked it but I may prefer more matte finish to my lip balm and the full size retails for $14. Will skip for now.

3. Eos spheric lip thingy. It's a reject - it started smelling funky. Not moisturizing enough and a wasteful shape.

4. Starry Avocado Oil Lip Therapy with Pure Extract. Another reject and don't even start me on this one; nothing therapeutic or pure about it.
Small Samples:
1. Dermalogica Ultracalming Relief Masque. I quite enjoyed this the two times I got to use it - might request another sachet of this mask at work to test it out some more.

2. Dermalogica Ultracalming Serum Concentrate. A bit of a miss with this one; extremely runny and so quite difficult to apply, didn't absorb very well into my skin either. No noticeable results after a few uses but what can you expect, it's a serum, not a magic potion. I won't go out and buy this one.

3. Cartier Baiser Vole Eau de Parfum. These little perfume vials usually last me a good week, am I alone in that? Anyway, this 'stolen kiss' is a very nice springtime floral with a big dose of feminine lily; I have another sample vial and I'm quite looking foward to using it again next year.

November-December Used-Up Total:
10 full sized products (a Haus of Gloi Pumpkin Queen soap bar was not included in the photos)
5 deluxe sample sized products
3 small (sachet/foil packet) samples
2 tossed out products
Grand Total: 20 empties

Well, that was a long one, congratulations if you got this far! Overall, I'm quite happy with my performance the past couple of months. Let me know if including these speed reviews is helpful to you in any way or if I should just skip that altogether to make the empties posts a bit shorter. How are you doing on the emtpies front? Anything you've used up recently?