Friday, June 28, 2013

Rocaille Reviews: Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser and Mist

Let's break up all that make up talk with some skincare, shall we? You might remember me mentioning that I went in for a facial a couple weeks back and on the recommendation of my esthetician, purchased two new skincare items: Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser ($35 for 8.4 fl oz/ 250 ml) and Ultracalming Mist ($34 for 6 fl oz/ 177 ml). The professional verdict was that my combination skin was imbalanced and sensitized, and as the Ultracalming range is supposed to help soothe sensitive skin, reduce redness and prevent irritation, it seemed perfectly suited for my needs. So, I hear you ask, how am I getting on with the new additions to my skincare?
The Ultracalming Cleanser is a 'gentle cleansing gel/cream for reactive skin. Helps calm and cool the redness and heat associated with reactive, sensitized or overprocessed skin, and easily rinses away or wipes off, making it ideal for sensitized skin' (from Dermalogica's website). The consistency description is spot on: it's a thick slightly translucent white creamy gel that spreads easily on the skin. It has no discernible fragrance, which I apperciate. I apply this on dry skin or slightly damp skin after my first cleanse (with Dermalogica's Precleanse, reviewed here) and lightly massage over the entire face, including eyes. An important factor to mention: this does not foam at all, neither does it emulsify in any way. I remove the cleanser either by rinsing with tepid water or by lightly wiping off with a damp cloth.
All in all, I am reasonably satisfied with the performance of this cleanser. It has an instant cooling effect on the skin, does a good job of removing any traces left over after the first cleanse, doesn't cause my skin to turn beetroot red or feel too tight; it doesn't dry out my skin in the slightest. My favorite routine is using this cleanser in the mornings when I don't need any heavy duty cleansing action, just simple refreshment. I would recommend to check it out if your skin is on the sensitive side.
The Ultracalming Mist is 'a soothing, hydrating mist to calm redness and sensitivity. Used post-cleanse, this lightweight mist helps create a shield against environmental assaults, and synergistically relieves and restores skin while fighting future flare-ups'. The mist is a clear, nearly scentless toner to be misted on after cleansing, and the spray bottle really works to produce a fine, light cloud of the product. There's not much more I can say by the way of description, and unfortunately there's not much more I can say by the way of results either. The Ultracalming Mist does absolutely nothing for my skin; well, it feels quite cool when sprayed on, but so does my MUCH cheaper Avene Thermal Spring Water. In terms of reducing redness or soothing when my face feels on fire... it just doesn't work. The product turned out to be a rather expensive mistake for me personally.
The bottom line is that I enjoy using the Ultracalming Cleanser but wouldn't recommend the Mist; however, once I run out, I don't think I'll be repurchasing the cleanser either. I believe that a gentle, non-foaming cleanser from a drugstore could be a good replacement of that product as part of my morning routine. Have you ever tried any products from Dermalogica's Ultracalming range? What are your favorites for sensitive skin?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Rocaille Swatches: 10 Bronze Eyeshadows

As much as I love my cool taupes and browns year round, there's something about the summer that just brings out the bronziness in my make-up rotation. I'm not usually big on face tan, most of the time I would rather skip bronzer, but warm, metallic browns on the eyes, I'm all for that. Would you like to see some favorites from my stash?
Most of the time I stick to powder eyeshadows, so that's the biggest group in this post. Regular readers of this blog won't be too surprised by the inclusion of Wet'n'Wild shadows (the pans you can see are my depotted trios) or Inglot. I also find Fyrinnae loose shadows (pressed into 15mm pans here) fantastic for the price, and the shade selection for shimmery browns and metallics is spot on. And speaking of loose pigments, if you're on the budget, the NYX Pearl Mania are beautiful and nearly opaque on application; the shade I've decided to include here is Walnut Pearl.
As for some eyeshadow pencil options, I find the Wet'n'Wild Eye Khol in Bronzed a terrific subtle shade for defining the top and bottom lashline; however, it's not the most longlasting, which is where Stila's Smudge Crayon Waterproof Eye Color in Umber excels big time. In terms of longwearing cream shadow options, I'm sure you've all noticed the great absentee of this post, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze; I feel though that I've talked about it so much (ekhm... see previous post) that it should be banned from the blog for at least a couple posts ;)
Swatches of the cooler/more yellow/golden toned group, from left to right: Wet'n'Wild Eyelid shade from 2011 LE The Gilded Age trio, Wet'n'Wild Eye Khol in Bronzed, MAC Woodwinked Eyeshadow, Wet'n'Wild Crease shade from Walking on Eggshells, Fyrinnae Newcastle Eyeshadow Mini.
Swatches of the warmer/ more orange/ copper toned group, from left to right: Inglot no. 112, Fyrinnae Witchy Woodland Creatures Eyeshadow Mini, Wet'n'Wild Eyelid shade from 2011 LE Dancing in the Clouds trio, NYX Pearl Mania in Walnut Pearl (pressed), Stila Smudge Crayon in Umber. Below, arm swatches of the entire selection, same order:
I have to say my most used shadows from this list would have to be the three Wet'n'Wild shades, the Fyrinnae and the Inglot no. 112. As you can see, there's a lot of variation between these shades in my swatches, which is something I very much enjoy playing with. What are your favorite bronzy eyeshadows? Any beautiful shades I'm missing out on?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fast Forward Eyes: Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Grey Pearl

In the summer months, I generally start to resemble a make-up sloth, avoiding any effort or unnecessary amount of products like a plague. I found last year with Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze (read the original 'Summer Face Routine' post here) that long-wearing cream eyeshadows are an absolute godsend so that within a minute, some pat-pat-patting and vigorous mascara brushing, my eyes are done and good until the end of the day.
So naturally, this year I ventured out to find some more cream eyeshadow favorites, and here enters Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour in Grey Pearl. While I limited myself to purchasing only one, it has to be said that the entire Caviar Stick shade range is a neutrals' lover dream come true, and I can see myself eventually ending up with at least a couple more.
'A long-wearing, creamy shadow with an innovative, lightweight texture that glides on and adheres to the eyelid perfectly, leaving an even finish that lasts for hours.' (from Laura Mercier's website), the Caviar Stick Eye Colour ($24 for 1.64 g/0.05 oz) is a cream eyeshadow in a twist-up crayon packaging. The texture is quite thin and light but feels emollient enough so that painting straight onto the lids doesn't feel too harsh, and the formula allows for enough time to blend before completely setting. The setting part is really important for me; I am a lucky owner of a pair of very oily lids so usually even long-wearing cream shadow formulas benefit from a primer beforehand. Not so with the Caviar Stick; I tested it out during a 9-hour shift at work and it hasn't budged, no creasing or fading. So perfect for the warmer weather!
The shade Grey Pearl (far left) is a satin finish, very cool-toned taupe (or a rather warm grey) with some very fine silver particles that contribute to a glowy, not shimmery look on the skin - I would say just enough to give the shade some dimension. Compared to some other taupes in my collection, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze is a lot warmer and well... more bronzy, Inglot no. 153 (middle) is a whole lot more metallic and cooler, Inglot no. 344 , contradicting the pan appearance, a whole lot warmer and lastly my trusty MAC Satin Taupe (far right) is probably the closest from what I own, but a bit deeper and leaning purple.
What I love most about this Caviar Stick is the utter convenience of use: I lightly swipe it onto my lids straight from the bullet, blend out with a brush and from there on I can do some add-ons, like eyeliner at the lashline/ darker powder eyeshadow in outer corner/ shimmery inner corner highlight, or I can just add some mascara and call it a day. While Grey Pearl doesn't have a very summery feel, the product itself is still ideal to take with you on a holiday... or pack in a minimalist make-up bag for everyday looks.
What is your favorite cream eyeshadow formula? Do you have favorite products that simplify your routine in the summer?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Summer Drugstore Find: L'Oreal Colour Caresse Lipstick in Blushing Sequin

I know, I know, everyone and their dog has tried the Caresse lipstick in this particular shade; but I wanted IN the club with the cool kids, ya know? I'm not gonna lie, I didn't actually like Blushing Sequin a whole lot when I first got it... but my first impressions aren't sometimes so spot on as I would like to think.
'Ready to shine bright? Our #1 best-selling lipstick is now available in 16 gorgeously glossy shades. Colour Caresse by Colour Riche® is formulated with our revolutionary Lightfeel System to deliver a feather-light finish without being sticky or heavy.' (from L'Oreal Paris website) L'Oreal Colour Caresse in Blushing Sequin ($9.99 for 0.1 oz/ 2.83 g) is a sheer, balm-like lipstick with a glossy finish, encased in a slim gold packaging with color coded lids.
Truth be told, I could actually stop my review at this point because there's not a whole lot more you need to know about this. For me, the packaging is nothing to write home about, other than the fact that I already scratched the lipstick bullet with the lid, and it's a fingerprint magnet. As for formula, it's definitely lighter and more balmy than Revlon Lip Butters, which is something I actually prefer, although not as sheer and more waxy than something like Giorgio Armani Sheers (I need to dig out that beauty some time soon). In terms of lasting power, I would say it lasts as long as you can refrain from drinking and eating as it transfers very easily, however the lipstick leaves behind a nice hint of color without the dreaded ring around your lips. The most disappointing factor for me though, and something I majorly based my first impression on, is the fact that this formula feels quite drying on my lips after an hour or so of wear, so personally I think a lip balm underneath is a must.
So what made me change my mind? Well... it's the color, ladies. I find the shade Blushing Sequin the most beguiling warm summer pink; sheer, effortless, appropriate for both warm and cool looks (kinda like that Laura Mercier Lotus Pink blush - see where my heart lies these days?). Oh, and by the way, excuse the quality of the photos this time, I'm not exactly sure what happened, but my camera did not read these shades right; the lipstick colors are way more orange than in real life while the background appears to be more blue... let's try to ignore that, shall we? Anyway, not that you can see this in my swatches, but Blushing Sequin actually has tiny micro shimmers of hot fuschia that give it a bit more dimension on the lips. I think the overall effect is just very pretty and girly, young but not juvenile.
Compared to my other warm summer pinks/ corals, L'Oreal Blushing Sequin (far left) is definitely the sheerest and the pinkiest of the bunch, even though it doesn't appear so in the bullet. It doesn't quite dethrone my Maybelline First Class Fuschia (next one to the right) as THE summer lipstick but I'll enjoy using it for more understated lip days. These two manage to feel light and comfortable on the lips, while Wet'n'Wild Hot Paris Pink and YSL Pink Grenadine (far right) seem a lot heavier and more opaque.
Have you found any summer favorites at the drugstore recently? We don't really have true summer weather here yet, but I managed to pick out one more summery lip product to show you, so stay tuned. Have a fabulous weekend, lovely readers!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

April - May 2013 Empties

I have so many emptied products this time around that they wouldn't even fit in one group photo! I also knew I had to post this ASAP because they were literally spilling out of my drawer... So, without further ado, here's my stash-reducing progress for April & May!
First up, bodycare items were definitely the highest pile in the past couple months. I finished a Shikai All Natural Shower Gel in Vanilla (I previously had Coconut and I like both equally; if possible, I prefer using SLS-free body washes like these ones), a Haus of Gloi Pumpkin Butter in Vice and a Bubbling Scrub in Ghost Puffs, a NailTek Advanced Hydrating Hand Cream, which was all right but smelled a little bit like bathroom cleaner, and LAVANILLA The Natural Deodorant in Passionfruit; you can read more about this in my 'Products I Regret Buying' post (so no, I did not care for it). I also tossed a half full tube of Badger's SPF 30 Sunscreen as it was too greasy to even use on my legs, and it also started separating - full review over here. I've also used up two bars of soap, one Lush and one Fortune Cookie Soap.
 As for full-sizes of skincare and haircare, a meager four products have been used up: a travel packet of Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes, which were not my favorite but then, I'm also not a huge make-up wipe gal to begin with, and Clarins Extra Comfort Cleansing Cream, reviewed here. I also finished TIGI Catwalk Session Series Finishing Hair Spray, the hold and dry finish of which I quite enjoyed, and Redken Body Full Volume Amplifier; as much as I don't really care for the Body Full shampoo and conditioner, I find this all-over body booster quite good for a softer effect without any product feel in the hair.
I also did substantial damage on the deluxe skincare sample front, and here are my (very) brief thoughts. The samples I really enjoyed using and may consider repurchasing in the full size were Murad's Hydro Dynamic Ultimate Moisture for Eyes, Estee Lauder's Projectionist Mascara and CeraVe PM lotion for the face. For products that performed reasonably well but that I wouldn't repurchase in the full size: Lancome Bi-Facil make-up remover, Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 30 (a bit heavy for my combo skin), Ahava Time to Clear Purifying Mud Mask (strange scent and slightly irritating). Products that were a complete fail for me included Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Lotion (contains alcohol, incredibly sticky and clingy on the skin), Clarins Gentle Eye Make-up Remover Lotion (ineffective on my eye make-up), 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream (which I haven't even tried because it completely separated in the tube before opening) and V Beaute Eye Never eye cream (haven't noticed any results with the sample, and the full size is really expensive).
All in all, I would say I'm definitely happy with my progress in using up some lingering products, especially in the travel/ deluxe sample size but I didn't quite stick to my rules in terms of buying new products. I only purchased 2 new items of make-up in April but also splurged on two unnecessary skincare products after having a facial, which now gives me even more back-upped products to use up. In May, I bought 3 instead of 2 make-up products, one of them being a full size mascara as I was getting fed up with using up my samples for the past 6 months; but still, I'd exceeded my allowance and didn't feel very pleased with myself. I'm feeling a lot more restrained this month though and I'm hoping to stop at the one single item I purchased to make up for the laxity of the past two months. And yet again, I gave away some of my make-up and skincare products to a friend, so overall my stash has definitely shrunk so far. I've also decided to stop counting my empties as it's more about aiming to reduce the size of my collection than reaching any specific number, so there'll be no more of that; you can count them yourselves if you wish! ;)

So that's it for my progress check-in for the past two months; how have you been doing on the stash-reducing front? Have you been swayed by the new summer collections or just powering through your make-up and skincare drawers?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

If I Could Only Have One: Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Colour in Lotus Pink

My oh my, it sounds like a blasphemy to any self-respecting blush fiend, doesn't it? If I could only have one... Truth is, I can and I do have an amount of blushes that would surely paint the rouged cheeks of an entire house full of courtesans for years on end; but if I could be that minimalist modern woman whose make-up collection fits into a small make-up bag (I like to pretend I am her when I go away for the weekend... and ignore the bulging skincare case), I would have just one blush, and it would be Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Colour in Lotus Pink ($24 for 3.6g/ 0.13 oz).
'A light-as-air, velvety powder blush that sweeps on silky sheer color easily and evenly. With skin-silkening natural botanicals, skin not only looks but also feels beautiful all day long.' (from Laura Mercier website... but really, velvety, silky and skin-silkening? Smirk.) The packaging of the blush is the typical Laura Mercier custom palette-compatible dark bronzy compact, from which the pan can be easily popped out. I actually enjoy how small and non-fuss it is; it tucks perfectly into any make-up bag.
Color-wise, I have to say that I picked out the shade Lotus Pink after a lot of swatching sessions at Sephora and Nordstrom and some careful consideration; I was hankering for a perfect 'coral' (yes, whatever that means) without too many orange tones that would compliment my cool-toned skin. After acquiring a couple universally-acclaimed coral blushes in the past (Benefit Coralista or even Laura Mercier Lush Nectarine), I've found them a bit too warm on my skin, sometimes pulling more tangerine than coral. In the same vein, I had to cross out Tarte's Amazonian Clay blush in Tipsy from my list but then the perfect hue caught my eye at the Laura Mercier stand - Lotus Pink. Whether you call it cool coral or warm pink, it's the loveliest all-rounder shade for me that compliments both cool and warm make-up looks while giving more oomph than a nude blush shade.
In terms of formulation, the blush has a smooth, fine texture and enough pigmentation that I prefer to apply it with a sparser stippling brush. The finish is satin with tiny particles of shimmer that translate into a subtle glow on the skin - no visible sparkles or metallic sheen, and the color lasts all day on me. I really do enjoy the Second Skin blush formula and can definitely see myself picking out more shades in the future.
Below, you can see Laura Mercier Lotus Pink on the far left swatched along a couple more coral shades from my collection, as seen in the group shot: Benefit Coralista and Laura Mercier Lush Nectarine in the middle, with La Femme Mandarin Red on the far right.
And here it is on the cheek; I wish I could remember which product I had on my lips that day because it sure photographs well - here's a lesson to try and upload my photos before I totally forget what's even in them.
On that note, I'm sorry for the relative scarcity of posts in the past couple weeks; I haven't been in the best of moods recently and whenever I'm down, the blog inevitably suffers as a result. I've also been experiencing the very much unwelcome return of cystic acne, so taking photos is a bit of a struggle as I'm sure you'll understand. But, I'm on a new medication to help my skin and self-confidence and hopefully mug shots should return quite soon, and in the meantime I have loads of other stuff to share with you. I'm hoping your June is off to a great start and I'm sending lots of hugs your way, my pretties!