Monday, June 30, 2014

Effortless Eyes: Shiseido Luminizing Satin Eye Color Trio in Nude

Remember my Spring Beauty Wishlist? It has ebbed and flowed since its creation; I've changed my mind about getting some things (By Terry Rouge Terrybly), bought but haven't yet tried others (Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Pads, Shu Uemura Eyeshadow), tried and disliked one (Kevyn Aucoin The Precision Brow Pencil), and finally got and fallen in love with a couple (NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, and the hero of today's review: Shiseido eyeshadow trio in Nude). But I'm really sticking to it, right?
I was probably the most excited about trying Shiseido's Luminizing Satin Eye Color Trio in BE213 Nude ($33 for 3g/ 0.1 oz) because my beauty blogging friend Liz kindly offerred to send it to me after reading the aforementioned Wishlist post. The thoughtfulness of bloggy friends and readers is what truly makes the blogging world go round. Thank you Liz!!!

The Nude trio comes in a lightweight but rather sturdy compact with a mirror and two applicators - one sponge tip, one brush. I never actually use those free applicators, but can't bring myself to toss them - because maybe they'll come in handy in an emergency (what, like a flood? An earthquake?) My mind, 'tis not sensible. The three eyeshadows within the compact, ranging from the darkest on the left to the lightest on the right (have you guys noticed that in 95% of eyeshadow palettes, the order of light to dark is always the other way round? Isn't that interesting? Well, maybe not...) all have the same soft, luminous satin finish - I find the name 'Luminizing Satin Eye Color' pretty accurate. Mind you, this is diffrent than a shimmer/pearl finish, which I hope the swatches below are able to convey - all three Shiseido shades have that subtle, effortless, glowy feel. They're all nicely pigmented, but not as intense as more metallic or pure matte eyeshadows in my collection - I believe they're meant to have a slightly sheerer, 'wash of color' feel to them. All three apply, blend and last without a fault.
You can stop reading now if that's enough information for you; but I know most of you guys are here for the nitty-gritty of texture and shade depth. Since this trio seems like such a basic, boring neutral, I've wanted to compare it to similar shades from my stash and see if I could find any dupes.
Clockwise from the top: Darkest shade in Shiseido Nude trio, Yaby Antique, Fyrinnae Feisty Fennec Fox, MAC Patina, Wet n'Wild Crease shade from Walking on Eggshells
Swatched in the same order as above.
The closest I could get to the darkest shade (I'd call that a dark golden beige maybe, swatched on the far left) was MAC's Patina, Frost finish Eye Shadow (second from the right) - although Patina is slightly pinkier, cooler grey than Shiseido's golden yellow tone. Yaby's Antique (second from the left) is way more olive green and more metallic gold - you can clearly see here the difference between a true shimmery/pearl finish and Shiseido's glowy satin I mentioned earlier. Patina actually has quite a similar finish to Shiseido's, but Shiseido's formula is softer and smoother to the touch. Something like the Wet n'Wild Crease shade from the Walking on Eggshells trio (far right) is darker, much warmer, and more shimmery.

L-R: Too Faced Nude Beach, Middle shade in Shiseido Nude Trio, Fyrinnae Moon Child, MAC All That Glitters
L-R: Middle Shiseido shade, Too Faced Nude Beach, MAC All That Glitters, Fyrinnae Moon Child
For the middle light golden peach shade (far left), MAC comes the closest again with All That Glitters, Veluxe Pearl finish (middle right), although All That Glitters is warmer, deeper and more of a pearl finish. Too Faced Nude Beach (middle left), although not too far off in the pan, is much lighter, pinkier and more metallic. Fyrinnae Moon Child (far right) is deeper, pinkier and more shimmery.
Clockwise: Shiseido Lightest Shade, Rouge Bunny Rouge Unforgettable Oriole, MAC Soft Force, MAC Ricepaper, Fyrinnae Nijiro
Swatched in the same order as above.
And lastly for the lightest white gold shade, again MAC's Soft Force, Veluxe Pearl finish (LE, middle) seems the closest - it's just a touch deeper and more shimmery, and again, the texture of MAC's shadow is drier and harder than Shiseido's. My beloved Rouge Bunny Rouge Unforgettable Oriole (second left) is a touch cooler/pinkier and more pearlized, while both MAC Ricepaper, Frost finish (second right) and Fyrinnae's Nijiro (far right) are darker and more yellow - Ricepaper is more pearly in finish, and Nijiro more shimmery, with flecks of pink and blue visible in the sunlight.
As you can tell from the swatch fest, I do have a few eyeshadows that come pretty close to Shiseido's Nude trio - but they're not quite dupes. I also find the texture of the trio superior to my MAC shades, and the finish more refined, which is why I continue to reach for the Shiseido compact and gladly pack it as my sole eyeshadow option for shorter trips. In the face shots, I'm wearing all three shades in the standard placement: light peach on the lid, dark beige to define the crease and lower lashline, white gold in the inner corner. The overall effect is subtle, luminous definition - but what reads as subtle on my fair skin would probably entirely disappear on medium to deep skin tones, so keep that in mind. Overall, I really enjoy the formula of this trio - and I'll definitely check out more of Shiseido's eyeshadows in the future.

Have you tried any eyeshadows from Shiseido? What are your favorites?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Cult Classics: Beauté Liqui-Gel Stain in Flouron

Beauté's Liqui-Gel Stains are one of these products that were hyped up through the roof a couple years ago, and then they kind of mysteriously disappeared from the beauty scene, never to be mentioned again. Which is probably why, when I enthusiastically grabbed the neon orange tube of Flouron at a sample sale, a friend I was with probably thought I was mentally unstable - and my excited cries of 'No, no, but it swatches differently!' were met with a somewhat puzzled stare and a shrug.
But yeah, I really don't know why nobody talks about these anymore, because the Beauté Liqui-Gel Stain for Cheeks & Lips in Flouron ($29 for 3g) is pure awesome. 'A uniquely textured highly pigmented liquid/gel hybrid, The Liqui-Gel Stain for Cheeks and Lips allows for perfect blendability before setting and lasting hours. Easily buildable the Liqui-Gel Stain allows the sheerest whisper of color or a nearly opaque flush to either cheeks or lips' (description from the brand's website). Beauté (not to be confused with Le Metier de Beauté!), a niche Canadian make-up brand, is admittedly not the easiest to get hold of in the US, but it can be purchased via the brand's website or online at Urban Outfitters - and while you're there, check out their fantastic Korean beauty section!
Back to the product: packaged in a simple, hefty plastic tube with a doe foot applicator, Beauté's Liqui-Gel formula doesn't look any different than a regular lip & cheek stain. The consistency though is a pretty spot-on mix of liquid and gel - thicker than fluid The Body Shop's Lip & Cheek Stain, but thinner than jelly theBalm's Stainiac Hint of Tint For Cheeks and Lips. Beauté's stain has a bit of an old-school make-up smell to it, but once it sets on the lips, there's no lingering scent or taste.
The shade Flouron, which appears to be a highlighter orange shade in the tube, actually swatches as a beautifully neon pinky coral, and as it dries down, sets to an even pinkier hue on my cool-toned lips. The formula gives plenty of time to evenly distribute the product on the lips before it sets, and the Liqui-Gel doesn't sink into vertical lip lines or exaggerate dry patches - a feat virtually unheard of for a lip stain. The creamy liquid does set to a matte finish, but it remains comfortable on the lips, and wears like iron. While I can't say the stain actively moisturizes my lips, it doesn't really dry them out either. On the cheeks, it applies equally easily (although go easy on the amount of product, it's bright!) and gives a pretty, fresh flush of color.
Compared to other bright coral/ warm pink lip shades in my collection, the Beauté's Flouron is definitely the most vibrant. The neon orange bullet of Giorgio Armani's Rouge d'Armani Sheers in 301 swatches as a more muted and truer orange shade, while both L'Oreal Colour Caresse lipstick in Blushing Sequin and Covergirl Jumbo Gloss Balm in Watermelon Twist are pinkier and cooler. I have a pretty large collection of bright warm pinks, but nothing comes close to Flouron! For a glossier finish, it pairs great with Essence Stay With Me Long Lasting Lipgloss in Candy Bar.
L-R: Beauté Liqui-Gel Stain in Fluoron, Giorgio Armani Rouge d'Armani Sheers in Coral 301, L'Oreal Colour Caresse in Blushing Sequin, Covergirl Jumbo Bloss Balm in Watermelon Twist
I'm pretty smitten with this Liqui-Gel Stain; I haven't tried that many stain formulas (since usually they're terribly drying on my lips) but the Beauté's version might just be my favorite so far. It's a must-have product for long, lazy summer days: feels lightweight and non-sticky, stays put, and the shade looks stunning on both fair and sunkissed skin.  

Do you reach for lip & cheek stains more often in the summer? What are your favorite formulas?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Project Make A Dent #1: Second Progress Check

Here's the promised update on my Project Make A Dent! If you're new to this idea, the Project's aim is to make a focused effort to use certain make-up items from your collection and well, put a dent in them, whilst not depriving yourself from enjoying the rest of your stash. The idea was originated by Lola from Lola's Secret Beauty Blog (here's her latest update) and lots of other bloggers are participating as well - if you want to join in, you can use #projectmakeadent hashtag on Twitter for extra motivation from fellow participants!

Here's what my selected make-up products looked like when I started my Project in January 2014 (click here for the original post with product names etc., and here for my First Progress Check in March):
And here's the progress at a half year mark:
This is kind of like playing the 'Spot the difference' game. So, how many differences are there?
Yes, I've finally used up two items! My faithful bottle of Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum foundation has bit the dust, and the stub of Annabelle Smudgeliner in Rich Chocolate is beyond sharpening - which is a good thing, because I'm pretty sure the formula dried out and hardened from when I first purchased this. You can also see I've been using the Rimmel Moisture Renew lipstick in Soft Coral quite regularly... while sort of neglecting the NYX Tea Rose. What you can't really see from the progress photo is that I've been using the NYC Blushable Creme Stick in Plaza Pink a lot - and I mean, a LOT - but this thing might just be immortal. I've also used some of the Annabelle Vanilla Chilla eyeshadow and the NYX Powder Blush in Angel here and there, but not as often as the other items.
I've also decided to swap out the already finished items for some new ones, and so we have Estee Lauder Double Wear Light in Intensity 1, Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eyeliner Pencil mini in Whiskey, and Gosh Waterproof Eyeliner in Black Ink entering the challenge - here's a group shot with the current usage on these items. You obviously can't see from the Estee Lauder foundation tube, but I'm estimating that it's slightly less than half way down. I originally wanted to include Face Atelier Ultra Foundation as my base for the Project, but you guys, I tried and I can't - it's way too heavy and greasy for my skin, and in New York's summer heat and humidity, it's just awful. So Double Wear Light it is; the shade is a bit too dark for me, so I guess summer would be the optimal time to try and use it up.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with my progress and I'm looking forward to finishing more items I've chosen for the Project - well, maybe not the blushes, ha. I think this quarter I was a bit easier on myself as far as forcing myself to use my selected products, so I've managed to tame some of the make-up boredom I was experiencing earlier. I now do wish however that I included more products in the Project from the start, so I could rotate them more; but maybe then nothing would actually get finished? Who knows.

Have you used up any make-up items recently? Do you intend to repurchase them, replace with something else, or are you just trying to downsize?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

TATCHA Gold Camellia Beauty Oil and Nourishing Lip Balm Review & Giveaway!

The mere sight of TATCHA products on my bathroom shelf is enough to bring me the feeling of deep contentment - which is only further intensified when it comes to applying them on my face. There is no other brand that does its packaging better than TATCHA, and opening a package brings about a similar level of visual stimulation to an art exhibit; or possibly even higher, because it's also a tactile and olofactory experience. I love it. Despite my usual cynicism, I think there must be something right in this world after all if products like TATCHA's are designed, manufactured, and enjoyed by thousands of women, no?
It's no surprise then that I was beyond excited to be able not only to try and review two more products from the range (click here for my review of TATCHA One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil and Rice Enzyme Powder, which I'm still using, and here for the TATCHA Luminous Deep Hydration Lifting Mask), but also to give them away to one lucky reader! But more on that at the bottom of the post (yes, I know you're all frantically scrolling down right now...); first let's see how I've been getting on with TATCHA Gold Camellia Beauty Oil* ($95 for 30ml/ 1.01 oz) and Gold Camellia Nourishing Lipbalm* ($36 for 8g/0.28 oz).
The GOLD Camellia Beauty Oil comes in a sturdy glass bottle, embellished with a purple ombre design. The oil is dispensed through an elegant pipette with a press down button - a bit of an upgrade from the usual rubber. TATCHA describes it as 'a light and rich beauty oil for face, hair and body. Infused Licorice Extract gently calms skin, while young Bamboo and Green Tea fragrances offer transport to a Kyoto countryside. Camellia Oil and Squalane nourish skin and seal in moisture, while 24-karat gold flake gives skin a sensual glow.'

The Gold Camellia Beauty Oil is possibly the lightest and most easily absorbed oil I've ever tried, while still remaining moisturizing and nourishing for the skin. Camellia oil, rich in Vitamin E as well as other antioxidants, is a Japanese carrier oil expelled from the seeds of camellia sinesis tea plant (not to be confused with tea tree essential oil, or Tsubaki oil, pressed from seeds of camellia japonica), and it's been traditionally used by Japan's Oshima Island farm girls, and later geishas, to nourish the skin and hair. It's a lot less viscuous than my Clarins Blue Orchid Facial Treatment Oil, and takes less time to sink in, thus making it better suited for the hot New York summer, and even appropriate to use in the daytime on my combination acne-prone skin.

I've been using the Camellia Beauty Oil for the past four weeks every night and some days in the morning in place of a moisturizer, and my skin is now soft, hydrated and plump, and my skintone more even. I also wanted to test how moisturizing this light oil really was on my skin, so for a while I used it just on its own, without layering a serum underneath - and my skin remained hydrated without any dry patches. I take a couple drops onto my fingers, briefly rub my palms together, and press the oil onto my face, breathing in the sweet, slightly lemony green tea fragrance. Even after a couple hours I can tell my skin is still nourished, but not greasy or tacky, and it seems to calm down the redness in my face - and absolutely does not clog pores or cause any breakouts, in fact I believe it speeds up the healing of any blemishes. I haven't tested it fully on my body or my hair, because I think it's too precious, but I can tell you that whatever is left on my hands after applying it to my face is instantly sucked in without any residue. The skin on my hands is very dry and eczema-prone, so if the skin on your face is more on the dry side, I'd recommend layering the Camellia Beauty Oil with a moisturizer.

The GOLD Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm is packaged in a simple glass pot, and comes with a single gold leaf square delicately placed on the surface of the balm. TATCHA suggests scooping out a bit of the lip balm with a touch of the golf leaf, which then dissolves on the lips for a soft, gold gleam. The gold leaf is actually the only thing I have a slight issue with in both the Nourishing Lip Balm and the Beauty Oil; when I try to crush it between my fingertips it just balls up and disappears somewhere - so I don't entirely see the point, apart from it looking beautifully luxurious in the product. But I can live with that!

As far as the balm itself, it has an interesting, smooth oil gel texture that spreads easily on the lips, and a light scent similar to that of the Beauty Oil. It feels a lot thinner and less waxy than my long-standing favorites like Nuxe Reve de Miel or Osmia Organics Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair. Because of that, it absorbs much quicker into the lips and doesn't leave a thick layer on the skin like the other two can. For this reason, I find the TATCHA Gold Camellia Lip Balm a fantastic product for daytime and a great step in prepping for lipstick application, but not moisturizing enough on my Sahara-dry lips overnight - I think my lips just need that extra coat of balm to stay put through the night!
As you can tell, I've been very much enjoying both the Gold Camellia Beauty Oil and the Nourishing Lipbalm, and thanks to the generosity of the beautiful ladies at TATCHA, I have a set of these products to give away to one lucky reader. The giveaway is open to all US residents over the age of 18 (please obtain parental permission if you're under 18), and you can enter by using the Rafflecopter widget below. I will contact the winner via email a week from now and ship the prize out as soon as possible. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: Products marked with an asterix (*) were press samples I received from TATCHA for review consideration. All links are non-affiliate. All opinions are 100% honest and unbiased, no matter if the products featured were purchased with my own monies or provided as free press samples. Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fresh MLBB Pink: Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Supreme Shine in PK 331

This was bound to happen: I had resisted all the Shu offers and discount codes I'd been getting in my inbox for a looong time, and then a 20% off and free shipping offer hit, and I resisted no more. Those mailing lists and promotional newsletters will be the death of me!
I'd previously never tried anything from Shu Uemura, a beloved Japanese brand now under the L'Oreal companies umbrella. It doesn't help that to my knowledge, there are no counters anywhere in the US, the product distribution and availability is much different than that in the Asian countries, and online swatches are rather scarce. But with all the raves from my trusted beauty blogging friends, I decided to just go for it - and armed with a coupon code, ordered three little bits and bobs, including the Rouge Unlimited Supreme Shine in PK 331, described as 'fresh pink - cool undertone' ($30 for 3.4 g/ 0.11 oz).

The lipstick is packaged in a somewhat futuristic, silver bullet-shaped tube that has a surprising weight to it. The shade can be easily seen through the clear plastic lid for easy morning grabbing, and there's an additional label with a shade name on the bottom (although I *hate* the Asian color coding system, I don't have the memory for all the numbers, people! Gimme actual WORDS!).
Through what I assume to be pure luck, I settled on a wearable pink shade that I don't already have a dupe for in my lipstick drawer (How. Is. That. Possible!). In the bullet, PK 331 is a neutral, clear medium-depth pink with very fine silver and magenta shimmer. To my eye, it has some slight yellow/rose tones to it, especially compared to something like Revlon Superlustrous Shine Lipstick in Kissable Pink (which, in turn, is not even that cool/ blue-toned when compared to something like Guerlain Rouge Automatique in Shalimar). On my pale cool pink lips though, PK 331 swatches as a pretty spot-on My Lips But Better Shade - it evens out some of the more purple/mauve tones but overall leans a lot cooler and more pastel baby pink (as in, it seems to have more of a white base) than in the bullet.
L-R: Shu Uemura Supreme Shine in PK 331, Revlon Superlustrous Shine in Kissable Pink, L'Oreal Caresse in Blushing Sequin (all three lipsticks swiped 4-5 times), Chanel Rouge Allure in Conquise (2 swipes) to show differences in pigmentation
The pigmentation is sheer but buildable, and the finish definitely on the glossy side. The lipstick has a good glide but doesn't slip and slide on the lips. The silver and violet magenta shimmers catch the light prettily, and sit rather weightlessly on the lips; they definitely do not feel gritty. The formula doesn't sink into vertical lip lines too much, but unfortunately catches and collects on any dry bits, so some exfoliation is required prior to application. The glossy finish wears off slightly after 2-3 hours, but the color remains until I have to eat something, and the lipstick doesn't leave my lips feeling dry or tight. There's no taste (huge plus!) and a very, very faint fruity scent to it - so faint in fact that I'd classify this as unscented.

Ingredients: Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Bis-diglyceryl polyacyladipate-2, Polyglyceryl-2 Triisostearate, Isoeicosane, Octyldodecanol, Polyethylene, Stearyl Heptanoate, Synthetic Beeswax, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Silica, Microcristallina Cera, Diisopropyl Dimer Dilinoleate, Aqua, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Alumina, Dimethicone, BHT, Ectoin, Tin Oxide, 2-Oleamido-1,3-Octedecanediol, Benzyl Benzoate, Methicone, Benzyl Alcohol, Limonene, Citronellol, Geraniol, Parfum [+/- Mica, CI 77891, CI 45410, CI 15850, CI 19140, CI 42090, CI 453080, CI 77491, CI 77499, CI 15985, CI 75470]
Overall, I really enjoy wearing Shu's Rouge Unlimited Shine lipstick formula - and I come to enjoy it even more the more I wear it. What I first considered a borderline Barbie shade translates as a comfortable light wash of pink over the lips that can be touched up on the go without a mirror. It beautifies! While the price point is definitely a bit high, I'm glad that I decided to give Shu Uemura lipsticks a try.

Have you tried the Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Supreme Shine formula? What are your favorite products from Shu?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Trind Caring Color Nail Lacquer Spring/Summer 2014 Collection Review & Swatches

There's a new player on the US nail market: Trind, a Dutch company specializing in nourishing and strenghtening hand and nail care products, as well as a healthy line of nail lacquers called Caring Colors* ($13 each for 0.3 fl oz/9 ml). Today I have a review and swatches of a part of their Spring/Summer 2014 Collection, "Beauty and The Beach" - let's dive in! ... Or should I say, let's take a stroll?
I received three of the six nail polishes from this collection: Surf's Up, Mint Julep and Appletini. These were a lot of fun to play around with, because as you know, I love almost all shades of blue polish, and the green was a new addition to my nail wardrobe. Trind recommends using the Caring Colors in combination with their treatment products for optimum conditioning effect and adhesion, which prolongs the wear of your manicure. I've been using the lacquers in conjunction with the Keratin Treatment for Nails Kit* for the past two weeks, but it's a bit too early to tell; Trind states it takes approximately 4 weeks to see the strenghtening effect (I'll post a separate review of the kit soon!). I can tell however that with the Keratin Nail Protector used as a base, all of the Caring Colors I tested went on smoothly and resisted chips for about a week on my nails.
Surf's Up is a metallic teal; it appears a bit more aqua blue and duochrome in the bottle but swatches as a true shimmery teal - I like it a lot more than I thought I would! I layered two coats for full opacity. Surf's Up painted smoothly without gaps or pooling around the cuticles, and while you can see some brush strokes, as with nearly all metallic finish polishes, I thought it had a great, even formula.
Mint Julep is a neutral medium depth mint blue with a cream finish. It's a beautiful shade that doesn't pull too yellow or green, like some mint shades tend to on my fair, cool skintone. The photo shows two coats (there are some sheerer patches but it's opaque enough for me) was taken on a third day from application - as you can see, there are no chips and nearly no wear on the tips. It's very slightly greener than Essie In The Cab-Ana, but a close dupe overall, and slightly darker and more vibrant than Orly Gumdrop.

Appletini is a midtone apple green with very fine gold shimmer. I wasn't overly fond of the yellow undertones on my skintone (which the artificial lighting in this photo is bringing out even more - compare to the bottle shots above, which were taken in daylight) but my husband and some girlfriends actually quite liked it. It swatches slightly darker than in the bottle and the shimmer is virtually invisible once on the nails.

All three of the Trind polishes I tried applied evenly, had good opacity, dried fast and wore well without chipping. I initially had some qualms about the elongated handle, but in fact the design makes it easy to hold and paint the nails with precision; all of the Caring Colors have a standard slim brush, which for me makes it easier to get an even application on the sides of my nails. From what I've tried so far, I'm curious to see what else Trind has in stock for us - I was quite impressed with the quality of these!
Trind products, including the Spring/Summer 2014 Collection, are now available online in the US at, and

Disclaimer: The products marked with an asterix (*) are press samples I received from the brand's PR for review consideration. All links are non-affiliate. All opinions are 100% honest and unbiased, no matter if the products featured were purchased with my own monies or provided as free press samples. Thank you for reading!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Beauty Product Empties: 2nd Quarter of 2014

Technically, the second quarter of the year isn't over yet, but: my sizeable bag of empties hath overfloweth. So it's high time to dump out the contents, arrange them in a semi-artistic fashion, shoot the trash and recycle. Because such is the cirle of life.
No, this first photo isn't even everything! Do you guys ever reflect upon how much goo we smear all over ourselves every day, all in the name of beauty? It's a bit ridiculous when you look at it in ounces and milimeters - or empty containers. By the way, as always, reviews of individual products are linked where possible.

First stop: haircare. I've been making a concentrated effort to use up all the little travel and deluxe sample sizes that are cluttering my bathroom. There's some progress!
Products I disliked and wouldn't repurchase: Oscar Blandi Volumizing Shampoo - smells like lemon bathroom cleaner, hair feels dry and not particularly volumized.
Products I enjoyed, but I'm trying out other things: TRESemme Naturals Lightweight Mousse, Enjoy Hydrating Shampoo, S Factor Health Factor Sulfate-Free Daily Dose Shampoo, Alterna Bamboo Kendi Oil Dry Oil Mist
Products I would repurchase (but am probably trying out other things too): Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Touchable Hairspray, Pureology Precious Oil Conditioner
Bodycare... and essential oils? I use these as home fragrance in a wax warmer, or pour a couple drops into my bath water, if anyone's particularly confused. Let me know if you'd be interested in a post about my favorite ones!
Products I disliked and wouldn't repurchase: French Red Clay Soap - tied with Lush Porridge for the most drying soap I've ever used, and Sweet Orange Essential Oil - turns out, I'm allergic (ouch!).
Products I enjoyed, but I'm trying out other things: Weleda Birch Cellulite Oil, The Body Shop Almond Hand & Nail Cream, Lemon Essential Oil - replaced with Lemongrass and Bergamot.
Products I would or have repurchased: Mitchum Power Gel Unscented Antiperspirant (already repurchased), Lavender Essential Oil (already repurchased from Aura Cacia), Kiehl's Bath & Shower Liquid Body Cleanser in Coriander - fantastic fresh scent, cleanses well without stripping.
Boring things out of the way, here's a plethora of skincare.
Products I disliked and wouldn't repurchase: Angel Face Botanicals Ambrosia Facial Cleansing Grains - messy and a bit too abrasive for my sensitive skin, and Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner - not a dislike per se, but too strong for my skin and causes an allergic reaction when not used with caution.
Products I enjoyed, but I'm trying out other things: Elemental Herbology Purify & Soothe Cleansing Balm, Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask, Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair (this the old, discontinued formulation), La Roche Posay Soothing Physiological Toner, Aubrey Organics Pure Aloe Vera Gel (used in conjuction with the Ambrosia Cleansing Grains - good skincare ingredient to have on hand, but I'm trying to downsize).
Products I would or have repurchased: LiLash Eyelash Serum - already on a new tube, First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads.
Skincare sample sachets and sheet masks (all three masks reviewed in detail here):
Products I disliked and wouldn't repurchase: Freeman Beauty Facial Hydrating Paper Mask, fresh Soy Face Cleanser, Murad Age Reform Moisturizer SPF 30
Products I enjoyed, but I'm trying out other things: Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair for Eyes, Murad Essential C Moisturizer SPF 30 (it's a lie - I'm not trying out other things, I'm actually working through a full size of this. But once I run out, I would like to try other things. Does that make sense?)
Products I would repurchase: TATCHA Luminous Deep Hydration Lifting Mask, Sesha Skin Therapy Rejuvenating Anti-Wrinkle Mask
Make-up and nail polish. Look at it, you guys!!! Ok, part of it isn't used up, I just decided to get rid of it finally, as mentioned in my latest 'Products I Regret Buying' post.
Products I tossed (disliked and wouldn't repurchase, obviously): NYX Jumbo Eyeshadow Pencil in Cottage Cheese, Inglot green corrective concealer, Lancome Juicy Tubes lipgloss, Revlon Colorstay Mineral Glaze lipgloss, Wet n Wild MegaImpact mascara, random dried out Asian lash glue, Sinful Colors nail polish in Opal - replaced with a China Glaze flakie.
Products I used up, enjoyed but I'm trying out other things: Annabelle Smudgeliner in Rich Chocolate, Covergirl Lash Blast Volume mascara, Sephora Anti-Shine make-up primer, Essie Good to Go top coat (prefer INM Out The Door), Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation.
Perfume - not buying any for the next foreseeable future, and working hard on using up what I have.
Fragrance samples I enjoyed: Kenzo Flower, Estee Lauder Sensuous Nude (possibly my favorite of the bunch, tied with Flower), Tom Ford Violet Blonde, Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia
Fragrances I disliked: Gucci Flora, Bulgari Omnia Coral, Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb (I used to love that stuff!)

All in all, I feel very good about my progress - I'm actually starting to see more physical space in my various cabinets and beauty drawers, and was even able to completely empty one drawer of remaining beauty bits - and then I reorganized the stash and filled it back up with overflowing nail polish bottles. But my beauty space has become more compact, I think! For more stash-reducing progress, watch out for the second update on my Project Make A Dent, coming towards the end of this month.

Have you managed to reduce your beauty stash in the past quarter or has it grown again?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Perfect Pin-Up Lashes: Esqido 'Unforgettable' Mink False Eyelashes

Confession no. 1: I haven't worn false lashes in nearly three years. Confession no. 2: I also haven't worn (or featured) a pin-up inspired make-up look in roughly the same time span. Confession no. 3: I really don't know WHY, because when done right, not only do pin-up and falsies go together like peanut butter and jelly, but they're just as marvelous. Too marvelous for words. Like glorious, glamorous and... *breaks into a song*
Yes, pin-up and falsies make me sing Frank Sinatra, AND pull duck faces. You're welcome.

Myself & Kar Yi had the pleasure of visiting Esqido booth at IMATS and chatting with the super friendly Brenda and the rest of the crew (some selfie action ensued as well, which you can check out on my Instagram). I stroked their ridiculously fluttery offerings and eyed Kar Yi's purchase of their 'Little Black Lash' pair with envy, so when Brenda later offered to provide a pair for review, I was super excited!
If you haven't heard about Esqido False Eyelashes The Mink Collection, they're handcrafted, cruelty-free lashes made of mink hair. The benefit of mink is that the hairs are much wispier and also taper at the ends, much like our own lashes, which gives a more natural look. Esqido's mink lashes are also reusable up to 25 times, which somewhat justifies the higher price tag.
I decided on the 'Unforgettable' style* ($42.99 for a pair, currently on sale for $36 with free shipping in the US), which is my favorite kind of falsies: not overly dramatic and gradually increasing in length and thickness towards the outer corners for a slightly winged out effect. As you can see in the close-up, Esqido lashes have a fine cotton band that sits comfortably on the eyes, and the hairs have a beautiful curl to them. I did trim a very small section for a better fit, and applied the lashes using Duo lash adhesive and my Tweezerman slanted tweezers.
Let me tell you that after three years of not wearing any falsies, my application skills were, ekhm, a bit rusty. I can't fault the lashes though - the band wasn't stiff in the slightest, and I thought that with some black eyeliner, the Unforgettable lashes blended very well with my own, mascara-ed lashes for a subtly volumized look (mind you, Esqido recommends not applying any mascara or other products to the lashes themselves). I may however be allergic to something in my lash glue *sheds some allergy-provoked tears*, unfortunately.
Removing the lashes was pretty easy: I placed a cotton square soaked in some Avene micellar water on my eyes, waited a couple seconds, and the lashes slid right off. The brand actually recommends not washing or soaking the lashes at all - you're supposed to remove by running a cotton bud with some make-up remover along the band - but I forgot, and my pair was just fine. I did experience some shedding, which is natural, and I didn't notice it affecting the lashes in any way - they still look brand new. Esqido also suggests cleaning the remnants of lash glue from the band after every use (well, of course) and storing them in their pretty white leather and rose gold case.
All in all, it was a lot of fun to play with a pin-up inspired look and some falsies again after such a long break - I definitely need to do this more often! For my eye make-up, I used Inglot eyeshadows and a mix of black pencil and liquid pen eyeliners. My base is Face Atelier Ultra Foundation in Porcelain set with Make Up For Ever HD powder, and I used Stila Convertible Cream blush in Lillium on the cheeks. I'm also wearing a YSL Rouge Pur lipstick in Pink Grenadine on my lips (discontinued, sorry!).

Do you ever experiment with pin-up inspired make-up looks? How often do you wear false eyelashes?

Disclaimer: The product marked with an asterix (*) is a press sample I received from Esqido for review consideration. All links are non-affiliate. All opinions are 100% honest and unbiased, no matter if the products featured were purchased with my own monies or provided as free press samples. Thank you for reading!