Friday, April 29, 2016

Peaches & Taupe: Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con Eyeshadow Trio in 102 The Ingénue

Today I have another piece from the Marc Beauty line to show you, namely the Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No. 3 Plush Shadow in 102 The Ingénue ($39 for 0.14 oz; this color way may be exclusive to and MJ boutiques), a luxe eyeshadow trio of peaches and taupe. After completing all of my Influenster tasks from the Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir mascara I reviewed earlier this year, I was entered into a raffle to win an additional product from the brand, and this is it!
To be honest, I rather expected a smaller/ less expensive item to be chosen as a giveaway prize, like maybe an eyeliner or lipgloss at the most, so I was pleasantly surprised to receive not only a beautiful eyeshadow trio, but a trio of neutral shades that are light enough to be worn for everyday. You can definitely tell from the packaging that it's a high-end item; from the black pouch (which contains a sponge tip applicator) to the sturdy and sleek plastic compact opened by a push of a button. I'm rather partial to their more minimalist, black and silver aesthetic, and I think a shadow trio like this is a pleasure to take out of your drawer/ make-up bag in the morning.
The Ingénue, in case you didn't know, is 'the part of an artless, innocent, unworldly girl or young woman', especially in a play. And I can definitely see why this colorway was named that - all the shades are soft and light in depth, giving sort of an airy, romantic feel to the trio. That being said, there is little difference in depth between the shades, as you can probably tell from my photos.
I can't fault the quality of these eyeshadows: all three are soft, smooth, creamy to touch, pigmented and blendable. The lightest peach on the left is a satin/ a very soft pearl finish, the middle golden taupe is metallic, and the darker peach on the right is slightly more shimmery than the light peach shade, but still not quite a pearl finish.
The shade selection reminds me somewhat of another very pale eyeshadow trio from Shiseido in BE 213 Nude, reviewed here. The Shiseido shades are a bit different, and despite the lack of variety in finishes, it's still one of my favorite eyeshadow palettes for a barely there, softly luminous look. Which brings me to why I'd consider the Shiseido Nude superior to the MJ Ingénue AS A TRIO; while I am absolutely able to do a complete, if simple, eye look with the Nude, The Ingénue just lacks at least one more, slightly deeper shadow, that could be used to define the outer V/ crease of the eye.
I think you can see that quite well in the look I attempted with the Ingénue trio; I did try to use the darkest metallic taupe at the outer corner (and along the lower lashline), but not only are metallic finishes somewhat tricky as deepening/ contouring shades, the middle taupe shade is also not dark enough to serve that purpose. I did end up reaching for the NYX Powder Blush in Taupe to further define and blend out the crease; I also used the lightest peach from the Ingénue on the inner corners, and the darker peach on the lid - to be honest, there's not that much difference between these two once they're blended out on the eyes.
So while I appreciate the beautiful packaging and premium quality of the eyeshadows in The Ingénue, I don't think these shades actually work as a cohesive trio; it's more like three singles thrown together in one compact. I mostly just enjoy pairing one of the shades from The Ingénue on the lid with other shades from a different palette in the inner corner and crease. I feel that this lack of cohesion maybe wouldn't be a problem for someone who goes for a one eyeshadow look anyway, and just wants more options in one convenient package - but let's be honest, this beauty junkie rarely stops at just one eyeshadow :)

Have you tried eyeshadows from the Marc Beauty line? I remember when everyone was going gaga over their larger palettes, especially the neutral Lolita. If I weren't banning myself from purchasing any more palettes, I would definitely be interested in giving it a go, having now tested the quality of their shadows first-hand - and again, the packaging is SO PRETTEH.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Glorious Staples: Nuxe Crème Fraîche de Beauté Moisturizer* Review

With my combination, easily dehydrated skin, finding a good day time moisturizer can be a b*tch. Too rich of a formula and I'm an oil slick within a couple hours. Too matifying, and the dry areas on my face look wrinkly and cakey by the end of the day. Which is why I was so surprised to fall in love with Nuxe Crème Fraîche de Beauté Moisturizer Cream for Normal and Sensitive Skin* ($22 for 1 oz tube, also available in a 1.5 fl oz jar).
Nuxe's Crème Fraîche de Beauté claims to be a '24HR Soothing and Hydrating Moisturizer' and promises to leave skin 'fresh, soft and plumped'. And it does exactly that. There isn't really any advanced anti-aging or pigment-reducing technology involved in this moisturizer; it contains some tried and true moisturizing ingredients like glycerin and plant oils (macadamia, safflower, sunflower, soy and sweet almond) as well as plant extracts from aloe, orange blossom, oats and more.
It's a simple, no-frills moisturizer that just gets the job done. The texture of the Crème Fraîche is quite thick (definitely more cream than lotion) but it spreads and melts into the skin easily; I especially like to pat and press it into the skin. It doesn't completely disappear on the face like some more lightweight, gel formulas; there's still a fine moisturizing layer left over but I find it doesn't feel heavy or sticky and doesn't interfere with make-up application. This moisturizer leaves my skin soft and plump, and the effect lasts throughout the day and actually helps my foundation not break down on the more dehydrated areas around my face. The tube packaging is easy to use and sanitary, and I only need a small blob (the size of a pea) for my whole face.
One thing I'm not completely in love with when it comes to this moisturizer is the scent. It contains quite a strong floral fragrance (Nuxe says it's orange blossom) that lingers just a bit too long for my tastes. Not that there is anything wrong with orange blossom in itself; I just find it interesting that a product marketed for sensitive skin would contain so much fragrance. It doesn't irritate my skin though, so I guess I can't complain too much.
I would definitely recommend the Crème Fraîche de Beauté if you have normal/ combination skin type and are looking for just a good, basic moisturizer that could be used in the morning and evening, perhaps to layer with more active serums or other treatments. It's definitely one of the more moisturizing creams I've tried that still feel light on the skin and don't exacerbate my oil production. For other skin types, Nuxe also sells an 'enriched' version for dry and very dry skin, as well as a 'light mattifying' version for combination skin - this one also sounds promising for the hot and humid summer months.
As promised, I'm working on that skincare routine post for you guys - I'm thinking of breaking it down into two posts for the morning and evening routines (because I'm quite high maintenance in terms of number of products used). Stay tuned for those! Have you tried any skincare from Nuxe? I've been a huge fan of the Reve de Miel lip balm for years now but have never thought to check out the facial range - now I'm thinking there may be some gems hiding in there...

Disclaimer: Product featured in this post is a press sample 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 product featured were purchased with my own money or provided free of charge. Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

And There Will Be Three...

This post is completely non-beauty related, but I have some big news to share. I'm 15 weeks pregnant!!! This is our first baby and both me and Mr, as well as our families and friends, are all very excited. We don't know if it's a boy or a girl yet, but I'll keep you posted :)

Baby bean at a 12 week scan
That's the most important part of what I was going to say today - I guess it's hard to top that, huh? - but if you're interested in MOAR BEBEH stuff, you can keep reading. So far (fingers crossed), both me and baby are doing great. Being a natural worrywart, I thought that expecting a baby would definitely cause me to freak out, both emotionally and physically. However, I feel great; I've had almost no pregnancy syptoms at all (haven't had nausea even once) apart from feeling somewhat more pooped in the evenings and now sporting a suspicious 'Is it a bloat? Is it a bump?' thingy around my midsection. I was told though that I look more vibrant by a coworker today, so that's something - right?

As far as my emotional state, I am - obviously - very happy. But I'm not just happier when I remember I'm going to meet my cute baby in the beginning of October; overall I feel more joyful, which is... not exactly my normal state of mind. Somehow my anxious thoughts have taken a backburner in this pregnancy, even though there are lots of bad things one could obsess about. But luckily, it's like my brain decided to take a chill pill and just enjoy the ride. I blame the pregnancy hormones :)

If you're curious what my expecting a baby means for Rocaille Writes, I'm not planning to introduce any big changes. This still is and will remain a beauty blog. You may have noticed however that I have been posting somewhat less frequently, the reason being that a) I was definitely more tired during my first trimester, b) I've been feeling more relaxed about stuff in general, and since blogging is not a job but a hobby, I've somewhat lost the motivation to push for more posts when there isn't anything in particular I want to talk about. But I will do my damn best to stay at about 2 posts a week at least until the arrival of the tiny human bean; I'm not committing to anything specific after that, but I won't just abandon this space. It's my baby too :)

In terms of content, like I mentioned above, I'm still going to be posting my regular product reviews and round-ups, as well as updates on my no/ low-buys and downsizing projects. I may post some pregnancy/ baby-related stuff sporadically if there's any interest; I guess my current skincare routine would be a topic that bridges both of these areas. I was also thinking of showing you my pregnancy capsule wardrobe, since I have talked about clothing capsules in the past. Let me know if that's something you'd be interested to hear about; I realize that pregnancy content is probably only useful to other women who are either currently pregnant or planning to get pregnant in the foreseeable future, but I don't know - maybe the rest of you guys are just nosy. Please share your thoughts in the comments below! That's it for now; and as always - thank you for reading!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Am I A Mascara Snob? Guerlain Maxi Lash Review

I won't deny I'm pretty snobbish in a number of different areas: I'm a declared coffee snob. I'm a dessert snob. I'm a perfume snob. Truly, the list could go on. But until recently, I hadn't really considered myself a mascara snob.

I've never been one to claim the superiority of high-end mascaras versus the drugstore ones. In fact, I don't think I have ever purchased a high-end mascara with my own money - but I've tried plenty of gift with purchase minis and received generous gifts from friends and such. However, when I attempt to shortlist my Holy Grail mascaras, the following come to mind easily: Buxom Buxom Lash, Laura Geller GlamLASH, and most recently, Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir... Am I really so easily swayed by luxe packaging, or is there in fact something better about the formula of high-end mascaras? I've been pondering this question for a couple weeks now while re-testing a mini of Guerlain Cils d'Enfer Maxi Lash Mascara in 01 Noir ($32 for 0.28 oz).
I've had another sample of this rather expensive mascara about three years ago, and I remember REALLY liking it then. But you know what, a couple things have changed since then. For one, I used to have much longer and fuller lashes back then thanks to religious use of a lash-growing serum, and I know some of you would groan 'All mascaras look good on your lashes!', making mascara reviews somewhat superfluous. However, I haven't touched a lash serum in three months, and while my lashes aren't bad by any means, they're not extraordinary either. So how does Maxi Lash perform on my perfectly normal lashes?
It performs well. As you can see in the close-up, it has that rubber brush with lots of not-too-long bristles that I tend to prefer, and a drier formula - again, my preference. As you can expect from these two factors, it defines the lashes beautifully, grabbing every single one and coating with an even layer of mascara from roots to tips; I only have some issues at the outer corners, where my longer lashes need some extra product (this wand doesn't have any bristles at the tip which are ideal for that task). I don't get many clumps, I don't get any flaking throughout the day, and only minimal transfer onto my brow bone, which as you may know is my personal ongoing struggle with mascara.
However, would I pay $32 for a gold tube of this lightly perfumed luxe mascara? Uhm, I don't think so. Sure, I like it, but perhaps not as much as the Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir, which is a couple dollars cheapers and gives more volume in a single coat. And the other thing is that while what I've been testing is only a deluxe sample, the Maxi Lash dries out fast - I mean, I've only been using it for two weeks and I don't think it'll last more than another two. So for now, while I may have a PREFERENCE for high-end mascaras, I don't think I'm a die hard convert. I really enjoy trying out minis of expensive formulas, but it's more than likely that when I run out, I'll just head back straight to the drugstore.

What are some of your all-time Holy Grail mascara formulas? Do you purchase high-end mascaras regularly, and if so, which ones are your favorite?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Minimalist Monday: KonMari Inspired Walk-in Closet Tour

I believe I've been promising to post a tour of our small walk-in closet for about a year now, and look - it's finally here! I know exactly why it has taken me so long to actually take photos and put this post together. My closet just isn't very... instagram-mable, if you will. Not that it's messy, or disorganized; but being the main closet in our apartment (the second one being a small coat closet in the entryway), it houses a lot of miscellaneous stuff. It's not just prettily color-coordinated racks of clothing - there's our luggage and various bags and backpacks, spare bed linens, shoes, sports equipment, studio lights... So while you wouldn't find photos of our closet in a home decorating magazine, it's ours, it's functional, and it's real. I hope you'll enjoy!
These two photos show views of our closet taken from slightly different angles in our bedroom. The closet itself is a rectangular shape, with clothing rods set in an L-shape along two walls and a simple shelf above that, and a simple shelving unit in the corner. There are two rows of clothing rods along the longer wall (looking straight on from the door, somewhat visible in the left photo), but we only use the upper one as we don't have that many clothes and need that space for storing larger items like suitcases and a tennis racquet bag.
Starting clockwise on the left when you enter our closet, there's space for clothes that extends all the way to the floor so that we've been able to hang our longer pieces there: winter coats, suits, my dresses and long sweaters and cardigans. On the shelf above, we keep spare bedding for our bed and some bags.
In the photo below, I've roughly shown how I try to stick to the KonMari way of hanging longer and heavier pieces on the left and shorter and lighter items on the right. I have to say though that since I wear all my clothes, it doesn't stay very neat all the time - I will often get dresses mixed in with the sweaters and so on. As you can see, the hangers are quite spaced apart, so there's plenty of room to shift things around when planning outfits. I keep my plushy bath robe on the very right so I can easily grab it when needed.

On that same side of the closet under my clothes, we keep our shoes that are currently not in use (off-season and sports shoes). I have most of mine in boxes for neater storage (yes, they're not as easy to see but in my experiences, shoes can get very dusty in storage), and the black Garnier bag is full of my beauty empties, waiting for another quaterly post :)
Moving on to the longer wall that's facing the door, I keep my clothes (well, mostly) on the left and my husband's clothes on the right. On the very back of the rod that's the most difficult to access, I keep our snowboarding pants and jackets, since we only need these a couple times a year at most. Moving to the right, I hang my skirts (off-season towards the back, current season more in the front), shorter sweaters and cardis and lastly shirts and blouses.
Mr's side follows more or less the same pattern in reverse: dress and casual shirts, sweaters and hoodies, pants on the very right. My husband doesn't actually need clothes stored in our closet all that often (we keeps his everyday clothing in a chest of drawers next to mine, shown here), but I decided to give his stuff a 'prime spot' in our closet since he has trouble finding things otherwise (and I usually get accused of 'hiding it on purpose' ;). We keep more guest bed linens and more bags on the long shelf above the clothing rod.
There's a small shelving unit in the right corner of our closet, which I use to store some random but necessary things. The wicker basket on the uppermost shelf houses my spare tights and stockings as well as sentimental items, and the shelf beneath has all of my hand bags and purses with the exception of the one that's currently being used.

The shelf below that is empty - it used to be full of the rest of my purse collection that I have since purged, then I used it to collect all of Christmas gifts I bought for our family in November/ December of last year, and now I don't have a specific need for it. I quite enjoy having that empty shelf - it's like the empty drawer in my dresser, full of exciting possibilites :D The bottom shelf has another basket, this time filled with more sports equipment (mostly rock climbing gear). I've had both baskets in this shelving unit for a long time and used to keep them in other parts of the apartment, but they fit perfectly here and I much prefer having the chaos of smaller items contained inside as opposed to just stacked on the shelf in plain view.
Lastly, on the back of the closet door, I've attached a 3M hook and hung my scarf hanger with the ones that I use the most often (I keep just a few more in my chest of drawers in the bedroom). The little fabric sachet has a scented bar of soap inside that helps to keep our closet smelling fresh and clean.

That's it! I'm not sure how helpful this actually was, but I quite enjoy watching tours of people's closets and browsing photos of closet organization. One thing I find frustrating about most of the ones that I manage to find (YouTube and/or blogs) is that most closets shown are rather large, and being just one of multiple closets within a house, are only used for storing clothes - and I find clothing storage easy enough, it's the random stuff that's difficult to keep organized. Anyway... Let me know if you have any questions, and thank you for reading!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Easy Hair Styling Favorites from AVEDA feat. Dry Shampure, Thickening Tonic and Air Control

I'm not a hair person, as discussed in detail in this post. On a typical day, I'll wash and condition my hair, brush out the tangles, and wait for it to air dry. I may use some hair spray to tame down fly aways if I'm feeling fancy. And that's it. The reason I don't style my hair is that in my experience, it requires a lot of time and energy but gives minimal results - any volume that I manage to create in my fine hair deflates an hour later, and my curling iron curls fall out even faster *shrugs*.
Which is why I was interested, if a little skeptical, when a gorgeously wrapped box from AVEDA landed on my doorstep. First thing that I zeroed in on was obviously their Shampure Dry Shampoo* ($30 for 2 fl oz/ 56 g, same size refill available for $26 at and Nordstrom), given that my oily roots usually need some help by second day.

You may remember that so far, my Holy Grail dry shampoo has been Batiste, but it comes with its own set of issues: a) a can doesn't last very long, b) it's rather strongly scented. Right off the bat, Aveda's Dry Shampure beats Batiste in this respect; from my understanding, the non-aerosol dispense mechanism (it's a soft plastic bottle which releases a cloud of powder when squeezed - and the cool thing is that you could totally pack this anywhere in your carry-on bag since it's not an aerosol nor a liquid) makes the product last incredibly long before you have to repurchase, and the scent is... Yeah, I can understand the hashtag #SmellsLikeAveda. It's a sweet lemon verbena fragrance with a hint of vanilla that makes you feel refreshed and uplifted, and I don't have to hold my breath and then run out of the bathroom when I spray into my hair. I've never come across a dry shampoo that smelled better than this.
Yeah yeah, it smells good, we get it, but does it even work? Yes, yes it does. While the dispenser isn't as directional or continuous as an aerosol spray, I still find it quite easy to get exactly how much I need exactly where I need it. It does have a white cast straight out of the bottle, but in my light brown hair, it only takes a couple brush strokes/ some massaging with my fingertips for it to disappear entirely. This dry shampoo has some interesting natural ingredients: corn and tapioca starch, oat flour, silica... and montmorillonite clay. The combination is very effective at soaking up the oils but also giving my roots some nice volume and texture. The Shampure is definitely more texturizing than Batiste, and for this reason, it doesn't work as well if you want to apply it again on third day hair - which I can sometimes get away with when I use Batiste. But on the other hand, sometimes on the third day with Shampure, I don't even need a top up because my hair still looks fresh and clean (so fresh and so clean clean... LOL). I really enjoy this, and I can see a refill purchase in my future.
On the days when I shampoo my hair, I've been reaching for Aveda's Thickening Tonic* ($28 for 3.4 fl oz/ 100ml) to give some lift to my fine tresses. I have a love hate relationship with volumizing and root lifting sprays - I've tried many from both drugstore and salon brands and they've all felt stiff and sticky in my hair while giving almost no results. But I've been pleasantly surprised by the Thickening Tonic: it feels lightweight in the hair, has a pleasant herbal scent (mint? eucalyptus?), and conditions the hair lightly (thanks to aloe vera, wheat amino acids and brazil nut & soy proteins) while definitely adding some fullness from roots to ends. I've tried it both blow drying my hair and letting it air dry, and I've had good results both times. I also feel like it extends the freshness of my hair so that it looks better the second day after washing. If you've been let down by volumizing sprays in the past, I'd definitely give this one a go.

Lastly, I've also been playing around with setting my dry hair with the Air Control Hair Spray* ($9 for 1.4 oz travel size or $28 for 9.1 oz full size can). Aveda describes Air Control as having lightweight, workable hold, but I guess their lightweight hold packs enough of a punch for my everyday needs (I'd even compare it to MorrocanOil's Strong Hold hairspray - but not anywhere near the shellacked results of Kenra's Platinum 26 Spray). It's a dry spray with a similarly pleasant aroma to the Dry Shampure - maybe a bit more lemongrass. What I like about it is that with a couple sprays, I can pat down all the annoying baby hair at my part, smooth down the frizzies throughout the lenghts, and set my style (or lack thereof) for the rest of the day. In my salon-working days, I tried A LOT of different high-end hair sprays (the two I mentioned above, Big Sexy Hair, TIGI, Sebastian, Enjoy etc.), and the Air Control is among the best of them.
My favorite thing about these three AVEDA styling products is the fact that they require next to no additional time and energy to incorporate into my routine. They're quick, they're easy, they're effective. I also fully commend AVEDA's environmental efforts - they aim for zero impact to the Earth's climate by using renewable wind power in their primary facility, more than 85% of their PET bottles and jars contain post consumer recycled materials, they strive to use sustainable, fair trade natural ingredients and participate in many more iniatives to promote the green message. This month, for Earth Month 2016, you can purchase Aveda's Light The Way Candle (here), of which 100% proceeds support Global Greengrants Fund water-related projects.

Have you used any hair products from Aveda? What are your effortless hair styling favorites? I've also heard good things about their Kinetics skincare line - I may look into those products some time. Thank you for reading!

Disclaimer: Products featured in this post 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 money or provided free of charge. Thank you for reading!