Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Not My Kind of Red: NARS Velvet Lip Glide in Le Palace

How 'bout I distract you from this dark and dreadful time we seem to be going through with some make-up? I was really excited to score this deluxe mini of the NARS Velvet Lip Glide ($26 for 0.2 oz/ ~6 ml) with a Sephora order late last year. I've heard really good things about this new formula, including adjectives such as 'unique', 'weightless' and 'long-lasting', and I'm all about innovation when it comes to beauty products. Also, how beautiful is this simple yet elegant packaging?
However, having acquainted myself with my Lip Glide over several days of wear, I'm a little confused. First of all, shouldn't the shade be called Le Palais? (Uhm, seems like Le Palace is a famous hotel/ night club in Paris, so probably the brand didn't just mean any palace. Okay then). But joking aside, I feel very conflicted over this lip product. Is it a gloss? Is it a liquid lipstick? Is it a stain?

The texture of this product is quite slippery and feels silicone-y on the lips - a little bit like a 'dry oil' or one of those dimethicone-heavy face primers, if you will. The brand promises a 'semi-matte' finish', but to be honest, I see quite a bit of shine on my lips, especially right after application, but then it dries down to more of a satin as the time goes on. It seems that you can vary the finish depending on the amount of product you choose to put on: one fine layer is a satin, a thicker coat or two layers look quite glossy. The overall formulation quite reminds me of Fyrinnae Lip Lusters, which are not a new product by any means - I reviewed two shades of those (Shangri-La and Visual Kei, here) back in 2012. There's a pleasant sweet vanilla scent to the NARS Lip Glide but luckily no taste.

I would agree that the Velvet Lip Glide feels quite weightless on my lips, which you'd expect from something with a rather thin formula. Unfortunately, as the day goes on, it feels neither comfortable nor hydrating. If anything, my lips feel a lot drier than with just about any standard bullet lipstick, and having looked at the ingredients' list, I'm not surprised - kaolin clay is the second ingredient. You know, clay as in stuff you put on your face to help with oily T-zone and to tighten pores. Am I the only one confused by that?
To top it all off, I don't find my Velvet Lip Glide to be any more long-lasting than just about any cream finish lipstick in my collection. Sure, once it wears off (which it does very quickly on cups and tissues and so on), there is a bit of a stain left behind, but that's also true for my other lip products in red and deeper shades. But overall, my biggest gripe with this formula is the fact that it feathers and bleeds outside my lip lines, even when I use the smallest amount of the product.
L-R: NARS Velvet Lip Glide in Le Palace, NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella, ILIA Beauty Lipstick in Lucy's Party
The shade Le Palace is described as a 'deep cherry red'. I can't say I agree with that description - to me, cherry red suggests a cool-toned red a la Revlon's 'Cherries in the Snow', while Le Palace is decidedly warm and even pulls a little orange on my fair skin with cool undertones. I'd describe it more as a 'paprika red'. It's not really a very deep red either; don't expect a vampy look out of this Lip Glide. While Le Palace doesn't do anything for me, I think it'd be a flattering hue on skin with yellow or olive undertones.
L-R: NARS Le Palace (one dip of the wand into the tube), NARS Cruella, ILIA Lucy's Party
There you go; can't say I'm too smitten with this new release from NARS, and Le Palace has now been placed in my give-away make-up pile. Have you tried the Velvet Lip Glides? What did you think?

PS. Thank you for all the caring, wonderful comments on my last personal update post and an even bigger thank you for those who shared their stories with me - I feel very grateful to have such amazing readers as you. To those of you who seemed very worried and urged me to see a doctor: like I said, I do already feel much better but should it get worse again, I will of course talk to my health practitioner. Also, look who was trying to help me take photos for this post - you're welcome ;)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Keep calm and blog on.

Long time no post, dear readers! I'm hesitating to write this update; however, I've always been striving to share with you exactly what's on my mind, in the hopes it may be at least a little useful for someone. This is probably the most difficult thing I've ever written, but also maybe the most necessary. So, here goes - if you're interested in just my beauty reviews, this post is not it - so check back soon for regular service.

Life's been a bit difficult for me these past few months. I know you guys are probably thinking 'Duuh! You've just had a baby!', but I'm not really talking difficult as in 'have no time for anything - feeling tired' kinda way. Before Julian was born, I'd been expecting that and I *think* I'd been mentally prepared, but what I hadn't been prepared for was feeling utterly lost and not like myself. Call it what you will - mood swings, baby blues (I'd hesitate to call it postpartum depression since I don't think it got as severe as to be diagnosed as such), existential crisis - the point is, I've been really struggling lately.

There were days and now thankfully just episodes during the day when I feel unexplicably sad, and worried about the baby, and somehow empty inside, like a hollow husk of a person I used to be. I can't wait until the day is finally over because it seems like such an ordeal to get through, and I'm so frustrated and angry at myself for even thinking it. At the same time, I dread the night time, because if he - and I - keep waking up again and again and again, I know that the next day is going to be even harder. You know how other mothers say - "Oh my gosh, time flies, they grow up too quickly!", and here I am, thinking "No, not at all, the days drag on without end, I can't wait for this to be over - but will it ever be over? Will I ever feel normal again?'.

Before you all write it in the comments, I AM incredibly grateful to have Julian in my life - a beautiful, happy, healthy baby - but at the same time, I feel broken and undeserving of such a blessing. Every little challenge I face with him makes me think I'm a bad mother, and he'll suffer because of my stupidity or lack of insight. Reasonably, I KNOW these are ridiculous thoughts but oftentimes I cannot help thinking them, and I am so mad at myself that I can't just snap out of them.

The reason I've decided to write about my state of mind is because I think that we women don't talk about the postpartum recovery process enough. We gush about the cuteness of our babies and brag about having our figures back while glazing over the more challenging facets. Obviously, we don't all struggle this much as new mothers, but some of us do, and I believe it's important to acknowledge it so that we don't feel so insane - and alone.

I was fortunate enough to have a very easy pregnancy and a standard, safe delivery, but now, at 4 months postpartum, I'm still not completely well - both mentally and physically. The ailing hip/ groin area I was experiencing towards the end of my pregnancy has not gone away, and it's since been joined by a backache. My hair is falling out so much I decided to chop it all off. I'm not just 'not sleeping enough' - at the lowest point when Julian was waking nearly every hour at night I was so sleep deprived I didn't even feel human anymore. I still feel weak and sluggish, and there's absolutely no way I feel up to working out to shed those extra pounds or to 'get my body back' - at the moment, I couldn't care less to be honest, and heading out for daily strolls is about all I can manage right now.

Well, enough of the pity party; I just wanted to say that the going's been rough, but I do see the light at the end of the tunnel. We've been sleeping better lately, and I think that maybe my hormones are becoming more balanced, and I'm starting to feel like myself again. I've also been taking more magnesium and it seems to be helping. The point of all this rambling is that I feel that I'd like to start blogging again. Writing is still my passion and I think it's something I need to do for myself, now maybe more than ever before in my life. However, I do realize it's not going to be easy, mostly due to time constraints - I'm not going to lie though, I know there will be days when even if I do have the time, I just won't have enough energy to write. And I think that's okay too.

To sum it all up, I'm back - sort of. I'll do my best to post, but I'm not going to be posting as often as I used to in the past. The reviews may get shorter and not as thorough. Photos may not be as plentiful. At times I may even not make any sense, and I apologize in advance. But carry on I shall, and carry on I will. Thank you for sticking with me, friends - I'm clicking 'Publish' before I chicken out.