Monday, July 31, 2017

Stila Aqua Glow Serum Foundation

Although I don't need any more foundation, I couldn't resist a recent sale on that allowed me to scoop this up and give it a good test.

Let's go to the box for the claims.

  • Medium to full, build able coverage with a natural, radiant finish.
  • Advanced multi-reflective color pigments play with light to instantly even skin tone and reduce the appearance of imperfections
  • Contains an Electrolyte Balance System, a carefully combined complex of Ionized Water, advanced Hyaluronic Acid and essential minerals to help hydrate and nourish for skin that glows with healthy radiance. 
  • Fragrance-free.

And now the directions:

Shake well before use. Using your fingers or brush #33, blend over face, building where more coverage is needed.

So, I totally discarded the directions and did my own thing. That's makeup, right? I dabbed with my finger and then used a damp beauty sponge. I used 2.5 pumps for my entire face, and that gave me an even medium coverage.

I was prepared to detest this foundation. Here's the truth: I fell in love with the finish so much that I did a whole cream products face because I didn't want to powder!

Like some of the other recent posts I've done, I took the following in-post notes in real time to capture my thoughts as the day progressed. (Yeah, we'll get to that creasing concealer soon. It's in the bad pile.)

Application: Similar consistency to Bobbi Brown serum foundation. More body than NYX dropper foundation and Catrice. Nice medium coverage in one coat- don't want to powder.

0h30: Rest of makeup on, cream products blended nicely on top. I'm rocking a very natural, summer-appropriate look today.

2h30: Overall, looking good. Serious issues around my nose- add that to the "must powder areas." Blame that on tester error. Everywhere I see foundation without powder otherwise just looks like natural, radiant skin.

3h30: Hmmm... a bit more wear.

4h30: Oh my goodness, where did it go?!? Breakdown on my cheeks even. That said, I need to try this powdered all over for a fair try.

5h30: OK, this is odd. My forehead is in-tact; my cheeks, nose, and chin broke down. Time to take this off.

Given that I always powder, I decided to give this a second chance. It wasn't the most long-wearing foundation, but using Laura Mercier translucent powder prolonged the breakdown until about 7-8 hours.

I don't think this is meant for me this time of year, but I'll pull it back out of the drawer after the heat and humidity break. If you have normal-dry skin (I morph from that to a combo-oily beast with our heat and humidity each summer), I think you'll like it. Likewise, if you don't need to powder your foundations, I really think you should get a sample to try. I love the overall look the first few hours.

Let's talk about the mechanics of the foundation for a second. This is a dropper foundation:

It performed about the same (although a little worse in the long run) than the other droppers in my drawer (that's the NYX, Bobbi Brown, and Catrice if you're wondering).

In terms of shade match, I went with Fair, the lightest.

Not an exact match, but workable with my NW13-15 skin. This is a fairly limited range, with only 10 shades. Not a fan of that.

Bottom Line: Given the number of foundations that I have in my drawer, it says something that I'm determined to make this work overall. I think I tried it the wrong type of year for me- and don't recommend it for oily skinned friends.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Heartfelt Note

In some ways, I wonder why I'm writing this post. However, I owe it to myself on the off chance that there are readers who would wonder.

I'm not sure when the next post will be. I've been struggling with my health lately and need to prioritize that. It was an easy decision to make because I'm struggling to gain any engagement. Comments? I can't get them. Instagram engagement? Despite my efforts, I'm failing there as well.

For the less than five of you who care, I will try to post when I feel up to it. I have content pre-written to last a few days.

Sunday Dreaming: The Base Edition

I could start raving about all of the Nordstrom Anniversary sale items that I'm still lusting after... or, I could just talk about the foundations that I'm eyeing at the moment.

Foundation is a never-ending obsession with me. It's probably linked with a quest to have a perfect complexion, or something. Until about a year ago, I only had maybe 5 foundations around at a time... now I have a drawer.

I do make sure that they don't go bad, by the way. My mother always leaves my home (or I bring to her) a box full of foundation for her to go through, and to let her similarly- complected friends pick through. I've gotten my mother hooked on Rimmel London and NARS in this way when she used to be a user of the CoverGirl Smoothers (?). You know- the squeeze tube ones you can get in the drugstore.

In no particular order...

1. Givenchy Teint Couture Long-Wearing Fluid Foundation ($51)

I know, an expensive foundation to start. I'll probably wait until the VIB sale this upcoming November to purchase this as I work my way through my foundation stash. This wore really nicely for me and seemed like a great, medium-weight foundation. I think I need a full-sized bottle in my life.

2. Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation 1C0

Oh Estee Lauder, why do you hate me so much? I literally have to wait until either I or someone I know is going to the UK or brave eBay to get my stupid shade because you discontinued it in the US. No, 1C1 DOESNT match me. ARGH.

3. Antonym Certified Organic Baked Foundation ($38)

I know and have heard literally zero about this product. But I'm interested!

4. Milk Makeup Blur Liquid Matte Foundation ($40)

So I'm obsessed with every Milk product I try. Naturally, I'm looking to snag a sample of this as soon as it's at my local store!

Are you looking at any foundations?

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Anastasia Beverly Hills Sun Dipped Glow Kit

Today I have another Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit to share with you. The Sun Dipped Glow Kit ($40, 4x7.4g/0.26oz) was released earlier this spring, and it invokes summertime fun.

Unlike the Aurora Glow Kit, which has 6 square pans, this is the traditional four round pan setup. Each of these pans can be removed to be placed in a magnetic palette. My only highlighter regret is that I skipped the earlier Glow Kits.

These don't come with a mirror, but considering these pans are $10 each, I don't mind. Let's take a closer look.

These look like perfect summer highlighters- although I think 1-2 are way too deep likely.

Let's start with the darkest shade- Bronzed. ABH's website has this to say:

Bronzed – Amber with a penny metal finish

Bronzed is pretty much as you'd imagine- a glowy bronze. Let's look at a swatch, in studio lighting:

Here's Bronzed in ambient lighting:

Clearly, this isn't a highlighter on me. I think this would be spectacular on caramel or deeper complexions- and I'm glad that ABH included it in this Kit. I've tested this as an eyeshadow and find that it's quite lovely and glowy.

The second shade, Summer, is completely different. Let's go to the ABH site for their description first.

Summer – Luminous sand with a white gold finish

This looks like a yellowy champagne dream that's up my alley. Let's look at it under studio lighting:

And here it is under ambient lighting:

Although this is deeper than my skin tone, it's totally doable as a highlighter with a fan brush and light hand. I adore the sheen that it imparts.

Next up, cool-toned Tourmaline. ABH's website sums this up well.

Tourmaline – Warm taupe with a rose gold finish

I'll admit that when I first saw this, I figured there was absolutely no way that I could use it. Let me show you some swatches before I finish this thought.

And under ambient lighting:

This is going to shock you all, but if I mix this with Summer, I can dust the tiniest bit of this as a highlighter. I love that it's so cool toned in the pan but neutral on the skin. It also makes an incredible eyeshadow.

The fourth pan is Moonstone. No, not the Moonstone you're all thinking of- but similar train of thought. Let's go to ABH's site for their description.

Moonstone – Radiant quartz with a pearl finish

It's gorgeous and more of a true beige than Summer. It's not yellow at all. Again, I was concerned about it being too dark but I shouldn't have worried. First, swatched in studio lighting:

Next, in ambient lighting:

And just for giggles, Anastasia Beverly Hills Moonstone (L) v Becca Moonstone (R).

That's a huge difference- ABH Moonstone is much warmer and darker.

Like Summer, I find this to be the other easy shade for me. It's such a flattering summer shade, and I've enjoyed wearing it.

Bottom Line: Although I was initially concerned that it would be too deep for my fair complexion, I find this Glow Kit actually very wearable. The shades that are too deep are nice as eyeshadows (to be fair, I frequently use other Glow Kit powders as shadows!). I think it's a lovely addition to my Glow Kit collection.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Aurora Glow Kit

I have a pair of posts for you today that is different. Yes, it's back to another ABH product- but I'm going to review 2 of the same item today! Let's get our glow on!

Today I have something a bit different from our lips and eyes routine: the Anastasia Beverly Hills Aurora Glow Kit. This Glow Kit retails for $40 and contains 6 square pans. Each pan contains 4.2g/0.15oz of product.

The Aurora Glow Kit is the second of ABH's more exotic Glow Kits, and was originally released on their website earlier this spring. It came to Ulta, Sephora, and Beautylish back in June. It's now widely available.

Although I'm a highlighter fiend, I tend to avoid reviewing them because they're hard to show. Highlighters are a very personal product, and personal preference is everything. Aurora's colors aren't necessarily everyday shades for me, but it's a lot of fun to have.

Now, let's take a look:

My only nitpick with the ABH Glow Kits is the lack of a mirror, but you're getting six highlighters for $40. Becca highlighters, on the other hand, have a mirror and are what, $38 each? I'll provide my own mirror.

The six highlighters might be scary, but let's examine them individually.

Eclipse is a peach highlighter with silver reflects. This is one of two more everyday shades, in my opinion.

Luna is a silvery white- the type of color I normally love.

Spectra is a warm lavender. This should be an eyeshadow for me, right?

Helia is a pistachio green with silver reflects.

Orion is a straight up light blue with silver reflects.

Lyra is an orange highlighter with silver glitter.

OK, let's look at some swatches under various lighting conditions. Remember, I'm a NW13-15.

Look how gorgeous! This the most accurate, look how soft and lovely the shades are. Keep in mind that I didn't use a highlighter brush to swatch either.

Now, let's look at these swatches in ambient:

And even though this is overexposed, it captured the sparkle:

I adore this palette. I use a fan brush and an incredibly restrained hand. It's such a fun and funky palette. Even Helia works on my skin- and I like also using these in the inner corner.

I don't show highlighter on my face because I prefer a more natural and blended look, even with pop highlighters and they're hard to see.

No, I can't use all of these on the face as highlighters but it's so much fun to have these around to play with.

Bottom Line: This would work awesomely on every single skin tone. I hope I've showed that even the ghostly pale can pull this off. It's available at so many retailers- if you haven't swatched it for yourself, don't let the blue scare you.

Friday, July 28, 2017

L'Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara

There has been a new mascara taking the internet by storm, causing a stir and resulting in a crazed quest to find it.

It makes your lashes dark, long, and beautiful.

Oh, and it's drugstore.

Have you met the L'Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara? Sorry about the wonky packaging, but that's how it arrived from Amazon.

This mascara retails for $9.99 and comes in two formulas: regular and waterproof. There are also a number of shades- two of the waterproof (Black and Blackest Black) and four of the regular (Black, Mystic Black, Blackest Black, and Black Brown).

I've been testing Blackest Black in both the regular and waterproof versions (because Summer). Please note the wear on the tube- that tells you I've been playing for weeks.

Yes, the packaging looks familiar. But let's look at the wand.

It's a large, full wand that reminds me of something... let's take a look.

Yep, that's it. On the top is the L'Oreal mascara and on the bottom is a deluxe sample of Too Faced Better than Sex mascara. That used to be my HG; I'm more of an Urban Decay Perversion girl these days.

That said, this mascara is incredible. Take a look at this layered volume:

And I have exactly one coat here:

I've found my new favorite. It doesn't flake and it's beautiful. I'm blessed to have decent lashes, and when I layer this my lashes are so long. I can't believe that this is drugstore!

Bottom Line: Buy into the hype; it's real. Run, don't walk to your nearest retailer and scoop this up. I've already gotten a backup. It's a beautiful mascara.

bareMinerals Statement Matte Liquid Lipcolor

Today I'm so thrilled to finally be bringing you this post. This is one of those releases that was on my "I really need to review this" list, but kept getting bumped by other releases.

Someday I also plan to share with you my collection of the bareMinerals Gen Nude Liquid Lips, but today it's all about Statement Mattes!

Somewhat surprisingly (because I don't talk about this brand often), bareMinerals makes my favorite liquid lipstick. It's been my go-to in terms of nudes for months, but for Summer 2017, bareMinerals made a Statement!

Each of these Statement Matte Liquid Lips contain 4ml/0.13fl oz of product, and retail for $18 each. There are ten shades in the initial launch, and I have three to share with you: Luxe, VIP, and Juicy.

Let's start with Luxe.

Luxe, described as "dirty pastel pink," is probably the least bold of the shades. I'd been looking for a brighter light pink, so it seemed like a good place to try.

These have a lovely buttercream scent, and the bold shades have the same applicator as the nudes:

This honestly seems like an "anytime but middle of summer" shade for me. I tend to reach for warmer shades this time of year, but it's good to have this in my collection. These wear beautifully on my lips, even without a primer.

These colors- bright pink with a cool undertone- look great against my complexion.

I'll be pulling this back out as soon as the inferno subsides for certain.

Next up, VIP

This is described as "bold crimson," and I totally agree. It's a cooler-toned classic red.

I know that classic reds are a dime a dozen when it comes to matte liquid lips, but I wanted to nab one in my favorite formula.

I think these are universally flattering, even if it took me years to understand that.

I waffled between this shade and Fire, an orange red. I'm so glad that I picked VIP. It's stunning.

Last, I have my favorite of the bunch- Juicy.

It might look similar in the tube, but it's described as "poppy red." It's the color of my current obsession.

This just adds a punch to any outfit, and it's a chic and seasonally-appropriate pop of color.

I'm not sure if swatches do it justice. That final photo is actually in natural light one of the many, many times I've worn it.

This is a totally unexpected love of mine, and the lippie that started my obsession with these type of colors. It hasn't left my lip product holder that's a part of my everyday makeup drawer!

Let's wrap up with a group swatch:

Bottom Line: These are a mousse-like liquid lipstick that's comfortable even for sensitive lips. These are truly fantastic and last all day on me. I'm eyeing 2 or 3 more shades in the line to add to my collection right now! Don't sleep on these... they're awesome.

I also have picked up a few of the regular Statement Lipsticks- I'm in the midst of testing them at the moment!