8.18.2012

Buxom Stick Around Eye Primer Review

Buxom Stick Around Eye Primer
Buxom Stick Around Eye Primer

Buxom Stick Around Eye Primer($20) is thiiis close to being a good eyeshadow primer. Too bad it doesn't quite make it.

Buxom Stick Around Eye Primer is housed in a pencil, which seems like a great idea for easy, non-messy application. Unfortunately, the tip of the pencil is hard and you have to swipe layer after layer across your lid to apply enough product. This causes unwanted tugging in your delicate eye area.

On the bright side, once you apply enough product Buxom Stick Around Eye Primer spreads smoothly and quickly sets to a silky dry finish. Some other primers are sticky and make it difficult to blend your eyeshadow, but the smooth finish of Buxom Stick Around Eye Primer plays really well with powders. This primer makes it easy to create a seamless, professional look.

Back to the negatives. Buxom Stick Around Eye Primer is translucent and does not alter the color of your lids. This is a problem for me, as I prefer my primers to neutralize discolorations and dark areas around my eyes.

Buxom Stick Around Eye Primer doesn't do much to enhance the colors for your eyeshadow either. It intensifies them somewhat, but you would do better with another primer if you like vivid, true-to-the-pan eyeshadow looks.

As for wear time, Buxom Stick Around Eye Primer does alright. It keeps my eyeshadow in place on a hot day for about six hours. The colors begin to disappear and crease after eight. While these numbers are pretty decent, I get better wear time with Too Faced Shadow Insurance Eyeshadow Primer.

Overall, I don't feel comfortable recommending Buxom Stick Around Eye Primer. While this product makes eyeshadow very blendable, it doesn't provide vivid color and the wear time is not as stellar as some other shadow primers on the market. Why go mediocre when you can get something great?


8.17.2012

Nails Inc. Nail Jewelry in Princess Arcade Review and Swatches

Nails Inc. Nail Jewelry in Princess Arcade Pink Diamond Swatch
Nails Inc. Nail Jewelry in Princess Arcade

Nails Inc. Nail Jewelry in Princes Arcade($9.50) is the girly-est, blingy-est nail polish I've ever worn. My hands basically look like Carrie's cell phone case from Sex and the City, and I am loving the crazy, eye-catching sparkle.

Nails Inc. Nail Jewelry in Princess Arcade is a fuchsia pink glitter fest. It's not fully opaque with one coat, so I bet it would make a great layering polish. I opted to wear two coats in the above photo to achieve full glitter coverage.

Each piece of glitter in Nails Inc. Nail Jewelry in Princess Arcade is carefully cut and faceted for extra sparkle and shine. Coupled with the hot, purple-pink hue, the resulting look is so sugary sweet that I'm getting a toothache. The name "Princess Arcade" is very fitting for this frenetically feminine shade!

I've been wearing Nails Inc. Nail Jewelry in Princess Arcade for four days and experienced one chip. This stuff feels pretty tough so I'm expecting to get at least a full week of good-looking wear.

I'm no sparkle expert, so I'll turn it over to you. What do you think of Nails Inc. Nail Jewelry in Princess Arcade? How does it stack up with other glitter polishes?


Bite Beauty Honey Lip Lacquer in Gamay Review and Swatches

Bite Beauty Honey Lip Lacquer in Gamay
Bite Beauty Honey Lip Lacquer in Gamay

Yum, yum, yum. Bite Beauty Honey Lip Lacquer in Gamay ($24) is quite the delicious treat.

Bite Beauty is a lip product brand sold exclusively at Sephora. All Bite Beauty lip products contain resveratrol, the potent age-defying antioxidant found in red wine, along with ingredients from other superfoods. If that's not enough, Bite Beauty also only uses food-grade pigments so that their products are "good enough to eat."

Bite Beauty Honey Lip Lacquer in Gamay falls somewhere between a liquid lip color and a lip gloss. A single coat of this thick lacquer will give you beautiful, medium coverage color but not a lot of shine. I applied 2-3 coats to get the higher shine look seen in the photo below. 

Bite Beauty Honey Lip Lacquer in Gamay Swatch
Bite Beauty Honey Lip Lacquer in Gamay

True to its name, Bite Beauty Honey Lip Lacquer in Gamay is honey-scented and sweetly-flavored. Moisturizing ingredients like castor and jojoba oil leave lips feeling soft and smooth. Bite Beauty Honey Lip Lacquer in Gamay is long-lasting too, although it has a somewhat tacky and waxy texture that some people may not like. 

Bite Beauty Honey Lip Lacquer in Gamay is a beautiful reddish-pink that's muted with just a touch of warm beige. I find this shade so flattering and perfect for easy, everyday wear.

Bite Beauty Honey Lip Lacquer in Gamay Swatch
Bite Beauty Honey Lip Lacquer in Gamay Swatch

When I first tried Bite Beauty Honey Lip Lacquer in Gamay, I immediately thought it might be a dupe for MAC Viva Glam Lipglass in Cyndi. I swatched the two side by side and it turns out that they are actually fairly close:

Bite Beauty Honey Lip Lacquer in Gamay MAC Viva Glam Lipglass in Cyndi Dupe Swatch
Dupe Swatch
Top: Bite Beauty Honey Lip Lacquer in Gamay; Bottom: MAC Viva Glam Lipglass in Cyndi 

MAC Viva Glam Lipglass in Cyndi is brighter and more red than Bite Beauty Honey Lip Lacquer in Gamay. Bite Beauty Honey Lip Lacquer in Gamay is more muted due to its hints of warm beige.

Still, there is a resemblance! I adore MAC Viva Glam Lipglass in Cyndi but it was a limited edition shade that's no longer available. If you loved it too, it's great to know that Bite Beauty Honey Lip Lacquer in Gamay is a solid dupe. Plus, it has the advantages of natural ingredients and age-fighting antioxidants.

Bite Beauty Honey Lip Lacquer in Gamay has left me hungry for more. Have you tried any Bite Beauty products?


8.15.2012

Too Faced 3-Way Lash Lining Tool Review, Swatches, and Eye Looks

Too Faced Three Way Lash Lining Tool
Too Faced Three Way Lash Lining Tool

Do you long to rock a perfect cat eye but struggle to apply an even line? Too Faced 3-Way Lash Lining Tool ($22) might be the ideal product to solve your eyeliner woes!

This versatile, three-pronged lash lining marker makes it easy to create a variety of eyeliner looks. Although the unusual design has a small learning curve, Too Faced 3-Way Lash Lining Tool ultimately makes it simple to apply lash-emphasizing dots, tightline, and create a classic or winged eye.

Too Faced Three Way Lash Lining Tool Swatches Top to Bottom: Tightline,  Bold Line,  Lash-emphasizing Dots
Too Faced Three Way Lash Lining Tool Swatches
Top to Bottom: Tightline,  Bold Line,  Lash-emphasizing Dots

Too Faced Three Way Lash Lining Tool is filled with an inky black liquid liner that applies smoothly. The three-pronged tip is flexible and doesn't tug at your lashline. Black is the only color available at the moment, but I would love it if Too Faced released other shades. Wouldn't bronze or blackened plum look beautiful?

For this look, I used the three-pronged tip of Too Faced 3-Way Lash Lining Tool to stamp dots between my lashes to create the subtle illusion of fuller lashes. I also stamped dots along my lower lashline, giving the appearance of a greater number of bottom lashes with thickness and weight at the root. Don't apply mascara before using Too Faced Three Way Lash Lining Tool or else your stiffened lashes will be in the way.

Too Faced Three Way Lash Lining Tool Swatch Look
Too Faced Three Way Lash Lining Tool
Lash-Emphasizing Dots

For this classic, daytime eyeliner look, I used the side of the Too Faced 3-Way Lash Lining Tool tip to draw a line across my upper lash line. I went over it twice to increase the thickness. I also have lash-emphasizing dots along my lower lashline.

Too Faced Three Way Lash Lining Tool Swatch
Too Faced Three Way Lash Lining Tool
Classic Daytime Eyeliner

This final look is my favorite: a subtle cat eye.  I used the three-pronged tip to draw three parallel lines along my upper lash line. Don't worry about gaps, because the three lines blend together as you draw the tip across your lid. I then used the side of the tip to draw a small wing at the corner of my eye. 

Too Faced Three Way Lash Lining Tool Cat Eyeliner
Too Faced Three Way Lash Lining Tool
Cat Eyeliner
The precision tip of Too Faced 3-Way Lash Lining Tool works well to create lines that are more smooth and professional than what I typically create myself. All of the three eyeliner looks that I created with Too Faced Three Way Lash Lining Tool are polished and flattering, so I feel comfortable and confident when I go out.

Plus, Too Faced Three Way Lash Lining Tool is long-lasting. I wore the cat eye look for 10 hours and did not notice any smudging or fading. However, this is NOT designed to be a waterproof liner. You should not expect it to hold up perfectly if it gets wet or if you rub it with your hands.

I am really satisfied with Too Faced Three Way Lash Lining Tool. It's a fun and unique innovation that's so much more than a passing novelty. I find myself reaching for it every day to easily create a polished eyeliner look that matches my mood.

Have you tried Too Faced 3-Way Lash Lining Tool? What are your perfect eyeliner tips?


8.14.2012

NARS Foreplay Cheek Palette Review and Swatches


NARS Foreplay Cheek Palette($49) is about taking things apart and rebuilding them in a new way. By placing the creation of a unique new shade into the hands of the user, NARS Foreplay enables the brand and the consumer to work together to deconstruct and reinvent NARS' most iconic product, Orgasm Blush. Pretty sweet, huh?

NARS Foreplay Blush Palette
NARS Foreplay Cheek Palette

The blush experts at NARS have broken the bestselling NARS Blush in Orgasm blush down into its component parts of peach, pink, and gold shimmer for you to mix and match until you find your perfect shade. The possibilities are endless and my nerdy side is giddy with excitement -- adding and subtracting these beautiful color elements sounds like only the most delightful alchemy!

NARS Foreplay Blush Palette contains 1) the original Orgasm shade, which is a versatile peachy pink with gold shimmer, 2) a bright matte peachy coral, 3) a matte hot pink, and 4) a dense gold shimmer highlighter. As per usual for NARS, each shade applies smoothly and has great pigmentation. The matte pink and peach are particularly bold. 

NARS Foreplay Blush Palette Swatches
NARS Foreplay Cheek Palette Swatches
L-R: Orgasm, Gold Highlighter, Matte Pink, Matte Peach
For the photo below, I used the bright matte peach, hot pink, and gold shimmer so you can see them all in action at once! I applied the matte peach to the apples of my cheek and blended back across my cheekbones. I added the matte hot pink to further brighten the apples of my cheeks and blended it into the hollows of my cheeks to create some contouring. I finished by applying the gold shimmer highlighter in a C-shape from my cheekbones up to the temple.

NARS Foreplay Blush Palette Swatches
NARS Foreplay Cheek Palette

I'm particularly partial to the matte peach, which imparts a bright shock of color to the cheek that you can blend out easily to create a sheer, I-just-jogged-around-the-block flush.

Of course, the original NARS Blush in Orgasm is a classic for a reason:

NARS Foreplay Blush Palette Orgasm Swatch
NARS Foreplay Cheek Palette

A totally natural, healthy glow!

Each shade in the NARS Foreplay Blush Palette has great staying power. I did my cheeks at 8 in the morning and, though there was some fading, they were still blushin' by 10 pm.

To top it all off, I adore the drool-worthy, Mondrian-esque design of this modern, four pan palette. Sure, the small size of the bright peach and hot pink blushes makes it a little difficult to pick up individual shades, but the colors are so pigmented that you can get away with only dipping half your brush into the pan.

I've noticed that some reviewers are unhappy with the price versus size of this palette. I disagree, because a single NARS blush costs $28 for a net weight of 0.16 oz ($175 per ounce). NARS Foreplay costs $49 for a net weight of 0.36 oz ($136 per ounce). While NARS is a pricey brand either way, NARS Foreplay Blush Palette is actually a better value for product weight than a single blush. Plus, the quality is amazing!

If it isn't obvious, I'm totally in love with the NARS Foreplay Cheek Palette. NARS has introduced a concept that is both innovative and unabashedly fun. I know I will enjoy playing with this palette in the future to devise all sorts of flattering, vivid blush combinations.


      

8.13.2012

Beauty For Less with the Sephora Collection

[Hey everyone! Today I'm guest-posting over at Fantabulously Frugal about some of my favorite low-budget beauty finds at Sephora. Regular readers will recognize many of these products!]

For many, Sephora is synonymous with high-quality, high-class beauty. The iconic black and white storefront is enough to stir feelings of excitement, glamour and sophistication in the hearts of makeup lovers everywhere. Unfortunately, high prices keep some customers away from this luxe beauty destination. 

This is completely unnecessary, because it IS entirely possible to get the quality you expect from Sephora without panicking when you see your bank balance. 

Enter the Sephora Collection. Although it doesn't receive tons of buzz, Sephora's in-house private label is chock full of high-quality, on-trend products at 100% affordable prices. Let's take a look at some of my favorite items to get a full face of makeup for less. 

LIPS

Sephora Collection Rouge Shine Lipstick in No. 28 Just Married and No. 33 Get Rich
Sephora Collection Rouge Shine Lipstick
Left: No. 28 Just Married;  Right: No. 33 Get Rich

Glossy lipsticks are all the rage this season, with new releases from high-end labels like Yves Saint Laurent, Make Up For Ever, Shiseido, and Laura Mercier. Sephora Collection takes on the trend with the Rouge Shine Lipsticks ($12) which combine the gorgeous pigment of a lipstick with the sexy sheen of a gloss at half the cost of high-end brands.  

8.12.2012

Gaelle Organic Toner Superieure Natural Facial Toner Review


Gaelle Organic Toner Superieure Natural Facial Toner
Gaelle Organic Toner Superieure Natural Facial Toner

The path to beautiful skin is simple: Simple ingredients, Simple formulas, and Simple routines. That's the ethos that guides Gaelle Kennedy, founder of skin care line Gaelle Organic, as she creates pure, natural facial products to give you luminous skin without harming your health.

A former model, Gaelle decided to develop her own skin care products free of all the gimmicks used by the cosmetic industry. Gaelle believes that all of the ingredients we need for beautiful skin are found in nature, not synthetic chemicals. She researches and personally tests botanicals that have been used by cultures around the world for centuries, then creates high-quality skin care formulas out of the most effective natural ingredients.

I tried Gaelle Organic Toner Superieure Natural Facial Toner ($35) and I can say that Gaelle has done a wonderful job combining highly effective, skin-beneficial botanicals into an elegant facial formula. Let's take a look at some of the benefits of each ingredient in Gaelle Organic Toner Superieure:

  1. Rose Water - soothing, pH-balancing ingredient that is an excellent base for a toner. Rose water reduces pore size.
  2. Witch Hazel - natural astringent that tightens pores, smooths skin, and reduces breakouts. Witch hazel is also a potent antioxidant that brightens your complexion. Drugstore witch hazel is often distilled in alcohol, which is extremely harmful for skin, but Gaelle Organic Toner Superieure is alcohol-free.
  3. Green Tea - an absolute powerhouse for skin, green tea is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that reduces cancer risk and slows skin cell aging.
  4. Apple Cider Vinegar - cleanses your pores, fights bacteria, and reduces breakouts.
  5. Calendula - soothing, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial herb. This ingredient softens and brightens skin while staving off wrinkles. 
  6. Cucumber - antioxidant that soothes skin, brightens complexion, and prevents skin discoloration.
  7. Elder Flower - antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that tightens pores. Elder flower also has anti-fungal properties that prevent breakouts.
  8. Mint - antioxidant with a high salicylic acid content. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that exfoliates skin without causing irritation. Skin is left bright, healthy, and clear. 

And that's it! No harsh alcohol, extra chemicals or preservatives are ever included in Gaelle's products.

I worked from home a lot in July, and my complexion ended up looking a bit dull and unhealthy. I started using Gaelle Organic Toner Superieure and my dull skin is now gone! My face looked more radiant after just one use. My complexion is clear, bright and smooth thanks to all of the antioxidants and the gentle mint exfoliation. Plus, Gaelle Organic Toner Superieure has cleared up the stubborn breakouts on my back and shoulders that I have been struggling to get rid of for ages.

Gaelle advised me to store my toner in the fridge, and I must say it's a refreshing delight to apply the cool fluid to my skin on hot summer days. Using this toner is a simple ritual that feels good and makes my skin look beautiful.
Gaelle Organic Toner Superieure Natural Facial Toner
Along with Toner Superieure, Gaelle Organic offers a moisturizing cleanser, a gentle exfoliant, and several moisturizers and serums. The products are ideal for dry, sensitive skin.

Gaelle Organic products are currently available online and in select salons and beauty centers in Southern California. I definitely recommend that you check out this independent, natural skin care line!




Disclaimer: I received a sample of this product from the company for consideration. My review is based on an honest assessment of the product and content was not pre-approved by PR representatives.