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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review, First Time Use, and Tutorial of Eye Rock Designer Liners

Birchbox was big on stick-on-and-go beauty this month and, as a result, featured brands like Incoco and their stick on nail polish, Violent Lips and their lip tattoos, and Eye Rock with their stick on eyeliner. I received the Eye Rock liner in my Birchbox and was excited to try them out! I love wings and have been dying to try graphic liner, but never have the time, or a sturdy enough hand, to try it. This was my chance, and, unfortunately the product fell flat. A full review and demo (from a first-timer!) is embedded below.

Have you tried these? Did they work for you? Any tips and or tricks to help a girl out?

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Review & Swatchfest: Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Casual Eye Palette

Due to some serious steals going on at CVS this week, I was compelled to try one of their new shimmer strips palettes in order to get 7 Extra Bucks. While I was eyeing the neutral palette up and down, in its sexy little lace packaging, I forced myself to go outside the neutral box and get a little more...casual.

From the outside, the Casual Palette is seductive in its own right. Equipped with both neutrals and some practical colors, this palette could, ideally, help a girl pull off both natural looks as well as fun, more colorful looks. Ideally.

Trio 1

Trio 2

Trio 3

I grouped these swatches together because the palette is packaged as a set of trios. There are two swatches of each because they claim to have "two finishes" due to the ability to be used wet or dry. The dry swatch is on the left, the wet on the right. Overall there wasn't much of a difference between the two, and both were shimmery so two different "finishes" probably wasn't an accurate way to describe the difference between wet and dry.

Unfortunately, while they may have swatched well, that quality didn't translate to wear. I was going for a day look, so I thought using them dry would ensure they weren't to bold. I didn't need to take that precaution. I used 4 colors for look and all of them applied unevenly with splotches of weak color everywhere. When I tried to apply them wet, the splotches of color got bolder...but they were still splotches.

As far as packaging goes, everything is neat and organized, but the compact is a little too - well - compact. The strips of shimmer are so close together that it's hard to get a finger, and a brush, in. The evidence is in the odd trail of differing color beside some of the swatches above.

Overall, this might be a good palette for makeup beginners looking for subtle, shimmery shades. But, don't buy this thinking it's going to be vivid-colorsville. And, regardless of the kind of color payoff you are looking for, the splotchiness and packaging still stands.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Jemma Kidd Cosmetics on Hautelook Today!

Source: Hautelook

Hautelook is rocking it with their cosmetic events lately! Like me, you may have lusted over the wares from today's Jemma Kidd event in Target (along with the Pixi event going on today!). I haven't tried any of her products, but I know exactly which ones I will if they have them in the event today: eyeliner, lipstick, and a lovely neutral shadow palette that has been teasing me on the in-store end cap every time I walk by.

Happy Shopping!

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Review, Swatchfest, and Comparison: The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Stain in Rose Pink

At first glance, The Body Shop's Lip & Cheek Stain ($14) reminded my of Benefit's Benetint ($29). The dupe sleuth in me wouldn't rest until I knew, so here I sit one stain (and a few bucks) richer.

The Body Shop's Lip & Cheek Stain in Rose Pink
Convenient doe-foot applicator

Before I get to the comparison part of this review,  I want to share my thoughts on the stain by itself. The consistency is gel like and, while very blendable, manages to keep from running everywhere during application. A doe-foot applicator proves ideal for application on the lips and a nice way to apply a good amount of product either directly to your cheeks, the back of your hand, or to a stippling/blush brush. The color, Rose Pink, turns out to be more pink-leaning and less crimson as I imagine a rose, but it can be built from a sweet, light pink flush to a deeper, bolder pink hue. This makes it so versatile as both a lip and cheek color. It blends out very evenly and the texture works well with both liquid and powder products that have been previously applied. While it only ticks around for about 3-4 hours on the lips, it stays the whole day on the cheeks. Definitely living up to its rep as a stain!

Too see the full effect of applying it to both the lips and cheeks and get some application tips, you can check out the tutorial below where I use it to get a natural "no makeup" look.

Now, as it compares to Benefit's Benetint, I think it's an exact color dupe, but performs better! Benetint has more of a liquid consistency, where The Body Shop's stain is more gel-like. I find the gel provides a better medium for application and blending. Benetint's applicator is a little brush that is a little too small for the lips let alone the whole cheek area. Overall, I recommend The Body Shop's Lip & Cheek Stain for a great, natural looking product for the lips and cheeks as well as for a good way to save $15 on Benefit's Benetint.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Review and Swatchfest: Nabi Mangetic Nail Polish in Khaki and Mocha

I heard tell there was going to be a new Magnetic Polish on the market soon, but I didn't know when, where, or just how inexpensive it would be. These questions, and more, were answered when I spotted Nabi Magnetic Polish at Walgreens.

The display was 2x this big!
Those who have been following the magnetic nail polish trend will know that, up until now, the only prominent brand offering such a novelty was nails inc. and their colors were limited to three. Nabi offers a ton of colors, magnet patterns, and finishes (metallic and satin). I don't know why, but something told me to pick up one of each finish because something about a satin finish magnetic polish didn't make sense to me. Good thing I did.
Rather than being a true Khaki shade, Nabi's Khaki is more of an antique gold to me - a tarnished gold.
"V" pattern - ignore the poorly painted thumb
Nabi's "Mocha" doesn't really resemble any kind of mocha color I've seen. It's more of a dusty rose, which I love...but it ain't no mocha.
Straight Line Pattern
The magnetic pattern didn't transfer as well with the satin finish polish, that is something to be cautious of when choosing your color. It was also harder to get the straight line pattern to transfer across the whole nail - whether I was using the satin finish or not.

Although I've only had these for a few days, I can already tell these will have average wear time. You can already see in the last picture above, there is already wear on the tip. I should warn you, my "average wear time" is 2-3 days without serious chipping. I feel like my average is lower than true average, but I use both a base and top coat, so I chalk it up to my nails just not liking polish. What is your "average"?

The application is smooth, non-streaky, and typical of most polishes in that they take two coats to get the best coverage. Pretty standard there. What was surprising to me was the price! Instead of paying upwards of $16 to rock the magnetic nail polish trend, you can purchase one of these bad boys for $3.99! To me, this is incredibly reasonable considering you not only get a nail polish that is on par with other drug store brands in terms of wear and performance, but you can also indulge in the magnetic trend.

One of the most notable differences in Nabi versus nails inc. is where the magnet is/the lack of "stub" used to keep the cap away from the nail. Unlike the nails inc. polish, Nabi's magnet is attached to the brush which can demand some dexterity out of someone with wet nails. It's not a huge issue, just a difference that takes getting used to if you are used to a certain application process. Nabi's magnet also does not have the cuticle "stub" that was supposed to keep the magnet a safe distance away from your wet nail. I never found these to feel fool proof (I always managed to touch the magnet to mine), so this wasn't awful. Again, just different.

Overall I recommend the metallic finish from this line. The colors of the satin finish polishes were still gorgeous, but they looked a little awkward when magnetized because the patterns wouldn't fully transfer. Look to your nearest Walgreens for these!

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Review and Swatchfest: theBalm's Shady Lady Vol.3 Palette

It's been months since I first talked about spotting theBalm at stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls, but I still can't get over the fact that, what is typically a $39.00 palette, can be found for just $10! I have already reviewed the Shady Lady Vol. 1 Palette, Hot Ticket Nail Polish, and The Balmbini 1 palette, and all of them showcased not only the phenomenal quality of theBalm's shadows, but their blushes, nail polishes, and lip glosses. When I happen to find these so drastically marked down, always scramble for my wallet.

theBalms's Shady Lady Vol. 3 Palette

Check out that price tag!

Top Row From Left: Lusty Lee, Envious Erin, Racy Lacy
Lusty Lee is a subtle silver, Lusty Lee is a frosted cream, and Racy Lacy is an outrageously pigmented red-leaning copper.

Middle Row From Left: Safe Bet Annette, Runaround Rebecca, Come Hither Heather
Safe Bet Annette is a sweet, shimmery, baby pink, Runaround Rebecca is a dull mossy green, and Come Hither Heather is a cool, purple-leaning taupe.

Bottom Row From Left: Open to Offers Olwen, All the Way Annie, Guilty Gwen
Open to Offers Olwen is a shimmery teal, All the Way Annie is a metallic grape with a lighter purple sparkle, and Guilty Gwen is a matte black shadow with larger white/yellow sparkle.

theBalm's shadows are notoriously smooth, pigmented, blendable, and known for yielding even coverage. I'm ecstatic to say that The Shady Lady Palette Vol. 3 doesn't waver from this reputation. All swatches above are done without a primer so they aren't even working at peak performance!

The only aspect I found to be slightly unusual was the color selection. While there are clusters of colors that go together, the palette seems to be a mix of both warm and cools so there isn't necessarily compatibility across the board. Those who don't like it when palettes resign themselves to either warm or cool may not mind this. But, to those who completely nix one or the other from their beauty routine, they might this palette more challenging to work with.

Overall, the shadow quality is amazing and many of the colors are very unique. If you are in the market, I would recommend purchasing even if it's not on sale. If you are lucky enough to find it discounted to $10, and still in tact (too many powder product have met their end on the shelves of TJ Maxx and Marshalls) you run your tush to the register and don't look back!

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

How to Fake: No Makeup

Ever have a day where you aren't digging the look of a full face of makeup but need the extra oomph healthy color can add? The latest episode in the "How To Fake It" series is a "no-makeup" look that will show you how to give your face that extra something' something' without overdoing it.

On the Eyes:
-Virgin from Urban Decay's Naked Palette
-Crease and brow bone color from Wet n' Wild's I Heart Matte Palette
-The Body Shop Super Volume Mascara

On the face:
-Revlon Colorstay mixed with tinted moisturizer
-The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Stain 01

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Plum District & Netflix Deal: Free month + $15 plum dollars

Happy Friday! I just learned of a special offer from Plum District, a grouponesque website geared toward moms (although great for non-moms!), where you can sign up for a free month-long trial of Netflix through Plum District and receive $15 in Plum Dollars (dollars to spend on Plum District deals). What's the catch? Well, after reading the fine print on both the Netflix website and the Plum District website, I couldn't find one. Netflix says that if you cancel your subscription within your free one month trial, you will never be billed. And, Plum District doesn't state that if you cancel within the one month free trial you won't receive your Plum Dollars. I suppose the catch might then be remembering to cancel your subscription if you don't actually want it.

Regardless, I took the leap! While there are a lot of family oriented deals on Plum District, they also know how to pamper a girl! In fact, I was first introduced to them when they offered a $50 Hautelook credit for $20. If they have another one of those deals and you take advantage of this offer, that will get you a $50 Hautelook credit...for $5.

Happy Shopping!

MORE DETAILS: You must be logged into your Plum District account and click through their link to ensure the $15 credit is added to your account! Don't have an account? Click here. Set your account, then there should be a small banner in the upper, right hand side of your screen with the Netflix offer on it. Click that, and you should be golden! Please let me know if any of you have difficulties!

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MyGlam Review: NYX Roll On Shimmer

Although some may complain that MyGlam is falling down on the job when it comes to putting more makeup in their monthly bags, at least the makeup the include performs really well! And, though not necessarily a staple in everyone's makeup collection, everyone loves a little shimmer! 

NYX Roll On Shimmer in Light Blue

NYX is famous for producing quality products at drugstore prices and their Roll On Shimmer is no different. I have to admit, had I not received this in MyGlam bag, I probably wouldn't have purchased it on my own. Last time I used roll on shimmer, I was in middle school, end even then I was aware that the quality of product was poor and the packaging was absolute crap. After what seemed like minutes of vigorous rolling, only the slightest hint of product would be visible! From then on, the angsty 13 year me vowed to steer clear of roll on products...until now.

After 1 swipe

After 3 swipes
Right off the bat, this product shocked me with how well the packaging performed and how pigmented the product was. As far as performance goes, it isn't long lasting, but in order for it to be an all purpose kind of shimmer, like this one is, it's supposed to easily diffuse. Like most glittery shadows, if you pair it with a primer or mixing medium when worn on the eyes, it stays for ages! In-keeping with NYX's reputation as an affordable seller of quality products, these roll on shimmers are $4.50 and, with the code MyGlam has provided it's "Glammies" this month, you can receive 30% when you purchase any of them! Code: GLAMMENYX

If you are looking for a product for a special occasion or just looking to add a little (or a lot!) of shimmer to your daily grind, this is an affordable way to do it. Check them out, folks!

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review, Swatchfest, & excellent find: Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner in Peacock

Although not a new product to the market, I had never tried Stila's Smudge Stick until I received it in a Birchbox.
Stila Smudge Stick in Peacock

Peacock is a lovely aqua/teal color that, right out of the box, looked like a dupe for my favorite teal eyeliner EVER. But, more on that later. The consistency is creamy, the pigmentation is outrageous, and the staying power is stellar - even on the water line. The applicator is automatic and the tip is small and precise, perfect for getting everything from the water line to the inner corner.

Now for the icing on the cake: it's an exact dupe for my favorite teal eyeliner by CARGO that happens to be limited edition.

Above Stila's Smudge Stick, below is CARGO's Swimmable in Teal
CARGO on the right, Stila on the left
From the swatches above, you can see that they are a perfect match! You can also see from the Stila swatches that the pencil is fully capable of providing a thin line that packs just as much pigments as a layered scribble. Overall, February was a good month for new products, but was also an excellent month for replicating old favorites.

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Reminder: LORAC on Hautelook TOMORROW

I typically wouldn't post twice about the same haute look event, but the promo for the LORAC event on Hautelook hadn't been released when I published the first post and now it has...and it's awesome.

This isn't going to be just any LORAC event! It's going to be a holiday LORAC event, and that means their holiday palette might be available. As I've said before, sometimes it's hard to tell what will be offered at these events, but typically the promo picture (above) gives a good idea. This was the case with the most recent Urban Decay event where they pictured the Book of Shadows IV and it ended up being in the event. I just thought I would give everyone who is interested a heads up! Personally, I will get to my 10:10 am class early tomorrow (all events begin at 10 am CT) so the event doesn't start while I'm mid-commute and I can ensure my scrolling finger is primed. Speaking of, they have a mobile app which is where I do most of my perusing.

Happy Shopping!

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Review & Swatchfest: Too Faced Natural Face Kit

This review is in video format, but I wanted to include pictures that you didn't have to rewind to see!

From the left: Bronzing Veil, Blush, Ceme Blush
From left to right: Concealer, Luminize, Brightener
Please watch the review for a more in-depth analysis of each product within the palette. Otherwise, my overall feelings of the palette are that I am in LOVE!

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

MyGlam Review: Freeman Enzyme Mask in Pineapple

Source: MyGlam
The Freeman face mask brand had another starring role in this month's MyGlam Gam Bag and, I have to say, I wasn't feeling this one as much as I did the peel of masque. Of the two masks subscribers could have received this month, I got the pineapple mask. The scent was very authentic and very refreshing, but not overwhelming. If anything, it made me really hungry...for a pina colada. I was intrigued by the coarse texture; it was like an exfoliator and mask in one. But, the instructions didn't say to work the mask into the face while applying, so I don't feel it did any real exfoliation. After leaving my mask on for 10 minutes, as instructed, I rinsed it from my face to find...the same face that was there before I used the mask. Not that I was expecting drastic changes, but the promise of "radiant skin" and the results of the peel off masque I tried before lead me to believe I would really notice some results. I suppose that with a more gentle mask like this - one where you aren't ripping the dead skin and dirt from your face - it may take more use to really notice a difference. However, if that's the case, I wish MyGlam would have given full sizes of these rather than the peel off masque.

Overall, I can't say I would recommend this mask, not because it doesn't work, but because I need more time/product to tell if it works. Freeman is still offering the same discount they were last month and that is that you can get all three masks (the two above and the peel off) for $10 if you follow this link.

What did you think of your mask?

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Review and Swatchfest: Sue Devitt Eye Intensifier in Bangalore and Ava

After hearing great reviews from those who received Sue Devitt's Eye Intensifier in their Birchbox, I new I had to give them a try! Plus, I'm always a sucker for a jumbo style eye pencil. The two shades I selected were Ava and Bangalore, the shades are describe in the captions below.

Ava - grape with light purple shimmer


Bangalore - a khaki green with gold shimmer


One thing that surprised me about these pencils was how unique the colors are. Urban Decay and NYX get all the glory when it comes to bright and uniquely colored eye pencils, but Sue can hold her own. As a liner, they are great on the upper lash line, but take some layering on the waterline and don't have great staying power. Still, on the lid, they stay until you are ready to take them off. These also perform well under shadows as an all over color primer. As with any pencil, it takes some blending with a finger, or other tool, to get even coverage on the entire lid, but it's so worth it once you do. Below is a tutorial I just posted where I use Bangalore under gold shadow to create a lovely antique gold color.

If, like me, you are a sucker for jumbo eye pencils, you would do well to try these. While there are more practical colors in the line, like black or brown, the colored liners are worth a peek as they are very wearable and would be a great way to spice up your look. You can find them at Birchbox.com and "Gold Reef" is on sale for $13 at Ulta.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Stila & LORAC on Hautelook

This is just a quick post letting people know that Stila and LORAC will be on Hautelook this week! The Stila event starts tomorrow (2/22) at 10am central and LORAC begins on Friday (2/24) at the same time. Promo images aren't up for either event, so I don't have a feel for what kind of products they will be offering, but in the past both have had some of their best sellers up for grabs.

Happy Shopping!

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Review and Swatchfest: The Body Shop Shimmer Cube Palette No.6

Even if you aren't a makeup enthusiast, most of us remember the first piece of makeup that's truly ours. It's one of the many rights of passage into womanhood; something we see out mothers do and think, "I can't wait for the day..." My first happened to be this gem from The Body Shop.

I'm sure it's to no one's surprise that I began my journey in the makeup world with a simple neutral palette, but it's only now that I can realize how sophisticated and versatile it really is. Each shadow is individually packed into removable cubes that can be placed in other quads within the Shimmer Cubes Line (and there are some great sets!). There is a huge amount of product in each cube, so much so that even after making it my exclusive eye palette for years, I never ran out! The colors within the palette lend themselves to leaning either warm or cool. Take the taupe out (bottom right) and you have the look of a golden goddess. Remove the bronze-gold (lower left) and you have a cooler, more sophisticated look. The colors can also be used both wet or dry so you can not only get intense looks out of the set, but use the darkest brown as a dark brown liner.

Applied Dry
For whatever reason I didn't think to apply these wet, but even applied dry they are so pigmented! From the left: "Marshmallow" is a pink-based shimmery champagne and serves as a highlighter - both for the eyes and the face, "Dark Chocolate" is a shimmery warm, chocolatey-brown, "Honeycomb" is a shimmery orange-gold, and "Chocolate Chip" is a cool, purple based taupe. All of the shades are shimmery, so matte lovers should steer clear.

This is a beautifully simple, yet versatile palette that you can buy at any Body Shop store or online. They are currently sold out online, but get on the email notification list because it's worth the wait!

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Birchbox Review: LA FRESH Eco Beauty Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover

Source: Birchbox

You can always count on Birchbox for an introduction to products that inject newness and innovation into what seem like the most mundane beauty activities. LA FRESH Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover is definitely one of those products. LA FRESH claims to take the act of removing your nail polish to the next level by removing the acetone, replacing it with a fresh citrus scent and moisturizing ingredients all in a portable wipe.

There isn't much to refute here. Once the pouch is opened, any user can tell that there is only a hint of chemical scent and the rest is overwhelmingly citrus. The pad is effective in taking off nail polish, I tried mine on nails coated in Deborah Lippmann and nails inc., but any nail polish without acetone will make slower work of removing glitter polish. The only thing that might be an issue is the size of the removing pad. I almost ran out of space/solution during one removal so users with more nail polish or thicker polish might have issues. This was quickly forgotten when, after the removal, I found my cuticles were looking a little better - more moisturized - than they were before I started.

A pack of 18 pads is $10 from the Birchbox store. Because of the price, these probably won't be my go-to remover when at home. But, their packaging makes them perfect for on-the-go and will smell significantly less offensive to others than typical nail polish remover. These are perfect for your emergency/travel nail kit!

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