Reviews

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer: A Review

NARS concealer 1This product has experienced a lot of hype in the beauty community, from blogs to youtube to word of mouth. I was pretty hesitant to try it; I desperately wanted to but was faced with the reality that I was quite content with the amazing Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer – did I really need another concealer. Yes. Oh yes. After two of my suitemates brought this puppy home and let me play with it, I couldn’t help but scurry down to the Meatpacking Sephora and pick one up for myself.

The packaging is a bit unusual for a concealer: it is basically in a lip gloss tube, complete with a doe foot applicator. I’m slightly worried that by the time I get to the end of this product, there will be some at the bottom of the tube I won’t be able to get out, but since you only need a teeny amount at a time, it’s not a major concern at the moment. Like a true NARS product, the packaging is classy and simple, with their trademark black texture incorporated onto the top of the tube. I quite like the sleek and travel-friendly container, and it’s easy to find in a makeup bag.

I decided to go with the shade Ginger, which is described as having a “golden undertone for medium complexions.” It matches my face perfectly, and though it’s a bit dark for under my eyes, in combination with my Bobbi Brown Corrector (which is a bit light for me), it works out perfectly.

To apply, I dot the product onto my brow bones, a couple dots under the eyes, around the mouth and on any blemishes. I then blend with my ring finger under my eyes, and with a brush on the rest of the face. It’s liquidy texture is a dream to blend, especially because of its high pigmentation. The finish it produces on the skin is definitely “radiant” and glowy yet still natural. I find that it creases a small amount under the eyes, but when set with a powder, lasts the whole day!

This concealer can be found at Sephora or any NARS stores or counters for $28, pretty standard for a higher end product. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a long lasting concealer, and I mean anyone. The product comes in 10 shades, ranging from ivory to a deep ebony.

What’s your favorite concealer?

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl: A Review

NARS velvet matte lip pencil dragon girl 1This is one of those cult classic products that you just can’t help but pay attention to, especially if you are a lip product fiend like I am. This lip crayon is smooth and velvety, like the name claims, and is way easier to apply than a lip liner, lipstick, lip lacquer etc., which makes it great for noobies or for a last minute makeup look. NARS makes these pencils in a variety of formulas: glossy, satin, and matte, however I find the matte ones the longest wearing, and the most transfer-resistant.

NARS velvet matte lip pencil dragon girl 4

Dragon Girl is a magenta-toned fuchsia-toned red (as opposed to Red Square which is more orange-red) that lasts for hours on end without drying. Yes, not even drying on my dehydrated, lip-balm addicted lips.  To apply, revert back to your coloring book days and literally draw onto your lips. The formula is creamy and smooth and glides onto the lips without tugging. I usually line my lips first then fill in the lines! Once completely filled in, your lips are all set for eating, drinking, and many many hours of red-lipped enjoyment.

 

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As you can see, the matte finish is very striking and modern, especially against dewy summer skin! (left) Sometimes I like to throw on a red gloss on top to add some extra sheen, like the YSL Sheer Candy in Cherry (right). Overall I’m completely obsessed with this product. I love how easy it is to use, and how long it lasts. I can wear this confidently out to dinner or out at night without worrying about it fading too much or looking awkward. It also removes easily with makeup remover which is a huge plus – I hate when you still have remnants of last night’s lip liner on when you wake up the next morning! Even better, because it is blue-toned, it makes your teeth look incredibly white and really brightens the face. No doubt that this product has become my go-to red lip.

Dragon Girl is available for $25 at Sephora or NARS stores/counters. It is a great price for what you get, as you don’t need top sharpen it overly frequently or reapply it. Something to note however, is that you need a jumbo sharpener to accommodate the size. I picked up a cheap Sephora brand sharpener that works great.

What is your favorite red lip?

 

Moroccan Oil: A Review

moroccan oilLadies, this is the cure. The cure for soft, shiny, moisturized hair that is. This Moroccan Oil Treatment is hands down, my holy grail hair product. I dabbled in hair masks, especially the Macadamia one, which I admit I still have a secret obsession with, but got frustrated quickly because you can’t use a hair mask everyday, and it adds significant time onto your shower routine. My beloved hairdresser, Heidi, uses Moroccan Oil products in her salon and after eyeing them for weeks, I decided to pick the most basic one up: the original oil.

This oil is fantastic for everyday use – I smooth one full pump throughout the entirety of my  damp hair after every wash before I blow dry it, and let me tell you, the results are insane in the membrane. My locks have become incredibly smooth and soft thanks to this little guy, and give off a healthy, natural shine. Despite the daily heat I apply on my hair via blow dryer/flat iron, I can truly tell that it has become more healthy. The way I like to think about it, Moroccan Oil is an Estee Lauder ANR, but for the hair, repairing the damage done by hot tools or the harsh environment and repairing the hair cuticle and cells with argan oil and proteins.

This product can be a bit tricky to track down if you aren’t near a salon that carries the brand, but usually Amazon carries the line. I bought it for around $30 I believe, but I would say it’s definitely worth every penny. I also believe it will last a long time, as I have used it every day for the past two months and have barely made a dent in the bottle!

Has anyone tried the Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment? I heard that was similar and I would love to know how they compare. Hmmm perhaps that will be my next hair-care purchase….

Rimmel Scandal Eyes: A Review

 

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Bulletproof Beige all over the lid, Black as liner, Brown along bottom lashline, Nude on waterline

Bulletproof Beige all over the lid, Black as liner, Brown along bottom lashline, Nude on waterline

 

Rimmel is one of those brands that is huge in the UK, but is rather hit or miss here in the States. We don’t get some of Europe’s most beloved drugstore products, such as their Wake Me Up Foundation or their Apocalips, but instead receive a small selection of usually mediocre products. Lately, however, it seems like Rimmel is trying to make a comeback stateside, with the US release of the Kate Moss lipsticks and now, the Rimmel Scandal Eyes line.

Above, you can see I tried out quite a slew of these pencils: the Eye Shadow Sticks in 002 Bulletproof Beige (a shimmery champagne with a slight pinky undertone) and 003 Bad Girl Bronze (a warm, coppery bronze), and the Waterproof Kohl Kajal in 001 Black, 003 Brown, and 005 Nude.  The shadow sticks claim to last 24 hours and be completely waterproof, and I have to say, they live up to these claims. I obviously didn’t wear the shadow for a full 24 hours, however I have worn both shades all day long, and they held up extremely well. I found that even without a primer these creamy pencils did not crease on my lids which is fantastic, as the NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils definitely do. They are also incredibly pigmented, as you can see in the picture below, which is an additional plus over the NYX alternative.  Bulletproof Beige is a great everyday shade, and I can see myself using Bad Girl Bronze as a base for a fantastic bronzey smoky eye. Would you guys want to see a post on that?

The regular eyeliners are not quite as ahmazing as I expected. They do last a pretty long time, but the black one always smudges on me by the end of the day, leaving an unpleasant black ring around my lower lashline. Rude. The nude one is a standout though, as it is neither too pinky nor too white for the waterline. I also have NARS Rue Bonaparte, which is a nude pencil too, but find it a bit too pale for me when I’m in any other season than winter, so the Rimmel one was warmly welcomed.

Rimmel Scandaleyes 3Overall I’d say both types of pencils are comparable to NYX’s versions in that they are similar styles and both extremely affordable! What do you think of Rimmel products?

Mascara Fails

mascara failsLike many women out there, I am obsessed with Maybelline The Falsies Waterproof Mascara. It has been and will be my one true mascara love and it fulfills all the asian eyelash qualifications for a gold star. However, my eye does wander sometimes…is there a better option out there? I kept hearing soo many things about the two mascaras above and couldn’t help but try them out. The conclusion? No, there is nothing better than The Falsies…at least for my stick straight asian lashes!

mascara fails2The first mascara pictured, L’Oreal Waterproof Voluminous Carbon Black Mascara, is a cult favorite that makes the lashes of many fine ladies thick and voluminous, as the label claims. The second, L’Oreal Telescopic Shocking Extensions Waterproof Mascara boasted lengthy, defined lashes thanks to its thin rubbery wand. Both did both these things. My lashes were given incredible volume with the Carbon Black, and were made long and fluttery with the Telescopic. BUT. Yes there is a major but. Neither of these formulas lived up to the “waterproof” myth that usually comes true, that waterproof mascaras hold their curl. They flopped within minutes of initial application. And even when I gave my lashes another squeeze in the ole curler after, they didn’t stay perky and upright like they should. In fact, from straight on it didn’t even look like I was wearing mascara at all.

I’d definitely recommend these mascaras for non-asians, people whose lashes are already curled or aren’t stick straight! But for me, there were simply mascara fails.

Hourglass Opaque Rouge: A Review

hourglass opaque rouge muse1 hourglass opaque rouge muse2Say hello to my very first matte lip product: Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Muse. This lip product in a neon, yet wearable pinky coral goes on wet but dries matte, which can be a great contrast to dewy summer skin. It also claims to last a whopping 14 hours on the lips! So, I had to try it.

I first wore this gorgeous bright shade out to dinner and found that it did in fact, have some serious staying power and didn’t dry my lips out too bad. After eating hearty mexican food, my lips were still stained and had retained the majority of the lip product! Success.

However, the next day I decided to test out the longevity of the product, and slapped it on before heading to work early in the morn. Now, I should let you all know that I am a lip balm addict. ADDICT. Like, if I don’t have one in my bag before I head out to go anywhere, be it a 50 minute class or an entire day, I am miserable. Dramatic but true. So, into the later morning, I could feel my lips becoming drier and drier but when I decided to dab on some lip balm, the product broke down and gooped together. Annoying. After reapplying, the same thing kept happening: my lips just started getting really dry and uncomfortable, to the point that it became almost unbearable.

My verdict? This matte finish looks amazing, but because it’s matte, it’s not moisturizing to the lips and for gals like me, this is not a great fit. I’m definitely glad I bought it to try it out, but won’t be wearing this all day again. For those of you who don’t have a lip balm obsession and excessively dry lips, I’d say go for it!! It does last a super long time and won’t budge (if you don’t put balm on top) unless you have makeup remover, and then it will come off both quickly and easily.

hourglass opaque rouge muse3

Shiny to matte finish!

Note: to apply, remember less is more. I’m serious. The first 3 times I tried applying this liquid lipstick I piled it onto the lips and believe me it did not look good. The trick is to wipe off the doe-foot applicator on the opening of the packaging as much as possible, then sliding the product on as quickly and precisely as possible. It may take some practice to get right, much like that of applying a YSL glossy stain, but once you’ve got it down, its super quick and simple. After applying one coat to the lips, let it set for about 30-60 seconds. If you touch your lips before it has dried matte it will clump up a bit and won’t leave an even coverage on the lips.

What’s the cost of this neon pout? A solid $28, which is pretty standard for a non-drugstore lip product these days. I picked mine up at Sephora, but you can also get it online as well.

Urban Decay All Nighter: A Review

urban decay all nighterSay hello to the most essential makeup product of Summer 2K13!! So, I’m currently living in the city, waking up at 7:30 and not getting home until at least 5:30 pm. That is a whopping 10 hours. Let’s not forget how I go out to dinner after I get home, so let’s just say that’s around 12 hours. Now, let’s be real. No makeup lasts 12 hours. They may claim to, like the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushes, but in reality, 12 hours later you just aren’t gonna look as good as you did when you first applied your face.

Enter, Urban Decay All Nighter. This magical setting spray produced in collaboration with Urban Decay and Scindinavia fights fading, creasing, and overall wear and tear of the weather. I always had my eye on this little puppy but never could justify buying it since I never really needed my makeup to last a long time. But as soon as I got home after my first day of work and took one look at myself, I jumped with glee (yes I did actually do that) because I finally had reason to pick it up! And I was not disappointed. This literally makes your makeup last a solid 15 hours just like the bottle says. It achieves this miracle by actually lowering the temperature of the makeup on the skin, therefore allowing it to sort of freeze and set. And while your makeup is not  absolute perfection by the end of the day, it’s pretty damn close.

urban decay all nighter2Here you can see me at the end of a very rainy, humid day (hence the frizzed out hair). The eyebrow on the right is fading, but everything else looks almost exactly as it did at 8 am!

Applying this product is easy: simply shake well and mist over your face in either a T or X shape using 2-3 sprays.

I would definitely recommend this if you want your makeup to last! It is the first of the Urban Decay setting sprays I have tried, but I do have a friend with oily skin who picked up the DeSlick spray and loves it. You can pick up one of these badboys at Sephora or on Urban Decay’s website for $29!

YSL Touche Eclat Radiant Touch: A Review

IMG_1037I finally got my hands on this cult classic highlighter after many months of watching my wallet and wishful hoping. The YSL Touche Eclat Radiant Touch became an instant success after it’s release in 1991 – so much so that every 10 seconds one is sold (according to Vogue). This loyal following has shot the Touche Eclat into holy grail status for many women in the beauty industry and kept sales at crazy high levels. It claims to brighten and highlight the complexion and erase fine lines, dark circles and illuminate the skin through its Luminocaptide Compex. YSL advertises it as “8 hours of sleep with the click of a pen.” Because of this, I was expecting big things, and I mean big. I’d stuck to Bobbi Brown correctors and concealers and am still quite addicted, but thought it was time to switch things up and try this highlighter pen.

Now, as you can see the packaging is absolutely gorgeous. Both the box and pen are a classy, shiny gold, and the pen feels substantially heavy and expensive. On one end is the cap and white brush-head, and on the other a black button with the shade number of the product that you press to release the product onto the brush. The shade I have is 1.5 Radiant Silk. On YSL’s website it says it’s best suited for “fair complexions with golden peach light beige undertones,” and on Sephora it was described “for light to medium complexions with yellow or golden undertones.” While I’m still a bit tan, I certainly do have yellow undertones and the highlighter is supposed to be 1-2 shades lighter than your skintone so I gave 1.5 a go.

IMG_1033I have to say, I’m super disappointed. For $40 this pen is definitely not worth it. I knew some famous makeup artists such as Lisa Eldridge were not fans, but I figured this pen was so famous I would love it. What I found was that after applying it over Bobbi Brown’s Corrector it looked amazing for the first 30 minutes, but faded quickly, leaving me looking tired and no where near illuminated just a couple hours later. It did work effectively around my  mouth area, brightening it and canceling out any dark pigmentation I have, but for $40 I would expect it to work on both my eye area and around my mouth. I also found that even when I tried to set my undereye makeup it faded, and lost its luminosity as soon as I powdered. I know that By Terry makes a great highlighting pen (Terry was the original creator of the Touche Eclat before leaving YSL and creating her own line) with more coverage but it’s more expensive.

It seems to me that the drugstore alternatives to the Touche Eclat are much better, albeit a whole lot less luxurious. My favorite has been the Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch which lasts a lot longer yet still brightens wherever you apply it just as much as the  Touche Eclat.  If you’re willing to give it a try, the YSL Touche Eclat can be found at YSL counters and Sephora for $40!

What do you think of the infamous Touche Eclat?

xx Olivia

NARS Luster Blush: A Review

NARS lusterNot going to lie, I have lusted over this blush for months (so punny I know). But really I am obsessed. As you may know NARS is known for their blushes and bronzers – they are all incredibly creamy and pigmented, and blend beautifully on the skin. Luster is no exception. I first came across this blush because I had been wanting to buy another NARS blush, but also wanted one that was subtle yet flattering and would look great with a tan going into the warmer months. Although it looks pretty boring in the pan, Luster is a fantastic apricot shade that brings a healthy, glowing flush to the cheeks without looking like you’ve tried too hard.

nars luster swatchAs you can see in the swatch, there is definitely some shimmer going on. This is a pretty heavy swatch so it may appear a bit glittery and chunky, but let me assure you it is not on the cheeks. The sheen really makes you look awake and radiant, and eliminates the need for highlighter! This shade is also perfect for all skintones – it’s not quite peach enough to appear orange on fair skins, and it can be built up to appear flattering on darker skintones. In fact, this is the most pigmented NARS blushes I have ever come across, and one of the most buildable as well. I normally apply with a Sigma Duo Fibre F50 Skunk brush because it doesn’t pick up a whole lot of product at a time and fits perfectly on top of my cheeks. Then I pat instead of swipe the product onto my cheeks and voilá, all set. This has easily become my go-to blush as it matches with everything!

You can find NARS Luster at Sephora or NARS counters for a standard price of $29.

What’s your favorite NARS blush?

xo Olivia

Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder: A Review

MUFE HD powder

MUFE HD Microfinish Powder: the setting powder I have a major love-hate relationship with.

Why? Let’s break it down. This silica powder finishes your base and sets your makeup while helping to even out your complexion and reduce the visibility of pores. While it looks white in the jar, it is translucent on the face and can be used on women of all skin colors. I love this product because it keeps lengthens the weartime of my concealer and foundation, yet does not completely mattify the face. Many setting powders make the face matte to prevent you from looking shiny, but I am a sucker for that dewy, glowing look so I never want to look matte! When I apply this powder the dew factor of the skin is definitely kicked down a notch, yet not completely eliminated – the skin still looks radiant (thanks foundation!) and natural. Because it’s 100% silica, it makes your face feel incredibly smooth-it’s actually amazing. It also lasts forever. I’m serious. I purchased mine about a year and a half ago and have only used a third of it; this is after using it every single day, ladies. It’s life is also expanded by the fact that you only need a VERY small amount to cover your entire face.

The cons?  If you go overboard and apply too much your face can flash back white in photographs. Not a pretty sight. This is one of the main reasons for the controversy surrounding this product. Celebrities would wear it to events and then later in photographs would have horrid white patches all over their faces. This is easily avoidable however, if you just watch how much you apply. Additionally, it is not travel friendly in the least. Even when I pack it so that it is right-side-up, a ton of excess powder always seems to escape the 6 small holes in the top of the jar. Thus, when you take off the lid, powder goes flying everywhere and it’s hard to get only a little bit onto your brush. I wish the packaging was more similar to the Bare Essentials loose powders!

To apply, I tap a teensy amount of the HD powder into the lid, then swirl my Sigma F30 Large Powder Brush around in it to thoroughly distribute the powder among the bristles. Then, I pat the brush along my T-zone, cheeks, and lightly over my eye area.

This product is available at Sephora for $34, which is pretty standard for a loose setting powder. As far as loose powders go, I’m a fan. However, I am in the market for a great pressed finishing powder so if you have any suggestions please comment below!

xo Olivia