Tuesday, August 23, 2016

FOTD: Finally on the Taupe Train with Shiseido Pink Sands

[Products marked * were gwp samples; all others were purchased by me or received as gifts from friends.]
I KNOW, AN FOTD. 

I'm feeling kind of artsy again. Or at least, like I want to spend more than three minutes on my face, and do a little more than slap on concealer and brows.
Shiseido Pink Sands Trio - RD711.
Plus, I got excited, because up until a few weeks ago, I wasn't really into this Pink Sands trio. Which kind of hurt my heart a little (drama much, I know), because I love Shiseido trios - previously documented here, and here). But the peachy shade is a little too pale, the pink borders on a rash for me, and the taupe was...eh. Taupe. Nothing to get your knickers knocked about for, right?
Taupe shade from Pink Sands on eyes, layered over Laura Mercier Sand Glow Caviar Stick, with the dark brown shade from Shiseido OR302 in the crease.
But I started playing around with it (and I also picked up some MAC eye brushes lately, which seems to have made a huge difference in how shadows apply) and ok, I get it. Taupe is pretty. *flutters fingers in a sparkly motion*
Ohhh, there's dog fluff in my hair, ha!
Other makeup:
Makeup Forever HD Blush in 520 Blackcurrant
Armani Fluid Sheer in 2 Shimmering Beige*

So, are you a taupe lover? Have you ever renewed your interest in a product that you had initially written off?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Summer is For Obnoxiously Bright Lipstick, and Nuxe Can Help

[Products marked * were provided by PR for review. All opinions are my own, unbiased. No affiliate links.]

I'm always torn at this time of year. On the one hand, it's too damned hot and I want to wear my new boots and I'm ready for some change, so I'm eagerly awaiting the change of seasons.

On the other, I'm always hopelessly behind in my blog schedule and need to post all of the summer features that I wanted to cover.

Like this one.

But it's ok! Because this will be handy all year round, for all those absurdly popular matte lipsticks right now (although Tracy is right. Why are they all BROWN? And pink BROWN. And mauve BROWN. And red BROWN.).

I love me a good matte lipstick (some favorites here and here), but they can require some extra prep work. And sometimes your lips really aren't feeling it, even if you are. A balm can help, but it can also change the texture of your matte lipstick a little too much, or the color, or make it slippery. I've never thought of a skincare product for lips filling in, but that's what I have here - and it totally works.

Nuxe's Nuxuriance Ultra line contains anti-aging products with ingredients like bougainvillea, wakame, and saffron. The product I'm talking about today is the Anti-Aging Eye and Lip Contour Cream* (0.5 oz for $49), which is a two-in-one cream for eyes and lips. I tried it on eyes a couple of times, but I've already got favorite night and daytime creams (Ole Henriksen Ultimate Lift Eye Gel and Shiseido Ibuki Eye Correcting Cream, respectively; the first is a great depuffing, firming gel, and the second has brightening properties) and this one doesn't compete there - it could be doing some anti-aging action, but I don't notice any depuffing. Where it does, shine, however, is as a lip cream.

It's different from their cult classic lip balm*; this cream sinks into lips immediately, making them soft and smooth. It's not waxy or sticky, and doesn't contain smoothing silicones (full ingredients list here). I like it at night, as a treatment - and I don't have to worry about balm traveling onto my pillow or on to the rest of my face - or, like I said earlier, as a quick prep step before wearing a matte lipstick. Because it sinks in immediately, it doesn't affect lipstick application. I pump the tiniest dot on my ring finger, gently smooth product into my lips, and boom - all done. It's not a balm, meant for reapplication - it's a skincare treatment. It's excellent.

I know, lip treatments aren't ever on my list of things I need to buy, but sometimes (especially in the winter), it's nice to be able to pull one out. This is on the pricier end at $49 for 0.5 oz, and while I dot think everyone needs a lip cream, it's one of those items that's nice to have on hand. In the US, it's available on Nuxe's website.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Pixie Dust: Hair Products for Pixie Perfection

[Products marked * were provided by PR for review. All opinions are my own and there are no affiliate links.]

Sometimes I have dreams that my hair has grown out, and I wake up feeling distinctly disgruntled.

Yeah, I'm not growing my hair out again for a long, long time.

It's also the haircut that I've gotten the most compliments on, so I take that as an indication that this style actually suits me, ha. (The other thing I get compliments on? Diptyque Eau Duelle. Without fail.)

Anyway. I don't fuss a lot with my hair. I have a pretty simple shampoo/conditioner, and after showering I work in a volumizing serum - this StriVectin Max Volume Bodifying Radiance Serum ($35) is what I'm currently using, and I like it. This green line is all about volume, and the serum keeps hair soft and shiny so that it has healthy volume, without being weighed down or limp. It has a faint smell that isn't offensive (it's a faint citrus) and that I hardly notice (you have to sniff it to pick it up). However, I usually shower at night, and although my hair usually dries by the time I go to bed, by the time I wake up in the morning, I am rocking a full medusa. Or those trolls that MAC has brought back. It is not glamorous.
So, I need to depoof my hair again. But flat hair isn't cute. I also need to add volume back. And sometimes I get fancy and want a piece-ier look with my bangs. So this is what I have going on.

To flatten my hair in the morning (or depoof, as it were), I just wet my hair completely (we have one of those detachable handheld showerheads which makes this easy). Then, I look like a drowned rat. So I spray some of the StriVectin Max Volume Root Lifting Serum ($26), comb my hair, and air dry. Sometimes I'll also spritz Redken's Wax Blast 10 (~$15-22) to keep that piecey, wet look. I have noticed that the volume I get back with the StriVectin spray is noticeable; if I just wet my hair and air dry, it can be a little flat. On the flip side, the Root Lifting Serum can be a little crunchy if I don't finger comb my hair after applying it and before styling. It's not heavy or greasy, though, and I don't feel like my hair has any gross residue or weight to it after application.
StriVectin Hair products are available on their site, Nordstrom and on Sephora; they also have a starter trio of the shampoo, conditioner and radiance serum and travel sizes for some of the products. They're sulfate-free. One thing I wanted to mention is that the Bodifying Radiance Serum contains their patented Lumiphyto Complex, which they say "transforms" UV light into visible light, thus creating "weightless radiance." Molecules can do this - it's essentially how chemical sunscreen works, by absorbing UV light and emitting the energy in some other form - but I am not sure that it would really have an aggregate visible effect. Still, in theory, it's interesting, and I am always for creative science. All of their hair products also contain their patented NIA-114 (which I've discussed before, here), and I've never thought about anti-aging products for hair before, nor can I comment on the efficacy. 

What products do you use on your hair, and what are your hair concerns? How do you feel about anti-aging hair products?
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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Becca Ultimate Coverage Concealing Crème

[Product was purchased by me. No affiliate links.]

I mentioned Becca's Ultimate Coverage Concealing Crème ($32, 0.16 oz) in my recent base roundup post, and here's the in-depth (ish) report.

I use concealers daily, because I don't use foundation every day. I have some redness around my jawline that I like to conceal, but I don't always feel the need for a full face of foundation.
Left: Becca Aqua Luminous Perfecting Foundation in Light, and Becca Ultimate Coverage Concealing Crème in Tahini.

I've used and liked MAC Mineralize concealer (NC20) and NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer (Custard) previously, but this is the one I'll be repurchasing. It comes in a glass pot, which is my least favorite aspect, but it's too thick for any other form of packaging. It's absolutely a cream - thick but easy to apply in thin layers. I use my ring finger and dab it on the spots I want to coverage, and then buff out with a damp Beauty Blender, flat-topped brush, or round brush...basically, it's easy to buff out. If I am wearing foundation, I pat concealer on last, to get at anything that foundation doesn't cover, and it melds in beautifully.

It offers full coverage, but never cakes up, and it has a luminous quality without containing sparkles. It conceals without mattifying and keeps that "natural skin" appearance. Sometimes I set with powder, and sometimes I don't, but I never notice it slipping or pilling up or doing anything shady. I also love that it has yellow/golden undertones, and isn't too pink or orange like some concealers are (my shade is Tahini). I purchased mine at Sephora.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Something Quick: Dior Skyline Polish

[Product was purchased by me.]

I just wanted to throw this out there, because I couldn't find a lot of swatches when I was shopping for it, so this will be quick.

I have a soft spot for Dior polish. It's my favorite brand of polish, and lasts about a week or so (with proper base and top coats - my current favorites are Lippmann's All About that Base CC Base Coat, and Addicted to Speed top coat). I always keep an eye out for new releases, so I picked up Skyline (from Nordstrom, $27). I thought it would be an oxblood cream.
In shade - looks like a deep purple cream.
It's not, though. It's a dusty purple in shade, similar to Lippmann Miss Independent, but in sunlight - boom. It's a reddish chocolate brown, with that famous secret shimmer. It's quite unique, and perfect for autumn.
You can kind of see the shimmer. It's more pronounced than in some other recent polishes, but still...it's "secret."
The two US releases (as far as I can tell) are Skyline and Minimal; Minimal is a praline cream, and I'm eyeing it hard. I have Lippmann Naked, but Minimal is an opaque cream (from what I can tell, anyway), so...we'll see. Still, I feel like Dior's polish prices go up every year, so I don't know. $27 is getting up there.

I purchased mine at Nordstrom, but it's available at most Dior beauty retailers. I believe it's limited edition - most of their seasonal releases are. These still feature that fabulous wide brush, which I love. Also, even though I'm not into any of the other products in this collection, I do love the promo photo:
[image source]

It's so deliciously VAMPY. I mean, maybe I should be looking at recreating that lipstick-gloss combo. And that eye look. I'm pretty sure I have enough STUFF to do it. And I haven't tackled a FOTD in a long time. OK, SELF, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.