Friday, April 24, 2015

EMPTIES! #6 | April 2015


When you finish products at the rate of speed I do, it's SO much simpler to do empties posts monthly instead of quarterly.  No longer will you have to slog through a head-spinning 47 mini reviews every four months!  Plus, in the spirit of keeping things tidy, it makes me happy to recycle my empties bag contents at the end of each month.  Here's what I finished in April!

This is one of the best conditioning options on the market, period.  Not "best drugstore" option; best overall -- and it costs less than $5 bucks!  It can be used as a daily conditioner and a mask.  I love to apply it to dry hair, wrap my head in plastic wrap and pop a towel warmed by the dryer on my head.  It seals the hydration in like a deep conditioning treatment at the salon.  After 20-30 minutes, I rinse it out and shampoo as normal.  My hair feels like it has a new lease on life!  I also use this as my daily conditioner.  It's weightlessly hydrating enough that it makes combing through my snarled, tangled wet hair a breeze.

This deodorant was The One that made transitioning from anti-perspirant to deodorant possible for me.  I don't smell any vanilla; just an intoxicating blend of freshness that screams "I just stepped out of the shower and my armpits smell incredible!"  It does an amazing job of keeping my underarms feeling dry (which shocks me because it's not an AP) and it keeps me smelling clean and fresh.  I picked up the full size during the Sephora VIB sale.

This is one of my favorite foundations of life!  I've seen it described as light to medium coverage, but I find it's a solid medium that can easily be built up to full.  I have some sunspots and acne scarring on my cheeks and it covers them beautifully.  I had a 6 zit brass band performance happening on my chin when I did the before and after pictures for my review, and you can't even see them after 1 layer of foundation was applied.  It's so weightless, it feels like nothing on the skin, and it gives a gorgeous natural finish.  This outperformed Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk Foundation for me, which I found chalky and unnatural-looking on the skin.  If you want to try a serum foundation but don't want to drop a ton of kwan, try Fluid-Touch.  PS: I found it for sale at All Cosmetics Wholesale: two for $9.99 USD! 

There's nothing I don't love about this concealer!  It doesn't crease under my eyes, it covers blemishes like a champ, and I love the doe foot applicator.  I used Vanilla primarily for under my eyes, and I still have a tube of Custard going strong that I use to cover redness and acne.  These concealers last me FOREVER.  Vanilla lasted just over two years, and I used it almost every day! 

After successfully transitioning from anti-perspirant to deodorant, I decided to try this organic option.  Sadly, it wasn't a love.  The texture is abrasive to the point of being unpleasant to apply and there is hardly any scent.  By the end of the day, I didn't smell fresh.

This thick, waterless balm is packed with vitamins, active antioxidants, pomegranate, eyebright, ginsing, fennel, and shea butter.  It's the richest, most hydrating eye treatment I've ever used, and it reduces morning puffiness like a champ.  This 0.5 oz jar has lasted me TWO YEARS!  That's how little of the product you need to get the job done. 

What did you finish in April?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Review! | Essie Splash of Grenadine

I'm having a lavender and lilac moment.  I can't pinpoint the exact point of origin that started this purple haze craze for me, but MAC Lavender Jade lipstick (from the Bao Bao Wan collection), Clinique Pansy Pop Cheek Pop Blush, and NARS Années Folles Larger Than Life Lipgloss were 3 of the first beauties that had tiny (lilac) hearts floating above my head.  
After seeing Xuvious' post in February of Essie Splash of Grenadine, I knew I had to track down a bottle.  My mom first discovered Splash of Grenadine last year, but we had a hard time finding it for sale.  I was able to find it on Ulta's website and quickly ordered 2; one for me, one for mom!  
This cheerful lavender cream will be spending a lot of time on my tips and toes this spring and summer!  Splash of Grenadine is the perfect mix of pink and purple, and I'm able to get fully opaque color in two coats.  

What's on your nails right now?  
What was your last color addiction?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Spa Sunday | April 19th


How do you spend your Sundays?  I like to drink coffee, catch up on blogging, and most importantly, relax.  I find at-home spaaah-ing the apex of relaxation.  There's nothing better than lighting a candle, grabbing a book, and settling in for some much-needed renewal before it's back to the daily grind.  These are the products that are aiding and abetting my day of rest-oration today!


Osmia Organics Detox Exfoliating Mask | This detox mask contains 3 kinds of purifying clay, raw cacao, manuka honey, bamboo charcoal, walnut shells and olive leaf powders.  It comes in powder form with a spatula and ceramic bowl and can be mixed with water, yoghurt, or manuka honey (or any combination you like!).  It really gets my skin back on track by pulling impurities out of my pores.  After leaving it on for 15-20 minutes, I wet my hands and gently massage my face to turn the mask into a glow-inducing exfoliator.  [ Editor's note: do not use a white washcloth to remove it unless you want to turn it into a gray one. ;) ]

Glossier Moisturizing Moon Mask | This creamy mask is powered by plant-based squalane, hyaloronic acid, and sweet almond oil and leaves my skin plumped and perfectly hydrated.  I love to apply masks with a flat foundation brush like this beaut from Makeup Academy.  It keeps my hands clean while preventing germ transfer to jars and helps apply the product more evenly.

rms beauty oil | This multi-faceted oil is packed with unprocessed plant extracts, licorice root, rosehip seed oil, buriti fruit, and turmeric.  It boosts brightness, reduces inflammation, and hydrates without being greasy.  I love to layer this under Nuxe Rêve de Miel on my lips for a potently moisturizing lip mask.  It's also amazing layered underneath any hydrating mask if you want to double your moisture money!

Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm | The name "Rêve de Miel" says it's all: it's a honey dream!  This thick, paraben-free balm contains honey, sunflower, musk rose,  and almond oils, as well as shea butter and grapefruit essence.  It melts into a comfortable balm-oil hybrid once applied to the lips, repairing the skin and sealing in moisture.
 
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream | After hearing about this dream cream from aLoveTart's February Favorites video, I was thrilled when Sephora offered a week's supply of sample packets as a GWP.  I was smitten at first use!  The whipped texture absorbs quickly, leaving my skin feeling so unbelievably soft.  The texture and softening effects remind me of True Blue Spa's Look Ma, New Hands, only FAB is unscented and absorbs into skin almost immediately.


What are your favorite spa day face products?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Makeup Collection! | Urban Decay Revolution & Sheer Revolution Lipsticks

To quote Snoop Dogg, "Greetings, loved ones! Let's take a journey..." to the land of creamy, badass luxury!  Today I'm sharing my beloved Urban Decay Revolution and Sheer Revolution Lipstick collection!  How beloved, you ask?  I had to fish four of these out of my purse to photograph them.  You know it's true love when you carry them on your person.

When Urban Decay launched their Revolution lipsticks late last summer, I didn't hop on the bandwagon straight away.  I looked at the swatches on Temptalia (standard!), but I couldn’t really decide if the MLBB pinks were too warm or light for me.  When I checked them out in person at Sephora a few months later, some of the testers were missing and the store was a mob scene.  It wasn’t exactly the zen swatching sitch (love ya, Liz!) I was hoping for.  My mom (who embodies “badass luxury” and has been my makeup mentor for life) was the first to take the plunge.  She picked up Rapture, a dusty plum, and fell in love!  She loaned it to me one day while we were having lunch, and YOWZAS!  What a beaut!  She gifted me 2 of her Revolutions, Rapture (she repurchased a new tube) and Rush (which she found a bit too light for her lip pigment scenario).  I bought Naked for a steal on Glambot, and Sheer F-Bomb and Sheer Rapture from Sephora after seeing Sheer Rapture on Lily at Chloe Ash and swooning. 
Naked // Rapture // Rush

The Revolution formula is amazing; creamy without being overly slippery or emollient, long-wearing without being drying or uncomfortable, incredible pigmentation.  It has a beautiful luminous finish that hits right between satin and gloss.  To me, the Revolution formula is most similar to MAC’s Cremesheens.
Sheer F-Bomb
Sheer Rapture

The Sheer Revolution formula is a dream for anyone who prefers a finish that's more glossy and less pigmented.  It's more emollient than Revolution without being overly slick or bleeding.  The buttery formula does mean a shorter wear time, so keep that in mind if you don’t enjoy reapplying your lippies throughout the day.  The pigmentation of these varies.  Sheer Rapture (is anyone else surprised it's not "Rupture"??  It is UD after all!) is the very definition of a swipe n' go, easy-breezy sheer, while Sheer F-Bomb was almost fully opaque in 3 swipes!  [I apologize that I don't have Sheer F-Bomb on hand to do a lip swatch, by the way.  #Fail]  I think UD is using the term sheer more in regard to the formula, which is a glossier, more jelly finish, than the original Revolution’s creamy, luminous finish.  For comparison, Sheer Revolution lipsticks seem like a cross between MAC’s Lustre and Cremesheen formulas.
Naked // Rapture // Rush // Sheer Rapture
Top to Bottom: Naked // Rapture // Rush // Sheer Rapture
Sheer F-Bomb: 1 swipe // 3 swipes
// Sheer Rapture //

// Rapture //

// Rush //

// Naked //

Have you joined the Revolution? ;)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

EMPTIES! #5 | Winter 2014

Ladies and gents, it's time to talk trash!  Today's the day for a virtual dumpster dive through my beauty refuse for the past quarter!  Let's get started!

// FACE //
Avène Thermal Spring Water Soothing Serum: This gentle hydrating serum works better for me during the warmer months when my skin needs less moisture.  It's great for spring and summer if you're oily/combination and need something that won't irritate your skin.  Would I repurchase? Yes.
Bite Beauty Whipped Cherry Lip Scrub:  I talked about this lip scrub in my February Loves & Lemons post here.  To summarize, this scrub is 99% emollients, 1% scrub.  Would I repurchase? No.
Bliss Fabulous Foaming Fash Wash: This cleanser contains microbeads to gently exfoliate skin while you wash.  I wasn't blown away by it, but I didn't dislike it either.  Would I repurchase? Undecided.
Clarins Super Restorative Total Eye Concentrate: FELL IN LOVE after one use!  This cream is unbelievably silky and leaves the delicate skin around the eyes feeling incredibly soft and perfectly hydrated without being greasy or sticky.  I squeezed every last drop out of this sample, and bit the bullet and bought the full sized version after only 4 uses.  Another winner from Clarins! Would I repurchase? Bought the full size and love it!
Garnier Smoothing Cream Cleanser for Dry Skin with Jojoba and Macadamia Oils: This was a nice, non-drying cleanser that performed both of it's main claims ("gently cleans + restores softness") well.  Would I repurchase? Yes.
*Kaia Naturals Juicy Bamboo Facial Cleansing Cloths: If there was an award for the best smelling facial cloths in existence, these would win!  Full review here. *Press sample Would I repurchase? Yes.
Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado: This product has an interesting texture; it goes on smooth but then gets squeaky as you work it in?  I used this for over a month and didn't notice any change to my eye area.  Would I repurchase? No.
MAC Sized To Go Cleanse Off Oil/Tranquil: This was ok, but I prefer Garnier Clean + Nourishing Cleansing Oil.  The MAC packaging is superior, though, in that it's leak-proof and perfect for travel.  I plan to refill this bottle with the Garnier cleansing oil!  Price also comes into play, as MAC's sized to go bottle contains 1 oz for $10.00 and MAC's full sized bottle contains 5 oz for $31.00 versus Garnier's 4.2 oz for $5.99.  Would I repurchase? Probably not.
Mustela Facial Cleansing Cloths:  These smell strange to me; like herbal baby powder.  I didn't like the smell on my face, so I used them to remove product from my hands when I do my makeup in the mornings.  Would I repurchase? No.
Neutrogena Make-Up Remover Cleansing Towelettes: These remove makeup like a BOSS but they leave a film behind.  So long as you're following up by using a regular cleanser, or at least rinsing your face off with water, these are great.  Would I repurchase? Yes.
Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask: Didn't love it, didn't hate it.  Happy it was a 100 point perk from Sephora.  Would I repurchase? No.
St. Ives Even & Bright Pink Lemon & Mandarin Orange Scrub: What the hell is a pink lemon, you ask?  I really can't say, but if you have dull skin, you need the pink lemons!  This scrub has the perfect balance of exfoliators (not too many, not too few) to get your skin smooth and flake-free without irritating it.  It's powerful and gentle, like a Disney prince.  This was recommended to me by Stephanie Eva, who has dry skin and finds it gentle enough to use daily.  Would I repurchase? Definitely!
The Body Shop Vitamin E Eye Cream: This eye cream claims to "Help reduce the appearance of fine lines, puffiness and dark circles".  I noticed none of these effects, and the cream itself had a synthetic, mildly salty scent reminiscent of Play-Doh.  Would I repurchase? No. 
Wedderspoon 100% Raw Manuka Honey Active 16+: What can't you do with this amazing honey?  Mix it into your favorite dry powder face mask for a boost of vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants, make a hair mask with it for a kick of nutrients that rinses out to reveal shimmering, healthfull strands, add it into your tea to sweeten up both the flavor and the nutritional value of your warm cuppa, mix it up with a spoonful of sugar to create an amazing natural scrub (perfect for the lips!), the uses are truly endless.  Not that this honey needs any additional kudos, but the Wedderspoon people are amazing, too.  Just throwing that in!  Huge thanks to Taylor at My Lucite Dreams for introducing me to this wonder honey! Would I repurchase? Definitely!


// HAIR //
Head & Shoulders Dry Scalp Care Shampoo with Almond Oil: LOVE.  This shampoo magically makes my dry scalp happy and keeps my oily hair in check.  How can one's scalp be both dry/flaky and oily?  I have no idea, but this shampoo is a miracle worker.  Would I repurchase? Yes, already have.
L'Oreal Paris Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm: This smelled really fresh and deeply hydrated my hair from root to tip.  It's a little heavy to be used as a daily conditioner on my fine hair, but it works perfectly as a deep conditioning mask.  Would I repurchase? Yes.
MoroccanOil Moisture Repair Shampoo: This is the most incredible smelling shampoo EVER!  This treated my fine, oily hair like gold, leaving it soft but not overly flat.  MoroccanOil, when will you start making perfume?  Because I'll be first in line to buy it!  Would I repurchase? Yes.
Not Your Mothers Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo: This is the one dry shampoo I have repurchased time and time again!  Full review here.  Would I repurchase? Yes, to infinity and beyond! 


// HAND & BODY //
Aveeno Skin Relief Hand Cream: This was my bedside table staple this winter!  It soaks in incredibly fast and leaves your hands feeling soft and hydrated overnight.  Great for anyone with an aversion to strongly scented hand creams since its fragrance free.  Would I repurchase? Yes.
Bath & Body Works Merry Cookie Nourishing Hand Cream: Smelled like fresh baked cookies, but wasn't hydrating enough to be my go-to nightly hand treatment.  Would I repurchase? No.
Bath & Body Works Shower Gels in Vanilla Bean Noel and French Lavender & Honey: You guys know my obsession with Vanilla Bean Noel is real!  I stocked up during the holidays and just opened a new bottle and mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.  Favorite B&BW body wash of life.  I liked French Lavender & Honey in that it smelled fresh and not overly sweet, but it didn't hold a candle to VBN!  Would I repurchase? VBN: YAS!, FL&H: No.
Bath & Body Works True Blue Spa Mini Look Ma, New Hands: This is one of my top 3 favorite hand creams of all-time.  Crazy hydrating and smells EXACTLY like the juiciest fresh tangerines you can imagine.  This was my winter purse staple, and I may or may not have wiped away a tear upon finishing the tube.  Would I repurchase? Yes.
C.O. Bigelow Lemon Cream Body Wash: This was another literal lemon from my February Loves & Lemons.  Very chemical scent, not the Meyer lemon adventure I was hoping for.  Would I repurchase? No.
rms beauty Organic Raw Coconut Cream: Reviewed. I lot of people scoff at the price tag, but this isn't the coconut oil you can find at any grocery store for a few bucks.  It's unlike any other coconut oil I've used before; it's organic, it smells like coconut cake, and it can fix a multitude of skin and hair issues.  I've used grocery store coconut oil for years, but the rms Coconut Cream is in a league of it's own.  I have extreme underarm issues every fall and winter.  They become so sensitive and painful that I can't use any kind of deodorant or anti-perspirant and I have to sleep with my nightshirt turned inside-out because the seams bother them so badly.  The rms Coconut Cream was a godsend this winter!  I can apply a tiny bit to my underarms and it hydrates, helps alleviate the chapping, and works as a 100% organic deodorant!  If you love coconut oil but have never tried the rms Coconut Cream, do your skin a favor and shell out the $18.00 USD for the 2.5 oz pot.  Even with daily use, the small jar lasted months.  Would I repurchase? Yes.
The Body Shop Vitamin E Body Butter: This was a gift from my sweet friend Stephanie Eva, who spotted it on my Beauty Wish List Pinterest board!  How cool is that?!  Like all TBS body butters, this one was incredibly hydrating and keep my cold weather skin in check like a champ.  Would I repurchase? Yes, but I'd buy a different scent next time because I love variety.


// MAKEUP //
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Dark Brown (formerly Brunette):  I love Brow Wiz!  The super skinny mechanical pencil is the easiest brow product I've ever used, and has a handy spoolie built in for brushing the pencil through the hair.  I have two, this one and Medium Brown, which is still going strong.  I prefer Medium Brown as it's a bit lighter and feels like a better match for my brows.  Would I repurchase? Yes.
C.O. Bigelow Lemon Lip Cream: This *was* the Meyer lemon adventure I was hoping for!  Smells and tastes like lemony goodness, and nicely hydrating.  Would I repurchase? Yes.
Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in 01 Rose Shimmer: A sheer, hydrating liquid lip balm that smells like creme brûlée.  What's not to love?  The felt tip applicator is a nice touch, as well.  Would I repurchase? Yes.
Clinique Long Last Lipstick in Bamboo Pink: A beautiful brown-based pink with silver micro shimmer.  It went on incredibly creamy but I found it drying over the course of a day's worth of wear.  Also, the silver shimmer can look a little over the top if applied too heavily (a plethora of swipes).  This was the first lipstick I've finished (maybe ever?!) and I was very excited by my ridiculous "accomplishment"!  Would I repurchase? No.
MAC Mini Fix+: While Fix+ has a multitude of useful jobs, I used it mainly to wet eye makeup brushes for shadow application.  Loved it.  Would I repurchase? Yes.
MAC Prep + Prime Skin Base: This was the first makeup primer I ever purchased!  Seeing that I bought it back in 2011, it's quite old and needs to be discarded.  This is the only silicone primer that doesn't cause my skin to produce oil like a madman.  In general my skin is so oily that I don't use a primer, especially one containing silicone, unless my endgame is for my makeup to slide off in 120 minutes or less.  If I do use one, it would the Too Faced Hangover Rx Primer (Reviewed), my silicone-free friend.  Would I repurchase? No.
MAC Technakohl Liner in Graphblack: This jet black twist-up liner was okay but not great; it skipped during application and I had some issues with color transfer on primed and eyeshadow-covered lids.  This was my first ever black eyeliner!  Would I repurchase? No.
Nivea Raspberry Rose Kiss Lip Butter: I love this.  Very hydrating, the raspberry scent is divine, and the tin fits into pockets and purses of all sizes and shapes.  Would I repurchase? Yes.
YSL Matt & Radiant Pressed Powder: This was my favorite setting powder ever.  I used it every day without fail.  It kept my oily skin in check all day, and never caked or looked overly powdered.  Well worth the price of admission.  Would I repurchase? Yes.

What did you finish over the winter?  Any new HG's?