Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Summer Trialing

Summer is the time for beach combing, bike riding, melon eating...and apparently product testing. Warmer weather means less dry, sensitive skin for me, so as long as I stay out of the sun, I tend to take these 3 months to test out new skincare bits.

Starting on the left, let me contradict myself on the first product. I am merely trying out Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream since I picked it up last month; no connection to my seasonal skincare theory. My typical cuticle treatment of choice is coconut oil, but I find this is convenient to carry around in my bag. It isn't very emollient but I like that as it doesn't melt or separate in the heat. Did I mention it smells amazing too? Lemon is one of my favorite scents of all time so I just open this up to take a whiff.

Next is a product that was in my May Favorites post; the Neutrogena Clear Face liquid-lotion sunscreen. I try to give skincare a 3-4 month test run before incorporating it into my main routine and this may fit the summer bill. Worth noting is its lack of hydrating properties; this would certainly not be enough on its own for me come autumn/winter. A lightweight, effective and inexpensive SPF option still.

A complete impulse purchase from Target is the No7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Water. When I lived in France, I tried the famous Bioderma micellar water and hated it. It burned my eyes and didn't remove my waterproof mascara whatsoever. I know I am probably the only blogger in the world who dislikes Bioderma but it just didn't work for me. In fact, I have yet to stumble across a micellar water that does. First impression of this No7 offering is it smells like alcohol...but I want to give it a fair run despite the cynic in me!

Lastly we have a Sephora 100 point perk I received in April. The Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum is meant to fade sunspots, acne scars and general skin discoloration. This serum contains 2% hydroquinone, which works as the lightening agent. I have been using this on my acne scars nightly since June and unfortunately have not seen noticeable improvement. This sample size is almost out, so I may move onto something else. Scars take a long time to fade though so I don't discount this serum. It does contain a decent amount of alcohol; a known irritant so for that reason I won't be shelling out for the full size.

Have you been trying any new things this summer?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

My Current Summer Base

Between torrential rains and sticky humidity, I have largely been going foundation-free most days this summer. If I want to wear a base, it has to be as "-proof" (sweat, water, cakey, etc) as possible. For 2-3 months out of the year, I bring out this fail safe duo.

Enter a concealer + powder foundation routine. Before you cringe and click off, hear me out. This combination not only adequately covers my hyper pigmentation and redness, it also looks and feels very light on the skin.

As much as I love dewy, glowy skin, I don't find it practical for everyday summer wear. It has the tendency to make you look oily/sweaty and wears off in a few hours. If I want my base makeup to last, using a creamy but dense concealer like the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage and a powder foundation (here I have the discontinued Physician's Formula Healthy Wear powder) works beautifully. I just apply concealer where needed and then lightly buff in some powder with my Real Techniques Buffing Brush. Easy.

Do you have a favorite summer base? I am still interested in a tinted moisturizer (looking at you , Nars).

Side note: I was shocked at how quickly I reached pan on the left side of the Laura Mercier concealer. Anyone else experience this?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Recent Acquisitions

 With one week of my new internship down, a few small surprises greeted me in my mailbox.

Top: Laura Mercier foundation primer. L: The Balm Mary Lou Manizer R: MAC Immortal Flower

 The primer and highlight powder were actually obtained through a swap. I never really got into MUA swaps until recently. They are a great way to try new things without being wasteful. I have never had a negative experience either *knocks on wood*.

The MAC blush was recently repromoted in the All About Orange collection. It's a beautiful light true peach. I heard some people hated the texture from the original Tres Cheek collection, but mine is pretty pigmented and soft. Despite being light, it shows up easily and could definitely be built up. Been wearing it all week!

Note about the highlighter...it is stunning, lots of product but wow it is shimmery. This is not for the faint of highlighting hearts!

Have you picked up anything new lately?

Monday, June 3, 2013

May Favorites

We're 3 days into June, so no more procrastinating on my part. It's time to showcase the things I enjoyed in May.

Only a few makeup products this month, as it has been getting hotter and I prefer wearing less products on my face (it will sweat off anyway if I do...gross but true). First up is the Laura Mercier Secret Camoflauge Concealer. I picked up this cult favorite during the Sephora VIB sale and have been loving it ever since. With two different tones of yellow and neutral/slightly pink, I can mix them to get my perfect shade. It is one of those products with a learning curve however; it is very dry at first so you must warm it up (I use a hairdryer). I find this works even on blemishes, and the formula lasts all day. My shade is SC-3.

Sorry it's a little rough looking!

The next thing I loved last month was the NYX lipliner in Natural. I never used to enjoy lipliners (honestly they remind me of my sisters in the 90s with the brown lip outlines...*shudders*) but this one is really nice to give slight definition. Next is another drugstore favorite, the Prestige Total Intensity Eyeliner in Intense Olive. A long unnecessary name but not the worst I've heard. These eyeliners are nothing short of amazing. They are creamy, extremely pigmented and give you time to smudge out but then set for hours. I especially love this dark olive shimmery shade on my brown eyes. Oh and they retail for $5.95. Last makeup product is the Nars Illuminator in Orgasm. I got this as a Sephora 100 point perk a long time ago and just started using it this spring. This is a really nice subtle highlighting liquid. It has a pink base with gold shimmer and somehow looks really natural for a dewy summer face.

Swatches L - R: Prestige Intense Olive, NYX Natural, Nars Orgasm
I saved my favorite favorites for last...skincare!

On the left is the Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid-Lotion Suncreen SPF 30. Like most consumers, facial sunscreen leaves me feeling greasy and smelly - but not this one. It has a very viscous texture, making it easy to blend in. The "break-out free" claim is true too, at least for me. This is impressive as most sunscreens do break out my sensitive acne-prone skin. I've enjoyed Neutrogena as an overall brand for years, so this is another thumps up from me. In the middle looking very puny in comparison is Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse oil. I did a whole post dedicated to this so I will link it here if you're interested. Lastly we have an old summer staple for me, Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer in Medium to Tan. Every year I wonder if another brand will knock Jergens off their gradual tan throne. This stuff just...works. Gives a gradual tan, moisturizes well and doesn't smell too bad. What more could you want? I use the medium to tan version because the lighter one comes off orangey on me (the worst type of self tan result).

What have you been loving lately? I hope everyone in the Northern Hemisphere is enjoying the start of summer (sorry Australians).

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Current Summery Lemmings

Current Lemmings

Just a few things I have my eye on as the temperature is on the rise here. How we can go from the 40s last week to the high 80s now is beyond my comprehension.

First there's Lanolips ointment. This has quite the cult following in Australia I believe and for good reason - lanolin, the main ingredient, is extremely hydrating. I really want to try one of the tinted versions but can't find it online let alone in the States (everything should be available in a capitalist world, shouldn't it?). Any suggestions where to find it would be super.

The hat is very, very random. If you know me IRL (love that acronym), you have probably never seen me in a hat. But they look cute on other people so...might give it go this summer.

My hair is at an awkward length right now after cutting it pretty short (just barely shoulder length) a few months ago, so I have been trying to infuse some curls/texture/interest. This Cortex 4 in 1 wand thing looks intriguing. I own the Conair wand but it's tapered at the bottom so I find I end up looking more Shirley Temple than Gisele Bundchen.

"Going Incognito" by Essie has an awesome name and I love green. All I have to say there.

And we have the famed St. Tropez self tan mousse. I never used to be bothered with self tan but seeing as I will have little to no beach access this year, it's nice to pretend you were on vacation somewhere tropical soaking up the rays (with sunscreen of course, come on now).

What do you have your eye on this summer?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Usage Dry Oil

Home from college for a few weeks, I have been cleaning and reorganizing my room in preparation of another upcoming move. In the shuffling around, I have rediscovered some neglected gems, one being the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse dry oil. I received this from my French host mother back in 2009 so it was about time I tried it out.

A blend of 6 different oils including sweet almond and macademia, as well as Vitamin E, this dry oil can be used on the face, hair and body. Having sensitive acne-prone skin, I have yet to use this on my face, however I can say it works beautifully at hydrating my body and hair. You don't need much with this product; a quarter sized drop is enough for my entire body. I just rub it between my hands and pat it onto my skin. It has worked especially well at soothing a recent sunburn too.

My hair is naturally dry and likely damaged, and I've found it really infuses a lot of shine back in.

Now I am really intrigued by other Nuxe products. Might have to try the blogger crowd favorite Reve de Miel lip balm next! Have you tried any Nuxe products?

Monday, May 13, 2013

First Impression: Maybelline LE Color Tattoo in Seashore Frosts

For anyone surprised to see me churning out another post, I am just as if not more surprised than you. Today while running errands I picked up one of those limited edition Maybelline Color Tattoos from their summer collection. The shade I chose was Seashore Frosts.

Hate when the label is off center. Boo
In direct sunlight
Seashore Frosts is a blue and gold duochrome cream shadow with hints of green and pink reflects. This seems to be one of the more popular Color Tattoos in the collection amongst bloggers and I can see why. It is truly gorgeous and unique looking.
Left: One layer swatch / Right: Two layers
The texture is really creamy, more than the other Color Tattoos I own such as Bad to the Bronze and Tough as Taupe. It feels slightly thinner too, which produces a more sheer swatch. However, I think you could build this up slowly if you wanted more opacity.
Direct sunlight
Here I tried to capture the beautiful duochrome but alas my mediocre camera did not want any part. However I think you can pick up the blue/gold vibe going on. I doubt the pink/green reflects would show up on the eyes anyway but I will try it out tomorrow and see if I can make an EOTD happen.

This shade 'Seashore Frosts' was the last one in the display I found (at Rite Aid for $6.99). Since this is only a first impression post, I am unsure if I'm going to like this on the eyes...I never really considered myself a duochrome lover. Maybe I will be pleasantly surprised and/or newly converted!

Let me know if you picked up any of these up and if you like them!