29 January 2012

Jack Who?

Hi!  It's me, R!

So, I have been waiting for Chanel's Spring 2012 line to hit Canadian counters ever since the blogs were inundated with Spring's beauty offerings.  

I actually did not want anything for myself as nothing really interested me enough to motivate me to loosen up the purse strings.  However, I really wanted to get the Rouge Coco Lip Balm for my mom.  She is the reason that I live, so she deserves a ridiculously priced lip balm. 

Here it is in its much higher price and much less product glory:

 Here it is half-naked.
I have a Rouge Coco Shine in #59 Elise, and I really like the feel of it on my lips.  I know it hasn't garnered much excitement or support from the beauty community, especially given its high price tag, but it's a nice little luxury item.  Anyway, I figured my mom would enjoy it, and she does!  Do I feel it's crazy to pay $39 (not including taxes) for a frickin' lip balm?  Um, yes.  Would I buy this for myself?  Hellllls naw.  But would I pay $200 for a lip balm if I knew my mom would enjoy it?  You betcha bottom dollar, Annie.  

This.  Is what I use.
I got this lip balm for a few HKD when I was in Hong Kong.  Here it is on an Sasa.com.  It comes in a variety of 'flavours' but the products themselves are white in colour and transparent when applied.  Note: there is no rhyme or reason to the following picture.   
I've tried Apple (pictured above), Green Apple, Lychee, Blackcurrant, and Lemon so far.  My favourites are Apple and Blackcurrant.  They are labelled "Mentholatum," so they give your lips a minty-fresh (but not overpoweringly so) feeling.  They smell wonderful and are tasteless.  They are by far the best lip balms I have ever used.  I especially love how they glide on and the fact that they don't dry out my lips or cause them to flake/peel (Gross, I know, but I'm looking at you, Softlips and Burt's Bees.  Hard.)  They wear very comfortably and is not as waxy as Chapstick.  Furthermore, they have SPF 15, so they offer some protection to your lips.  If you can get your hands on these in a store that sells Asian products, I highly recommend that you try them out.  

Now, don't be bringing out your pitchforks and flaming torches, but...I am not a fan of the Jack Black Lip Balm.  There.  I said it.  I've never heard a bad thing about it.  The only thing that came close to a slightly negative review was from KarlaSugar.  I know it tops almost everyone's list of favourite lip balms/products, including that of Temptalia.  Despite this, I find it too thick and goopy to apply evenly on the lips, and rather than feeling moisturized, my lips are screaming for the gunk to be bulldozed off of them.  Like nao.  Because of this, I had mostly used it prior to sleeping.  But I've even stopped this exercise because I would find my lips suffering the Softlips/Burt's Bees effects.  

Simply put: Lip Ice is R's Holy Grail lip balm.


- R.

28 January 2012

M's "Teeny" Weekend Haul

I did a little haul today, so I just wanted to show off my stash, teeheehee!

After weeks of research (through blogs, youtube videos, and the general internet), I've finally decided to buy one of the L'OREAL La Couleur Infaillible (27 Goldmine).
I bought it from London Drugs for $8.99 CAD

When you open it up, there's a black disc with a small peg/handle to keep the product compacted.

Gorgeous colour!

Flash and Without Flash swatches.
In both photos, I did a heavier swatch on the left side, and sort of dragged the shadow towards the right side to show a lighter swatch.  The pigmentation is spectacular!

I got oils, and need shit to soak it up.
I bought it from Sephora for $36 CAD.  Looking at the price on the website, it's only $28 USD - WTF.

Here's me spilling some powder out.

Its packaging:

I bought a new ECO TOOLS Bamboo Powder Brush for the powder.
I got this one from London Drugs for $12.99 CAD.

Sandra raves about this acne/breakouts lifesaver brand, so I figured I'll give it a try:
I bought this from London Drugs for $25 CAD.

The ingredients:

A dab of the product:

and finally,
I bought this from London Drugs for $9.99 CAD.
It's absolutely gorg!


On a side note...
I was at London Drugs' cosmetics area for the longest time ever, so,
I got to test out the entire REVLON ColorBurst Lip Butter collection.

My verdict:  It's good quality (with respect to drug store lip products) and good value (under $10), but it is nowhere close to either Chanel's Coco Shine or YSL's Volupte Sheer Candy collections.  The Lip Butters are exponentially drier and less creamy than the latter.  I'm not trying to be snobby, but if I'm going to be paying a bit more than 1/3 of the price of a Coco Shine, I would rather just save up the other 2/3 for an actual Chanel lip product - especially, if it's nowhere close to a dupe.  Also, why call them such yummy names if you're not going to even make them scented?!  If I had to choose one of the Lip Butters (oh, poor me), Peach Parfait would be my pick - that scent would've been super noms!
Pffft, hype.

I hope you enjoyed the haul pornography!

xoxo, M.


Haul Update:  January 29

Over the weekend, I was gawking at the LUSH Valentine's products online, and I had to have the Magic Mushroom Bubble Bar.  They're scented as strawberries and cream - Yum!  Last night, I was polite as non-confrontational as possible to the sales associate, and was rewarded two mushrooms.  I got them for $5.95 CAD each.  Cannot wait to soak in them!!

The only valuable information I got from the sales associate was that they'll keep producing them until Valentine's Day (February 14); after which, they'll just be selling whatever they have left in stock.
Go get them now!

 (I put the bags in the background so you have an idea of the size)

Booourns, Monday tomorrow.

25 January 2012

BB doesn't always stand for boobies

Asian beauty products have long been amazeballs and putting "Western World" beauty products to shame!  One that is particularly attracting attention as of late is the BB Cream.

BB stands for Beauty Balm.  It is basically an Asian tinted moisturizer; proposing to replace your moisturizer, concealer, foundation, and sunscreen, with a single product.  There are tons of BB cream brands and types out there in Asian markets--and now, mass North American markets too (including drug stores)!  See Musings of a Muse for her kickass detailed post answering "what is a BB cream?"

Unfortunately, I am not rich enough and too stingy to buy a bunch of BB creams that are $30 each... so, I can only speak of my experiences with two BB creams:

This is a Korean brand.  It is a water based BB cream, which is a bit of an oxymoron in its name as a cream.  As mentioned in my previous post, I have oil-prone skin that is super sensitive... so, I definitely did not want a product that was too rich in creamy texture.  I also figured that any water based product would be less likely to clog my pores.

This product is very light in texture.  Some users might think it's too watery and not enough coverage.  I would agree that it is on the lighter side of coverage; however, for someone, like myself, who rarely uses foundation as anything more than just a spot concealer, it is perfect.

What I like about this product:
  • Very easy to spread
  • Very little product is required to cover the entire face
  • Easily matches to the natural skin colour
  • I cannot feel it on the skin, at all
What sucks about this product:
  • It costs $32 USD!  Dr. Jardt+ isn't on Canadian Sephora shelves, so I had to order this online... which made it $33.60 CAD after conversion.  For 1.7 oz of product, that sucks major balls.  Thank goodness, I only need a pea sized amount of product for coverage over my entire face (that shit really spreads well).
  • It has the sunscreen smell.  It's a light scent, so, I'm not hating it... I just don't love it.

This is an actual cream based BB cream.  It is quite thick, and not as smooth to spread as the Dr. Jardt+ one above.  Its sunscreen smell is strong too.  Combining the smell and texture, it actually reminds me of an actual sunscreen.

I really don't like this BB cream, so I really don't have anything good to say about this product.  I think it might suit someone who regularly puts on foundation (as a foundation's function, and not spot concealer), has dry skin, and wants medium to full coverage.

I bought this in one of the duty free shops at Chicago's O'Hare airport last July.  I think it was $26.50 USD.  They didn't have two tints at the time, but looking at swatches, I think I have 01, which is described to be for very light to fair skin.  I think what adds to my dislike for the product is that I'm slightly darker than 01, but way lighter than 02.


I am not comfortable enough to post pictures of both BB creams on my face... but I basically dot very, very little product on my forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin.  See Jennifer's (From Head To Toe) recent BB cream application tutorial video.

To give you an idea of how they dry and eventually look on your face, I did quite a bit of drag and spread in my swatches below.  The top swatch is the Clinique one, and the bottom swatch is the Dr. Jardt+ one.  I did not spread the top of either swatches, to show what the product looks like straight from the tube.  The mid-sections of either swatches show spreading for the product.  The lower sections of either swatches show the dried product.  As you can see from the swatches below, Clinique dries much much much slower than the Dr. Jardt+ one, because of its thicker, cream based formula.
(Sorry for the bad lighting of my iPhone4 ghetto picture... it doesn't do justice to the Dr. Jardt+ one.  It seems to make it look more yellow and darker, such that, it doesn't seem to match my skin tone.)

(Top:  Clinique Age Defense BB Cream; Bottom:  Dr. Jardt+ Waterfuse Beauty Balm)

Overall, I think it's pretty obvious that I hate the Clinique one.  I'm not certain on whether or not I would repurchase the Dr. Jardt+ one, because of its price tag.
I've heard good reviews about Skin79, and I see that they have a water based one (Shiny Pearl Water Drop).  Maybe I'll try that one.

What are your experiences with BB creams?  I'm very new to Asian beauty products... Any recommendations on BB creams or any other Asian beauty products would be awesome!


9 January 2012

M's Nighttime... DAYTIME!

My original title was "Shit M puts on her face" but figured I should at least attempt to come up with a better one. I was reminded of this ridiculous thing my friend does:

Yea, I know... wtf, right?


To give you some context to my skin...
It's got attitude.  It's sensitive/combination/hormonal acne prone.
When I say it's sensitive, I mean really sensitive.  Part of this reason is because it's super thin.  There are many sensitive-specific and self-proclaiming gentle products (both department and drugstore) that I cannot use as a result of this.  You're not sold that I have stupid sensitive skin... Ok, imagine having deep red/purple blotchy skin coming out of the shower... not from the heat, but from the water... yea.
The combination part is quite typical of the mould.  Except for the forehead area just above and in between my eyebrows, my T-zone is oily.
Hormonal acne... ugh.  I shouldn't complain too much about it, but I always know when the time is coming when I welcome a bright red pimple shoves itself into the picture.  Also, chocolate, chips and other fried goodness highly invite acne for me.



PHILOSOPHY purity (24 oz)
It comes out of the bottle like a watery lotion.  I have a big face, so I use about a quarter coin sized amount.  There's no bubbles or froth, unlike other facial cleanser products I've used in the past.  You just smooth it over your face and rinse off.  I keep this in the shower, and use it at night.  It also acts as a makeup remover.
If your skin is as sensitive as mine, I would highly recommend this.  It broke me out the first two times I used it, but has been absolute heaven afterwards.  I think it was getting all the deepass shit out of my pores.
Repurchase?  YES.  A HG for me. It's fucking expensive, but lasts forever.  (I've tried going back to my Olay Deep Cleansing Witch Hazel face wash, but failed so badly, because I've become too snobby).  I bought this 24oz Purity from Sephora.com for $42 CAD.

CLINIQUE dramatically different moisturizing gel (125mL)
It has a fucking long name.  They could just call it "Gel" for all I care, cuz that's all I look for when I pick it up.  (Note:  there's also a lotion one).  I've been using this lotion for more than 10 years, as it is the only lotion I know that doesn't make my face throw a tantrum at me.  It is definitely a gel, and is definitely the perfect moisture amount for me.  I dot my forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin with one pump each (about the size of a pea), and spread it around.  The product fully seeps into my skin within two minutes, and my face is smooth to the touch.  I hate products that leave your face feeling like there's a film or oil, cuz 1) you feel like a butterface and 2) you're just asking for shit to stick onto your skin.  I put this on after coming out of the shower.  It calms my post-shower blotchy red face (as mentioned previously).
Because it's a water-based gel, it's very easy to use the product completely up, without leaving anything inside the packaging.  I use the pump until I can't get any more product through it anymore, then I just keep the bottle upside down whenever I set it down.  All of the gel will slide right down to the bottleneck.
Repurchase?  Duh, yes.  No other product is more HG than this one.  I have maybe 3 bottles in reservoir.  I get mine from The Bay for $24.50 CAD whenever Clinique is giving out free sample kits (early September is one of the times during the year).

BURT'S BEES natural acne solutions (7.5mL/0.26 fl oz)
It directs you to use it in the morning and night after cleansing--DONT.  Only use this at night when you're definitely not going out until the day after, because it smells like shit.  Even washing your hands with soap won't get rid of the smell.  The smell is so revolting, but the product works amazing.  It's a spot treatment acne product.  I basically use my finger to dap it onto the pimple and just around it.  Don't use a cotton swab, because it'll just be a waste of product.  The skin soaks up the product immediately with 0.75% of Salicyclic Acid.  If I use this, a fresh pimple will disappear within 2 days with no dark marks or scarring (unlike a lot of other acne spot solutions that end up drying the shit out of the pimple and leave you with a dark mark).
Repurchase?  Yes, until I find one that does the same stuff without the odour.  I get mine for $9.99 USD at Walmart.

NIVEA aqua sensation eye creme (14g/0.5 oz)
I've tried the Bobbi Brown one that everyone raves about... and thank goodness I didn't buy a full sized to try, because this one kicks its ass, without burning holes in your wallet.  I wouldn't exactly call this a cream, as it is more of a slight more moisturizing eye lotion.  It hydrates my eyes without leaving any oily residue or film.  I put it underneath my eyes on my eyebags and on my eyelids before I go to bed.
Repurchase?  Probably.  I got mine from London Drugs when it was on sale for $10 CAD (I think).


CLINIQUE dramatically different moisturizing gel (125mL)
(I'm lazy and it's stupid to copy & paste the same shit within the blog... so, stroll up to see my rambles about it)
I use this right after I brush my teeth and wash my face in the morning, too.

L-R:  Almay foundation (160 naked), Chanel concealer (20), Laura Mercier concealer (wheat)

ALMAY clear complexion makeup - 160 naked (30mL/1 fl oz)
On the bottle, it says that it "clears blemishes" (with 0.6% Salicylic Acid) and is for oily skin.  I'm not sure if it clears blemishes, but it doesn't break me out nor dry my skin, so good enough.  It's a foundation, but I use it as a concealer during the summer.
Repurchase?  Yes.  I've been using it since I started using makeup.  I buy mine from London Drugs or Superstore whenever it goes on sale.  It's usually around $10-12 CAD.

CHANEL correcteur perfection long lasting concealer - 20 (7.5mL/0.26 oz)
I bought this in April 2011.  It has very good coverage and doesn't look dry.  I use foundation or powder on top, and it looks unnoticeable.  I tab it with the wand, and then blend with a triangle sponge.
Repurchase?  I'm not quite sure yet.  It's a good product, good for both winter and summer, but so fucking expensive.  $40 USD for this tiny tube is fuckrageous!  In my last post, I said that the Laura Mercier one is a dupe, but I'm like gahhh, is it really, because I love this one.  It's undetermined at the moment.  Fuck you, Chanel!  (See my previous vegas haul post on the Laura Mercier).

TARTE amazonian clay 12-hour blush - dollface (5.6g/0.2oz)
(see my vegas haul post on this).

COVERGIRL lash blast fusion - water resistant black-brown (13.1mL/0.44 fl oz)
(not in photo).
Everyone seems to hate this mascara, but it's my HG mascara.  I have the typical sparse stick-straight short lashes.  I also have oily eyelid creases.  This mascara gives the illusion that I actually have eyelashes with a slight curl that looks like it's natural, as if I'm not wearing any mascara at all.  Everyone hates this product, saying that it's not water resistant at all, but I think it is.  I've chickflick balled my eyes out with this product on, and I end up walking out of the theatre without any runs everytime.  It's also super long lasting without any flaking specks or panda eyes underneath my eyes.
Repurchase?  YES.  HG mascara.  I've tried sooo many expensive ones from Dior, YSL, Buxom, etc., but always reach for this one as my trusty one.  I get mine from Walmart for $7.99 USD.

YSL dessin des sourcils - 2 dark brown (0.04 oz/1.3g)
(not in photo).
I LOVE THIS EYEBROW PENCIL.  Sooo, I have no eyebrows.  Without makeup, the ends of my eyebrows are crazy sparse.  I also have very thin hairs, so they barely show.  I use this pencil to fill in my eyebrow, and then use the brush end to make it look very natural.  The formula is very smooth and soft.  It also lasts all day without reapplication.
Repurchase?  YES.  HG eyebrow.  This is my first one.  I bought it at Sephora when I was in Vegas in August 2010 for $28 USD.  I'm not even half way through yet!

ECOTOOLS blush brush
I use this as a regular blush brush, yes...  BUT, I also brush it all over my face (with no blush on it, of course) to smooth out any concealer areas.  It's quite dense and is super soft.  It's softer than any other brush I've fondled.  What I really like about it is it was just as soft after I washed it for the first time.  Sometimes, there are very slight changes in texture after the first wash... maybe it's something manufacturers coat on them?  I bought mine last year at London Drugs when it went on sale for $5something CAD, and it still looks brand new with the exact same shape and texture.  (Yea, yea, I know it's only been a year... non-shitty brushes shouldn't show any changes until much later.)
Repurchase?  When this one dies, yea.  I don't see it dying for a while though.


That pretty much finalizes all the shit I put on my face on a daily and nightly basis.  There's two other products that I use... but occasionally--Olay exfoliating brush and BB cream.  Those two products deserve their own spotlight posts... coming soon.

Sorry, there are so many words and so little makeup porn for your eyes... I figured I'd wipe up some of R's nail polish jizz with slaps of words... kidding... ish.  I'm just too lazy to take ghetto pictures of everything individually.  Plus, this post would be way fucking longer than it is already!

- M

8 January 2012

My name is R, and I am addicted to nail polish.

Nail polish has been my cure for nail-bitingitis.  I've always envied girls who have naturally beautiful hands and nails (Jen, I'm looking at you, even with your crazy pinky! ;))  My nails were so chewed-down, I never thought that I would be one of those girls who wore pretty nail paints.  One fine day, I decided enough was enough: I applied clear polish on what was left of my fingernails.  Since I had no desire to eat nail polish, I stopped biting.  My nails, bless their souls (because they do have souls), are actually in decent shape, given the beating they've taken.  

And so it began.
This was what I had after roughly two years of hoarding nail polish.  (My apologies.  I took this picture with my first-generation iPhone.  I'm still using it, but you probably won't see it anywhere else other than an antique store or a museum.)
This is how it currently stands, a year and a bit later:
As much as I love nail polish (and cosmetics in general), I always laugh at how they are photographed in blogs.  I mean, these inanimate products are photographed with such reverence: propped up on a pedestal against a backdrop of lush, vibrant foliage whilst glistening under the sun's golden rays.
The pictures below will be just as absurd.  That is, I have photographed them in a ridiculous fashion that would cause any normal person to think, "You know you're taking pictures of...nail polish...right?"  Except, instead of a pedestal, it's my bookshelf.  And instead of foliage, it's my stark-white wall.  Oh, and it's lit by my desk lamp, rather than the sun.

So, yeah.  As I mentioned in my Vegas Haul, my holy grail base coat is Deborah Lippmann's Turn Back Time and my cuticle-remover of choice is Butter London's Melt Away Cuticle Eliminator.

This is a brief overview of my experiences with a handful of brands.  I haven't tried other favourites, such as China Glaze, Orly, or Zoya, so I can't comment on how they compare to the below.
The Red-headed Stepchild.
MAC - $18 CAD
Let me just say that I don't understand why redheads get such a bad rep.  I think girls with red hair are hot.  Still, it doesn't stop me from using this hilarious expression.  In fact, I learned this expression for the first time on an episode of Survivor: Redemption Island, in which this guy was the pariah of the island and referred to himself as such. 

I digress.  MAC is the red-headed stepchild of nail polishes because, well, no one really likes their nail polishes.  They're often too runny/sheer and require a fragillion layers for the colour to show.  I myself only own this duochrome number, which came out with their Venomous Villains collection.  Honestly, it's cool, but I've never worn it.  I've applied it on a couple of nails with the intention of wearing it.  In the midst of application, however, I'd think, "Not feelin' it," and choose another colour.  Sorry, kid.  Maybe next time.
Blame YouTube/Beauty Blogs.
The brand is not available in Canada, but I was curious about their polish because Christine declares their formula to be one of her top five favourites.  I don't tend to reach for these.  I can't remember for what reason.  I think it was a combination of the brush being flimsy and not being able to evenly distribute the somewhat runny consistency.  That was helpful, wasn't it?
The Bay just started carrying Butter London during Christmas and I was pretty excited.  Then again, I'm not sure why I was.  I bought this bottle about a year ago from Nordstrom, and I wasn't particularly impressed by the flaccid brush.  It's not terrible, but I'm not sure if a $17 bottle of nail polish that's just 'okay' (to me, anyway) makes sense to me.  They do have some awesome colours...
I Hate the Brush.
DIOR - $24 CAD  
To be fair, Sabrina of The Beauty Look Book finds that the tapered brush makes for an easier application,  although it was a challenge at first.  Cafe Makeup also appreciates it in all its tapered glory:
Seeing as I haven't found the magic technique to master this stupid thing, I hate it.  I find it impossible to apply evenly across the nail bed above the cuticle.  And really, I'd prefer not having to work very hard at it.  Ergo, despite all the gorgeous colours with which Dior have come out recently, I have not been tempted by them.  If the brush don't work for me, it don't matter how pretty the shade is.
Um, HOW Much Is This?  And yet I have 4. 
I think these were still $24 CAD when I bought them.  Why they decided that this was not sufficiently expensive such that they needed to tack on three extra dollars is beyond me.  Maybe these have unicorn tears.  Nevertheless, the Chanel reds are quite beautiful.  But one has to be in a certain mood for them, as they have an air of maturity to them.

By the way, with these fancy pants brands that are double-capped, the inner cap is often quite difficult to unscrew with your bare hands.  I've found that an easy solution, no matter how tightly it's screwed on, is to place the outer cap halfway over the inner cap (so that its ridges lock with the inside of the outer cap) and then twist.  That probably did not make any sense.  I tried. 
Best I've Ever Had.

Hands down the best nail polish I've ever used.  My mom got these for me when she went to Italy.  There is no comparison.  Their brush is easy to manoeuvre whilst being equally easy to control.  Their formula is everything that other nail polishes wish they could be.  Namely, they are opaque in one coat, they are saturated with colour (the cobalt is freakin stunning), they dry quickly, and when they do dry completely, they are extremely smooth and rock-hard.  Best of all?  They're affordably priced.  My mom said she got them for a few dollars only.  I wish they ship to Canada.
Favourite Colour Selection.
ESSIE - Varies
Love their colours, but their formulae are hit-and-miss.  Some have really poor colour payoff, while others are beautifully opaque in one coat.  Nevertheless, there is something about their colour selection that reads more 'modern' than OPI.  I can't put my finger on it.  Perhaps OPI's colours are too 'literal', if you know what I mean. 

Favourite Brush.
OPI - Varies
Y'all know where to find OPI.  I know many have voiced their distaste for the width and overall girth of their brush.  I, for one, appreciate it and find that it makes for easy, no-fuss application.  Large stroke down the middle, then two small ones on each side--OF THE NAIL.  Get your mind out of the gutter.  Anyway, like I said earlier, I wish their shades were more...I don't know!  Innovative?  There is something that holds it back from having that certain je-ne-sais-quoi, that complexity and breathtaking quality that cause a stir of beautyblogasms.  They certainly achieved that with Mad as a Hatter (in the last picture below) from the Alice and Wonderland collection.  Maybe I just wish they had more of the pastel variety, à la Essie.  That must be it!  OR NEON!!  I'd really like to have colours that are neon to the power of 30 highlighters.

One last thing: if you've been having trouble removing glitter nail polishes, Allison came up with the genius idea of using scrap pieces of felt instead of cotton pads.  I haven't used glitter polish for a long time because it's just too much of a pain to remove, fun as it was to not only discover the glitter to be stubbornly unyielding, but to have strands of cotton stuck to the nail.  But, if you're a frequent glitterholic, you may do well to buy some felt from the dollar store, soak it in nail polish remover, and removing the glitter that way.  I haven't yet tried it myself, but it sure sounds helluva lot more logical than cotton.

- R