28 August 2012

MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural

After much pestering from R and 1.5 weeks of randomly appeared blotchy redness on my face, I finally caved.  This is my third ever MAC product and first ever MAC face product.
I didn't get matched at the MAC counter or anything... I figured that my skin tone was pretty much identical to R's, so I just grabbed the Medium - Turned out to be a perfect match; I can't tell it apart from my skin.
I wore it for a full 10 hour day today, and I'm quite pleased.

Before I begin, I want to inform that I've never worn foundation in any form; at least, not for the function of foundation.  When I use foundation (in liquid form only), it serves as a spot concealer.

After washing my face, I applied my usual Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner (my post on it here) to my T-zone.  Then, starting from my T-zone, I buffed the MSF all over my face with my Real Techniques Buffing Brush (my post on it here).  I found that it was a light coverage that was build-able to reduce redness and even out my skin.  The MSF isn't enough coverage for my under-eye darkness and dark pigmentation spots, so I used my Chanel Perfection Correcteur Concealer; however, I found that I didn't need as much of my concealer as usual.  After I applied my concealer, I went over my face with the MSF once more, really lightly, to just set everything.
Normally, I would apply my pore refiner to my T-zone, conceal, and apply my Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Translucent Finishing Powder all over.

Even though I didn't apply any moisturizer today, the MSF didn't enhance any dry patches (I have combination skin, but within the last couple of weeks, I've been having more dry-normal skin).  Sometimes, if I haven't moisturized, I've found that my Tarte finishing powder will slop up the little oil on my skin and make my top of nose and chin look like a flaky mess.

Also, the MSF was able to even out my complexion and keep it matte without making me look like a powderpuff.  Even after a full day out, I felt like it handled the accumulation of oil pretty well.  The MSF seemed to just slightly soak up the excess oil, leaving my face looking semi-dewy matte.  My complexion actually looked better as the MSF blended with my natural oil (as gross as it sounds haha).

Overall, I'm quite impressed and am pleased to have purchased it.  It functions like my Tarte powder, but seems to be better at handling my combination skin's oil and dry patches.  Considering I paid $36 CAD for my Tarte powder, $34 CAD for this MSF isn't bad.  My Tarte powder still looks full and brand new, so I'm sure the MSF will last forever too.  I will be travelling quite a bit for vacation this Autumn, and starting in January, I will be travelling twice a week for work, so the MSF is perfect - It will be a more travel-friendly option.

- M

24 August 2012

LUSH Honey I Washed The Kids Soap - A Review

This is my first Lush solid soap.  It's actually my first solid soap since I was a toddler when my family stopped using solid soaps.

Anyone who goes anywhere near a Lush store, will be fascinated by what seems like big wheels of colourful cheese - these are their solid soaps.  They sell them like deli, where you tell them how much you want or how much you want to pay, and they will cut you a piece.
I got a $10.81 slice of Honey I Washed The Kids ($7.95 CAD per 100g) because it's one of their best sellers and I'm obsessed with anything honey.

If you're interested, these are its ingredients:

Honey Water, Propylene Glycol, Rapeseed Oil and Coconut Oil, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Water,Sodium Stearate, Sodium Hydroxide, Perfume,Beeswax, Sweet Wild Orange Oil, Bergamot Oil,Aloe Vera Extract, Glycerine, Sodium Chloride,EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Gardenia Extract,Titanium Dioxide, *Limonene, *Linalool, Benzyl Benzoate
*occurs naturally in essential oils

It smells like toffee and honey.  It makes my bathroom smell amazing all the time now, not just after I've showered.  The only thing is, the smell doesn't last on the body.


It's not crazy moisturizing (where there would be a film), but definitely nowhere near drying.  It just brings my skin to a happy state of moisture, where I'm not itching from dry skin.
You can really tell whether or not a soap is going to be drying by watching how it dries after a shower.  As you can see below, my slice doesn't dry out at all.  There's no splitting from loss of moisture.  What's really cool is even the lather doesn't dry out and disappear.

This is my dry bar after a week's use.

It's a good soap and an amazing shaving cream.
I was lazy and decided to just use it as shaving cream too since I had already lathered up everywhere.  My shaver glides over it like a dream and gives me really nice close shaves!

- M

16 August 2012

A Sensitive Skin's Line-up of Make Up Wipes (Equate, Yes to Cucumbers, Ponds, Burt's Bees, random Asian brands)

As a hot and humid day goes on, my face and hands tend to get sticky or mucky, and there's no clean washroom in sight.  Or, sometimes at the end of a day, I get too lazy to do a full make up removal and cleanse.  These are times when make up wipes come in handy.

As someone who has super sensitive skin beyond belief, I've had my fair share of make up wipe brands.  Hopefully, this post will help someone out there in their choices.

Equate (Walmart brand)
  • Yes, I'm aware that this is a feminine wipe, but this just means less chemicals and other crap
  • super cheap $2-3 USD for 42 wipes
  • very wet
  • large sheets
  • no film after use
  • baby powder scent
Burt's Bees
  • 99.1% natural
  • $5.99 USD (Target USA or Walmart USA) / $9.99 CAD (anywhere in Canada) for 30 wipes
  • kinda dry - deal breaker
  • regular sized sheets
  • film after use - deal breaker
  • herbally-floral scent because it contains white tea extract - I'm not a fan
Yes to Cucumbers
  • 98% natural
  • $5.99 USD / $9.99 CAD for 30 wipes
  • wet but dries very quickly - dealbreaker
  • medium sheets
  • slight film after use
  • strong cucumber scent - I'm meh about it
Pond's Morning Refresh with Citrus and Cucumbers
  • $5-6 USD / $9.99 CAD for 30 wipes (sometimes, 60 wipes if it's a double pack promotion)
  • very wet
  • "exfoliating" bumps on wipe - love them! they are super gentle and actually help "scrub" off makeup rather than exfoliate
  • large sheets
  • no film after use
  • strong citrus scent - love it!
Random cute brands of baby wipes I bought from Watson's Hong Kong
(this is one that I picked out, but this is inclusive of all Asian baby wipes)
  • don't remember price but super cheap since it's from Asia
  • wet
  • large sheets
  • no film after use
  • no scent

Evidently, my preferences are:
1. random Asian branded baby wipes
2. Pond's Citrus
3. Equate feminine wipes

- M

15 August 2012

M went hauling yet again, this time for Lush

I finally remembered to bring my five black pots to the mall over the weekend, and was able to pick up a free face mask.  If you bring back five black pots to Lush, they will give you a free face mask of your choice.  Of course, I picked up my beloved Love Lettuce.  As you can see from my empty pots, Love Lettuce is quite an essential for me now - it's the perfect pick-me-up when I feel like my skin is feeling tired, dull, or dehydrated.  See my full review rave on it: here.
My empties.
The sucker in me couldn't just leave the store without snooping on everything else (except for their Emotional Brilliance makeup line - I'm kinda bleh about it)... so, I ended up with a few more things.
Honey I Washed The Kids soap bar & Love Lettuce fresh face mask
free sample of Ro's Argan body conditioner & Godiva shampoo bar
I tried the Turkish Delight shower smoothie back in April and loved it but swore that it was not worth the price tag.  In the beginning of June, I caved and bought a second pot.  I've been lusting for it since I ran out of it at the end of July, but man, that $32.95 CAD is hefty... so, in hope of finding a cheaper alternative, I picked up a $10.81 CAD piece of the Honey I Washed The Kids bar soap.  It's supposed to be a pretty hydrating, but not greasy, option.  As soon as I find a soap dish, I'll be busting it out.

I've been meaning to try the solid shampoo for a while now, since I know that I will be travelling twice a week when I start at my new job in January.  I would rather not check in any bags if I'm going to be travelling so frequently, so as little liquids as possible is the goal.  I could continue depot-ing some shampoo, but that gets annoying.  Plus, I've heard that the sold shampoos last forever.  I read through the descriptions of each and shortlisted it down to Godiva and Seanick before consulting with one of the Lush girls there.  Strategically, I requested assistance from the girl with fine hair, because I felt like she would understand my specific requests.    I ended up choosing Godiva ($10.95 CAD).  I've been trying it out for a couple of days and will continue for a bit.  Look out for a full review at a later date.
I also bought the square tin that's meant for the body melts to carry it.  It was $3.95 CAD.  The solid shampoo rounds were a bit oversized for the shampoo tins, haha.

The cashier demo-ed and gave me a generous sample of the Ro's Argan body conditioner, because she saw that I liked Turkish Delight.  Ro's Argan is supposed to be complementary to Turkish Delight, as it is also rose scented, but I found the scent of Ro's Argan to be much more fruity than Turkish Delight which actually has a much more muted, musky rose scent.  Ro's Argan was way too overpowering for me, so I will not be purchasing it.  I'm not using it as a body lotion, but rather as a shower lotion the way the cashier had demo-ed for me.  I'm just using up the sample as my "soap" in the shower.

- M

12 August 2012

NYX Bohemian Chic palette

I had a $10 gift card to London Drugs from one of their previous deals (buy any two Neutrogena/Aveeno Suncare and receive a $10 gift card), and went scouting for some beauty crap to buy.

I noticed that NYX now carries matte eye shadows (OMG, they're amazing and complete dupes of MAC's browns, at less than half the price of MAC).  I was going to pick up two different browns (at $8 CAD each), but then saw the Bohemian Chic palette ($20 CAD).
There are 24 eye shadows and 2 matte blushes.
I've been using this palette for almost two weeks now, and I love it.  The eye shadows that on the bottom (on the same deck as the blushes) seem random and out of place in comparison to the top deck neutrals, but I don't mind this cuz they're really flattering colours against the neutrals.  My UD Naked and Chanel Prelude are my ultimate go-to travel palettes, but I think this NYX one is a great travel palette for when I want to bring a little teeny bit of definitive colour on a trip.  It's also travel-friendly to have a pinky coral and a peachy nude blush included within the palette.  I actually found the pinky coral comparable to my Tarte Blissful!

- M

8 August 2012

NUXE Paris - Rêve de Miel ultra nourishing lip balm (Review)

Ever since Lisa Eldridge spoke about it, I had been stalking this but could never bring myself to pay this insane amount of money for a flipping tub of lip lube...  I tried to justify it by saying I needed a lip balm that was more matte underneath my lipsticks.

Anyway, I eventually got it.  How can you go against Lisa?
It was $17.99 CAD at Shopper's Drug Mart (big breathe...)

It claims to be 80.2% natural origin ingredients, and paraben-free.  See the ingredients here:
Smells like a mild orange marmalade -- which kinda makes sense since it supposedly contains honey, plant oils, shea butter, and grapefruit essence (whatever that means... like, grapefruit juice?)

It's thick.  Smears a bit like super light jam, hahaha.  Could be a bit too thick for the Summer, but it would be perfect for the Winter or super blustery days!

Super long wearing!  I like applying this generously before bed and waking up to gorgeous lips.  It's the first lip product that I can still feel on top of my lips after waking up.

I also find it great to wear underneath lipstick because it's matte and prevents my lips from drying out.  A little goes a long way.  If I'm planning to wear this as a lipstick base, a tiny smear onto my finger will suffice for both lips.
I've already clawed into it before picture-taking.
Verdict:  It's good and does its job, but it's not nearly good as people hype.  It seems like a glorified lip balm.  Right now, I'm treating it as more of an overnight lip mask.  I'm excited for day use when the weather cools.

Update/Follow Up:  January 20, 2013
It's been six months since I first started using this product in July 2012.
Now that it's in the dead of Winter, my lips have been hating on crazy icy winds outdoors and drying heat indoors.  I am so thankful for this lip product now, because it has honestly saved my lips this Fall/Autumn and Winter.  All of my other lip balms are failing at keeping my lips moisturized for any longer than 20 mins.
I have been using Rêve de Miel as a/an:
  • overnight lip treatment
  • matte lip moisturizer/base underneath lipstick
  • lip scrub
  • everyday lip balm

- M

4 August 2012

R's Lazy Eye (Simple, Polished Makeup)

This is a foolproof polished makeup look for the lazy person.  

Because I don't like having products on my face (not foundation, not blush, not highlighter), this may also be ideal for the normally non-makeup wearer.  It's about looking polished with minimal effort, for those days when you don't want to look like you just rolled out of bed (which is the 'look' I usually sport).  Furthermore, it does not involve eyeshadows (except for eyebrows), thus eliminating the labourious process of blending.

It goes without saying, but I'm going to say it nonetheless.  This is all about sharing with you what works for me, and hoping that it can benefit you in some way.  We all have different likes, dislikes, tendencies, and needs.  By no means do you have to follow my routine to a 'T'--or any letter in the alphabet, for that matter.  Don't hesitate to adapt or experiment with any of the following steps to your own routine. 

Here are my tools, but feel free to substitute them with your favourites:
- Sigma SS266 (now E75)
- Tarte Neutraleyes Volume ii Palette (Top two right colours)
- Ring Finger (not pictured)
- NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil, Milk

- Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler
- Sublime de Chanel Mascara 

- Sigma SS224 (now E40)
- Guerlain by Emilio Pucci Meteorites Perles d'Azur
- MAC 150 Powder Brush
- MAC Mineralized Skin Finish, Medium

I know.  It all seems wrong.  Let me explain.

First, I fill in my eyebrows by mixing the two top right colours in the Neutraleyes palette.  As I said before, I apply 3:1 mixture of Matte Pebble and Matte Espresso, respectively.  That is, I tap my Sigma SS266 brush three times on Matte Pebble and once on Matte Espresso to achieve a cooler brow colour.  Please click here for MoxieReviews' swatches.

Next, I use my NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil for highlighting action.  Now, I know that the norm is to highlight the inner corner and to line the waterline with a white or flesh-toned colour.  What I propose is something quite different and it is not without reason (YES, double negatives.  Don't you love?).  Inner-corner highlights never seem to draw attention to my eyes in a way that is attractive.  Of course, this could be due to shoddy application on my part, but that only goes to show that this technique isn't a one-and-done type of deal.  Inner-corner highlighting does require some skill.  At least for me.  If that didn't convince you about the hardships of inner-corner highlighting, then perhaps reminding you that applying anything onto the inner corner tends to cause gook to collect in the tear duct.  Notwithstanding potential hygiene issues, it simply ain't pretty.  Am I right or am I right?  In the same tune, I never apply products to my waterline, nor do I ever tightline, because the thought of applying products there sends shivers up my spine.  I mean, those areas are meant to clean your eyes, so when girls complain that products don't stay on, it's like being angry that your body is doing its job properly.

What I do instead (not claiming creative ownership in any way shape or form.  I'm pretty sure I learned this from KandeeJohnson.  Don't remember which video, though.  I tried looking.) is, I take the Jumbo Eye Pencil and draw lines.  One line under the arch of the eyebrow, and three lines in the shape of crow's feet (See?  We're even turning a negative into a positive here!) on the outer-corner of the eye.  Then I take my ring finger and blend, blend, blend (Hi, Koren). 
The grey lines represent the Milk lines.  Because Milk is so pigmented, one swipe does the trick.
A few words of caution.  Make sure that the line under the arch of the eyebrow does not extend too far, particularly toward the outer end of the eyebrow.  You want it to be snugly under the arch, otherwise you get a sort of sad-clown effect.  Unless you're going for that look.  More power to ya.  But even if you do happen to draw a long white line, you can easily ameliorate the overage using makeup remover or dust on some skin-coloured powder.  Similarly, try to blend the crow's feet (that you created) upwards so that your eyes appear lifted.  Below are swatches of Milk. 
Top to Bottom: (Please ignore the top two swatches of UD's Sin) Milk blended, Milk with 2 swipes, Milk with 1 swipe

Next, I use Shu to curl my lashes and apply mascara.

On my face, I use the MAC 150 brush to apply the Meteorites.  After this revelationary video by gossmakeupartist, I no longer swipe the product onto my face.  Yes, I still use a powder brush, but I listened to what he said.  That is, I swirl my brush in the product, and place the flat side of the bristles on the desired area and roll on the product. 

Then, I take my SS224 brush and apply the MAC MSF Medium on the center of my forehead and around my nose (to neutralize the redness).  That's why I use a small, fluffy blending brush to apply the MSF, because I get a more precise application around the nooks and crannies of my nose.  Once the MSF sets on your face (ie. mixes with your natural face oils), it does not look powdery or completely matte.  It does mattify my forehead, which is why I put it there, but it maintains a natural skin appearance.  If I'm feeling adventure, I apply some under my eyes.  Please click here for KarlaSugar's swatches. 

And that's it.  The hardest part of this is applying the mascara. 


3 August 2012

Nail Polish Storage

I used to just clutter my nail polishes on top of a drawer next to my perfumes, but as I hoarded more and more nail polishes (especially this Summer), I've been knocking them down...

Solution:  I found this YNGAREN Jar from the bathroom accessories section at IKEA for $8.99 CAD.  I think it's super cute - It reminds of a ocean bottom creature of sort (?)
As you can see, it fits nine Essie polishes and one L'oréal polish perfectly.

- M

2 August 2012

Taboos Part II - Shweaty Feet (Dr. Scholl's For Her Rub Shield Friction Preventer Stick)

There's a reason why these things are called taboos.

Ever since the weather has grown warmer and the heatwave suddenly hit, my feet have been feeling the effects.  That is, blisters (and, as a result, calluses) began to form on the tops of my toes--namely, on the joints between my metatarsals and phalanges.  Not only are they unsightly, but they are fuckin' ass painful.

My very unscientific hypothesis is that, because those are the highest points of my toes, they endure the most friction.  Due to the type of footwear I don for work, my feet are trapped in the shoes with no airflow.  Therefore, the warm conditions and resulting moisture (yes, from sweat) combined with the friction caused by the constant rubbing of the skin against the socks/shoes causes fluid to collect between the layers of skin--aka. blisters.

I looked for sweat-wicking socks, but all the ones I've seen are ankle socks.  Other athletic socks are extremely thick and while thick socks may contain sweat/moisture better, my feet get way too hot.

Luckily, I found an alternative.

Dr. Scholl's For Her Rub Shield Friction Preventer Stick.  I believe it was around $9.99 CAD.  Now, I'm well aware that many of you probably have lovely, non-sweaty feet.  But this may still be useful for you when you wear fancy shoes (and of course, non-fancy shoes) that pinch or squish certain areas of your feet/toes and cause blisters.  It is scentless, colourless, and has a slippery texture that relieves the friction.  I've heard some people mention that Vaseline provides a comparable effect, so I wouldn't be surprised if this is just glorified Vaseline in stick-form.

Regardless, my toes have been blister-free since using this product.  There are some small calluses now and then, but overall I think it works well for me.

- R

1 August 2012

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick Haul

This past week, London Drugs was having a promotion where all Revlon lipsticks were marked down to $3.99 CAD.  At first, I picked up the two that I've been eyeing for a while:  450 Gentlemen Prefer Pink & 628 Peach Me.  Both are in the pearl finish.  I loved them so much that I went back and got 668 Primrose, & 415 Pink In The Afternoon.  The latter two are in the crème finish.
Peach Me (above) & Gentlemen Prefer Pink (below)
Pink In The Afternoon (above) & Primrose (below)
Peach Me looks orange-peach when swatched on my arm, but when applied to my super pigmented lips, it looks like a smoky neutral peach.

I love the name, Gentlemen Prefer Pink.  It's a nice semi-blue-toned pink.  Even though it's a slightly cooler pink, it's very flattering against my warm-toned skin.

Pink In The Afternoon is a great warm pink.  It is my perfect my lips but better shade - it amplifies my natural lip shade (yea, my lips are that pigmented).

Primrose is supposedly a very popular blogosphere/youtube world shade, as it's argued to be a dupe for MAC Lazy Day and MAC Angel.  It is a cool-toned, semi lavender, semi light mauve pink.

All are perfect for everyday wear and very suitable for the office (as expected for anything I own).

As you may notice in my swatches, the pearl finish (Peach Me & Gentlemen Prefer Pink) is more moisturizing and more "wet" looking.  My lips tend to get dry so the pearl finish is definitely the easier of the two finishes to apply.  The crème finish tends to drag just a smidge when I'm applying it.  As you can see from my swatches above, the crème finish (Pink In The Afternoon & Primrose) is a satin finish that leans very closely to an almost matte.  It's a good way of appearing to wear a matte lip, without the hassle of a matte finish lipstick.

Revlon's lipsticks may the best drugstore lipsticks out there.  The pigmentation and colour payoff on my lips is amazing. I love the finish of them on my lips.  Additionally, they're moisturizing and wear pretty good.  When I first apply it to my lips, it looks a little meh, but after warming up on my lips, the colour and finish softens up and looks incredible.

- M