August 29, 2012

Anastasia She Wears It Well Palette/Nude-Defined Eyes, Neon Lip Look

To end the Summer, I did a neutral, nude defined eye, bright neon pink lips and bronzed skin with pink cheeks makeup look. Review and swatches of the products I used:

August 27, 2012

Chic Shopaholic: Josie Maran Cosmetics

In honor of her new baby being born, named Indi JoonJosie Maran offered 20% off on their website to celebrate!

I bought the Argan Naturally Sunkissed Bronzing Collection which contains a 5-piece set to create a Summer glow. The packaging it comes in is really cool because the cardboard box converts into a picture frame when you pull the stand out on the back.

My review of the products:
  • Argan Bronzng Oil: 100% argan oil infused with a shimmery golden bronze tint. Argan oil has Vitamin E and essential fatty acids that can act as a moisturizer. The color looks dark but once applied and blended, it gives a sheer healthy glow to the skin and the shimmer isn't overly glittery at all, it just has a subtle sheen. As you can see in the swatch, it looks very natural without any orange-y tones. You can use it on your body, face and even your hair for a quick bronze-y glow all-year round. The oil comes in a 5mL glass bottle with a dropper.
  • Bronzing Duo: A powder bronzer and blush duo exclusive to the set. The compact is in a  pink-champagne reflective metal-like case and is biodegradable.
    • Beach No. 1: light warm golden bronzer with a subtle satin finish. Looks matte on the skin which is nice because it doesn't make your face too shiny like some shimmery bronzers.
    • Passion Blush: matte light bubblegum-pink. Compliments the bronzer by brightening the cheeks.
  • Brilliance Argan Natural Volume Lip Gloss: Full size gloss in a sheer shimmery light pink shade. This Argan oil gloss has antioxidants to fight aging and environmental damage. Natural tripeptides stimulate and restore collagen to increase lip volume to help enhance the look of fullness to the lips. It's flavored with "dulce de leche", which has a sweet coconut taste to it. The small brush applicator applies the gloss evenly, which has a smooth, lightweight texture. Surprisingly, I really like the color of this gloss, it's a soft pink that just adds a hint of color to the lips.
  • Black Mascara: Full size volumizing mascara in black. If I remember correctly, they used to sell this product but it's now discontinued. It has nourishing ingredients to condition the lashes and the natural bristle wand coats them without any clumps. It gives a very natural look, just darkening my lashes but doesn't give much volume. It's not waterproof or even water-resistant so it does't hold a curl very well for me but I haven't experienced any smudging or flaking.

  • Argan Bear Naked Wipes Travel Size: Argan oil cleansing wipes to remove makeup and impurities for the face, eyes and neck. These vegan wipes are biodegradable and made of all natural ingredients including aloe vera, chamomile, cucumber and Vitamin E. It's free of fragrance, parabens and chemicals and is safe to use on the eyes. The travel size contains 8 wipes which is nice for quick on-the-go cleansing. It removes my makeup well as long as I don't have any heavy waterproof products on. It doesn't dry or strip out my skin, it actually feels moisturizing because of the Argan oil. A bonus when buying these wipes, either full or travel size, is that a portion of the profits goes to Natural Resources Defense Council's Polar Bear SOS to protect these endangered animals.

Overall, I think this is a cute set to use in the Summer to create a natural bronzed look. Unfortunately this set is already sold out but apart from the bronzer duo and mascara, you can still purchase the other products to try them out. This would have been a nice gift, especially since you can put a special photo in the box after you use the products.

What are your go-to products for a sunkissed Summer look?

Glamour Girl

August 20, 2012

Chic Shopaholic: Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, Sephora

Nordstrom had their annual Anniversary Sale which are markdowns on select products throughout the brands they carry, online and in-store. I went to the early access sale which is where you can get a peek of what's on sale for the bags and jewelry in a couple of tents that they set up in the store.

This was my first time shopping during the sale and although their are some makeup sets that you can pre-order from the Fall collections, I actually shopped at the jewelry tent. I've been looking for a rose-gold watch and bought one by Skagen. It's the Faceted Glass Bezel Watch which has a rose-gold stainless steel mesh strap, Crystallized Swarovski Elements textured bezel, a brown mother-of-pearl dial and crystal indexes. I like that the rose-gold color has a soft feminine look with just enough sparkle without looking too flashy.

There were a couple of things that I wanted to get from Sephora but my store didn't have them so I did an online order instead. I also had a 10% off code to renew my V.I.B. status, here's what I got:

Anastasia Beverly Hills made their own version of a nude/neutral eyeshadow palette similar to Urban Decay's Naked palette. The She Wears It Well palette comes in a cardboard slip and the palette itself is packaged in magnetic cardboard case with a large mirror inside. It contains 9 shades in matte and shimmery finishes, plus a dual ended brush. Most of the quality of the eyeshadows are decent, smooth texture, easy to blend, with medium pigmentation depending on the color.  For example, the shimmery ones were very pigmented but Almond applied the sheerest, taking multiple swipes with my finger for it to show up. Description of the shades:
  • Trophy: metallic light beige-taupe
  • Glow: shimmery light-medium golden bronze-brown
  • Latte: satin-shimmer light-medium brown
  • Foxy: shimmery medium reddish-brown
  • Sunset: metallic light warm golden tan
  • Frosting: shimmery pale pink-white
  • Onyx: matte soft black
  • Almond: matte light yellow-beige
  • Toffee: matte medium taupe-brown
The dual-ended brush has a small flat end that could be used for all-over color, lid and highlighting. The opposite end is a small pointed-domed brush that could be used in the crease, blending and smudging liner. Overall, I think this is a great palette to create a simple daytime work look to a more dramatic night look. I find that this is a better alternative to the UD Naked for mature women as the shimmery finishes aren't so glittery that it will accentuate fine lines and the colors are a little bit softer.

I also bought another Hydrafull Gloss because I really like the formula. Sorbet is a medium bright warm pink. I did a full review of the glosses when two of them was included in the See and Be Seen Set.

The last product I ordered was just to get free shipping but I also interested in trying them and as a bonus, were on sale.

The Sephora by O.P.I Trend Tips: Betsey Johnson design, are made of real nail polish in self-adhesive strip form that you peel off and stick on to your nails. Lips comes with two sets of 8 sizes to choose from in red and pink lip prints on a light shimmery pink background. The instructions say to clean nails and remove any oils or old polish with nail polish remover, find the right size strip that best fits your nail, then once applied, file off excess using a downward motion. I've watched a couple of tutorials on YouTube where they've applied the nail lacquers over a base coat to help stick on the nails better and to help them last longer. They are easy to use although sometimes it can look a little bumpy if I don't press it on smoothly. I was able to use one set for both hands by skipping one nail on each hand to paint with regular polish. Once you use the size that fits your nail though, you'll have to use a larger one to match on the other hand and trim off the sides to fit but it's better than to use a smaller size as the nail bed will show. The packet states that once the seal is opened, use immediately or the strips will dry out. A few videos mentioned that you could tape the seal to block out the air, I tried it but haven't used the second set to see if dried out. To remove the lacquer strips off your nails, you remove it the same way as you would with regular polish.

Overall, the strips are easy enough to use and are fun way to quickly change up your nails. They're similar to getting designs at a nail salon but at a cheaper price and quicker to do them yourself. Even though they're made of real nail polish, it has zero drying time and is supposed to last longer. On me, it wore on for about a week and then started to peel off a bit on the edges. I did finish them off with top coat and if I reapplied it every other day, I'm sure it would stay on a little longer.

One of the other reasons I made an online order was to get the 500-point perk they were offering to V.I.Bs. It was a 5-piece set of AmorePacific Flawless Skin Essentials. As some of you may know, I love AP products but they are pretty pricey. These mini sizes are a great way to try the products or take them with you when you travel. Most of their products are packed with Asian ingredients that include green tea, bamboo and Korean red ginger. Their time-release formulas help continuously slow down the signs of aging  and hydrate, nourish and revitalize the skin. It has a ginger scent that can be off-putting to some but I actually really like it and I'm usually sensitive to fragrant products. Set includes:
  • Moisture Bound Rejuvenating Creme: 24-hour time-release formula, diminishes fine lines and wrinkles. Also acts as a barrier and boosts the skin to bind moisture.
  • Moisture Bound Rejuvenating Eye Treatment Gel: Hydrates under the eye area to reduce dark circles and puffiness while strengthening the skin against premature aging.
  • Moisture Bound Rejuvenating Serum: Oil-free treatment penetrates the skin deeper and works with the other Moisture Bond products to help slow down and correct visible signs of aging.
  • Moisture Bound Vitalizing Masque: Liquid-gel overnight mask to replenish moisture for a more radiant look to the skin.
  • Treatment Cleansing Foam: Water-activated cleanser to remove makeup and impurities in the skin while treating and preventing breakouts with micro Vitamin E beads and anti-bacterial protection.
I haven't used all the products but I find the Moisture Bound products to be lightweight with a water-like texture and overall AP line to be really nice.

Did you shop during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale? What do you think of nail strips?

Glamour Girl

August 14, 2012

Chic Shopaholic: 4th of July Week Haul

This is about a month overdue but during 4th of July week, I did a little haul at Sephora and Nordstrom.

After loving Anastasia Beverly Hills brow products, I wanted to try the rest of the line. See and Be Seen Set is a California color, Hollywood glamour inspired collection that comes with a tinted brow gel, an eyeshadow duo and two lipglosses. This is the box it comes in:

My review of the products:
  • Caramel Tinted Brow Gel: A colored brow gel in a medium warm golden brown. Since everyone has a different hair/brow color, this may not work on everyone but if you're wanting to lighten your brows a bit for the Summer then this is a good product to use. For a lighter brow color, I would use a brow powder or pencil in a similar shade to the gel  to blend in better or just use it on its own for a softer look. It actually does lighten my black brows pretty well and I would probably use it for dramatic looks if I wanted my brows to be faded in the background. For reference, my usual shade is Espresso. If you want it to match to your natural color, this would work on light-to-medium brown hair.
  • On Set Illumin8 Eye Shadow Duo: A powder eyeshadow duo formulated with antioxidants, vitamins and other key ingredients like "Youthful Synergy Complex", which has brown algae, to smooth, firm and hydrate the skin. I can't attest to the skincare benefits as I didn't notice any difference and I'm probably not the age bracket it was tested on but I can say that the texture is very smooth, easy to apply and blend. The shade on the left is a shimmery pinky-champagne and the shade on the right is a shimmery light warm gold. The finish is quite frosty, almost a little too much for my taste but looks fine if I incorporate matte eyeshadows to add some depth. I can see that these colors may not work on everyone, for example the golden shade might be too warm on cool skin-tones. I think the quality of the eyeshadows are really great though and would recommend them.

  • Hydrafull Gloss: The glosses are the main reason I wanted the set in the first place. It has "Kiss Me Quick" plant extract to increase fullness and hydrate the lips, plus other antioxidants to soften and soothe the skin. It has a silicone paddle applicator which helps to apply the gloss smoothly without any streaks like a brush or a doe-foot applicator would. The texture is slightly tacky which helps the gloss stay on for several hours but it doesn't feel uncomfortable. It has medium pigmentation and leaves a nice hint stain of color on the lips once the gloss wears off. Colors in the set are:
    • Plastic: medium bright pink
    • Heiress: medium bright watermelon pink with subtle shimmer
Overall, I think this is good set to try a few of their stand out products, especially since they come in full sizes. The colors might not be for everyone but it's fun kit for a Summer look.

I just finished my Origins Modern Friction and while helping my grandma buy some makeup at Sephora (she got a blush and blush brush!), she bought me Ole Henriksen Sugar Glow Face Scrub that was recommended by the sales lady. I've never tried this brand but their products are made of natural ingredients. This scrub is for all skin types and helps anti-aging properties like African red tea, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin extract, honey, raw organic sugar, Vitamin C, Rose Hips and citrus oils to brighten the face. It has a liquid-y texture with bits of the exfoliator mixed in that doesn't feel too rough on my skin. My skin feels smooth after using it but not dried out. If you like natural skincare products, check this brand out.

At Nordstrom, I bought a Hobo Zara Vintage Crossbody Bag in the sales bin. The small leather bag come in a few other colors and designs but I bought it in Fawn which has a red and cream paisley print interior. The magnetic angled folded zippered top has a small pocket inside, the front with carded slots and the back for your phone. The long chain can be detached to be carried as a clutch or clipped with the short leather strap to be worn as a wristlet.

Did you do any shopping hauls during 4th of July week? Score any deals?

Glamour Girl

August 09, 2012

Chic Shopaholic: M.A.C Heavenly Creatures Collection

M.A.C Heavenly Creature is a huge collection consisting of baked or mineralized products, lipsticks, glosses, brushes and skincare. I don't usually use the mineralized products like the eyeshadows but I do like the Skinfinishes and blushes so I picked a couple of those, plus a lipstick. All of the colored products are packaged in their standard black packaging and are limited edition.
  • Mineralize Skinfinish: These are sheer highlighters baked in a dome-shaped compact. Depending on the color and your skin-tone, it could be used as a blush. I like the glowy finish it gives without it looking too frosty on the cheeks. I either like to use a small duo-fiber stippling brush like M.A.C 188 or a blush brush for more color.
    • Light Year: Swirls of shimmery light peach, light rose-y pink and golden bronze. Blended together, it's a light bronzy peachy-pink.
    • Star Wonder: Swirls of shimmery medium beige, pink and plum. Blended together, it's light  golden pinky-plum.

  • Mineralize Blush: These are similar to the Mineralize Skinfinishes but with more color. The shimmer is also softer, with more of a satin-shimmer finish.
    • Ring of Saturn: Swirls of muted warm red and light peachy-pink. Blended together, it's a coral-red.
    • Stratus: Swirls of dark purple-plum and medium beige-brown. Blended together, it's brownish-plum.

  • Cut a Caper Lipstick: Lustre finish. Light-medium peachy-pink. This was repromoted from a previous collection (can't remember from what) and I can see why they would bring it back. It's a wearable, soft color that just brightens the face a bit and adds a healthy sheen to the lips.

Overall, I think this collection is very wearable. There aren't really any bright or dark colors and the mineral formula makes the look softer. No two mineralized products are the same because depending on how the colors are swirled together, each  one is going to look differently and may even look differently on the skin (one shade might show more in the compact). What are your thoughts on mineral or baked products? Any favorites from this collection?

Glamour Girl

August 06, 2012

Chic Shopaholic: Drugstore Finds

I don't often buy drugstore makeup as I think spending a few dollars more on higher end products would be worth it for better quality, but I wanted to see if there were any hidden gems in the drugstore beauty aisle so here's what I picked up.
  • L'Oreal Infallible 24HR Eye Shadow: I've heard of a new powder-cream eyeshadow formula, Giorgio Armani for example, makes the Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadows. L'Oreal Infallibles are supposed to be the knock-off versions of the high-end brands and even though I've never tried them before, I thought I'd give the cheaper ones a try. To me, the formula is a combination of a saturation of a loose shadow, compacted into a pressed eyeshadow, with a smooth texture of a cream shadow. They're packaged in little jars with stoppers inside, which I think it's to keep the product compact. The three that I bought are all easy to blend but the shimmery ones have better pigmentation. It claims to wear for 24-hours and although I don't wear makeup for that long length of time, this  waterproof, crease and fade resistant formula does last over an eyeshadow primer until I wash it off. You can use your fingers or a brush to apply, even with a damp brush for more intensity. It has a slightly crumbly texture when you pick up the product, I think because of the loose powder formula, but no fall-out when you apply it. The shades I bought were:
    • Endless Pearl: satin vanilla-cream.
    • Iced Latte: metallic light yellow-champagne.
    • Bronzed Taupe: metallic medium warm-brown taupe.
If these drugstore versions have this of an amazing quality of the high-end version but with half the price, then they are definitely worth checking out if you're not ready to splurge. I'll probably buy the department store versions to compare and review on my blog.

The one product that I don't mind buying from the drugstore is mascaras. Since it's a product that only has a shelf life of 3-6 months once opened, I don't usually like to spend too much on high-end mascaras unless it's really amazing. I decided to give COVERGIRL Lash Blast Length a try in the water resistant formula. First off, the packaging is interesting because the wand is outside of the tube and has a cover instead. It's a good way to see what the brush looks like, which is made of "Elasta-Nylon", basically a rubber wand instead of the traditional bristle brush. The water resistant formula didn't smudge or flake but didn't really hold the curl of my lashes well. I notice these types of wands give lashes a really natural look compared to a bristle brush which coats the lashes more heavily. Even though I wear false lashes 99% of the time, I still want my own lashes to be visible if I opt to not wear them and so this mascara barely coated them or lengthen them as the product claimed it would. I don't think I'll repurchase this again but if you're looking for a really natural-looking mascara though, give this a try.

I'm always looking for an all-in-one base and top nail polish as it seems to be a better deal than buying them separately, so I bought Sally Hansen Double Duty Strengthening Base & Top Coat. When used as a base coat, it claims to moisturize and hydrate the nails with Panthenol and when used as a top coat, it's supposed to protect the nails with Nylon. The consistency of the nail polish is a bit goopy so I try not to have too much of it on my brush. It applies smoothly, doesn't streak and leaves a nice glossy shine. The brush is big enough to cover the nail without getting the polish all over your fingers.

How do you compare drugstore quality to department store brands? Does the same job or just doesn't cut it? What products do you recommend that I check out?

Glamour Girl
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