Monday, December 31, 2012

Day of Foundation Samples

The month of December was pretty busy -- with vacation and moving, and let's not get started about the move. The move meant that a lot of my makeup got shook up in the process and made me realize that I had a lot of samples. So I took out an hour and decided to get through some of my samples. Now the problem with samples is that they aren't selected to match your skin type so while I tried to take a lot of photos, a lot of them didn't quite turn out all that well.

Almost everything I used below was a sample size, with the exception of the Cover FX in M80 (which is now G70 in the new chart). Also note that I already covered the primer that I used in my Primer Samples post.

Cleanser: First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser (Retail: $18).
Primer: Sephora Collection Perfecting Ultra-Smoothing Primer
Foundations: 
 - Cover FX Pressed Mineral Foundation in M80 (Retail: $35)
 - Per-fékt Skin Perfection Gel in Radiant (Retail: $57.50)
 - bareMinerals READY in Medium Beige (Retail: $29)
 - Stila Stay All Day 10-In-1 HD Beauty Balm (Retail: $38)
 - Stila Stay All Day Foundation & Concealer in Warm (Retail: $44)

On the left is bareMinerals and
the right is Stila.
The first comparison I did was with the bareMinerals READY and the Stila Stay All Day 10-In-1 HD Beauty Balm. The picture on the right shows the two of them side by side. Now as I mentioned, the colour that I got for the bareMinerals sample doesn't match so it gave a ghastly appearance. Thus I will not judge it based on that. What I think we can note is how the flash reflects off my skin. Mineral powder for the most part doesn't fare well against a camera, but even without looking at a picture, I can tell you that the BB really surprised me. It went on smoothly and covered my skin well.

On the left is CoverFX and
the right is Stila.
This one is even harder to see than the previous rendition of two-face but on the right is my CoverFX foundation that I use everyday and on the right is the Stila Stay All Day Foundation & Concealer in Warm. I was actually pretty intrigued by how the Stila foundation worked -- it was a bit darker than what I'm used to so I really had to blend it in. It kind of gave my skin a bit of a light tan almost. It's not hard to work with, but very pigmented. When I washed it off, it was kind of like pouring out chocolate milk.

The Stila foundations by this point were quite easy to work with -- but I have to say that in the past, I've never had a problem with them. I think they are great but they always seem to give me a slight tint. The BB cream though was spot on and evened out my skin without adding that tint or hint of colour, which is a nice change.

Per-fékt
For the Per-fékt foundation, I didn't really have anything left to compare it to. It has a lighter tint than the Stila Stay all Day Foundation (not the BB version) which made me a bit less discerning about working it in. Given that it's a gel, it seemed easier to apply than the Stila but has equal the amount of coverage. It's incredibly moisturizing as a result which I liked. It does strike me as a tinted primer though only because of the way it feels.

Truth be told though that if I were to make a switch from my CoverFX powder, it would probably be to the BB cream. I'm not a huge fan of liquids or gels, even though they might perform better (I can't attest to the longevity of these foundations). Plus there's the point of mineral foundation not coming off as flattering due to the flash element. Either way, the Per-fékt and both Stila foundations are working out very well.

To close, between each swatch, I used the First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser and my face was quite happy with that decision. In the past I've had to wait 30 minutes between each swatch because the cleanser would be rough on my skin and cause a rise in the redness. This time my skin didn't flare up with redness and I was able to get through the swatches quickly. I double checked and realized that the cleanser was good for sensitive skin which probably helps. This might have to be a future purchase once my current cleanser is done. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Review: Mbeze Koko Haze & Ife Samples

You've probably noticed a lack of perfume on this blog. I don't like a lot perfume and there's no commentary about scents or anything like that... It's because it gives me headaches and sometimes I don't react all that well to them. For a while, I switched to hypoallergic types of perfumes but the headaches remain. So I made the switch to perfume oils. BPAL has notoriously been one of my favourite brands for oils. I was super excited when Maria gave me some samples from Mbeze to try out.

Some quick notes about the Mbeze samples. You can't really take of the tag or else you won't know which one you have. They really ought to stick a small sticker with the name of the perfume on the vial itself rather than appending a tag to it which can easily get lost. Also, the vial is very classic like in the sense that it doesn't have a dabber on the stopper (that elongated piece attached to the stopper so that you don't have to apply it with your fingers). None of these are deal breakers, they are just things that would be nice to have. 

Onto the scents! Coconut is one of my favourite scents (of all time. Well, aside from vanilla) so I was happy when she gave me the Koko Haze. Koko Haze is a mixture of coconut, hazelnut, with hints of mango tea and sweet orange essential oil. When I first applied it, it has a grassy scent -- it seems a bit off (not bad, just not as per the description) but as with all oils, you need to give it time to really work it's way in. Over the day, the scent works it's way in and becomes a warm coconut with toasty hazelnuts. It comes off as being a bit light but eventually fades by the end of the day.

Ife, well, when I first put it on I did enjoy the scent but I couldn't figure it out. I was quite perplexed since it was a light scent, a bit tropical it seemed, but more citrus. A few hours later, the scent worked it's way in to give off a light hint of strawberry. It turns out that it's a mix of strawberry with African musk and sandalwood.

The scent of Ife tends to wear out quickly and leaves behind hints of citrus. Or some kind of airy scent -- it's kind of hard to place but overall it doesn't quite match it's description.

I'm definitely a fan of the Koko Haze since I'm biased toward the scent of coconuts even though it fades. The Ife I'm on the fence about since it starts off on an interesting tone but wears down quickly. Each day I tried it, I nearly forgot that I was wearing it by the end of the day.



These products were part of the November Kara's Way box and was given to me complimentary for my evaluation.

Product: Mbeze Koko Haze & Ife Samples
Price: $2.50 each.
Would Recommend? Maybe.
Takeaway: The scents don't quite last which is unusual for an oil. Nonetheless the scents are nice -- I love the Koko Haze but Ife is a bit puzzling since it doesn't match it's description. Ife tends to wear out much faster than the Koko Haze which is why I'm on the fence. The latter was a stronger performer than the former so I think it's a matter of whether you want to take the risk on a scent or not.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Difference of a Version

A little while ago, I was updating some of my staples blog post and I remembered that I had switched back to a foaming cleanser when I'm at my boyfriend's place. The thing is that I know exactly which one I did switch back to, but I wasn't sure what brand. Did I switch back to the CVS Ultra Calm Foaming Cleanser or Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser?

So here's the thing about the original versus the generic (or the store brand), they look the same and sometimes they act the same. The store brand is sometimes cheaper but that doesn't always necessarily mean it's better. It's kind of a gamble to be honest.

A few years ago, someone gifted the Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser to me, which I normally wouldn't get on my own. I had been a pretty staunch user of Noxzema all of my life, but I noticed that the foam gets my makeup off way faster. As of now, it's still a toss up between the two. So why grab a CVS version rather than the original? Honestly, it was likely due to availability. Something I bemoan constantly about (on this blog) is that items fly off the shelf at my local CVS which has caused me to change up routine on more than one occasion.  So sometimes, I settle for the store brand version. Sometimes, it really did come down to the price.

Here's a short list of things I noticed in the bathroom that tend to be almost interchangeable with the store brand version, based on availability.

Original Store Brand Observations Thoughts
Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser ($5.99) CVS Ultra Calm Foaming Cleanser ($4.49) The CVS version is cheaper and the ingredients are almost exactly the same (the difference is that the CVS explicitly states that it does contain Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide and the original says that it may contain those items). I have no issues using these interchangeably, especially if one isn't on the shelves. They work exactly the same for me.
Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer SPF 15 ($12.74) CVS Illuminating Moisturizer with SPF (No Longer Available). I can't find an ingredient listing so I can't compare the initial observations. So here's the thing, I never tried the original. I was looking for something that could travel better than my Alba Hawaiian facial moisturizer so I was specifically looking for a pump. I found this on the shelf and I'm okay with it. 
Noxzema The Original Deep Cleansing Cream ($3.74) CVS Cleansing Skin Cream Original ($2.99) While the CVS version is certainly cheaper, there's a lot more variation in the ingredients. The drugstore version is missing these: Eucalyptus, Globulus Leaf Oil, Sodium Bicarbonate, Calcium Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate, Potassium Chloride. While the drugstore version does have Eucalyptus Oil, I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes. While I could use them interchangeably, I really do have a preference for the Noxzema brand. Perhaps it's because of the extra oils, but it just seems more refreshing on my skin.
Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque ($2.79 Walgreens) CVS Purifying Mint Masque (No Longer Available). These two were about the same price, but for some reason, the CVS' around here don't carry them. Walgreens does, but during the time I was looking to replace my last tube, I couldn't find it on the shelves. Instead I found the store brand version. The ingredients are the same. Queen Helene, hands down. If only I could find it in steady supply. The CVS version burns like crazy at the beginning which is amazing for a product that is exactly the same ingredients as the original.
Vaseline Cocoa Butter Lotion ($5.49) CVS Deep Conditioning Moisturizer, Cocoa Butter ($3.74) Here's another instance where the drugstore version varies a bit. Between the two, the drugstore is missing the following: Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil or Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Collagen Amino Acids, Lecithin, Mineral Water, Sodium PCA, Potassium Lactate, Lactic Acid. I tend to slather lotion on quite a bit. I'd prefer the original, hands down, as it feels the best. The problem is that I do use a lot and fining the large size of the original tends to be hard which is why often, I don't really have much of a choice.

So, you might be wondering what the point is. The thing is, the cheaper version isn't always as bad. Sometimes, it doesn't lack quality. But it's kind of up to you to decide what's worth it. For me, availability does weigh heavily in the decision making process. Yes, I'd love to stick to all my staples at all times but sometimes, it just doesn't happen. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Review: beautyblender

If you're a subscriber to this blog, then you know, I'm a huge fan of sponges and wedges. One of things I like the most is that there are so many of them to go around that I really can use one daily, wash it, and reuse it. I wasn't getting that kind of mileage from my brushes (after all, if you wash them every week [which you should do], then you need to have at least two sets to continually rotate them). I got a much better application with the sponges which seemed almost airbrushed, if I paired it with the right primer.

My friend who subscribed to Birchbox a while ago got this beautyblender in one of her boxes and handed it to me after she realized how much I depended on sponges (versus my brushes).

I was really excited to try it because I had been coveting for a while but given my stash of wedges, I hadn't really seen the   need to get one. But I was happily gifted one and here's what I have to report about them.

I love the sponge, it's got a nice feel to it, so while it is easier to hold in comparison to the teardrop sponges (which are flat), it's a bit harder to hold compared to the normal wedges. Normal wedges are smaller and thus easier to handle. Please note that there isn't a huge difference and what I'm reporting is incredibly minute but I do feel that it is worth pointing out.

In terms of how it works out, I also adore it. It gives a nice airbrushed look which is similar to that of what the wedges and sponges can accomplish. It just happens to get into crevices (the corner of my eyes) much better than the others can. But there is a slight drawback for me and that's the one that puts me squarely on the fence.

I use all of my sponges and wedges once and then I wash them thereafter. As a result, I tend to keep several wedges and sponges around -- that's easy to do when you can buy a pack of 32 wedges for ~$3. A single beautyblender is $19.95. That's not too bad because if you get a pack of two for $25.95 and keep two in rotation -- but you'd likely have to treat them as brushes which means washing them once a week rather than after every single use. Now this is a pure matter of choice now, or perhaps even preference. 

I'm somewhat of a neat freak.* I wash my brushes and my sponges after every single use. Not washing them after every single use irks me. So when I use the beautyblender, I find it somewhat bizarre that I'm supposed to keep using it all week and wash it just once. Now if I bought one for every single day so that I could get over my own shenanigans, that's still a lot of money. As of now, it's been nice to throw it into the mix with the rest of sponges and wedges, but it cannot replace them. The wedges that I reviewed back in March of this year are still in use; I was them every day and they barely have any wear or tear.

Now I will touch upon this. You should wash a sponge after every single use. It's up to you whether or not you want to. If it's been working out just fine for you, then far be it from me to tell you to change. It is recommended that you wash them once a week, but again, it's entirely up to you. All I'm saying is that if you're the type of person that needs to wash them everyday (which is what compels me), then this won't work out as a sole sponge. It takes a few days to dry out. 

* That would be putting it very lightly.



Product: beautyblender
Price: $19.95
Would Recommend? If you're obsessive about cleanliness, then this shouldn't be your only sponge.
Takeaway: If you're the type of person that needs to clean your sponges after every single use, then don't let this be the only one you have in your makeup kit. If that sort of thing doesn't matter to you, then this product is great! >_< You get am even application (especially with a primer) that looks airbrushed. That goes for foundation to blush. Easy to hold and easy to use, but do keep in mind that like with all other sponges, it will pick up a lot more product as a result. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Taking On the World of Disney

For my birthday, my boyfriend and I decided to take on Disney World which was an epic adventure and a lot of fun. It had been 13 years since I had been there and I was excited to experience it all again. I'm generally not big on celebrating my birthday but I figured that in the sea of people, it was easy to go unnoticed, even if you are wearing a large pin that says "Happy Birthday."

It was early but I was ready
for Magic Kingdom. 
Anyhow, let's talk about makeup since Florida is different both temperature wise and climate wise. It's wonderfully warm down there during December and humidity was around the high 50's. So what does this translate to? Well, first, let's consider what was in my makeup bag.

The things I brought along with me: My entire makeup bag which included included the CVS Illuminating Moisturizer with SPF and my Cover FX makeup (the pressed mineral powder and the setting powder). I also walked with all of my eyeliners, mascara, makeup brushes, and makeup sponges.

I did leave behind a lot of my eye shadows, but truth be told, I didn't have any intention of wearing them anyway. The Disney World parks are intense and the one thing you probably don't want to do is wear too much makeup if you have oily skin. I walked with copious amounts of blotting sheets in the event that my makeup would run.

As it turns out, the weather was quite amicable toward my makeup so I had no problem keeping it on. A word of caution though, as you might have noticed with my picture on the right, I went light with my makeup.

I have no news to really report about makeup, but as always, there was something new that I tried on my trip. This time it was a body lotion and a shampoo.

New Items: Dial NutriSkin Replenishing Body Lotion Sensitive Skin and Seventh Generation Baby Shampoo & Wash.

Dial NutriSkin isn't new to me -- a few months ago I tried out the Extra Dry Skin version (and conveniently forgot to write a review about it) and found that I liked it a lot. The only thing I wasn't thrilled with was that I just couldn't find it everywhere which is a problem when it comes time to buy a new bottle.

This time round during a trip to Publix to stock up, the Extra Dry Skin version wasn't anywhere to be found but the Sensitive Skin was. It was also the smallest bottle I could find that would be the best option for our vacation for the week.

I don't know if anyone else ever has this problem but the soaps that you get when vacation can be incredibly drying. When I was done washing my hands or taking a shower my skin would appear ashy white. Thankfully I had this lotion to revive my skin and every single time it made me so happy we sprang for it. They generally go for about ~$5 so at that price, it's not a huge risk to take either. It feels great on the skin, especially one that has been stripped of moisture so I would most definitely recommend this to anyone who has particularly dry skin.

Moving on to the shampoo, I've been keeping to shampoos that are free of parabens, sulfates, silicones, and dyes as best I can. After scouring the selection of normal shampoos without much luck, I headed on over to the infant's section and quickly found a close alternative for the trip. The Seventh Generation Baby Shampoo & Wash does have sulfates, but it doesn't contain parabens or silicones which was a trade I was willing to make fore a short amount of time. I kind of wish I had a loofah so that I could make use of the wash instead of suffering with the bar of soap. The bottle ranges from $6-$8 depending on the location.

My hair was wonderful during the trip which I attribute to the climate of Florida. It constantly appeared bouncy and wurly without ever seeming drab. I think the key item on this trip would have been the lotion because I didn't need the other products nearly as much. As for my hair, I noticed the difference after washing my hair the first day and upon our return to home, my hair return to it's lifeless state again. I think with the previous trips I learned that my skin and hair aren't always going to act the way I expect them to so it's best to be on your toes about visiting a new area that hasn't a different climate.

And now for some quick Disney tips! LeFou's Brew at Gaston's Tavern is an interesting blend and quite sugary. The souvenir cups are wonderfully cute too! For those of you with Disney World in your future, I will strongly recommend Undercover Tourist, not just for the discounted tickets (they are an authorized seller of discount tickets for Disney and Universal Studios, along with some other attractions in the Orlando area)  but also for their blog which is loaded with great tips. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Swatches: Sephora Collection Smoky Kohl Eyeliner in Black

I haven't been able to properly wear this kohl eyeliner out since I generally pair it with another eyeliner to get a darker colour. That's why I'm specifically mentioning that this is more of a swatch rather than an observation of it's overall performance.

I had been watching this eyeliner for a while but carefully trying to weigh it against the Guerlain Khôl Kajal (which I'd still love to have but since it retails for $36, I feel as though I had better thoroughly enjoy rather than eye from afar), it was tough to pass this one up when it went on sale for $3. It turns out that they are actually discontinuing it which is why it went for so low. If you see it on the website then you might want to grab it if you have the chance.

Anyhow, I do enjoy khols quite a bit, but this is a medium I'm not quite used to. I'm actually used to the loose powder but I like the idea of the kohl kajal so I couldn't just pass it up.

So the idea is that if you use it as an eyeliner, then you would  hold it vertically to your eye and drag it across. With this motion, you'd be able to keep the pointed tip  or potentially reshape it with out a sharpener.

If you notice on the left with mine, the tip is a bit dull. Someone (likely myself) accidentally twisted it upward causing an indentation at the tip. With a few uses (using the method I described) I've been able to get the pointed tip back.

The application can be a bit tricky if you're not used to it. I'm certainly not used to it so it takes a bit of practice. The application at times felt a bit spotty but I was able to fill it in with the help of another eyeliner (specifically the NYX eyeliner that I have in my stash). It does come out a bit lighter than a standard eyeliner so you could potentially blend it as an eyeshadow.

In the image to the left you can see a comparison of some of the eyeliners that I have in my stash. From left to right is the Sephora Kohl Eyeliner, e.l.f. liquid eyeliner, NYX retractable eyeliner, Stila Convertible Eye Color, and Tokidoki Perfetto Eyeliner.

Given the application type, it's much thicker and while similar in colour and density to the NYX and Stila, you definitely have more freedom to blend it.

I tried out the eyeliner with a very basic look: Everyday Minerals in Mystery Midnight, Kat Von D's Tequila and Leather eyeshadow, the Sephora Kohl, NYX Retractable Eyeliner in Black, and Physicians Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Jumbo Lash Mascara in black (for whatever reason, my psyche is convinces that these all go together since they all don't show up on my skin very well).

It's going to take quite a bit of practice with this one, but overall, I'm happy with it.



Product: Sephora Collection Smoky Kohl Eyeliner in Black (Discontinued)
Price: Final sale was $3.
Would Recommend? Sure, for that price.
Takeaway: If you're new to this style of eyeliner, then it's fun to play around to. It might take a little while to get used to but practice might make perfect. Overall, it's not as strong as other eyeliner that you might find as it's not as defined, but it lends itself to blending. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Review: Sheswai Lacquer in Earthy

When I first saw these I thought they were pretty nifty -- and not just because they are made sustainably harvested wood for the caps and 3 free (which means they are free of Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde and Toluene), but they come in wonderful colours. If you've been following this blog, then you might have noticed that I've been on a nail polish kick so I was entirely excited when Maria of Kara's Way said that this would be featured in an upcoming box (the December 2012 box, to be precise).

So I got "Earthy" which is a Mauve Taupe colour in the bottle. I can't really find out much about it so I wonder if it was from a limited run. The closest thing to it on the website is "Rootsy" which is described as a "rich roasted caramel pumpkin color of the earth." It is a slight bit darker than the Rootsy though.

Here's a fun thing about the nail polish though -- I had no idea that it has a deep opacity. I painted my nails with one coat and was surprised at the coverage. The nail polish is a bit liquid like but it covers a lot. I had to run out of the house after the first coat so I didn't get to add a second coat or a top coat but notice below how well it held up (the picture on the right -- you can click it to enlarge it). Keep in mind there was a lot of heavy lifting and packing involved which means that this is a pretty impressive performance for a nail polish.

Now you will likely notice that on me and my wonderful undertones, the nail polish strikes me more as a brownish colour as it seems more akin to chestnut. The mauve taupe is a bit lost on me, but still something worth appreciating in terms of performance.

As I type this, I'm waiting for the second coat to completely dry out and you can see it in action in the picture to the right. (Yes, I'm holding a laser pointer in the shape of a mouse). The nail polish is amazingly shiny and it was kind of hard to capture a good picture. Overall, I think this nail polish is highly impressive and they've got some beautiful colours on the website that I can't wait to get my hands on.

Any nail polish addict should look into these nail polishes because aside from the beautiful packaging, the formula itself is surprising. After all, while it comes of being liquid like, it has good coverage and great opacity for just one coat. Not to mention the glossiness which is just amazing since I haven't even put on the top coat just yet.



This product is slated to be featured in an upcoming Kara's Way box and was given to me complimentary for my evaluation.

Product: Sheswai Lacquer in Earthy
Price: $16
Would Recommend? Yes!
Takeaway: If you're a nail polish addict then you're going to want to give this one a try. Even if you're not, note that I actually took a picture of just one coat to show the opacity and coverage and it survived heavy lifting pretty well. It has a nice glossy finish to it and overall, it's one of those things that looks beautiful (package wise), performs well, and makes you feel a bit better about their overall practices as a company (if that's your thing).

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Review: Nature's Gate Awapuhi Volumizing Shampoo

It happened again. I went to my local drugstore to pick up more Pure Clean shampoo and they were out of it. This is quickly becoming the norm around here. Either that or I'm timed exactly with all the other people who buy that shampoo and we all run out of it at the same time. Which is actually kind of cool.

Anyhow, I decided that I would just grab a bottle of baby shampoo or something at my grocery store instead later that same night. Now as with all my hair care items as of late, I've been trying to make absolutely sure that the shampoos and conditioners are paraben and sulfate free. So I tend to scour the aisles for a bit and really analyze the bottles. (And sometimes when I'm in a rush, I realize the error later and have to fix it). I did find a baby shampoo but a little bit further in the same aisle I found a whole selection of paraben and sulfate free shampoos (thank you Andronico's!). My eyes were drawn to the bottle of Nature's Gate -- specifically the Awapuhi which is Hawaiian White Ginger (read as: the flowers were pretty).

On the back of the bottle it notes that it is free of the follow: parabens, sodium lauryl/laureth/coco sulfates, phthalate, and butylene glycol. On the front of the bottle it mentions that there are "7 Healthy Hair Nutrients" which include panthenol (Vitamin B5), soy proteins, vegetable proteins, jojoba oil, borage flower seed oil, Vitamin C and Vitamin E. 

I've been using it for about a month at this point and there are a few things to note. Namely that it doesn't quite lather up the way a shampoo would (and you shouldn't expect it to either, seeing as it doesn't have the agents to do so). At times, I couldn't help but feeling like I should wash my hair with the shampoo twice before working the conditioner into my ends. But each time, I was happy that I didn't try to rewash my hair till it felt squeaky clean. This shampoo is a bit heavy it seems on the oils, which is nice because it is still cleaning my hair and not stripping it entirely. 

As for the wurls... the first day they were drab. My hair seemed weighed down and almost appeared straight which was odd but not unlike my hair. Since then, the curls have picked up a bit and my hair seems to react just fine to this shampoo as it does with any other that meet the same criteria (that would be that they are free of parabens and sulfates).

I do think that my hair appears a bit shinier and overall seems a bit healthier but there are times when the wurls (waves and curls) seem kind of lost. I have a feeling that the added oils might be a bit too heavy for my curls and waves and are ultimately weighing it down. I think that as my hair gets longer, this will definitely be a go to (based on availability though) but for now, as my hair is short, it might be a bit too much for now. 




Product: Nature's Gate Awapuhi Volumizing Shampoo
Price:  $7.79
Would Recommend? Not for short hair, but perhaps for long.
Takeaway: While I love the idea behind it, I think that it might be a bit heavy on my hair. The wurls don't always come out as a result. I think that while my hair is shinier and looks healthy, the curls themselves look a bit drab. I think that's it seems great for longer waves but for the short curlier types, this might not be the best one to go to. I'll definitely be revisiting this one in the future as my hair grows out.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Review: FizzButter Pumpkin Latte Bath Bomb

I'm a huge fan of all things pumpkin, so when Maria gave me a FizzButter LE bath bomb as a gift, I was excited -- although a bit hesitant since I haven't really taken baths since I worked at Lush. I'm a fan of the shower, which is quick and easy. Nonetheless, I welcomed it to my collection of soaps and waited till the right time.

When I first got it, it was still a bit soft which indicated that it was freshly made. There was a light scent, not very pumpkin like, but still something that smelled... like a bakery? Think of a very light baked scent. I waited a few weeks before using it, so by the time I was ready for my bath, it was hardened. The scent was very light again and while I wasn't able to place it, my boyfriend thought that it was almost tropical. 

Neither of us could figure out what the scent was, but we knew it wasn't pumpkin. That didn't bother us much though, because after a few moments, you're engulfed with shea butter and cocoa butter.

I did split it in half at first to try out one side. After hitting the seam once or twice against the bathtub, it was easy to separate the two halves. I dropped in the light side first and noticed that the bath was very moisturizing. Although I didn't need to drop in the other half, I did anyway and dropped myself into the most moisturizing bath I've had in a long time.

This bath bomb is filled with shea and cocoa butter and you can feel it. If you're familiar with their scents, they kind of dominate (or at least it did for this bath bomb which is probably why we couldn't make out the pumpkin latte scent). If you have dry skin, this would be great for you. Even if you don't like baths much, I think they'd be great to do once every few months.

They've also got a really cute lineup for the holiday season for the bath bombs which are $3.69 each): Candy Cane, Cranberry Fig, Pumpkin Latte, Pumpkin Spice, Spicy Cider, Vanilla Butter & Pineapple, and Santa's Tree. 



This product was featured in a past Kara's Way giveaway and was given to me complimentary for my evaluation.

Product: FizzButter Pumpkin Latte Bath Bomb
Price: $3.69
Would Recommend? Yes.
Takeaway: While it didn't smell like a pumpkin latte, it did smell a lot like cocoa butter and shea butter which is what it happens to be full of. It's a very moisturizing bath bomb which anyone with dry skin would likely love.
Tip: Don't forget that you can also break it in half in order to get two baths out of one bath bomb!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Swatches: Shiro Cosmetics Eye Shadow Samples

Earlier this week I focused on the Halloween 2012 collection by Shiro Cosmetics. In the same package, I had ordered a bunch of samples as well but I haven't really had the chance to try any looks with them just yet so I shall present to you... swatches!

The samples I bought are as follows:
  • Dwarf in a Flask (The Fullmetal Collection)
  • Alkahestry (The Fullmetal Collection)
  • Philosopher's Stone (The Fullmetal Collection)
  • Hearts (The Legends Collection)
  • Heart Attack (The Notebook Collection)
  • Evolve (The Super Effective Collection)

I received two extra samples in the package (pictured on the left of the lip gloss) and they are Ganondorf (The Legends Collection) and Day of Reckoning (The Fullmetal Collection).

From left to right without primer: Day of Reckoning,
Heart Attack, Hearts, and Philosopher's Stone.
I split up the reds from... well the blues and here are the first set of swatches. All descriptions of the colours come directly from the Shiro Cosmetics website.

Day of Reckoning: Intense, metallic deep burgundy.
Heart Attack: Deep maroon with blue duochrome.
Hearts: Bright, true red with subtle shimmer.
Philosopher's Stone: Lightly shimmery blood red

From left to right with UDPP: Day of Reckoning,
Heart Attack, Hearts, and Philosopher's Stone.
When I swatched them, I wasn't that surprised about the colours and how they turned out. They came out a bit muted though Hearts came in quite a bit.

In the second image I tried the batch of reds over a primer. Huge difference for a lot of the colours. Day of Reckoning, Heart Attack, and Philosopher's Stone came in very vibrant. Not all of the colours quite match their description. Day of Reckoning seems more on the purple side, Heart Attack is a bit lighter than a maroon as it is a bit rosy, Hearts came out orange, and Philosopher's Stone... well, that was right on target. The colours are still very nice with hints of shimmer -- but Hearts is an interesting one based on how it changed with the primer.

From left to right without primer: Alkahestry, Evolve,
Ganondorf, and Dwarf in the Flask.
The final set is... everything else. :) As aforementioned, the descriptions are taken directly from the website.

Alkahestry: Sheer-ish pale violet with a brilliant blue-sparkle base.
Evolve: Vivid opaque blue over a shimmery white base.
From left to right with UDPP: Alkahestry, Evolve,
Ganondorf, and Dwarf in the Flask.
Ganondorf: Velvety black with strong dark red shimmer
Dwarf in the Flask: Velvety, intensely opaque matte black

Without the primer, Alkahestry was just a shimmery bomb on my hand. If you notice shimmer in Evolve (which you should), note that Evolve has no shimmer and that was all thanks to Alkahestry. The colours without a primer were all muted and while they did come up, it was not by much.

I had a hard time capturing a good shot of the eyeshadows over a primer since the sun goes down much faster but you can kind of make them out. Alkahestry was a bit easier to control and didn't end up everywhere. Evolve came in quite nice, as did Ganondorf, and Dwarf in a Flask. The image doesn't quite do them justice.

I rather like all of these and I'm excited to place another order with Shiro in the future given how nice they all are. I definitely have to test them out on my face and see if they actually show up as pigmented as they are on my wrists (and hands). But for now, I have high hopes for them.



Product: Shiro Cosmetics Eye Shadows
Price: Samples are $1 each, minis are $3.50, and a full size is $5. The price might vary depending on the eyeshadow.
Would Recommend? Yes, with caution.
Takeaway: Geeky eyeshadows, FTW. That aside, the colours may not always quite match the websites swatch but they are somewhat close. They are definitely pigmented but it remains to be seen how well they show up on a yellow undertone. The Halloween collection came out well on me so I'm not too worried about the performance of these -- still it's worth noting that it might vary.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Labour of Love: One Year Later

This blog has been an absolutely labour of love from the time of inception, which was November 28th, 2011. I had many reasons for creating the blog, none of which that I will get into. I'd like to believe that over the year, I've learned some, I've grown some, and most importantly, I've practiced my writing.

I am a writer, first and foremost. I began this blog to practice more because I haven't been able to get around to finishing my books. So I decided to challenge myself about writing on a topic that I hadn't really discovered.

Sure I could apply black eyeliner with one hand while staring into a compact, but blending? Actually applying said eyeliner in an actual line versus going for a cat eye? Trying out different eyeshadows that weren't black (or red)? It was a challenge and it still continues to be a challenge.

Sadly, I don't have much to commemorate this anniversary: it's the fourth quarter, my birthday is coming up, and we're in the midst of the holiday season. I've got something that I'm hoping reaches fruition in 2013 but it's still on the blackboard as I figure out the logistics. I'm also considering a revamp which is also slated for potentially early 2013 (but rests upon that other item getting off the blackboard). Anyhow, as always I'd love to hear your suggestions and feedback. I know that I have some things that I could stand to improve upon (perhaps not being as lengthy would be one of them) but I'd love to hear about them as I move toward improving this blog in the future. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Review: Shiro Cosmetics Halloween 2012 Collection

Back in October, I picked up some samples along with the miniature jars of the Halloween collection from Shiro. At first I was lured in by the lip gloss called "This is Halloween" and was described as having a flavour of chocolate pumpkin cheesecake. I decided to spring for a few other things because the colours looked quite pigmented and I finally had a good reason to purchase since The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my favourite movies.

I got the package before Halloween but didn't get around to actually testing everything out. The packaging was quite lovely as it has an adorable Halloween theme -- the ribbon matched the candy that was sent in the package. (Also featured is one of the Halloween pails put out by McDonald's this year which I now use for nail polish).

The makeup itself was quite nice. (Sorry for the cluster image, but I couldn't help but take the photo on top of a Halloween themed game). I was a bit sad to not get the Halloween stickers that come with the full sized jars but they are aptly named after the characters they take after.

Let's focus on the Halloween 2012 collection, which are the four jars along the bottom and the tube of lip gloss. I will be following up shortly with the swatches from the samples that I ordered. Shiro offered four different options in order to get the series (ranging from full sized jars with a mini gloss to mini jars with a mini gloss). I opted for the large gloss with the mini jars since I'm a huge fan of glosses.

The eyeshadows in the collection are as follows (all description colours are listed s per the Shiro Cosmetics website):

  • Ragdoll: Lightly faded rust matte base filled with lilac and blue sparkles.
  • Oogie Boogie: Swampy green-beige with a muted velvety finish; the intensity of the green tones depends on the light.
  • Pumpkin King: Very blackened copper packed with orange sparkles.
  • Finkelstein: Somewhat sheer, ultra-pale ghoulish green-yellow-grey with blue shimmer.

From left to right without primer: Ragdoll, Oogie Boogie,
Pumpkin King, and Finkelstein. 
For the swatches of the eyeshadow I did a set without any primers and then another set with the Urban Decay Primer Potion. As you'll note from the image on the left, Ragdoll was barely visible (if at all) without a primer. The other colours surprised me by coming in a bit strong with just one application and no primer.

The second image was on top of the primer was interesting. Ragdoll came in and was lovely. Oogie Boogie and Finkelstein kind of seemed a bit worn down and didn't come in as striking as they did without the primer in the first place. That was an interesting difference.
From left to right with primer: Ragdoll, Oogie Boogie,
Pumpkin King, and Finkelstein. 

Pumpkin King came in nice and dark which I liked a lot. Overall I couldn't wait to see them all in one look. Sadly since my hair was terrible, I won't dare show you how that entire look came out. I ended up finding a decent picture which was strangely the same shot I sent one of my friends as I was testing it out. You'll see it below.

I can't attest to the lasting power of these eyeshadows just yet but below is a quick look I threw together.

Shiro Cosmetics Halloween 2012 with Sephora kohl &
Physicians Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin
Jumbo Lash Mascara 
The four colours are quite complementary even if they all don't quite show up on me. The noticeable difference would be Pumpkin King that came in as more of a darkened copper rather than black (which to be fair, blackened copper is how it's advertised -- it was just a tiny bit disappointing that while it came up as black on my arms, it was dark brown on my face). Mix copper with shades of rust and two lighter colours that tread on being greenish (on a yellow undertone skin, no less)? I think the interesting thing is that they come off as being a bit nude on me which funny enough, a nude palette is unable to do.

This is Halloween Lip Gloss
Either way, I'm very content with the look since it seems simple and light. The final piece would be the lip gloss which does in fact smell like a chocolate pumpkin cheesecake. The lip gloss came out a bit brighter than I had anticipated but it provides great coverage and it pops. The lip gloss is a "medium shimmery red-orange" but on me it's a bit more orange which is absolutely okay for a Halloween lip gloss. There was a weird taste which I'm not sure was attributed to the lip gloss itself or my makeup remover so that might be something to keep in mind.



Product: Shiro Cosmetics Halloween 2012 Collection (Mini Eyeshadows and Full Size Lip Gloss)
Price: $21.00 (price varies based on the option you choose)
Would Recommend? Yes!
Takeaway: The eyeshadows are lovely and demure; they are easy to blend with one another and are buildable. Even if you aren't convinced about the eyeshadows, the lip gloss is mostly definitely worth it as it's a unique scent and colour. Very reminiscent of Halloween.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Review: Black Widow Lip Balm in Calavera 12 and Voodoo

Oh Halloween. Remember that time of year? In my quest to satiate my need for Halloween makeup items, I stumbled upon Black Widow Balms on Etsy. Now I admit that my draw to this line was a bit superficial because of the following reasons:
  1. It has a black tube.
  2. It's called Black Widow Balms.
  3. It's lip balm, which I immensely prefer over lipstick or lip gloss.
  4. The first tube I saw was named Voodoo.


I warned you that my draw was superficial. Anyhow, after much deliberation, I decided to spring for three tubes (two for myself  and another for a friend). I ended up getting Voodoo and Calavera 12. (Side note is that I got Spell for my friend, but I don't have swatches of it since I gave it to her immediately). I chose them because Voodoo is described as having a plum tint and Calavera 12 had a hot pink tint. Both of those colours, based on description and on how the swatch looked on the website seemed to be a perfect fit for me.

The lip balms arrived three days after I ordered them (which is what is mentioned on the website). I thought that the packaging was really nice. It had a very nice dark look to it which is in line with the branding in general. Upon taking a closer look at the tubes themselves, I was a bit worried.

 For starters, the Calavera 12 looked incredibly pink but looked like it was on the sheer side. I wasn't too worried though since I figured that that would happen. It was the Voodoo that I had a bit of disappointment with (as you can see with the swatches).

Calavera 12 is on the left and Voodoo on the right. Calavera 12 does come out a bit but the Voodoo was brownish (rather than plum, which is what I was expecting). I knew that the brand touts that it has high pigmentation but I know that colours don't always appear on me. So I leave it to the other aspects to truly judge a product upon. In the case of lip balms, that would be moisturizing aspect and scent.

Calavera 12
Calavera 12 is supposed to be a hot pink (and I'm content with the colour). The scent is described to be "raspberry, spiced nutmeg and calming mint oils." It does deliver on that scent as you get a strong scent of raspberry. The other scents don't really come out as much, but I'm enjoying that strong raspberry scent.

Voodoo
Calavera is supposed to have shea butter, coconut oil, and olive oil and you could actually feel it quite a bit. This one is incredibly moisturizing and you can feel it. The same could also be said about the Voodoo tube as well.

Voodoo... well, it didn't really show up. My friend tried on her tube of Spell and the colour popped on her (Spell was part of the 2 Ghoul 4 School Set and is a lilac colour) but Voodoo on me looked like... normal lip balm.

The scent for Voodoo is described as having "cinnamon and black pepper," and there's no doubt you can get that scent of cinnamon on it. I believe the moisturizing agent in the Voodoo tube is lavender oil. It's also pretty moisturizing as well.

Overall, I think it's a great idea but it leaves a bit more to be desired. The 2 Ghoul 4 School pack was $11 and each tube goes for $6. It's a bit pricey for a lip balm but I figured since it was pigmented it would be worth it. It partially was, but still a bit of risk. They do have a risk free policy so do keep that in mind if you're debating on whether or not to try them out. Also keep in mind that I have a notoriously hard time getting pigmented colours in general to show up on my skin so if you don't have that problem, then I'd encourage you to give them a shot.



Product: Black Widow Lip Balm in Calavera 12 and Voodoo.
Price: $6 each (unless you get one of the packs wherein you get two tubes for $11)
Would Recommend? Cautiously.
Takeaway: Calavera 12 made me happy and I know that Spell made my friend happy. Voodoo was a bit of a let down in terms of colour (but not scent not moisturizing aspect). The moisturizers in it are great as are the scents. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Review: Essence of Beauty Teardrop Sponges

Earlier this year I decided to give cosmetic wedges a try (you can check out that review by clicking here) and since then, I've almost exclusively used them for foundation and finishing powder. Every time I mention this when I'm in a makeup store, everyone comments about how I'm wasting product with sponges. But here's the thing about using them, I get a much better application of the foundation and finishing powder. I also use them to apply blush. 

Though I've used the wedges almost exclusively, I have tossed in some different sponges here or there. The Beauty Blender is one of them (but that's a post for another time) and these teardrop sponges have been another. I actually got the teardrop sponges before I got the Beauty Blender but I tend to go back to my wedges. For some reason I think of them as being a bit more sanitary than anything else I keep in my makeup kits.

Why?

I wash them after single use. That includes my teardrop sponges. On one side of the sponge, I'll use the pointed end I work the foundation in. I usually then flip it over and use the other side of the pointed edge to work in the finishing powder. The other end -- the fuller end, I use to work in blush. And that's how I use the regular wedges as well. 

They give an even application and allow for the products to be worked in well. This likely occurs only because it picks up more product so keep that in mind. They are incredibly easy to clean and take about 3 days to fully dry out (or rather, I give them three days to fully dry out whereas they are probably fully dried after the second day).

Whether you're all about the brushes, sponges, or a mix of both, I think these particular teardrop sponges are a great addition to your train case. They are multipurpose when it comes to makeup so you don't have to think of them as just being for foundation or finishing powder. They are great for blending eyeshadows as well. These feel good and are easy to handle. I think they are great in addition to my wedges, though cannot serve as a replacement for me since at times they do feel a bit bigger than what I'm used to (this is specific to how they feel in comparison to the wedges). 



Product: Essence of Beauty Teardrop Sponges
Price: $3.99
Would Recommend? Yes!
Takeaway: I love wedges to the point where I use them almost exclusively -- the exception being these particular teardrop sponges which not only feel good but are easy to use. I will caution that sponges (wedges and even Beauty Blenders) pick up much more makeup which is what causes the fantastically even application. That is your call as what you want to do but I will say that keeping some sponges around as a backup in your makeup kit would be a rather good call. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Afterthoughts of Bleaching and Dyeing

The other night after watching Wreck-It Ralph with my boyfriend, we met up with some friends afterward. Somehow the conversation of hair care came up as my friend mentioned that she's been trying to revive (or rather keep her hair) moisturized and healthy after dyeing. I told her that I have a few tips so I figured that that would make for a good post.

First of all, I haven't dyed, bleached, or hennaed my hair in a few years. The last time I dyed it was maybe two years ago. I did however dye, bleach, and henna my hair when I was younger (at home) and sometimes with the help of my mom. I've tried Sun-In, hydrogen peroxide, boxed hair dyes, dyed my hair at salons, and of course, bleached my hair as since it's pretty dark. A quick note is that my hair as a child was naturally jet black and lightened over the years so now it's a [very] dark brown.

I'm not going to talk about colouring or bleaching, but rather the aftercare since that is crucial to rebuilding the overall health of your afterward. 

Important things to keep in your arsenal of haircare should be the following: masks and oils. It can be any mix of such and it really is up to you what you want to use, but you should have something that is deeply conditioning (it doesn't even have to be a mask, but it should be intense) and oils for daily application. Here are a list of my favourites throughout the years and how to use them:

Argan Oil
  • Queen Helene Cholesterol Hair Conditioning Cream. You can use any type of cholesterol and it doesn't have to be Queen Helene (it could just be mayonnaise) but having this around makes things easier on your hair. This particular bottle costs ~$3 and while only a few drugstores carry it in store, almost all of them seem to have it online and you can definitely find it in a beauty supply store.
    • If I bleached my hair, I'd wait about an hour or so before applying a thick layer of it on my hair and let it sit for about a full hour. 
    • If I dyed my hair, I'd follow up immediately with the cholesterol and let it sit for half an hour. 
    • Every time I washed my hair thereafter, I'd take a tiny amount and work it into the ends (this was because I used to blow-dry my hair, which was also damaging). 
    • While you should do the intensive masks with cholesterol, do keep in mind that it is a bit harder to wash out so I wouldn't recommend doing it often. An intensive mask used to leave my hair oily for a few days thereafter. This is why I'd recommend working it into the ends if you blow-dry your hair and using something else as a weekly mask.
  • Lush's H'Suan Wen Hua. After the cholesterol runs out and you don't see yourself dyeing or bleaching your hair in the near future, it's nice to move to a less intensive mask. H'Suan Wen Hua was a hair mask that I used once a week after the initial deep intensive mask post-salon/dye/bleach/etc. A container of this retails for $20.95.
  • Argan Oil. I've used a lot of Argan oil and the one thing I can say is that they all seem to work the same (from the incredibly cheap to the expensive, that is). I have settled on two of them and that is Hask's Argan Oil Shine Treatment and Creme of Nature Argan Oil Gloss & Shine Polisher (you can read my review here). If you find yourself moving away from blow-drying your hair, then the need for cholesterol drops significantly. I'd highly suggest taking up an oil (and that can be any oil you'd like to use whether it's coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, or just a serum in stock at your local store) because your ends needs a bit of help regaining that moisture as it grows out and battles the everyday. Take about a dime size amount and work it into the ends of your hair -- that's all it takes! Hask retails for ~$2 and the Creme of Nature bottles goes for $6-$8 depending on the store.
  • Biotin & Vitamin D. You'll read about biotin and how much you should integrate into your vitamin supplement regime if you're growing out your hair. Here's the thing though, biotin is actually just great for strengthening your hair which is why it has become synonymous for growing your hair out. You might notice it growing "faster" but the reality is that it's just strengthening it, which if you're bleaching and/or dyeing your hair, you might want to consider. I add in Vitamin D because even though the results for it helping hair are still inconclusive, I noticed that my hair wasn't exactly disagreeing with it either. By adding in the two of them into my vitamin regime, I've noticed that my hair is a bit stronger and healthier for it. The vitamins vary depending on the count but generally they are about ~$10 per each bottle (in which case it might actually be better to just a Hair, Skin, and Nails vitamin mix).
I am by no means an expert, but I've noticed that these have helped out a lot during my experimental phase. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Review: Everyday Minerals Shimmer Eyes & Blush

A while ago I got one of the old sample kits from Everyday Minerals for the foundation which included Sandy Medium and Medium Tan which worked out well for me. Since then, EVM has come out with free sample kits that you can customize but they haven't gotten the colours that I would need to try out in stock. The blushes have long been something that I've been wanting to try out but given my holdout for the foundations, it's been a long while since I've had the chance to try them out.

From left to right:
Midnight Mystery &
Glam Guru
This is where Maria (of Kara's Way fame) came in and handed me a sample of the eyeshadow in Midnight Mystery and one of the blush in Glam Guru. Midnight mystery is described as a "coppery deep undertones with splashes of gold," and the Glam Guru is a "soft and earthy pink pigmented blush."

As you can see from the swatches, the Midnight Mystery is barely coming up. The Glam Guru on the other hand is coming up very well. I wasn't sure how a whole face look would work out but I gave it a try.

Yes, I'm wearing monkey ears.
The Glam Guru was very light but still gave just the right amount of colour. I have to admit that if I saw this on the website and it were my choice, I'd probably pass on a colour like this. That's just upon first glance though. Looking at the swatch gave me a bit more hope and when I saw it on my face, I was quite pleased with the way that it worked out.

The eyeshadow didn't really show up which made it a bit harder to work with, even over a primer.

You can kind of make out the shimmer of the Mystery Midnight in the picture on the right but just barely. In order to really blend it I had to use some colours from the Kat Von D's True Romance Beethoven palette. Specifically you're seeing the colours Tequila (a metallic cornsilk shimmer) and Leather (a matte dark brown). The brown and the cornsilk from the palette really brought all of the colours to the look and the EVM eyeshadow provided the shimmer.

The other items used to complete the look were e.l.f. Essential Liquid Eyeliner in black, a bit of NYX Retractable Eye Liner in black, and Physicians Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Jumbo Lash Mascara in black.



These products are slated to be featured in an upcoming Kara's Way box and was given to me complimentary for my evaluation.

Product: Everyday Minerals Shimmer Eyes in Midnight Mystery & Blush in Glam Guru
Price: I had a sample for both. For the blush a mini size would be $6.99 and a full size is $10.99. The eyeshadow is only available in the mini size for $8.99.
Would Recommend? The blush, yes, as it is very pigmented and comes off soft and lovely. The eyeshadow is another case -- since it barely came up at all, I'd recommend against this particular colour.
Takeaway: The blush is great as I mentioned above. The eyeshadow, particularly this colour, needed a lot of help from other eyeshadows given my skin tone. The brown and beige colour that came through were mostly from the Kat Von D palette with the shimmer coming from the EVM samples. I think another colour might work out better.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Review: Dlê Cosmetics LightUpGloss in Pink Fetissh

I'm a huge sucker for lip glosses (and lip balms) even though I know that I probably shouldn't be adding more to my collection,  when I was told about this, I couldn't help myself. I don't know much about this brand but I was told that the reasoning behind this brand was to create a line of cosmetics that didn't have fillers. They wanted to put out products that were fun -- the lip gloss in particular was created in order to avoid late night application mistakes. As a result, the lipgloss has a light built into the cap with a mirror along the side.

The tube I got was full sized of the Pink Fetissh. It's a light coloured pink, looks like it has a lot of shimmer (no glitter), and is on the sheer side. I would have done a swatch but... if you've been with me for a while then you know that that colour likely didn't show up. So my review will focus on the packaging and the moisturizing aspects of this lip gloss. 


The light is very bright. I thought that it would be similar to that of Physicians Formula's Matchmaker Lip Gloss which changes with the light. I almost wish I had a shot of the light on the PF lip gloss, but trust me when I say, this one is much brighter. Another difference is that the PF lip gloss has a button with which you can turn the light on and off whereas the Dlê cannot be turned off or off. There are two small buttons whereby when the cap is screwed back on the light turns off. 

I turned off all the lights in the bathroom and then tried to apply the lip gloss with the light provided by the cap and the mirror on the side. Great concept and it was well executed but I do wish I had a darker colour to test out. Due to the colour being so light, this wouldn't be something that I was afraid of putting on freehand without a mirror. I imagine that with a darker colour like perhaps the Poison Apple or Coral Me Bad, I'd be a bit more discerning on the mirror and light.

But I do like it the lip gloss and the packaging was great. The formula itself is incredibly moisturizing. If you look at the list of ingredients, there are a lot of oils at the top of the list: Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Jojoba Oil, Beeswax, and Sunflower Seed Oil. I can feel it on my lips hours later which is something I usually only get from lip balms. I was able to use it as intended (such as applying it in the complete dark) but something with more pigmentation would be nice. I do think that I could add an eyeshadow (that is specifically lip safe) to give it a bit of colour. Below is a picture of the lip gloss on me.



These products are slated to be featured in an upcoming Kara's Way box and was given to me complementary for my evaluation.

Product: Dlê Cosmetics LightUpGloss in Pink Fetissh
Price: $8.95
Would Recommend? Yes, but not for the colour rather for the packaging and the formula.
Takeaway: Great formula, as in it is very moisturizing, and it's such a great package in general. The colour pigmentation leaves something to be desired but overall, I rather like it's performance. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Review: Eco-DenT Extrabrite

I wanted to give a special nod to this one because I'm a huge fan of red wines. Being a huge fan of red wines often means though that there is a bit of staining on the teeth. I do have quick whitening system and I use toothpastes that have whitening aspects, but over time, I have to head to the dentist to get a proper cleaning. Recently when I found out that my boyfriend's toothpaste had run out, we had to borrow one from his sister. But it turns out that she doesn't use conventional toothpaste -- she warned us that she uses a powder and then handed us the bottle.

I'm no stranger to the "unconventional" toothpastes, gels, or powders (after all, does anyone remember Lush's Black Toothgel?). You use it similarly to how you would a paste; I usually wet my brush first then sprinkle a bit on. You don't have to use a lot since it really lathers up as you use it. After one use I noticed that the red wine stains were slowly reducing. Sure, they weren't completely gone but it was certainly helping quite a bit. I still do need to use my whitening system, but it helps when you have a proper regime in place.

Or I could stop drinking red wine, but that's never going to happen. 

A bit about the tooth powder itself is that it's a whitener without fluoride. The base of it is baking soda (amongst other items) and it has a minty taste to it. I wasn't too surprised at it itself, but I was (for some reason) really surprised at how it was helping the stains. I was kind of sad when we found our tube of toothpaste and we had to hand the powder back.

I haven't found these in store however I was told that Andronico's and maybe even Whole Foods might carry it. You can definitely get them online for $8.99 at Eco-DenT.

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