Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review: e.l.f. Essential Waterproof Eyeliner Pen

I can't believe that I have yet to post a review on this one. I've been using it for just about three weeks and I've been very happy with it's performance. In fact, it's probably now an official staple which is why I probably forgot to write about it.

For starters, I wasn't sure how it was going to work out but during the 50% sale, I figured that for 50 cents, it was worth trying out. I only got the eyeliner pen in black and at first, I accidentally stored it upright which meant that when I tried it out for the first time (after the swatches), I thought it was all dried out. I admit at that point I was a bit disappointed, so I tossed it aside (on its side) then grabbed the e.l.f. liquid eyeliner to use instead. A few days after I picked it up to inspect it because I figured there was no way it had already dried out. Of course, being on it's side, the liquid inside came back into the felt tip and it was working again. Obviously, don't store it upright. >_<

Since that minor mishap (which was my fault) I've used it in place of my tokidoki Perfetto eyeliner (which I love). It's easy to apply, glides on, and the tip remains fine. No issues in the initial use and it lasts throughout the day. But let's examine the waterproof aspect. If you try to remove it within a few minutes of application, it really does act like it's waterproof. I had to get the swatches off with the use of soap and that was within half an hour of application. I was kind of happy knowing that this eyeliner really was waterproof.

Except that if you wear it for a whole work day, that part about it being waterproof doesn't last. After 8 hours, the eyeliner will still hold up and look just as good as when you first applied it. It will no longer be waterproof though, as evidenced by how fast it came off when I was washing my face. I won't hold this against the product though; after all we are talking about an eyeliner lasting 8+ hours but if you were looking for something that really is waterproof, then this might be a slight gamble.

It's not as good as Perfetto but it's close enough that if you wanted to keep a spare around, this might just be it. Especially since its normal retail price is a dollar.

Price: $1 
Would Recommend? Yes 
Takeaway: Easy to apply, fine tip, and it lasts all day without any smudging. I haven't encountered any problems with this one.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Review: Bobbi Brown SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizer Oil Free

I almost hesitate to dedicate a full post for this moisturizer but I might as well. It's not really necessary but here it goes. I wasn't really on the hunt for a foundation since I'm content with the CoverFX however through a makeup exchange I ended up getting a sample. At first I was a little bit off put because given the colour schematic I realized that it wasn't one that could stand up to the spectrum.

What does that mean? It means that the sample I was given was a generic "This is good for Medium tone skin" and upon looking at the website my assumption would be that the Deep or Dark Tint would be a better match. Anyhow, working with what I got, the first thing was that the scent was repugnant. I figured that I should try it on anyway, but there was just so much that felt so wrong.

The consistency of the liquid foundation was fine so nothing struck me as odd. But then I tried to apply it to my face and it felt so chalky. Although it came out like a liquid, the application felt like I was putting on paste. I still continued on since it looked like it was matching my overall facial skin tone but it felt terrible. By the time I was done I was so done with the scent and application. Of course, then taking a step back and looking at my face, it was kind of ghastly. The best way to describe it was that while it covered imperfections, it was not able to match my skin in its entirety so it felt (and looked) like a mask.

I ended up washing it off immediately and tossing the rest in the trash. If I were impressed with its overall performance I would be more inclined to seek the correct colour (whatever that might be) but given the scent, feel, and application, there is no justifying the pursuit of this product.

Product: Bobbi Brown SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizer Oil Free
Price: $40
Would Recommend? No
Takeaway: Aside from the colour being off, the scent was terrible, the application was terrible (it felt like a paste), and it just looked and felt like a mask. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Review: stila cosmetics one step primecolor

Just so that we can get any confusion out of the way, I did shorten the title but this is not the one step makeup by stila. Instead this is the "one step makeup primecolor bronze babe" but since it made a lengthy title, I decided to shorten it. This is also a bit hard to find through the website which may add to the confusion. The "bronze babe" means that it was a whole other product. But hey, I got to hand it to for introducing this to me. Now upon seeing this, I was skeptical, after all, I'm brown and that means that anything with "bronze" or "tinted" in the title means that it probably isn't going to work out for me. But, I was pleasantly surprised.

Turns out, this is actually quite useful. For starters, this product gets great reviews because it really does seem like an all-in-one kind of thing.

"This revolutionary new formula combines primer, eye shadow, highlighter, lip color, cheek color, bronzer with mineral pigments to deliver an innovative, high performance, high definition, long wearing, all over color." (from Stila Cosmetics)

And despite my skepticism and brown-ness, it delivers. It blended very well with my skin offering just the right amount of colour without dominating. It seems to offer medium coverage which means that it blends well with your skin tone, effectively reflecting a good colour. I found that I actually didn't need a primer, moisturizer, or my foundation powder. All I needed after using this was a bit of blush.

The other amazing thing about this is that it controlled the oils very well. At the end of the day, it was still there and still holding up -- which means that it is long lasting. This product strikes me as amazing and to be honest had I not just sprung for my CoverFX foundation, this would be a strong contender as the next thing I bring into my standard routine.

Product: stila one step makeup primecolor bronze babe
Price: $22
Would Recommend? Yes
Takeaway: A great all-in-one product that works with your skin tone. Long lasting and effective, this is definitely worth trying out. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Nail Polish Lunchbox

Thus far I have tried to avoid the nail polish reviews because I tend to work a lot with my hands which means that nail polish in general doesn't stand a chance. But I adore having nail polish, so much so that I have a lunchbox filled with them. And yes, my collection was actually much bigger however I have restricted myself to only having as many as I can fit into the lunchbox. Behold, my collection.

Yes, my lunchbox is from BlizzCon. Now I am going to spare the precise breakdown of what is pictured inside and instead focus on a few items (which will probably come in the future as a review). Since my most recent review mentioned that I just got in a few Zoya polishes, I figured I'd mention what they were. (Please note that I haven't tried them just yet!).

I got the five bottles during a promotion where you get two bottles for free. So I figured that I ought to spring for a few more. All quotes mentioned come from the Zoya website.

• Ciara, described as a "medium berry purple with red plum undertones". Visually though, it seems to look like more of a pink.
• Akyra, described as a "medium metallic teal shimmer in a dark smoky blue base." Definitely looks a lot more like a green.
• Ibiza, described as a "blackened indigo-blue brightened slightly by subtle metallic blue shimmer." The description is spot on and it looks like a lovely dark blue.
• Indigo, which is described as "a dark indigo blue shimmer with a pinch of holographic microglitter." Yet while that description holds incredibly true, that glitter looks like it is trully dominating. The glitter also seems to vary in colour so you get a lot of different shiny colours that come through.
• Raven, which is an "intense satiny black balanced by very subtle silver shimmer." Well, it looks black.

Moving on to my favourites! Unlike the Zoya which is completely new to my collection, these nail polishes have been tried and remain true.

• Sinful Colors: Savage (950)
This one struck me as an odd colour when I first got it. And almost a year later, it still strikes me as an odd colour but I adore it. It dries matte so I usually follow up with a glossy top coat to get that colour to shine.

• Sinful Colors: Love Nails (801)
I love a shiny blue and this one even trumps the other blues that I have -- like the other three that I have from OPI (but in all fairness, the others I have from OPI are much darker blues). This colour is bright and really pops out which is what I love about it.

Ye shall be entering the land of purple which is one of my favourite colours.

• CQ: Mystical (151)
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, this colour. Perfect hue of purple, holds up incredibly well (read as: doesn't chip easily), and is possibly my favourite bottle of the lot. I don't use this one nearly as much because it isn't readily available in this area. I picked it up when I was in NYC and while they are abundant in Rite Aid, that store is not out here in SF.

• Island Girl: Surfing Paradise (1132)
I've had this nail polish for about two weeks and I love the colour of it. It looks like a pink but ends up drying on the purple side. It does chip easily though but I tend to overlook those kinds of things when I get a colour I like. I will probably run the same issue as I do with the CQ nail polish; madly in love with it but I can't use it as often since it's not available in SF. You can read my review about it here.

• China Glaze: Flying Dragon (80841)
I ended up getting this one in a swap and I love it! It doesn't chip as easily, wears well, and just looks gorgeous. Although there is microglitter in it, it doesn't really come across, which I like. You get more of the base colour which is a beautiful hue of purple. In fact, it is just slightly darker than the Surfing Paradise colour by Island Girl.

• e.l.f. Royal Plum
Alright, so since entering the land of purple, you might have noticed my overuse of "love." Sad to say that it hasn't ended. Yes, I love this hue of purple as well. It is very similar to the Mystical bottle by CQ however it is a tiny bit more pink (Mystical is a bit more purple).

One last thing before I call an end to my nail polish collection. That is my recent acquisition of the Konad Stamping Nail Art Kit. This was actually something my BF got for me. In the box are two nail plates though. This is something I can't wait to try but first it's going to take a bit of practice.

The Zoya reviews are probably on the horizon, depending on how much I want to stray from my beloved purple nail polishes but in the mean time, here's where you can snag some of my favourites.

Brand Store Price

China Glaze Ulta $7.00

CQ Rite Aid $2.99

e.l.f. $2.00

Island Girl ABC Stores $2.99

Sinful Colors Walgreens $1.99

Zoya Whole Foods & $8.00

Review: Island Girl

I couldn't really help myself to grabbing a few bottles, though I didn't grab as many as I would have liked. So a quick introduction to this line: Island Girl Hawaii Nail Polish is only available through ABC Stores. I've read some other blogs that have noted that the ABC Stores that are in Las Vegas also carry the line, so it's not just restricted to the islands of Hawaii, just the store. While I haven't attempted this, it also looks like you can buy the variety packs through their online site (but you won't be able to purchase individual bottles).

1132 Surfing Paradise, 1149 Island Coast, &
1112A Hawaiian Dream.
Upon seeing them, the first thing to note is that they are bright and vivacious colours. Which meant that at the very beginning of the trip I was hesitant to get them. I knew that I wouldn't find them anywhere else but an ABC Store so it was now or possibly way later. Toward the end of the trip I decided to spring for three bottles. Had I not just ordered 5 bottles of Zoya, I probably would have sprang for more. Anyhow, my experience with cheap nail polishes goes back a long way, so seeing these bright colours only meant one thing in my mind: high maintenance

Bright colours, while lovely and wonderful, generally meant that it chips easily or isn't very long lasting. While I could be wrong in my experience, I also know that when you couple that with a slightly cheaper formula then you're in for dents and chips. But I could overlook that, what I was also prepared for, and what bugs me the most is the inevitable matte look.

A good base coat and top coat can help, but not by much. Why am I mentioning all of these? Well, if you are like me and you're used to this kind of performance from a nail polish, then sure, Island Girl won't disappoint. You've got these bright colours and sure, it's a bit on the high maintenance side, but very lovely. In the short time I've been wearing them, I can offer this:

  1. They dry very quickly which leads to #2. 
  2. They will chip on their own so get a good top coat. (Last night I applied two fresh coats and then had to work on a project. By the time I was done, the nails were dry, but I hadn't applied a top coat in time so I already had some very minor chips).
  3. They dry matte so if you plan accordingly with the proper top coat. If you want the matte effect then be sure to get a matte top coat, otherwise the very bright and shiny colour will pop even more with your standard top coat (this isn't a bad thing, by the way).
  4. They don't last that long. Given that they are prone to dents and chips, don't anticipate them lasting for a week.
  5. They come in a variety of colours, all of which are bright and... cheery? 
  6. They are cheap and exclusive to ABC Stores.
If you could overlook the pitfalls of the nail polish, then it's a good line. I wouldn't compare them in quality to OPI but they stand in line with Sinful Colors. 

I have yet to try Island Coast (the purple) but I imagine that it is quite similar to the Surfing Paradise in terms of performance and endurance. I have tried the Hawaiian Dream and to be honest it was a bit lackluster. The brush, while wide, was unable to pick up the hearts (which are blue and a very light pink) and so after painting all ten nails, I had only 4 hearts. I am hoping that as I get used to it, it would be worthwhile.

Sadly, I cannot remember just how much I paid for each bottle. I think it averaged to about $2 each but I could be wrong about that. 


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