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.

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.


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.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Review: Concrete Minerals in Smut & Wicked

I had to do two takes of this one because the first time round I did it when I was incredibly tired and... let's just say I really ought not be trying to do anything with makeup when I'm tired. (Long time readers can have a laugh now).

Concrete Minerals was on my list of places that I absolutely needed to try because it popped up on Phyrra's list of "Affordable Cruelty-Free Brands." I've slowly been trying to make that shift with all of my makeup -- not just to cruelty free, but just shift over to Indie brands in general. I was incredibly happy when Kara's Way handed me two full-sized eye shadows to test out.

I received the eyeshadows "Smut" and "Wicked." Smut is described as a "dirty silver with pink-purple undertones" whereas Wicked is "medium purple with an aquamarine shift." So, you might notice that beyond the flash burnout, the two eyeshadows I have are blue and purple. For a while, I held off this review because I was a tiny bit perplexed since Wicked came out very blue. I'm not hating as it's a lovely blue, but it definitely doesn't match the swatches on the website.

Wicked on the left and Smut on
the right.
Right off the bat, the colours aren't really that buildable. The Wicked comes off as a sheer colour and while it's just the kind of blue that I like, I had a feeling that it would disappear on my face. The Smut came off as a vibrant coppery purple.

Wicked on the left and Smut on the right. Over primer, full
eyelid, no blending, and no, I did not go out like this.
You can see what the first test looked like above. Even though I packed on the Wicked, it didn't really come but you can see the shimmer and the hints of it around my eye. The Smut appeared but only along the the very edges of my eyelids by the lashes. Keep in mind I applied both of them to the entire area without any blending over a primer.

I've had this issue with eyeshadows before so I decided that I needed to run a second test. First I redid the swatches. Below you can view the new swatches -- no primer but multiple swipes to test buildability. The first stripe of each is (so that would be from left to right, the first and the fourth) one that doesn't include multiple swipes whereas the other two that follow have multiple swipes. They all looked pretty much the same no matter what light or setting I tested it in. The only new thing I noticed what that Smut was now showing up with a black base underneath.

From the left to right: First three strokes are Wicked &
the last three are of Smut. No primer.
I decided that the eyeshadows probably needed a better "canvas" to be built upon so I grabbed my Sugarpill Tako (white) and Sugarpill Bulletproof (black) to help them along.

The blue and purple creation.
After starting off with white in the center of my eyelid and black in the highlight and crease area. For the outer lid I used the Smut and for the inner lid I worked the Wicked inward toward the middle of the lid over Tako.

For the brow, I worked the Wicked a bit upward toward the Bulletproof and mostly worked with the Smut to blend the two so that the Bulletproof wasn't as strong. On my eyebrows I blended Bulletproof and Wicked.

I used the Honeybee Gardens eyeliner in Blue Jeans (navy blue) and finally on my lashes I used Mark's Lash All You Want High Volume Mascara in Violet.

The final look took forever to get a good picture of since it mostly came out blue. Any type of high flash on the camera meant that it looked like I was barely wearing any eyeshadow at all. But as those of you know, mineral makeups tend to be a bit harder to photograph (unless you have a good camera, which I do not have).

Overall, I think that Concrete Minerals is a good addition to the collection. It does take a lot more effort to get it worked in and if it weren't for the Sugarpill, I'm not sure that I could really get it to show up on me. It doesn't really build on it's own and requires other colours for that jump start. I'm also still a bit puzzled about how far off the swatches on the website are from what I got. My assumption is that since this is an indie brand that likely mixes it themselves, this batch might be a bit different than the norm.

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

Product: Concrete Minerals in Smut & Wicked
Price: $7 each.
Would Recommend? Perhaps...
Takeaway: The colours didn't quite match the website and add the fact that they go on sheer. It took a couple of combinations with other products in order to really get the colours to pop.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Review: Honeybee Gardens Eye Liner in Blue Jeans

I love getting different eyeliners because nothing more appeases me then trying out new looks. Nothing irks me more then having to go through the trial period though to figure out whether or not it's a worthy contender of becoming an HG or s staple. 

My familiarity of this brand, Honeybee Gardens, is a bit low. They did have their full sized nail polish featured in the inaugural box of Kara's Way so I knew of them -- I just didn't know what else they offered. Maria (of Kara's Way fame) is well aware of my addiction to makeup, so she handed me one of the Honeybee Gardens eyeliners.

Specially the jojoba based eyeliner called "Blue Jeans." Blue Jeans (sorry for the darker picture but it was very early early in the morning) is a navy blue. It's a nice shade of blue, one that I could see myself using often because I could pass it off for a black. I also imagine that it would pair nicely with some blue eyeshadows. 

Ingredients: Castor seed oil, Ozokerite wax, Ethylhexyl palmitate, Jojoba seed oil, Lanolin oil, Beeswax, Cocoa seed butter, Cetearyl alcohol, Carnauba wax. May Contain: black iron oxide, brown iron oxide, mica.

(Can you tell that's it is super early in the morning? If you can't, I'm telling you now, I am terrible at makeup when all I want to do is crawl back into bed and sleep).

The eyeliner itself glides on well. I have to admit, that I was a bit surprised at that. I ended up applying to it similar to that of kohl but I really didn't need to. Easy application, looks decent (even if I'm a sleeping zombie in the morning). Overall, I have no complaints about it going on in the morning. What about the 8 hour day though? Well, it turned out that I had to go to an impromptu dinner meeting so I had to wait a little bit longer to see how the makeup held up.

But I will note that throughout the day I noticed it running a tiny bit. It was nothing that a quick dab here or there couldn't fix though. I chalked it up to being that my skin was running a bit oilier than usual so those of you that have that issue might want to consider that.

So here's the snapshot of the eyeliner almost 15 hours after the initial application. (Keep in mind that while I cleaned up the places where it ran a bit, I did not touch it up [reapply the eyeliner, to be specific] at all throughout the day.

While it appears a bit faded, for the most part it held up well. I almost wish I had paired it with more eyeshadows to see how it would have fared but it's good to note how products work alone before seeing how they work teamed up (specifically, Concrete Minerals eyeshadow in Wicked would look amazing with this one).

The long of the short is that it does apply well and even. It does last long and even though you might look at the left side of my eye and wonder why half of it is gone -- it was almost 15 hours later. I can assure you that my makeup was intact prior to the dinner. The best part was that the removal wasn't harsh on my eyes either. I really like this eyeliner and it's definitely a huge contender for the future but I do need to try it in black.

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

Product: Honeybee Gardens Eye Liner in Blue Jeans
Price: $7.99
Would Recommend? Yes.
Takeaway: Applies well and evenly without much tugging. Definitely lasts up to 8 hours -- even pushed through to almost 15 hours but may require a bit of cleaning if you have oily skin (bleeds a bit, but not too much). 


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