Thursday, May 31, 2012

May Favorites




Hello Lovelies! Hard to believe May is already over & it's time for another monthly favorites! This month, the theme for me was all about lightweight products & shades of peach & coral. As the temperature starts to climb, I really enjoy a more minimal, effortless makeup look. Hope you enjoy!




Without fail, every morning in May I used this trio of Shiseido Urban Environment Oil- Free UV Protector (review here),  Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup (review here), & my Real Techniques Buffing Brush. I can see why the Real Techniques Buffing Brush has received such rave reviews. It makes applying any liquid foundation much easier than conventional foundation brushes & creates a seamless, natural finish. 





As I mentioned, once the weather starts to warm up, I start to pull out my collection of coral & peach face products. I just love the flattering effect this shade has on the skin & think it looks especially appropriate in the Spring & Summer months. Benefit Coralista is one of my most cherished Summer blushes & I have worn it continuously the last 2 Summers. It is just the most universally flattering, easy to wear coral-pink color. I love how it adds a touch of sheen & luminosity to the skin. Also, I am obsessed with how delicious it smells! MAC's Blush in Immortal Flower, a slightly more peach color, was another May favorite (review here).






As for eyeshadow, my most used product was the limited edition NARS Eyeshadow Trio in Ramatuelle (review here). I think the peachy shades of this trio work perfectly with the coral & pink toned blushes I mentioned. Also, this month I was pleasantly surprised by a drugstore purchase of mine, the Revlon Photoready 3D Volume Mascara. I have never been a fan of Revlon mascaras in the past, but this one far exceeded my expectations!  It lengthens, curls & separates the lashes, all while coating them in rich black color. In my opinion, it is a much more affordable dupe for another mascara favorite of mine, Benefit's They're Real (even the brush looks almost identical). 




Have you tried any of these products? What makeup or skincare items were you loving in May?




Thanks for reading!



Lots of Love,

Louise

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Burberry Sheer Eyeshadow Pale Barley



Hello Lovelies! Today I want to talk to you about an eyeshadow that has been creating quite a stir in the beauty community, Burberry's Sheer Eyeshadow in Pale Barley. After seeing glowing reviews for this product on many beauty blogs, I decided to go to Nordstroms and see what all the hype was about for myself. After using it only a few times, I think I can safely say that Burberry's Pale Barley might be a contender for one of my favorite eyeshadows of all time. 




Besides the high price, there really isn't a single negative thing I can say about this product. The formula of the Burberry Sheer Shadows is creamier than any other line I have ever tried. It feels buttery soft & smooth on the skin. The shadows are also very pigmented & long-wearing. Although Pale Barley is a shimmery color, I appreciate that the shimmers are so finely milled that it creates more of a sophisticated glow on the eyelid, as opposed to obvious flecks of shimmer.

Pale Barley is a pewter- beige color with a slight golden sheen. When I first swatched it on my hand, I was afraid it might look too warm on me (I really can't pull off gold eyeshadows). However, when applied on my eyelids, it appears as a gorgeous neutral pewter beige shade. I have been wearing this shadow over Benefit's Creaseless Cream Shadow in Birthday Suit, a similar pewter shimmery color. With just a thin line of MAC's Blacktrack Fluidline winged out on my top lashline, this makes for a perfectly effortless eye look. I love that this one shade creates enough subtle dimension to be worn on its own. 

The packaging of the Burberry Sheer Shadows is beautiful as well. I adore the weighty feel of the compact & the gorgeous chrome Burberry pattern on the outside. I honestly get excited every time I pull this beauty out of my makeup bag. 

Although there are no exact dupes in my collection, a few similar shades I own are NARS Cyprus and Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in Birthday Suit. Cyprus is much warmer & more golden than Pale Barley, while Birthday suit is lighter & cooler. 

Swatches Left to Right: NARS Cyprus, Benefit Birthday Suit, Burberry Pale Barley








* Also Wearing: Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup, Benefit Hoola, Benefit Coralista, MAC Blacktrack Fluidline, Revlon Photo Ready Mascara, tarte LipSurgence Natural Lip Stain in Charmed* 




For more reviews & swatches on Burberry's Pale Barley Sheer Eyeshadow:






As far as I know, Burberry Cosmetics are exclusive to Nordstrom & Nordstrom.com. If you have a chance to visit a Burberry counter, I highly recommend you check this eyeshadow out for yourself! I for one, cannot wait to try out more products from this line of cosmetics!



Thanks for reading!



Lots of Love,

Louise







Monday, May 28, 2012

Today I'm Wearing #11: Not Just Another Nude Nail Look




Hello Lovelies! Happy Memorial Day! I hope you all are enjoying the long weekend! I wanted to share with you my go-to nude (but not boring) nail look. It consists of 2 coats of Deborah Lippmann's Before He Cheats, a sheer baby pink, with a coat of Deborah Lippman's Diamonds and Pearls, a gorgeous opalescent shimmer,  on top. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Thoughts & Comparisons: Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup vs. Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua



Hello Lovelies! I never thought I would be able to say this, but I think the hunt for my ideal foundation is finally over! Meet my new love, Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup. 

 Before this, I had been using Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua for the past year or so. Because these two foundations are fairly comparable, I thought people might be interested to know how I think the two stack up against each other!




Formula
Both Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup & Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua are liquid in texture. They both  come in plastic bottles that have to be shaken vigorously before dispensing the product to mix up the ingredients. I find that Vitalumiere Aqua seperates more in the bottle, despite shaking before hand, and sometimes comes out with what looks like water seperated from the foundation. The Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup on the other hand comes out of the bottle in a fluffier texture, almost semi-mouse like. It seems that the shaker in the bottle does a better job of infusing the foundation with air when shaken.

Both foundations feel lovely & lightweight on the face and are formulated to act almost as a "second skin." Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid does seem to have a thinner consistency & just sinks into the skin with minimal blending. Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua feels slightly thicker in my opinion. With a brush like the Real Techniques Buffing Brush, both foundations blend in very well. Estee Lauder just feels absolutely weightless on the skin, almost as if you are wearing no makeup.


Coverage
Both foundations are light coverage initially but can easily be built up. I find however, that I have to be careful not to apply too much of Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, especially around my nose, otherwise it can start to look cakey. With Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid, I have never had that problem, even when I add an extra layer to the center of my face. 


Color Range
I was pleasantly surprised to find that Estee Lauder offers a much wider range of colors for this foundation than Chanel. Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup is offered in warm, cool and neutral shades, whereas Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua is only offered in warm or cool tones. B10, the shade I was matched to in Vitalumiere Aqua is slightly too yellow for my neutral skin tone. The shade I wear in Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup, 1N1, is a perfect match for me. When the SA initially was color matching me, I was shocked when this shade literally disappeared on my face. You could not tell where the foundation ended & my bare skin started.  


Longevity
One of my main complaints with Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua was the longevity. Despite using powder & a setting spray, my foundation would always disappear around my oily nose & t-zone by the afternoon. Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup is much longer wearing & only slightly fades from the oilier places on my face throughout the day. 

Although Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua worked well for me in Fall & Winter, once Spring hit, I noticed the foundation would break down more in the heat & go patchy throughout the day. With Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup, I find that I am having to blot my face & touch up with powder much less during the day. I believe Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid is much better suited for those with combo to oily skin because it is oil-free & non acnegenic. 


Price 
The Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua foundation retails for $45 for 1ml, while the Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup is $35 for the same amount of product. 


Packaging
I can't lie and say that I am not swayed by beautiful packaging, because I am. This is the one category where I feel Chanel wins hands down. There is something so luxurious about Chanel packaging. Any time I use one of their products, I can't help but feel like I am treating myself.

 Although I love the product inside, I find the Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid packaging quite boring & actually a bit unattractive. I feel that Estee Lauder could have done a much better job with the design of the bottle.





Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup in 1N1 (Left) & Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in B10 (Left)


Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup in 1N1 (Left) & Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in B10 (Right)


Overall, Estee Lauder was the absolute winner for me. This foundation is by far the best I have found for my combination skin type to date!


Have you tried one or both of these foundations? I would love to know what your experiences with either was!



Lots of Love,

Louise
     

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain



Hello Lovelies! I seem to be having a bit of a love affair lately with another makeup brand. Thank god for me (and my poor wallet) it's Revlon, an affordable, easily accessible brand! I've been pleasantly surprised with their recent releases such as the lip butters, their new Colorstay nail polishes, and now these beauties- the new Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains! 

I actually wasn't aware of this new launch, until a few days ago when I was in Target & found myself at the Revlon section browsing the nail polishes. While there, I picked up two colors: Rendezvous, a highly pigmented orange- coral & Cherish, a lighter cool-toned pink with lilac undertones. 

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Rendezvous (Top) & Cherish (Bottom)

Happily, the color cherish is almost a dupe for one of my favorite lip products, tarte's LipSurgence Natural Lip Stain in Charmed. On the lips, both products look very similar, with Revlon's Cherish just a bit cooler & more lilac toned than tarte's Charmed. 

Rendezvous comes across as a vibrant orange with hints of coral on my lips. I can't help but feel like a bit of a 50's throwback (in a good way) when wearing this color, especially when paired with a little flick of black liquid liner on the eyes. 

For the price (I believe I paid $7.99 each) I think these are great lip products. They are very pigmented & feel comfortable on the lip. They are nowhere near as drying as the previous generation of Revlon lip stains that are liquid & come in a marker form. As far as their claim of being moisturizing however, I'm not completely sold. I wouldn't say that they dried my lips out, but I prefer to wear these with a little extra balm or lip gloss on top for some added moisture. To be fair, I don't purchase lip stains for their "moisturizing" capabilities. Even with my beloved tarte lip stains, I still wear lip gloss on top. 

As far as wear time, I would say these are ok. They lasted on my lips for about 2-3 hours before I started to see a bit of fading & had to reapply. For comparison, I would say my tarte LipSurgence Natural Lip Stain pencils last about 4-5 hours on my lips before I feel the need to reapply. The tarte lip stains do also feel nicer & more creamy on the lips in my opinion, whereas the Revlon ones feel a little more waxy.


Swatches: Cherish (Top) & Rendezvous (Bottom)

Overall I have to say I'm pretty impressed with Revlon's new Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains. They may not be quite as lovely as the high end lip stains on the market, but for nearly $16 (or more) cheaper, I think they are a pretty great alternative.


What do you think about lip stains? What is your go-to brand?


Thanks for reading!


Lots of Love,

Louise



Friday, May 18, 2012

Today I'm Wearing #10: A Bright & Juicy Nail Look


Hello Lovelies! Here is just a quick post to show you my current manicure! I'm really loving this look because it is bright & girly, but without being too flashy. I am wearing Revlon's Colorstay Longwear Nail Enamel in Marmalade (bright orange) & Essie's Cute As A Button (bright coral).  What I love is that from far away you can't even tell that I am wearing different colors on the nails because of the similar orange hue between the polishes. But if you look closer, you notice the contrast of the coral & the bright orange, which I think is pretty fun! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What's In My Makeup Bag?



Hello Lovelies! If you're like me then you love being nosey & having a peek into other people's bags!  So here's your chance to have a look into my own makeup bag & see what products I reach for each day!

Monday, May 14, 2012

MAC Immortal Flower


Photo taken with Instagram

Hello Lovelies! Do you ever feel like some things are just meant to be yours? Well that's how I feel about my new blush, MAC's Immortal Flower, from the Tres Cheek Collection. Ever since April when the collection came out in stores and online, I had been lusting over this blush. Unfortunately, Immortal Flower was undoubtedly one of the most popular products of the collection. As a result, it flew out of stock & I was left unable to find it anywhere. So, defeated & depressed (a bit dramatic I know) I sat back & read post after post from girls raving about this beautiful blush. I had all but forgotten about this lost treasure until one afternoon recently when I was walking through Nordsroms. I had actually stopped by to pick up something special for my giveaway when I found myself walking past the MAC counter. Almost as an afterthought I said to the SA " You're sold out of the Immortal Flower one aren't you?" And who would've guessed what she said back "Oh! I actually think we have only one left!" Clearly, I took this as a nod from the makeup gods & quickly snatched it up!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ok Birchbox, You Just May Have Redeemed Yourself



Hello Lovelies! Hope you're having a wonderful Mother's Day!
If you can't tell from the title of this post, I haven't been overly impressed with the Birchbox service in the past. I signed up about 6 months ago & was looking forward to receiving lux samples each month. Birchbox promised samples from high-end companies such as Stila, Kiehl's, NARS & Kerastase. At just $10 a month, it seemed like a great deal to me! However, every month that went by I became more and more dissapointed by the service. I never once received samples from any of these lux brands. In all honesty, how many samples of Pangea Organics does one girl really need?! So, I reluctantly decided to end my subscription. That was until a month ago, when I received an email advertising the Gossip Girl inspired May Birchbox. I had heard such good things about other inspired Birchboxes such as the Teen Vogue box, so I figured there was no harm in giving Birchbox a second chance.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

NARS Eyeshadow Duo Giveaway! *CLOSED*

Photo from narscosmetics.com


Hello Lovelies! Today I wanted to take a moment to say a HUGE thank you to all of the wonderful people who read, follow & support my blog. I have had such an amazing time the last 2 1/2 months writing here & interacting with all of you lovely people. Thank you for allowing me to share my love of makeup & all things girly with you! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sun Protection for Combo to Oily Skin Types: Shiseido Urban Environment Oil- Free UV Protector


Hello Lovelies! If you are like me & have searched high & low for a sunscreen that doesn't make your combo/ oily skin more oily, I just might have the solution to your problems! Meet your new best friend, Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector SPF 42 PA +++.




After having tried many different sunscreens from drugstore to high-end, this is without a doubt the sunscreen best suited to my skin type. Sephora describes this product as "an oil-free daily formulation that protects against three major causes of skin cell damage: UV rays, oxidation, and overproduction of sebum." Sephora.com






The formula of this sunscreen is very interesting, and unlike any other sunscreen I have personally tried. It is actually a very lightweight liquid. In order to use this product, you must first shake up the bottle (similar to when you use foundations such as Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua) to mix all the ingredients. Because of the liquid texture, this sunscreen glides effortlessly on the face. I simply squeeze a little bit into the palm of my hand & then use fingertips to apply all over.

I have to say the biggest selling point of this sunscreen for me is the finish. Shiseido's Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector contains mineral pigments that help to create a velvet-like finish on the skin & control the production of oil throughout the day. This sunscreen is so lightweight it is almost imperceptible on the skin. It also wears beautifully under my foundation.  I was honestly amazed how great my foundation looked throughout the day, when compared to more traditional cream/ lotion sunscreens. Before this sunscreen my foundation would tend to go patchy a bit throughout the day, especially during hot weather like we have been having in California the past week. This ingenious little product is a double wammy- primer & sun care in one! Amazing!

So far, my sensitive skin has had no issues with this sunscreen at all - no break outs or allergic reactions in sight! 

The Shiseido Urban Environment UV Protector is pricey at $30 for 1.0 oz, however I think it is completely worth it. You need the teeniest amount to cover your entire face, so I expect this little bottle will last a long time. Also, I would much rather pay $30 for a high quality sunscreen than thousands later in life to repair any subsequent sun damage from not wearing sunscreen.


I can't recommend this sunscreen enough to those of you struggling with oily skin in the Summer time! As always, thank you for reading!


Lots of Love,

Louise





Sunday, May 6, 2012

Thoughts & Comparisons: My Cream Eye Shadow Collection


Hello Lovelies! I hope you all are enjoying your weekend! As some of you might know, one of the makeup products I've been particularly obsessing over lately are cream eye shadows. I love how they can be used to create an easy everyday eye look, or layered underneath powder shadows to give them a little extra oomph.  So, I wanted to share with you my collection & quickly review a few of the brands available.




MAC Paint Pots
I think MAC Paint Pots work great as a base under powder shadows to either bump up the color or the shimmer of the powder on top. I do not however generally wear paint pots on their own because in my opinion they are too sheer/ not opaque enough to be worn on their own. Lately, I have been particularly loving Rubenesque, a gorgeous golden-peach which looks amazing under bronze or golden toned shadows. 

Left to Right: Let's Skate, Bare Study, Rubenesque


Swatches Left to Right: Let's Skate, Bare Study, Rubenesque





Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadows
As is most likely evident by how many I own, I would have to say that Benefit makes my favorite range of cream shadows. Unlike the MAC Paint Pots, I generally wear these cream shadows on their own, without powder on top. I find these to be more opaque & buildable in finish than the MAC Paint Pots. I feel though that these do not make great bases under powder shadows because powder seems to clump a tiny bit on top. Also, I wouldn't say these are entirely creaseless. These last approximately 5 hours on me without any creasing or fading. The wear time really doesn't bother me though as I can easily dab a little more product on my lids in the evening if I want to.

Top Row Left to Right: samba-dy loves me, tattle tale  Bottom Row Left to Right: busy signal, flatter me, birthday suit

I absolutely love the color range of Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadows. A few of my all-time favorites have to be Birthday Suit, a gorgeous beige pewter color, and Tattle Tale, the best inner corner highlight product I have ever found. 

Swatches Left to Right: busy signal, flatter me, birthday suit, samba-dy loves me, tattle tale





Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadows
 I have to say I find the Bobbi Brown range of cream shadows to be mediocre.  In general, the formula is a bit on the dry side, which makes it hard to blend. These cream shadows are very sheer (at least the colors I own) but reasonably buildable. On the positive side, they do last well on my eye lids.

Left to Right: Beach Honey, Sand Dollar, Stone

As far as colors go, I love the shade Sand Dollar, a lovely lilac-toned grey (really hard to describe). This shade is fantastic if you have green eyes. On the other hand, I was thoroughly unimpressed with Beach Honey, which looks a bit like MAC's Bare Study in the pot. On the skin though it comes across as nothing more than a bit of nude shimmer.

Swatches Left to Right: Stone, Sand Dollar, Beach Honey





Smashbox Limitless 15-Hour Cream Shadow
I am really impressed by the quality & formula of the new Smashbox cream shadows. They are very pigmented, smooth, easy to blend, and come in many beautiful jewel-tone options. I look forward to collecting a few more of these. Gemstone, a shimmering mauve color is great for for an easy subtle smokey eye look.


Maybelline Color Tattoo Eye Shadow
This cream shadow lives up to all the hype it has created. The Bad to the Bronze shade is surprisingly one of my all-time favorite swipe on & go cream shadows. I have to say it even beats out many of the high end options I have. The color is just so rich & multi-dimensional, and looks great on almost anyone I have seen wearing it. This shadow lasts all day on me with hardly any fading or creasing. Love!


Stila Smudge Pots
Although I have only used this product as a liner, it can technically also be used all over the lid as a cream shadow. This is one of my favorite bronze shades to use as a liner. It is incredibly pigmented, rich & long-lasting. Because of how inky & slightly dry the formula is, I can imagine you might have to work with it a bit to apply it all over the lid. 


MUFE Aqua Creams
Unfortunately, I was not at all impressed with this cream shadow.  The shade I purchased is incredibly clumpy & dries very quickly, making it hard to blend out on the lid. Although the line has many lovely colors, I do not plan on purchasing any more unless MUFE changes the formula.


Laura Mercier Metallic Cream Color
I LOVE this product when I am feeling like a metallic eye look. It applies easily with fingers or brushes & can be worn as either a sheer wash of color, or built up to a very metallic finish. The color Alloy is a beautiful mixture of pewter & mauve. I would love to add the Gold or Rose Gold shades to my collection some day. This product wears very well on my lids with hardly any creasing.

Top Row Left to Right: Stila Smudge Pot- Bronze, MUFE Aqua Cream- #13 Bottom Row Left to Right: Smashbox Limitless Cream Shadow- Gemstone, Maybelline Color Tattoo- Bad to the Bronze, Laura Mercier Metallic Cream Shadow- Alloy


Swatches Left to Right: Laura Mercier Alloy, MUFE #13, Maybelline Bad to the Bronze, Stila Bronze, Smashbox Gemstone




I am always on the hunt for new cream shadows & would love to hear what some of your favorites are!




Lots of Love,

Louise

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Today I'm Wearing #9: NARS Ramatuelle



Hello Lovelies! Happy Hump Day (Wednesday)! Today I wanted to share with you a makeup look that I have been wearing the last few days. It's a naturally pretty combination, consisting of shades of peach & apricot on the eyes, paired with peachy pinks on the cheeks & lips.  The star of this look is a new addition to my collection, the NARS Eye Shadow Trio in Ramatuelle.