Saturday, September 28, 2013

dark vampy lips day 5: YSL violet edition (#01)

It is the final day of my dark vampy lips series! I saved quite an intense shade for last: YSL Violet Edition (#01) Glossy Stain. This is not a shade for the fainthearted; it is deep, dark, and very eye catching.


Violet Edition comes in a luxurious gold and black packaging with a window teasing the color of the stain. The applicator is pointed which is something I appreciate as it makes applying the intense pigment more precisely. Before application, the product looks resolutely purple. I'm talking Barney purple. However, once applied to the lips and dried it changes into a darker violet, as you will see below.


Surprisingly I enjoy the look of this as a stain. I say surprisingly because it looks like a bright fuchsia. Even though I enjoy how it looks, this particular color stains very unevenly. You can see that my bottom lip is much more saturated than my top lip. I have also noticed the stain makes my lips feel dry, but I have come to the conclusion that lip stains are inevitably drying and need to be paired with balm.


The glossy stains are beautiful but I do think it depends on what shade you pick on the performance of the product. I have this shade as well as Rouge Laque (#09). Rouge Laque blows Violet Edition out of the park when it comes to application and finish. Violet Edition applies patchy even when two coats are used. I have heard this is remedied if you use a dark lip liner. I refuse to go out and buy another product with this to make it work so I just deal with it.

My method of application is applying a thin layer all over the lips, let it dry for a few minutes, and then add another coat on top. I let that dry and go back over the streaky parts to make it all mesh together. Annoying, but the color is so crazy awesome and the texture of these feel neat: squishy yet not sticky. If you are a die hard vampy lips lover, I think you would swoon over this.

BerryLipSwatchesFROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Tom Ford Black Orchid, Revlon Wine Not, MAC Media, Revlon Plum, YSL Violet Edition

I like Violet Edition, but the nature of the intense color makes application streaky. It doesn't deter me from buying any other glossy stains though since I know they have the potential to be really something (Rouge Laque applies wonderfully).

Do you have any glossy stains? Is Violet Edition too intense of a color for you? I hope you enjoyed this series and were inspired to pull out your vampy shades for the fall season!

Friday, September 27, 2013

dark vampy lips day 4: revlon colorburst in plum

Day 4 of dark vampy lips has crept upon us and today I have another lipstick from Revlon and yet again it is a discontinued item: Revlon Colorburst Lipstick in Plum. Another line that Revlon got rid of but you can still find some shades floating around discount stores and online retailers. I purchased this back when they were readily available in drugstores.


Plum is encased in a fancy quilted black packaging with a color coded cap. The shade in the bullet looks redder than expected. It has an almost cinnamon color to it. There are a few tiny sparkles if you look closely but it doesn't make much of an appearance on the lips.


Strangely enough when this is worn as a stain, it looks a bit magenta. This is another deep shade that I rarely ever wear as a stain since I think the full opacity looks more flattering on me.


Applied full on the plum is more apparent. The ColorBurst line has a bit of shine to it. It applies nicely and easy enough. I think the ColorBurst line tends to feel drying after a couple hours of wear which is surprising since it looks glistening when first applied.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Tom Ford Black Orchid, Revlon Wine Not, MAC Media, Revlon Plum. The last shade will be revealed in the next post!

The ColorBurst line isn't my favorite formula of lipsticks due to it being drying during wear so I am not too heartbroken to see them discontinued. However, I really enjoy the color of Revlon's Plum. I tend to whip it out every Fall as it isn't too dark to be dramatic but it still has a nice vampy feel.

What do you think of Revlon Colorburst lipstick in Plum? Am I the only one that found this line of lipsticks to be a bit drying?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

dark vampy lips day 3: MAC media

We have made it to Wednesday meaning this vampy lipstick series has reached its halfway point. Have you enjoyed it so far? Hopefully you haven't decided I am clinically insane for owning what seems like the same color in each post. If you have indeed confirmed my questionable state of mind, humor me anyway by reading up on today's dark contender: MAC Media.


In the bullet Media looks like the usual almost black cherry hue that vampy lipsticks tend to have. Poor Media, I bet it gets ignored all the time at MAC counters since most probably assume it is a Gothic black color.


As a stain, this lipstick shows a distinct fuchsia base. Remember how scary I though fuchsia was? Well that hasn't changed. I rarely wear this as a stain since the pink in it makes me feel a little funny. Still, it is better than flat out fuchsia due to the berry in it. Imagine this on pale skin! It'd be wonderful. Perhaps I should try it out when I get bone white in the dead of winter.


Full opacity is my preferred way to wear this. The deep boysenberry is much more in my comfort zone. Media is considered a satin finish by MAC's categorization; not quite matte but not quite shiny either. I'd say I agree with that description. I enjoy MAC's lipsticks. They smell nice, apply easily, and feel comfortable and non drying on the lips. Doesn't hurt that their color range is insanely huge so your options are completely open.

BerryLipSwatchesLEFT TO RIGHT: TOM FORD BLACK ORCHID, REVLON WINE NOT, MAC MEDIA. The rest will be revealed as the series continues.

Media shouldn't be overlooked at the counter. Swatch it out sometime! Especially if you like fuchsia stains, this would last you forever. I have heard Revlon Black Cherry is a pretty similar to this if you find MAC to be out of your price range.

What do you think of MAC Media? I have always wondered why they named this Media. Whoever has the job of naming MAC products must have a ball.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

dark vampy lips day 2: revlon wine not

It is day 2 of dark vampy lips week, what do I have to show you? It is Revlon Matte Lipstick in Wine Not, a really wonderful hue that I recently found lurking around in a Big Lots as it seems Revlon has annoyingly discontinued most of the matte line. I did hear a murmuring of them coming out with a new line soon named ColorBurst Matte Balms which sounds extremely exciting. Perhaps that will make up for them phasing out the good stuff.


Back to Wine Not: it is a beautiful dark Merlot shade. The formula is of course wonderful, I've talked about my love for the bolder shades in Revlon's Matte line already. They always go on smooth and effortlessly without sacrificing rich pigmentation. The more I use matte lipsticks the more I think I prefer the finish compared to those with a sheen. It is somewhat less distracting and more focused on the color when things are matte. Or perhaps I am just going through a matte phase.


I have been absolutely obsessed with this lipstick as a stain. I have worn it this way for the past week. It is so easy and it has been fitting my mood with the changing weather. As a stain it appears as a deep raspberry shade.


When applied full blast you can see how it is a red based vamp. Wine Not is a really fitting name for it as it does look like a nice glass of the fermented stuff. As always, prepping the lips is a given. I think dry lipped people might have comfort issues with this. I have pretty normal lips and towards the end of the day with this on I start to feel dryness. Initial application and a few hours of wear is a breeze though.

BerryLipSwatchesLEFT TO RIGHT: Tom Ford Black Orchid, Revlon Wine Not. The rest will be revealed as the series continues.

Wine Not is a discontinued color but you can still find it over at All Cosmetics Wholesale. Not an affiliate link, just trying to help a fellow deep wine lipstick lover out! I recommend it if you have normal lips. Dry lips beware, but then again the lipstick is cheap as chips so perhaps that is a bit of a dramatic warning.

What do you think of Wine Not? I should be asking what your favorite type if wine is instead, I have a feeling that might get more fun answers...

Monday, September 23, 2013

dark vampy lips day 1: tom ford black orchid

While rummaging through my lipsticks I noticed that I have a nice handful of deep vamp shades. I thought it would be fun to do a vampy lipstick series where I will post for 5 days on the shades I have. Deep berries have always had a special place in my heart. They were the first type of bolder lipsticks that I felt comfortable enough to wear out in public which sounds a bit strange since they can look very dramatic on. I think my comfort stems from me liking the contrast they have against my dark hair. To start off the series with some luxury, I picked Tom Ford Black Orchid.


Black Orchid is an intensely dark burgundy. It appears as a very dark purple in the tube so I was surprised to swatch this and see a reddish brown quality to it. It is still gorgeous, pigmented, and EXPENSIVE. A tube will cost you $49 USD. I was lucky enough to spot this in a Sak's off Fifth for around $35.

One of the things I love most about dark lipsticks is they work beautifully on their own and also as a stain. It can give a completely different and less dramatic look by simply tapping on the lipstick lightly on the lips and then adding a clear balm on top to smooth things over.


As a stain, Black Orchid shows it base color to be a reddish plum. The color looks really soft and flattering on. It is very wearable and nothing too dramatic. I love stains, not as much hassle to touch up or upkeep the color.


When applied to its full opacity, the richness of the burgundy is apparent. It is very dark and bold. There is a bit of a shine to this formula. As it is such a deeper color, it can be unforgiving if applied to dry, patchy lips so I always prep with Nuxe Reve de Miel.


If you are a fan of Tom Ford's lipstick formula and love a good deep berry, Black Orchid would be something to look into. I would act fast if you are interested though; I have heard this shade is being discontinued. You can still find it at the Sak's website still so I'm guessing they are selling it until their stock is gone. Nordstrom's website no longer lists it.

Black Orchid is the farthest to the left. The rest of the swatches will be revealed as we continue out the series.

What do you think of Black Orchid? I was surprised to hear of it being discontinued as I thought it was a pretty coveted color! Perhaps it was a bit too runway and dramatic for the general public...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

new kids on the block

I've been really trying to reign it in when it comes to purchasing new beauty items. I look at my drawer that is bursting with products and silently scold myself to stop adding to the problem. Nevertheless, I have picked up a few bits and bobs within the last couple months, try as I might to resist the consumerism in me. Good sales, influential bloggers, and sheer irresistible appeal of newness are all to blame for these new kids on the block.


I have had this shade on the brain ever since doing my Revlon Matte Lipstick Collection post. Revlon seems to have phased out most of the matte lipstick shades, including this one. Luckily I spotted this in Big Lots for a bargain of $2. Be prepared to see this in an upcoming post...

This brush has made me insanely happy and is my favorite purchase to date. The design is basic, it feels soft, and it buffs in bronzer seamlessly. I have ditched my pathetic looking MAC 109 in favor of this and I have not looked back. It is taking all my willpower to resist picking up the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour as I heard these get along famously together. Thanking Tiffany for this find, she's the one that brought it to my attention.

These have been on my wishlist and I saw this really great deal that G posted about so of course I had to check it out. If you have been eying up the RT brushes, take advantage of the deal while it lasts since you basically are able to get two brushes for the price of one.

Raving reviews, the LE allure and being a highlighter addict made this purchase inevitable. Oh well, at least this product doesn't disappoint. It is still available on the Nordstrom website if you were interested!

Ok guys, you know how pink lipsticks and I are on shaky grounds. I definitely feel more comfortable in reds and berries whereas pink is something I am attempting to conquer. It looks gorgeous in the tube, no? We shall see how it looks on the lips...I for one am wary. It looks magnificent (well, really what doesn't?) on Viola!


It seemed like everyone went crazy for the Phillip Lim for Target collaboration that recently hit stores. I checked it out out of curiosity and nothing really caught my eye...besides the Men's collection haha. I really liked the look of the travel bag. It's sleek, minimal, and functional.


It has nice little hidey holes to stuff travel essentials in. Masculine tastes ftw!

I long to purge my collection and live the minimalistic life but I suppose today is not the time. One day I will conquer the beast that is the blog sale. First I need to do research on tips and advice from those who have done it as I am very intimidated! For now, I'll enjoy the rush of new things. Have you hauled anything that you are really excited about lately?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

NARS light reflecting setting powder


I don't have much experience when it comes to powders. Mostly because I try to stick to one powder at a time until it is fully used up which can take quite some time. So far I have tried MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural, Maybelline Dream Matte Powder, and my most recent adventure: NARS Light Reflecting Setting Powder. Although this isn't a newly released product, I thought I'd still do a brief review on this popular NARS item since I have been diligently using it since purchasing it from Sephora back in February.


The packaging is NARS's trademark black, rubberized compact. It is about the size of two NARS blushes. It comes in two versions: pressed and loose. I chose the pressed route as I didn't want to be bothered with the mess that tends to follow loose powders. Both claim to make makeup last longer, blur pores/lines, and diffuse light. You should check out the full description at the NARS website as it sounds fancier when they explain it.


Opening the compact you see that the product is a seemingly iridescent white powder. You get a decent .24oz of product. I have been using this for over 6 months so you can see I've made a bit of a dip but no pan has peeked through yet. I have provided no swatches since I thought it would be silly to; the product is translucent after all! I did, however, do before and after application pictures as I felt that showcased the product best.


Here I am wearing foundation and concealer with no powder yet. I have a bit of shine on my nose and inner cheeks. My forehead also seems to be a bit darker than the rest of my face. You can also notice the pores on my inner cheeks and some scarring on my forehead


After application you can notice a definite brightening effect, it is almost too much in photos. My scars and pores have been blurred out and my overall skin tone has been evened out.

Again, the shine is apparent on my nose and inner cheeks and even my forehead. Pore are visible on my inner cheeks.

The shine has been toned down on all my oily areas and my pores have been blurred. Brightening is apparent.


This powder does a good job at doing what NARS boasts the loudest about, that is, to blur out pores and lines. I think the light reflecting is a bit much in pictures but I did heavily apply the powder for purposes of this review. It mattes out the skin well initially but oil control isn't a strong feature of this powder as I still need to blot half way throughout my day. Nothing new.

I like this powder and would recommend it. It is decently priced at $34 USD since the amount you get is hefty and will last you a while even with continued use. It brightens and blurs out imperfections on the skin just as advertised. The texture is light and not overly powdery so application is quick and easy with no fuss. The translucency of the product makes it universal to use for all skin types not to mention is great to use all year round without worrying about seasonal skin shade changes. It can make the skin look ashy if applied too heavily and the oil control isn't much to write home about but I still think the product is neat despite these points.


I WOULD recommend this product if:

+ You have imperfections (lines, pores) you would like to subtly blur out
+ You want a setting powder that will work for your skin tone year round
+ You prefer lightweight powders that apply fast and easy

I WOULD NOT recommend this product if:

+ You have a heavy hand when it comes to powder application as too much of this will make you look ashy
+ You have oily skin and are looking for an oil control powder. You will still need to blot with this

I have heard the loose version of this performs about the same with a little better oil control. I think after I use this up I'll expand my powder knowledge by trying out Chanel Poudre Universelle loose powder or even the much talked about Makeup Forever Duo Mat powder. Have you tried this powder? If not, what is your favorite or current setting powder?

Monday, September 16, 2013

review: ole henriksen blue/black berry enzyme mask

Ole Henriksen is a brand I am fairly new to seeing as I have only tried out two products: the Enlighten Me Skin Tone Corrector and, the topic of this post, the Blue/Black Berry Enzyme Mask. The brand's philosophy focuses on simple, effective, and safe formulas where they strive to incorporate natural extracts into the products. Ole believes in the "less is more" ideal which is something I really appreciate.


This mask claims to hydrate and renew the skin while also gently smoothing out and relieving skin stress. The main ingredients advertised are hyaluronic acid to bind moisture, lavender extract to act as an anti-inflammatory agent, & of course blue/black berry extract to oxygenate and refine skin texture. Here is the full ingredients list:

Water (Aqua), Glycereth-7, Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Carbomer, Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry) Fruit Extract Rubus Villosus (Blackberry) Fruit Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Papain, Sodium PCA, Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Triethanolamine

I had never heard anyone ever talk about this mask which was one of the main reasons I was interested in buying it. The description and ingredients sounded promising and the little reviews I did read raved about the scent. So how does this mask fare?


The texture of this mask is a clear gel. I was expecting the scent to be fruity but it distinctly smells like lavender. It isn't bothersome to me but if you hate the scent of lavender you could give it a whiff in store as a test since it does linger while on your face. I apply a thin layer all over my face and upper neck and let it rest for about 20 minutes. The effect at first is cooling, but not the same sensation as menthol. More like if you constantly had cool water caressing your face. It is very pleasant.


During the 20 minutes this sits on the face, it does not harden. After the 20 minutes are up, there is still gel residue on my face but the amount is significantly reduced since some of the ingredients soaked into the skin. I tend to know when to rinse this off once I don't feel the cooling sensation anymore. One thing I absolutely love about this mask is that it is a breeze to rinse off since it is just a gel.

The after effects of this mask are soft, refreshed skin. My skin absolutely loves this stuff. It immediately feels and looks fresher, cleaner and well rested. When I first used this I was so amazed on how my skin reacted to it that I thought it was a fluke. I have since then repeated many rounds with this and have had the same results each time. A real winner!

This is a wonderful mask that refreshes, plumps out and freshens up the skin. It is gentle enough that it doesn't irritate yet it is effective to the point where I see immediate results of well rested skin after removal. I can't think of a single negative aspect of this mask unless you hate the scent of lavender since it lingers during wear. All skin types would benefit. I definitely plan to repurchase once I run out so my skin always has this pick-me-up ready.

Have you tried this mask? I really recommend you check it out if you haven't. Ole Henriksen, you are two for two. What else to try...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

you don't always get what you want

With all the resources available to us such as in store testers/samples, makeupalley reviews, and (my favorite) other blogger's experiences, it is hard to come across products that let us down so spectacularly. Regardless, it is only statistically logical that we will eventually come across some major duds throughout our journey as beauty junkies. It would be quite impossible for everyone to love everything available in this massive market we have taken part of. I haven't ever done a "don't believe the hype" like post before so I thought I would add a dose of my disappointing products for you to read.


Right, so keep in mind these are of course MY experiences and just because I find some of these items dull and sad doesn't mean it won't work out for you especially since a few of these products are cult favorites for the general public. Don't take my word for it; testing out new products yourself is half the fun!


Starting my post off with a bang, aren't I? This is arguably one of the most beloved highlighters in the beauty world. I find it...mediocre. At best. I have tried to make myself understand why this is so popular. I apply it and I just don't get it. It isn't unflattering but isn't very noticeable or worthy of praise. I much prefer theBalm Mary Lou-manizer because the shimmer is more refined and the texture is much softer. Regardless, I can't bring myself to get rid of this. I am waiting for my light bulb AHA! moment with it.

I have had this product for years, probably around the time I first really got into makeup. The color is very enticing, yes? Such a shame that the formula is abysmal. With or without primer this creases on me within 10 minutes. I suppose if I purposely went for the crease ridden grunge look this would be useful.

I have these pencils in the shades Zero, Whiskey, and Perversion and they all do not last on me. Perhaps for the non-oily lid people these work alright but on my waterline and lashline this fades and smears off within a couple hours which I think is unacceptable for something that boasts a 24/7 lasting power right in its name. I haven't the faintest idea why these are so popular as I think they are quite terrible.


Don't worry, my dislike for this isn't because it is just water in a can. Hey I get it, it is refreshing and can be a great pick me up for those that live in polluted and congested areas. My gripe is that this feels like, as Sandra has said, like an old man spitting in your face. Maybe I got a faulty nozzle but I find this most unpleasant to use. I get no fine, refreshing mist just a spat of cold water dribbling on my face.

This little box has made me scared to buy any of the full sized versions that Benefit has to offer. All these shades look weird on me. I talked a bit more in detail about this HERE. I really want to try out the shade Hervana but I'm afraid I'll be throwing $28 down the drain.

I am a noob when it comes to primers. They are something I have always been intrigued by but feel like my lazy tendencies will flare up when I actually buy one. This little Murad sample came with some online order I made and I don't like this one bit. I notice no longer lasting results or differences in application of my foundation. Worst of all, this broke me out. Luckily it was just a sample so now I know.

That's my little round up of disappointments. What products have disappointed you lately? And more importantly, what primers do you swear by? I definitely want to try one out as I think my oily skin really could benefit from it...