Monday, March 31, 2014

clarins lotus face treatment oil

Facial oil is a category of beauty that I have always been curious about yet timid to try out for myself. I dislike any oily, greasy feeling since I already have to deal with that on a daily basis thanks to my skin type. Patting on additional drops of the slick stuff seemed counterproductive in my eyes. Despite this, I kept seeing Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil pop up on some blogs over the past year and I couldn't help but wonder and keep it in the back of my mind. Everyone who spoke of it wrote that it balanced out their oily skin and made their overall complexion improve. How could I not be curious?


This past Christmas my boyfriend gifted me this oil because he knew I had been wanting to give it a whirl. It comes in a nice weighty glass bottle holding 1 oz of product. I have been using it for over a month and in short, this has been extremely lovely. Like, I'm considering a long lived future together and everything, it is that serious.

Since I had never used a facial oil before, I relied on the handy dandy instruction pamphlet that came with the box. It instructed for me to use it at night after my toner so my skin was still slightly damp. The action of application is quite pleasant and soothing: it instructs to place 3-4 drops of oil in your hands and to gently press-and-release the product all over the face. Not going to lie, this part of my routine is something I look forward to all day. Am I alone in this?


I use 4 drops all over my face. It does have a scent, it is quite herbal but not in a bad way. I read on Makeup Alley that it reminded them of a spa which I agree with. When I first started using this, my face flushed up quite a bit after application but I didn't feel any sensation at all which surprised me. Now my skin has acclimated and doesn't pink up anymore. It soaks in nicely after I press it into the skin for about 20 seconds and doesn't feel overly greasy. I like sandwiching my moisturizer, CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion, on top after application to really inject the most nourishment into my skin. I did try skipping lotion a couple nights to see if the oil could work well as a moisturizer on its own. It worked fine this way, but I preferred the layering method for maximum effect.

Corylus Avellana (Hazel) Seed Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Parfum/Fragrance, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Oil, Belumbium Speciosum Flower Extract, Tocopherol, Citronellol, Linalool, Geraniol, Limonene, Citral, Coumarin, Benzyl Benzoate

I think almost everyone will be okay with the ingredients in this one. It is made of mostly plant based oils and at the end there are a few fragrance oils and one trace preservative. I thought it was nice that the bulk of the product was what the brand highlights. I thought of Gummy when I saw hazelnut oil as one of the top oils used; she wrote on her blog a few times about it and recommended me to try it out as it is one of the best oils to use for oily skin. Right she was!

Since using this I have seen a dramatic decrease in oil production on my face. I still get oily, but not nearly as fast and not nearly as much. I previously had to blot halfway throughout my day and after using this I can make it to the 6-7 hour mark before doing so. Amazing. I was a skeptic but this truly is balancing yet moisturizing. My skin responds to this very well. I feel like it even heals faster too because when I get hormonal acne (booo, the worst) it always leaves a mark behind but this helps the scarring process go by quicker so it doesn't linger.

I really recommend this to anyone, even if you had dry skin since it is quite nourishing and moisturizing. It balances, moisturizers, and makes my skin feel less congested and at its peak for renewal. I would definitely repurchase and am now a believer in facial oils. The only downside is the price, a hefty $52 USD, but seeing as I use 4 drops at a time I believe I will go through this at a snails pace. What to try next? Perhaps Pai Rosehip Oil...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

nars gilda

I have a lot of choices when it comes to blush. So much that I tend to neglect many of them. Because of this, I've been trying out a new strategy of plucking 2-3 shades from my drawer and putting them in my daily makeup holder so I can rotate their use for at least a couple months. This helps use up product and it gives me a chance to get to show some love to whatever shades I picked for that rotation. Win win, right?

One of the blushes I currently have in use is NARS Gilda. I actually put this in my rotation to stop myself from buying all of the Final Cut blushes as it seemed along the same lines. I must admit, I rarely reached for this in the past. I was first interested in the shade a few years ago due to BlushingPixie on YouTube. She mentioned it was one of her favorites and every time she wore in in videos it made her complexion look beautiful. So I promptly bought it, tried it on, and wasn't moved by it so it stayed hidden in the back of my row of NARS compacts.

After using it this past month, I have changed my tune. It is really an underrated color. I use a Real Techniques Blush Brush to apply. Gilda isn't crazy pigmented but it also isn't too tame that I need multiple layers. A generous fluff on the brush and sweep across the cheeks and I'm done. Satisfying for fast blush appliers and pigmentation lovers alike.

In the pan the shade is your typical matte peachy pink shade that you can find in any brand. On my skin however, it completely changes and shows not even a hint of pink. It is a very distinct peach. Bizarre. This is probably why I wasn't originally won over with it. I have discovered that my most loved blush shades tend to be neutrals (like CARGO Tonga) or some variation of pink (NARS Desire). Peaches get ignored. I believe this is because I have such a hard time making them work on me. They either make my skin look dirty or are too jarring.

Gilda is a very gentle shade. It is one of those colors that isn't in your face but makes your skin look nicer than it really is. It's nice to finally have a blush that instills some hope in peach blush for me. Maybe I was being too harsh with MAC Melba and Peaches (both shades I own and rarely reach for...because, peach).

NARS Gina is very similar but leans more orange. I do not own it but I do remember going back and forth on which shade to try because they share tones. NARS Amour is also comparable but has more pink in it. I like Amour more than Gilda, unsurprisingly, as it actually shows up as a peachy pink on my skin. Danielle has excellent swatch comparisons of Amour and Gilda if you wanted to see for yourself.

Overall I'm glad I gave Gilda another chance. It is a joy to wear due to its ease and natural effect. Peach lovers will dig it, though you probably have a shade very close to it already. Admittedly, isn't the most unique shade ever made but it is indeed a staple.

SN: Can you believe NARS blushes are $30 USD now?! I remember when they were $25. Sad days ahead when it pushes past $30...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

011 items used up

My empties bag was simply bursting to the brim proving how behind I am in updating this series. I have quite a bit to show this time, which makes me wonder if I should keep each post of this series with only a few items at a time, or at the end of the month, or quarterly like some blogs I follow do. What do you guys think?

I polished off mostly skincare this round. Makeup, as usual, is the smallest pile. Here we go...


Let's start with the most boring area, shall we?

Nothing special. I don't mind these lines but I don't particularly find them raving good either. The small size of the container always irritates me since I have a lot of hair and use these up in less than a month.

Not very moisturizing but hey it is in a huge pump container that lasts long. Wouldn't repurchase though, there are much better conditioners on the market.

My sister really loves this, she says it makes her hair feel very soft and smooth. I like it too, but I don't think it had a huge effect on my coarse hair.

I really liked this. It smells so divine, dried my hair faster than normal, and made my hair sleeker. I almost went to repurchase this but instead I ended up getting Orofluido in my Ulta haul. I've been using the Orofluido for about 2 months now and I actually like it better than Moroccan oil! It doesn't hold a candle to Moroccan's scent but the effects have been better...

Not great, I liked the Regis conditioner better. This is expensive and does not deliver any smoothing or conditioning results.

I love the smell of this line (rosemary mint), though it may not be for everyone. I like this and pick it up every now and then; I can't use it continuously because my hair retains a memory to the repairing and moisturizing effects and then those results fade away compared to the first initial use. Would repurchase at a later date.


Caress is my favorite body wash drugstore brand. It is cheap, doesn't leave my skin squeaky clean (I dislike that feeling), and the scents are fun. I didn't really care for this scent. It wasn't terrible but there are much better offerings within the brand that I like better.

My favorite scent out of the Dr. Bronner line that I have tried so far. This is a staple in my shower routine, it works particularly well on sensitive skin areas that are irritated by normal soaps. Will always repurchase. I picked up a bar version of the Peppermint scent to see if the bar would last longer than the liquid to make my dollar worth it, but in the future I'll stick with the liquid. It lasts much longer.

My favorite scent from the brand. I actually don't really care for any other scent they offer. This was part of a Satsuma set that was on sale a couple year back or else I wouldn't have picked it up myself. Overpriced, though very effective and lovely smelling.


Loved this. Smells fresh like lemons and moisturizes well without any lingering greasiness. I would consider repurchasing as a treat to myself. If you haven't picked up on it, I hate these squeeze packaging containers. You have to cut them open to get the most of the product and it holds such a small amount. I went through this very quickly.

HG body moisturizer. I stocked up on these during the Cyber Monday sale and I usually reserve its use for Spring/Summer when the scent is more appropriate but I couldn't resist cracking one open.

I enjoyed this equally to Yello Alluriana. Same deduction as above.


Fairly affordable with minimal ingredients that will appeal to the natural product junkies. A bit harsh at first, this stung my skin a bit during the first few days of use but eventually my face got used to it. It isn't a terrible toner but it also isn't something I would repurchase. I'm glad I tried it out.

So far this has been the best cleansing oil I have tried to date. It is more fluid and less viscous to everything else I have tried. Boscia is downright thick compared to it. Very effective and makes my skin happy. I'm not so sure about the pore clarifying claim though. I have a backup ready to use in my bathroom once I use up my current Boscia.

I would say this was harsher than Mario Badescu. Again, my skin acclimated to it with continued use. Same verdict as MB, wasn't terrible but wasn't noteworthy either. Glad I tried it but wouldn't repurchase. I think toners are an area that I will forever be exploring and trying out different brands and types.

Cheap product and easily accessible. I think this broke me out initially so I stopped using it for some time. I restarted up and didn't break out again so who knows. A fun, cheap thrill. Smells like citrus, foams up slightly, works well as a second cleanser. Wouldn't repurchase, there are much better cleansers than this.

Sick of seeing this bottle yet? HG moisturizer, will never be without it.


I was going to do a separate review post to this but it really wasn't a product worth talking about. It smells STRONGLY of alcohol and chemicals, is expensive, and I didn't see any huge results. Ole Henriksen Enlighten Me is cheaper, better smelling, and actually gave me results. Skip it!

Really enjoy this mask and would repurchase. Smells minty and makes my face feel great. Less congested and refreshed.

Another HG skin product. Essential to keep small breakouts and clogged up pores away.


It works but I won't be getting the packaging like this again. I'll either try out the improved squeeze tube or try out the NARS eye primer.

This dried out due to the small packaging. Not the best topcoat, won't purchase the full size.

Favorite kohl liner to date. I used it up until it gave me no more! I talked about this product in my kohl liner roundup and comparison post.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

urban decay naked 3 palette

Last month my older sister was gifted the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette from a good friend of hers. What a gem, eh? Being the beauty blogger I am, I took advantage of the situation to test out the much sought after palette for myself. What are older sisters for but for sharing?

I'll admit, when I first heard and saw promotional material for this palette, I wasn't interested. The first reason being I think Urban Decay is milking their "Naked" range for all its worth and the idea comes across as stale by this point. The second reason I wasn't swayed by the palette was because the shades seemed TOO PINK. All the swatches I saw on other blogs showed mauve and frosty pinks which I don't find particularly flattering on me. Hello inflamed looking eyes! The sturdy, metal package was a nice upgrade though. I'll give credit where credit's due.

With all that grumpy negativity aside, I still gave this palette a fair and square shot by starting off neutral. I was determined to consistently try out different looks for a full month using only this palette to see how I felt about it. After a month's use, I have mixed feelings. I discovered some shades I really enjoyed while others left more to be desired.


FROM L to R: Strange, Dust, Burnout, Limit, Buzz, Trick, Nooner, Liar, Factory, Mugshot, Darkside, Blackheart

STRANGE: One of those invaluable, MAC Brule-like shades. I enjoyed this. I liked using it all over my lid to blank it out and make other colors show up and apply much richer.

DUST: Urban Decay always has to include at least one glittery shade in their palettes and for Naked 3, Dust is one of them. Rarely used this due to the glitter but when I did, I either dabbed it in my inner corners or patted it lightly over the center of my lid on top of a more subdued shade, just to emphasize the shimmer.

BURNOUT: Similar to MAC All That Glitters which I am actually not a huge fan of. Nonetheless, I know people go crazy for shades like these so it is bound to be a hit for most. I rarely used this as I find shimmery pinks like this make me look funny. Washed out? Surprised when I'm not? Hmmm I'm not sure how to explain it .

LIMIT: One of my most used shades, as it is a matte transition shade. It is a light mauve that takes quite a bit of layering to even show up to the party. If it wasn't one of the crucial shades in the palette, I wouldn't have even bothered using it. Alas, colors needed to be blended out so I had to use it. Also, if used alone without the help of Nooner, it made my eyes look inflamed. Darn pinks.

BUZZ: Another glitter shade. I used this the same way as I did Dust.

TRICK: By far the worst shade in the palette. Looks terrible on me, which I proved in a look below. I have yet to find out how to use this shade properly to make it work. Inner corner highlight?

NOONER: Another essential transition shade. I liked this one better than Limit as it doesn't make my eyes look like I had an allergy attack. Still, I prefer my transition shades to be more of a mid-toned brown like MAC Cork or Wedge, but this was a nice change. I combined it often with Limit in the crease for a simple daily look.

LIAR: Easily my favorite shade in the palette. Duh, it's a taupe (my favorite eye shadow color to wear) so you shouldn't be surprised. Reminds me a bit of Urban Decay Toasted which is one of my favorite eye shadows of all time. It swatches frostier than how it applies on the eye. It's one of those shades that becomes softer and more complex as you blend it out. Very easy to use for a one eye shadow only look. My most used after the transitional matte shades.

FACTORY: Another taupe so I enjoyed it. I didn't use it all over the lid though, it was too dark for that use and it didn't blend out into a softer color. What you swatch is what you get. Deepening the outer V was a good job for it.

MUGSHOT: Yet another taupe, but plummier and cool toned. Of course I liked it, noticing a trend here? I used this more for smudging out my lower lash line as it did a spectacular job at it. Quite a cool taupe, so I didn't use it all over the lid (Cool taupes make me look tired).

DARKSIDE: I actually used this shade often. When my eye looks were turning toward pink-inflamed-why-God-why territory, I blended a little bit of this over it and it made things bearable. Also excellent at deepening the outer V or smoking things out. It looks scarier in the pan than when actually used on the eye.

BLACKHEART: I feel like this is what most expected MAC Beauty Mark to be. Blackened base with purple shimmers, but the shimmers actually stick around when you apply it instead of disappearing like Beauty Marked. Good to have a very dark shade like this in a palette. It helps with smokier looks and you can use it as an eyeliner. Some days when I wanted a more natural look, I skipped eye liner and instead smudged this on my upper lash line. Nice effect. Especially helps that it is a easy to blend shade.


L to R: Virgin, Sin, Naked, Sidecar, Buck, Half Baked, Smog, Darkhorse, Toasted, Hustle, Creep, Gunmetal

I thought I'd include the original Naked palette in case you wanted to compare. I do enjoy the original, it contains many shades I would pick myself for a palette besides Half Baked and Sin. I have given it quite a bit of love since its first release.

Look at the REAL transition matte shades: Naked and Buck. My favorites. Also, Gunmetal is the king of making brown eyes stand out in smoky eye looks. It is my go to smokey eye shade that I pair up with Creep. And I already mentioned Toasted is a very pleasurable shade to wear. If I used it up I'd buy the single, if that gives you an idea of my love for it.


Here we have a look with Trick all over the lid, a mixture of Limit and Nooner to blend into the crease, and Darkside to deepen the outer V. Blackheart was used as a liner, smudge into the outer half of my upper lid.

Ugh I did not like this look and I blame it entirely on Trick. Such a weird shade, I didn't know what to do with it but I took photo proof of it for you guys. SO THERE.


My daily look for about 2/3 of the whole month. Easy, fast, and looks like barely there makeup. Strange all over the lid to blank, mixture of Limit and Nooner in the crease, Mugshot blended into the lower lashline. Add a simple flick of some liquid liner and a quick coating of the lashes and I'm out the door.

On an unrelated note, Burberry Copper Lip Mist FTW! That's what I'm wearing in this look, if you were wondering. It's a staple lip color.


Ahh this is more my territory. Liar all over the lid, little bit of Nooner to transition, Factory to deepen the outer V, and Mugshot smudged under the lower lash line. See how different Liar ends up looking so complex blended all over the lid? I won't say I told you so. More liquid liner with copious amounts of kohl liner to the lower waterline. My signature look.

I don't think this is a terrible palette. The textures and blendability are of fine quality like Urban Decay's standard. Pigmentation isn't an issue if you don't count Limit since it needs extra layers to show up. The colors are neutral so you have many options to work with to make countless looks. You can be glittery, you can be smokey, you can be natural, etc. Some of the shades are real stunners, like Liar. Others are invaluable such as Strange, Blackheart, and Nooner.

However, I don't think this will suit everyone's tastes. I definitely don't think it is worth $52 USD since not all shades are universally flattering. Make sure you find the two mauvy transition shades to your liking or else you will have to reach for better options from your stash which defeats the purpose of an eye shadow palette. Also, most of the left side of the palette screams PINK so if those types of shades tend to make your eyes look inflamed or irritated, this won't be a great choice.

For an alternative perspective, my older sister loves this palette and every look she has done with it looks great on her. She has a browner complexion than me and her favorite shades to wear are mauves so this color palette definitely fits her tastes. I have tried replicating the same looks she does and they don't turn out quite as nicely or flattering. To each their own...