Monday, August 7, 2017

No more monthly makeup subscriptions...

... at least for now.

I haven't been very active on here due to assorted reasons but definitely one of them is that I have fewer products to review now that I no longer do the monthly subscriptions. I enjoyed them. I really did. But there came a time when it seemed like it wasn't such a good idea anymore.

I was drowning in samples. I literally had no place to store them anymore. I mean, within reasons. And the worse part was that it seemed that I never had what I needed: I might have 5 samples of moisturizers but no cleanser (for example). So then I'd have to buy a full size cleanser anyway... and then, of course, I'd finally get a cleanser sampler and then an another and that's how they'd accumulate.

When it came to makeup, it rarely was a shade that would work well for me. Or rather not often enough. And, sure, I can be creative when it comes to makeup but I honestly had so many peach shadows that were about the same shade... or lipsticks in a color that is too close to my actual lips so it looks nude.

So, yes, I've given up on monthly makeup/beauty products subscriptions. Instead, I invest in what I really want. I do miss the excitement of not knowing what will be coming next but it comes at a price... and I put that money towards things I actually need. The only one that is still nagging at me some is Medusa's Makeup's subscription but, again, I'd rather be in charge of deciding which shades to get.

It was great to discover new brands but, you know what, I'm back to using my typical products that I used before.

My skin care regimen is through Estee Lauder. They have a fantastic reward program, actually. Most of my makeup is by MAC, Benefit (mascara and eyebrow products), Too Faced, or Medusa's Makeup.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Product Review - Brow Zings Tame & Shape Kit by Benefit Cosmetics

A few months ago, I purchased the Goof Proof Brow Pencil Easy Shape & Fill by Benefit Cosmetics and wrote a product review about it. While I did love the product and still do, I ran out of the first one I bought rather quickly but I chalked it off to having had issues with the tip breaking up a few times... and I changed my hair color from black to orange so, anyway, I needed to change the color. But the 2nd one also ran out quickly so I figured that perhaps this was not the product for me or I was using too much or something. So I went to Sephora and checked out the other products available by Benefit Cosmetics for eyebrows. I ended up purchasing the Brow Zings Tame & Shape Kit.


 The left side is a wax that you use to fill your eyebrows and shape them. On the right side is a powder that helps set the whole thing. Interestingly, I had chosen the color #3 for the Goof Proof Pencil but that would have been way too dark with the Brow Zings Kit so I went with #2. In fairness to the product, though, my orange is brighter now than when I bought the Goof Proof Pencil so that may be why the color shifted. This is DEFINITELY a benefit of going to Sephora itself to try on things and assess which would work better for you.


The Brow Zings Kit is pricier than the Goof Proof Pencil ($32 and $24, respectively) but I can already tell that the kit will last longer so that's worth it right there.

One thing that I didn't really see while in store were the tools that are included in the kit. The tweezers are really just meh as they are so small. I do have a better pair so I use those instead. But it can be neat to have those in the kit if you're traveling or something. I was disappointed in the brushes when I saw them because they looked so small. Once unfolded, though, they are not so bad at all. The handles are a little thin but that helps with a lighter application so it woks out.




The application is really easy: you sweep some of the waxy color over the eyebrows and give them their shape and then you just apply some of the powder over it to set them. The application of the powder does not seem evident but it does give the eyebrows a little bit of a fuller look.

So I definitely like the product. We'll see how long it lasts. I do think that it will be longer as 1) I won't break any tips and 2) there is quite a bit of product. And, of course, here's a picture of what I look like with it on.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Reversing the process

Earlier this week, I ended up watching a video with dos and don'ts for makeup and, while I generally like the way that I do my makeup and didn't do many of those don'ts, I thought that it was interesting to see that the lady applied the eye shadow at the crease before doing the eyelid... and that she was layering colors at the crease. So I decided to try that for the past couple of days and, you know what?, I actually do like it. Here is what today's makeup looks like.

I ended up layering 3 eye shadows at the crease: a cream color, a sparkly pale brown, and a matte brown. I also layered 3 eye shadows at the lower lash line: the cream color, peachy pink that is also on my eyelid, and the matte brown. I think that it looks more crisp in a way. Hard to describe.

As the author of the video says, if you like the way that you do your eye shadows now, keep on going. But if you're wanting to try something different, consider trying this. It actually did not take much longer than usual as I typically would need to apply the same eye shadow a few times at the crease to get the intensity that I like so, instead, I just applied different colors.

Another advantage that I found by doing the crease first was that my eyelid application was bolder. Normally, it might look a little muted if some of the crease eye shadow overlaps... or I'd need to reapply the eyelid eye shadow anyway to counter that. So that actually worked out great for me.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Product Review - Radiant Creamy Concealer by Nars

About a month ago, I needed to purchase a new concealer as the one that I had been using for a long time was almost all used up (it was by NYX) and, while it had served me well, I wanted to try something different. I did some research and found a number of glowing reviews for the Radiant Creamy Concealer by Nars.

I actually went to Sephora to get the product to make sure that the color was going to work well on my skin as, generally I get the palest color but I sometimes need a touch of pink in it. They have 16 shades to pick from so I definitely wanted to make sure I got the right one.

Right away, when I tried a bit of the product on my under eye area, I could tell that it would be perfect and offer great coverage. (Pro tip: when trying products that go on your face, try them on your actual face instead of your hand or wrist as your skin may have a slight difference in color, enough that it might look off on your face.) And, yes, it has proven to be very effective at covering my dark circles and blemishes.

Because my previous phone had such a crappy camera, I sadly don't have very many pictures to show what my makeup used to look like before. But here's a picture of what it looks now.

When I apply this concealer, I put little dabs under each eye and over any blemish that I need to cover, then, with gentle and light strokes,  I smooth and feather out the concealer on the under eye area. It looks super pale but then I apply powder over it and it smooths out nicely.

The product is a little pricey at $30 for a tube but a little really goes a long way so I dare say that, if you're someone who wears makeup on a regular basis, it is a good investment.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Product Review - Goof Proof Brow Pencil Easy Shape & Fill by Benefit Cosmetics

I went to Sephora on Friday to get mascara and noticed that Benefit Cosmetics now has a line with different products for eyebrows. Let me backtrack for a second.

I naturally have blonde hair so I need to put something over my eyebrows, otherwise it looks like I have no eyebrows. I used to apply black mascara over my eyebrows and then switched to applying gel liner for a more defined look. But the gel liner would be smudgy so I switched back to applying mascara. And then switched recently to using just a dark brown eyeshadow with an angled brush for a more natural look... but it still wasn't hitting the spot.

So I decided to take a chance on the Benefit Cosmetics product, selecting the Goof Proof Brow Pencil Easy Shape & Fill.

I liked the angle of the pencil and that it had a brush at the end and figured that I'd give it a try. Given my black hair, I picked the darkest color, 06. When I tried the product on my hand, it seemed to be a good color for my eyebrows.

I tried it this morning and I have to say that I was impressed and loved the results (shown below). It was actually easy to apply, although I had to put a little more pressure on the pencil than I thought I would have to. But it worked nicely and can be built to your desired intensity. So contrary to any of the other products I had tried before, I could adjust how intense and dark I wanted my eyebrows. After applying the pencil, they recommend using the brush to smooth the product in and that made my eyebrows look more natural.

The products is $24 but I will say that it was well worth the price. I would definitely recommend it. I also love that there are 6 different shades available so you can definitely find something that will work for you, on top of being able to customize the look based on how much you apply.

They also have different versions of the product that have different shape and size of the pencil, depending on the look you like for your eyebrow.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Product Review - Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara by Too Faced


I received a sample of the Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara by Too Faced via a makeup subscriptions.

First off, I generally hate those play on sexy talk as names for makeup and this one takes the cake. Seriously? Better than sex? Pffffff... Okay, I get it, they're bold and believe in their product. I could make a bunch of comparisons that would be highly inappropriate and NSFW but I will refrain.

I have been using the product for about 4-6 weeks. It started out okay: it applied well enough, wasn't clumping, and was a nice intense dark. Probably THE best feature of this product was how well it builds.

Sadly, though, for the last 10 days, it feels like the product has been getting thicker and harder to apply. Reading comments on the Sephora website, it appears that I'm not the only one who had that experience. And, honestly, at $23 for the full size (which is typical for a product in that category), I'd expect for it to last better than that.

It was also very difficult to completely remove the mascara. That is something that usually happens with waterproof mascara, hence why I typically don't buy those, but it seemed like this one was even harder than most.

I wouldn't really recommend this product but I will put a caveat that it might be a case of it's just not for me but others may like it. Again, I feel that it was a product that wonderfully builds so I'd be tempted to purchase it for that, especially for stage performances. I actually might recommend that a casual makeup wearer get the travel/sample version (which is $12) and use it for stage. I might even contemplate doing that myself.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Medusa's Make-Up September Box

My 2nd Medusa's Make-Up box subscription arrived last week. How was it going to compare to last month's box?

Well, here's the loot:
As with the last time, there were 4 items, including this time around:

  • Brush cleanser
  • Eye dust in lemonade
  • Eye shadow brush
  • Body shimmer
Not too shabby. I haven't tried the brush cleanser yet and will need to figure out how it compares to my favorite one, which is by MAC. I like the eye shadow brush. The body shimmer is in pink, which is cute, but I'll need to pick and choose where to apply it b/c it IS different than my skin tone... but I can see using it to good effect for stage.

At first, I was a little... hmmmm... dismayed by the yellow of the eye shadow. But, yanno, when your makeup subscription sends you lemonade, you make... an awesome makeup scheme. ;) Here's what I came up with:
I applied a bronze primer, Submissive by Be a Bombshell, over my eyelid. I applied that Lemonade eye dust over the primer. I used the eye dust in Magma from last month's Medusa's Make-Up box at the crease. And a light cream colored eye shadow at the brow bone. (And black eyeliner and mascara, of course.) I'm actually madly in love with this makeup scheme.

Here's a look with one eye closed to see the layers better.
I was wondering if I would keep loving this subscription and I sure do. I received my Beautycon Box yesterday (my 3rd one) and, while I like it, I don't love it. (I may do a review of it.) In fact, I went ahead and cancelled it because I would much rather keep having the Medusa's Make-Up subscription. I feel like getting both the Ipsy and Medusa's Make-Up subscriptions complement each other well.