Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Have A Perfect Hair Day with Living Proof


Seeing beauty products day in, day out (literally. My day job is firmly ensconced in the beauty industry), it all becomes a blur, so it's only when I settled down to write my review of the Living Proof Perfect Hair Day products that I noticed the "hair feels cleaner, longer" claim on the shampoo. In this day and age of hyperbole marketing, a brand's description of a product (24 hour moisture! 10 hour shine!) is akin to web banner ads – something savvy consumers have trained themselves to ignore – which is why I'm pleasantly astonished to report that the PhD Shampoo actually lives up to those four little words.

Rewind to my moment of revelation: five days post-shampoo+conditioner, I was mulling over whether I needed to wash my hair that day, and decided not to. As for the PhD Conditioner's claim to "improve hair over time," all I can say is my hair never looked better than in my two most recent photo shoots (you can see more pictures in my recent posts on Clinique's new blushes and Rouge Bunny Rouge's new sheer lipsticks).


Applying the PhD 5-in-1 Styling Treatment on damp hair and blow drying normally gives me sleek, straight, shiny Jennifer Aniston hair (sorry, couldn't resist). Unfortunately, in keeping with the tradition of yearning for what we don't have, I don't like wearing my hair completely straight, so the Styling Treatment is not my cup of tea.

All Living Proof products are sulfate-free (yay for chemically treated hair), silicone-free, and oil-free. The Living Proof Perfect Hair Day collection retails for $10-28 and is available for sale at Sephora and Ulta.


Products Used:
Shu Uemura Mechanical Brow Pencil
Guerlain Météorites Baby Glow in Medium 03
Clé de Peau Concealer in Ocher
Sisley Phyto 4 Ombres Eyeshadow Quartet in Dream
THREE Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil 08
Clinique High Impact Waterproof Mascara
Clinique Sculptionary Cheek Contouring Palette in Defining Nectars
Sisley Phyto-Lip Twist Tinted Lip Balm in Candy

Full disclosure: This entry contains sample product(s) sent by the brand for editorial consideration. This entry also contains affiliate links.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Rouge Bunny Rouge Succulence of Dew Sheer Lipsticks


Sorry, I couldn't resist

I didn't know something was missing in my makeup drawer stash mountain until it magically showed up in the mail. I thought many of the lipsticks I owned were already pushing the limits of innovation, especially in terms of their amazing formulas (comfort, texture etc.). After all, I'm so picky with my lip products that I refuse to wear anything that's heavy, uncomfortable, or unnecessarily sheer (unless it explicitly functions as such, like tinted balms), yet I still own more lipstick than I can ever wear in my lifetime.

This is until I received the newly reformulated Rouge Bunny Rouge Succulence of Dew Sheer Lipstick, which completely changed my thinking of how good a lipstick could be. I'm actually thrown off by the naming, because as the images below show, these "sheer" lipsticks can be extremely pigmented. The formula is super moist but not in any danger of slipping and sliding all over your lips. No feathering, no scent, no heavy feeling. They're a downright pleasure to have on.

My only criticism is that the packaging picks up fingerprints like its life depended on it, but this should only matter to people who have to photograph it.

Jasmine-Weighted Air

Murmurings

Musings

Relish of Heaven

Perfume of His Gaze

Of the above, I was most intrigued by Perfume of His Gaze. The official brand description calls it a cool-toned rose taupe, which I never would have imagined as a lip color until I put it on. I think this could be the modern update of the 90s brown lipstick!

Rouge Bunny Rouge Succulence of Dew Sheer Lipsticks retail for $29 and are internationally available at rougebunnyrouge.com.


Products Used:
Shu Uemura Mechanical Brow Pencil
Guerlain Météorites Baby Glow in Clair 02
Clé de Peau Concealer in Ocher
Chantecaille Iridescent Eye Shade in Rose Gold
Rouge Bunny Rouge Long Lasting Eye Shadow in Eclipse Eagle
Clinique High Impact Waterproof Mascara
Three Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil 08
Guerlain Météorites Perles De Blush
Ellis Faas Glow Up
Rouge Bunny Rouge Succulence of Dew Sheer Lipsticks

Full disclosure: This entry contains sample product(s) sent by the brand for editorial consideration. This entry also contains affiliate links.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Clinique Sculptionary Cheek Contouring Palettes


The new Clinique Sculptionary Cheek Contouring Palettes remind me of paint by number kits. While it's not an exact science, the three-step approach does simplify the process of contouring your cheeks: darkest shade below your cheekbones, medium shade on the apples of your cheeks, and lightest shade above the cheekbones blending into the apples.


This is where I mean when I say "below the cheekbone"

Below will largely be #picspam because there's not much differentiation between the three palettes in terms of texture and formula. Defining Nectars is peachier than the other two, whereas I can barely detect a difference between Defining Roses and Defining Berries on my skin. I think Defining Roses is just slightly muted.

They're perhaps not as finely milled as some other blushes I own, but they're $10-20 cheaper and still do a fine job, in addition to the added benefit of reminding you that a little contrast in dark and light goes a long way.

Sculptionary Cheek Contouring Palette in Defining Nectars


Sculptionary Cheek Contouring Palette in Defining Berries


Sculptionary Cheek Contouring Palette in Defining Roses


Pro tip: cheekbones are more prominent when you you look like a deer in headlights.

Clinique Sculptionary Cheek Contouring Palettes retail for $21 and are available at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Clinique.com (which also stocks two online exclusives)./


Products Used:
Shu Uemura Mechanical Brow Pencil
Guerlain Météorites Baby Glow in Medium 03
Clé de Peau Concealer in Ocher
Clinique High Impact Waterproof Mascara
Sisley Phyto 4 Ombres Eyeshadow Quartet in Dream
Look 1 -
Clinique Sculptionary Cheek Contouring Palette in Defining Nectars, Sisley Phyto-Lip Twist Tinted Lip Balm in Candy
Look 2 -
Clinique Sculptionary Cheek Contouring Palette in Defining Berries, Sisley Phyto-Lip Twist Tinted Lip Balm in Chestnut
Look 3 -
Clinique Sculptionary Cheek Contouring Palette in Defining Roses, Sisley Phyto-Lip Twist Tinted Lip Balm in Coral

Full disclosure: This entry contains sample product(s) sent by the brand for editorial consideration. This entry also contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour and Highlight


The subject line of the email pitch for Clinique's new contouring collection was "Hello Cheekbones!" It's like they knew exactly how to tug at my heartstrings. I don't have any problems in this particular area (the older I get, the more prominent my cheekbones become), but for some reason I still like products that create the illusion of angles on the face. Anyone should be able to look like Tom Hiddleston, I say!


Today's post is about the Sculpting Contour and Highlight Chubby Sticks. Pretty straightforward: one darker shade to create the illusion of shadow and one lighter shade to create the illusion of light (for the uninitiated, here's a contouring tutorial I wrote three years ago). I draw lines with the darker shade on the bottom of my cheekbones, on the sides of my nose, under my jaw line, by my temples, then blend furiously – the key is to make the color look like a natural part of your skin. I run the lighter shade down my nose bridge to the tip of my nose, above my cheekbones, under and over the arch of my eyebrows, on my cupid's bow, and my chin. Again, blend it out. Considering that a contoured look is supposed to be undetectable, it sure takes a lot of work.



Though these two Clinique offerings happen to work for my skin tone, it's clear that it's made for a very specific customer (fair, neutral/warm-toned skin). While I absolutely love the Chubby Stick range and think they're a godsend when it comes to applying makeup on-the-go, these are not meant for beginners. Contouring requires specific placement, and you get less control when using fingers versus a brush. The formula, though, is what you'd expect: smooth and easy to blend out. I'm keeping these in my portable makeup bag for the days I'd like to look extra sharp.

Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour and Highlight retail for $21 each and is available at Sephora and Clinique.com.


Products Used:
Shu Uemura Mechanical Brow Pencil
Guerlain Météorites Baby Glow in Medium 03
Clé de Peau Concealer in Ocher
Jane Iredale Getaway Eye Shadow Kit
Jane Iredale Jelly Jar Gel Eyeliner in Espresso
Clinique High Impact Waterproof Mascara
Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour
Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight
Jane Iredale Just Kissed Lip and Cheek Stain in Forever Peach

Full disclosure: This entry contains sample product(s) sent by the brand for editorial consideration. This entry also contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Diptyque Wick Trimmer


Of all the extravagances that I indulge in, I consider my purchase of a $38 wick trimmer from Diptyque the only one that's truly outrageous. It's not just so much about the price (there are many on sale on Amazon for a fraction) but that I bought something for the sole use of trimming wicks, to make sure that when I snip the wick off it won't fall into my candle and accidentally dirty the wax. If this is not bourgeois, I don't know what is.

(I sometimes struggle with a secret shame of wanting nice things. I blame my mother.)

Don't get me wrong. I love having things like these, and one day hope to have a nice house with solid furniture filled with clean Diptyque candles and art and fresh flowers in elaborate vases. But for now, living in my temporary rental apartment in New York, where I remain permanently in flux, this luxe wick trimmer is kind of out of place.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Guerlain Météorites Baby Glow


When I went to Sephora to claim my birthday gift last week, I wandered over to the Guerlain counter to poke at the new spring offerings. Tracy posted a rave review about the Météorites Baby Glow that had me intrigued. Like her, I don't like the feeling of foundation on my skin anymore, and while I don't need anything on a day-to-day basis, I like pairing red lipstick with a porcelain complexion (clearly something I neglected to do in my last post).

Fortunately, I was sent a tube for review quite soon after my visit, because if you are looking for a virtually undetectable (in look and feel) light to medium coverage foundation, this is perhaps your new Holy Grail.


no makeup apart from shaded-in eyebrows


with Baby Glow applied. Ohmygod my winter lips x_x

In the picture above, I am wearing Clair 02, which is a tad too light for me. While I've been increasingly in favor of using my fingers to apply base products, for some reason Baby Glow looks better when I apply it with a sponge or buff it out with a brush. It contains the same technology as the mythical météorites pearls, which tackles discoloration and unevenness of skintone, and features the faint Guerlain-y scent that dissipates upon application. I can barely feel Baby Glow's presence on my skin, which is why it's hard to believe my eyes when I look in the mirror.


with full makeup

I'm glad that Guerlain included Baby Glow in its permanent collection, because I haven't encountered a similar product (basically, bb cream/tinted moisturizer) that works as well as it does. Guerlain Météorites Baby Glow retails for $54 and is available at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Sephora (though oddly not online).


Products Used:
Shu Uemura Mechanical Brow Pencil
Guerlain Météorites Baby Glow in Clair 02
Clé de Peau Concealer in Ocher
Chantecaille Iridescent Eye Shade in Rose Gold
Rouge Bunny Rouge Long Lasting Eye Shadow in Eclipse Eagle
Clinique High Impact Waterproof Mascara
Three Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil 08
Guerlain Météorites Perles De Blush
Ellis Faas Glow Up
Rouge Bunny Rouge Succulence of Dew Sheer Lipstick in Murmurings

Full disclosure: This entry contains sample product(s) sent by the brand for editorial consideration. This entry also contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

L'Occitane Immortelle 28 Day Divine Renewal Program

Considering how long this post is supposed to be, I belatedly realized that I should have taken a lot more pictures of the actual product. Well, fair warning before you proceed: you'll just have to be okay with a wall of descriptive text.

Let's begin my review of the brand new L'Occitane Immortelle 28 Day Divine Renewal Program with this picture of myself sans makeup (except for shaded-in eyebrows, because that is my hamartia). Little pimply spots aside, I think my skin is as good as it can ever get. I took this photo two days after strictly adhering to the program for 28 days.


The Immortelle 28 Day Divine Renewal Program is meant for use during the nighttime, so I stuck to my regular ritual in the morning (mostly Tatcha) and tried my best to only use the included oils at night. Even though the pamphlet said the oil could be used alone or under your regular moisturizer, I embarked on this experiment determined to only use the oils, to experience an unadulterated effect.

The program is split into four weeks, each week containing seven vials of oil for each night's use. The oil is housed in a detachable packet (not only useful for differentiation but also for travel). To open, you snap the top of the packet to reveal a little spout, then squeeze the oil out onto your palm. This has a bit of a learning curve, because the first few times I pressed too hard and some of the precious oil squirted onto my apartment floor. That said, I do like the way this is packaged, since it ensures that we use the exact recommended amount of product each day. After all, a pea or dime-sized amount is a subjective description.

The scent of the oil remains the same throughout the four weeks. If you've ever had the pleasure of sniffing the Divine Oil, this is basically a concentrated version. The pamphlet includes specific instructions on how to apply to oil, but each day's routine begins with warming up the oil between your palms and holding it up to your face and breathing in thrice. This part of the program is what I miss the most, as the Immortelle scent works wonders in soothing and calming me down after a long day.

Week 1 - Gentle Exfoliation
I felt the most obvious and immediate effects of the oil in Week 1. Before I started on the first vial, I had flaky, gritty skin on my chin (it literally felt like sandpaper). Within first application, I noticed that it felt smoother, and by day 3 it was completely gone. My skin was completely smooth!

Week 2 - Hydration and Nutrition
We enter hazy territory in the following weeks, because the effects that the program purports to deliver are less clear (how am I supposed to know if my skin feels more nutritious and balanced?). Sadly, my gritty chin resurfaced at the start of Week 2, and a giant pimple formed on Day 3. I also suffered an allergic reaction to a pimple-curing product I used. I do not think the program caused any of these symptoms, but it's worth noting that while it didn't make my skin worse, it was not necessarily the antidote to irritated skin either. Now, I know Week 2 sounded bad, but apart from those few problem spots the rest of my skin basically still looked like the photo above.

Week 3 - Balance
Week 3 was when I realized that I should heed L'Occitane's advice and use the program as a supplement to my regular nighttime routine rather than treat it as a be-all and end-all to skincare. The oil alone simply was not enough to combat the harsh reality that is winter in the Northeast. I experienced surface dehydration throughout the end of Week 2 and Week 3, which was remedied by layering a moisturizer over the oil.

Week 4 - Renewal
I felt both relief and sadness at the end of the program. On one hand, I like trying new things on my face (a fundamental beauty blogger requirement) and had to put off testing a whole bunch of products because I committed to 28 days of using just one oil; on the other hand, I've grown to enjoy the routine of pouring the oil into my hands and smelling it before I apply it to my face. Whatever skin woes I experienced in Week 2 and 3 (more likely caused by hormones and weather rather than this program), by the end of Week 4 I had even, glowing skin.


At $130, this is much more affordable than other four-week programs I know (Guerlain's The Cure Treatment is a whopping $1,550). I've never tried the latter, but I cannot imagine that its effects can be so drastic that it warrants the price point. The L'Occitane program is much more palatable to the bank account, and is a nice supplement to your regular skincare routine with subtle results. I think it will most benefit those who find it hard to stick to a dedicated regimen.

The L'Occitane Immortelle 28 Day Divine Renewal Program is available beginning February 18 (my birthday!). In celebration, I am giving it away to one lucky winner. Please enter the sweepstakes through the Rafflecopter widget below and I will pick a winner one week from now!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full disclosure: This entry contains sample product(s) sent by the brand for editorial consideration. This entry also contains affiliate links.

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