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.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Tatcha Kyoto Red Silk Lipstick

I remember hearing whisperings of this since May last year, when Chloë Sevigny hit the Met Gala red carpet with a custom shade of bright red on her lips. It was made by Tatcha, reported, but only two were in existence. Since then, I've harbored hope that Tatcha would produce more of this brilliant lipstick. With Vicky's tendency toward perfection, I envisioned that the makeup she created would equal or rival those from my favorite Japanese brands.

That day came. The Tatcha Kyoto Red Silk Lipstick is a piece of art. The black and gold custom tube is hefty and substantial. I love that it opens and closes with a satisfying click, and only if you align the logos correctly. The tip of the bullet calls to mind the facets of a diamond, and after almost a month of wearing it, I can personally attest that it allows for a very precise application.

As you know, I have tested many lipsticks in my life. This one makes me, someone who has more reds than any other lip color I own, want to buy back ups for my back up. It's smooth and creamy and moisturizing and incredibly pigmented and lightweight and scentless and just gorgeous. The only other formula I love as much is the Creamy Glow Lipstick from Suqqu, but they erroneously and devastatingly discontinued most of the lineup a couple years ago. The lipstick is capable of lasting all day, with minimal touch-up required only after meals.

My father once told me that people who wear red are more confident because it's such a strong color. While I think my father had his own biased reasons for his belief (his wardrobe consists of red shirts in various shades), I don't think he's altogether wrong. Since most of my clothes are in monochromatic hues of black, blue, and gray, I like that through a little thing like lipstick, I am able to inject bright and dazzling color, maybe also a little strength, in my life.

Only a limited number of these lipsticks were made! The pre-order for the Kyoto Red Silk Lipstick will begin any day now, but the best way to ensure you'll be the first to know is by signing up for their mailing list. (Update: Here's the direct link to the pre-order!)

Products Used:
Shu Uemura Mechanical Brow Pencil
Shu Uemura Pressed Eye Shadow Refill M 864
Clé de Peau Concealer in Ocher
Clinique High Impact Waterproof Mascara
Three Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil 07
Guerlain Météorites Perles De Blush
Ellis Faas Glow Up
Tatcha Kyoto Red Red Lipstick

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

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Re-Introduction

HELLO. This post is less informative and more celebratory – I finally managed to find a limited window of time where enough sunlight filters into my apartment and allows me to take photos worthy of the blog. I haven't been in front of the camera in such a long time, so I've forgotten many of its caveats (foundation, or at least a dusting of Guerlain météorites, is a must for better-looking skin).

That said, we've never shied away from the ugly here at Messy Wands. Try though I might – exfoliating, then layering face mist, serum, oil and cream – I haven't been able to fully rectify my dry skin woes and parts of my face remain scaly. The only respite I've had was when I used the Tatcha Deep Hydration Lifting Mask (review here), but the beauty and curse of a mask is that it's super effective only for a day.

Perhaps because of all that, I've been favoring the neutral, contoured look. It has just enough color so I'll look polished but not so much that I'll draw attention to problem areas. Here, I'm glad I'm finally able to show you a clearer picture of the recently reviewed Guerlain Météorites Perles De Blush and Ellis Faas Glow Up in action.

Products Used:
Shu Uemura Mechanical Brow Pencil
Shu Uemura Pressed Eye Shadow Refill M 864
Clé de Peau Concealer in Ocher
Clinique High Impact Waterproof Mascara
Three Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil 07
Guerlain Météorites Perles De Blush
Ellis Faas Glow Up
Shiseido Lacquer Gloss in VI708 Phantom

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Unwash Bio-Cleansing Conditioner Review

Six months ago, I blogged about being able to go three days between hair washes. My number now hovers around the 3-4 day range (though I used to have to at least wet my hair every other day, and now I can go all three days without it touching water), and even though I'm sure I can surpass it, I'm happy with the way things are – I like my hot showers, thank you very much.

Since then, I knew that the "conventional" wisdom of shampooing every day was probably concocted by a marketing professional. In fact, there is more evidence that the contrary (less shampooing) is better for our hair health. Unfortunately, most of us have been indoctrinated on that misbelief since a young age, and our scalps have adapted to that routine, producing more oil than is necessary. It is a vicious cycle that requires tenacity to break. I had to endure weeks of absolutely disgusting hair when I began extending my washes.

Ever since trying the Unwash Bio-Cleansing Conditioner, I'm quite convinced that even the concept of shampoo is redundant. When using a shampoo and conditioner duo, we are essentially stripping our hair of everything (both good and bad stuff) when using the former, only to rehydrate it with the latter. It becomes more ridiculous the more you think about it.

So, think of this formula – I hesitate to call it two-in-one, because it makes me think of hotel products that dry and tangle my hair like no other, and because we should begin to disassociate hair washing with a two-step process – as a one stop shop for your hair. The instructions are straightforward: in the shower, massage a sizable amount of product into scalp and comb through ends of hair. Rinse.

What you get is surprise, because you really don't need shampoo to have clean hair. In fact, the best part of the process is my hair never gets tangled. The conditioner also smells wonderful and you emerge from the shower with soft, volumized hair. I haven't experienced a routine-changing product in a long time, and this completely blew my existing regimen out of the water (ha!).

You have to admire a company that has enough integrity to post their products' entire ingredient list on their website. For now, you can only purchase Unwash products at specific salons (the company encourages you to nominate your local salon if you would like easier access) but I'm hoping they'll consider an online store presence soon.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ullu Snapon iPhone Case

As iPhone users go, I'm one of the purists. I much prefer going caseless to retain the integrity of the design, and since I'm quite careful with my belongings, I'm not too worried about damage to my phone. That said, I do want my phone to last over two years before having to shell out for another, and a little voice in my head tells me that's not possible unless I cover it up.

The challenge then was to find something that's functional yet aesthetically pleasing. What always surprises me is how incredibly challenging that is (think shopping for heels. Ugh). Existing iPhone cases either look clunky (Otterbox being the perennial favorite) or basic (the $5 variety on Amazon), so I was glad when I finally found something I liked – believe me, it was a journey.

Ullu products are hand stitched and hand finished, and come in a variety of leathers and delectable hues. I was sorely tempted by the ostrich leather material but couldn't justify the spend ($225!). Instead, I opted for the Grain Leather Snapon Case in Sun Ray ($55), a bright yellow to brighten up the currently moody winter.

I knew I made the right choice when the case arrived in the mail. The grainy texture of the leather is pleasing to the touch and lends the case an air of sophistication. It is as sleek as an iPhone case can be, adding such little bulk to the phone that it only took me a day to get used to the widened grip. The case is fitted very well to the phone and is pretty hard to remove once it's on, which is a good thing in my books. One of my pet peeves with cases is flimsiness and it doesn't look like this will become loose over time.

Overall, highly recommended. Visit for more.

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