Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tatcha Water Collection: Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum + Revitalizing Eye Mask

As a beauty blogger (who also has a day job in beauty), I've had the incredible fortune of being exposed to many brands – I affectionately/despairingly call my office desk a magpie's nest, and more often than not, apologize for the beauty products littered on my apartment floor when visitors take a peek. With such product overload, there are few brands that I am absolutely loyal to. There's a constant need to try new things and form opinions. Occupational hazard, I joke.

If there is one brand I return to over and over again, it's Tatcha. Since my first post on their Beauty Ritual in October 2012, my love for them has only deepened. Very rarely do you find a fledgling brand (it's only ~4 years old) that maintains such integrity and dedication to detail, from marketing to customer service to the products they sell. It's funny to reread my old Tatcha posts and see that I offered suggestions, like hoping they'd create an eye cream, and know my wishful thinking did come true in a few months. For the curious: According to posts on their social media, they're working on sunscreen (!) and lipstick (!!).

This summer, Tatcha introduced two new items to their Water Collection, adding the Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum and Revitalizing Eye Mask to its already impressive roster (comprising of the Dewy Skin Mist and Lifting Mask).

While the Radiant Deep Brightening Serum works as a radiance serum that combats hyperpigmentation and discoloration, the Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum ($90 for 30ml/1 fl oz.) is purely for hydration. According to the Tatcha blog, Vicky was inspired to create this serum after makeup artist Daniel Martin told her that he loved using the Deep Hydration Lifting Mask on models' faces before painting them, but needed something that worked quicker. Vicky essentially bottled the deeply hydrating spa-in-a-sheet mask and created this serum.

In addition to firming and plumping effects, this serum contains crushed 23-karat gold that brightens the skin ever so slightly. The soothing scent features hints of green tea.

The Luminous Deep Hydration Revitalizing Eye Mask ($12 per sheet/$95 for 10 sheets) is essentially a concentrated version of the Lifting Mask, temporarily banishing signs of fatigue from the eye area by giving it a firming hydration boost. I wore it while writing this post, and within the 15 minutes of application, noticed a marked improvement in the skin around my eyes. I looked as if I'd slept undisturbed for 12 hours. Loathe to waste the extra serum (and because my mouth area sorely needed help), I stuck these to the sides of my mouth and enjoyed the same benefits.

It is a shame that the effects of masks are ephemeral, because my post-mask skin looked radiant, happy, and healthy. I highly recommend use before important events. When I get married, I'm going to make sure I have a stash of these in stock.

Tatcha Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum and Revitalizing Eye Mask are available for purchase online at

P.S. Tatcha just launched an amazing gift with purchase offer! For every $75 purchase on, you'll get a complimentary "Summer Essentials" kit that contains the Dewy Skin Mist, Original Aburatorigami Blotting Papers (super essential), and Deep Hydration face and eye masks. Use code SUMMERFUN14 at checkout to redeem. Offer is valid till July 3, or while supplies last.

Full disclosure: This entry contains sample products sent by PR or the manufacturer for editorial consideration.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ilia Beauty Tinted Lip Conditioner in Jump

Apparently, my summer is all about lips. Ilia Beauty Tinted Lip Conditioner in Jump is another good one for the sweaty season. The formula is lightweight and balm-like, with build-able pigment. If you apply just one layer, it provides a slight tint on your lips. Since I'm obviously a "go big or go home" person when it comes to lips (see past example), I applied Jump 3-4 times to get my lips to the true-to-bullet magenta hue in the picture above. It's always nice to know that you have the option for color!

For those who are unfamiliar with Ilia Beauty, it's frequently mentioned alongside other green beauty brands, such as RMS Beauty, Kjaer Weis, Kahina Giving Beauty, and Tata Harper. I was first introduced to it when I interned at Lifestyle Mirror. My beauty editor loved green products and tried to incorporate them in every story he could. MVPs of the brand include Polka Dots & Moonbeams Illuminator and the Multi-Stick, while I'm personally intrigued by the Lipstick Crayons. I guess I have a thing for crayon-style lip products.

Just so you know – even though I piled the color on my lips, the lipstick never felt heavy or like it was swimming around. Fantastic for summer, really.

Ilia Beauty Tinted Lip Conditioner in Jump retails for $26 at

Products Used:
Le Metiér de Beauté Peau Vierge Correcteur Concealer Shade 1
Le Metiér de Beauté Peau Vierge Classic Flawless-Finish Liquid Foundation Shade 5
Shu Uemura Retractable Eyebrow Pencil in Seal Brown
Suqqu Balancing Eyebrow Palette 01 Moss Green
THREE Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil 05
Le Metiér de Beauté Nouvelle Vague Kaleidoscope
Annabelle Le Big Show Mascara
Benefit Dandelion
Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Face Enhancer in Delicate Pink
Ilia Beauty Tinted Lip Conditioner in Jump
Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray

Full disclosure: This entry contains sample products sent by PR or the manufacturer for editorial consideration. This entry also contains affiliate links.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer Makeup, Day and Night

addiction vamp lipstick

While I have tanned considerably in the past few weeks, it seems Blogger is determined to make me look even more like a bronze statue. For some reason, when I upload these pictures, the overall tone becomes considerably yellow. This disturbs me as someone who has always aspired to have fair skin, but more importantly, it's getting in my way of blogging. /waves fist at Blogger

Here in New York, we've been having a great prelude to summer – the weather has been temperate and spring showers relatively rare – and I've already settled into the look I'll be wearing for most of the next three months. It basically consists of Jeremy Renner's Guide to Makeup:

... because I now require 2-3 blotting papers every session to soak up the oil on my face. Anything else will simply not do. So! I concentrate the color on my cheeks and lips and call it a day.

sisley phyto lip twist #4 pinky

For daytime, I like to use bright colors to distract people from the fact that I didn't bother with anything else. I'm kidding! Didn't we wait all year to actually be encouraged to wear obnoxiously bright colors? A recent find is the Sisley Phyto-Lip Twist, which is a tinted balm; a super-charged Clinique Chubby Stick, if you will. As much as I absolutely disagree with the price ($50!), these sticks are in a league of its own. It feels like a balm, is pigmented like a lipstick, but has the shine of a gloss. It has a twist-up mechanism so you won't have to sharpen and waste, which is really a necessity at this price point. I hate to say it, but it's the best I've tried within the lip crayon category.

For night, I like the idea of vamping it up (who am I kidding? I always like the idea of vamping it up). Below, a sweep of Burberry Earthy creates a subtle contour to complement the dark lip, courtesy of Addiction Vamp.

For brows, I have gotten into the habit of penciling them in then going over them with brow powder. I tightline my eyes to give my lashes more definition, then finish with a coat of mascara.

As a conscious reaction to my earlier post about skin, I eschewed foundation for this post. I concealed under my eyes and highlighted under my brow bones, around the inner corners of my eyes, above my cheekbones, and above my cupid's bow. Man, after writing that out, I realized that a "natural glow" takes a lot of work!

Products Used:
Le Metiér de Beauté Peau Vierge Correcteur Concealer Shade 1
Shu Uemura Retractable Eyebrow Pencil in Seal Brown
Suqqu Balancing Eyebrow Palette 01 Moss Green
THREE Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil 05
Sisley So Intense Mascara in Deep Black
Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Face Enhancer in Delicate Pink
Day Makeup: Burberry Tangerine Blush + Sisley Phyto-Lip Twist #4 Pinky
Night Makeup: Burberry Earthy Blush + Addiction Vamp Lipstick

Monday, June 16, 2014

L'Occitane Au Brésil – Jenipapo Collection

I feel like there's truly no better time to introduce a few delightfully-smelling sun protection products from L'Occitane. Coming from a football-crazed (no, we do not call it soccer) country, it's almost odd to be met with absolute ambivalence toward the sport from some of my American friends. Fortunately, I work for a multi-national company, so taking two hours off at 12pm to watch the Germany/Portugal game is not so much a privilege but a necessity.

To celebrate the World Cup, L'Occitane created a couple of special collections, one of them being the Jenipapo line. The Jenipapo tree can be found in Brazil, and is the source of the floral-fruity fragrance infused in the Jenipapo range of products. Again, forgive my horrible scent associations, but when I use these products, I think of tropical flowers and having punch by the beach.

Out of the three products above, my favorite is the Jenipapo Lip Balm SPF 25, mostly because I realized that I neglect my lips when it comes to sun protection (who wants to eat sunscreen?). My boyfriend, who never fails to surprise me, has taken possession of the Jenipapo Face Veil SPF 30 and insists on bringing it along when we have to spend time under the sun. In his own words, the sunscreen smells good and spreads easily, and the bottle is small enough for travel. We'll make a blogger out of him yet.

While fragrant, I am hesitant to recommend the Jenipapo Oil SPF 15 as a sun protection product. For body, I usually use a minimum of SPF 30 (just because having to reapply every 2 hours is hassle enough) and since having a bad case of tan after using spray sunscreen, I no longer trust sun products that I cannot see. However, the oil has its uses – it's the easiest way to rehydrate skin (and make it sexy shiny!) at the beach, especially when your skin is already overladen with sunscreen. Trust me, you'll be glad you have it after a few hours under the sun.

The L'Occitane Jenipapo Collection ($12-30) can be found on

Full disclosure: This entry contains sample products sent by PR or the manufacturer for editorial consideration. This entry also contains affiliate links.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Made Up Thoughts

Originally, I took pictures of myself sans makeup (except drawn-on eyebrows) to write about the new skincare I've been using. See, I thought I had pretty good skin. And then I saw the pictures I took later with a full face of makeup applied, and started having doubts. There's discoloration on my cheeks and shadows under my eyes, and a scar (where did that even come from?!) on my chin, and enlarged pores on my nose. Can I tout how amazing the skincare I've been using when my skin is, while relatively unblemished, not extraordinary?

And then I paused. Wait, what? It's disturbing, this automatic train of thought. I wasn't even comparing myself to the impossibles (that are heavily photo manipulated) in the glossies. I was just looking at myself with some foundation on. What has the act of wearing makeup done to my own self image?

For me, the meaning of makeup has transformed from something I desperately needed to master to satisfy someone else's definition of "pretty" (age 19), to a consumerist obsession (age 21), to occasional artistic expression (age 22-present, when I create looks to post on Messy Wands). In "real life," I am very aware of what makeup does for me. I know that without fail, if I put on my eyebrows, redden my cheeks and lips, and paint on some lashes, I will receive more and better attention from the strangers I interact with, and I use this knowledge to my advantage. Is it sad that this is just how it is?

Sans makeup (with drawn-on eyebrows)

With foundation (which will be reviewed. For the curious, it's by Le Metiér de Beauté)

I'm not really sure what I'm trying to get at. I guess I was hit by the fact that I thought I had a firm grasp on how I look and how I perceive myself, and was a little shaken by my knee-jerk reaction to censor my thoughts because my natural looks didn't reach a certain (impossible) standard. The longer I stare at the unmade-up picture, the more I think I was overthinking it. I'll have to work on that skincare post.

*PS: After reading some of the comments, I feel like I should clarify that I'm actually very happy with my skin. This is why I was surprised that I had the instinctive reaction above even while being pleased, and just wanted to observe how that happened.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Beauty PSA: Diorblush Cannage available at!

If you were one of those who missed out on getting these when they first launched at Saks, IT'S BACK!

Never have I meant this cliched marketing speak so fervently: Get it before it's gone! How refreshing to know that it can sometimes be true.

Diorblush Cannage Edition retails for $60 on