Friday, January 7, 2011

Mascaras... a quickie post.

Gonna try to do a quick mascara post...quick implying I won't ramble on forever about any particular product, but maybe hit on a pro/con er two for each product and a simple yes or no for planned repurchase. Let's face it though, I try new products more than I repurchase old faithfuls. I'm a "risktaker" like that. It's a mascara, not a car. LE denotes Limited Edition. HTF denotes Hard to Find. All products were inevitable in the shades Black/Blackest Black/Blacker than Black unless otherwise noted.

Product: CoverGirl LashBlast (original, orange tube)
Pros: great volume, easy to build up, price, formula is designed to NOT migrate on the eye :)
Cons: the molded plastic wand is apparently not foolproof (though I've never poked myself in the eye with it, but that's a common complaint), bulky tube
Repurchase again?: Yes. Have and will repurchase.

Product: CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion (purple tube)
Pros: RELIABLE clean definition/volume, price, never needs to be combed through the lashes, auto-separates!
Cons: molded plastic wand (personally, I ain't mad at it), bulky tube
Repurchase again?: Yes. Have and will repurchase.

Product: CoverGirl LastBlast Length (yellow tube)
Pros: lengthening formula, price, skinny wand to get into corners of eye without hitting your eye
Cons: the wand doesn't seem to pick up on that much product
Repurchase again?: No, I can live without it.

Product: L'Oreal Lash Out (HTF)
Pros: teddy bear brush, creamy formula with protein complex (who knew!), price
Cons: lots of product on the wand, must comb through lashes with spare spoolie
Repurchase again?: Sure, it's a nice dupe for Burberry's mascara.

Product: YSL Faux Cils
Pros: volume building formula (hence the name, fake lashes), lovely heavy tube (make sure you hear the audible click to ensure it's closed properly!)
Cons: excess product on wand, dries out quickly, price
Repurchase again?: No. Been there, done that, wasn't all that smitten. Plus L'Oreal Voluminous is a dupe.

Product: Chantecaille Faux Cils
Pros: fantastic formula on a simple teddy bear brush, leaves lashes soft, great packaging
Cons: price
Repurchase again?: Yes. This wand fans lashes out and delivers better on the product name than YSL did.

Product: Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill (original)
Pros: great formula (almost gel-like?) that glides on with ease, fantastic brush (once you know how to use it), lovely heavy packaging
Cons: price
Repurchase again?: Yes. Have repurchased, love it, fave mascara.

Product: Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Excess (possibly LE)
Pros: very interesting brush, easy-to-apply formula
Cons: price, fragrance of formula (reminiscent of Maybelline Lash Stiletto formula scent, not good!)
Repurchase again?: Yes. However, I'm more likely to purchase the original GA ETK formula.

Product: Burberry Effortless mascara
Pros: teddy bear brush, creamy formula, awesome tube
Cons: price
Repurchase again?: No. Great to try, great product, easily realized L'Oreal Lash Out is basically the same for a lower price.

Product: L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara
Pros: volume-building, dupe for YSL Faux Cils, price
Cons: wet formula that needs to dry out a little before ideal consistency is achieved, can be a bitch to remove if the Carbon Black formula is purchased (so beware!)
Repurchase again?: Yes.

Product: L'Oreal Voluminous Million Mascara (HTF in NYC)
Pros: fantastically fanned-out doll-eye lashes, price
Cons: molded plastic brush-head (be mindful when getting to the lash roots), clunky tube
Repurchase again?: Yes. So pleased!

Product: Maybelline Falsies
Pros: curved brush, wetter formula, price
Cons: needs to be combed through lashes with spare spoolie
Repurchase again?: No. Results weren't worth the effort.

Product: Maybelline Full'n'Soft
Pros: allegedly beneficial formula for lashes, hypoallergenic, washable mascara, great definition for everyday wear, price
Cons: none, really.
Repurchase again?: Always. It's a great go-to if my eyes are tired or ragey from too much eye makeup the day before.

Product: Maybelline Lash Stiletto
Pros: price
Cons: lousy formula with a terrible scent, lousy brush, no length or shine
Repurchase again?: No. What a disappointing mascara that lived up to zero of the claims advertised. Sad clown.

Product: Rimmel Sexy Curves (purple tube)
Pros: great double-helix style brush, great formula, price
Cons: spikes on brush can be sharp (watch the lash roots!)
Repurchase again?: Yes.

Product: Rimmel VolumeFlash (pink tube)
Pros: price, great formula that had potential to be quite messy but wasn't
Cons: had to be worked through with spoolie
Repurchase again?: No. Nothing against it, I have other drugstore mascaras I prefer.

Product: Bobbi Brown Extreme Party mascara
Pros: great defined lashes, tapered brush made it easy to get into corner lashes
Cons: price
Repurchase again?: No. There are other high-end mascaras that I prefer.

Product: Chanel Inimitable Intense
Pros: great formula, functional molded plastic brush
Cons: price
Repurchase again?: No. It's a good product, I just don't think it's as great as others for the price.

Product: Chanel Exceptionnel de Chanel in Noir Obscur (LE)
Pros: amazingly voluminous but cleanly defined lashes, FANTASTIC brush that alternates bristles with a comb (waaay before Revlon Double-Twist came out).
Cons: price, LE status
Repurchase again?: YES! If I could, I would repurchase this product in this shade. Alas, it was LE in October 2009.

Product: Maybelline Great Lash
Pros: dark formula, reputation (touted as the end-all/be-all of mascaras)
Cons: lousy wand/product delivery on lashes, smudges like CRAZY
Repurchase again?: No. How a tube of this stuff is sold every 3 seconds or whatever, I'll never understand.

Product: Estee Lauder More Than Mascara
Pros: clean definition, slight volume, good everyday mascara
Cons: price
Repurchase again?: No. Not worth the dollars paid.

Product: Estee Lauder Sumptuous Color Mascara (Sapphire Blue) LE
Pros: amazingly bright blue shade, GREAT volume, GREAT length
Cons: LE, price
Repurchase again?: Yes. I adored this whole LE release of bright mascaras, which was pretty unexpected given the company that produced them (Estee Lauder aka your mother's cosmetic counter...but Tom Pecheaux is really turning things around).

Product: Estee Lauder Sumptuous Bold Lifting
Pros: great formula, great tapered wand, great results!
Cons: price
Repurchase again?: Yes.

Product: Estee Lauder MagnaScopic
Pros: volume-building
Cons: price, clunky tube
Repurchase again?: No

Product: Estee Lauder Projectionist
Pros: lengthening formula did lengthen
Cons: price
Repurchase again?: No

Product: Lancome Hypnose Drama
Pros: volumizing, lengthening, s-curved brush
Cons: price
Repurchase again?: No. It's a good mascara, but I like other products better for the price point.

Product: Clinique Lash Doubling
Pros: mega lengthening
Cons: not exactly volumizing
Repurchase again?: Yes. Cheap enough.

Product: Dolce & Gabbana Mascara
Pros: lengthening more so than volumizing
Cons: price
Repurchase again?: No. Not merited for the price and other products avail for equal or fewer dollars.

Product: DiorShow Mascara
Pros: none
Cons: price, wand, formula
Repurchase again?: No. I hated DiorShow and don't get why it's forever atop the "Best of" lists every single year. The brush is ridiculous, the formula is lousy and you can definitely get bigger bang for your buck with another brand.

Product: DiorShow Iconic Mascara
Pros: none
Cons: price, wand, formula
Repurchase again?: No. I hated the original DiorShow. DiorShow Iconic has a comb brush thing going on and it's just terrible. Nothing dramatic or iconic or awesome about this one.

Product: Benefit Bad Gal (blue and black)
Pros: volumizing
Cons: price
Repurchase again?: No. I used to like this, but since I've tried others, it's fallen into oblivion.

Product: Bourjois Volumizer mascara
Pros: two-step process involving one wand to separate lashes (beautifully!) and another to add volume
Cons: pretty wet formula, pretty fat tube, price
Repurchase again?: Yes. I actually love this mascara a LOT!

Product: Almay Dial-Up mascara
Pros: interesting delivery of product involving choosing which level of mascara you want (1=daytime, 2=nighttime, 3=weekend...apparently?), price
Cons: stiffening to lashes
Repurchase again?: No. I never go beyond 1 on the dial and even that seems like too much product. Interesting idea in theory, not practice.

Product: MAC Opulash
Pros: decent volume
Cons: large brush
Repurchase again?: No. A pretty lacklustre mascara, but MAC mascaras are generally not so great.

Product: Maybelline The Colossal Volum'Express
Pros: pretty good volume, price
Cons: ridiculous brush, clunky tube, stiff lashes
Repurchase again?: No. Stiff lashes ought to be illegal.

I'm sure I'm forgetting a few, but this is.. pretty substantial, no?

Make Up For Ever Face & Body Foundation Review

A product review I wrote on MUA for MUFE F&B Foundation in March 2010. This is probably the closest I've ever come to finishing a full bottle of liquid foundation. I decant it into sample containers because traveling with a glass bottle irks me. I use it plenty. It's a great purchase and one that I am positive I will rebuy in the not-so-distant future. Fragrance-sensitive people may want to try this in person before purchasing. The smell isn't a dealbreaker for me and I'm the pickiest little brat about scents. Just a friendly heads-up!

I recently purchased this product while on the hunt for something a little lighter than my usual GA LSF. I picked it up at a Shoppers Drug Mart for $42 + tax. I'm somewhere in the NC35-40 range, East Indian background, and F&B #34 is a great colour match for me!

The texture is a fluid-gel consistency, and please, PLEASE shake this product vigorously prior to using or swatching! It doesn't really separate, it just has a slight tendency to settle.

I find the foundation to feel extremely refreshing on my skin when applying, so I'm pleased by that. I shake the bottle vigorously, apply a bit of product to the back of my hand (roughly what would be accumulated under the cap of the bottle) and use a MAC 130 to apply/buff into my skin. The result is extremely natural, satiny-verging-on-luminous skin. Total love. I set it with a bit of pressed powder (I favour Rimmel Stay Matte pressed powder). I'd classify it as light to medium coverage that is very buildable if desired.

I have combination skin with a very slightly oily t-zone. This foundation does not go oily on me at all, it stays put all day. I typically apply around 6-7 a.m. and remove around 11 p.m. and the staying power is great in my experience. It should be noted that I do not use a primer, but I do wear this in conjunction with Chanel UV Essentiel sunscreen.

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation Review

Another review plucked from MUA that I wrote in September 2009. Not sure what the price of Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation is now in Canada, I know it's $59+tax in the USA.

NC35-40. I wear shade 8 in the summer, shade 7 the rest of the year. It is a perfect match! I was traveling Europe in 2007, and I found myself in Selfridges in London, and I went to the Giorgio Armani counter to see what the brand had to offer, as I hadn't been to a GA counter in person before. I was recommended this foundation in 8, and I was tanned at the time, so it was perfect! I have fairly normal skin with a slightly oily t-zone, and this stuff lasts all day long on me! I don't even use a primer, I apply sunscreen and then this over top and it's just an awesome natural finish, not too dewy, not too matte, just awesome! I set with Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in Sandstorm/004 (the power, not the powder foundation). Flawless.

I like the packaging, I think pump bottles are great, I use exactly 1 pump for my whole face, so I appreciate the pump for this product. I typically apply with a brush, but I find fingers are just as effective. I can't remember how many GBP I paid for this product in '07, but when I repurchased in shade 7 in Holt's, I think it was $57-58 CAD + tax, something like that. It is pricey, but it's also an HG item for me, so I obviously feel it's well worth it!

The other day, the SA at the Bobbi Brown counter told me I looked flawless and airbrushed! I have had friends and family tell me that I have flawless skin (not makeup, but skin!), so that's always a reason to keep a product in rotation in my opinion :) I really love this foundation and while I do experiment with other brands, this is my go-to product for a no-fail fresh face.

EDIT: Mar.6/2010. I believe the prices of Armani Cosmetics went up significantly @ Holt Renfrew. I believe this is $65 +tax now.

EDIT: October 2013. This foundation is now $66+tax at Armani Counters in Canada. 

Chanel Teint Innocence Naturally Luminous Compact Makeup SPF 10 Review

Another review I posted on MUA for Chanel Teint Innocence Naturally Luminous Compact Makeup SPF 10. For the record, I posted this review in September 2009 and haven't repurchased this foundation, mostly because I'm too obsessed with newer product offerings from all sorts of brands. 

For reference, I'm NC35-40 and I purchased this product in 40 Beige. The colour match is pretty good with this product, and I like the natural, dewy finish it gives. I initially only applied it with a foundation brush, but eventually I found that applying it with fingers gives a better finish, probably because it warms the product up and allows it to blend better. I haven't tried using the sponge, but that's because I feel like it would waste product, and the idea of a sponge sketches me out! Bacteria and all. The packaging is nice in that it has a separate area for the sponge on top of the actual make-up, but that separate sponge area is also where the compact mirror is, so makeup can smudge off the sponge and onto the mirror. Functional? Not so much..

In terms of price, I believe I paid roughly $63 CAD (+tax) for the compact, and I was told it's actually the most expensive foundation option available from Chanel in Canada (no wonder I wanted to buy it).
In terms of staying power, I have normal skin with a very slightly oily t-zone, and this product does stay well when I set it with powder, but I have noticed a bit of separation around my nose. To me, that's not the end of the world, I dab it away and I'm as good as new, but it's definitely not cool for $63. I will keep this foundation for winter usage and I'd consider repurchasing down the road for usage in the cooler months (refills are marginally cheaper).

Chanel UV Essentiel SPF 50 Review

Hijacked this from my own review of this product that I did for MUA a while ago. Still holds true!

For years, I was using Neutrogena Healthy Defense SPF 45 for my daily facial sunscreen, and not once did I think that it was contributing to occasional breakouts until I suddenly stopped using it and started using Chanel UV Essentiel. I paid $57 CAD (+tax) for 1 ounce of this stuff, which was extreme in the moment but I'm pretty thrilled that I did! It's a very light, non-greasy, milky fluid that glides on and leave no whitish cast on my skin at all (I'm East Indian, NC35-42, so this is pretty awesome). It sinks in with incredible ease and works beautifully under make-up. A little goes a long way, so the fact that this bottle is only an ounce doesn't bother me all that much. Furthermore, I have been breakout-free since I switched to this product. I am most definitely repurchasing once I run out! It's my HG sunscreen!

CoverGirl Natureluxe Silk Foundation Review

Okay. I admit I kind of got sucked into the hype of this foundation in spite of it being a CoverGirl face product (most of which are so ridden with pink/cool undertones, I could weep). Maybe it was the multiple mag blurbs I read about it since Pat McGrath (BIG deal makeup artist, creative hotshot at P&G) used it in many a fashion show during the S/S 2011 NYFW... either way, I caved and purchased a tube of this stuff. Here we go.

CoverGirl Natureluxe Silk Foundation is meant to be a lightweight-feeling "silk" foundation. When I saw the term "silk", I freaked and got excited and thought, "Could this be the drugstore dupe of Armani Luminous Silk that I've been looking for forever since $60ish dollars a bottle is outrageous to pay for Armani?...MAYBE!"

Reality: NO DICE. The foundation, while very refreshing on the skin and actually almost.. cooling to the touch, is decent, the pink undertones are still pretty brutally present in this foundation's colour offerings. I most definitely bought the wrong shade for myself, but with no testers to figure it all out and no reference from Temptalia's foundation chart, I was left to my own devices which apparently are not that astute when I'm looking at bottle shade references versus my hand. Awful idea. This is the downside of being an early adopter of cosmetic products.

ANYWHO. I am probably anywhere from an NC35 to 42 right now (I swear it's a mood thing, but let it be known, my cheeks have little pigment while my forehead DOES). I mistakenly purchased shade 325 (Sandstone). When examining shade 330 and 335, they both seemed pretty pink. I look.. bizarre if I wear cool-toned foundations (as most warm-toned individuals do!), so the foundation was a litttttttle light but nothing that wasn't fixable courtesy of a little bronzer.

The coverage is light to medium coverage, and it is buildable but I was hesitant to build the coverage up due to the fact that I had a mismatched shade for my skin. The finish was pretty basic satin, nothing luminous or over the top. I guess the biggest selling factor is the more natural ingredients that essentially promise a more natural finish. That's pretty much what you get.

I think I paid maybe $13 CAD for this at WalMart. I probably wouldn't buy it again since I feel the undertones of the colours offered are just not at all appropriate for my East Indian skin, but the foundation itself seems fairly reliable for even-looking, smooth skin. Not one to really dig any testers WalMart has, I'd probably hunt this down at Walgreens, Shoppers or Duane Reade, etc. depending on where I am.

Sidebar: The marketing of this whole Natureluxe sub-brand is genius and getting Tay Swift on board was wise investment on P&G's part. Hoorah!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pixi Illuminating Tint & Conceal

Pixi Illuminating Tint & Conceal

I first heard of Pixi’s Illuminating Tint & Conceal through Youtube’s Pixiwoo’s Samantha Chapman.
[Giant Sidebar: I LOVE pretty much every tutorial that Sam & Nic have done for their Youtube channel and think they are a GREAT place to start if you’re looking for … well, just about any look! They have a slew of vids and just feel more refined in their practice, as they are professional makeup artists in the UK and it beats listening to some other Youtubers out there do tutorials…TRUST ME]

Moving right along…

I wanted to buy the tinted moisturizer (TM) pretty much as soon as I saw the video, even though I am a total foundation fan and own a bunch of different ones and need another product like I need a hole in my lungs… but I didn’t forget about Pixi products, which are available for purchase at Target. Naturally, once I moved to the states, I ended up in a city without a brick&mortar Target. would suffice, so I ordered the TM in Sun Glow, which I figured would match me well enough after reading MUA reviews. It’s apparently $30 USD for 1 oz of TM and 0.09 oz of concealer.
The tube text reads, “One step sheer complexion perfection. Tinted moisturizer, SPF 20, treatment day lotion + concealer all in one. Hypoallergenic, oil free, fragrance free, talc free and water resistant. Suits all skin types, including sensitive skin.”

When I ordered it, I had no idea it was water resistant, so this is news to me. I also don’t really care about SPF being in my facial products. I prefer it to NOT be, to be honest, because it’s too easy to shrug off proper SPF usage and claim it’s in my foundation when really, I’d have to cake on a bottle of foundation in order to actually reap the benefits of the SPF that’s added to said foundation. I wear SPF 50 every day (Chanel UV Essentiel has been my go-to for a couple years now), and that keeps me ridiculously pale but (hopefully) wrinkle-free.

[Sidbar #2: When I purchase products, I don’t have a tendency to pay attention to quantities for price, because I seldom use up products, especially face products. For the sake of this review, I’ll put it out there: $30 USD + tax is kind of ridiculous for a tinted moisturizer being purchased at Target, but I’m accustomed to paying $50+ for a foundation from Saks or Holts or wherever, so my price sensitivity has sorta flown out the window.]

The tinted moisturizer is luminous to a point of sparkley, but I tend to powder all TMs and liquid foundations to set them, generally with Chanel Poudre Universelle in 40 Dore, or, more commonly, Rimmel Lasting Matte pressed powder in Sandstorm. Powdering mellows out the luminosity to a more palatable finish, at least for me!

The TM is easy to blend, and I apply it with a MAC 130 brush or EcoTools Foundation brush. I always blend for WAY longer than most would/could, and then I lightly run my fingers over my face after applying with a brush just to make sure no brushstrokes are left behind. That being said, to each their own, applying with hands is always a viable option too!

I tend to wear this when I want something with slightly less coverage, as that is what a tinted moisturizer is meant to do…tint..and moisturize (it’s not just a clever name). I also have been pairing it with Laura Mercier Mineral Powder (more on that in an upcoming post, I’m sure) for more coverage with even MORE luminosity! Winter is sucking my skin’s will to live sooo I’ve been o.d’n on luminizers and such accordingly.

Would I rebuy this product? Sure. It matches well, I dig the concealer in the cap (and reach for it even when I’m not using the corresponding TM), and it didn’t break me out.

Me & Cosmetics

I should probably preface this whole site with my perspective on makeup. Probably…

The Chanel counter @ Henri Bendel, 5th Ave, NYC

Well, where to start? I like makeup. A lot. It’s kind of everything to me. It is truly what excites me when I wake up in the a.m. I look forward to doing makeup every single day. This sounds so lame when I type it, good grief. Whatever, it’s fun and colourful and I love it! New collections, new products, tutorials, Youtube subscriptions, helping people pick products for themselves, buying things that literally change my appearance so drastically in the best way possible, hunting for limited edition EVERYTHING. It’s really become a lifestyle, but it’s exciting, more so now that I’m in New York and am able to explore brands that were either completely unavailable to me in Canada or just wildly out of reach due to only being carried at select Holts locations or whatever. Let it be known, distribution of cosmetics is just the WORST in Canada. It is really excruciating the way Holts has a monopoly on the whole market. Ah well.

Favourite brands include Giorgio Armani and Chanel. I like all brands, and while I tend to gravitate towards higher-end brands, I’m no stranger to drugstore products at all! I think discovering that Wet’n’Wild cosmetics were still sold at Wal-Mart was a pretty huge revelation of ‘08 to me. I just think I really appreciate the marketing and conceptualization that goes into a lot of higher-end brands and how it ties into their seasonal collections. While I am a Fashion Marketing major, the beauty aspect of every fashion week is pretty intriguing to me and I firmly believe that makeup can make or break the finished look so … that’s me justifying my major vs. my apparent natural passion. *shrug*

Fave products over the years (I’ll probably do reviews of these eventually):
- Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation (shade 7 - tan)
- Chanel UV Essential SPF 50
- Giorgio Armani Eye Brow Defining Pencil (shade 3)
- Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Mascara (shade 1 - steel black)
- La Mer Lip Balm
- MAC 130 foundation brush
- EcoTools brushes (all. of. these.)
- Trish McEvoy Duo Matte Bronzer
- Nars Multiple Bronzer in Malaysia
- Make Up For Ever Face & Body Foundation (shade 34)
- Cle de Peau concealer in Ochre
- Cle de Peau Extra Rich Lipstick in R2 - Red Abundance (a killer bright red)
- Chanel Rouge Allure Laque in 75 - Dragon (fave red lip of all time)
- Chanel Joues Contraste in Rose Petale & Rose Dust

Well, this is lengthy and sorta purposeless. Just trying to throw some product names out there to establish what my aesthetic is. People I look to for makeup inspiration.. well, I’m not really a classic beauty kind of person, and I’m not a natural beauty kind of person. I think I function based on colours and moods. I will do a smoky eye if I don’t want to talk to people. I will do a red lip if I feel a bit loud. Y’know, things like that. I love trying out runway looks but they seldom make it out of my apartment.

Temptalia's Foundation Matrix



For anyone who is into cosmetics, for anyone who wants to get into cosmetics, for anyone who dabbles but is never quite sure of their purchase…I urge you to creep reviews on Makeupalley (MUA). While reviews of new products are not always available (they’re new, calm down, they’ll be reviewed eventually as the products are purchased and used), majority of the products out there for purchase have been reviewed by people just like you and I. While reviews posted aren’t always the most helpful per se, they are better than nothing if you’re really stuck on whether or not to take the plunge on a purchase. Membership is free and there’s a whole other world of lingo on the message boards. MAC’s shade system is pretty much the universal language of communication on the message boards. For example, I’m anywhere from an NC35 to an NC 42, (the former in the winter, the latter in the summer). NC = warm-toned, NW = cool-toned. The site’s not too rough to figure out, so give it a whirl.

Products Up for Review

I’m hoping to review a lot of cosmetic products I’ve accumulated in my first semester in NYC. A few brands that come to mind:
- Edward Bess
- Giorgio Armani
- Lancome
- Estee Lauder
- Dolce & Gabbana
- Beaute Cosmetics
- Too Faced Cosmetics
- Smashbox
- La Mer
- Chantecaille
- Chanel
…I’m blanking out, but if this at all sounds like your kind of bag, stay tuned. Not sure if I’ll have too many photo accompaniments right off the bat (left my digital slr in NYC), but perhaps some subpar cell phone pics will suffice), but swatches will definitely be done in January, hopefully in natural light and with flash photography. Setting the bar high now but who knows if I’ll actually stick to this or not.
© Excess Is Just My Character. All rights reserved.