Testing, Testing

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It’s so easy to let products that you’ve purchased slip into the cracks because you’ve finished talking about them as an addition to your monstrous stash of beauty-related products but aren’t ready to devote an entire post in the product’s name and I wanted to remedy this somewhat — viola, these posts were born where I provide my thoughts on products that have likely been mentioned before but not discussed conclusively. Here are some products that I have been using (for either testing purposes or enjoyments sake) and an abridged account of my thoughts about them. I should warn you that there are a few affiliate links below, before your read on…

1. L’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Mascara ($9)

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Some of you may be aware that I gave the Miss Manga Mascara a miss in my previous ‘the verdict’ post and while I stand by my original assessment of the mascara — too wet and easily clumpy for my tastes –, it has grown on me as it’s dried out notably. I may or may not have accidentally left it without the cap on for a day or two and this may or may not have improved the formula in my view. It’s definitely a dramatic mascara that doesn’t require too much building to get to its effect and can look spidery if too much is applied or if you’re not careful but it’s definitely one that I’ve been liking when I’m just shoving on a brush or two on each set of lashes before running out the door. Like many other mascaras from L’Oreal, this can be a bit of a bother to remove and it does sit on the more wet side of things formula-wise but as it has begun to dry out I’ve been liking it for its ‘instant drama’ effect.

2. Revlon Highlighting Palette in Peach Glow ($11)

DSC_0530After hearing Amelia Liana and Lily Pebbles rave about the ‘Bronze Glow’ shade of this product, I had been keen on trying out this product and did so in June. In conclusion, it’s not a product that I am wowed by but it’s not a bad product by any standards. The highlighting palette serves as a very subtle highlighter and it does have less than stellar pigmentation – so those who are wary of obvious shimmer and glow-overload could very well find this ideal. The overall assortment of colours included in the compact strikes me as rather strange; on the one hand, there are two obviously deeper bronzy shades (top and middle), two paler peach-leaning champagne shades (second from the top and the bottom) and a very pale shade that is more yellow than neutral. Swatches would be appropriate here but there’s this issue where my battery of my camera is dead and the charger appears to have run off, so I hope you can let it slide. On the same note of my shortcomings, I didn’t actually attempt to use these as eyeshadows but I wouldn’t expect the lighter less pigmented shades to work well for this purpose…

 

 3. NARS Contour Blush in Paloma ($46)

DSC_0531If you’ve been keeping up with things around these parts in the last few weeks, you will likely be completely unsurprised by my glowing review of this contouring powder duo. The rosy-hued tan matte contouring powder is absolutely fantastic; with amazing pigmentation, blendability and longevity, this shade easily provides an instant natural-looking sculpted effect. I’ve found that it’s a tool that gives ‘instant cheekbones’ and I do thing it has surpassed my old love, the MAC Harmony Powder Blush for contouring. The lighter soft-matte highlighting shade isn’t as ideal for me as the darker shade as it doesn’t have any sort of sheen and I tend to love sheen in highlighter; however, it’s nice for brightening up the center of the face and setting the undereye area. Being the middle shade of the range, Paloma is an ideal shade for my skin and will suit neutral to warm complexions that range from moderately fair to maybe medium in depth. It’s natural-looking effortless sculpting at its finest.

 

 4.NARS ‘Radiant’ Cream Compact Foundation Refill ($45)

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Being a sample-sized pot from Sephora, this might not be the most attractive product to photograph but I have been using the generous amount frequently and have been on the fence of purchasing it for more than a little while — but I’ve decided I must have the luminous cream foundation. Fiji is ever-so-slightly pale for me at the moment but I’m convinced that it will be perfect as soon as I start to pale out and remain for the majority of the year – “the golden peachy undertones” actually seem to be working for me and my neutral-warm skin. It’s a medium coverage foundation that is kind to drier patches – although it doesn’t hide them by any means if they are extremely serious – and leaves the skin looking polished but still skinlike. The foundation is definitely luminous but it doesn’t venture into oily territory as hours wear on; in fact, it tends to remain looking the same until it is removed. Unlike heavier-coverage cream foundations that I’ve tried before, this looks like skin and adds some glow and doesn’t highlight every little patch of dryness on the face. It also is slightly moisturizing and feels like nothing. It should also be noted that the compact is purchased separately from the refill.

5. NARS ‘Pro Prime’ Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base ($29)

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Despite the hype this colourless eyeshadow primer receives around the blogosophere, I cannot report that it is either infallible or lifechanging, but I can say that it is the best primer I’ve tried on my weirdly crease-prone lids. Like other products of this kind, it’s performance depends on giving it the proper time to sink in before shadow application and applying the smallest amount and I find I can get some (mild) creasing with this, but the wear I get with this primer tops the wear that I get with the rest. Plus it doesn’t take much time to sink in and isn’t problematic to use in any other sense.

Note: The abundance of NARS products was completely accidental. Whoops.

6. Indeed Laboratories Facial Powdered Exfoliator ($30)

 

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This powder exfoliator, that turns into a foamy liquid when mixed with water, was an impulse purchase on my part, back in June when I spotted it for the first time ever around these parts, for ten dollars less than the typical price; I didn’t regret it and I still don’t. It’s definitely an effective and unique exfoliating product and not just because of its powdered format — It doesn’t have any sort of harsh microbeads and pairs the physical exfoliating action of the rice bran powder with those fruit acids that I love dearly. This is a product that I love and would recommend to anyone who would like to try out an acidic exfoliant (but doesn’t want to irritate their skin) and chemical-exfoliant lovers alike because there’s enough action for it to be effective in brightening, smoothing and refining the skin but there’s no painful sting or irritation after the fact – no stripping, redness, etc. However, because this is only going to remain on the skin for a small amount of time, it would not have the benefit of a lotion or gel that is not rinsed off, of course. ‘exfoliate’ is what I would call a revamped new-generation ‘scrub’ – without the negative effects of the scrubbiness. Did I mention that I like acids and hate that this brand refuses to capitalize the names of any of their products?

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Have you tried any of these? What have you been testing lately?
Maggie, x.

Top 13 of June 2013

makeup products
Makeup Beauty Favourites
June Beauty Favourites - Skincare and Haircare
June Beauty Favourites – Skincare and Haircare

 

1.Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation in 100 Ivory: I’ve been really into natural looking glowy skin and this seems to be the perfect product for this. It provides excellent effortless light-medium buildable coverage. The shade range is atrocious, however and now that I’ve gained a wee bit of colour the lightest shade is almost perfect for my fair but not porcelain skin – I’d say that this shade is a touch lighter than a MAC NW20 and slightly more yellow.

2. Make Up For Ever 5 Concealer Cream Palette in 1: What I really like about this concealer palette is that the five colours together serve all of my concealing and correcting needs. The lightest colour is a nice brightening shade (particularly when I’m at my fairest), the second lightest shade is a perfect match for my skin which is somewhere around an MAC NW15, the yellow-toned shade is perfect for concealing blemishes that are red-toned or simply red-toned areas without having to layer a corrector with the concealer, the green correcter is perfect for correcting redness and the orange corrector is great at offsetting my frighteningly dark undereye circles. Their lasting power is good, their coverage is definitely full and they can be blended into the skin very easily. The only thing I find is that on my dry undereyes and patches, the concealer is a touch too dry.

3. MAC Harmony Powder Blush: This is a great contouring powder that suits a variety of skintones – fair to medium (and perhaps a bit darker, but I’m not completely sure). It is very pigmented and for this reason, I have to be quite careful with my application of the product and I find it easier to use when I have a bit more colour. The powder contour is a medium-toned brown with reddish undertones (without an ounce of orange in it) that creates a natural yet effective contour especially for those of us with cooler-undertones (although it still looks nice on those with neutral and warm undertones). Although it is not golden, I can use it to both contour and add a bit of colour elsewhere.

4. MAC Dazzlelight eyeshadow: The highlighting shade has a lovely sheen without being overly shimmery – I don’t feel like it contributes to shimmer overkill when worn with other shimmery colours – and is a light golden-champagne that leans quite yellow. I use it both to highlight my eyes (I have also used it as a face highlight and it worked nicely!) and as a light lid colour for everyday. It also has a really nice texture to work with.

5. NARS Kalahari eyeshadow duo: What really stands out about this duo is its smooth and blendable texture and the uniqueness of the shadows. The lighter colour on the left of the duo is a shimmery pale gold that is fairly neutral-toned but it pulls slightly cool. The darker colour on the right of the duo is a medium taupey-brown that has mauve undertones and a sheen to it. For easy and quick everyday makeup I wear the lighter shade on the lid and the darker in the crease and it looks great on my blue eyes but they also are great shadows when playing with other colours. The shadows have really great lasting power under a base/primer on my creasing-prone eye lids.

6. MAC Stereo Rose Mineralize Skinfinish: I’ve used this product in both of my looks that I’ve posted and I’ve really making good use of this product – I use it as a blush but it can also be used as a highlighter, it depends on your skintone – this month. It’s a very smooth, shimmery but not overly glittery pink-based coral with bronze-veining that lasts for a good amount of time on the skin. It’s quite a versatile colour, going with many different looks and does not require additional highlighter. It’s limited edition but has been repromoted several times – I talk about alternatives to this colour in my Naked Palette FOTD.

7. Bobbi Brown Rose Pot Rouge: Lately I’ve been using this warm rose cream product on my lips as an everyday sort of colour – it’s flattering on me without being very dramatic at all. It’s very versatile, as it can be worn with pretty much any look and I apply it in two different ways – patted onto the lips for a bit of colour or applied more intensely with a lip brush.

L-R: Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation, MUFE Concealer palette swatched from l-r as they appear in the palette, MAC Harmony, MAC Dazzlelight, Nars Kalahari, MAC Stereo Rose MSF, Bobbi Brown Rose Pot Rouge, Maybelline On Fire Red
L-R: Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation, MUFE Concealer palette swatched from l-r as they appear in the palette, MAC Harmony, MAC Dazzlelight, Nars Kalahari, MAC Stereo Rose MSF, Bobbi Brown Rose Pot Rouge, Maybelline On Fire Red – without flash
same as above with flash - I apologize for the messy swatches :)
same as above with flash – I apologize for the messy swatches 🙂

8. Maybelline ‘The Vivids’ Colorsensational Lipstick in On Fire Red: I adore the look of a red lip, but I usually find them high-maintenance and difficult to pull of but neither of the aforementioned things are issued with this lipstick. Because of the glossy but not frosty or shimmery finish of the lipstick, it is not particularly long-lasting, however on a more positive note it is a nice moisturizing formula. The colour is a bright red that leans slightly cool – it’s a very true red. Whenever I want to look glamorous and polished, I reach for this lipstick.

Note: So, I’ve been rather skincare obsessed and because of this obsession, a blog post on my routine is underway and therefore I’ll try to keep my descriptions brief.

9. Caudalie Vinosource Quendching Sorbet-Creme: This is a soothing, lightweight, fast-absorbing yet very hydrating moisturizer. I think it may be my favorite moisturizer that I have ever tried (and I’ve tried a lot). It contains antioxidants in stable packaging (which is nice) and the only downside is its inclusion of potentially-irritating fragrance.

10. Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion: This is a really great exfoliating toner that contains 0.5% BHA (salicylic acid) to exfoliate beneath the surface of the skin and improve clarity of the skin without any of the harsh irritants (fragrance and drying alcohols). This is a very effective yet gentle chemical exfoliant.

11. Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser: This is one of those extremely gentle cleansers that does not contain any of the common irritants (alcohol, detergents, etc.) and does not strip the skin whatsoever, It doesn’t lather, is somewhat difficult to rinse and does not remove makeup well but nevertheless I adore it! I mentioned this before in my Drugstore Essentials post (and will talk about it again when I talk of my routine).

12. L’Oreal Professionnel Intense Repair Nutrition Masque: I’ve always liked the L’Oreal Professional masques (although I’ve always used them as a regular conditioner) but this one by far is my favourite. I have very long hair that is curly, is prone to split ends and is rather dry and using this product I noticed a definite improvement in the health of my hair and it went months longer without developing split ends. My only annoyance is that is does contain silicones (amodimethicone- which is not water soluble but does not build up on the hair and is not an issue for me). It is ultra-hydrating, provides great slip for detangling and does not weigh my hair down. I believe it contains low amounts of protein.

13. Devacurl b’Leave In: I have an insane amount of fine-textured wavy-curly hair and this product really gives my curls a boost, making them bouncier and more voluminous. The name of the product is rather misleading as it is by no means a leave-in conditioner but rather is a leave-in protein treatment (wheat protein so not ideal for those with gluten-sensitivity) but is the only product I’ve ever tried that gives this sort of boost to my hair. It should be followed by a holding product for best results as it has no hold on its own – i also use gel and/or mousse.

I was thinking about making the top 13 essentials for every month a series – any thoughts? I would love to hear about what everybody else has been loving!