April 2015 Favourites

As a university student, April seems to come and go in the strangest fashion – it’s just a weird time, the first half (or more as was the case this year) full of the doom known as the exam period where the most menial tasks such as bathing become a hassle and makeup application can be somewhat laughable before leading to this weird sense of freedom when it’s all over but you can’t exactly process it. It’s also the time when Spring is beginning to rear its head, despite the snow still hanging out.  To get to the point, I might not have experimented with beauty or makeup all that often this month, however, I can report on some essential items for me.

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NARS Audacious Lipstick in Brigitte ($37): Whenever I did that whole full-faced makeup thing and went for something on the lips, I happily grabbed for the slightly coral-tinged rose hued lipstick that I succumbed to at the end of March. The formula is ridiculously good and does all it claims – the formula hydrates the lips, lasts and actually stains the lips in the best way possible without any sort of drying effect or weird fading and just look good on the lips without requiring any fuss. I find pink colours extremely difficult to wear, however, I have to say that I adore this more neutral-pink offering, likely because of its slight tinge of coral and warmth that I adore, and it’s a bit more of a unique rosy neutral shade. This is a really great staple shade in my daily life because it works with anything, offering enough life to the face when worn with minimal other makeup but subtle enough to work with smokier eyes.

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MAC Eyeshadow in Bronze, Bamboo & Swiss Chocolate ($12-19): After popping the inserts out of my MAC palette in order to justify buying more eye shadows, – and picking up Bamboo and Bronze – I’ve really gotten back to relying on my MAC palette on the daily basis and these are the three shades that I’ve been reaching for. I’ve been constantly using my new Bamboo eyeshadow as a transition colour that blends into absolute nothingness in the best way possible, – (it’s lighter than Soft Brown) – Bronze, a true red-toned reflective bronze eyeshadow in the outer corner and along the lower lashline to add easy definition and the warm red-toned Swiss Chocolate to add some matte dimension to the crease or outer corner.

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Skin79 Snail Nutrition BB Cream ($35): In my journey, searching for a way to get adequate sun protection on a daily basis without irritating my skin, making my makeup look questionable and drying out my skin, I’ve gone back to using my favourite authentic Asian BB Cream and I’ve been pleased with it. It has ridiculous sun protection, hydrates the skin nicely while adding medium-coverage with a more generous amount, only contains mineral actives and has loads of beneficial ingredients, such as the potent niacinimide along with other hydrating ingredients. On some occasions, I’ve been reaching for this as my sole base but on other days I’ve been using it pre-foundation as sun protection. I’m still of the belief that this is one of those few authentic multitasking products that function excellent both in terms of a skincare product and in terms of makeup application.

Paula’s Choice Resist C15 Super Booster ($20-48 US): Ever since I received my Paula’s Choice order, I have been incorporating my trial size of this potent vitamin c antioxidant product into my daily skincare routine – or at the very least every two days – but it was in April when I began to really reap the benefits and discover how much that I liked the stuff. While it seemed to tingle slightly the first couple of times that I applied it, the 15 % antioxidant treatment stopped triggering that response within a couple of uses – my bet is that my skin was a bit irritated from retinoid use and weather conditions, along with a little bit of being temperamental. Now I apply this antioxidant booster at least every second night in the serum stage and my skin drinks it up, immediately looking smoother along with just looking a bit brighter, even and less angry in the six weeks that I’ve been using it. I’ve been using it alternate nights with my prescription retinoid and I would have to say that it’s gentle and actually seems to help soothe the skin rather than leaning towards any sort of aggravation.

Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black Rollerball ($26): When I’ve been feeling like making myself feeling a little (or a whole lot more) put together, I’ve been applying this warm and spicy vanilla scent. It’s uber warm but doesn’t have even the faintest touch of a sugary candy sweetness and is more of a winter scent to be completely honest. It reads a bit androgynous and lasts for ages on the skin without being overwhelming in the slightest.

Bath & Body Works 3-Wick Candle in Renew & Refresh ($22.50): It’s times like this month that I burn candles the most excessively; I find myself turning towards scented candles the most when I’m stressed out of my mind but some productivity needs to happen so obviously April was a candle heavy month. I loved burning this mellow but warm springtime scent – it was never overwhelming but potent enough, reading as fresh and calming with a hint of jasmine. For once, the candle appears to be named appropriately if you’re asking me.

What did you love during April?
Maggie, x.

 

The Five Summer Essentials

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There are numerous ways in which I struggle with the whole task of narrowing things down but with a frighteningly long time of thinking and deliberation, I have found myself able to narrow my absolute favourite beauty products of the summer to a mere 5. Whether you’re willing to admit it or not, the summer is quickly coming to a close and therefore a roundup post strikes me as appropriate. Honestly though, don’t expect a post with products you haven’t seen featured here before — these are my staples after all. Before I bore you all to tears, I’ll try to move on to the products.

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Skin79 Snail Nutrition BB Cream

Slowly but surely, I fell in love with my first BB Cream this summer and although I’m not one to buy into the hype of these all-in-one skincare-makeup hybrids, I actually have to agree that this one kind of does it all. With it’s soothing and hydrating abilities — it contains a good amount of moisturizers and ingredients such as niacinimide –, this makeup product actually has visibly improved my skin. Although I do use a multitiude of other products along with this one, I actually do find it somewhat brightening on the skin and this makes sense with its ingredient list and the high sunscreen content never irritates my skin but is extremely protective. This isn’t a product that you can quickly slap onto the skin without giving it a thought and expect it to look stunning, however. With it’s thick texture and high sunscreen content, it really has to be worked into the skin but once it is, it looks almost undetectable on the skin while providing medium but buildable coverage with a glowy finish. I’ve found myself wearing this on days when I hardly wear any makeup because of its ease of use and skincare benefits but it’s also one that I go for when I’m doing a full face. In other words, it’s a versatile product. Review here.

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Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet Smooth-Effect Makeup

Since picking up the latest foundation release from Chanel at the very beginning of June as a birthday present to myself, I’ve been adoring this foundation and often discussing my love for it around these part;this love has not since faded and it was my most worn traditional foundation through these summer months. I haven’t done a formal review but I still feel the same way (if not slightly stronger towards it) as I did in my much earlier acquisitions post here. In a nutshell, this velvety foundation manages to give that luminosity to the skin that few foundations can match while being less ‘shiny’ or ‘dewy’ and more of a satin-like finish that is suitable for oilier skins while providing good medium coverage and looking and feeling like bare skin. I only wish there wasn’t so much added fragrance and alcohol in the product. Oh, and I’m the palest shade (10) but it’s not that pale, if you’re wondering.

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L’Oreal Glam Bronze Mono in 04 Universal Sun

Like the Chanel foundation above, I fell in love with this product instantly and haven’t wavered in that love since but fortunately it’s more than a little bit more of an affordable product. I don’t even want to count how many times that I’ve raved about my love for this product because I have more than a slight inkling that such a count would be rather high in a slightly embarrassing way. Anyway, this is a slightly deeper soft-matte bronzer that has those natural warm red undertones to mimick natural colour but it’s most impressive feature is its creamy, finely milled and smooth-textured formula. Review here.

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MAC Pro Longwear Waterproof Brow Set in Quiet Brunette

Considering the depth of my love for this tinted brow gel, I’m somewhat shocked that I haven’t actually dedicated a full post to this product. Regardless, this is a brow product that has impressed me with it’s amazing longevity (that lasts through swimming etc.), effect and ease of use; it’s much easier and time-effective to apply than a pencil or brow powder, has a slightly more natural look that also seems to mimick the texture of brow hairs and is the perfect slightly grey-toned light brown shade for my medium brown hair.

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Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain in Milan Moment

The last in this quint of products strikes me as remarkable for it is neither atrociously expensive or has been talked to death by me in recent months but it’s a favourite, nevertheless. The formula of this liquid lip-stain is really unique as it’s lightweight and non-sticky with a hydrating balmy texture — this also allows for it to glide comfortably over lips with even the driest of patches — and it manages to leave a stain behind, as well. The sheer tangerine shade has been a great everyday shade to slightly brighten up my lips without adding anything too drastic and it can only be faulted for the slightly uneven/patchy way that it applies at first. More on this here.

Have you tried any of these staples of mine? Also, what were your staples?
Maggie, x.

The Review: Skin79 Snail Nutrition BB Cream

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I was enough to have somebody in my family bring me Skin 79 Snail Nutrition BB Cream from Sasa in Hong Kong – they were having a sale so I was fortunate enough to receive the larger (40g) size of this product for about $18 CDN. This is one of the first bb creams that I’ve ever tried; I had always been one to believe that bb creams were essentially glorified tinted moisturizers and I wanted to try an authentic Asian one to find out for myself. You’re not here for unnecessary details and ramblings about my life, so I’ll get to it. Actually scrap that, Skin79 now has an American website where you can order the product in two different sizes for $20 and $39 US respectively.

As with most authentic Asian BB creams, this product only comes in one shade, which is suitable for fairer skin-tones. It initially applies as a grey-tinged  beige with a pink lean to it  in it but quickly ( in10 minutes or so I’d say) it oxidizes to a neutral-fair beige tone. Surprisingly, I’d say that it would work on a good range of fair (but not porcelain) skintones that are fairly neutral in colouring or slightly warm — it’s not going to match a medium skin but I can get away with it when I’ve gone up a few shades in colour. For some reason in the hand swatches below, the camera doesn’t seem to capture the way in which the BB Cream oxidizes tremendously from first application to a half hour later but I assure you that it’s obvious on the face in real life. The photo on the left is from first application and the one to the right is the later one and I’ve compared it to Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation in Ivory on the left.

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This was and still is the first BB Cream that I have ever owned an it’s an authentic Korean one that doesn’t disappoint; however, it was not completely life-altering in its magical ability to do a million things flawlessly at once. In questionable English, their website posits that there are four significant characteristics of the product that serve as selling points and I’ll include their description below as well as the ingredient list:

  1. Triple Functions Enriched Nutrition BB Cream – High UV Interception (SPF 45 PA+++) to make dull and dark skin to be pure and bright, plus Brightening and Wrinkle Improvement for clean and elastic skin
  2. Brightening Skin With Long-Lasting Effect – Soft and moisturized texture adheres to skin for keeping clean and bright skin
  3. 45% Snail Secretion Filtrate For Keeping Glossy Skin – Domestic Snail Secretion Filtrate keeps skin moisturized and calms stressed skin protecting from external environment
  4. Null-Additive System For Health Skin Care – Free from Paraben, Mineral Oil, Animal Oil, but containing Eco-cert certified ingredient for keeping lively and healthy skin from external stress
Ingredients: Snail Secretion Filtrate, Niacinamide, Propanediol, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Polyglutamic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Water, Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans, Centella Asiatica Extract, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Betula Platyphylla Japonica Juice, Beta-Glucan, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Leaf Water, Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract, Linaria Japonica Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sprout Extract, Magnolia Kobus Bark Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Extract, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Primula Veris Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Alchemilla Vulgaris Extract, Veronica Officinalis Extract, Adenosine, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Sodium Polyacrylate, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, PVM/MA Copolymer, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Tromethamine, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance.

While I don’t believe that there would be much in terms of wrinkle-reducing results from the use of the BB Cream itself and the brightening effects that it brings are not extremely dramatic, the BB Cream is particularly impressive on the ingredient-front as a skincare product; the mineral sunscreen is extremely effective and doesn’t irritate my extremely sensitive skin, the first ingredient is snail secretion filtrate which is shown to have a myriad of skincare benefits and the second is the skincare superhero niacinamide (a cell-communicating ingredient that is incredibly soothing whilst helping to brighten the skin) and there are large quantities of other beneficial ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid that serve to hydrate the skin and more. To be clear, the product is protecting, soothing, hydrating and somewhat brightening whilst serving as a complexion-covering product. Purely as a cosmetic product, this does not rank as my absolute favourite product — but it is really good —  however it is spectacular when the ingredients and skincare benefits are taken into account.

With its intensive sun protection, it should be no surprise that it flashes back like nothing else in this world but it is also worthy of note that it also serves to make the product more difficult to work seamlessly into the skin and therefore in order for it to look gorgeous and skinlike, some working in is definitely required. It doesn’t feel particularly heavy on the skin but it isn’t the lightest thing ever on account of its moisturizing texture and mineral-sunscreen content and lack of irritating alcohol. With medium but somewhat buildable coverage, the hydrating base provides a satin-y to glowy finish that doesn’t need to be powdered on my dehydrated skin. However, due to its moisturizing texture I would say its more ideal for combination and drier skin types. It doesn’t look amazing until it has been left to set and oxidize slightly, also. While it’s soothing and moisturizing, it doesn’t glide over severe dry patches seamlessly or anything – but it doesn’t truly enhance them either, like many seem to. Obviously it doesn’t offer oil control so it can slip and slide slightly in the heat on problem areas but does last ten hours plus on me with the slightest of fading maybe on the chin and on any active blemishes. When worked into the skin optimally and not caked on, it actually does look like radiant skin and on my drier complexion, this can serve as my moisturizer.

I’m rather impressed with this BB Cream, especially as a skincare product and I’ll leave you at that with one final picture of my skin before the product (bare) and after three or so minutes. I’m hoping that it will be of use to you!

Recently Updated24What are your thoughts on BB Creams? What’s your favourite?
Maggie, x.

 

The Daily Face #15: Warm-Weather Makeup

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Contrary to the general pattern as of late, today was a gorgeous warm sunny day – but not so warm that makeup would be a no-go, of course. I’ve gotten into a bit of a different daily routine – but not too different, you know me… – with slightly different daily staples and I thought I would share the warm-weather centric makeup.

When it’s been warm and sunny, I’ve been reaching for the authentic Skin 79 Snail Nutrition BB Cream, as it offers good coverage with some added radiance and great sun protection – without using chemical sunscreens that make my skin burn and all that jazz. My skin has been pretty good so I went straight onto under-eye brightening with the magical Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light to Medium Bisque. Because sunscreen-heavy products tend to produce somewhat of a sheen, I made sure to dust the MAC Studio Careblend Pressed Powder through my t-zone.

Despite rambling on about more traditional bronzers frequently in posts as of late, the slightly warm-toned MAC Harmonyhas reigned supreme for adding for adding colour and shape and in the last week or two, I’ve been reaching for the L’Oreal True Match Blush in N3-4 Innocent Flushthat I previously dismissed as lacking longevity and any sort of novelty; while it’s not going to knock out MAC Stereo Rose etc. as my favourite coral blush with that golden sheen, I had misjudged this one as it does have good longevity, pigmentation and texture. As of late, I’ve also consistently been going for highlighter, namely the long-since unavailable MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Semi-Precious Pearl. Because I tend to find that the BB Cream can sit on my skin slightly unevenly, I misted my face with the Nyx Dewy Finish Makeup Setting Spray – I’m undecided on my final verdict on this setting spray, if you were wondering.

I’m now convinced that the L’Oreal Superliner Brow Artist in Blonde is certainly worth of praise – it seems a little dark for it’s name as it works for my medium-brown hair but the ashy-toned pencil-wax duo, paired with the mini-brush creates easy but naturally-defined brows. I suspect you’ll hear more on this on a later post… Because shadows need a base or primer of some sort, I grabbed for the ever-popular Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad To The Bronze but the real star of the show is the Dior Grege Quint that I picked up a few weeks ago (and featured it in a haul-type post) and have hardly put down since. I’ve ignored this quint in the past despite knowing the great quality of these shadows as the offerings looked neutral and boring but that could hardly be farther from the truth – the shades are surprisingly versatile for daily use with their variety of finishes. The sheeny grey shade was patted onto the outer-half of the lid, the ivory was applied to the inner corner region to lighten it up and the dark matte chocolate brown was blended into the outer corner and further used as liner. Since finding the L’Oreal brow pencil, my MAC 266 has been freed-up and I’ve fallen in love with using the brush with shadow as slightly-smoky liner. For mascara I’ve been consistently reaching for the Revlon Bold Lacquer Mascarathat I recently picked up as it provides easy adequate volume a la Benefit BadGal Lash and is not an absolute bitch to remove.

I’ve been feeling a coral lip lately, especially with the grey-toned shadow and because my lips are kind of in rough shape at the moment, I went for the hydrating and forgiving MAC Lipstick in Dreaming Dahliathat of course is no longer available for it was part of the MAC A Fantasy of Flowers Collection.

Thoughts on this ‘look’? What have you been reaching for lately?

Maggie, x.