Saturday, August 14, 2010

Clean Scene by Murad

I don't want to call this a 'skin care routine' post, because I don't really find those helpful. I think everyone has such specific needs when it comes to their skin that the most we can really take from those types of posts are good skin care product recommendations. Which is great, don't get me wrong. There's so much out there between the drugstore and department store brands that it can be unbelievably overwhelming trying to wade through it all to get to the products that will work for you. That's the best thing about the online beauty community.. we all do the hard work for each other, testing and grading the huge number of products out there.

I've been having a terrible time with clogged pores recently, and have been frantically trying to find something to clear my congested skin. I ended up buying Murad's new lines' 'Craving for Clean' cleanser and 'Begging for Balance' moisturizer on a whim, not realizing I was making the perfect choice. The line was created for the younger population (hence the packaging and sickly sweet smells, which I'll get to later), targeting their skin's needs. Most automatically associate teen skin care with acne fighting products, but the line utilizes skin-balancing ingredients rather than the more often seen bacteria killers. The star ingredient in this line is 'Yumberry', which may be hard to take seriously, but is a super anti-oxidant.

Clean Scene 'Craving for Clean' Foaming Cleanser
For the price, this may not seem worth it for it's simplicity. It might seem like the overpriced equivilent of a drugstore cleanser, but I've decided the price is comepletely justifiable. Standard foaming cleansers from my local drugstore dry my face out like no other. Somehow this standard foaming cleanser from my local Sephora manages to keep my skin's balance from getting out of whack. As promised, this cleanser does foam up a good deal. On it's own, this doesn't remove all of my make up, but I always use a seperate remover anyway. Then again, I pile the stuff on; I would not doubt this cleanser's ability to efficiently remove every last trace of light to medium make up. This cleanser smells artifically fruity, but not in a clear-your-sinuses way. It's not overly obnoxious. For those of us who don't seek fancy pants ingredients in our cleansers, just something to get our faces completely clean without over-drying, this could just be The One.

Clean Scene 'Begging for Balance' Moisturizer
I'll keep this short and sweet: this is basically my dream moisturizer. Oil-free, light, skin-balancing. For my skin's condition right now, I've struck gold with this one. It won't harrass my poor pores, yet it does a great job of hydrating my dry cheeks. On a side note, the brand claims the moisturizer has mattifying properties, but since I use it at night I cant vouch for those. This one smells even stronger than the cleanser, but I mean, it smells like candy! It might bother some though.

Although I was immediatly put off by the overwhelming fruitiness of these products, I'm now loving what they're doing for my skin. They leave out all the bells and whistles, which I can get from masks and serums without worrying about overloading my skin.

The cleanser costs $17, the moisturizer goes for $22.

The cleanser's ingredients are: Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Glycol Distearate, Butylene Glycol, Myrica Rubra Fruit Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbic Acid, Chitosan, Zinc Gluconate, Sodium PCA, Betaine, Sorbitol, Glycine, Alanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Arginine, Lysine, Glutamic Acid, Polyquaternium-4, Disodium EDTA, Propyl Gallate, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Limonene, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Fragrance, Red 33 (CI 17200)

The moisturizer's ingredients are: Water, Dicaprylyl Maleate, Diisopropyl Sebacate, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Sorbitan Stearate, Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Myrica Rubra Fruit Extract, Salicylic Acid, Bisabolol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dimethicone, Ascorbic Acid, Chitosan, Zinc Gluconate, Sodium PCA, Betaine, Sorbitol, Glycine, Alanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Arginine, Lysine, Glutamic Acid, Propyl Gallate, Allyl Methacrylates Crosspolymer, Ceteareth-20, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sclerotium Gum, Disodium EDTA, Aminomethyl Propanol , Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Limonene, Linalool, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Methylisothiazolinone, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Fragrance.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Birthday Love

My birthday just passed, and as usual, most of my gifts came in the form of a small plastic card. I've already got down to business putting them gift cards to work!

MAC Lipglass in 'Lovechild'

Lovechild is a beautiful mauvey plum with golden shimmer. Anything mauve goes well with an olive complexion, so even though I don't normally gravitate towards darker colors, I knew I'd like this one.

MAC Eyeshadows in Mythology, Saddle, Soft Brown (no base)

Just some swatches of some well known colors. I needed medium and light warm browns, so I picked up Saddle and Soft Brown. Mythology is one of my favorite crease colors.

Conceal FX Camouflage Concealer in Light-Medium
Left eye (your left) completely bare, right with concealer
I really don't want to jinx it, but I think I might have just found my holy grail under eye concealer. I'm usually weary of anything that claims to "self-adjust", but I've read too many good things about this concealer to not try it. Cover FX describes this as being self-adjusting, water-resistant, and 'hi-definition'. It also has a built-in primer. It went on yellow when I first applied it, and I was instantly dissapointed because I thought it was another bad color match. But as I blended more, the pigment magically harmonized with the coloring of my foundation. It might not be totally seamless around the edges, but the coverage factor and texture of this concealer beats that of any I've ever tried. I know this line is over-used, but since you need so little to achieve full coverage, this product is a great value. $25 at Sephora.

the Balm Mary-Lou Manizer

LOVE. That pretty much sums up my feelings towards this highlighter. Unless you like an extremely subtle highlight, I can't think of any reason to not like this luminizer. I fully expected it to be chunky and glittery, but it isn't either of the two at all. It gives you a gorgeous glow. You have to see it in person to understand exactly what I'm talking about. I much prefer powder highlighters to creams/liquids, because the latter make me look greasy. This is hands down the most flattering highlighter I have ever used. The packaging is adorable, and the compact has an sturdy mirror built right on. Plus you get a ridiculous amount of product.

Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Liner in 'El Dorado'

Lastly, a UD 24/7 pencil. I've been wanting this one forever. El Dorado is a true gold, creamy and pigmented as are all of the 24/7 liners.

That's all for now. Hope you're all enjoying your summer :)

Monday, August 9, 2010


I've done this with my eyeshadow like 4 times this week because I love how the colors look with my skin color. I dont remember what I have on my face is terms of foundation and blush, but who really cares about that anyway.

On the eyes..
NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk (base)
Orb (lid)
Embark (crease)
Cork (to blend out darker brown)
UD 24/7 in Zero
Lancome Hypnose Drama

And the lips..
Shy Girl l/s
C-Thru l/g

Looove pinks on the lid with warm dark browns in crease or outer v. Another good pink to use with Embark is Da Bling.. the MA in mac did my eyeshadow using only those two colors and it looked amazing. The trick is to keep the dark brown defined in the outer v.. don't overblend it all the way into your lid.

The Balm Time Balm Concealer

I picked up the Balm's concealer a few weeks ago. I actually went in for Cover FX's liquid concealer, but I loved the Balm's bronzer, so I made a last minute decision change and came out with the 'Time Balm' concealer instead.
So on top of my hereditary dark circles, I now have reddish rings around my eyes because I've started using RapidLash (which is amazing so far, by the way). They've subsided a lot, and the picture below is right after I rubbed off all my eye make up, so don't be put off by how scary they look, haha.

Before foundation & concealer:
Left eye (your left) with just foundation, right with concealer:
What It Is: A full coverage concealer with anti-wrinkle properties.
Consistency: The concealer is very creamy. I actually dislike this because of the greasy look. It spreads very easily, though.
Coverage: The color I got, Medium, is very yellow, so I thought it would cover darkness well. The concealer itself is extremely pigmented, but the color wasn't right at all. It left me with a greenish tint under my eyes. You can tell in the picture the edges look unblended.. it was hard to get it to blend with my foundation.
Staying Power: The coverage lasts about 5-6 hours on my skin. I didn't like how my under eye area looked after a few hours though.. kind of creasey and bumpy and weird.

Final Thoughts: I wasn't impressed by this. This might work for other imperfections on the face, but for under eye circles, it was too shiny for my liking. Plus the texture wasn't amazing. It might work better for more mature skin, since it's drier.. and the concealer fights wrinkles. I'm going back for that Cover FX one I've heard so many raves about. I'll review that bad boy as soon as I get my hands on him.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Micabella Eyeshadows

Here are the Micabella shadow swatches I promised. The three colors I got were 'Coral Reef', a peachy color with golden shimmer; 'Carnival', a super shimmery gold-bronze; and 'Diligence', a deep, plum-y brown.

Side to side comparisons, left side swatched dry, right side swatched wet using Visine.

Finally, a look I did yesterday using Carnival. I used Nylon in the inner corner, Micabella's Carnival on the lid, Embark on the outer lid, and Blanc Type to highlight.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bad Lighting Woes

So I visited my best friend over the weekend. She actually lives right by the city that has my nearest CCO (still an hour and a half away!), but for some crazy reason that didn't occur to me until the last day I was there. I did manage to pick up a bunch of other make-up though. Along with what I'm about to show, I got three Micabella eyeshadows. If you haven't heard of the brand, they're a mineral make-up line that you'll find at many mall stands. It's funny, because normally I am not the type of person to fall for a good salesperson's tactics, but this girl sucked me innnnn! I really was only coming up to check out the colors, but somehow she managed to sell me 3. It probably had to do with the fact that she was able to relate to me, since we had similar ethnic backgrounds.. a great way to sell is to relate to the customer personally. In retrospect, I guess I felt obligated, like if I didn't follow through with the sale I'd be letting her down. But I didn't even know her! I could have walked away. The eyeshadows are really gorgeous though. I'll do a separate post on them, with swatches and a look.

Moooving on.

The Balm Bahama Mama Bronzer is the only product I have by The Balm. I've been looking for a bronzer for a while, and had my heart set on finding a matte one, but I swatched this in the store and it looked pretty enough to make me want to try it out. It does have a sheen to it, just more subdued than how it shows up on my hand. The color is perfect, no orange. The texture is smooth.. I apply with a 109 in really quick, circular motions. It truly does make me look tan, not like I have anything applied on my face. Say hi to my weirdly pale looking hand.

NYX Blushes in "Terra Cotta" and "Mauve"
I got the blushes in the first store I've ever found with a full NYX display.. I am so excited now. I went for Terra Cotta because, surprisingly, I think it makes a pretty highlight. Like for a bronzer or dark blush when applied extremely lightly. I don't know if I would use it as a blush, the color is kind of weird on my skintone for that. Mauve is a pretty mauve-pink (color description skillzz). Just a good everyday shade, but one I'd definitely apply with a light hand as well.

MAC Eyeshadows in "Brown Script", "Jest", "Beautiful Iris", and "Samoa Silk"
I got Brown Script because I've been in desperate need of a warm brown, whenever I do any eyeshadow look with browns they always blend out into a gray or even purple.
I used to have Jest but returned it because I had too many similar colors, but I caved in and bought it again because the pigmentation and texture of this shadow are unbeatable.
Beautiful Iris makes for a gorgeous inner corner or lid color with any purple look.
Samoa Silk is the best example of how much mac's lighting will throw you off. In the store, I could have sworn it was a pale yellow. Then I brought it home and realized it was almost exactly the shade of Peaches blush. I'll see what I can do with it, though.

In the store, this lipstick looked both gorgeous, and like an exact dupe of mac's Shy Girl. I has SG on that day, actually, and spent 30 minutes comparing the two with this face D: ...trying to decide whether I should spend the $12 for a color so similar to one I already have (WHO CARES IF THE SHADES ARE EXACT MATCHES, THE FINISH IS DIFFERENTTTTTTT!). So in the end I bought it, of course. Whisper is a sheer, peachy color with gold glitter... on my hand and under Victoria Secret's lighting, anyway. Back home, this morphed into a metallic finish, gold-flecked sheer lipstick.. thing. It's not ugly, it's just not worth the money. The good thing about these lipstick is that they are very creamy and moisturizing. That can be a bad thing too though.. I kind of like my lipstick with a bit of grip. Applying gloss over this lipstick would be a slippery nightmare.

That's it for now, check back for the mineral eyeshadow swatches!
Happy Wednesday ;)

Saturday, July 10, 2010


I kept the make-up very neutral today, I just didn't feel like having a lot piled on my face. When doing neutral make-up I don't worry so much about color coordination as I do about defining my features as naturally as possible.

(Products are always MAC unless stated otherwise)
Tarte Smooth Operator "Agent 14" (Disguise)
Tarte The Eraser "Bare 04"
Sonia Kashuk loose powder "Colorless Matte"
Harmony blush (to contour)
Peaches blush
By Candlelight MSF (to highlight)
Painterly Paint Pot
Swiss Chocolate (brows)
Embark (as liner)
Maybelline Colossal Mascara
Shy Girl lipstick
C-Thru lipglass