Cosmetics

Kat Von D x Influenster – FIRST LOOK

I’m not exactly sure why, but I’ve sure gotten realllllyy lucky with Influenster this year. Just a few years months ago I got to try out YSL’s corrector, and now part of Kat Von D’s new products. I’ll just get to to it and show you:


How. Pretty. And expensive. I know. This box’s value is at least $100 worth of makeup products and brushes. My absolute favorite is the setting powder brush – so soft, fluffy and effective. Let me know what you’d like to see reviews of!

Love, Nicole 🙂 

Play by Sephora June 2016

I was one of the few lucky ladies that actually managed to get into the Sephora beta subscription a few months back, and I have to say, so far I’m impressed. Last month’s box was okay as far as the products went, but this one’s definitely a winner in my book.

I introduce to you the Minimalist Box:



You see that first bottle? That’s Becca’s backlight priming filter, which has a lovely citrusy essent btw, that has .20 oz. That’s probably worth $10 on its own and applying to the high points of the face, this could last a while.
The they’re real mascara is alright imo, I’m not a big fan of benefit’s mascaras. I will say, however, I’m glad they’re also using recognizable, popular brands rather than sticking to the less recognizable need-to-sell-more-of-so-let’s-give-away-samples brands. 


 The tarte is great, but considering I’m nearly albino 😅, I think I’ll give it away. 

I’m not crazy about hair products besides (hint at future post) hair serums, so I’ll probably give away the Bb creme too.

Now Bare Minerals Sheer Sun is just, WHOAH. Like, WHOAH. It’s so good – in essence it’s a sheer liquid bronzer, but it’s lovely, would look natural due to the blendability. Sadly the bottle is really tiny, so I doubt I could get more than 10 applications out of this, although that’s still a steal!

The tocca fragrance strikes me as a citrusy essent as well, which is similar to last month’s orange based smell, but they both smell expensive, so I’m okay with them. What’s best is this is an absolute freebie.

Overall, I’m really impressed with this box’s value AND their choice of brands. I also love the monthly Baggie, great for carrying makeup!

Are you subscribed to the Play By Sephora subscription box? Let me know!

Love, Nicole 👀

Yves Saint Laurent x Influenster

When Influenster messaged me a few weeks back, letting me know about the new YSL correctors, on top of casually mentioning I WOULD BE GETTING ONE FREE, I absolutely couldn’t wait. I mean, I considered camping outside and waiting for the precious ol’ mail man to arrive. Which he did, eventually.

Here’s what it looks like:

  
The box is real tiny, though for a simple click-pen I don’t know what I was expecting lol


Inside, I found a card with gawjuss Cara Delevingne (Seriously though, how do you pronounce that?) next to lesser-known Amilna Estevao. Apparently YSL likes to reuse images from other campaigns? Nice marketing, YSL, nice.

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After that is the YSL Touche Eclat Neutralizer in shade Bisque , which according to Sephora,

What it is:
A highlighter that targets and neutralizes color imperfections.

What it does:
Discover the award-winning complexion highlighter, now in a must-have, color correcting highlighter. It instantly cancels and neutralizes color imperfections for flawless skintone, and the easy-to-use, one-click brush allows you to perfectly target the problem zone. The lightweight formula allows for customizable and seamless correction—plus, you can wear it under or over foundation.

What else you need to know:
Choose the shade that works best for your skintone:
Green: Corrects blemishes, conceals redness for an even skintone.
Bisque: Corrects dark circles and dark spots. Illuminate.
Violet: Corrects yellow dull skin for a healthy glow.

The packaging is luxurious to both touch and feel, the box being gold, and the product feeling a bit heavier than common plastic and rose gold in tone.


    

 That is pretty much where the price difference between this and most other correctors lies – in the presentation.

The consistency in this is pretty thin. I also found that the product goes on semi-patchy on my face, compared to my arm. There is no significant smell. Once blended, it sheers out to a thin layer of orange lying on your skin. Overall though, for the price tag ($38), unless you like fancy packaging, I really don’t think this is any better than the L.A. Girls Correctors, which go up for 2-3 a pop.

   
 But the worst part by far, something many, many, many people tend to leave out when speaking about orange correctors on light skin is that it tends to show up as such, ORANGE, which easily translates to and is no better than having concealer 2 shades darker than your skin tone.

For this reason, I feel it is slightly unjust to deem this corrector useless, as I am sure there’s people out there for whom orange correctors actually work, however, those with light skin, I highly suggest you stay away.

Moreover, to prove my point, on Sephora’s website you’ll find a video sponsored by YSL in which a light-skinned gal uses Bisque as a BRONZER (3:23), not as an under-eye corrector. Though I must question this usage regardless, isn’t an orange-based tone too warm to use as a bronzer? I must note that she uses YSL products mostly, if not only, throughout the video, signaling that perhaps she used the shade because she had to.

Regardless, overall, If you’ve already tried an orange-toned corrector, liked it, and want to try something a bit fancier than orange lipstick, I think this could be worth a shot. If like me, you need something to go way above and beyond in order to match the price and feel less pain dropping nearly $40 on a pen rather than pizza or cheeseburgers, then I believe you can do equally well with other correctors.

Have you tried out any of YSL correctors or highlighters? Let me know!

Fit ME Foundation & Concealer Reviews

I recently got a Fit Me Matte + Poreless sample packet from one of the magazines of my dozen-and-still-counting subscriptions, and after trying it out, more on that here, I decided to purchase the full bottle.

I got the 220 shade, which in the sample was a shade or two darker than the bottled version, but was warm enough to play with!

Along with the foundation, I’ve been dying to try out NARS’ Radiant Creamy concealer and I’d heard Fit Me’s concealer was a very close dupe, so I also purchased myself the whole thang in shade 20 Sand.

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When the original Fit Me line came out, I never really took notice, especially since the line was targeted towards Normal to Dry gals, so when the newer line launched recently, I was so excited to try it out!

The foundation itself is reminiscent of L’oreal’s True Match with a hint of mattifying powers – get the hint already, L’oreal! – which is great, because the main reason I avoid my True Match foundation at all is due to the fact that it doesn’t prevent my skin from getting oily.

The shade selection seems much better than True Match’s however, considering W3 is slightly lighter than shade 220 – True Match’s Warm line runs dark and pink, so those with light to medium, warm skin might find Fit Me suits their skin tone better than True Match. The bottles in-store at my local Target all look the same shade, so I’m not exactly sure what’s up with that. If you know your shade, I’d suggest you purchase online instead, since the’s a lower chance of your foundation bottle being messed with at all.

Here’s a swatch of the shade 220 along with a few other foundations I have:

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Product Name L to R: L’oreal True Match, Revlon Colorstay, Pond’s BB Cream, True Match, Maybelline Fit Me. Natural Lightning.

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Swatches in direct natural lightning.

The finish is slightly powdery when set with powder, though that’s easily fixable with a spray of Rose Water, or Elf’s Setting Spray (which is pretty much the same thing).

On the other hand, the quality of the  concealer surprised me quite a lot, especially since it was so dirty cheap!

The shade was surprisingly warm as well – most “warm” drugstore concealers and foundations tend too run a little too pink for truly warm skin tones.

Note: Pink-based concealers tend to hide very dark circles better on lighter, warm skin tones (yellow based concealers tend to turn the area a grey color). As you darken (during the Spring/Summer time) the pink-based concealer tends to look obvious on skin, so true-to-skin-tone concealers are better to use during this time of the year – since blue/green/purple shadows hide better under darker skin.

Here’s the swatch compared to my other favorite concealers:

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Product Name L to R: Maybelline Fit Me, Maybelline IAR Dark Circle Eraser, It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye.

As for the actual quality of the actual product, this concealer is life, basically.

Why? Because it manages to completely remove my trusted Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer from my routine (which by the way is the ONLY concealer that truly hides my heavy, Purpley-Bright Red Dark Bright Under Eye Circles)

This concealer is a true rival, offering medium to full coverage with a very natural, skin-like, moisturizing/sheen finish. LOVE. All for $20 cheaper. LOVE EVEN MORE.

Pros:

  • Medium-to-full coverage
  • Very skin-like
  • Very Moisturizing
  • Easy to blend
  • True Warm shade
  • Really inexpensive ($4 on amazon, + there’s $1 off magazine coupons around!)

Cons:

  • Oxidizes easily when packed on heavily
  • Creases towards end of the day when not set with powder
  • Personal con: oxidized when set with my Sonia Kashuk loose powder.
  • Wand can get dirty easily since you use it to apply the concealer every time without washing (think loose shadow/mascara flakes getting stuck)

As for a comparison to the NARS concealer, I don’t personally own it, though from testing in-store, the NARS’ concealer is slightly thicker, offering more of a truly full coverage (no medium-cov bs). So unless you need straight up full coverage with fancy shmancy packaging with a price to match, the Fit Me Concealer will surprise you in terms of quality.

I know the line also comes with a pressed powder to match (how cute, I know), but I decided to skip it since prefer loose powders.

Overall, I am highly pleased with Maybelline’s shade selection and their concealer’s amazing coverage as well as their true to name number shade selection – 0’s are warm, and 5’s are cold, if you’re olive under-toned, warm should suit just fine.

If you have any questions, let me know!

Love, Nicole 💋

L’oreal Panel Gifts & the PinkPanel Reward!

I was recently accepted to one of L’oreal Panel’s studies as well as a PinkPanel’s study (more about that here).

Both of these are now over, meaning I can now speak about them (kinda).

I can’t tell you much about the products I actually tested, not until they are both released at least, but I can tell you I had plenty of fun and the rewards just made everything sooo much better!!

As I’ve already said in a previous post, L’oreal likes to rewards their panelists with free makeup 😉😍 and as such, I’m a very happy camper, indeed 🙂

These are the L’oreal Gifties 🙂 :

  • Lancome Color Design 5-pan palette in Mauve ChĂ©rie – Retail $50
  • Lancome Blending Shadow Brush – Retail $29

  

That’s about $80 worth of products!!

Furthermore, I was also accepted to test out one of thePinkPanel’s study products, and I have actually come to love this product! I can’t tell you much about it now, but what I can tell you is what the reward is.

I took part in a 42 day study, and as a result got a $100 gift card to Amazon. Initially this would have been to a Beauty Supply Shop but because the Beauty Supply Shop (god only knows which shop this is) charged shipping and tax fees on top of GC credit, they decided to switch to Amazon.  Amazon is always good for me 🙂

Now all I gotta do is find stuff to buy lol 😀

Have you taken part of any of L’oreal’s or thePinkPanel’s studies? If so, what have you received as compensation? Let me know!

Love, Nicole 💕

PS. Has anyone tried the Gel-V weight-loss gel? I’ve been looking into it lately and would love to hear your thoughts!

March Favorites

Having a Target across the street is legit dangerous. Shoutout to all of you working in retail. I feel ya. I mean, how do you do it? I’d go to work empty and come out full-handed!! đŸ˜«đŸ˜‚

Anywho, I’ve gotten a few new items, some of which have been 5-star products for so long and I’m just here scratching my head thinking why??? The first one being ELF’s HD Loose Powder in Translucent.

I have a few things to say about this, mainly mixed thoughts. First of all I want to say, the packaging is horrible upon opening – every. single. time. I’ve tried it all by now, trust me, but there is just no way to prevent the powder from going into the inner rims of the lid and spilling out everywhere upon opening of the jar.With that said, if you decide to purchase this, expect about 1/5 of the powder being wasted all over your vanity and carpet.

I hope it absorbs odors at least, otherwise the thang is just stuck there … Until vacuumed.

As for the powder, this is where I have mixed thoughts. I have heard so many wonderful things on this powder, including from Paula’s Beautychoice, saying it basically melts right into your skin, blurring all pores. It may, when applied sparingly, but when packed on (for those of us with oily skin whom need plenty of powder to absorb the nasty mess) it turns out looking absolutely obvious and a tad bit like tiny pieces of dried toilet paper rolling on your skin as you try to remove it. I absolutely hate this!!

On the other hand, however, the powder leaves a tad white-ish, definitely brightening, look so I LOVE that for my under eye!

I have found that applying with the slightest amount of pressure on the brush is the best way to apply this in a “packed” manner. That way you have very little powder to brush off.

Side-Note: I have applied this powder to set foundation and it does set my foundation quite nicely (completely disappears!), however it DOES NOT absorb oil.

This is best when used with a matte or oil-absorbing foundation like Revlon’s Colorstay.

As for the packaging, I highly recommend somehow  transferring the powder onto an empty loose powder jar, as that would save a lot of headaches!

Secondly, prior to this powder, I purchased Sonia Kashuk’s Loose Brightening Powder, having fallen in love with her Loose Powder (non-brightening). The powder is definitely much better than ELF’s. The problem is, it’s glittery. Though it’s better than ELF’s HD Powder, it is pretty much the same as ELF under-eye setting powder, which is glittery as well. I generally don’t have much problem with glitter, though I’m not exactly sure how I feel with it under my eye, instead of my eyelid.

The packaging is very pretty, regardless, and it also stores the powder much better than ELF’s HD Loose Powder. It closely resembles its sister normal loose powder, though the lid is sleek and reflective.

 

Another ELF love (I may post more this on this later) are the ELF powder blushes. I could almost swear these are the best, most inexpensive blushes you will find. Ever. Like seriously, they are that good.

Like Coastal Scents/Urban Decay, the formula is not quite NARS, but it comes so close, it’s actually amazing – making it an absolute steal. I recently bought tickled pink, which I would assume is very much like Deep Throat, since it’s a bit like Orgasm, slightly peachier, with slight sparkles only visible in direct sunlight (like most blushes).

The powder, though not as firm as NARS powder blushes, is very pigmented, buttery and blends like a dream. I mean, you can’t do wrong with these blushes.

  

And to add on to my ELF obsession, I also recently tried ELF’s cream eyeliner in black.

I found it to be somewhat pigmented (first 2 layers tend towards more of a dark brown rather than true black – third layer usually fixes that, however)

   

I really liked how this wore once on, as it was truly long-lasting and quite waterproof!! I couldn’t even get the swatch off my arm!!

Lastly, after having so many (if not all!) of the the Almay softies, I decided to try them.

I have to admit, I kinda fell in love.

While the first try was an absolute flop – these eyeshadows do not work with brushes – the second try was much better. Being more of a cream shadow (though seemingly powder) these shadows are surprisingly pigmented and are best used alone or as a base. Why you might ask? Because fingers must be used with these shadows, and creating a crease, etc, is nearly impossible with fingers alone.

One layer: 

Two layers:

So do you really need these?

The shade Cashmere works great as a base for a neutral eyeshadow look, but as for the rest, unless you prefer one-shadow looks, you’re better off without them.

The Hot Fudge shade is a fair exception as it is highly pigmented, though creating a crease with it could prove a little too hard considering there are better options out there.

That is all for my March Favorites! (A little late, I know, I know)

Have you tried any of these? How do you like them? Let me know!!

Revealed Palette VS. NAKED Basics Palette

I have hated the NAKED Basics palette since the day I purchased it. I bought it online thinking it was like the best thing ever only to soon realize it was like really not.

Why, you may be wondering? The shadows are chalky and cheap. I don’t really know, the texture is just not as buttery as what I have come to expect from Urban Decay shadows.

That was until recently, when I discovered how this tiny Palette could be such a life saver for quick make up looks. You literally just apply shadows nearly as they are on the palette and voila! Perfect neutral shadow look. I fell absolutely in love with the look I could create so effortlessly with this palette. However, I still had a problem with the quality of the shadows, so I tried looking for dupes on my Revealed palette and compare them formula wise on a closer level (Like I’d already mentioned before)

As it turns out, there’s a dupe of pretty much every shadow on the Revealed palette at pretty much the same cost, plus 12+ more shadows on top. Quite the deal!!

Overview: From a first look you can immediately notice the few shades which may be closest to the UD Basics palette shades.

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Let’s take a closer look:

The first shade of the Revealed palette is the closest to Foxy in the NAKED Basics. The are very close dupes, though the Revealed shadow is warmer and yellower, more vanilla-like than Foxy. Foxy is pastier, whiter. The consistency is the same. Pigmentation is the same. They both have a fair amount of fall out, though nothing to fuss about.

The second shade in the Revealed palette is also the closest to W.O.S. They are nearly identical, though the Revealed shadow is shimmery. Once on however, the shimmer is nearly imperceptible and much closer in look to W.O.S. The shade of color is the same, just the slight shimmer in the 2nd shadow that differentiates it from W.O.S.

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Shade Naked 2 is closest to the 5th shade in the Revealed palette. It’s actually strikingly similar, especially on the eyelids. 5th shade is a tad bit cooler, more purple-ish. Naked 2 is definitely warmer, a truer brown. Though when blended well, you’d be surprised how similar they look.

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The last shade on the first row of the Revealed palette is the closest to Venus. On the Revealed palette, the last shadow looks much more shimmery than Venus, but on the skin the shimmer is about the same. The last shadow seems to come off as patchy when packed on though very similar in shade compared to Venus. It is also a tad bit cooler and silvery, compared to Venus.

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L to R: Revealed last shadow and Venus

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From left to right: Revealed 5th shadow (top row), Naked 2, Revealed last shadow (top row), Venus, Foxy, and Revealed 1st shadow (top row)

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As for Faint and Crave. Crave is (obviously) like the only black in the Revealed palette (bottom row, far right). There is not one shade that is exactly like Faint, but rather seems like a mix of a few shades, none of which are an exact dupe.

The quality from both palettes, to be quite honest, is pretty much the same. I don’t mind the quality from the revealed palette considering they are at UD Naked Basics level AND  it comes with 15 other shimmery shadows which are absolutely buttery and gorgeous. I’ve really been digging the matte look lately, however, so I will try to find some good matte shadows!!

Have you purchased any nice matte palettes recently?? Do share!!

Love, Nicole.