Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Lips but Better (MLBB) lipsticks - pinks and nudes

My lips are very pale naturally and without lipstick or gloss, I can look quite sallow and tired. With the new season, I have been digging up my old stash of lipsticks and buying a couple more (because who doesn't need more lipsticks? :)). When I was browsing through them I realized I tend to buy the same tonal family of lipsticks - rosy/mauve pinks that can be categorized as My Lips But Better.
Here are some of my favs, mostly from the drugstore.

Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick in Warm Me Up ($6 US $8 CAD)
The Color Sensational Lipsticks come in several categories: Neutral, Pinks, Reds/brights.
Warm Me up is from the Neutral line (indicated by the brown lid) and is a perfect "warm" pink. It is quite opaque and lasts at least 3 - 4 hours on the lips. The shade looks more orange in the tube but on my lips it gives a nice rosy color. It does have a scent - something like artificial vanilla. It's not too overwhelming for me but those who are sensitive to smell may not like it.

L'oreal Infallible Le Rouge Lipstick in Forever Frappe and Unending Kiss ($9 US $12 CAD)
This is a super matte long wearing lipstick range that I really enjoy. Typically the long wearing lipsticks are 2 part system, that tends to have a gloss that you need to wear throughout the day. This does not give that glossy look; however, the color pay off is great. It is tad drying on the lips compared to other lipsticks but not uncomfortable. The lipstick stays on for at least 4 - 5 hours. If applied with heavy hand, the lipstick can chip off the lips.

YSL Rouge Volupte in Shade #3 & #23 ($34 US $39CAD)
Rouge Volupte is a very luxurious, opulent line of lipsticks that a true makeup junkie would own at least one tube of. The case is a heavy embellished gold tube with the shade band in the middle of the tube. The lipstick itself is super creamy and buttery on the lips.
Because my lips are on the white side, the true nude shades in the range do not suit me (makes me look very pale and sickly). #3 is called Ultimate Beige and is a orange-y toned beige on my lips.
#23 is called Luscious Pink and is a good nude for my skin tone. It is a darker rosy color and brightens up my face nicely.
Due to its slippery texture, the color lasts only about a couple of hours and despite them feeling buttery, can be drying on the lips. 

Shiseido Perfect Rouge in BE740 ($25 US, $30 CAD)
This is also a beige-toned nude lipstick. The Lipstick is encased in a beautiful metal tube. The lipstick feels smooth on the lips and the color pay off is great. It lasts at least 3 hours on my lips. I tend to prefer rosy MLBB shades than beige shades so this has been in my makeup drawer for the last little while.

Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Fiend ($22US $26CAD)
UD has launched a new line of lipsticks and this shade is described as muted rose. This lipstick is amazing. The metallic tube is heavy and has a nice "click" of the lid. The lipstick is very opaque and the color clings to the lips for hours. This shade is probably the brightest of the ones mentioned here. It is not drying and does not flake or fade weird. I am looking to purchase more shades (muted tones: Naked 2, Rush, Rapture).

L to R: maybelline warm me up, L'oreal unending kiss, YSL #3, #23, Shiseido BE740, UD fiend 

 Top to bottom: UD, shiseido, YSL 23, 3, L'oreal, Maybelline 

Maybelline warm me up
L'oreal unending kiss
YSL shade 3
YSL shade 23
Shiseido BE740
Urban Decay fiend 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Brand spotlight: elf

elf ( ) is a budget friendly make up line which has the infamous $1 makeup products and brushes. It has come a long way and has been constantly expanding its line. Now elf makeup can be as expensive (?) as $8 for the mineral foundation. The products are sold in Target but I tend to order directly from their website, as there aren't any Canadian retails that carry this line yet. The site always has some kind of promotion (either free extra products, shipping, or 40% - 50% off with a certain $ purchase). I almost always purchase the Studio line products when there was the 50% off sale.
Some of the products are surprisingly awesome, some are okay and a few are horrible.I have had better luck with their Studio products than the original $1 line (Essentials). I have used up most of the products so do not have actual photos of them. elf makeup is definitely for those who like to try new things or trends in makeup or those who are budget conscious about makeup. It definitely adds to the fun of being a makeup junkie :)

Essential Blush Brush ($1)
It was enticing to buy a makeup brush for $1; however, this is a poorly made and not very useful. The bristles are rough and started to shed right away. The brush is not dense enough to pick up the blush and gave a streaky look. 

Essential Liquid Eyeliner ($1)
Non waterproof eyeliner but yet gives a very black line and for $1, it is great. I prefer waterproof liners just because my eyelids are oily. Otherwise would be a good choice for those wanting a cheap liquid liner. 
I have done a review on this on my Eyeliner post here.

Essential Nail Polish ($1, now $2)  
Very surprised at the quality of this polish. It is a standard nail polish that has a good pay off. 

Studio Cream eyeliner ($3)
I bought the Espresso thinking I would want a dark brown liner to try. The color was too sheer and the gel dried out quickly. I would not repurchase.

Studio Eye primer and liner ($3)  
Unfortunately this did not work for me at all. The primer moved around and did not hold the shadows in place. The liner did not provide the budge - proofing I needed. I literally threw it out after using it only a couple of times :(

Studio contouring blush and bronzing powder ($3)
This is a dupe for Nars Orgasm blush and Laguna bronzer. The blush has visible flecks of shimmer which is not that noticeable on skin. The bronzer is too shimmery for my liking. I have hit pan on the blush and still do use it once in a while.
contouring blush and bronzer powder 

Studio Blush ($3)
I purchased several shades of these blushes. Again they are somewhat of a dupe for Nars blushes. They are super powdery and the colors are not as intense as the Nars blushes. Even the available shades are reminiscent of the Nars line. The shimmery blushes have large shimmer particles that do not look so flattering on the skin. The ones I like are Tickled Pink and Mellow Mauve.

Studio High Definition Powder ($6)
This is the only powder from elf I have purchased twice. Supposedly this is a dupe for Make Up Forever HD powder. The powder is very finely milled and while white in the tub, translucent on the skin. It helps to minimize oil and sets the make up for the day.

Studio Bronzers ($3) in Warm and Golden
Each palette has 4 different shades of bronzers, which you can use separately or swirled together. Golden shade is the lighter of the two and the colors are not too intense. The bronzer like the blushes are really powdery. It stays on about 3 - 4 hours on my combination skin.

Warm Bronzer 

Studio undereye concealer and highlighter ($3)
Bought this on a whim and only used a couple of times before trashing it. The concealer is too thin to give proper coverage and the highlighter did not highlight but just blended into the skin.

Studio complete coverage concealer ($3)
The palette looks very promising with 4 different shades of concealers and a little brush. However, it does not give proper coverage and even with  multiple layers the concealer would not stay on the skin long. This made into misses of 2012.

Studio brush set ($45, on sale for $30) 
My favourite purchase of the elf products! I love all the brushes in this set. The 11 piece will give you all the makeup brush you need for your makeup wardrobe. They are made of synthetic nylon bristles and work very well as intended. I love the blush brush and the powder brush. They are soft and easy to work with.  There are 5 complexion related brushes and 6 eye related brushes. Some of the eyeshadow brushes are tad too small for my liking but overall this is a great buy.

Face brushes from the Studio Line Brush set 
Smaller (eye) brushes from the set 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

L'Oréal Telescopic shocking extension mascara vs. Voluminous CarbonBlack mascara

I used to love the Voluminous mascara from L'Oréal for a long time. Lately in my run to Superstore I picked this one up along with the newest mascara from L'Oréal, Telescopic Shocking Extension. As usual both I picked up are waterproof formula.
The Voluminous mascara has a typical mascara brush. I think it's called Teddy bear brush.
What I like about this mascara is the ease of use. With a couple of coats you get volume and length. The carbon black color is definitely very dark.
The Voluminous mascara performs better after a few weeks after you open it. The formula is wet when it is first opened, and once the air hits it, the formula dries out a bit and helps to cling to the lashes better. This mascara can be built up without giving stiff lashes.
Here I used the mascara without using an eyelash curler. What I don't love is that the tips of the lashes have this weird bent look.
Voluminous mascara - with its Teddy Bear Brush

I have seen the Telescopic mascara for years but was not as interested because I am more interested voluminizing mascaras rather than lengthening. However since having watched a number of YouTubers raving about the mascara I had to give it a try. 
The brush is pretty slim plastic bristles with flat sides. The package does not  show how to use the brush. I sweep on the mascara with the flat side first and use the bristle to comb out the lashes. Even though it's meant to be a lengthening mascara, this gives decent length and volume. This mascara has a drier formula thus need to work quickly otherwise the lashes will clump.
Again, I used this without an eyelash curler and it gave me decent curl. After 2 - 3 coats, the lashes are longer, thicker and fluttery. Even my short lashed friends like this mascara as it definitely makes a difference. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Hair care

I have naturally frizzy non-curly but slight wavy hair that is thick and coarse. I will never have to worry about going bald. Ever. And thanks to my genes the hair is quite resilient and strong. Albeit super dry and damaged from the coloring, straight perms and regular perms. I used to color my hair at least every 2 months until last year. I saw all the damage it had done to my hair and now I just color every four months - touching up my roots. (I use Japanese foam hair dye called Prettia). I wash my hair every 2 days and use minimal styling products. 

The go-to brand of shampoo used to be Japanese brands such as Shiseido or Essential but they were quite expensive. Early this year I found Clear range via YouTube and I have been loving the results. I have gotten all my friends to use this line LOL. Clear is made by Unilever which is the company that makes Dove and Tresemme, both of which I do like. Clear line is meant to be used on your scalp as well as the hair, even for the conditioner. Their slogan is 'Stronger, more beautiful hair in 7 days, guaranteed'. Quite a lofty goal but I have to say the line does deliver. 
The collection has Total Care, Damage & Color repair, Volumizing root boost, Strong lengths, Frizz control and Ultra Shea. Some of these collections are only available in the US. It is usually $5-7 depending on the store. The price is a little more than the typical drugstore shampoos but well worth it. 

The collection I use and love is Damage & Color repair. I have also used the Frizz control shampoo, ultra Shea conditioner and Clean & refresh shampoo (from the men's line). The ones in the picture are from Target (larger size $7 each). Not sure if the larger size with pump is available in Canada. 
After only one use I noticed a difference in my hair. The shampoo and conditions smell wonderful, fresh and sweet. It lathers very well which I love. The hair feels lighter and moisturized and does not feel like its weighed down. When I use Pantene or Dove the hair seems to 'get used' to the products and get some waxy build up. I am onto my 3rd or 4th bottle of these and haven't noticed any build up. I will continue to use this line. 

Have you heard of 'Wen'? If you watch late night TV you may have come across the infomercial for the cleansing conditioner. Cleansing conditioner is supposed to be better for your hair as it does not contain the lathering sulphate and thus more nourishing to hair that's been damaged. It is supposed to not strip the hair and make the color stay in longer and keep the hair more moisturized. But Wen is about $38 for 16oz and that's only for a 2 month supply. I did some research and found the hair one cleansing conditioner at Sally's beauty supply. This was on sake for $9.99 for 12 oz. I do like the result of using this as the hair feels extra soft and not brittle at all. This one has a slight tingle once applied and even though there are no suds, my scalp does feel clean. It's just a little tedious and weird to get used to. The instructions on how to use this product is a little crazy. To summarize, it says to pump about 10 - 15 pumps of the product and distribute and message the scalp carefully for about 5 minutes on damp hair. Then pump another 10 - 15 pumps and work the rest of the hair; then let it sit for another 5 minutes before rinsing off. I don't know how long you usually take to shower but massaging your scalp for 5 minutes is a little too long (not to mention your arms feel super tired). While I like the results (hair does seem smoother and nourished) the whole massaging for 5 plus minutes, etc deters me from using it all the time. I have noticed that my hair dries a little faster (just a little) when I use the cleansing conditioner. 

After hair has been washed and dried, I use this leave in product - it's from a Japanese line Lux. This feels like a styling cream but does not have any hold. It makes my hair smoother and also less brittle than when I don't use it. I take a dollar size and rub it into the ends of the hair before combing. The results can be seen  when the hair is dry, which is surprising because it does not feel any different when you comb it in.

What do you use for your hair care?

Thursday, August 15, 2013


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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Battle of highlighters

Highlighters are all the rage (along with bronzers/contouring powders). I was pretty late in joining the party as I only used to use blush on my cheeks. As I get older I realize how important to fake the glow of youth (aka teenage years).  Purpose of highlighter is to emphasize high points such as cheekbones, forehead, bridge of the nose and to bring subtle glow to the face. The ones I use range from $3.99 to $50.
To be honest I prefer higher end highlighters because the effect is more subtle and the shimmer particles and the powder are much finer and softer.  However my favourite isn't the $50 Hourglass powder but the mid range $34 Benefit 10.
Etude house - model face color 01 highlight
This Korean brand has so many cheek enhancing powders and they come out with a new one every year it seems. The one I have was purchased on ebay for about $7. Amongst all the highlighters this has the most sheen. The powder is a bit too loose and the shimmer tends to fall on other parts of the face which can make you look a bit like a disco ball if not careful.
Wet n wild - Reserve Your Cabana
This giant highlighter is only $3.99!!! The size of it is about 4 times the Etude one and considering the price the quality is amazing. The powder is soft and finely milled. It gives a very subtle glow and can be dusted all over the face without being too shiny. This can be a quick dupe for the Hourglass Ambient powder in Diffused Light.
Hourglass -  Diffused Light
The packaging oh my. It is a beauty to hold. The powder is almost like silk and so very soft. This is supposed to cancel the redness in the face and not specified for highlighting. There are other powders in this line that are meant more as highlighters. The only reason I bought this $50 powder was because of a gift card. Otherwise I don't think it's worth the investment. The effect of this powder is so subtle it's hard to detect with eyes in my opinion. 
Revlon - colorstay mineral finishing powder 010 brighten
This is a very good pink shimmer highlighter found at the drugstore. I think I paid about $10. There is something about pink shimmer that makes a girl feel. so. pretty. This I use to highlight my browbone and the checks the most. The effect is just gorgeous.
Benefit - 10
This is a dual product of shimmer and bronzer in one. And this is the only product I have repurchased. The highlight has a subtle pink bronze look. Using the brush it comes with I sweep over the cheek area,  voila! highlight and contour at once. Sometimes I forgo blush with this. And almost every time I wear it people ask what I am doing different with my makeup LOL. The reason I love this the most is the staying power. Unlike most of the other highlighters this one stays on for at least 4-5 hours on my combo skin.
Etude House - very powdery 
Has a yellow sheen 
Wet n Wild - Reserve your cabana 
Subtle glow 
Hourglass - Diffused Light 
Too subtle to be a highlighter 
Revlon Colostay Mineral Finishing powder 
Oh so pretty!
Benefit - 10
Love this!

Battle of mascaras

I love mascaras. I currently am rotating at least 4-5 different ones, which are all waterproof. I cannot wear regular ones because they do not keep my curls and will smudge.
The ones I am loving are YSL singulier, Stila all day waterproof volumizing, Maybelline Rocket volume and Maybelline cat eye hyper curl (only in Asia). 

My eyelashes are on the long side but are thin and sparse. They are straight without a hint of curl and cannot be coaxed to curl with just the mascara. 

Today's battle is between YSL and the Maybelline Rocket Volume.

YSL Singulier mascara was a spur of the moment buy at the duty free store in San Francisco. The tube is heavy gold and is very beautiful to hold. The bristle of the mascara wand is a spiral shape - I have not seen anything like it with other mascaras. The formula is on the drier side and does need multiple coats to give the result I like (thick, dark dramatic lashes). For $34, I expect it to be amazing. I have to say while I like it's non-clumping, non-smudging, super dark colour, I would not repurchase at this price. It feels like I have to put in more of an effort in coating my lashes than other mascaras.

Maybelline Rocket Volume has a nylon bristle, similar to Covergirl Lash Blast, but a little smaller. The bristle can be quite stiff and if not careful can poke the rim of your eyes. 
This formula is also on the drier side (especially compared to Maybelline Falsies). This also provides pretty clump free lashes with multiple coats. What I don't love is how stiff and brittle the lashes feel. Also since I like my lashes to look full and dramatic,  the look this mascara gives is not what I like so much.

Have you tried these mascaras?
Bare lashes - curled with Shu Uemura curler
YSL Singulier

Maybelline Rocket Volume
YSL Singulier - side view
Maybelline Rocket Volume side view

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Hello beautiful!

Life has been crazy hectic and I have been neglecting this blog for a long time... So sorry!
Will be doing some reviews of drugstore foundations and lip products as well as eyeliners and skincare soon!

Monday, April 22, 2013


There are slew of primers for face and eyes available on the market. Typically they are available in the mid to high range cosmetics than drugstore, though some lines are coming out with them.

Eyeshadow base/primer:
Because my eye lids tend to get oily using a shadow base is a must. Eyeshadow base will keep eyeshadow from creasing and eyeliner from smudging. Also the base will make the colors of the shadow more vibrant.
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion
This is my favorite among the ones I have tried. UDPP comes in several shades. I use the original as it blends right into the eyelid. The texture is very soft and velvety. You definitely have to blend quickly as it sets very fast. $14-24 at Sephora.
Covergirl shadow blast
This is meant to be a fade resistant eyeshadow which I use as a base. The pink shade I have adds a bit of shimmer and brightens the eye area. It is not completely crease proof though.
About $7-8.
MAC paint pot
This line is also fade and crease proof cream shadow. I have had this for over 4 years (!) and I still have 1/3 of the pot left. It lasts a long time on the lid - the shade I have is Bare Study which is a champagne shimmer.
Essence I <3 stage shadow base
Just picked this up at Shoppers for $3.99. Not sure how this will perform but when I tested it at the store it seemed smooth. Will keep you posted.

Face primer:
I tend not to use face primer as I don't see much a difference. My skin being oily combo with visible pores you would think primers would help. But what I notice is that the primer seems to make my face more shiny.

Benefit Porefessional

Very expensive ($36) tube of skin colored silicone primer. It is supposed to fill the pores to create a smooth base. It does smooth out my skin a little but I don't see enough difference to continue using it.

L'oreal Studio Secrets perfecting base

This base is a mousse type - again silicone being the main ingredient. Does smooth the skin and blurs the imperfections just a little. Because it's in a pot it is inconvenient to use.  About $11-13.

Hourglass mineral veil

Just picked up a travel set at Sephora for $29. It resembles a thick lotion and absorbs into skin leaving it smooth. Looking forward to see how it performs as it has been hyped quite a bit online. The full 1 oz size is $60. Very expensive.

Nars makeup primer with SPF

Got a sample size at Sephora when I claimed 100 points. The benefit of this is that it combines primer with sunscreen. The texture is like Hourglass, a lotion, which absorbs into skin. I tend to like this type of primer better as it feels less like a barrier.