Tuesday, January 20, 2015

That Faint Winter Flush: Two Cream Blush Picks

[Both featured products were gifts from the most fabulous friend.]

In the winter, my face is usually at its palest and driest; I sometimes get redness along my jawline that isn't always fully concealed with my base makeup. The freezing, windy weather outdoors, coupled with heated living spaces, generally adds a bit of color to my cheeks anyway, so during this season, I opt for cream blushes that I can stipple lightly into cheeks for just the barest hint of color - usually in a shade that matches my natural flush (as Bobbi Brown says, pinch your cheeks - the color will show. That bit of advice always makes me giggle, but I suppose it's useful).
These are my daily blushes right now: MUFE HD Blush in 225 and Clarins 02 Candy Multi-Blush. I use the RT Stippling Brush or a Sephora duo-fiber finishing powder brush from a set (way too small for that, in my opinion. Apparently my face is a lot bigger than the Sephora brush makers suspected.)
I took a nice picture of the fresh pan of MUFE 225! *pats self on back*

They're both peachy coral. The Clarins Multi-blush is a little more pink and has some gold sparkles in it; it's hard to overdo and it seems to adhere to bare skin just as well as over foundation. The finish is very natural and it blends very well into skin. MUFE 225 is a touch more peach and has no glitter or shimmer; it has a satin finish that, for me, looks better over foundation. It's more pigmented, though, so if you like your blushes to pack a punch, this is the way to go.
I had a sample of MUFE 410, so I added that to the lineup. You can't quite see the sparkles in the Clarins blush, but they are usually visible on skin. Still tasteful, though. The Clarins blush has a harder, more powdery texture; the MUFE blushes are definitely creamy - not cream-to-powder.
Here is Clarins 02 Candy in a overall warm look, and then a cooler look. It suits both, so it's quite versatile - same for MUFE 225.
Lipstick is Dior Trafalgar. Man, I love that lipstick, and lately, when I reach for red, it's for an orange-red.
Overall cooler - still Clarins 02 Candy. Lips are Dior Enchanted Rose gloss. Sorry for the lighting change. Natural winter light in WA state is a fickle, mean thing.
If I were to buy another one, I would opt for MUFE, because the shade range is larger and I love the 410 sample that I have - such a beautiful flush, though a little more vibrant than I currently want (see all the reasons above), and it stipples beautifully into bare skin. I think it's a little thinner than 225, possibly because it's not as pale (as if it were white-based). But I am happily using both of these picks, and don't really have a wandering eye at the moment.

Clarins Multi-blushes are $30 for 4 g; MUFE HD blushes are $26 for 0.09 oz (about 2.6 g). Both of mine here were gifts.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

L'Artisan Parfumeur Méchant Loup


Fun Whovian reference: "Méchant Loup" translates to "mean wolf," or more generally..."BAD wolf." I had to get it after that, you see. Plus it's a woodsy gourmand, which usually rocks my fuzzy socks. (I'm sure it wasn't intended to lure geeks, but it is a fun coincidence.)

This was a blind buy during L'Artisan Parfumeur's holiday sale; most bottles were 30% off and there was a credit for signing up for the newsletter, so I essentially got two bottles for slightly more than the price of one (the other one I picked up was La Chasse aux Papillons). 
The L'Artisan Parfumeur bottles are absolutely gorgeous.

Méchant Loup is a Bertrand Duchafour creation, with notes of "licorice, hazelnut, cedar, honey," and I saw it on several favorites lists of perfume bloggers whose choices usually resonate with me, so I wasn't too bothered about it being a blind buy. Being a "masculine" selection, I also figured that if I didn't like it, S. might (he wears Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb, which is a similarly spicy gourmand) so it wouldn't be a loss.
"Dressed in the scents of the forest...with a heart of hazelnut."
Unfortunately, I think this will have to go to S., after all. On paper (and on S., damn it) it's a beautiful woodsy, aromatic licorice scent pulsating around a center of dulcet hazelnut. The licorice and cedar combination is both subtly medicinal and smoky, and it is exactly the kind of thing I adore. ON ME, however, it smells like...Big Red. Which isn't exactly unpleasant - although the gum certainly is - but it is not at all what I expected or wanted (*sobs*). It's more tenacious than I expected, being an EdT, but on me, it's a linear cinnamon scent - with just splashes of the animalic "wet dog" note (that is actually oddly comforting, being a dog owner) on occasion. No sweet hazelnut. No delicious licorice. No powerful, seductive woods.

I don't regret purchasing it - it wears deliciously on S., after all - but I wish it liked me. Ah, well. The search for a licorice perfume continues.

$100 for 50 mL at L'Artisan, Lucky Scent.

Monday, January 5, 2015

My Current Glowy Skin Duo: Vichy + Bobbi Brown

[Products marked ** were received as gifts. No affiliate links.]

I have dry/normal skin, and I prefer a dewy finish for my face. I don't wear full foundation daily; most days, I just cover up any redness and undereye darkness with concealers.
Bobbi Brown Brightening Finishing Powder in Porcelain Pearl.** It's meant to be color-correcting, but it is very sheer and extremely fine. Very lovely and hard to make "too powdery."
Recently, I started setting and adding that final "lit from within" glow with this Bobbi Brown Brightening Finishing Powder in Porcelain Pearl.** It works equally well over bare skin and over BB creams/liquid foundations; skin is blurred without feeling heavy, and the pearlescent patch adds a nice radiance without being glittery. I would say this finish is satin, but it really depends how long I wait after applying moisturizer. If I apply makeup immediately after my morning skincare routine, then more of that dewy finish is retained. For oilier folk, the product description suggests it can be used throughout the day as a setting powder, but I am under the impression that products promoting "glow" are avoided by many with that skin type.
Applied concealer, did eyes, brows, blush and lips (no foundation or illuminator); Porcelain Pearl was applied just to the right side of my face (your left). The effect is very, very subtle. Just a blurring of skin and a softening effect.
The powder contains sodium hyaluronate, although I wonder how effective it really is in the minute amounts used when applying powder products. I swirl all over the pan with a big fluffy brush before applying to my face in soft, patting movements. GLOW, BABY. Also, dewy ≠ greasy; this powder helps with that (I don't have oily skin, but sometimes eye creams, etc., can leave a bit of an odd greasy effect on skin).
Power duo!
On days that I want a bit of extra moisture and a bit of extra help in the "even complexion" department, I use the Vichy Idealia BB Cream in Light**. It runs pink, but not terribly so, and since it's only very light coverage, it's not too noticeable. It works fine on its own, but I do like layering the Bobbi Brown powder over it for that smooth finish. Again, with the powder, it's a touch more satin than dewy, but my face still feels hydrated without feeling tacky.
Vichy Idealia BB Cream in Light under Bobbi Brown Brightening Finishing Powder in Porcelain Pearl. Lips are a mix of Maybelline Vivid Rose + MAC Fashion Revival. Also added a touch of highlighter to Cupid's bow and nose.
You can see that the Vichy + BB combo looks much dewier, more like traditional liquid foundation overall. It still feels lightweight, though, which is a requirement for me. If you have drier skin and prefer this type of satin/dumpling face finish (ha), either of these might be nice to try. I don't think the Bobbi Brown powder is by any means a must-have, unless you use a setting powder daily. For me, that pearlescent patch really kicks it up a notch (ha, ha!) and adds that ever-coveted touch of radiance, so I've been using it daily, with or without the Vichy BB cream. I need to pick up another bottle of MAC Fix+, because I think that will be the icing on the cake for this duo - perhaps a glowy skin trio!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Unlikely Inspiration: A Smile for 2015

Taylor Swift: Shake It Off.

I know, I know. I've been quite vocal about my bafflement over Swifty's popularity, but this video and more recent press coverage of her coincides with my 2015 goal for myself, so it's sweetly ironic. 1989 (although I haven't purchased it yet) seems to suggest that Swifty is finally learning to laugh at herself, and at her haters. So I've resolved to stop being a hater.

We are each on a personal, ongoing journey and come from different places and cultures and circumstances, and I've decided that in 2015, I want to stop being so critical and to think before I speak. I don't want to linger on mean-spirited thoughts or slights. In general, despite my snarky nature, I already tend to be optimistic and I don't beat myself up over regrets, but I sometimes do get bogged down in criticisms of others, and it's not fair to them and makes me feel petty. I don't want to be that person.

That doesn't mean I'm going to stop critical thinking and presenting both sides of a story - that's an entirely different thing, and still very important to me. I am also not trying to be holier-than-thou. I'm still going to be snarky and poke fun at things and people. It's just - well, I say mean things sometimes, and I don't wanna be a mean girl any more. Let's just have fun, shall we?

Happy new year. Beauty posts resume soon. Thanks for reading and for being awesome, thoughtful people who contribute to an engaging community. We are all awesome. 

Cheese, out. Enjoy your pizza.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last Hurrah: Things I'd Repurchase in 2015

[Products marked * were received as PR samples. Everything else was purchased by me.]

I thought I'd crank out one more post before the end of the year. Happy new year to everyone in earlier time zones! I already did a favorites post, but I thought I'd do another brief one to showcase products - skincare and mostly makeup "basics" - that I would happily repurchase again in 2015. I broke it down into "drugstore" and "department store" beauty for convenience. I've reviewed some of these previously, and will link to those reviews where possible. Otherwise, you get a blurb - but if you're curious about something, let me know in the comments and I'll try to go more in-depth or plan a future post. The post is still long, though, and I apologize. Hopefully it's helpful!

Department Store
Dept store repurchase

  • Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask ($25) and Drink Up Ten-Minute Mask ($25): I love these because they're quick and easy and I do feel like they make a difference. I will often do them back to back if I have the time - Charcoal first, then pop in the shower, then Drink Up before I do my nightly skincare routine. I also like to apply Drink Up after a freezing winter run (I wash sunscreen off my face, first). They're reasonably priced and because they're speedy, I do actually use them.
  • First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Overnight Mask ($38): Apparently I'm the only person in the world who doesn't like the Radiance pads, but I love this mask. I'm going to do a post soon on "bedtime pampering" items which will feature this again for a more in-depth review, but I try to use this once a week or so, and the next morning, skin glows.
  • Tatcha Gentle Rice Enzyme Powder* ($65, super cute mini for $15): My favorite exfoliating scrub. Gentle but I can feel a smooth tightness to skin afterward, and it's not oddly squeaky or anything like after some other scrubs. I also appreciate that it's a rice powder that completely dissolves and doesn't contain gritty plastic beads (horror!) or more chunky nut shell type particles.
  • Benefit Gimme Brow (Light/Medium) ($22): The brow revelation revolution is here. It will work best if you have pretty full brows to begin with, and it is easy-breezy-spot-on. I'll just link you to Liz's review, although I use the lighter shade. The only problem is if you have brows lighter than mine (which is probably a significant portion of the population), I don't think you'll find a match - there are only two shades, which, to me, are "dark" and "darker".
  • MAC Mineralize Concealer, NC20 ($21): The only problem with this one is the tube is tiny and I have gone through it super quickly. I use this to cover up spots and redness; coverage is high and opaque without sacrificing the dewy, skin-like finish that I prefer. Definitely, definitely a staple.
  • MAC Pro Longwear Concealer, NW25 ($20): Opposite problem from the Mineralize Concealer - one tube will last FOREVER if you don't pump it out all at once, ha. I use this solely under eyes; I prefer an undereye concealer that doesn't budge and is warmer in tone to counteract dark purple shadows, thus the NW25 (yellow tones just make the purple areas look ashy). Also, this line runs lighter than the others, so if you want one, definitely get matched and don't just pick up your usual MAC shade.
  • MAC Fix+ ($22): I didn't understand what the fuss was about until I picked one up. I prefer a dewy finish on my face most days - this helps. I've gone through a mini bottle and was trying to use up a different facial mist first; that's done and I will grab another of these, soon.
  • Nude Skincare Advanced Renewal Serum ($78): Already reviewed. I think I prefer this to the famous EL ANR...
  • Ole Henriksen Ultimate Lift Eye Gel ($42): I've only tried the older version and am hoping it hasn't been ruined in the reformulation, because I'm almost done with my jar. This is my nightly eye gel - keeps everything hydrated and reduces morning puffiness.
  • Shiseido Ibuki Eye Correcting Cream ($40): Not exactly hydrating, but not drying, either, and this layers the best under makeup. It also brightens the area and I can tell the difference between wearing this eye cream and any other.
Drugstore
drugstore loves


  • Epic Blend More Moisture Unflavored Lip Balm ($3.49): I like no fuss lip balm and this is it. No scent, no flavor, convenient twist-tube, and it actually moisturizes lips - they don't feel drier and they don't peel awkwardly. S. is also hooked. Thanks to Tracy for introducing them to me!
  • Maybelline Color Elixirs ($5-8): I have five. When they go on sale, I'm picking up a few more. They're comfortable to wear, non-drying, and I love the finish and range of shades.
  • Aveeno Smart Essentials Nighttime Moisture Infusion ($8-15): I've been poking around the drugstore for more skincare options, and I like this one. Simple but effective. If the daytime version didn't contain chemical SPF, I would pick it up.
  • Out of Africa Body Oil ($15-20): My favorite body oil. I've finished a bottle of the vanilla scent, and this verbena scent is magically bright in the gloomy winter. It is a bit greasy, but I've pretty much stopped battling dry, itchy skin after slathering this on damp, post-shower skin daily.
  • Neutrogena Pure & Free Liquid SPF 50 ($8-14): All-physical (zinc oxide and titanium oxide) sunscreen that I use on my face daily - it's not greasy or heavy and layers fabulously under makeup. It can leave a bit of a white cast in the summer when I'm more tan, so I may look into something else then, but I've gone through almost two bottles of this. 
  • Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum ($36): Another of Tracy's recommendations! This dry-normal skinned girl needs a hydrating serum, and this is a good one! Makes my skin more...plump? Dumpling face!
  • Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser (Creamy formula, $7-13): My daily cleanser. Doesn't have as strong a smell as Cetaphil (which is what S. uses), and cleans gently without bells and whistles and fuss. I usually double cleanse daily (I use an oil first), so I just want something basic that will remove any final traces of residue.
PHEW. Finally done! Ok, that's it for me here. Final post of the year! *confetti* Hope you have a great New Year's Eve/ New Year's Day. Best wishes for 2015! Thanks for reading and commenting and being so fabulous.