Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Skincare Update, Spring 2014 (aka, MONSTER SKINCARE POST)

[No affiliate links. Products marked * were provided by PR, ** were gifts from friends.]

Most of us agree that our skincare lineups are ever-changing, evolving things, that we adapt to suit the seasons and age and changes in diet. In general, I have dry skin, and I opt for products that aid in brightening, retain firmness, and mitigate sun damage and acne spots. I'm breaking my regimen down here to "Daily AM," "Daily PM," "Weekly Treatments," and "Spot Treatments," and I'll try to be brief, but skincare posts always end up being ridiculously long, so I apologize in advance.

Daily AM

I wash my face in the morning with Ole Henriksen's On the Go cleanser (which will last forever - next time I think I will buy a different one, but this one works well enough and is not stripping, even though it is aimed toward normal/combo skin). Then I apply a vitamin C serum; currently, it's Lumene's Vitamin C+ Bright Skin Serum, which is a budget-friendly option (my other go-to is Ole Henriksen's Truth Serum Vitamin C Collagen Booster, but ouch, $72 for 1.7 oz).

I let that sink in for a few minutes, and then I apply a moisturizer. Right now, because I need richer moisturizers in cooler weather, it's Juice Beauty Nutrient Moisturizer; it's thick, but smooths into skin easily and doesn't leave skin greasy. After a few seconds, I apply Clarin's UV Plus HP Broad Spectrum SPF 40 Sunscreen Multi-Protection**. I like this one because it's all physical sunscreen (titanium dioxide) but the texture is fluid, not thick and pasty like many other mineral sunscreens (I rub excess product at each step on my neck and hands).

The last step is eye cream - I pat minimal amounts of Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin E Eye Balm gently under eyes with my ring finger - this is just to keep the undereye area hydrated throughout the day. I let all of this sink in, while I help S. take the dogs out and eat breakfast. Then I apply makeup, etc. at that point.

Daily PM

If I'm wearing heavy eye makeup, I soak a cotton ball with Neutrogena's Oil-free Eye Makeup Remover and gently dab it off, and then I remove the rest of my makeup with an oil, like Tatcha's One-Step Camellia Cleansing Oil*. I shower in the evenings, so I pump some oil in my dry hands, rub it all over my face, and then jump in the shower to wash it off. After my shower, I wash my face again with the OH On the Go.

Then, it's night treatments. I start with Shiseido's Ibuki Softening Concentrate, which is actually on the affordable end of the brand; it softens skin and makes all of my other treatments more effective - I've actually started seeing better results a few weeks after incorporating this into my regimen. It's fluid and leaves skin very moist; I wait half a minute or so to let it sink in before continuing on with my night serum - at the moment, it's Shiseido's White Lucent Intensive Spot Targeting Serum. Which, I know, holy crackers, Larie, it's $125/ 1 oz. I know. I only bought it because Macy's was doing an intense GWP (which is the best time to buy Shiseido, by the way) and because I was feeling really depressed about my skin for a while. This stuff really works, if you're curious - of the handful that I've tried, this is the most effective at mitigating hyperpigmentation. Other, more affordable options: Vichy ProEven Daily Dark Spot Corrector, Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector, Ole Henriksen Enlighten Me (which Sephora no longer carries but other sites do). I feel like the White Lucent Intensive Spot Targeting Serum is the BIG GUN; once you go through a cycle of it, it's sufficient to go back to one of the more affordable options for a while.

The night time moisturizer is another ultra-rich cream: Shiseido's White Lucent Brightening Moisturizing Cream (the dry skin version in the line) which is super luxurious but also easy to work into skin. The last thing, once again, is eye cream - I use a preventative-all-the-things cream at night, and currently it's Shiseido's Ibuki Eye Correcting Cream (my other favorite is Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye Concentrate). My goal is to depuff; I can color correct with concealer, but puffiness is hard to disguise.

Weekly Treatments (1x or 2x a week)

I exfoliate once or twice a week, and also try to use a mask once or twice a week. I don't use the same ones every week - I try to assess my current skin needs and pick one that addresses the concerns. The ones I rotate through are Tatcha Classic Rice Enzyme Powder*, a drugstore exfoliating wash like Garnier Clean + Balancing Daily Exfoliator for Combination Skin (which I share with S.), and also using my Clarisonic Mia** (with OH On the Go). The masks I like are detailed here and here. I'm also experimenting with some other weekly treatments (I picked up a mini sampler set of exfoliators and masks during Sephora's VIB sale) so I'll report back on those at some future point.

The other thing I do 2x a week is apply a retinaldehyde, like Avène's Ystheal Anti-Wrinkle Emulsion. It's a weird orange-colored cream that spreads out easily enough, and doesn't burn like some retinol treatments I've tried. I like (this line comes recommended by Lena).

Spot Treatments (as necessary, on targeted areas)
Oops, the Avene's in the wrong photo. Ok, you guys. I confess: taking photos of skincare products is hard, because they're everywhere in the house where I need them to be, and annoying to round up for photos.

My two spot treatments are either to hit acne, or soothe dry spots. For the former, I use a drugstore 2% salicylic acid treatment like Clearasil; I rub it gently into the affected area (and a little bit of the surrounding area) in the evenings only (Monika did a great run-down of acne-combating ingredients). To soothe minor irritations (itching) and dry spots, I use FAB's Ultra Repair Cream (I have the giant size, because I use it all over body for the same reasons as well. I've gone through two tubs so far of the normal size).

Ok, I'm exhausted. I'm sure you are, too. But there it is - my current lineup. I'll try to answer any questions about products in the comments - didn't want to pour any more words into this post. Have you come across any great products lately? How often do you rotate skincare items in and out?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Summer 2014: Wishlist and Restraint

I know it's still spring (and just barely, in some parts of the country), but I'm already dreaming of summer. Here's what I'm thinking about! (This is a Liz-inspired post.)

The Wishlist:Summer 3014

First, let's start with the good stuff. The wishlist!

  • Marc Jacobs Siren palette, $59. I was browsing Sephora and saw this colorful gem, and was instantly excited. COLORS! I like the white case, too - makes it look like an artist's palette. Fun!
  • Givenchy Corail Tentation Ombre Couture, $23. I love coral on eyes, and I want to try this formula.
  • MAC Lady Danger, $16. Permanent lineup powerhouse - I need it for summer.
  • Guerlain Terracotta Le Parfum, $73. Summer in a bottle? Yes, please.
  • Dr. Jart Radiance BB cream, $42. I've been testing out some Dr. Jart BB creams, and I quite like them! I'm hoping this one will offer a better color match than the Detox version, which is ashy on me.
  • Or, you know, I could go for Guerlain's Terracotta Joli Teint, $53. I'm in a foundation mood again.
  • And I want GLOW. Perhaps in the form of Becca's new Beach Tint Soufflés ($27)? I confess I'm not really sure if the texture is going to work for me (or if the product will just confuse me), but if you name a product after food, I'm going to want it. Curse you, marketing teams. The one I'm eyeing is Fig, for just a hint of summer color.
  • Otherwise, perhaps I'll cave to a fancy bronzer and try Armani's Sun bronzers ($54). I want to go see these today, actually.

And things that got crossed off The Wishlist:
Untitled #11

  • Clinique Neutral Territory 2 palette, $36. I waffled over this endlessly, but eventually decided that I have a lot of neutrals and later I'll just pick up the Black Honey single.
  • Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess, $62. This one has a cult following, but I smelled it in store and it's just a touch too sunscreen-esque for my taste. A little too warm and almost suffocating.
  • Dior Fluid Sticks, $35. Lots of split opinions about this one, but I ultimately ruled that it wasn't for me. 
  • Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector, $38. Originally on my wishlist, but many of you said the pressed version was sparklecity and far too obvious. Thank you for crossing it off my list!
  • Dior Sailor & Yacht, $30. I love Dior polishes, but the ridiculous stickers + price hike because of said ridiculous stickers made these a no go. I still want a good nude polish, but I think I'll finally pick up Lippmann Naked. Also, I already have Dior Electric Blue.
  • Same with YSL Bleu Celadon. I may still cave and buy it in a moment of weakness, but for the moment, I'll settle with both Dior Porcelaine and St. Tropez; neither are direct matches, but they are in the same family (still...I wear both quite often and am halfway through my bottle of St. Tropez, so we'll see what happens.)
  • YSL Bleus Lumiere palette, $60. The colors still make me swoon, but I've never gotten on with the texture of YSL shadows, and I already decided on the Marc Jacobs, above, which is similarly colorful.
That wraps us up. What have you passed on and indulged in lately?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Shiseido Lacquer Rouge RD319 Pomodoro

[Product was purchased by me. Products marked * were gifts from friends.]

Liz said she wanted to see the other colors after I reviewed RD311 Rubelite yesterday, so here is RD319 Pomodoro. It's, erm, coral red? I consider it less dramatic than reds like NARS Mascate and Rouge d'Armani 400. RD 319 has more of a cream finish, although the longer you wear it, the more translucent it becomes.
Dr. Jart Detox BB cream as base, and Clarins bronzer* to warm it up a bit. Laura Mercier Sandglow and Khaki on eyes.

I like this color a lot - it may be my favorite of the bunch (BR616 here, RD311 here).
Also, it's spring here! Sunshine! Flowers!

I didn't take a photo of the tube because they're all black and look the same. This is kind of the cream finish version of Shu Uemura Sweet Devil Rouge - I'm all about these shades, recently (and they go with my hair). I think I can stop now, though.

So, have I convinced you yet? The last one I have is GD817 Athena, which I never wear on its own - but I'll try to take some lip swatches of it on its own, as well as layered over reds and pinks.

Ingredients: hydrogenated polyisobutene, diphenyl dimethicone, hydrogenated polydecene, isododecane, trimethyl pentaphenyl trisiloxane, dextrin palmitate, microcrystalline wax (cera microcristallina), silica dimethyl silylate, silica, dipentaerythrityl hexahydroxystearate, titanium dioxide (CI 77891), Red 6 (CI 15850), Yellow 5 (CI 19140), mica, iron oxides (CI 19140), red 7 (15850), dipropylene glycol, PEG/PPG-36/41 dimethyl ether, tocopherol, calcium stearate, aluminum hydroxide, butylene glycol, water (aqua), polysilicone-2, oryzanol, limonene, nylon-12, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) oil, crategus monogyna flower extract, iron oxides (CI 77491), iron oxides (CI 77492), blue 1 (CI 42090), red 27 (CI 45410), diisostearyl malate, glyceryl diisostearate.

The Final Rosy Pink Pick: Shiseido RD311 Rubelite

[Product was purchased by me.]

I told you I was on the lookout for a nice, rosy nude shade. I tested out Dior Grège 1947, and I didn't feel instant love for the formula (though it was just from a sample card), so I didn't run out to buy it. (Plus, you guys made me buy Trafalgar).

But I was at the Macy's Shiseido counter picking up a pre-order of skincare (GWP time!), and since I was being helped by my favorite SA, we played with some of the colors. She showed me a fun way to use my YE406 trio (see here), and I picked out a warm, rosy pink Lacquer Rouge to try - RD311, Rubelite.
It has a faint shimmer and is a pinky beige, not too gray and not too cool. It's a great shade; like Dior Grège 1947, it's an easy-to-wear shade, but in a lipstick-gloss hybrid (I've previously reviewed a Lacquer Rouge here). It is a bit tacky, but it's not drying and the tackiness is alleviated with reapplications at reasonable intervals (I don't expect my lip colors to stay all day - I find that any formula will get drying if left to fade for hours, so I reapply.).
Same makeup mentioned above, done by my favorite Shiseido SA at a Macy's. Wearing Shiseido Sheer and Perfect foundation, a touch of bronzer, and the YE406 trio.

RD311's finish is a touch more creamy and opaque than BR616, but I think I like the formula of that one slightly better - it's a touch less sticky and easy to even out (I think the shimmers make this one a little thicker). Still, this fits the bill for what I wanted. It pairs well with colorful looks, and neutral looks.
Sorry, I didn't have a photo where I actually looked at the camera. On eyes here: Catrice 720 Papaya Don't Preach and theBalm Risque Renee over Clinique Massive Midnight; Guerlain Sunny Pink on cheeks, and Dr. Jart Detox BB Cream as a base.
I have two more Lacquer Rouges that I haven't blogged about, actually - RD319 Pomodoro and GD817 Athena. I will try to get those up at some point, but obviously, I like these a lot. They have a touch of shine without being GLOSSY (like the Lancôme Lip Lovers), and offer more opaque coverage, as well. I need to get RD607 Nocturne, and well...the list grows. I reach for them often.

Have you hopped on board the liquid-balm-gloss-lipstick-hybrid-what's-it train? What's your favorite formula? Do you have any of these?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

ESQIDO: Luxe Lashes

[Post features press samples.]
Esqido Oh So Sweet lashes.
I'm pretty rubbish at applying false lashes (though I did do my own for my engagement photos...and that was it, ha!), but I can't deny that they give a gorgeous effect. I don't wear them regularly, but I've often admired how they can amp up a look.
Lashlorette. The lashes are exquisite, and sturdy without being stiff or unnatural.
I was given the chance to try ESQIDO false lashes (they are sourced from naturally shed mink hairs and Esqido works to ensure the hairs were obtained in a manner that does not harm the animal; I do wonder what mink farms are for, though?). I opted for Oh So Sweet and Lashlorette, which both have a 3x volume rating on Esqido's site (out of 5) because I wanted something with a bit of boom to them. There is a nice range of more natural lashes (volume 1) to full on KABOOM lashes.
Ι used Ardell's Clear Adhesive this time, but I wouldn't recommend it - it smells really bad and is so, so, so sticky. Gooey. Goopy. My eyelids felt sticky for hours after removal and washing my face.
I like clear glue for lashes, and I usually don't apply eyeliner if I'm going to apply false lashes - especially ones with a thicker black lash band. It gets messy if I have to redo the positioning (and I ALWAYS do), and it's not necessary in the end. I do curl my lashes, but I don't apply any mascara.
Tweezers are from Mont Bleu*.
I trimmed the lashes and then used tweezers to apply them; it's a rough business, and I feel like my fingers are too big and my eyes are too small and whatever the whole time, but tweezers help to make it so that I can at least see what's going on. After setting them, I do feel like there are fuzzy caterpillars on my eyes, but that's a side effect of all false lashes - I'm just not used to them. The Esqido lashes are soft and fluttery but still hold their shape, which is really nice. I like the thick, lush effect of the cross-layered hairs of the versions that I chose.
For reference: bare lashes, just eye shadow (Shiseido's BE213 trio).
And now, the full effect. Don't laugh.
I curl lashes (real + false) together after applying, and that's it. The Esqido lashes are beautifully curled - I just lightly curl them all together to fit my own lashes against the false lashes.

Sorry for the color change. Here's a full face look. I figured since I had these fancy lashes on, I had to go the full distance with red lips (Dior Trafalgar, for those curious).
Wearing Oh So Sweet.
Other makeup: Dior Diorskin Nude compact in 030 Medium Beige, Bobbi Brown Corrector in Peach, Tarte Stellar, Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous.

Goodness gracious, they're pretty. I wish I were better at applying them - but I guess that comes with practice. These can be reused up to 25 times if cared for properly (remove them first and peel off the glue - don't use any detergents or oils on them) and we'll see if I can find more occasions to glam up. If you need special occasion lashes, I'd definitely look at these. They are an investment, but they look beautiful and they can be reused, so that helps against the cost.

For more:
Beauty Reflections: Lashmopolitans!
Beauty Reductionista: Little Black Lash

Friday, April 18, 2014

Dior Diorskin Nude Compact Medium Beige 030

[Product was purchased by me.]

I still haven't gone back to wearing foundation daily (a few months ago, I just stopped...all of my liquid foundations were feeling heavy and I wasn't liking the finish anymore), but recent skin issues made me want to dabble in foundations again. I used to love powder foundations, so I thought perhaps I'd give that a go again. After reading Lena's review (very convincing, it was), I opted for Dior's Diorskin Nude Compact in 030 Medium Beige. 

The compact is hefty and pretty (closes solidly with a nice click), and it comes with both a sponge applicator and a brush. The brush is flat and decent, but I rarely use it - I opt for a kabuki (Ecotools).

The box claims: "Dior Foundation Nude, 1st Dior foundation specially enriched with naturally derived skincare ingredients for a complexion that is even more "nude" and sublime in all types of lighting. Skin becomes more beautiful and radiant day after day."

The formula is supposed to offer skincare benefits over time, as well as light-medium (depending on whether you use a brush or the sponge) coverage. I certainly don't expect my foundation to substitute for skincare or anything like that, but I'm not going to object to a boost (even if the ingredients that are supposed to contribute to skincare are toward the bottom of the list).
Ack, I guess it's hard to tell here. I could tell the difference in pictures, but maybe I just stared at them too long and too hard. This is right after application - the powder does warm up after 5-10 minutes (so after I've finished applying everything else - eyes, cheeks, lips) it will match my skintone a little better.
What I am interested in is the coverage - and it's lovely. It's just enough to even out skintone and give my face a soft glow - it makes skin look alive, you know? Less dull, less patchy. I need undereye corrector and concealer to hide really dark spots, but I'm happy dusting this all over my face and standing in front of a crowded lecture hall (~300 students). It goes on a little pale and powdery at first, but warms up in a few minutes.
Wearing Diorskin Nude Compact Medium Beige 030 all over as foundation.

Powder isn't very forgiving on texture, so if you are experiencing #dryskinwoes, this isn't the best route. I think a well-moisturized face makes a huge difference (but that's the case with most foundations); I also often finish with MAC Fix+ to bring some life back into my face, if necessary. This one is a winner, though. I've been alternating this with the other foundation I've been trying (Shiseido's Sheer and Perfect - will bring that one to you in a few).

Are you a powder foundation girl? Do you use powder just for touch-ups?

Ingredients: talc, mica, boron nitride, synthetic fluorphlogopite, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, diphenyl dimethicone/vinyl diphenyl dimethicone/silsequioxane crosspolymer, nylon-12, phenyl trimethicone, magnesium myristate, titanium dioxide, acrylates/stearyl acryalate/dimethicone methacrylate copolymer, silica, octyldodecyl stearoyl stearate, aqua (water), dimethicone, pentylene glycol, sodium dehyroacetate, lauroyl lysine, caprylyl glycol, dimethicone/methicone copolymer, BHT, sericin, phenoxyethanol, sodium myristoyl glutamate, glycerin, hibiscus sabdariffa flower extract, rhodochrosite extract, malva sylvestris (mallow) extract, hydrolyzed linseed extract, balanites roxburghii seed oil, alumnium hydroxide, citric acid, potassium sorbate, sorbic acid, ajuga turkestanica extract.
[+/- CI 77007 (ultramarines), CI 77163 (bismuth oxychloride), CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 (iron oxides), CI 77891 (titanium dioxide)].

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Snapshot: Currently Loving, April 2014

Hi. Let's talk about some fun things in April.

First, if you follow me on Instagram, you'll have seen that we adopted a new dog. 
New member of the family. Sheeba! 7 year old Cattle Dog/ Border Collie Mix.
She and Dennison are progressing; Dennison's a bit of a catdog, so he doesn't really know how to dog. She really likes him, though, and follows him everywhere. It's helping him stay occupied when we leave the apartment, which is excellent. We've been thinking about another dog, and the behavioralist suggested that it might be a good idea for Dennison. Sheeba is a sweetheart.

Next love: scented Sarasa pens. I like to write out my lecture notes, old-school style, and these come in fun colors and are tea-scented (e.g., "lemon tea, milk tea, grape tea etc."). Also loving the Exacompta journal (they're refillable). (You can find these things at Jetpens!).

I've also been dabbling in fun, bright spring shades for nails. Below: Dior Porcelaine, Lucky, Saint Tropez, Electric Blue; Sephora Formula X Astrolady (textured glitter, but for some reason, I really like it!) and Unstoppable.

Last thing: been collecting some fun jewelry pieces to brighten up work outfits (I try to dress like a grown-up for my lectures). I am liking these pieces from Olive + Piper (purchased during their April Fool's Day sale) and also these cute sterling silver bee studs from Tashi.

What have you been up to lately? The weather has been getting warmer (and fabulous!) and it's nice to be outdoors more and more. I'm also relieved to be putting away the heavy winter coats and taking out dresses and cute sandals. Any recent finds? How are you enjoying spring? 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Celebrity Advertising Works: Lancome Lip Lover in Framboise Etoile

[Product was purchased by me.]

Especially if that celebrity has Lily Collins's face.
[image source: Sephora]
Lancôme has never been one of my go-to brands, mostly because it reminds me of my mom's insufferably snobby friends, who are all die-hard fans of the brand and thus are all apparently "too good for makeup" because their (very expensively pampered) skin is too beautiful on its own. (You can't make this stuff up, I'm not even kidding.)

But Tracy said these were good, so I stopped to take a look while I was in Sephora, spritzing all the smells (holy cow, Alien is one scary beast - killer jasmine plants ftw) and wringing my hands over the price tags on Shiseido skincare. My eye was immediately drawn to Framboise Étoile for reasons unknown to me (fuchsia? Raspberries!), and then I realized that it was the shade on the advert plastered so helpfully on the rack. I.e., the one Lily Collins was rocking. OK FINE.
Framboise Etoile on bare lips. It is shiny. Gives off a reflection like you see in cartoons or comics.
It has the faintest scent that I can't detect once I put it on my lips, and it's initially lightweight, though it hugs the surface of lips. It gets tackier with wear, but it's not uncomfortable. Reminds me of Shiseido's Lacquer Rouges, although those are a teensy bit tackier (reapplying usually remedies this). The nice thing is that with reasonable reapplication (~2 hours, more often if eating/drinking), lips aren't left dry or flaking at the end of the day.
I need to go back to my Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye cream for PM. EYE BAGS BEGONE.
I don't have a Dior Fluid doohickey, so I can't tell you how those compare. (I stopped to look at the Dior counter in a Macy's, but fled after an overly aggressive SA wanted to put me down for credit cards and mailing lists and shook my hand even after I said I was just looking. Seriously. What.) The Maybelline Lip Elixirs are also comparable (though they are slightly stickier and not as vinyl-shiny). These are $23, which surprised me for some reason.

I like the formula but haven't fallen in love with any other shades (and I am completely done buying lip products for the next millennia). If you are looking to try one of the new liquid-gloss-balm-lipstick-shiny-things, though, this one ranks up there!

Other makeup worn:
Bobbi Brown Corrector in Peach
MAC Strut Brow Pencil
NARS Smudge-proof Eye Shadow Base
Shiseido RD299 (middle shade), VI308 (middle shade) trios
Sephora Long-Lasting Liquid Liner in Glitter Brown (old formula)
Senna Cosmetics Clarity
Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous*

*was a gift from a friend

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Dior Grege, That Perfect Rosy Pink

[This was a sample card that came with a previous purchase.]

Those Dior people are the worst, man. They give you these little sample cards with all the pretty colors.

I wore 844 Trafalgar here (and I bought it, thank you for all of your terrible fabulous advice). I also wore 999 here, but I need another true red like...yeah. I don't.

Work-safe, natural colors, though - I do need. (Actually, if you cheat and scroll down, you'll see that I have enough other colors for a comparison, so ok, lies.) I wanted a warm pink that was bright enough to look youthful (i.e., not super gray-toned), but not bright enough to be...bright. (I am as eloquent as a pre-teen trying to score a date to the dance right now, go me). So I dug into 167 Grège 1947.
Wearing Rouge Dior 167 Grège 1947.
Necklace: Leith Multi Triangle Statement necklace (Nordstrom).
And this fits the bill. It's the perfect MLBB-if-my-lips-were-like-roses (hey I think someone's used that before) and even though it looks like I have similar shades, on lips, they're not the same. *cough*
L-R: Clinique Flirty Honey, Rouge d'Armani 510, Rouge Dior 167 Grège 1947,  Dior Addict Garçonne, Rouge Dior 428 Pisanellle Pink (old formula), Tarte Matte Lip Tint in Exposed.

The closest are the Dior Addict in Garçonne (not as pink - more coral/beige/nude with sparkles) and old Rouge Dior in Pisanelle Pink (more gray, darker); 167 Grège 1947 swatches more beige but shows up a rosy nude on my lips. It was a little drying when I wore it (compared to 844 Trafalgar), but I think hope that if when it's applied from the bullet, it will wear more like the other Rouge Diors that I know and love.

Oddly, this shade is not available at Sephora - just Nordstrom and Macy's (haven't checked other sites). $34 like the rest, and I'm waffling. Like a waffle.

What's your favorite rosy pink/mlbb shade?

Friday, April 4, 2014

YSL Red Agate: A New Cream Blush Love

[I bought this item with my own monies.]
YSL 08 Red Agate.
I really like YSL's creme de blush formula, which is marketed as "cream-to-powder." I use a MAC Stippling brush (188) because it's a really soft texture that is easy to pick up on the long, thin duo-fibre brush. I've been used to cream blushes that are less intense in color and really having to stipple color onto cheeks, so the first time I used this, it was a disaster. For Red Agate, I only need the slightest hint of color on the white part of the brush. The color is a beautiful, warm, natural flush - completely shimmer free.
Single swipe. Yep, it's that pigmented. 

As cream blushes go, this one is more mousse-like in texture. If you stuck a finger in it, it would leave a very visible "smoosh," (like sticking your finger in soft buttercream frosting - don't lie, I know you've done it) versus the little dents you would get if you stuck a finger in a harder blush like the limited edition Diors (I know I previously said that YSL and Dior cream blushes were similar, but the YSL is easier to blend out). I don't notice any fading by the end of the day, but I don't usually have problems with blush fading or disappearing.
Wearing YSL 08 Red Agate on cheeks (with some highlighter)

I've been pairing it with red and orange-red lipsticks and glosses, and it's completely gorgeous. For me, with my current coloring (and red hair), it's a more flattering shade than most pinks.

 At $38, it's definitely on the pricey end, but it's easy to blend out. The packaging is also hefty and luxe. I know YSL has those fancy lip/cheek things out now, but my attention still gravitates toward these.

For more (and to see Red Agate on different folks): Tracy reviewed Red Agate here, and Rae reviewed it here. For brighter shades, see Emma's favorites.

ingredients: cyclopentasiloxane, hydrogenated polyisobutene, dimethicone, octyldodecanol, hdi/trimethylol hexyllactone crosspolymer, polyethylene, dimethicone crosspolymer, nylon-12, talc, alumina, dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, dimethiconol, silica, parfum/fragrance, tocopheryl acetate, caprylyl glycol, triethoxycaprylylsilane, rosmarinus officnalis (rosemary) extract, benzyl alochol, linalool. [+/-]: CI 77891/ titanium dioxide, mica, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499/ iron oxides, CI 15850/ red 7 lake, CI 19140 / yellow 5 lake, CI 45410 / red 28 lake, CI 15895 / yellow 6 lake, CI 15850 / red 7.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Beauty of Science #7: What is pH?

Remember these? The Beauty of Science posts are back, now that I am no longer writing a dissertation, ha (if you're new to the series, I'd start with one). We've covered sunscreens, oils, soaps. I'm always looking for topics, too, so feel free to send me some!

Today, though, I wanted to cover pH. Many products claim to personalize your shade based on your individual pH, and I thought I'd address that today.

In chemistry, pH = -log ([H+]). (Stay with me, guys). This simply means it's a measurement of the H+ (or proton) concentration of a solution - a measurement of how acidic or basic a solution is. What that means in practical terms, is shown below. pH runs on a scale from 0 - 14, with acidic solutions falling in the lower end of the scale, and basic solutions at the high end of the scale.

You'll see familiar items on the graphic: vinegar is acidic at pH ~2, water is neutral at 7, bleach is basic at ~13. Solutions at the extreme ends of the scale usually aren't great for humans to touch or consume (i.e., oven cleaner, pH ~13 or battery acid at pH 0) and biological functions generally flourish at near-neutral pH (i.e., ~7; for example, the pH of human blood is ~7.4).

Dikstein reports that the pH of skin ranges from 4-6 (thus called the "acidic mantle of skin" - also helps us sidestep the problem of skin being a solid rather than a solution...#chemistproblems); it differs between different areas of the body, and seems to be related to race and genetic background.[1]

What this means is, the skin pH of most people is going to fall within that range (healthy, alive people, that is). The pH of my skin? Probably from 4-6. The pH of your skin? Probably from 4-6. The idea of a "personalized product for your pH!" is therefore rather a stretch. (Incidentally, this is why straight up lemon juice as a facial treatment is considered damaging. It's pH ~2. Products that contain lemon juice as an ingredient probably have other items to balance out the pH - I am hoping! - so I don't write those off without further research).

Bonus: This great post at Of Faces and Fingers explains how the "color-changing" ingredients work; it's a worthwhile read and really informative.

1. S. Dikstein and A. Zlotogorski, Measurement of skin pH, Acta Dermato-Vereologica (Stockh) Suppl., 185, 18-20 (1994).

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