Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Versatile and Comfy: Ilia Tinted Lip Conditioner in These Days

[Product was sent by PR for review. All opinions are my own and there are no affiliate links.]

I don't think I've mentioned before how much I love Ilia Beauty's packaging; such elegant and simple tubes, and even better - they're recycled aluminum. And, of course, they make a pretty little collection. I liked Ink Pot, one of their lipsticks, and was hopeful for their tinted lip conditioner.
Ilia Beauty These Days tinted lip conditioner ($26). Cirque Colors Lichen on nails.
Described as a "dirty nude," These Days is a tinted lip conditioner meant to "soothe and condition the lips," and "carries a sheer touch of color that increases in intensity when applied liberally." It's versatile, comfortable and so pretty, with just that touch of shimmer - like your favorite skirt that fits so well and goes with everything. It applies on lips smoothly and softly (even less drag than with Ink Pot); even though it has shimmer, it never feels gritty or drying. Color wise, it's a pretty peachy terra-cotta with subtle gold shimmer. Coverage starts on the sheer side, but it can be built up - the color intensifies without the texture becoming goopy or heavy. I kind of love it. It has a soft, faintly herbal scent, which I personally like, because it is simply the result of the ingredients, rather than an additional opaque "fragrance" tag (at least, that is my understanding; full ingredients list can be found here).
Wearing These Days on its own, applied at...lipstick strength? (A few passes).
Ilia Beauty also suggests using These Days to soften or add variety to other shades, so that lipsticks you already own become more versatile! I am on board. I've done this before, with lip gloss (long ago), and was a bit wary about doing it with lipstick, since then you get messy bullets blah blah blah. It was fine. I applied These Days first, because then I figured I'd get more of the conditioning benefit, and also because then I don't have a dark lip color smeared all over the lighter bullet. I chose to try it with MAC Living Legend, a matte lipstick I picked up when it was released and then put away, because while I usually have no qualms about rocking a vampy lip, this one was quite severe - and I was really pale at the time, and it was...intense. These Days softened it up beautifully, while still keeping the drama. I can see this adding a beautiful sheen to red lipsticks, too - especially during the holidays!
MAC Living Legend (matte, LE) applied over Ilia Beauty These Days. I love this combination! Living Legend on its own is a little severe (especially when I'm pale), but it's a "wearable" vamp when softened with These Days.

However, I will mention that the lipstick bullet broke off at the base the first time I tried to apply it. I'm pretty careful, and the bullet isn't overly soft, so I'm not sure if it's just a result of it being delivered on a hot summer day - I didn't try it on the same day, and our house has AC. I managed to firmly press the bullet back into the plastic base within the tube, but it's a little banged up and smashed from pressing into the rim when I tried to apply it; the bullet wobbles now and occasionally needs to be pressed back in. A shame, but I'm hopeful that it's not a common issue, as I haven't read or heard any other complaints about it. Just...be careful and don't destroy your beauty! Ha!

These Days is $26 and can be purchased on Ilia Beauty's website here. I appreciate that it actually delivers on the "lip conditioner" promises; many "tinted" lip treatments can't be distinguished from lipsticks, but this one does seem to have an extra oomph in texture and feel. They have a version with sunscreen now - totally eying that up, since they were successful with this!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday Sessions XI

Currently...

Wondering:

Guys, how do you make friends as adults? We've always been in school, and then last year we were living apart and mostly concerned with the whole long distance marriage thing, but now we're living in the same state and city again, and...how do you make friends? I'm shy and not great in groups of people I don't know. I tried a few Meetups when I was here by myself, but had to force myself to go and didn't really have a great time. S and I are going to start climbing again after his marathon (he's running a relay team this time) and maybe that will help. I also go to aerial classes, which is how I made really great friends in Seattle (many of whom I still keep in touch with), but while a lot of people in Seattle were also transplants, most of the people I've met here have grown up in Maryland, and already have established friend circles. And our neighbors are all older, with kids - which doesn't mean we can't make great connections, but it'd be nice to find other young couples with similar interests. Do any of you guys struggle with this, too? How have you met other people the same age? Any advice?

Looking for:

A great neutral shadow trio. This is my all-time favorite (review here), but as you can see, it's getting down there, ha! I kind of just want to repurchase it, but I also want to try something new. But what if the new thing isn't as good? First world problems, I know. Still. I want something not too warm and not too cool (I have a cool palette from Bobbi Brown that I quite like). I was eyeing this Viseart palette in Cashmere - anyone tried?

Listening to:
[image source]

Kaleo. S came home one day and told me he heard a band on the radio that he thought I'd love.

He was right. They're an Icelandic rock band with an almost Americana, folk/bluesy sound. I've been listening to their debut album, A/B - it's good.

Otherwise, I've been trying to find a new podcast to listen to, since I finally caught up with My Dad Wrote a Porno and now have to wait for them to release episodes every week. I couldn't get in to Criminal, Sporkful, Lore, and a few others, although the premises sounded good. Any recommendations? I still like Myths and Legends, season one of Serial (couldn't get into season 2), Embedded, and Limetown, and adore My Dad Wrote a Porno.

Link love:
- Crows and ravens are super clever. And this is hilarious.
- How do you feel about bidets?
- I'm excited about Hidden Figures! The book is on my to-read list now, too.
- Especially after Katrina, I always think of the animals that are stranded after devastating events. Here are ways to help those in Louisiana after the flood.
- Lolz. S said this would totally be me.

Anyway, today we're off to DC for brunch and a trip to the Air and Space museum! How are you spending your Sunday? Have any fun links? Drop them in the comments!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

FOTD: Finally on the Taupe Train with Shiseido Pink Sands

[Products marked * were gwp samples; all others were purchased by me or received as gifts from friends.]
I KNOW, AN FOTD. 

I'm feeling kind of artsy again. Or at least, like I want to spend more than three minutes on my face, and do a little more than slap on concealer and brows.
Shiseido Pink Sands Trio - RD711.
Plus, I got excited, because up until a few weeks ago, I wasn't really into this Pink Sands trio. Which kind of hurt my heart a little (drama much, I know), because I love Shiseido trios - previously documented here, and here). But the peachy shade is a little too pale, the pink borders on a rash for me, and the taupe was...eh. Taupe. Nothing to get your knickers knocked about for, right?
Taupe shade from Pink Sands on eyes, layered over Laura Mercier Sand Glow Caviar Stick, with the dark brown shade from Shiseido OR302 in the crease.
But I started playing around with it (and I also picked up some MAC eye brushes lately, which seems to have made a huge difference in how shadows apply) and ok, I get it. Taupe is pretty. *flutters fingers in a sparkly motion*
Ohhh, there's dog fluff in my hair, ha!
Other makeup:
Makeup Forever HD Blush in 520 Blackcurrant
Armani Fluid Sheer in 2 Shimmering Beige*

So, are you a taupe lover? Have you ever renewed your interest in a product that you had initially written off?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Summer is For Obnoxiously Bright Lipstick, and Nuxe Can Help

[Products marked * were provided by PR for review. All opinions are my own, unbiased. No affiliate links.]

I'm always torn at this time of year. On the one hand, it's too damned hot and I want to wear my new boots and I'm ready for some change, so I'm eagerly awaiting the change of seasons.

On the other, I'm always hopelessly behind in my blog schedule and need to post all of the summer features that I wanted to cover.

Like this one.

But it's ok! Because this will be handy all year round, for all those absurdly popular matte lipsticks right now (although Tracy is right. Why are they all BROWN? And pink BROWN. And mauve BROWN. And red BROWN.).

I love me a good matte lipstick (some favorites here and here), but they can require some extra prep work. And sometimes your lips really aren't feeling it, even if you are. A balm can help, but it can also change the texture of your matte lipstick a little too much, or the color, or make it slippery. I've never thought of a skincare product for lips filling in, but that's what I have here - and it totally works.

Nuxe's Nuxuriance Ultra line contains anti-aging products with ingredients like bougainvillea, wakame, and saffron. The product I'm talking about today is the Anti-Aging Eye and Lip Contour Cream* (0.5 oz for $49), which is a two-in-one cream for eyes and lips. I tried it on eyes a couple of times, but I've already got favorite night and daytime creams (Ole Henriksen Ultimate Lift Eye Gel and Shiseido Ibuki Eye Correcting Cream, respectively; the first is a great depuffing, firming gel, and the second has brightening properties) and this one doesn't compete there - it could be doing some anti-aging action, but I don't notice any depuffing. Where it does, shine, however, is as a lip cream.

It's different from their cult classic lip balm*; this cream sinks into lips immediately, making them soft and smooth. It's not waxy or sticky, and doesn't contain smoothing silicones (full ingredients list here). I like it at night, as a treatment - and I don't have to worry about balm traveling onto my pillow or on to the rest of my face - or, like I said earlier, as a quick prep step before wearing a matte lipstick. Because it sinks in immediately, it doesn't affect lipstick application. I pump the tiniest dot on my ring finger, gently smooth product into my lips, and boom - all done. It's not a balm, meant for reapplication - it's a skincare treatment. It's excellent.

I know, lip treatments aren't ever on my list of things I need to buy, but sometimes (especially in the winter), it's nice to be able to pull one out. This is on the pricier end at $49 for 0.5 oz, and while I dot think everyone needs a lip cream, it's one of those items that's nice to have on hand. In the US, it's available on Nuxe's website.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Pixie Dust: Hair Products for Pixie Perfection

[Products marked * were provided by PR for review. All opinions are my own and there are no affiliate links.]

Sometimes I have dreams that my hair has grown out, and I wake up feeling distinctly disgruntled.

Yeah, I'm not growing my hair out again for a long, long time.

It's also the haircut that I've gotten the most compliments on, so I take that as an indication that this style actually suits me, ha. (The other thing I get compliments on? Diptyque Eau Duelle. Without fail.)

Anyway. I don't fuss a lot with my hair. I have a pretty simple shampoo/conditioner, and after showering I work in a volumizing serum - this StriVectin Max Volume Bodifying Radiance Serum ($35) is what I'm currently using, and I like it. This green line is all about volume, and the serum keeps hair soft and shiny so that it has healthy volume, without being weighed down or limp. It has a faint smell that isn't offensive (it's a faint citrus) and that I hardly notice (you have to sniff it to pick it up). However, I usually shower at night, and although my hair usually dries by the time I go to bed, by the time I wake up in the morning, I am rocking a full medusa. Or those trolls that MAC has brought back. It is not glamorous.
So, I need to depoof my hair again. But flat hair isn't cute. I also need to add volume back. And sometimes I get fancy and want a piece-ier look with my bangs. So this is what I have going on.

To flatten my hair in the morning (or depoof, as it were), I just wet my hair completely (we have one of those detachable handheld showerheads which makes this easy). Then, I look like a drowned rat. So I spray some of the StriVectin Max Volume Root Lifting Serum ($26), comb my hair, and air dry. Sometimes I'll also spritz Redken's Wax Blast 10 (~$15-22) to keep that piecey, wet look. I have noticed that the volume I get back with the StriVectin spray is noticeable; if I just wet my hair and air dry, it can be a little flat. On the flip side, the Root Lifting Serum can be a little crunchy if I don't finger comb my hair after applying it and before styling. It's not heavy or greasy, though, and I don't feel like my hair has any gross residue or weight to it after application.
StriVectin Hair products are available on their site, Nordstrom and on Sephora; they also have a starter trio of the shampoo, conditioner and radiance serum and travel sizes for some of the products. They're sulfate-free. One thing I wanted to mention is that the Bodifying Radiance Serum contains their patented Lumiphyto Complex, which they say "transforms" UV light into visible light, thus creating "weightless radiance." Molecules can do this - it's essentially how chemical sunscreen works, by absorbing UV light and emitting the energy in some other form - but I am not sure that it would really have an aggregate visible effect. Still, in theory, it's interesting, and I am always for creative science. All of their hair products also contain their patented NIA-114 (which I've discussed before, here), and I've never thought about anti-aging products for hair before, nor can I comment on the efficacy. 

What products do you use on your hair, and what are your hair concerns? How do you feel about anti-aging hair products?
SaveSaveSaveSave
SaveSave

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Becca Ultimate Coverage Concealing Crème

[Product was purchased by me. No affiliate links.]

I mentioned Becca's Ultimate Coverage Concealing Crème ($32, 0.16 oz) in my recent base roundup post, and here's the in-depth (ish) report.

I use concealers daily, because I don't use foundation every day. I have some redness around my jawline that I like to conceal, but I don't always feel the need for a full face of foundation.
Left: Becca Aqua Luminous Perfecting Foundation in Light, and Becca Ultimate Coverage Concealing Crème in Tahini.

I've used and liked MAC Mineralize concealer (NC20) and NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer (Custard) previously, but this is the one I'll be repurchasing. It comes in a glass pot, which is my least favorite aspect, but it's too thick for any other form of packaging. It's absolutely a cream - thick but easy to apply in thin layers. I use my ring finger and dab it on the spots I want to coverage, and then buff out with a damp Beauty Blender, flat-topped brush, or round brush...basically, it's easy to buff out. If I am wearing foundation, I pat concealer on last, to get at anything that foundation doesn't cover, and it melds in beautifully.

It offers full coverage, but never cakes up, and it has a luminous quality without containing sparkles. It conceals without mattifying and keeps that "natural skin" appearance. Sometimes I set with powder, and sometimes I don't, but I never notice it slipping or pilling up or doing anything shady. I also love that it has yellow/golden undertones, and isn't too pink or orange like some concealers are (my shade is Tahini). I purchased mine at Sephora.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Something Quick: Dior Skyline Polish

[Product was purchased by me.]

I just wanted to throw this out there, because I couldn't find a lot of swatches when I was shopping for it, so this will be quick.

I have a soft spot for Dior polish. It's my favorite brand of polish, and lasts about a week or so (with proper base and top coats - my current favorites are Lippmann's All About that Base CC Base Coat, and Addicted to Speed top coat). I always keep an eye out for new releases, so I picked up Skyline (from Nordstrom, $27). I thought it would be an oxblood cream.
In shade - looks like a deep purple cream.
It's not, though. It's a dusty purple in shade, similar to Lippmann Miss Independent, but in sunlight - boom. It's a reddish chocolate brown, with that famous secret shimmer. It's quite unique, and perfect for autumn.
You can kind of see the shimmer. It's more pronounced than in some other recent polishes, but still...it's "secret."
The two US releases (as far as I can tell) are Skyline and Minimal; Minimal is a praline cream, and I'm eyeing it hard. I have Lippmann Naked, but Minimal is an opaque cream (from what I can tell, anyway), so...we'll see. Still, I feel like Dior's polish prices go up every year, so I don't know. $27 is getting up there.

I purchased mine at Nordstrom, but it's available at most Dior beauty retailers. I believe it's limited edition - most of their seasonal releases are. These still feature that fabulous wide brush, which I love. Also, even though I'm not into any of the other products in this collection, I do love the promo photo:
[image source]

It's so deliciously VAMPY. I mean, maybe I should be looking at recreating that lipstick-gloss combo. And that eye look. I'm pretty sure I have enough STUFF to do it. And I haven't tackled a FOTD in a long time. OK, SELF, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

MD Solar Sciences MD Crème Mineral Beauty Balm: All Mineral, All Fab

[Product was received from PR for review. Opinions are my own. No affiliate links.]

One of these years I'll get my act together and actually post a sunscreen review before summer.

Alas, this is not one of those years.

But summer's not over yet, at least? And really, I wear facial sunscreen all year long, so I'm gonna give myself a pass for this one.
All mineral! Broad spectrum coverage! SPF 50! Great makeup primer! It's the stuff of dreams, you guys.
I prefer all-mineral sunscreens, so even though I did like how Tatcha's sunscreen preps skin beautifully for makeup, I was still keeping an eye out for an all physical sunscreen facial cream. And this one fell into my lap. And it's amazing.

It's called a "mineral beauty balm," and is meant to do the usual things a BB cream does: even out skintone, provide broad spectrum coverage (active ingredients are 2% titanium dioxide, 17% zinc oxide, so it's UVA and UVB protection), and mattify the skin in preparation for makeup. I was a little wary, because "mattify" and dry skin don't usually mix, but I'm happy to report that this actually keeps my skin feeling supple and smooth. It does provide a nice base for makeup (it has typical primer ingredients: dimethicones), though it is pretty sheer in terms of coverage (less than your typical tinted moisturizer). However, the slight tint keeps it from turning my face white or gray, like other physical sunscreens can sometimes do. Because it doesn't really feel mattifying (although it's not oily or shiny), I think it's probably best for dry to combination skin; if you have oily skin, this might not be enough mattifying action for you.

I have the "light/medium" shade, which is perfect for me, but like I said, it's not really meant to be foundation. The amount above in my hand is actually maybe a little excessive. I squeeze the tube gently before application to mix together the ingredients (otherwise it separates - the instructions say to "shake well"), and the tube has a thin nozzle, so it's easy to squeeze out just what you want, despite my poor example above, lol.

This retails for $39 for 1.23 oz at Sephora, and I think it's my current favorite sunscreen. I have two other MDSolarSciences formulas to try, but since this one is a combination makeup primer and sunscreen, this one takes the cake so far.

What's your favorite sunscreen right now? Have you tried anything from MDSolarSciences?

Friday, August 12, 2016

Dior Addict Lip Glow in Coral: The Dior Disappointment

[Product was purchased by me. No affiliate links.]
Dior Addict Lip Glow in Coral.

Right, so, let's not beat around the bush. I'm a Dior lip product fiend - I like the Rouge Diors, the Addict lipsticks, and their lip gloss formula is hands down my favorite of all time. Funnily enough, however, I wasn't really interested in the one Dior lip product that everyone seems to love: the Addict Lip Glow. But then they came out with a coral shade, so I thought ok, why not. It's $33 for a tinted lip balm, but well, Dior prices, that's to be expected - it's definitely a splurge, but it would have been worth it if I loved it.

I don't love it.

I know! It's vanilla scented (a much better choice than the strong rose scent of the Rouge Diors), and not in that sickly synthetic MAC vein, either - it's rather yummy. It's soft and melds into lips, with a texture that is thinner and less waxy than the Fresh balms, but thicker and more transparent than an Addict lipstick. The finish is a sort of satiny stain - not glossy, but not matte or dry like those old school markers. This would have been good - I like this type of finish a lot (like this Ilia pencil, although the Dior Addict Glow is much more translucent).
Wearing Dior Addict Lip Glow in Coral.
The problem is that it doesn't really apply evenly, in my opinion - or at least, it takes a bit more work to apply it evenly than you really want with a balm. Also, it leaves a stain, but the stain isn't quite even, and you can easily end up with the dreaded ring around the edge of your lips. HOT. And, of course, if you apply more, you'll get a deeper color, so you can't really use it like a traditional balm just for moisturizing.

I'll use up my tube, because it's not offensive, but I don't love it - and I wanted to love it. I do wonder if the original pink shade is better, but cool pinks never do well with me, unless they're full blown BOOM lipsticks (like this one). I know many people love this one, though. So hey, you might too. Or you might not. We'll band together. Let me know.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Food Friday: Let's Talk TASTY

Bon Appétit has been running some interviews with Olympians, asking about their favorite food, meal rituals, etc., (Ryan Lochte, lol, let's just say it's a good thing he swims fast). They're fun, though, because food is relatable. So I thought I'd make my own tag, because you can't make me shut up about food.

1. What is your go-to meal for celebrations? Or do you always choose something new/different?
I usually want to try something different, but good go-tos are sushi or that new restaurant in town with the smashing cocktails.

2. What was your favorite childhood meal?
Hmmm...I love a lot of Korean food - my mom is a fabulous cook, and she makes great everything. I really like samgyupsal and bossam. I haven't had either since our Korea trip now, I think!

The other things are local dishes from HI - chicken katsu done local style, or lemon chicken, loco moco, lomi salmon,  laulau!

3. What is something you hated as a kid, but have grown to love?
Cheese. I actually didn't like cheese much as a kid (except on pizza), but now I'm definitely a fan.

4. And, the opposite - something you loved as a kid, but can no longer handle?
I'm lactose intolerant now, ha, but I refuse to give up dairy...I just take some lactase and buy lactose-free milk.

5. Something you still hate with a passion?
I don't think I really hate anything (except parsnips, the most confused root vegetable), but there are some foods I dislike immensely. Kidney beans, cucumbers (although I'll eat them pickled, but raw cucumbers smell disgusting to me)...that's all I can think of right now, actually!

6. What's a food that you love, but most people you know hate?
I know a lot of people hate mushrooms, but I LOVE them, and always have! I even like them raw on salads.

7. And because opposites are fun - something you hate, but most other people love?
Chocolate.

8. Favorite ice cream flavor/brand?
Ugh, I love ice cream, and gelato. I love mint (keep nasty chips!), good solid vanilla, cheesecake...the list goes ON AND ON. There's usually always a pint of Talenti Gelato in our freezer. Or two. Or five.

9. Favorite kind of cheese?
Depends what we're having, but every so often we have wine night, with cured meats, soft cheese (chèvre, brie, bleu) and jam. And olives or cornichons.

10. Happy hour! What do you order?
I'm adventurous with cocktails, as well, but I'm always drawn to whisky cocktails. I hate gin, and don't really like rum, either. Wine, beer, and vodka cocktails are ok.

11. What's your favorite meal to make?
As we all know, I hate cooking and prefer baking. I can make dukbokee and dwenjang jigae, though, and will muster up the willpower if S has a cold.

12. Fruit pie, or cream pie?
Fruit pie, all the way, although coconut cream is sometimes a solid choice, if it's not overwhelmingly sweet.

13. If you have a cold, what is your comfort food?
Korean soup or Thai noodle soup, or pho. Basically, soup, but I'm not really into American style chicken noodle when I'm sick, although S makes a good one and it's fine any other time.

14. Bad day - what do you reach for?
Ice cream or wine.

15. On the average, are you a sweet or savory breakfast food person?
Sweet, usually, but I'll eat pretty much anything for breakfast, including leftover pasta (or any leftovers), ramen, cake...you get the idea.

16. Favorite food-related show?
The Great British Bake-off! I also like Chopped and Worst Cooks of America. And Food Truck Race.

17. When eating out, do you save room for dessert?
Usually, yes. We don't eat out that often, so when we do, we tend to splurge and make it the full meal, but I will usually pick having a dessert over an appetizer if I'm not that hungry. And I don't mind sharing.

18. Favorite vegetarian meal?
We do Meatless Mondays (and actually only eat meat 1-2x a week), so I have a lot of favorite vegetarian meals. I'm going with risotto!

19. Favorite season for food?
I love summer because there's so much produce! BERRIES and watermelons, and it's grilling season, and splashy cocktails and sangria and cold treats are everywhere, and you can dine out on the patio at restaurants. It's all very casual and fun.

20. If you could only eat one type of cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be? (we threw this around as an icebreaker at a group lunch, once. It's a horrible, horrible question!)
I think I'd have to go with Italian. All that emphasis on fresh food, and PASTA. But I don't really want to choose, haha.

21. Restaurant on your wishlist:
I'm planning our anniversary weekend trip to NYC, and I'm hoping to get a reservation at Gramercy Tavern.

22. Favorite restaurant?
Joule, in Seattle.

23. What city would you want to visit just for the food?
Can we go with region? Tuscany. I've never been, and like I said earlier, I love Italian food. And it seems like it would be so beautiful there, as well.

24. Do you make a treat every holiday season? What is it?
When we were younger, mom used to make tons of mandoo (Korean dumplings, like Japanese gyoza or Chinese wonton) to give out to the neighbors, and to cook for ourselves. She doesn't do that anymore, and I definitely do not attempt this, but I have fond memories. S and I have had Christmases together at home for the past few years, and we like to make a full course meal that's simple but decadent. And I usually bake a couple times during the holiday.

25. You're in Target, and can't resist picking up this candy at the checkout line:
Gummi bears and Sour Patch Kids.

Seriously, I could probably talk about food forever. What are your answers? Let me know!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Ilia Beauty Multi-Stick in A Fine Romance

[Product was purchased by me. Others marked * were PR samples. All opinions are mine. No affiliate links.]

I liked the first two Multi-sticks that I received so much(All of Me, Cheek-to-Cheek), that I purchased two more on my own during a recent Safe and Chic sale: A Fine Romance, and I Put a Spell on You. The range has six shades in total, and the full ingredients list can be found on the Ilia Beauty product pages. The ingredient list isn't very long, and contains oils and butters, beeswax, corn starch. They also tell you what proportion (in %) of those ingredients are organic. I don't necessarily believe that blindly purchasing "organic" is always good, but I do appreciate a company that has a focus on ethically, sustainably sourced ingredients, and that also makes an effort to be transparent about their claims.

A Fine Romance is a berry shade. The Multi-sticks are meant to be used on lips, cheeks, and eyes, and I tested this one in all three ways below. I used A Fine Romance as a base on eyes, and then patted MAC Moleskin over it with a brush, for a soft, dusty wine combination. I finished with a navy liner (Sephora Slate). For cheeks, I use a ring finger to dab product on each cheek, then buff out with an angled blush brush. I apply it to lips straight from the bullet. It's big, but surprisingly easy to apply to lips.
A Fine Romance on eyes, lips, cheeks. 

I love berries like this, and as a blush, this shade pairs beautifully with berry and purple lipsticks, which I have also really been into. The texture of A Fine Romance is just as creamy and emollient as the other two that I have - easy to apply, but setting nicely on cheeks and remaining comfortable on lips. It's not the greatest for eyes - the color is quite subtle, and I think it works better as a base to help add interest to shades, but it's not meant to prime or increase longevity. But using a single product in multiple places at once helps to tie in a look sometimes, I think, and it makes traveling really easy.

The Multi-sticks run $34 and can be purchased at Ilia Beauty, Safe and Chic, and Beauty Habit.

For more, you can see A Fine Romance on Monika, here.