Sunday, August 6, 2017

New updates to my "Who Owns Who" post


It's that time again! Every 6 - 9 months, I like to pop back into my blog's most popular Who Owns Who post for updates. 2017 has been a slower year so far for corporate makeup M&A, but we have had some big news. I have also added some brands from comment requests.

Updates to the post include corporate ownership details for: 
  • Hourglass
  • Burberry
  • Milk
  • Younique
  • Clarins
  • Seed (ColourPop, Kylie)
I'm also thinking about a separate post for influencer / instagram / online brand ownership. I've been wondering lately where all of these brands come from and how they get their funding for quick product launches and huge marketing spending - looking at you Juvia's Place, Smith Cosmetics brushes, Storybook Cosmetics, Morphe... If this would be interesting to you or you have any brand suggestions, please leave a comment!

xoxo

How to tell if a blush shade has a warm, cool, or neutral undertone


We read a lot about makeup undertones online, but it can be really tricky figuring out our own undertones and the undertones of our products. I personally find blush to be tricky because blush sneaks up to the THIS IS TOO MUCH line so quickly.

Thing 1: Find your own undertone

My bare skin, photographed in natural light with no edits at all

Wearing foundation, plus neck comparison (I do not blend foundation down my neck)

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Thoughts on decluttering, reusing makeup containers, and *actually* using samples


Hello friends! I have talked about my decluttering / simplifying / no-buy journey several times on my blog (see here, here, and here), but today I want to share how it's going and talk about finding creative ways to use what you have.

First up: an update on my decluttering progress & no buy. I pretty much stopped decluttering / simplifying my collection within the last three months because I was satisfied with the state of my collection. Everything I own is something I use and enjoy. Some items only come out to play  seasonally or in certain moods, but that's a-okay by me.

I went about a year-ish on a very minimal purchase streak (an informal no-buy if you will) but I feel like that phase is also over. I no longer think about trying to force myself not to buy or limiting my urge to purchase, I am more naturally skeptical and inclined to ask myself if I *really* *actually* want it. I have purchased a few things lately that I have loved - a sunscreen replacement, a few eyeshadow singles from Essence, a new mascara - but nothing over the top.

I'm on my second year of not making Sephora VIB or Ulta platinum - it felt nice to pass the anniversary of not making the cut. I have also been continuing to reform my social media habits - I don't follow any beauty related stuff on snapchat, pretty much quit instagram, and have continued reforming my youtube subscriptions. I am down to two nail polishes plus a top coat, my favorite red and my favorite nude, which is a HUGE improvement from my previous collection of ~25 polishes. I have also been nurturing my reading and baking habits. I am pleased to announce my currant almond scone habit is still going strong :)


Let's talk about reusing what you have - quite a few of my everyday favorites are items with recycled packaging. If you love a product's packaging, keep on using it, even if you declutter the product inside. Some examples:

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Before & after: Tarte rainforest of the sea foundation in porcelain - pale dry skin review & swatches


Tarte Rainforest of the Sea is supposed to be a 12 hour lightweight, water based, full coverage formula with SPF 15. When the new lightest shade Porcelain came out, I was excited to give it a try. I usually try to get foundation samples at Sephora because my skin is sensitive and acne prone, but the dropper format is unhygenic for getting samples.

After trying it for the past few weeks, it is definitely a lightweight fluid, but I don't think it is full coverage. I would rate it a light-medium coverage - building serious coverage would require quite a few layers. I get light coverage with one dropper and medium with three. I could see someone using up 5-6 droppers full of foundation to get maximum possible coverage with this one. The dropper system gets messy, so I wouldn't advise traveling with this.


Swatches

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Review & comparison swatches: Giorgio Armani Power Fabric longwear high cover foundation shade 1


I recently went to Sephora looking for a new foundation and the SA recommended a sample of the new Giorgio Armani Power Fabric foundation. I was matched to shade 1, which is the lightest shade in the range and is meant for pink undertones. One my all time favorite foundations is Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk - I have shade 2, but it is a little too dark and yellow for me in the winter.

Swatches

As always, I take swatch pictures in natural light and don't edit the photos at all except to add labels. I like to swatch heavily to show the differences in shade - worn sheerly, all of these work on me. I have fair skin with netural undertones.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

The best sunscreen for wearing under makeup - Clinique Bbroad spectrum SPF 30 mineral sunscreen fluid for face review


I recently purchased the new Clinique SPF 30 mineral sunscreen fluid for face and am excited to share my thoughts on it. My previous favorite sunscreen was discontinued (big glare to Paula's Choice) and I have been trying a ton of sunscreen formulas this year. I enjoy the Clinique DDMG and DDML moisturizers, but have hesitated buying Clinique sunscreens in the past because they tend not to publish full ingredients lists online. I decided to go for it anyway, and I'm glad I did!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Affordable Japanese makeup brush - Mizuho PM11 eyebrow brush review


I'm finally getting around to posting a review of my favorite eyebrow brush - the Mizuho #11. I bought this on a whim from CD Japan about a year ago because I was curious about the brand and needed a brow brush. The PM-11 is very affordable (1500 yen, ~$13 USD before taxes & shipping)  and has a pink handle.


About Mizuho (瑞穂) Brushes

Compared to other Japanese artisanal makeup brush brands like Hakuhodo, Koyudo and Chikuhodo, Mizuho is not as well known in the United States. Mizuho brushes are handmade in the Kumano area of Japan. Like many other traditional Japanese brush making companies, Mizuho does sell private label. If you are curious about Japanese brushes, I have reviewed quite a few others on my blog.

The PM series is relatively affordable compared to some of their other lines and features cherry blossom pink handles. They do make other lines with different themes if pink handles don't appeal to you, but I personally think the pink handles are cute.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Fresh Sugar Cream Lip Treatment in Blush & Buff review and swatches


I love Fresh so I was so excited to see the new sugar cream lip treatments pop up in my local Sephora! I got samples of Blush and Buff to try.

I chose Blush because I can't resist mid tone mauve pinks (similar in tone/concept to Buxom Dolly or Bite Currant) and the Sephora SA talked me into a sample of Buff because she said it was the sheer balmy one. I have no idea why they are selling Buff as a sheer balm - it is a strongly pigmented coppery nude.


As you can see, the texture of the Fresh sugar cream lip treatment is thick and goopy. Both of these shades contain shimmer. The texture of the product seems inappropriate for the packaging they chose - these are so thick and pigmented that they should be in liquid lipstick style tube and wand applicators instead of a squeeze lip balm type tube. They are much too pigmented to apply with your fingers or without a mirror.

Swatches
 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Elf Studio Tone Correcting Powder in Cool review & swatches // comparison to Essence All About Matt


I recently ran out of my beloved Essence All About Matt powder, so I decided to play around and try something else this time around. I have heard great things on YouTube about the elf Studio Tone Correcting Powder in Cool, so I gave it a try. I paid $3.99 on the Target website.

Here's the long and the short of it: it is absolutely inferior to my favorite Essence All About Matt. It is also not the worst powder I have ever tried. 


I always keep a touch up powder compact in my commuting tote bag because I get shiny throughout the day. I'm always looking for powders that are pressed in a compact, don't look cakey on the skin, and keep my shine at bay for a few hours at a minimum. Unfortunately, the elf tone correcting powder broke immediately and doesn't keep my skin matte for more than 30 minutes. I'm not particularly rough on my travel bag (I have never broken an Essence All About Matt or L'Oreal True Blend traveling) and I don't have oily skin. The elf studio tone correcting powder didn't cake up on top of foundation, but it also didn't seamlessly melt into the skin the way hd silica powders do.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Haul & Review: Essence The Velvets 05 Taupe Secret / 01 Fluffy Clouds (bonus: Long Lasting Eye Pencil in Hot Chocolate)


I recently ran out of my all time favorite mattifying & touchup powder, Essence's all about matt, so I placed an order on Essence's website. For some reason, the Ulta website doesn't have the new The Velvets eyeshadow line and I was excited to try them out. I chose 01 fluffy clouds and 05 taupe secret.


A quick shoutout to for the Essence US website - a $15 free shipping minimum is great, they shipped quickly, and they threw in a free nail file! As always, I paid for everything myself and Essence has never heard of me.

As far as I can see, you can only buy the Essence The Velvets eyeshadow line on the Essence website in the US. I expected to be able to buy them on the Ulta website, but they aren't listed there.

Essence The Velvets packaging

  • The Velvets eyeshadows come in clear acrylic compacts that are thin and easy to store
  • I paid $2.49 each
  • Each eyeshadow has 2.8 grams of product
  • The main ingredients are talc, mica, and corn starch, followed by some other minerals like zinc, dimethicone, pigments, and the usual (and necessary) ingredients to keep everything sanitary and shelf stable
  • The Velvets have a matte appearance in the pan and in swatches, but if you look up close they are NOT 100% MATTE! I'm guessing that due to mica being the second ingredient, there is some subtle sheen that shows through in some lights. They look matte on first application, but after a full day of wear or in direct sunlight, you might see some sheen. 
  • They have a cute quilted pattern stamped on the top
Swatches of 01 Fluffy Clouds &  05 Taupe Secret

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Sephora & Ulta - 2017 Free makeup birthday gifts with swatches


I do this post every year, and I'm so excited about the 2017 free makeup birthday gifts! I love getting makeup freebies, plus I have a February birthday so I'm happy to share swatches & my thoughts early in the year. It's snowing like crazy today in Boston, so no outside pics this year.

Sephora 2017
Sephora has three birthday gift choices for the year of 2017. I saw two available in store in the Boston area. The options are:
  1. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Paaarty & Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint in Birthday Suit
  2. Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum and Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet 
  3.  Jack Black Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser and Clean Break Oil-Free Moisturizer. This one looks like its online only, but let us know if you see it in your local store!  

As always, I did no photo editing so you can see the most accurate color - I only edit to add watermarks and shade labels. The Paaarty blush (why couldn't they just name it Party?!? Tarte makes me feel like a grumbly old lady) is matte and is a peachy nude. A+ for choosing a matte shade, I rarely wear shimmery blushes because they look horrible with pores/skin texture.

For context, I swatched this shade next to some shades you may be familiar with. I threw in Bobbi Brown Pale Pink on the end so you could see it next to an actual cool toned shade for reference. Compared to Tarte Thankful, one of the most basic warm pinks ever, you can see Paaarty is more nude and peachy. NARS Douceur, my favorite nude blush, is more plummy and brown. In case you thought Paaarty was too tan, I swatched NARS Laguna at the other end for reference.

On my fair cool toned skin, Paaarty shows up and looks pretty, but it isn't my favorite. I personally prefer cooler toned pinks, but I could see this shade working well for most fair-light-medium skintones. If you have skin deeper than a medium tan, I doubt this would work at all.

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