Monday, September 29, 2014

Highlighters and illuminators

I’ve spent quite some time and money in the last few months looking for the perfect highlighter and/or illuminator. Somehow I know that when the dull, grey autumn and winter months come rolling in, I’ll need a bit of light in my life. Below, you’ll find some of the products I’ve tried out and whether or not I will get some use out of them. 

First up is my first purchase in this category, the NYX Born to glow liquid illuminator in 01 (Sunbeam) which I picked up at Moja drogerija for about 10 €. 

I'm sorry about this swatch being so different in lighting - my camera was obviously throwing a fit again.
It’s a beautiful product which is super easy to apply on the cheekbones and brow bone as well. It has some shimmer in it, but isn’t too glittery to use all over the face - I’ve actually mixed some of it into my foundation a couple times during the summer for clubbing nights and it looked perfect as well. This will probably end up in my empties pretty soon since I’ve almost used it up in about 2 months.  It’s a product I would definitely recommend for all seasons. 

Next up, we have the Essence Soo glow – cream to powder highlight (mine is in 20  - Bright up your life) which I got in one of the DM stores on sale for about 3 €. 

I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by this highlighter. I am normally not a big fan of most Essence products but this one does its job. It’s not exactly as heavily pigmented as the NYX highlighter but it’s really creamy and easy to apply and again, not too shimmery not to be appropriate for any season of the year. The only issue I have with this is the promise in the name – I don’t have the feeling of it transforming into a powder once it’s applied. However, you really can’t beat the price-quality ratio of this product – I think it will last me ages to use this up. It can also double as a base for your eyeshadow pretty well. 

I picked up the Bourjois Delice de Poudre duo Bronzing powder & highlighter on Look Fantastic. The price of this was again around 10 €, so similar to NYX. 

I must say I am not a big fan of this product as far as highlighting goes. It’s a bit too light to be a highlighter, I see it more as being an all-over illuminator, but as such it’s a pain to apply because it has the form of a powder and you’d need quite some time to get it just right in my opinion. When I want the highlighting effect from this product, I have to apply it so heavily it actually feels heavy on my skin and I'm also not sure it doesn't look a bit to grey for an overall use. So I will probably use the bronzer (which I must also review in the near future probably), but this highlighter will likely remain intact. 

The Me Me Me Beat the blues illuminator which I got at reminded me somewhat of Benefit High Beam by the color and the form – it’s a liquid illuminator which you apply with a nail polish-like wand directly to your face.  It cost about 6 € if my memory serves me right, but they’re out of stock right now so there’s no way to check. 

 I have tried the Benefit High Beam in Sephora a couple of months ago and I must say that in my opinion the Beat the blues is a perfect dupe. The High Beam is perhaps a tiny bit more creamy and applies more evenly, whereas Beat the blues is a bit more watery and needs to be applied in smaller dots and blended in quickly, because it dries up almost instantly. I also like the fact that it can be layered for a stronger effect without looking like a Christmas tree. A thumbs up for this product as well, especially for the price. 

Last but not least is the most expensive of these products – the Lancome Ombre Hypnose (P102 – Sable Enchanté) which I picked up in Müller for about 25 €. 

Now to be honest, this is actually an eyeshadow, not a highlighter or illuminator. But I was really looking for a product without the pink tones – a really light (nearly white) highlighter for days when I’m really feeling down. After a long search and help of two nice ladies I ended up with this. I mean – it’s good, not too shimmery, smells all right for a Lancome product and everything, but at the end of the day, it’s still an eyeshadow. The packaging is very small which makes getting into it with a larger fan brush difficult and there’s also not much product for the price. Again, not a very clever purchase from my end, but I will of course use it up as a super pretty eyeshadow :)

Here’s a picture of all swatches, so you can compare them for yourself. 

 At the end of the day I must say that I’m quite happy with my purchases. I found some great products which I will mostly get a lot of use from. I’m still itching to try the Balm Mary Lou highlighter which they stock on I’ve gotten two The Balm products from abroad in the last weeks and I think that it’s a beautiful brand which deserves more of my attention. 

Until next time, stay beautiful, stay awesome!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Products I regret buying

I’m sure you all know the feeling when you walk into a store, see this one, shiny, new make-up or beauty item and immediately fall in love with it. Of course it’s coming home with you. You are super excited about it and can’t wait to try it out properly. 

So you go into the bathroom and put it on your face or your body and immediately, you are disappointed. You contemplate throwing the product away, but at the same time you also feel the need to use it, since you already spent good money on it, right? Well, below are some products I feel that way about. A word of warning though – these are products that I don’t like or don’t work for me personally, but might work for you. So just some honest opinions, really. 

I’ll just quickly mention the Avon Nail polish drying spray. It’s icky, it’s oily and it my opinion, it doesn’t perform. So it’s going straight in the bin. If you want to read more about it, click  here.

Next up, we have the Aldo Vandini hydrating face mask with hyaluronic acid and caviar. Sounds great, right? Well, this thing isn’t exactly cheap for a single use product, I think it’s about  1 € (you get two in one packet for about 2 €). But besides that, my skin reaction to this mask was horrible. I felt a tingling sensation when I was putting it on and after the specified ten minutes when I took it off, my face was none the same but for the weird red patches on different areas. I will be throwing this remaining packet away.

Being an Argan addict, I was really happy when I spotted the Dvorec Trebnik argan ointment in the store. Mind you, the price was again quite high, I think it cost about 7 €. It’s a nice product overall, but it is just way too oily to be suitable for someone like me who is always busy with something. I simply don’t have the luxury of putting this on my hands and then sitting around for hours. I’m not sure what I’ll do with this, maybe give it to my grandmother :)

I somehow managed to buy two very pink products in the last months. First is the NXY lipstick in Flower. I bought this online and was quite disappointed in the difference between the photo and the real color. With this on my lips, I look like Malibu Barbie. Can’t think of a single occasion when I would wear this, so I’ll probably pass it on.

Another “great” purchase was a Bourjois 1 second silicone texture nail polish in Rose Cupcake. I picked this up in Müller for about 7 € and the moment I applied the first layer to my nails I knew that I made a big mistake. It’s the brightest pinkie Barbie pink you’ve ever seen before. Being 30 years old, I am way too old to rock such a color. I will probably pass this on as well. I did however like the brush and the texture of the polish. The only thing that bothered me was the “1 second” advertising in the name (which could be 1 second/nail to apply polish, but I interpreted it as 1 second to dry). In the smallest print possible, the back of the bottle says that it requires 50 seconds drying time. But I can say for a fact that this nail polish was not dry in 50 second, nor was it dry in 2 minutes. So, case closed on that fake advertising line. 

One of the products I thought I would really enjoy with my slightly oily skin is the L’Oreal Mat’ Magique foundation. I got mine in 04 – Rose Beige. But the thing is that while this foundation has a very whipped formula and feels nice and smooth when swatched on the back of my hand, it looked absolutely horrible on my face. It somehow got into the pores even though I was wearing a silicone primer and my face looked like I had tons of tiny holes in it. But the final nail in the coffin for this foundation is that it only keeps your face matte for a couple of hours but then it kind of melts off. Probably the worst foundation I have ever tried. 

Last but not least, let’s take a moment to talk about two e.l.f. products I picked up online. One is the eye primer and liner sealer. This already came a bit chapped on the priming side in the mail and the stick was leaning as if it was broken. But I could live with that if the product was any good, which it is not. It is way too dry and doesn’t apply well to the eyes either directly or with finger. It also doesn’t really do anything to make the eye make-up last longer. As for the liner sealer side I can’t really judge the product because my liners tend to stick in place by themselves. 

The other product I am definitely getting rid of right now is the e.l.f. professional bronzing brush. It has a nice shape but sheds like nothing I’ve ever seen before. For the purpose of this post, I went and used it to apply bronzer to my face. And I counted  no less than 7 brush hair left on my face. In words of one of my American friends – “ain’t nobody got time for that”. 

That’s it for my recent regrets. Do you have any that you’d particularly like to share?

Until next time, stay beautiful, stay awesome.                 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Make-up remover wipes

Being low maintenance and all (yeah, right, wait ‘till you see the most recent haul, even I was a bit ashamed of myself), I tend to use the simplest method of all to get rid of the main part of my make-up every evening. And since I feel an obligation to you lovely beauties to try everything once, I have tested out no less than five different brands or types in the last few months. 

When using a make-up wipe, I need it to be effective, meaning it actually does remove some of my make-up and doesn’t just move it around my face. Secondly, I want it to be soft on my skin. I am not a fan of rougher wipes – I swear that I can literally hear some scraping at my skin. Thirdly, I want them to smell nice, and when I say nice, I don’t mean some nasty fake smell. I want them to smell clean, if that makes any sense. Next up, I want them to have enough moisture in them so I can use them all over my face. And last but not least, I want the packaging to be designed in a way that it can be closed well so that the wipes don’t dry out in the first couple of days. 
Low maintenance maybe, but my standards regarding make-up wipes are quite high ;)

Anyway, I will just go over these five in the picture below briefly, while trying to rank them from worst to best. Your thoughts, comments and opinions are as always highly appreciated.

 4th runner up: Müller Cadeavera Vital (35+ years)
Nope, nope, nope. These wipes were so rough against my skin that I ended cleaning up the fallout around my sink with them after I’m done applying my make-up. They didn’t have an unpleasant smell, but they were also less than effective in doing some serious damage to my make-up. Will not, would not, am not going to repurchase. 
3rd runner up: Essence My skin wipes.
These were I believe the least expensive out of all of them. They smelled fantastic and were quite soft, but at the same time they were so thin that I actually ripped some of them while scrubbing off the make-up. I was not a fan of packaging either – it looked very nice but it didn’t seal well so the last 5 wipes were so dry they were practically unusable. Will probably not repurchase, unless it was for travel etc. and I was planning on leaving whatever is left behind. 
2nd runner up: Garnier Essentials for sensitive skin
These wipes don’t have any alcohol and any perfumes in them and consequently do smell very clean. I liked the consistency and also the packaging – it held up pretty well for almost a month and I didn’t end up wasting any product. They were quite cheap I believe, around 3,5 € in Müller. 
1st runner up: Garnier Fresh Essentials
Mmmmm.. I would eat these if I could. They smell so fruity and delicious, they are soft, gentle and wet enough that one suffices for the general scrub. They are in my opinion also the best at removing make up, which is the general idea, don't you agree?
Winner: Yes to grapefruit -  brightenning facial wipes
So why are these the winners? Yes, there was a tiny bit of make-up left on my face after using these (I of course use other products as well, don’t worry), but they feel and smell amazing. When I started using them I was a bit unsure about the “brightening” effect but I can definitely see the change after a couple of days – they seem to very gently exfoliate the skin which leaves my face looking nice and fresh and doesn’t dry out my skin.  I also like the fact that one wipe is absolutely huge – you can easily cover your entire face with it, whereas when wearing a lot of make-up I needed to use more than one from all of the other brands. 
And, can we just take a moment to admire this inspirational message on the inside of the very sturdy packaging :)

They are unfortunately the only ones that don’t sell in Slovenia by my knowledge. Ordering them is easy-peasy though, you can get them at Feel Unique for about 5€ - the shipping is free over 10 £ which I can assure you it’s easy enough to reach. I will probably not repurchase them in the near future though – I am very happy with the Garnier Fresh Essentials which will probably become my staple wipes from now on. Or at least until I find something new that intrigues me ;)
Which make-up wipes do you use? Have you had some really good or really bad experience with any brands? Let me know!
Until next time, stay beautiful, stay awesome!

Monday, September 22, 2014

My first ever empties

I will not make any excuses about the lack of posts. Life happens, and sometimes it can also be nice.

But without any further rambling on this subject, here are my first empties. They are in no particular order, but they are all completely and utterly just bits and pieces of my trash I’d like to share with you. 

First up, we have the L’Occitane hydrating body gel. This stuff was a present from a friend two years ago. Yes, two years ago. And with my current philosophy of using up products I actually went for it and tried to use it up. Needless to say, products have expiration dates for a reason. Although the scent and the softness of the product was still there, it was flaking off my skin like you’ve never seen before. So in the trash it goes (and I get to open another one, yay).  Will I repurchase? Probably not, it wasn’t that good compared to some other L’Occitane products I’ve used before, especially all with the almond milk, which I adore. 

Next up, we have 3 packages of make-up tissues – one by Essence, one by Müller’s own CV brand and one by Garnier. I will not go into these too much since I have another post planned about them.

We also have two nail polish removers – I tend to go through these like crazy in the summer months when I’m out and about and my nail polish is chipping like crazy. In the last desperate attempt to be the “low-maintenance beauty” I bought the Aveo remover (again, the Müller brand) in berry scent.  I was not crazy about it, I think my all-time-favorite, Afrodita chamomile (which is another empty) does a much better job.  Will I repurchase? Afrodita yes, Aveo probably not. 

We also have two oldies-goldies – the Avon Daily Shine leave in conditioner, which I already talked about in my Avon haul. This stuff is magic and I will continue to use it until the day they stop producing it. But it’s obviously one of Avon’s staple products since it’s been on the market for years – the packaging has changed some, but the product hasn’t.  The other favorite that I keep and keep repurchasing and always have some in stock just in case is the Axe Anarchy for her. I had quite a hard time finding a deodorant that can keep up with my pace and at the same time doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. 

Last up, I got through my first tube of Maybelline Baby skin instant pore eraser. As some of you may remember, I did not buy one, not two, not three but four of these babies on my USA trip. I will however not be starting a new tube right away since I have two other primers that I want to try first. But that’s a case for another post. 

Have you used any of these products? What are your opinions on them?

Until next time, stay beautiful, stay awesome!