Thursday, January 26, 2017

Current Makeup Menu #2

I was contemplating doing a "Best of 2016" post, but ultimately decided against it as I had no clue what would be on the list. I didn't blog for 3 months and averaged about 2 posts a month, so my engagement with makeup and product discoveries were all a bit plodding and piecemeal. Usually I look back on what I blogged about to get a sense of the stuff I enjoyed in the past year, but nothing stood out to me when I reviewed what I'd written about. Rather than force the issue, I thought I'd do a current makeup loves post instead. On that topic, I do have something to say.

I've switched back to Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua after persevering quite joylessly with Dior BB Creme. I forgot what an absolutely incredible foundation this is. It's in my top 3 all-time favourites alongside NARS Sheer Glow and YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat. Definitely a better summer foundation than for the colder months (the YSL is better for winter as it's more hydrating/forgiving), but I haven't experienced any issues with it highlighting dry patches as I have occasionally in the past. Could just be my skin's in decent condition at the moment. Not too dry, not too oily, more or less unblemished (knock on wood). With an unproblematic canvas, Vitalumiere Aqua works super well. It's immediately flattering but believable. Makes the skin look softly luminous, lifted, more plump and youthful. It blends in effortlessly, never sitting on top of the skin, and doesn't ever look too heavy or obvious. Just a high quality, high performing foundation that I must remember to repurchase when I run out.

I've also been turning to Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Powder to set my face with my Wayne Goss Brush 00. Previously I didn't think it did much, but I probably was just using it all wrong. I find the key is not using too much product, finding the right brush, and applying only a light, thin layer. It takes down unwanted shine a notch or two without totally mattifying the skin, and minimises the need to blot my face down the track (I still do it, but less product comes off). I like that it's undetectable on the skin and doesn't weigh it down with the appearance of a powder caked on top.

Pixi Glow Mist is a product I've been meaning to try for ages, especially after hearing it being compared with Tatcha Dewy Skin Face Mist, the price of which I could never justify, never mind it's not even sold in Australia. (Seriously, $48 USD or $70 for 40ml of liquid you spritz on your face for fun. Can't do it.) To me, the main things I look out for in a mist are a) if it feels good on the skin, i.e. isn't noticeably drying, irritating or otherwise uncomfortable b) if it does the job, i.e. makes my makeup look fresher and my complexion dewier if I've overdone it with the powders or my foundation's too matte/flat c) if there are any ingredients I should be wary of, like alcohol or menthol. Glow Mist ticks all the boxes, plus it was a far more affordable price point for double the amount you get in the Tatcha at 80ml (I bought it in a pack with Glow Tonic on sale from ASOS for about $45).

I've heard good things about Essence I Love Extreme Crazy Volume Mascara (especially from ozproductjunkie), so I purchased a tube during one of Priceline's 40% off cosmetics sales. I finally opened mine up a few weeks ago, and I really like it. It reminds me so much of Benefit They're Real, but is a fraction of the price. The wand, formula, application and effect are very similar. My only minor gripe is that it could do a better job at getting to the outer lashes, but I can overlook that shortcoming since it does everything else so well for being so affordable. I honestly don't know why I'd buy any other mascara from now on when this is $5.75 and so effective. As its name suggests, it builds up lots of thickness and volume in the lashes, without looking too spidery and clumpy. Separation is good, curl is good, lasting power is great and it does a good job on the bottom lashes as well without smudging too much throughout the day.

In a recent Colourpop free shipping promo, I ordered Mr. Bing Liner (a collaboration with YouTuber KathleenLights). The purchase was mainly spurred by curiosity more than anything, since Kathleen raved so much about the formula and I haven't been overly impressed with all that many pencil eyeliners I've tried. Since it arrived, I've been using this to define my lower lash line daily. I like the warm chocolately brown colour, wear time is excellent and it doesn't budge. The fine tip allows for precise application and the twist up mechanism is convenient (no pesky, wasteful sharpening ever!). The formula isn't completely soft and gel-like, but it's not totally dry and hard either. It's a little waxy, but still has a bit of give upon contact with skin.

l-r: NYX Abu Dhabi, Colourpop Mr. Bing, NARS The Multiple in Orgasm

My friend gave me her unwanted mini of NARS The Multiple in Orgasm and I've been reaching for this as part of my "quick" makeup with minimal (for me) products. Basically using it as a substitute for Stila Convertible Colour in Gerbera in my go-to low-key makeup post (ditching the cream pot eyeshadows for my beloved KIKO Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow and swapping pencil eyeliner for liquid felt tip eyeliner). This product is a faithful interpretation of Orgasm powder blush but in cream blush form. The golden sheen comes out a touch more than in the pressed version, but there's still that distinctive warm, translucent, corally baby pink. I literally draw on a few strokes onto my cheek and then use my fingers to blend out the edges. The lasting power isn't as good as the powder blush and you have to be a little careful so it's not patchy upon application as the formula is on the thin side but quite emollient (not greasy however). I love the small size and the fact it doesn't require a brush to use, making it super portable and ideal for travel.

Lastly, we have NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Abu Dhabi. To me, this is possibly the most perfect nude I've encountered. If you're light (NC 20-25) and Asian/yellow-toned, I highly recommend you seek out Abu Dhabi and try it. It's like MAC Patisserie on steroids (or the bolder, fully matte version). The only minor downside is it does settle a little bit in the lip lines, but I usually just rub the product in with my finger or blot with a tissue or the back of my hand. The lasting power isn't amazing, but perhaps to be expected for a light MLLB colour. I couldn't find this shade individually to purchase in any Priceline or Target, so I had to buy it in a set called "The Nudes" with Simply Nude Lip Cream in Sable and Intense Butter Gloss in Chocolate Crepe. Worth it.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Pretty as a Flower

Compared with previous years, I didn't buy all that much makeup in 2016. However, I couldn't let the year pass without purchasing at least one of the seemingly universally heralded two best eyeshadow palettes of last year: Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette or the Tarte Tartelette in Bloom Palette. I was kind of leaning towards the more ~editorial~ ABH, the one with the artistic cred, but during Sephora's last 20% off sale, it was sold out. So I satisfied myself with the more conventional, less exciting but more "practical" Tarte offering instead.

l-r: Charmer, Jetsetter, Rocker, Smokeshow, Flower Child, Smarty Pants, Firecracker, Activist, Funny Girl, Sweetheart, Rebel, Leader

l-r: Charmer, Jetsetter, Rocker, Smokeshow

l-r: (Smokeshow), Flower Child, Smarty Pants, Firecracker, Activist, (Funny Girl)

l-r: Funny Girl, Sweetheart, Rebel, Leader

This is one pretty palette, both inside and out. I think I prefer the packaging of the Tarte to ABH. It's nicely thought out and executed, decently sleek and compact, the squareish shape is fairly original in a world of mostly rectangular eyeshadow palettes, and it comes with a huge, good quality mirror.

The colour selection is nothing earth-shattering or out of the box, but still a well-considered edit of neutral mattes with differing undertones and depth, plus a sprinkle of metallic and shimmer shades. I really appreciate the way that the palette is laid out, with each individual row basically acting like its own quad (centered around a colour family), and each column grouping together similar depths of shades, ranging from lightest to darkest.

One criticism I have heard about this palette is that the deepest shades (Smokeshow, Activist and Leader) are all a bit samey once applied to the lids. Smokeshow and Activist I would probably agree, since the former is just a greyer version of the browner latter, but I think Leader is sufficiently reddish to act as a point of difference.

In terms of the shadow quality, the lighter to medium mattes pass the test. They're nicely pigmented, soft but not crumbly or powdery, and blend easily. However the deeper mattes can get a little patchy and don't have the most intense colour payoff I've come across (the LORAC Pro Palette still takes that title by a loooong shot). The quality is certainly not awful nor disappointing, but didn't absolutely blow me away either. It'd say it's above average, which you'd expect from a palette of this price. Honestly though, some of the mattes in my 28-pan Morphe Jaclyn Hill Favorites Palette perform just as well.

I do really love the bronze shade Firecracker, of course. The definite standout of the palette and a large reason why I bought it. Undeniably pretty on the lid with superior pigmentation and texture. Funny Girl is more of a shimmery champagne topper as it has a kind of spongy, drier texture, so sometimes I like dabbing a bit of it to the centre of my lids with my finger to add some sparkle and light. Overall, the palette is predominately warm-toned except for the distinctly cooler-toned first row of shades. I almost wish the mid-tone brown Jetsetter was even cooler than it is, say a light, slightly dove grey taupe, but then I remember I can't pull off cool eyeshadows and content myself with its current form.

Overall, I've been enjoying Tartelette in Bloom and don't regret adding it to my collection, but if you have myriad neutral palettes already (and if you're reading this, I imagine you do), you definitely don't *need* it. It's kind of similar to Urban Decay Naked3 (though Naked3 is more exuberant in the rosey/mauvey/coppery shades still), Maybelline The Nudes, even L'OrĂ©al Color Riche La Palette Nude in Beige. Having said that, you can more or less pick any combination of shades in Tartelette in Bloom and come up with something you can wear for most occasions. It's a very complete palette that's beautifully packaged and produces looks that, for lack of a better word, are simply pretty. What more really, do you need?
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