August 2014 Favorites!

Another month has gone by and I was recently reminded that I hadn’t posted a favorites entry of any kind in quite some time. But, this isn’t unusual for me since I tend to stick with what I like for extended periods of time before boredom kicks in. Also, during the summer months I found myself in somewhat of a makeup rut when I had to deal with two weeks worth of bad/broken out skin! However, I’m over my slump and I’m back on the makeup bandwagon — so have no fear! My favorites this month consist of a small, humble stash with no new products. But they have been proven worthy and I recommend all of them.

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Dior Rosy Glow Healthy Glow Awakening Blush
I re-discovered this blush during a “shop my stash” kind of moment, and I’m so happy that I did because I’ve been using it non-stop as of late. It’s a blush that “effortlessly recreates a natural, flushed look on the cheeks.” As a universal shade, “the unique formula adjusts to your skin’s natural chemistry to create a customized look,” and is flattering on all skintones. The texture is ultra-fine, the subtle “irresistible rose fragrance offer a moment of pure indulgence with each application.” It’s natural, pretty, and gives you the perfect flushed tone without looking like too much.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle Treatment Concealer
Normally, I don’t bother with under eye products — let alone concealer. The Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle Treatment Concealer has been my life-saver this month because it’s just really helped to erase the appearance of dark circles and fine lines, while visibly diminishing the appearance of puffiness around the eyes. I just dab a few dots under my eyes and blend with my finger. It instantly awakens my overall look and helps to make me look put-together naturally.

Dior Addict Lip Glow
The Dior Addict Lip Glow is the sister product of the Rosy Glow Healthy Glow Awakening Blush I mentioned earlier. As a “sheer balm that enhances your natural lip color while moisturizing and protecting the skin,” this is like a super lip balm on steroids! “Formulated with color reviver technology, this silky lipstick reacts with the chemistry of your lips to create a special shade that will last all day.” It adjust to you and gives a soft, pinky glow that neither sticky or too glossy. It’s perfectly natural but doesn’t look like you’re wearing any lipstick either. Seriously, the best of both worlds here — and, perfect for when you’re running late and you need something to perk up your lips.

Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara
The Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara sounds like a gimmicky product and totally unnecessary — but you totally need it in your life, surprisingly. Sure, you can just apply your regular mascara of choice on the bottom lashes — but, for me, it almost always smudges no matter what the formula is. “This mascara’s brush was engineered to grasp even the tiniest of bottom lashes; its expert formula resists pesky smears.” Its brush is teeny tiny and coats the bottom lashes perfectly with no flaking or smudging.

3 Concept Eyes Back to Baby BB
This my favorite BB cream as of late. 3CE is a Korean brand and you can order this on eBay if you’re interested. Seriously — the best, it applies lightweight, is dewy, doesn’t get oily, and conceals pores and imperfections instantly. What more can you ask for??

What are your favorites?

MAKE UP FOR EVER Foundation Kabuki Brush

I’ve never really been a kabuki brush user since I prefer long-handled face brushes. However, I started looking into them when I was on my mineral makeup kick awhile back. While I didn’t really find one that I truly loved and wanted to invest in, the MAKE UP FOR EVER Foundation Kabuki Brush caught my attention a few weeks ago and it definitely lingered. I purchased it in hopes of being able to use it for powder foundation as well, and I’m so glad I did because it’s so perfect for everything — especially powder foundations. :)

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The Make Up For Ever Foundation Kabuki Brush is a “soft, tapered brush for precise foundation application.” This is a little different than a traditional kabuki brush with a much more rounded brush head. Designed as a “one-of-a-kind, synthetic brush,” Make Up For Ever has “combined the precision of a traditional foundation brush with the convenient size of a Kabuki brush. Its large, dense shape is tapered at the end for quick and specific application of all foundation formulas.” This brush is extremely versatile as it works well with liquid, cream, and powder foundations. “Its soft, straight fibers allow for buildable coverage with a flawless finish.”

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The brush is very soft, but it takes 24 hrs for it to completely dry after a wash. So plan ahead if you really need to use this brush and you’re deciding to wash all your makeup brushes! The bristles are very full and dense so if you’re looking for the effects of a fluffier brush, this may not be a good option for you. However, the cut and the shape of this brush is perfect for the contours of your face — it lays perfectly under the eyes, around the nose and mouth, and along the cheeks. The tapered point of the brush is great for getting into the crevices of your face such as under the nose the corners of the nose as well.

The soft, flexible bristles make easy to move around your face; and, whether you’re using a cream, powder, or liquid product, this brush evenly applies everything without making it look uneven or cakey. My favorite combination is to use this brush with a powder foundation (in a compact), loose powder, or mineral foundation. It disperses the powder products perfectly and so lightly you can’t even feel or see the product on your face. You just see clean, pretty results of the product working perfectly.

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I recommend this brush and I think it will serve a very important purpose regarding your makeup routine. The versatility of this product makes it worth the investment, but more importantly, the way that it applies products is really the reason why I would recommend this brush. While it’s pricey, you’ll be able to use it with a variety of products so I think that in itself would be more than enough reasons to it some major praises, lol. If you’re on the hunt for a foundation brush or even just a kabuki brush, take a look at this brush because you won’t be disappointed!

Retails for $48.00 USD.

REVIEW: Shiseido Sheer and Perfect Powder Foundation in I00

Shiseido released their newest powder foundation called the Sheer and Perfect Compact. This is the powder foundation version of the Sheer and Perfect Foundation, which was reviewed here. As a “color-correcting, lightweight powder compact foundation that evens skin tone and leaves a glowing, smooth finish,” I’ve been enjoying this as a setting powder and powder foundation (for “good skin” days).

For reference, I’m still using the shade I00 in both the powder and liquid formulas. It’s the most perfect color match for me, and I find that the powder foundation’s light powdery is great alone and with other products.

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This product is designed to “emit a barely-there look for glowing skin that lasts all day.” With “SPF 21 broad spectrum sun protection, its light-dispersing reflect and fit powders cancel out uneven skin tone without covering up skin’s texture. This powder foundation’s airy texture applies evenly for light, sheer coverage.” To me, this is barely a powder foundation because as its title suggests — this product is extremely sheer. If worn alone, unless you have perfect skin to begin with, you’ll need to supplement coverage with some concealer. For best results, I like to pair this with a light BB/CC cream; or, I dust this on lightly over my t-zone when I’m wearing a sheerer liquid foundation.

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You need to purchase the compact separately for $8.50, so don’t forget about that! I really like this powder foundation, but it’s so sheer it won’t work for you if you’re looking for something more heavy-duty. However, because it’s so sheer and light, there is zero cakey feeling and it doesn’t weigh heavily on the skin when paired with other products. I would recommend the liquid version of this foundation over the powder, but that’s a decision you’ll have to make based on your skin’s needs. :)

Compact case sold separately $8.50 USD.
Compact refill retails for $30.00 USD.
Made in USA.

REVIEW: First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Overnight Mask

Recently hyped as “a gentle yet effective overnight cream that brightens and hydrates skin while sleeping,” I purchased the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Overnight Mask because of the rave reviews. Sleeping masks, or overnight masks are my favorite kinds of masks to use so I was eager to give this one a try.

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As a way to “wake up to a luminous complexion with FAB Facial Radiance® Overnight Mask,” it’s suggested that you can either use this product as a sleeping mask or a night cream. As a “leave-on mask, [this product] is a rich gel cream that is formulated with a powerful combination of ingredients to brighten, hydrate, and deeply nourish the skin” while you sleep. “It goes on like a normal moisturizer and should be blended in until just a slight residue remains on the skin” — essentially, as the last step in your night time skincare routine, it’s best to apply this after your night cream if you choose to use this as a sleeping mask. Upon application, “the skin looks brighter; overnight as the actives are absorbed deep into the dermis, the mask performs its magic.” In the morning, wash your face as usual and your skin will be “hydrated and refreshed, revealing a brighter, more even-toned, and smoother complexion.”

As a night cream, it provides the same results — just less steps. For me, I prefer to use it as a sleeping mask instead of replacing my night cream with it. Its light, gel texture is easily spreadable and blends easily onto the skin. It’s light and doesn’t interfere with any other skin care items you previously applied. The gel-texture is thicker in consistency so it takes some time to absorb. Your skin will look shiny and slick for about 30 minutes, but I don’t mind since I’m just going to bed.

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I think applying a sleeping mask before bed is the best for your skin since it gives it all night to recover and repair itself. For particularly stressful weeks or after a long weekend, this product is great to replenishing the skin, so I find that it’s worth taking the additional few minutes to apply this. While it’s not a necessity, I feel that it’s important to do something a little extra 2-3 times a week. I recommend this sleeping mask, but check out some other reviews on sleeping masks here: Fresh Rose Face Mask & Nude Skincare Advanced Renewal Overnight Repair Mask, Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask, and Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Water-Max Sleeping Mask.

Item contains 1.7 oz.
Retails for $38.00 USD.
Made in USA.

REVIEW: Benefit Foamingly Clean Facial Wash

I’d like to think that I’m not normally fussy with face washes — but this is because I use a cleansing oil prior to cleansing. As a treat for myself, I picked up the Benefit Foamingly Clean Facial Wash, and I’d have to say, I’m thoroughly surprised with how much I adore this face wash. A little bit goes a long ways, so I like that it will last me a long time. The foam lathers nicely and rinses clean, which is really important in night time makeup removal/face cleansing.

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This cleanser by Benefit is designed to be a “1-step facial wash [that] effectively cleanses the skin and removes makeup and impurities with a soft, gentle lather. This facial wash has a subtle floral and cucumber fragrance…[and is] formulated for all skin types.” The cleanser is surprisingly gentle and feels nice and cooling on the skin. It removes all residual oil from my cleansing oil, and that’s really what I’m looking for in a cleanser. As for makeup removal, I can’t say — since I use a cleansing oil to remove my makeup prior to using this face wash. However, I did read some conflicting reviews where people stated that they felt that makeup removal was not as thorough as they’d liked.

In my opinion, it’s not necessary to have a fancy cleanser (especially if you’re a cleansing oil beforehand); however, if prior makeup removal isn’t your kind of thing, a 3-in-1 kind of product like this may be more efficient for you.

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I like this cleanser, but it’s not Earth-shattering! There are plenty of other cleansers out there that do a great job with cleansing the skin, so it really boils down to personal preference here. I’m still just as happy with my Cetaphil cleanser, so this face wash was just something new to try. I still recommend it though, and if you were initially curious about this product, I’d say that it’s an effective cleanser that gets the job done.

Made in France.
Retails for $22.00 USD.
Item contains 4.5 oz.

Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer

I’m back on my primer kick so I picked up the Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer after reading some reviews. As a “replenishing face primer that hydrates, smoothes, and brightens skin for a dewy, healthy looking finish,” this primer is very soothing and helps the skin look and feel good (hence, the name of the product, I suppose). Although it’s as a way to “cure your next beauty hangover,” I find that this primer helped condition my skin allowing it to look healthy and natural, and most of all, I liked that it didn’t interfere with my makeup application process afterwards.

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Too Faced claims that this is “a revolutionary makeup primer that’s infused with coconut water, a probiotic-based ingredient, and skin revivers which work together to boost skin’s radiance, promote elasticity.” The product has a light coconut scent but it’s not strong and it doesn’t linger after application. It feels cooling on the skin and spreads easily onto the cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin. It absorbs quickly without feeling overly matte or sticky; and, I found that the primer helped hydrate my skin while “locking down makeup for fresher, longer, and more flawless wear.”

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“Too Faced harnessed the science of hydration to create a creamy, penetrating primer that acts like an energy drink for the skin by replenishing moisture levels. It can be worn alone for a dewy, healthy looking finish, or under bronzers, foundations, and powders to create the perfect canvas.” I like primers that work double-duty — meaning that it does everything it needs to in conjunction with base/face makeup + it wears wonderfully on its own. For no makeup days, I like to apply some primer to keep my skin, pores, and imperfections somewhat in check. This primer is lightweight and feels very breathable on the skin. Makeup applies smoothly because your skin is smoothed out without any silicones.

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My only gripe is that it’s really not that great at controlling oil, but then again, it never claimed to. While it doesn’t necessarily plug in pores or blur imperfections like the Tarte Clean Slate Timeless Smoothing Primer, the liquidy texture is perfect for slapping on the face before heading out the door. It provides superb hydration so your skin feels and look awake and healthy; and, it somehow seems to plump your skin up — which is probably why it’s a great “hangover” option, lol. I recommend this primer and I think your skin will drink it right up — especially in this summer heat!

Made in Italy.
Retails for $32.00 USD.
Item contains 1.35 oz.

The Body Shop Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder

For the most part, I’ve given up on bronzers since it seems that none of them are good for my skin tone. As a really, fair-complected Asian, I find that most bronzers are either too red, too orange, or just too muddy/brown and it makes my face look dirty and unnatural. I’m a big fan of contouring my nose, but I leave everything else as is since too much contouring looks ridiculous on me. I read on a few Korean blogs that The Body Shop Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder in 01 is best for really fair skins.

Previously, my post on Bronzers & Contouring for Pale Skins was the best I could do regarding color, tone, and texture of the bronzers I liked for my skin tone.

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Currently, everything at The Body Shop is on major sale with everything being 40% off. If you’re considering this bronzer, now is the time to try it out! My shade 01 is perfect because when swatched, it almost seems too light. It’s buildable so at least we have the option to make it darker if need be. This is perfect for contouring since it provides the perfect amount of “shadow” without looking too dark or muddy. This bronzer is matte so whether you use this as a bronzer or a contouring powder, it helps that there’s no shimmer/glimmer/glitter/sheen to it. I’d definitely recommend this shade for those who are fair and extremely fair.

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Even though the product is “enriched with honey,” it really doesn’t do much for my skin — it’s really the color that I’m after anyway. It’s quite long-lasting, doesn’t disturb already-applied makeup, and seems very natural on the skin. The appearance of your skin is extremely subtle so don’t be frustrated thinking this product isn’t delivering results. I almost chose shade 02 just in case, but I’m glad I stuck with 01 for subtle contouring.

For reference, I use pinkish-yellow based foundations in the fairest tone in most ranges/brands. While I don’t use MAC face products, I’m a NW15/NC15ish and I don’t tan my face in anyway. For you fair-skinned friends, if you’ve struggled to find a bronzer that works for you, give this a try!

Retails for $20.00 USD –> ON SALE FOR $12.00 USD
Made in Italy.

REVIEW: Tarte Clean Slate Timeless Smoothing Primer

The Tarte Clean Slate Timeless Smoothing Primer was recently mentioned in Claire Marshall’s recent video featuring her June & July Favorites. The product is a “smoothing, makeup application primer that supports a youthful appearance,” and is designed to “prep skin for makeup application with [the] new timeless smoothing and filling primer.” It is “formulated to reduce the appearance of large pores, fine lines, and wrinkles. The antioxidant-rich formula is infused with vitamins C and E, and green bean extract gently absorbs into the skin, delivering a surge of moisture, peptides, and other naturally-derived elixirs so that skin has a firmer and smoother look.”

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With “a lightweight texture, the fresh powder scent provides the perfect blank canvas to enhance the look and wear time of makeup. Wear it under makeup or alone as part of your skincare regimen for a flawless, soft-focus finish.” This primer is great and I can see why it’s already generating rave reviews. A little bit of product goes a long way and don’t be scared by the moussey-clumpy consistency! I dab my finger in the pot and get some product onto my fingertips. I apply to areas of my face where I know pores are an issue — mainly my nose, chin, and inner cheeks. It sets instantly feeling soft and smooth, but not oily and greasy like some primers. This stuff seriously fills in lines and pores and blurs even discolored imperfections really well. I’ve noticed that my foundation applies super smooth afterwards; and, I swear I need less foundation than I did before using this product.

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The scent is powderly and light and hardly noticeable. It looks great alone on the skin too if you’re going for a really natural-no-makeup look. However, I really like it for its ability to really plug in pores and blur imperfections instantly. It’s a great way to fake perfect skin! I predict this pot will last me a long time since you need very little product. Again, don’t be frightened by the clumpy appearance — it will smooth itself out wonderfully, trust me. Because of the texture of the product, I don’t see how it could ever come in a tube or a bottle with a pump. So, while it’s not all that great that the product comes in a pot, I’m okay with it. Makeup longevity was decent but nothing spectacular. I just really like this product for its ability to get rid of pores temporarily, and the finish is gives the skin after foundation application.

Made in Italy.
Retails for $39.00 USD.

REVIEW: Philosophy Purity Made Simple Mask

I’m still on my mask kick if you haven’t noticed from my posts here about the Fresh Rose Face Mask & Nude Skincare Advanced Renewal Overnight Repair Mask and the Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask. Previously, I posted about the Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Water-Max Sleeping Mask and the SK-II Cellumination Mask-in Lotion as well. The Philosophy Purity Made Simple Mask has recently joined my mask collection, and I’m happy to report back that I love this mask!

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As a “deep-clean mask to transform dull, tired skin into a luminous, spa-like glow,” this mask is designed to be a quick-fix, emergency product. While most of my masks are used at night prior to doing my night time skin care routine, this particular mask is great for the day time. As a quick-fix product, I like to apply this on newly cleansed and dried face while I brush my teeth. It only needs 60 seconds to work, but I like to leave it on for a little longer than that. Afterwards, I rinse the product off and my skin is instantly brightened and glowy. The Purity Made Simple Mask “transforms lackluster skin into a radiant, healthy-looking complexion. It’s fortified with mineral-rich, deep-cleansing sea salts to help naturally purify and detoxify, and marine extracts and vitamin E to smooth.”

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Your skin is “left glowing, supple, and hydrated.” It truly is an all-in-one kind of mask that works fast and provides instant (yet temporary) results. It ever so mildly will exfoliate, allowing the skin to look and feel brightened and awake; and, I swear my makeup is applied way smoother and better after I use this. Remember: to use this product, massage a generous amount onto clean, dry skin until the gel turns white. Leave on for 60 seconds or a few minutes like me, and then rinse. This is gentle enough to use daily, but I personally like to bust it out when my skin really needs it in the mornings. I recommend this mask and think it will help during mornings when you know you need something extra and special for your skin!

Made in USA.
Retails for $25.00 USD.
Item contains 4 oz.

REVIEW: Maybelline Dream Wonder Fluid-Touch Foundation

I saw the new Maybelline Dream Wonder Fluid-Touch Foundation at both Target and Ulta and decided to purchase it. I admit, I may have been drawn in by the packaging, lol. Nonetheless, Maybelline’s Dream Wonder Fluid-Touch Foundation claims to “give you a flawless look that gives you an impeccable finish. The breakthrough feature allows you to look natural because it fuses with your skin to make your make-up undetectable.” The claims seemed reasonable, and I liked that this foundation was similar to the Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Foundation in concept, texture, and finish.

Normally, drugstore foundations don’t really interest me; but, this one sure did. Check out more drugstore-related posts here — about drugstore beauties, here — about my review on the Revlon ColorStay Foundation, and here — about the Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup.

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This foundation is extremely liquidy, but spreads thin with coverage. It’s blendable and smooth, and dries down to a semi-matte finish. Once applied, this foundation doesn’t feel like anything on the skin. While it is lightweight, I noticed it’s not as buildable as I would like. Layering the foundation on to areas that need more coverage can get cakey when you’ve got dry patches or uneven texture. For that reason, I think it’s best to stick with one, thin layer — and then, to add some concealer onto those problem areas. Oil-control is decent but not great, so I powder my t-zone with Too Faced Primed & Poreless Pressed Powder and I’m good to go!

This foundation is worth checking out because it lets your skin look like skin. It evens everything out beautifully and seems to cancel out redness and pigmentation well. The coverage and overall finish is natural and light, so it makes it ideal for summer months or for when you’re looking for something more natural. I find that using your fingers works best rather than using a sponge/synthetic brush. It’s fast to apply and the shade “Porcelain Ivory” is perfect for my slightly cool, but fair skintone! I recommend this budget-friendly foundation and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

Retails for $9.99 USD.