Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in “Blacquer 42″

A good eyeliner can be life-changing. It sounds dramatic, but in reality, the moment you realize that you can be panda-eye free, there’s something really comforting about that! For the last few years, I’ve abandoned eyeliners in general because I was tired of it never staying put. From low-end to high-end, I’ve tried a variety of eyeliner — all with the claims that it was going to be waterproof, smudge-proof, tear-proof, sweat-proof, etc. In a surprising twist, my future sister-in-law recommended the Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon and I’m so glad she did.

001

002

The Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in “Blacquer 42″ is a standard black eyeliner that is a “waterproof gel crayon eyeliner that’s long wearing with intense color payoff.” This “extreme-wear, waterproof eyeliner” is nearly bullet-proof. I don’t say these things lightly since I feel that I’ve pretty much tried all kinds of eyeliners out there. Before this one, my favorites were from Urban Decay and NARS.

“Like a gel pot eyeliner encased within a crayon, this breakthrough product is exclusive to Marc Jacobs Beauty. The super-malleable formula glides on smoothly for a flawless, precise application, and then sets in place for all-day wear. A built-in sharpener makes sure the crayon always has a perfect point for a sharp look on the go. It offers intense color payoff and is available in an array of richly pigmented shades, including Blacquer, the blackest, shiniest black.”

003

004

This eyeliner stays put. Even with water and soap, the swatch on my hand didn’t budge. When I was testing them at Sephora, even their waterproof makeup remover barely a made a dent in removing this product off my skin. As a contact lens wearer, this made me wary. However, because it stays exactly where you apply it, it doesn’t even creep into sensitive parts of my eyes; and thus far, I haven’t experienced any discomfort or irritation. In addition, the intensity of this black eyeliner is pretty insane. It’s not a flat, matte black which makes it easy to wear since it won’t look like you drew your line on with a marker, lol. This is perfect for nights out when there’s dancing and sweating — I’m thinking this will last all night too.

Like foundations, I think eyeliners are another really personal item. Not all eyes are created equally, so it’s best to search for something that works for you, your needs, and more importantly, your eyes. I was tired of product transfer, because in the past, no matter what eyeliner I’d use I was always plagued with panda-eyes. The liners would always smudge even with the slightest of humidity in the air. If you’re an eyeliner persona and you need it as a part of your regular routine, I’d suggest giving the Marc Jacobs one a shot. There’s a ton of colors to choose from. To remove, I use the Neturogena Eye Makeup Remover and I haven’t had any problems with it. Since I was follow-up with a cleansing oil to remove my makeup, I don’t find this eyeliner difficult to work with.

Made in Korea.
Retails for $25.00 USD.

REVIEW: NUXE Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm

I’m notoriously picky about lip products, but more than anything, a good lip balm can go a long ways. This is also why I don’t mind spending/investing in lip balms since good ones always last a long time anyway. My newest find is the NUXE Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm, which has been my all-time favorite since I purchased it. These kinds of balms are important for nighttime — especially since it’s just as important to take care of your lips. I like that I can apply it thick on my lips at night, and I wake up with smooth pretty lips in the morning. The texture of the balm is easily spreadable, but it’s dense. However, it doesn’t feel sticky or goopy on the lips; therefore, even after a full night;s sleep, I awake with the balm still on my lips!

006

During the day, I apply a thinner layer so that I can wear it alone or I can wear it underneath a lip color. Either way, the formula stays well on the lips — keeping them hydrated and comfortable until I need to re-apply. Because the formula adheres well to the lips without interfering with lip colors or feeling sticky, the balm lasts on the lips for hours and hours. Unless I’m consciously wiping my lips with a napkin, the balm stays put for most of the day.

Because the balm comes in a pot, I tend to not carry this around with me. I apply in the mornings, re-apply when I get home from work, and then apply it at night before I go to bed. A little bit goes a long ways, and since the product lasts so long on the lips, I think $20 is a justifiable cost to pay! In addition, I like how you can control the amount you apply. Whether I apply a thin layer or a thick layer, the product does exactly what it needs to do. The whipped texture is creamy and isn’t too glossy on the lips, which I really like. As a “repairing, nourishing lip balm with a rich, delicious texture to restore suppleness and comfort to dry and chapped lips,” I recommend this lip balm because it’s versatile. But more importantly, it really works and is comfortable to wear — which makes it a winner for me in my book!

Made in France.

REVIEW: Lancôme Teint Miracle Foundation

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a foundation post. However, I’ve recently gotten back on the foundation bandwagon; and, I’ve been into mixing formulas lately. I stumbled across the Lancôme Teint Miracle Foundation by accident when I was originally researching a different foundation. I decided to give this foundation a try when it promised healthy, glowy skin from within — which is right up my alley. Lancôme claims that the “Lancôme science” discovered the “inner light of perfect skin and recreated it via this foundation. Additionally, their marketing is clever as they explain that “light is not only reflected on the surface, it is also naturally re-emitted from deep within the skin. This is skin’s inner light. At its peak, this surface radiance and inner light constitute skin’s aura.”

001

002

In addition to the light reflecting particles, and providing “surface radiance,” Lancôme’s exclusive “Aura-Inside (TM) Technology” is allegedly a big part of creating freshness and radiance. Above all, the Lancôme Teint Miracle Foundation is considered to be “a new generation of bioptic pigments combined with classic mineral pigments. Together, they reproduce the appearance of inner light of perfect skin, by recreating the intensity and pristine freshness of its radiance. A unique liquid light essence maximizes skin’s surface radiance.”

There’s lot of big claims here and fancy language that is equally exciting and confusing at the same time. I wear the shade IVOIRE 4N and it’s a good match for me — a mix of both pink and neutral undertones that balance out my not-so-yellow skin tone. A big part of why I like this foundation is because it feel so light and watery when applying on the skin. It absorbs and your skin and makeup seem to fuse into one — leaving the finish very light and undetectable. The glow and radiance that Lancôme speaks of is really in the formula. There are swirls of iridescent pigments. And, while they may look very glimmery, it doesn’t apply too glittery or crazy on the skin.

003

004

The formula and texture of this foundation are both great. The light texture makes it really easy to use and blend. Coverage is light and natural; and for that reason, I don’t think this foundation is meant to be buildable. That’s probably why this foundation is best on “good skin days” lol. It fills in lines and pores really well, and it also boosts your complexion’s tone. However, oil control is pretty non-existent, which I accept since it never claimed to be that kind of product anyway. I don’t like to powder over this because I like to maintain the glow that the foundation gives. It does provide a fresh face, but it does get oily and slippery on my skin during the hot summer months.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Step 1 Skin Equalizer: Mattifying Primer

One of my best friends is getting in a few months, and I’ve been on the hunt for a mattifying primer for ages now. I decided to explore the Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer: Mattifying Primer, which is described to be a “makeup primer that assists with balancing the skin’s texture and tone for smoother, more even, and longer-lasting makeup wear.” Previously, I wrote a post about the Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer: Smoothing Primer. I’ve been very happy with that primer, and I wanted to see if the Mattifying Primer would be better or any different.

008

In the warmer months, it’s important that I find a primer that specifically helps with oil-control. This is really hard to come by; and, I’ve found that most are really drying or apply clumpy on the skin. Because I like smooth makeup application, I’m picky about how my skin looks after the primer is applied. While I really like the Smoothing Primer, I found that the Mattifying Primer didn’t apply evenly as the smoothing one. The product pills a bit; so, there’s been times where I’ve had to pat the product in because smoothing it on the skin made the primer pill and clump on the skin.

009

Additionally, I found that oil-control in particular was almost non-existent. Like most primers, the Mattifying Primer was good with giving a smooth appearance to the complexion and filled in my pores. But, it didn’t control oil very well; and, by that, I mean it didn’t do anything different than other primers I’ve applied. Makeup application was fine, and longevity of the makeup was fine too. If I had to choose, I’d pick the smoothing primer over the mattifying one.

I chose the travel size version to try and I’m okay with keeping it around. However, I wouldn’t purchase the full sized version since I’m happy with the Smoothing Primer. I didn’t really like this particular primer, but I think it was because I had higher expectations for its alleged claim to controlling oil lol.

Made in Italy.
Retails for $16.00 USD for travel size.

Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush

Nowadays, I feel like expensive brushes aren’t necessary because there are so many great, affordable options out there that perform so well. In many ways, I’m most picky about eyeshadow blending brushes more than I’m picky about face brushes. Honestly, with brands like Real Techniques out there, and the Expert Face Brush being one of my top picks for face brushes — “high end” brushes sometimes don’t seem as cost-effective. While the theory of “investing in nice brushes because they last forever” still may ring true, I like to broaden my scope when it comes to makeup brushes. I like to use a wide variety of types of brushes; and, to me, it’s really about how well it applies the makeup and not necessarily the brand.

Having said all this, that’s why I was a little skeptical with the Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush, but it’s quickly become one of my favorite brushes for foundation! I’ve been reading about it for a few months now and the brush didn’t tug at my heart strings until I tested it out at Sephora. I really like this brush and I think you will, too.

010

011

The Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush is an “ultrasoft face brush with short, tightly packed bristles that brush on full coverage foundation.” It’s dense and not fluffy at all. The bristles are tightly bound together so it’s not fluffy and has a lot of structure. Additionally, the bristles are short so you’re really able to buff products into your skin with ease. The shorter handle on this brush makes it easier to maneuver around your face; and, most importantly, it’s easy to use around the contours of your face — such as the areas around your nose and under your eyes.

This brush is described to be as “perfect for using with our powder formulas and liquid foundations, this brush cuts shine and delivers just the right amount of formula for an ultra-polished finish.” I agree that this works great for liquid foundation. It provides a sheer, air-brushed effect and doesn’t allow the liquid foundation to look cakey or thick. It’s sort of my pet-peeve when foundation gets clumpy around some areas of the face — especially around the nose and chin. This brush provides a very smooth finish on the face and almost seems to “filter” the product to apply only what’s absolutely necessary. I like how formulas — even heavier foundations — look so natural on the skin because of this brush.

012

013

I’ve tried this brush with both liquid and cream foundations, as well as with BB/CC creams and mineral makeup. While I prefer to use a fluffier brush for setting powders, I don’t think there would be anything wrong with wanting to use this for powders. This brush is designed to deliver full coverage for the face. The beauty of this product is that it can take heavier formulations and sheer them out on the skin — allowing the finish to look and feel more natural without compromising coverage and pigmentation. I also found that when I’ve applied too much cream blush and I want to sheer it out some, I can use this brush to blend it into my skin better.

Overall, I really like this brush and I especially like that it’s versatile and short-handled. It’s very easy for travel or for on-the-go, and despite its size, I can do my face makeup really quickly with this. I recommend this brush and I think that if you prefer heavier foundation formulas, this will be an amazing addition to your brush collection.

Retails for $44.00 USD.

REVIEW: Belif “The True Cream Aqua Bomb”

I’m trying out a new daytime summer moisturizer, and since gel creams seem to be a really popular option for hotter months, I decided to give this one a try. Originally, I hear about Belif on Facebook, since it’s a Korean brand that recently launched in the U.S. Additionally, there was some hype around the fact the Belif products were be sold at selected Sephora locations. I’m trying the Belif “The True Cream Aqua Bomb”, and I’m pleased with the results I’ve been getting.

This moisturizer is described as “a gel-cream that ‘floods’ the skin with a rush of refreshing hydration and minimizes the appearance of pores for soft, smooth, supple skin for normal to combination skin types, including oily skin, and dry skin types looking for a lightweight moisturizer.” It’s considered to be an “ultra-lightweight, mineral oil-free gel-cream that instantly cools and refreshes skin while providing intensive hydration.” Along with the gel cream, there is also the The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb, which is for normal to dry skins.

belif

005

The philosophy behind the brand is that it’s Korean apothecary meets “modern skincare.” The ingredients in all the products uses “traditional herbal processing” and “maintains the skin’s ideal condition using natural herbs.” In addition, this gel cream’s “formula contains a blend of apothecary herbs, including antioxidant-rich lady’s mantle, which helps neutralize skin-damaging free radicals, improves skin elasticity, and minimizes the appearances of pores. This refreshing cream is formulated to ‘burst’ when applied, releasing a flood of weightless moisture onto skin, and then absorb completely for a healthy, smooth, supple appearance.”

006

As you can see, the whipped gel texture of the cream is light and airy-looking. It’s cooling and soft and applies smoothly onto the skin. It sinks in quickly leaving your face feeling comfortable and soothed, without looking or feeling greasy or oily. There’s a slight film left behind that feels very silky, but it functions as a “barrier” for the skin to protect it; in that sense, I don’t really notice it since I apply suncream over this product during the day. This product is specifically designed for oilier skin types, which is perfect for my skin during the hot summer months now. While there’s no specific claims for “oil-control” per se, it does a good job of keeping my skin balanced so that it doesn’t too crazy throughout the day.

The scent is herbal and natural, but it’s nice and feels good on the skin. I have had any reactions to it, and so far, I’m liking it for the summer. I think for the price, you’re getting a lot of product — especially one that’s in a cream form. I’ve been using mine for almost 2 months now, and I’m sure this will last me until the end of the year. I also recommend using this after being out in the sun; and, I found that while on my cruise, I used this a lot on my neck too to cool and calm down my skin.

007

I really enjoy using this Belif gel cream and I think the brand itself is worth looking into. I recently purchased the Creamy Cleansing Foam Moist, and I really like but it’s just a standard cleanser in my opinion. I’m interested in the Hungarian Water Essence and the First Aid Aqua Rush Mask. If you’re specifically looking for an oil-controlling product try the Oil Control Fresh Moisturizer; I’ve noticed it’s gotten good reviews!

Made in Korea.
Retails for $38.00 USD.
Item contains 1.68 oz.

TOPSHOP Cream Blushes in “Afternoon Tea” and “Head Over Heels”

Now that’s summer, I’m back on the cream blush bandwagon. If you remember from my previous cream blush posts, I’m picky about the formulas because I don’t like for them to be too sheer, too pigmented, too greasy, too sticky, etc. In the past, very few have surpassed my expectations and I’ve written about those here: NYX Cream Blush in “Boho Chic,” the Le Blush Creme de Chanel – Chanel Cream Blush in 63 “Revelation,” the Illamasqua Cream Blusher in “Laid,” and the Yves Saint Laurent Baby Doll Kiss & Blush Lips & Cheeks in 02 “Rose Frivole.”

014

015

The TOPSHOP Cream Blushes are new to me, but so are all the TOPSHOP beauty products. I became interested in the cream blushes when they started appearing in Korean beauty blogs and beauty magazines. Shortly after that, I noticed Korean beauty bloggers in Korea swatching them and reviewing them. Because TOPSHOP products can be readily found at Nordstrom locations, I decided to pop in and give them some attention. I was elated to to see that the popular shades in “Afternoon Tea” and “Head Over Heels” were available, as they were the ones I had seen featured. They’re perfect summer colors and easy to use.

As previously mentioned before, I’m picky about cream blush formulas. However, the TOPSHOP Cream Blushes in “Afternoon Tea” and “Head Over Heels” have met my expectations. The texture of the formula is light and creamy, but it doesn’t feel heavy or sticky on the skin. It’s easy to apply this with the fingers, but I also like to use a synthetic buffing brush as well. The application is smooth and somewhat sheer — but the colors are buildable in a non-greasy way, which is perfect for me. It dries down semi-matte but doesn’t feel dry or heavy; and, most importantly, the color doesn’t rub off like some cream blushes do throughout the day.

016

I recommend these blushes and I felt that the price was do-able. The formula is nice and the colors “Afternoon Tea” and “Head Over Heels” are perfect. “Afternoon Tea” is a pretty pop of cool-toned pink that isn’t too harsh or Barbie-like, and “Head Over Heels” is a soft coral-pink that flatters my fair skintone without looking too orange or red. I’ve worn these over liquid foundations and BB/CC creams, but I don’t think they’ll work well on top of powder products since it’s easier to blend cream formulas on top of liquid/cream products. I like that the texture is easily blendable and looks just like powder blushes after application.

Made in Italy.
Retails for $14.00 USD.

Yves Saint Laurent Full Metal Shadow in “4 Onde Sable”

The Yves Saint Laurent Full Metal Shadow is one the newest products in a range of colorful products that have been released for Spring/Summer. Described as a “liquid eye shadow for a vibrant, metallic finish,” I’ve found that this is surprisingly easy to use. Normally, my every day eye makeup is nearly non-existent. I like nude, neutral, or brown tones that are subtle and pretty much never shimmery. Additionally, if I do reach for something with a little bit more pizazz, it’s definitely nothing metallic. However, with all that said, I really like the Yves Saint Laurent Full Metal Shadow in “4 Onde Sable,” and I find that the range of colors is nice and worth looking into.

005

006

The Yves Saint Laurent Full Metal Shadows are described to “impart sixteen-hour wear” as a “liquid eye color that bursts with vibrant, metallic coverage. Each shade is inspired by the iconic fashions of Mr. Yves Saint Laurent. Without creasing, flaking, or fading, this pigment-packed liquid shadow is formulated with 40 percent water for a cooling effect and high color payoff.” The formula is intense, but in a nice way without looking crazy of going over board. Its texture is smooth and cooling on the skin, but it’s also like applying water on the lids. Even though the texture feels this light, the color payoff is impressive and lasts long on the skin. In addition, the “exclusive applicator is designed to perfectly follow the rounded shape of the eyelid. It allows you to use this shadow alone on a full lid or as a liner to layer for a new twist on the smoky eye look.”

The applicator is nice to work with and fits with the curvature of your eyelid. Because the product is so pigmented, I find that one swipe per eye is definitely enough; and then, I either use a blending brush or my ring finger to blend out the color on my lids. It takes a minute or two to fully dry, so that gives you time to work with the pigment and you can get it to the way you like it before it fully dries. If you wanted to add more color, you definitely can; but I’ve found that it’s best to let it dry and then add onto it or else it can look a little cakey.

007

009

Overall, I really like the Yves Saint Laurent Full Metal Shadow in “4 Onde Sable.” Specifically, the shade Onde Sable is lovely as a glittery, smooth bronzey neutral tone. It leans more bronzey brown than orange, which I really like. I think there some other shades worth looking into, but I like what I’ve got so far. A little bit of this goes a long way, and with the ease and convenience of this product, it’s great for on-the-go and traveling.

Retails for $30.00 USD.
Made in France.

NARS Aqua Gel Luminous Mask

As you probably know by now, masks are major staples in my skincare arsenal. While there’s many masks to choose from, I prefer overnight/”sleeping masks” for most occasions. Additionally, for pamper sessions or when my skin really needs some help, the traditional clay masks — or the ones you wash off — are still a winner in my book. I still manage to squeeze in sheet masks every other night or so, but lately, overnight masks are so much easier to deal with. My newest is the NARS Aqua Gel Luminous Mask, and I’m very happy with its multitasking concept. And, by that, I mean that I use this mask in a variety of ways.

The gel-like quality is convenient — it’s easy to apply, feels cooling and soothing on the skin, and it spreads easily without catching in different parts of the face. It’s very easy to slap it on and move on!

001

002

The NARS Aqua Gel Luminous Mask is an “intensive hydrating mask for smoother, softer, more plump-looking skin.” For skin that is dehydrated, dry, tired, and dull, this is the perfect way to recharge your skin. NARS claims that “this advanced treatment provides a surge of hydration anytime—day or overnight, leaving skin ultrasoft, vibrant, and more youthful-looking.” Additionally, the mask is “infused with NARS exclusive Light Reflecting Complex™, Japonicus root extract, Wild Pansy extract, Beech Bud extract, and Sophora root extract,” which are all skin-loving ingredients that aid with intense hydration and strengthening the skin’s barrier function to lock in essential moisture.

Most importantly, the Aqua Gel Luminous Mask “saturates the skin with moisture. Skin feels comfortable, calm, and soothed. The appearance of fine lines and wrinkles begin to fade from view. Lightweight and velvety to the touch, this treatment mask helps skin achieve a new level of luminosity and preparation for smooth makeup application and longer-lasting foundation.”

003

004

As mentioned previously, I use this mask in a variety of ways. First, I use it as is — a mask that can be left on overnight. This means after makeup removal, thorough cleansing, and prepping the skin with toner, serum, and my night cream, I apply this mask as my final step on top of my night cream. Usually, I leave about 10-15 minutes of absorbing time for my regular night time products, and then I apply the Aqua Gel Luminous Mask. At first, the mask is filmy and almost sticky. But when you give it some time to absorb, it adheres to the skin well and locks in all the products you’ve applied prior. I feel that this traps all the moisture and nutrients during the night, enabling my skin to recover, recharge, and rehydrate throughout the night.

Second, I use this as a quickie wash-off mask. Sometimes in the morning, my skin is looking tired and dull. So I’ll wash my face with Cetaphil, apply the mask, and then brush my teeth. During that time the mask is working quickly to re-vamp my skin. After brushing my teeth, I wash off the mask and proceed onto my morning skincare routine and then makeup. I’ve found that this method can truly make a difference in how my skin looks before makeup applications on days when my skin really needs it.

Lastly, sometimes I swap out my regular daytime moisturizer for this. I don’t do this often since I don’t think it’s as effective as when I apply this at night. However, when my skin is feeling dry, I apply this instead of moisturizer to give my skin a quick boost. Because it feels tacky at first, I have to have adequate time for it to absorb, then apply my sunscreen, then my makeup. It can be time-consuming so I tend to not do it often. I found myself doing this while traveling, however.

Retails for $39.00 USD.
Made in USA.

Benzac Acne Solutions Intensive Spot Treatment

Having a good spot treatment on hand has saved my skin from getting worse. In addition, it’s also prevented me from picking at a pimple on my face because I know that I’ve applied something to it. When Target started carrying Benzac acne products, I had a lot of faith in the range since they’re known to be prescription products. While Benzac features the Acne Solutions Intensive Spot Treatment, the line also has the Acne Solutions Skin Balancing Foaming Cleanser, the Acne Solutions Blemish Clearing Hydrator, and the Acne Solutions Complete Acne Solutions Regimen at Target.

008

009

The Benzac Acne Solutions Intensive Spot Treatment “rapidly neutralizes painful, newly-forming pimples and heals stubborn acne while calming irritation and brightening the skin. It also contains odorless onion extract, which is known to help combat scarring. With a simple, three-step daily regimen, Benzac is the only skincare product line that uses pure, pharmaceutical-grade East Indian sandalwood oil, a natural ingredient known to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and soothe the skin.”

Much like the description indicates, this product is a spot treatment that is clear and odorless. You can apply it at night before bed, or apply it during the day over makeup for day time treatment as well. The product isn’t harsh, is very soothing on the skin, and seems to keep my skin less dry than most spot treatments. “In addition to East Indian sandalwood oil, the Benzac product line also contains salicylic acid and extracts from natural ingredients like Kakadu plum, honeysuckle, zinc, onion extract and lemon myrtle.” The incorporation of these skin-soothing ingredients is great because it fights the acne and keeps skin happy and healthy as well.

010

If you have mild acne and a few spots to treat, I think this would be a great option. It’s expensive for what it is, so that’s the only draw back. I can’t compare it to its prescription counterpart since I’ve never taken or used prescription acne medications, but I don’t think it’s all that necessary to have this particular acne product.

Made in USA.
Retails for $15.99 USD.