Things I Recommend

The year is coming to a close and it’s a little frightening how fast time goes by. Today’s post is simple – I’ve been getting asked about products I would recommend to ring in the new year. I decided to keep it simple today by showing a few items that have really caught my attention as of late; and most importantly, I’d like to share with you the high-level of performance from these products. Also, I’d like to preface this recommendation post by stating that I was quite surprised with the results from the products. I wasn’t expecting much; but, I’m happy to report that I’m a satisfied customer.

Product Recommendation List:
1. Benefit‘s Hervana Box Blush
2. Revlon‘s Colorburst Lipgloss in “Cocktail Dress”
3. Samantha Chapman‘s Real Techniques Powder Brush

If you’re looking for good drugstore lip glosses, check our Revlon’s Colorburst shades. The texture is silky and long-wearing for a gloss that isn’t too sticky. “Cocktail dress” is a neutral-barely-there color, but the sparkles are amazing in the light. I like that it’s not obnoxiously sparkly, because I don’t want to walk around looking like I’m 12.

Benefit‘s newest box blush Hervana, is a product I thought about skipping at first. For $28, the price of the blush seemed steep for something that comes in a cardboard box; and for that kinda money, I would normally prefer to delve into the products at the Chanel counter. However, I was drawn to this box blush because of the mixture of colors and the flip-top box.

The swirled colors are various hues of pink – light, frosty, and a peachy-pink medium shade. Swirling your brush into the product produces a light pinky color that’s fresh and not overpowering. The multidimensional shades can be quite forgiving on various skin tones; and, in my opinion, it’s the good “flush of color” on your cheeks without looking overdone or too doll-like.

While looking over reviews online, even those with tanned skin were quite impressed with the color payoff. The pigmentation is quite rich and buttery, and is a good combination of pink and peach. Though the description may not sound like anything too exciting – especially for those of you who already own tons of blushes like me – I agree it’s not a total must-have at the moment.

Benefit’s website says to “swirl on this orchid-blossom blush for a heavenly flush of enlightenment! These four shades—lucky shell, divine peach, heavenly rose and berry delight—blend together perfectly to lift your look to cloud 9.” If you like bold cheek colors, it may be better to pass on this product. However, for those of you who prefer the light flush of color, you may pleasantly surprised with the performance of this product – I know I was.

Many of you may already be familiar with the YouTube gurus from Pixiwoo. Samantha Chapman’s line of synthetic and budget friendly brushes are sold at Ulta stores nationwide. I was a little hesitant at first because the sample brush on display at Ulta was less than impressive. I bought it on a whim because I wanted to travel with a brush that wasn’t expensive and easily replaceable in case something happened to it. The Real Techniques line has eye brushes and face brushes and this powder brush pleasantly surprised me. It’s soft but not too fluffy. It’s structured enough to hold its shape, yet flexible enough to deposit color on areasI want to place it. It doesn’t feel prickly and doesn’t shed its fibers all over the place. Cha-ching! Your powder (loose or compact) is deposited evenly, and I do appreciate that very much from a brush that costs a fifth of what a natural haired department store brush may cost.

How are you liking these products (if you already have them)? If not, what interests you the most?

*Pictures taken using CANON POWERSHOT SD1300 IS DIGITAL ELPH (12.1 Megapixels)
*Click on images to enlarge.

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Recommendation: Caudalie Vinoperfect

Recently, I switched over to a French brand – Caudalie – for my nightly skin care routine. I picked Caudalie after some thorough research, because I wanted a gentler product that would spot-correct and make my complexion more radiant and even-toned. Enter Caudalie’s radiance regimen: Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum + Caudalie Vinoperfect Cell Renewal Night Cream.

Caudalie’s History via Sephora:
“The Caudalie story began in 1993 when two college sweethearts, Mathilde and Bertrand Thomas, took a summer job at her family winery in Bordeaux and met Dr. Vercauteren, the world’s leading expert on grapevine polyphenols. The professor revealed the extraordinary antioxidant powers of the vine, inspiring the couple to create the world’s leading vinotherapy skincare line. Caudalie is the first beauty company to use (and patent) stabilized grape seed polyphenols in skincare and steers clear of parabens, phenoxyethanol, mineral oils, and artificial colorings to protect your skin and the environment. Balancing science and nature with a touch of luxury, Caudalie is always on the cutting edge of antioxidant technology. Uncork the formulas and let your skin drink up the benefits.”

The Vinoperfect Radiance Serum is “a highly concentrated oil-free serum that improves the appearance of dark spots, promotes even skintone, and boosts radiance.” It is formulated to “banish dark spots and achieve your most even, bright, and beautiful complexion. Perfect for all skin types, this satiny complex offers remarkable results, helping to correct dark spots, acne marks, and scars. Naturally powerful Viniferine, olive squalene, mint, caraway, and galbanum work to counter stretch marks, scars, and damage while bolstering collagen and elastin, for glowing results.”

Caudalie’s official website states that this “satiny serum is a remarkable formula for smoother, brighter-looking skin. Patented Viniferine, 62 times more effective than Vitamin C boosts the complexion’s radiance and appearance. Your skin is moisturized and luminous. Your complexion looks even and beautifully radiant with dark spots diminished.” This product is “for those who wish to regain a bright, radiant, and even complexion. [It] eliminate[s] existing dark spots and prevents the appearance of new ones.”

Applying serum before the cream is important because serums are designed to penetrate deeper into the skin; creams, on the other hand, can sit on top of the skin before absorption. Including a serum into your nightly skin care routine can boost effects since serums contain higher concentrations “ingredients” that are delivered deeper into the skin. Doing so – in my opinion – allows your combined products to be more effective – thus providing results that you’re looking for faster.

Paired with the serum, I apply the cell renewal night cream every night. “This exfoliating cream works overnight for a renewed baby-skin effect, leaves your complexion glowing and unified, smoothes lines and reduces pores. It delivers gradual and continuous exfoliation for a new-skin effect that ensures unique high tolerance. Dark spots and imperfections are visibly diminished, the skin texture is refined and pores are tightened. In the morning, your skin breathes freely. It is detoxified, moisturized, smoother with a more even, incredibly luminous complexion.”

The cream is thick and a little goes a long way. I find that it’s difficult to blend in because it does take some work to get the white cast from the product to dissipate. However, despite its thick consistency, once the cream is blended in my skin is smooth and soft. Even with a layer of serum plus the cream, my skin is not left sticky; I’m confident that both products have been absorbed into the skin.

Caudalie products are formulated WITHOUT:
– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Synthetic Dyes
– Petrochemicals
– Phthalates
– GMOs
– Triclosan

What else you need to know:
This non-comedogenic, non-photosensitizing product does not contain animal products and is not tested on animals. Caudalie is committed to using and producing products that are environmentally friendly.

My thoughts/recommendation:
I’ve been using Caudalie for a few months now, and I’m happy to say that my skin has made a successful transition from summer to fall to winter because of these two products. The smell is lightly sweet but doesn’t linger to give you a headache. After makeup removal and proper skin cleansing, I slather on the serum generously all over my face and wait a few moments for it to sink into the skin. The skin absorbs the product beautifully and doesn’t leave a sticky gooey feeling, like many other serums on the market. Then, I apply the night cream on top of the serum; the cream is slightly on the thick side – so, a little goes a long way. I rub the cream into the skin and, it too, is absorbed into the skin easily. Within minutes my skin feels refreshed and moisturized. I can go to sleep without my skin sticking to my pillow and rubbing off everywhere.

The final verdict:
If your goal is to achieve a more even-toned complexion, then I highly recommend this line. The natural ingredients in here, I believe, work just as well as chemical-based products. Because the main ingredient is more potent than the traditional Vitamin C, the results are equal or greater depending on the length of use. Before starting on this particular routine, I had just finished a mini acne-battle with my skin and was left with some reddish post-hyperpigmentation spots. My skin had gotten sensitive to the weather changes around here and I was having some major redness issues; also, it appeared my skin was quite unbalanced – more than usual.

It is important to know that these anti-spot products are not meant for a “quick fix.” If you want intense and immediate results, a laser procedure is your best bet – even though it is very costly. With topical products, you must remain patient and use the products diligently as instructed for weeks (and sometimes months) before seeing full results. Within a week, my skin seemed happier and less temperamental; within 2 weeks, the redness had subsided immensely; within a month and a half, many of the spots had faded but were still visible; and, at the end of the 4th month, I could get away with not using concealer for additional coverage (though a light coating of foundation was still required). Now, at the end of December, I’m quite happy with the condition of my skin. Though there’s hints of faint spots here and there, the overall skin tone has evened out greatly and the texture is much more smoother – thus, creating the “radiant” look the products claim. The remaining stubborn spots are really, really faint; and, I’m happy to say that NO new spots have emerged.

* Images and quoted content were extracted from http://www.sephora.com and http://www.caudalie-usa.com.

Something New

Apologies for the brief hiatus; and, thank you to those who have been patient with the lack of posts lately. I’ve been consumed with family matters due to the sudden passing of my grandfather, and it’s been crazy for the past week and a half – both emotionally and mentally. I have indulged in some retail therapy and considered writing about it awhile ago, but then I changed my mind when I felt uninspired. Since I’m back to blogging, be prepared to see some new goodies/reviews/rants in the near future.

Lately, I’ve been on the hunt for a new fragrance. I’m quite picky with scents because I don’t like scents that are too overpowering or seductive, but I also dislike sweet and overly fruity scents as well. For awhile, I re-purchased bottles of “Light Blue” by D & G, but gave it up after college graduation; since then, I’ve been looking for something more grown-up. Unfortunately, I haven’t found anything I’m totally loving, but I’ve come quite close. I’m still in the experimentation phase, so I’ve devoted some time to hunt down some samples via ebay. That way, I can really try a fragrance out before committing to the hefty price tag. I wanted something a bit more generous than the samples from department stores – as they’re quite stingy with the amount they provide as “samples.” And quite frankly, at a mere 3-4 time use, it’s difficult to determine if it’s a keeper (in my opinion).

My new fragrance curiosity is the Burberry Classic for women. I purchased this baby-sized bottle on ebay for $11.50 and it was shipped promptly. It’s so cute and adorable, but contains enough uses to last for probably a few months. I decided if I end up purchasing the full-size product, I’ll have the baby one to tote around with me when I travel; and, if I end up not committing to purchase the full-size product, $11.50 is not too shabby to have spent on Burberry.

For size reference, I’ve stacked 2 nickels on top of one another. At 4.5 mL or 0.15 fl. oz., it is quite teeny tiny. I appreciate the fact that this sample size is designed to replicate the original, including the box that it comes in. Also, I’m thrilled that it’s not one of those cheapy plastic squirter things they give you at department stores.

Sephora says:
“Fresh and clean, with an ephemeral harmony somewhere between sparkle and calm. In ivory packaging lined with the Burberry plaid, the bottle is a contemporary pebble-shaped design.”

The notes in this fragrance are:
Black Currant, Green Apple, Peach, Jasmine, Sandalwood, Cedar, Vanilla.

Reviewers on various websites state repeatedly that this fragrance is definitely a “day time scent” that has good lasting power and is a “lifetime favorite” because it’s the “perfect aroma.” With pretty much 5 stars across the board, I’m pleased to be testing this particular fragrance out. Because the scent contains notes of Sandalwood and Cedar, it definitely falls under the “woodsy scent” category, but still has a hint of citrus (Green Apple and Peach) to still maintain femininity and sexiness.

I shall report back later with the final results. As for now, I’m quite pleased.

*Pictures taken using CANON POWERSHOT SD1300 IS DIGITAL ELPH (12.1 Megapixels)
*Click on images to enlarge.

Essentials of the Moment

So, since I’ve been “shopping my stash” as of late, it’s helped with re-discovering products; and, remembering which ones I loved and then forgot about. I suppose that’s the issue with routinely purchasing so many products all the time. Ha! My current essentials of the moment consists of:

Sephora Collection Pro Foundation Airbrush #56
Chanel Perfection Lumiere Long-Wear Flawless Fluid Makeup in B10
Chanel Poudre Unveriselle Libre Natural Finish Loose Powder in 20 Clair-Translucent 1
Benefit Posie Tint

Sephora’s airbrush foundation brush from their “pro” line works wonders for fluid and cream makeup of all sorts. In the beginning, although I adored Perfection Lumiere’s finish, I was on the fence about the product because of the application. The formula’s quick-drying gel-ish consistency was surprisingly hard to work with; and, unfortunately – it seemed that a traditional foundation brush and stippling brushes of both natural and synthetic fibers – made the finish of the foundation streaky and unnatural. However, after discovering Sephora’s airbrush foundation brush, I quickly changed my mind. The brush provides good control for different textures of makeup, while depositing just the right amount of color where you want it. It blends well and seamlessly – and, even makes difficult foundations, like Chanel’s Perfection Lumiere – blend flawlessly. In short, I’ve discovered that sometimes it may not be the texture of a cosmetic item that irks you – you may just be using the wrong tool.

Here’s what Sephora has to say about the foundation brush #56:
“For even greater control and precision, Sephora’s cult favorite Platinum Foundation Airbrush now comes in a version with a smaller brush head. Create a flawless, airbrushed finish thanks to this brush’s densely packed bristles and smaller head. Smoothly and easily, layer foundation from light to heavy. As you continue application, your results will be perfectly smooth at every level of coverage.”

Benefit’s Posie Tint is a bright baby pink color that is in liquid form. Pictured in this post is a sample size, since I wanted to test it out before committing to purchasing the product. I do have to say that it’s an interesting product to use: it’s watery and blends right into the skin – leaving you with the perfect flushed pinkness without looking powdery or cakey. It looks like you took a quick jog around the block, and your skin is healthy and refreshed. Now, too much of this product can make you look like you’ve got rosacea, so use a light hand.

*Pictures taken using CANON POWERSHOT SD1300 IS DIGITAL ELPH (12.1 Megapixels)
*Click on images to enlarge.

Recent Favorite Products

Back by popular demand – some current favorite products! So I admit, as a product junkie, it’s hard to keep up with all the new releases by so many departments, companies, and brands. However, since I know what I like – and what my skin likes – I find good face products from time to time. For me, I focus a lot how the skin looks. In my opinion, no amount of expensive eye products, fancy colors, and professional-looking application – will cover up the fact that the skin/base makeup looks like ruddy, uneven, or discolored.

If you think about makeup as an artistry – the skin is the base – hence, the term “foundation.” It’s the basic canvas before you start getting into the technical work, like gradation in color, color application, etc. And, even from a painter’s point of view – before creating your masterpiece, you start with a clean, blank canvas, right?

Featured products:
L’oreal True Match Super-Blendable Power in “W1 Porcelain”
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 (oil-free) in “Porcelain”
Chanel Illuminating Base Makeup

The infamous tinted moisturizer by Laura Mercier in the oil-free formulation is what I prefer. “Porcelain” is the lightest shade that is offered, and is yellow-based – which is quite odd for a shade named “Porcelain.” However, for a tinted moisturizer, it gives good, lightweight coverage. This product is used on “good skin” days because the coverage isn’t going to be as thorough as a foundation. It’s long-lasting, lightweight, and evens the skin tone out beautifully without looking overdone. Perfect for every day wear and for when you want to sport the “no makeup look” on weekends or to the gym.

L’oreal True Match powder is a great alternative to pricey powder. “W1 Porcelain” is the lightest shade in their “warm” cateogry – and, yes, that’s what the “w” in this range stands for. L’oreal True Match powder is also available in cool tones as well. I use this with a fluffy powder brush to get a sheer application. This provides good oil control, and so this power is great for the T-zone.

Chanel’s Illuminating Base is great for a special occasion or night out on the town. The base is essentially a primer and is designed to be worn under foundation – or, for me as of late – under the tinted moisturizer. This product is gel-like in consistency and is clear, yet white-ish in color that contains small pearly, iridescent particles that cleverly disappears once you rub it onto the skin. It perfectly “lights up” whatever base product you decide to pair with this base.

Since it’s winter, a dewy look still looks healthy – however, it’s important to address our skin’s changes with the weather. Now, rather than oil control, I prefer to focus on retaining moisture.

What are you loving lately?

*Pictures taken using CANON POWERSHOT SD1300 IS DIGITAL ELPH (12.1 Megapixels)
*Click on images to enlarge.