REVIEW: DIOR Addict Extreme #336 – “Saint Tropez”

Normally, I’m a Chanel-lip-product-girl and apart from a few staple Dior items, I tend to stick to what I like. However, as of late, it seems that I’m broadening my horizon a bit regarding lip products and I’m venturing off and experimenting with various brands like YSL, NARS, and Dior. Because Dior’s new Addict Extreme lipsticks are hot right now, I was curious and went to check it out for myself.

I purchased #336 “Saint Tropez” and have already dubbed it my go-to spring/summer color for my lips. From what I gathered, the ‘extreme’ line comes cased in a dark blue tube rather than the clear one. Personally, I prefer the navy blue tube. Unfortunately, I’m unable to compare it to any of Dior’s other formulations/collections since I don’t own them. When I picked “Saint Tropez,” I was immediately drawn to it by looking at all the beautiful testers. This one was a rich, coral-pink, that had high-shine and NO shimmers. Yes.

I swatched it and made up my mind that I would be picking this one to purchase. After quickly scanning the rest of the available options, none of them really fit my taste – even though they all looked beautiful on display like that. It’s like candy – kind of expensive candy, haha.

Nordstrom describes Dior Addict Extreme lipsticks as a product that “combines vibrant color intensity with the perfection of luminous shine. Extreme, almost breathtaking shades make lips glow with radiant shine in vibrant colors with dazzling pure pigments.”

The pigmentation is rich and the high-gloss shine is wonderful on its own without a gloss over it. The lasting power is impressive – over 4 hours, and that’s with going to brunch and talking, eating, and drinking (and dabbing my mouth on my napkin). I love how this coral-pink translates to a soft (yet rich) pinky-peach color that isn’t too bright and overpowering. Despite my love for pigmentation, I don’t like packed-on and super opaque coverage.

HOWEVER, there are some points I dislike: first of all, it’s not as moisturizing as my Chanel Rouge Coco Shine lipsticks. Although the product adheres well to the lips (and stays there), I have to wear lip blam underneath this or my lips feel too dry. Second, after it begins to wear off and you begin to notice it (at about the third hour), the color is left looking patchy and visibly dry. Even though much of the pigmentation has remained on the lips, it’s no longer that smooth finish. Third, if I want to re-apply, I have to completely and totally remove the left over product from my lips and then re-apply. If not, the dry parts of the lips that are left over from the initial first application makes the second application look nasty and goopy.

For me, I like this product because I like the color so much. I’m convinced I don’t have anything like this and that’s the reason why I want to keep it. Unfortunately, I’m not set on ‘collecting’ more colors because I feel like it’s kind of high maintenance. I just feel like that with my trusty Chanel lippies, I can slap it on wherever and whenever – day or night – with or without a mirror – and with or without lip balm underneath. Until another awesomely awesome color catches my attention, I think I will limit my purchase to just #336 “Saint Tropez.”

Have you tried these yet? If so, what are your favorite colors?
As always, thanks for reading.

*Pictures taken using CANON POWERSHOT SD1300 IS DIGITAL ELPH (12.1 Megapixels)

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Sunscreen Rave: Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector For Face SPF 42 PA +++

As promised, I’m here to bring you my review on Shiseido’s newest sunscreen: the Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector SPF 42 PA +++. Before I begin my review, let me just start off by stating a few general background information.

First of all, I use a separate sunscreen for my face that is different from the one I use on my body. There is no scientific reason for this; it’s just that I prefer a specific “for face” sunscreen for my face because I have sensitive and reactive skin. I use thicker creams and lotions for my body when I’m indulging in water-activities. Also, this Shiseido sunscreen is my “daily sunscreen,” which is what I use under my makeup every single day. For days I’m out in the sun for water-activities, I use a stronger and more water resistant formula so I will not use my daily sunscreen for that occasion.

Because my daily sunscreen is worn under makeup every day, I have specific requirements that need to be met:
1. The texture must be thin.
2. It must not disturb makeup application and wear.
3. The formula needs to be matte and fast drying.
4. It must not leave a white cast on my face (since makeup will be applied over it).
5. It must be easy to remove (along with my makeup) at the end of the day.

With all that said, this sunscreen meets all my expectations. And, with that, I can simply end my review here, lol. If you want more in-depth information, you may read on, of course.

Sephora describes this sunscreen as “an oil-free daily formulation that protects against three major causes of skin cell damage: UV rays, oxidation, and overproduction of sebum.”

The product claims to be an “ultra-light formulation [that] contains mineral powders and herbal extracts to help it spread smoothly while creating a pore-free and shine-free finish.” This sunscreen is “formulated with Shiseido’s highly effective multi-defense sun protection system and advanced skincare ingredients, it prevents skin damage and free radical production.”

After moisturizing, I shake the bottle and apply it evenly onto my face. There’s a typical Shiseido scent, which is light and flowery; it’s nothing too overpowering, and after application you don’t notice it. Within a few seconds, the product will “set” and become matte and smooth. For me, this doubles as a primer because makeup applies wonderfully afterwards. At night, I remove everything on my face (sunscreen + makeup I’m wearing that day) with cleansing oil.

The texture is very thin and watery. In fact, it’s so watery it will run off your hand/finger if you’re not careful. This texture allows the product to blend easily onto the skin and then dry instantly. The best part is that it doesn’t disturb the makeup you will end up applying onto the skin afterwards. Liquid, cream, and powder products apply equally beautifully. Other sunscreens will ball up and peel off the skin when you try to add anything else; this does not. HOORAY!

A possible compaint may be that this product provides questionable coverage because it’s so thin. To some people, the texture may seem like you’re not applying enough sunscreen or any product at all. Before liquid sunscreens came onto the Western market, Asian cosmetic companies were distributing them years and years before. I’ve been using liquid sunscreens daily for a decade – and have not had one sunburn on my face; and I’ve maintained my fair skin tone straight through summer. In fact, I have never re-purchased a foundation because my color didn’t match anymore.

Liquid sunscreens are best for the face because it’s not thick, heavy, and oily. I hope that by using an easy product like this, more people will add an extra 15 seconds in their morning routines to protect their skin from premature aging (and skin cancer). Perhaps that’s the whole point in developing such a product.

Item retails for $30 for 30 mL/1 fl.oz.
Made in USA
Container made in Japan.

Octinoxate 7.4%; Octocrylene 3.0%; Zinc Oxide 8.6%

*Pictures taken using CANON POWERSHOT SD1300 IS DIGITAL ELPH (12.1 Megapixels)

Glowy Skin 101

For me, anything that claims to be “illuminating,” “glowy,” or “brightening” has my undivided attention. I think I tend to have a higher degree of faith in a particular product especially when it claims to be such things. Only if it were THAT easy to just slap one product on our face and we’re suddenly angelic and heavenly-looking.

In reality, much of the glow factor has been added on manually – especially since it’s realisitically difficult to look glowy when it’s hot and humid outside and what we’ve really got going on is sweat on our faces. It is what it is.

This is my glow-factor-concoction that provides the effortless look of naturalness plus an extra kick of oomph. This may not be practical for a fun day out at the beach; however, for the purpose of “hanging out and going places,” I think this will suffice.


1. Samantha Chapman Real Techniques Stippling Brush
2. NARS Illuminator in “Copacabana”
3. NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in “Gobi”

I’ve discovered that adding a dollop of Copacabana into a wee bit of foundation is the best way to get an all over glow. Copacabana is a milky white highlighter with subtle pinkish-purpleish iridescent-ness. You can add this into your foundation and mix it before applying it to your face; or, after your foundation application, you can add Copacabana to the areas you want to highlight (like the cheekbones).

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation is one of my favorites and the one I go back to constantly during my foundation rotations. The finish of this foundation is by far my favorite because it’s so light and natural and the light-diffusing properties blur imperfection instantly. Though “sheer” and “glow” are part of the title, I feel that it’s neither sheer nor glowy. It provides good, semi-matte coverage; which, to me, is better than full, matte coverage.

I prefer to do mixing, stippling, and applying with my Real Techniques brush. The soft taklon, duo-fiber bristles work well with the cream products and distribute them evenly on my face. I prefer this over my MAC brush because it’s stiffer and more structured which gives me control.

Do you prefer the dewy look for spring and summer?

*Pictures taken using CANON POWERSHOT SD1300 IS DIGITAL ELPH (12.1 Megapixels)

Burberry No. 22 “Pale Barley” Eyeshadow

Neutral eyeshadows are my weakness and when your collection is largely made up of brown-neutral shadows, it can be perceived as “boring” and “unintresting.” For me, wearing a ton of color has never been a part of my personality. I stick to neutrals and mono-chromatic tones (even in clothes) because it transitions well from day to night; work to play; and is rather “safe” since everything goes with everything.

Enter: Burberry eyeshadow in “Pale Barley.” The packaging is exquisite – black velvet pouch with the Burberry signature plaid stipes imprinted on it; and, a sleek gun-metal silver mirrored case that shuts magnetically. Though the case will be plagued by fingerprints, I don’t mind since it will be permanently housed in its original pouch.

Aft first glance, the color doesn’t seem interesting. In fact, it looks like your every-day-run-of-the-mill brown eyeshadow. After reading and hearing about rave reviews, every one claimed that the color was unique and not like your ordinary brown shadows. I admit, I was intrigued. Deeply.

“Pale Barley” is neither pale nor sheer. It’s quite richly pigmented and for $29 – it better be! Although it appears to be a simple color, the rusty golden brown is tinged with subtle shimmer that gives your eyelid a good wash of color. The coppery, peachy tones illuminate in the sunlight, and in indoor lighting, the subdued earthy brown shade gives dimension and sheen that’s like no other.

The warm golden sparkles are well-controlled – no worries. The texture is soft and buttery, with no fall out, and transfers from brush/spong tip to skin well. The application is smooth and blendable and the luminous sheen that the shadow provides differs greatly from other brownish, taupeish, bronzeish shades I own.

For me, this is a great all over lid color; I follow it with an application of a slightly darker shade in the crease/corners of my eyes. If you pair brown eyeliner (like MAC “Teddy”), it’s the perfect combination that is to die for.

Are you interested in Burberry’s makeup line? This is my first Burberry purchase and it seems like this is definitely a keeper. If you own a lot of neutral shadows already and are hesitant with “Pale Barley,” treat yourself and give this a shot. I promise it’s like nothing you already have.

*Pictures taken using CANON POWERSHOT SD1300 IS DIGITAL ELPH (12.1 Megapixels)

REVIEW: YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain #18 – “Rose Pastelle”

I’m featuring my very first YSL product ever today and I’m deathly afraid that I’ve awoken yet another bad habit. Despite my love for luxurious high-end makeup, I’m very careful with what I want to invest in. At the end of the day, it’s the brand name you’re paying for, so the performance and quality of the product is still important and should remain the #1 factor. Unlike some other beauty enthusiasts out there, I don’t purchase products to “collect” because I find it wasteful. I mean, the products DO expire at some point in time.

With that being said, I avoided YSL this whole time because none of the products wow’ed me. In fact, even though I do watch YouTube videos on the daily, YSL makeup never tugged at my heartstrings. I do admit to swatching and playing with the products, but like I said, it never did anything for me and I knew I was going to take my money elsewhere. Now, with the release of the Glossy Stains, I’m doomed.

I went to Sephora and picked up Glossy Stain #18: “Rose Pastelle” and I’m in heaven. While I was there, I “cashed in” my reward points for a moisturizer by Benefit.

Typical YSL packaging here. I’m afraid of getting stratches on it, lol! It’s sleek, shiny, and very portable. One of the things I like about high-end products is their attention to detail regarding the packaging. It certainly doesn’t feel cheap; in fact, this gloss has some weight to it.

Sephora says that YSL’s glossy stains are “a revolutionary new lip product that combines the texture and shine of a gloss with the long-wear of a stain.” This is true. The texture is liquidy and slightly creamy; nothing about this product is sticky in any way. I swear. After application, it’s shiny, the color remains true, and after some of it has worn off, the pigment of the color remains – hence, the “stain.”

Notice the interesting applicator part. The tear-shaped spongey tip is flexible so you can move it around easily to fit the contours of your lip. Fantastic! Also, it doesn’t get all goopy with excess product which is always a plus in my book. On Sephora’s webiste, the applicator is described as having “a unique slanted tip and short soft bristles” that provides a “flawless application with perfect precision.”

So, what does the product do?? –> It “coat[s] your lips with color that offers a lightweight texture, which immediately melts onto lips.” Glossy Stain “delivers intense glossy color for an extremely long-lasting shine.” Again, true. However, I would have to say that it isn’t super long-lasting, but this varies – depending on when you apply this and when after the application you eat, drink, etc.

Normally, products that claim to “stain your lips” dry them out; and products that claim to be “glossy and high shine” are so sticky your lips stick together. Glossy Stains are the best of both worlds: stain + gloss (and the name fits so well).

In a regular swatch, #18 is a cool pink and is one of the lightest shades in the total range of 19 colors. However, on the lips, it transpires as a milky pink. The product is semi-opaque, and from what I saw at the store, all the glossy stains were richly pigmented. On my lips, #18 levels out to be light, nude-ish pink that isn’t tacky like Barbie-pink. Indoor lighting makes this color seem brighter, however. For this particular color, I think the overall outcome of the shades largely depends on what your original lip color is.

Item retails for a whopping $32 for 0.20 oz. GEEZ. It’s a hefty price tag for something so small. As with all high-end products, none of it is actually necessary. I still recommend this product! You deserve a treat. Go get it. :)

*Pictures taken using CANON POWERSHOT SD1300 IS DIGITAL ELPH (12.1 Megapixels)

Bare Face: the “face of the day”

As of late, I’ve been foregoing liquid foundation perfection and optiong for a lighter, barely there makeup look. I don’t need a lot of coverage and everything I apply to my face is always with a light hand. However, during the spring/summer months, I tend to get lazy with using different brushes and rotating my foundations. Shock, horror!

Houston doesn’t really have spring per se; in fact, our mild winter turned out to be kind of like spring, but the transition from winter to spring was shortlived. It’s getting hotter and pretty soon, we’ll be hitting 100 degrees. And, let me tell ya, I’m not in the mood to be worrying about my foundation and eyebrows melting off my face.

My “bare face” look has been light and the colors I do wear on my face has been more nude-ish more than anything else. It’s the ultimate natural look without literally walking out of my house totally bare. As with all products, much of what I use depends on my mood in the morning.

Pictured:
MAC “Blushbaby” blush
Laura Mercier “Bare Pink” lipgloss
Bare Minerals Matte “Golden Fair” foundation
Kat Von D concealer in “Sand”
Clarins Rouge Prodige “122 Nude”

Most days I use the MAC 129 brush and swirl my Bare Minerals foundation in the lid and buff it on my face. Pretty much, it takes about 30 seconds to do that; and occasionally, I’ll swirl extra product and add a bit more coverage if needed – that would extend my foundation application time to about 40 seconds, lol. On days when I don’t feel like swirling, I’ll use the Kat Von D concealer in “Sand” to even out my complexion a tad (mainly my cheeks) and then move on. When I’m feeling a little fancy, I’ll swirl Bare Minerals over my light application of the Kat Von D concealer.

I’m not too interested in Kat Von D’s makeup line but I’m loving the concealer. It’s liquidy and creamy at the same time and comes in a tube. If you don’t need a lot of coverage like me, this is easy to slap on and skip foundation. My love-hate relationship with Bare Minerals is on hold because I’m in love with it at the moment, lol. It’s just so easy to use.

MAC “Blushbaby” is a dusty, nude-rose color. It applies smoothly and wears well on my cheeks. The color is not that unique, but I think it’s a great staple color to have. It’s good for any day, any occasion – and pretty much fool-proof.

Clarins lip color in “122 Nude” is the only nude color that works for me. Since I’m already fair, most nude lipsticks blank out my lips so much it pretty much blends into my skin! Milky pinks are nice in the tube, but I feel that more tanned gals can pull the look off better. Clarins “122 Nude” is nude (but not flesh tone) and semi-opaque; and even though it does cancel out my lips, just one swipe is the perfect amount of nude for me without making me look like a death.

Laura Mercier lip glosses are my new fave. I’m very particular about glosses. Just like everyone else, I dislike stickiness, but glosses that lack a certain degree of stickiness wear off too quickly. LM lipglosses are smooth in texture and spread evenly onto the lips without get patchy. The application is balm-like but with high shine. Also, I don’t think it’s sticky at all but it adheres to the lips quite well. I think I’ll invest in more colors in the future and probably skip on Chanel glosses from now on. GASP!

What are you wearing for the warmer months?

*Pictures taken using CANON POWERSHOT SD1300 IS DIGITAL ELPH (12.1 Megapixels)

Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Brightening Makeup SPF 25 PA +++

So, my weakness is totally base makeup. And, anything that says “brightening makeup” has got my undivided attention – that’s for sure. Introducing: Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Brightening Makeup SPF 25 PA +++. Aside from Benefit’s gimmicky claims, I love this foundation. In fact, my Armani and Chanel foundations are on rotation-break because this foundation is my current fave at the moment. :)

Benefit’s Hello Flawless foundation claims to be a “brightening, oil-free liquid foundation with SPF 25 PA+++ protection.” This part is true; it does provide a glowy, brightened, healthy effect and the added sun protection is always a plus with the summer seaons approaching. Although it’s oil-free, I still blot halfway through the day. For me, it’s not that big of a deal since I tend to blot with ANY foundation I use.

According to Sephora’s website, “this natural-finish foundation builds from light to medium coverage for a natural complexion and features light-diffusing properties and hydrating benefits. Its nourishing formula contains Benefit’s exclusive Oxygen Wow Hydrating Complex, which helps boost cellular respiration for a “plumping up” effect, protects against environmental stresses, and contains vitamin C and E derivatives known to prevent the signs of aging.”

This foundation does provide a natural finish, but even though it’s natural, the coverage is quite buildable – which is nice since I don’t really like to use concealer. The formula is hydrating and thin. In fact, when you first squirt it out, you’ll be surprised to see that it will run right off your hand if you’re not careful.

With that being said, the blendable formula is nice when you want a light coating of foundation. Even with its light texture, coverage is good – but definitely not heavy/full coverage by any means. I’m not too sure about the “plumping effect” and the “exclusive Oxygen Wow Hydrating Complex,” but it does sound fancy and enticing. :)

I use this in the shade “Ivory,” which is the lightest shade in the range. This shade is good for those with “neutral porcelain for fair complexions,” but I admit that this color leans more towards the ‘yellow’ tone rather than neutral. I like that the foundation is easy to use and blendable; and, I appreciate the watery texture this product has since it will be summer soon.

I’m enjoying this foundation right now because you don’t need fancy tools and all the time in the world in the mornings to apply it; and since I prefer natural looking foundation, this is right up my alley. I discovered this is NOT good for dry skin days, especially if your skin is flaking a bit. Also, I’m not sure if you mature gals will like this – although it is hydrating, it’s still oil-free, so this may not provide you with the moisture you need.

The pump is average and the plastic-y see-through bottle is just okay for me. Benefit’s Hello Flawless foundation retails for $34 for 1 fluid ounce. It isn’t super cheap, but also, it isn’t super high-end either; it’s right in the middle. I recommend you give this a try for the summer months!

Product made in France.

SIDE NOTE: What does PA +++ mean?
* SPF stands for the protection grade of the UVB filter.
* PA stands for the protection grade of the UVA filter.
* The highest standard of sun protection rating is the three-star PA rating. Benefit’s foundation has three stars, which translates to the highest protection.
[extracted from http://www.benefitcosmetics.com]

*Pictures taken using CANON POWERSHOT SD1300 IS DIGITAL ELPH (12.1 Megapixels)
*Quotes extracted from sephora.com and benefitcosmetics.com

Trusty Drugstore Products

So, it’s already quite obvious I’m a product junkie; and, nothing excites me more than trying new things. In fact, it’s in those moments I’m stalking the internet – YouTube videos and blogs – that I start getting unnecessary ideas into my head. Then before I know it, there I am at various “hot spots” – like, Sephora, Ulta, Target, etc. – and unable to control my growing stash of produts. I’m ashamed, I know.

I’m a firm believer in ‘you get what you pay for’ and have always invested in products and clothing items for their quality. However, realistically speaking, at some point we all come to the realization that quality aside – it’s the brand name we’re actually shelling out our money for. With all this said, I find it interesting that the products that I keep coming back to (after venturing off), or products that I always seem to re-purchase are a few trusty drugstore products.

And, let me just preface this entry by saying that I’m quite hard to please and am insanely picky about various products and their performance. So, when I’m constantly re-purchasing something – it really does mean I really like it. :)

Once a week or so I use a clarifying shampoo and deep condition my hair with a deep conditioner or a hair mask. In between, I like to stick to my Phyto products, but as I’ve said before, I’m picky. Still, ’til this very day, I have been unable to find a good clarifying shampoo that doesn’t dry my hair out – and, in some cases, fancier brands claim to clarify and rid your hair of build up and oil, but it just makes your hair feel more oily! Neutrogena‘s Anti-Residue Shampoo is about $6 and lasts nearly a year for me since I use it so infrequently.

Neutrogena claims that “this is a shampoo treatment that instantly removes up to 95% of dulling residue caused by shampoos, conditioners and styling products.” The product “cleans hair thoroughly and easily rinses away,” and claims that after using this your favorite/regular shampoo will work even better. This shampoo works with all hair types, is non-irritating, and rinses clean. I like that your hair is left clean and refreshened, but not dried out and hard to manage because it’s stiff.

The conditioning treatment I like to use with the shampoo is Neutrogena‘s Triple Moisture Pure Strength Conditioning Treatment. It claims to “transform weak, brittle, extra dry hair into stronger, more resilient hair.” The tube says that the treatment will “reverse damage and strengthen all three layers of the hair strand from the inside and out.” The “naturally derived extracts penetrate deep into the strand to repair the core, while wheat proteins fill in tiny holes in the cuticle, sealing in moisture and reinforcing strands against future damage.” The two products do wonders for my hair; and, all for a little over $10. Not too shabby.

Next, my Neutrogena Eye Makeup Remover and Cetaphil soap are a must-have. Lancome’s Bi-Facil eye makeup remover is pretty awesome, but at nearly $30 for a teeny bottle, I gotta take my business elsewhere. Neutrogena’s eye makeup remover does the job just as well – including removing stubborn waterproof mascara and eyeliner – so for around $7, I’m a happy camper.

Cetaphil soap is what I’m sticking with. Before, I was spending anywhere between $15-$45 on stuff to wash my face with, and to be quite honest, they were either not getting my face clean or the product was breaking me out – which is no good either way, obviously. So after wasting money for awhile, I tried Cetaphil and haven’t looked back since. Yet another awesome product for about $5. Awesome.

And, finally, my all-time favorite mascara that never fails me: L’Oreal Volumious Mascara in Carbon Black (waterproof). It’s great for layering over a lengthening mascara; it gives you a slighty thick-ish and mildly clumpy-look, which I totally love. Even when I’m experimenting with other mascaras and they’re not getting the job done, I bust this baby out and it fixes all my problems.

Sonia Kashuk‘s brush cleaner is awesome and works so much better than MAC’s cleanser. The squirt bottle is user-friendly and doesn’t waste product. Instead of directly dipping your brushes into to cleanser, you wet them first and then spray the cleanser directly onto the bristles. When you rub the bristles in your hand, there’s a rich lather that smells like sweet lavender and you see color dripping away. No need to separately deep-cleanse because this is a two-in-one. Your brushes are clean, sanitized, and super soft.

What are some of your trusty drugstore products?

New Things Make Me Happy

I’m telling myself to stop hauling stuff and I’m sticking with that promise! This post is a bit overdue and I only recently unboxed my new goodies. So, technically, it’s like a mini surprise that I was actually expecting.

I had an early birthday gift card that I was going to save until my actual birthday – which is in April. But, I’m one of those people who like to be gifted early, so I treated myself nearly a month in advance. :)

My new goodies unboxed here:
NARS eyeshadow in “Nepal” – totally my new favorite
MAC eyeliner in “Teddy” – another favorite
Lancome Brow Expert – not sure about this one
MAC blush in “Blushbaby” – my go-to blush right now
Bare Minerals concealer in “Well Rested” for undereyes – impressive product
Laura Mercier lipgloss in “Bare Naked” – totally my new favorite lipgloss, pretty much of all time
NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in “Roman Holiday” – love!
NARS Velvet Lip Gloss Pencil in “Frivolous” – love!

NEW MAKEUP BAG from Victoria’s Secret that I absolutely adore.
It meets all of my makeup bag requiremets:
1.) bag must be wide (to stuff a bunch of stuff in);
2.) bag must be deep (to stuff a bunch of stuff in);
3.) bag must be made out of flexible material (to stuff a bunch of stuff in);
4.) bag should be reasonably cute, but not tacky and junior high-ish;
5.) bag must contain sturdy and reliable zipper that does NOT get stuck.

As you can see, I’m quite particular with makeup bags and rarely change them. So when I find one I like, I stick with it (unless I’m traveling and need to pack accordingly). For me, my main makeup bag stays at home; I rarely tote around all my makeup. If, for whatever reason, I do take some cosmetic items with me – only necessities like lipgloss, chapstick, oil blotting paper, floss, and tampons – are carried in a smaller pouch.

Though I try to keep everything reasonably organized on my vanity, items in my makeup bag have a special and honorable purpose. It basically means those products are my “go-to” products or can be easily labeled as my “current favorites.”

When I rotate items OUT of my makeup bag, it generally means I got bored of a particular product and it will be waiting in line during rotation; or, it means I don’t like the product anymore. I’m hard to please, haha.

Thanks for reading. I know this post seemed kinda random, haha.

*Pictures taken using CANON POWERSHOT SD1300 IS DIGITAL ELPH (12.1 Megapixels)

REVIEW: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30

Perhaps some of you may remember my haul posting not too long ago where I featured the NARS tinted moisturizer. Although I promised a review in “a few weeks,” I jumped the gun because I got excited. To be fair, I have worn this every day since I purchased it in various weather conditions. I also wore it for a few hours on some days and all day on others to test its longevity. Above, is a sneaky photo I took at Sephora while the display was still pretty and virtually untouched. I HATE sloppy and goopy displays.

Before I get started, let me just start off by saying that a tinted moisturizer is NOT a foundation. We, as makeup wearers, should not have the same expectations that we have of foundations for tinted moisturizers. Coverage will always be limited in tinted moisturizers versus a foundation that claims to be “long wearing” or “full coverage.” Another thing I’ve noticed is – just because a tinted moisturizer has “moisturizer” in its title doesn’t mean it will actually moisturize; or, that you can substitute your regular moisturizer with the tinted one. However, all this can vary depending your own skin type and condition.

Packaging is typical NARS-style: a sleek black tube. It’s not their rubbery material, which I appreciate, because then it won’t get dirty so quickly. The squeeze-tube makes it easy to adjust how much product you want to dispense, but I can see the opening gettting a bit messy after awhile. Even now, I always have to wipe it off because I’m just OCD like that. Overall, there’s 9 shades, with my shade – “Finaland” – being the lightest one.

NARS’ website describes the shade “Finland” as a “neutral balance of pink and yellow undertones.” I would say that this is true. It’s yellow enough to balance out the redness on my cheeks and around my nose that I have naturally; and, it’s slightly pink enough to make me not look orange or washed out. For reference, even though I don’t wear MAC on my face, I’m a NW15/NW20 because their NC range is far too yellowy for me. The next shade, “Alaska,” is super orange when blended.

This is a heavy dollop of Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer in the shade “Porcelain,” the lightest shade in the range. Despite its name, the shade is quite yellow and nowhere near “pinkish” or “neutral.” This color suited me well, but without blush, I looked like I was extra pale and somewhat ill. LM’s TM dries slightly sticky and I get oily quite quickly even if I powder. The coverage for LM’s TM is impressive for a tinted moisturizer, and begins to look messy and cakey on the face at the first sign of long wear, humidity, and sweat.

NARS’ Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer is an “oil-free formula [that] provides a translucent veil of color and sun protection while helping to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and dark spots in just four weeks.” The site also claims that the product is “infused with lush, naturally derived botanicals and ingredients to immediately helps thirsty skin feel hydrated. Kopara from French Polynesia and mineral rich seawater revive and re-mineralize skin for a softer, smoother, and brighter natural glow. Skin is transported.”

1. The application is smooth with a regular foundation brush and/or using your fingers.
2. There’s a slight clean scent but barely noticable.
3. The texture is thin and gel-like but seems to blend like a cream.
4. Coverage level is light to medium because you can add more to areas that are uneven, but concealer would be necessary to apply over areas that are more severely pigmented.
5. Pore coverage is way better than LM’s TM, but pigmentation coverage is not as high.
6. The finish is semi-matte; powder if necessary but not mandatory.
7. The NARS tinted moisturizer held up well throughout the day in rain or shine. I would recommend that you wear this product on “good skin” days; otherwise, use foundation for more coverage.
8. The added sun protection is nice, but I would still layer on regular sunscreen underneath this personally.
9. Moisturizing properties are okay but not stellar – however, for me, that’s okay since I wear a regular moisturizer during the day anyway.
10. Oil control is quite good and better than LM’s TM; but regardless, I still have to blot at least once throughout the day (as usual).

Item retails for $42.
Final thoughts: Yes, I would most certainly recommend this and I find it totally worth its price. I personally prefer this over my Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. However, with only 9 color shades to choose from, this may not be a hit for many.

NARS tinted moisturizer will NOT cover dark circles under eyes, raised acne bumps, dark pigmentation such as old acne marks and veins. It WILL even out overall skintone, adjust redness on your face, and provide a natural finish that appears to be healthy with a mild “glow factor.”

Are you thinking about trying out this product? Do you prefer tinted moisturizers or foundations?

*Quotes extracted from http://www.narscosmetics.com
*Pictures taken using CANON POWERSHOT SD1300 IS DIGITAL ELPH (12.1 Megapixels); and Blackberry Bold